Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

The intersection of leadership, art and business

In Current Events, Leadership on May 29, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Benjamin Zander, conductor, teacher, speaker, and author of a book called The Art of Possibilities, spoke at The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2008.

In a fitting close to the annual meeting, the power of developing collaborative innovation, as a tool for leadership, was explored musically with conductor Benjamin Zander. This You Tube excerpt is truly inspiring.

Advancing Your Skills with a Job

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box on May 28, 2008 at 7:10 pm

While, as you know, I am a big advocate for developing a creative venture as quickly as possible in life, some of the artists and wanna-be-entrepreneurs I have taught and coached over the years have strategically used jobs to advance their skill sets before leaping into a business of their own. Ryan Conrad, who has written a few posts on this blog, a recent graduate from Juanita College, is doing just that by taking a job working for Live Nation to build skills and contacts which will help him advance his fledgling business, Direct Fusion.

But if you are going to take a job, or if you already have a job and are trying to advance your skills to start your own business, your resume quickly becomes the most important door opener you need to building your future! Over the years I have helped many artists develop a better resume. Artists resume’s can be tough because they are often project driven, have short timelines and lead to a very fragmented work history. But without a great resume your strategic next job will wind up belonging to someone else.

So how can you improve your odds of success?

Here are ten tips for making your resume stand out in the crowd and open the door towards your entrepreneurial future:

#10 Organize your resume by the skills you have and not by date or the job titles you have had. ( ie. Marketing, Customer Service, Sales) By grouping your resume by skill set you can not only more easily de-emphasize a fragmented work history, your age and/or a lack of experience but usually will find that many of the work experiences you have had will fit into multiple skill categories creating substance and length to your resume.

#9 Make sure to include internships, volunteer work, paid and unpaid short term “jobs”- all count as part of your work experience and skill development. It does not matter if the work you did was for a day, a week or a month. Everything counts if it was a meaningful use of or way to develop your skills.

#8 For each skill building job you have in your background write down: What you accomplished, who you accomplished it for and what result or benefit it produced. Be as descriptive as possible in explaining the work you did. Start by writing as much as is required to communicate all your thoughts about the job and the results you produced and then edit it into a compelling sound bite for the reader. Expect this to take several rounds of editing before it comes together. Too many times I have seen resumes that look like they were written an hour before I received them. Invest in yourself and spend whatever time it takes to produce clearly written sound bites that reflect your accomplishments and the impacts they have had on others.

#7 Demonstrate results! By showing your potential employer that you understand that your work must be results oriented you can dramatically improve your chances of getting an interview because your resume will stand out in the crowd. 99.9% of all resumes fail to communicate what they know about the work they did and the impact it had. Employers are looking for those who will help them focus on the results they need.

#6 Lead with a Skill Summary on the top of your resume. Start off your resume with a quick statement to a potential employer about what skills you bring to them and how strong they are. Those who review resumes are pressured to look at hundreds of applications or possibly even thousands. By starting out with a quick summary of why you have all the skills they need for the position you will more likely capture their interest and encourage them to continue reading.

#5 PROOFREAD your resume. Make sure your grammar, spelling, punctuation and resume formatting of headings, dates, bullet points- what ever you use- is consistent and correct. First impressions matter. Also make sure to put your full name, correct address, phone number and email address on top. You would be amazed by how many resumes fail to provide the basic information required to actually receive that phone call, or email asking you if you would like to come in for an interview.

#4 Educational experience belongs last on the page. Many recent graduates, rightfully so, feel accomplished by having finally achieved the degree they worked for four hard years to earn. As a result many display it proudly on their resume by putting it first. Not only does this scream out recent college graduate to a potential employer but it also does not offer your potential employer the opportunity to read your resume and be impressed with your accomplishments first before being even more impressed by how you did it all while still in college.

#3 Never put references or references to your pay in your resume. If you become a candidate for a position it is only natural that your employer will ask you for references. Don’t waste the space- fill it up with your skills and the results you have produced from them. And of course how much you are paid is something you can discuss and potentially negotiate with an employer so never reveal how much you have earned in the past. Besides, the summer job you took for just over minimum wage that helped you develop lots of skills, might now be worth 4 or 5 times what you were paid then because of what you know now.

#2 Use standard fonts like Arial or Times Roman. Use white, off white or light grey paper. While your individual style is unique to you, don’t try and stand out with your font or paper choice. Stand out by working to write a compelling story about each job or skill you have developed and why your contribution makes a difference.

