Interview with Nancy Clearly, Entrepreneur

What do you do?

I am the founder and CEO of Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc. I also act as publisher and serve as graphic designer and publicist.

Why did you decide to start this kind of activity?

I started a publishing company to make residual income and to build a brand of my own. I imagined not having to be at my desk to make money or attract clients; to be able to take months off and do what I wanted, while the time and energy I spent years ago pays off financially in profit as well as bringing in more new business.

Did you have a business plan when you started your business?

I did have a business plan. But I think that one of the worst things an entrepreneur can do is create a product or service and then multiply the profit by how many she thinks she’ll sell, and using that projected income to justify a loan, or an investment, or any risk.

Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

I think publicity plans and marketing plans are necessary for entrepreneurship. How are you going to get business? How will your customers see you and know what you have to offer and how good you are at what you do? Make a plan to be the go-to expert in your particular line of work by offering up articles, comments, pro-bono work, community contributions of your services, answering questions to those who want to do what you do; eventually you’ll get the paid-work and publicity begets publicity.

What three pieces of advice can you offer developing creative/arts entrepreneurs?

My advice:

1. Keep your investments in materials, advertising, promos, Internet, phones, etc. as low as possible. Don’t assume you will have cash-flow to cover your overhead, you might not.

2. Use publicity to build your brand awareness and visibility for your services and products. For example, how can you use your talent to help your market’s community? And then use these efforts and the result (through videos, pictures, social media) to pitch local newspaper and TV to do a story. Or even go national with pitches to major talk shows or newscasts; use your contribution to show off your work and make everyone know your name.

3. As a creative arts entrepreneur you have leverage which you can use anywhere. Whatever talent you have, there are other entrepreneurs who need it. Figure out how to get into communities and offer up what you do. Donate your time and talent to the pillars of your market; when you see a need of a mover-shaker, highlight what you could do for them (for free) as a way to bring attention to your shared goals (making money, attracting clients, doing good…).

Interview by Francesca Chiumento, student in Developing an Arts Venture Plan–Arts Entrepreneurship in Meadows School of the Arts, SMU.

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