Did You Have a Plan?

This post is part of an interview series conducted by Arts Entrepreneurship students at SMU. With this project, we are seeking to understand if, in creative entrepreneurship, business plans are necessary. SMU student Brie Bernstein conducted these interviews and offered her analysis.

Cameron Sanders – Professional Actor

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

A: Yes, I had a plan when I started. I went to my parents, told them what I wanted to do, and after talking to them, they agreed to let me do it.

Q: Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

A: Yes, I think it’s important to have an idea of what you want to do, what your goals and dreams are, and what you need to do to make it happen. You will do a lot better if you have a plan for yourself and if you follow it. You can always change your plan but you at least need something to start with.

Q: What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

A: If you are really passionate about something, you should do it. If you are able to get the funds, and whatever else it takes to do what you want to do, you should do it. No one is stopping you but yourself. Next, I would say don’t let failure get in the way of your dreams. Everyone fails, but it’s important that you don’t let the idea of failing stop you from doing what you want to do. And lastly, I would say that you should never give up on your dreams, even if it means taking risks and getting outside your comfort zone. You will never succeed if you don’t try and it’s at least better to say you did something than to always wish you had gone after your dreams but didn’t.

Erin Sossaman – Professional Actress

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

A: Not really. I started knowing what I wanted to do and already had connections and friends that were in the industry that helped me get started.

Q: Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

A: I think you should have an idea of where you want to go in your career, but I don’t think you need a set plan, especially for acting. You kind of just go with the flow because it’s hard to control things like when you get auditions and roles and whatnot. But, I think if I were starting an actual business, I would need more of a set plan.

Q: What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

A: I would say to surround yourself with others in the industry that can help you grow and give you advice and resources, and you can help them back too which will benefit both of you. Being in a collaborative environment and working with others is going to help you make those connections that you’ll need, whether it’s what you need right now or later down the road. Also, you need to believe in yourself and put in the work. It’s not an easy task to be an entrepreneur, but if you believe in yourself and are passionate about your career, you can accomplish anything.

Joseph Jentgen – Artist

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

A: So, when I started I didn’t really have a plan for what I was doing, I was just creating art. But then after I started getting interest in my work, then I was like, “okay people are interested,” I should make this into a full-time business.

Q: Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

A: So, you never really know where life will take you or what you’ll be doing so I think it’s hard to have a plan and stick with it. In your mind you’ll think about your next steps and do it, but I don’t think you need some written down plan to be successful.

Q: What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

A: I think it’s really important to do what you love to do, even if it means not making a lot of money at first or having to give up your free time or friends.  When I started, I didn’t think my art would turn into a full-time job, but I’m glad it did. I think when you’re working on something you love, you end up working harder and enjoying life more. So, I would say just make the sacrifices you need to in order to do what you love. Also, you can’t be afraid of what others are going to say about you. You’re probably going to get a lot of hate, but you can’t let that bother you. You have to focus on yourself and what you’re doing and the people that are going to support you and lift you up will stick with you. Everyone else isn’t a true friend.

Analysis

From the three interviews I conducted, I found that not all entrepreneurs have thoroughly thought out plans when they start. While only one of my interviewees had a pretty set plan when they started, the others started without much thought, because they were low-risk business ventures.  However, all three of my interviewees were extremely passionate about their fields when they decided to become entrepreneurs and, they even all said that being passionate about what you want to do is super important to become a successful entrepreneur. They also all said that a developing entrepreneur should at least have an idea in their head about their business venture. While life may get in the way of your plan, or things may happen to change the direction of your business, it’s important to have thoughts about your goals. When it came to advice my interviewees had, following your dreams, interests, and pursuing things you love were common responses. Also, finding support through friends and your network were other suggestions that helped my interviewees become entrepreneurs. Overall, I found that all my interviewees had different opinions and reasons for having/not having business plans. But, as long as you have an idea and a passion, you can be successful.

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