#1 Write a brief compelling pro-active cover letter and send it with your resume. Includes what makes you the perfect person for the position, what about the company you are most attracted to and demonstrate both with your words in writing and actions that you are the kind of person that follows up. Be tenacious and pursue those inside the organization with regular follow up –making it clear to everyone involved in filling the position that you really are interested in the job and a future in their organization.

The Art of a Sale: part I

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing on May 25, 2008 at 10:33 pm

When I first started teaching at DePaul University, in Chicago, I was told by someone in administration, as I was preparing my course outline, ” Whatever you do, don’t focus on sales. The kids are just not receptive to it.” I found this comment really insightful and also indicative of a mindset that has hurt artists ability to thrive for centuries.

Some of the comments I have heard over time from young graduates and artists are:

” Oh, I just play the gig and so-and-so books it.”
” Sales is something that anyone can do, but I am busy creating X.”
” If my work is good enough, people will buy it. I don’t have to sell it.”
” It’s too much work to be an artist and have to sell my work. There simply isn’t enough time to do both.”
” Salesmen- who wants to grow up and be like that? Art is so much more than that.”

Is selling the lowest form of existence or just an after thought or is it perhaps something to be revered and treated as an equally creative process just like the creation of art?

Well, let me take you back to my earliest experiences learning about sales to shed some light on these comments. My sales experience began when I needed to get the word out about my first business back in college. I printed a catalog, my first that cost about $5000.00 to print and another $5000 to mail, a huge investment for me at that time and certainly not an insignificant amount of money even now.

My catalog offered the products I had for sale at the lowest possible price. No one had a better deal than I did anywhere. I had done my research and my prices were the best. I thought surely I would get a big response and so off in the mail it went to 20,000 schools and individuals.

I then waited patiently by my phone for it to start ringing off the hook. Surely it would. But instead, I hardly got any calls.

Why did this happen?

Because no one knew who I was. I had not spent the time building relationships (yet) with others who would trust me and learn to know how and why my services could really help them. Anyone could sell them a product at a low price, but what my potential customers really wanted, I soon learned, was for me to compellingly offer them something unique that they could not find from anyone else.

It was a financially painful and an eye opening experience to realize that sales is often not really about price, that it did require my whole hearted involvement, and that there was in fact an “art” to it.

The power of social entrepreneurship and the web

In BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Interesting Articles, Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 23, 2008 at 5:31 pm

According to The Edelman PR agency, “around the world, people are becoming more involved in championing social causes and increasingly recognize the need to make a direct impact on a variety of global and local issues, from poverty, hunger and education to the environment, human rights and tolerance. And they are demanding that companies engage with them in “doing something” to make a difference.
Read more

So what can you do to make a difference? Well, one thing is to read blogs and let your voice be heard through the eyes of search engines. Another is to start blogging yourself.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, blog readership jumped 58% in 2004. 7% of U.S. Internet users—8 million— have created a blog. More than one-in-ten internet users (12%) say they have posted material or comments on others’ blogs. That represents more than 14 million people and is a threefold increase from April 2003.

So not only are we increasingly participating and engaging in activities where we can be seen and heard on the web, the first of its kind study by Edelman also reveals that 83% of consumers believe they can personally make a difference by supporting social causes. 57% of consumers are comfortable with the idea that brands can support good causes and make money at the same time, and 78% like to buy brands that make a donation to worthy causes.

In his new book, Giving, Bill Clinton points to a dramatic increase of private citizens doing public good and multiple paths to involvement, from giving money and giving time to giving talent and more.

“This rising thunder for social action, involvement, and good citizenship is more than just a passing trend”, sites Edelman. “The popular culture is showing an overall influence of and commitment to the social purpose zeitgeist, from Al Gore winning the Nobel Prize for his revolutionary take on global warming, to the recognition of world influencers like the Dali Lama, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, to “cause celebrities” and leaders like Jolie, Oprah, Merkel, Branson, the Gateses and Bono, to social crusaders on the blogosphere and “mega-moms” on community networking sites.”

Through the lens of artistry, we too can make a difference. What passionate cause can you embrace? How can your art form change and shape the world we all share?

Social Citizen

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Interesting Articles, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 22, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Thanks to WordPress, and their new blog post links at the bottom of each post, I found this terrific blog called Social Citizen.

Here is a post from April 10, 2008 titled ” What’s Happening in The World of Social Entrepreneurship?
To help me keep my thoughts in order and to keep my readers up to date, I have started this post to bring together the important links on social entrepreneurship over the last couple weeks. There is going to be a great mix of articles and blogs from all over the internet, social entrepreneurship is in many forms. Every other Thursday I will post a few links from the web I have come across during the week.
What has happened the past couple of weeks in social entrepreneurship:
A new social entrepreneurship blogger – Social Entrepreneurship a New Path for Many from the blog My Pathways to New Paradigms
Saving the World from Business Week
Social Entrepreneurship and the Courage to Fix What’s Broken from Perspectives from the Pipeline
Social Entrepreneurs are Change Masters from SANGONeT
Social Entrepreneurship Fellowships
Gen Y is Changing the World by Sam Davidson
What is the role of the Social Entrepreneur? from E-Factor

WFMT Radio Introduces a New Show

In Current Events, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 21, 2008 at 7:53 pm

If you live in the Chicago area you certainly know about WFMT Radio and its programming. And if you don’t, than let me share with you the history of this legendary station.

A division of WTTW11, WFMT made its debut on Chicago’s airwaves in December of 1951. Founders Bernie and Rita Jacob’s vision was to create a station they themselves could enjoy, respect, and share with others. Their goal was to create a station with programming that would strive to entertain, engage, and above all, respect its listeners with a quality and variety of programming they hoped would be found nowhere else.

While virtually every other radio station in Chicago has changed format or call letters, WFMT has indeed remained dedicated and stands alone in presenting the best of classical music and other fine arts programming. WFMT’s reach extends way beyond Chicago’s borders, a significant benefit in helping the station reach the broadest possible audience, for what increasingly is a declining market.

Through the WFMT Radio Network and its Beethoven and Jazz Satellite Networks, the station offers broadcasts of major symphony concerts, grand opera, drama, mainstream jazz, and folk music to over 650 outlets in the U.S. and around the world. Pretty darn impressive reach for a radio station focused on classical music and fine arts programming, especially when funding for this kind of offerings is increasingly hard to find.

Like most radio stations, carefully selected recorded music makes up most of WFMT’s broadcast hours. Unlike most radio stations, WFMT devotes enormous resources to live and taped presentations by performing artists. Yesterday, in between listening to auditions for a competition for The Union League Civic and Arts Foundation, I chatted with one of the judges Steve Robinson, General Manager for WFMT Radio. Steve shared with me a new program WFMT launched just recently called: Introductions, celebrating the Chicago region’s most talented pre-collegiate classical musicians.

Saturday mornings from 11:00 am to noon CT, soloists and small ensembles perform live in WFMT’s Levin Performance Studio, while larger bands, orchestras and choruses are recorded at their home locations. With demographics aging, focusing on developing a younger following, WFMT’s move into this market offers up all kinds of opportunity for those seeking exposure in the development of their careers.

So, if your in high school or just entered college and live or go to school in the Chicago area, here is a chance to get on WFMT and start promoting your work and artistry. Trumpeter, Daniel Taubenheim, a sophmore at Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest, IL and the high school winner from the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Competition, as well as the young adult winner, flautist, Madeline Christenson, a sophmore at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL, will both appear on this program in the near future.

While winning a competition or being a featured soloist with a performing group certainly may make it easier to get on the program, you can visit the main Introductions page to join WFMT’s social network page and read about what others are saying about this new show. And if you don’t live in the Chicago area, call up the general manger of the station in your area that is focused on the fine arts and share with them what WFMT is offering to its listeners!

1 out of 3 Ain’t Bad

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble on May 21, 2008 at 5:11 am

Well, the Bite-Size Arts Ensemble is finally ready to lift off. From a starting point of ten artists, three have been willing to do the work needed to help advance their careers. 1 out of 3 isn’t too bad of a result, as far as I am concerned. It takes usually 7 knocks to open a door and I got 3 out of 10 on the first doorbell ring. I am overall pleased with these first round results.

The three individuals are: Darlyne Cain, singer/songwriter, Brian O’Hern, The Model Citizens Big Band and Juggler Dharmesh Bhagat. Besides being extremely talented, these individuals each are gems of human beings. I am building a starter site at Check us out there or click on the right side of the panel of this blog. You can help promote the work of this ensemble by going to ReverbNation and picking up a widget and putting it on your website or your own blog. We need fans and can certainly use your help.

The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble’s 501c3 status came through just a little less then two weeks ago, so we can now officially ask for donations and offer a tax deduction. ( Kind of hard to put up a web site as a not for profit and ask for donations without having the 501c3 government recognized status.) If you are contemplating filing for this status, as an already established not for profit corporation, make SURE to use an attorney. I negotiated with my attorney a flat fee to do the paper work. The paperwork is complicated enough that you will be much more likely to get the status if you do.

As for the ensemble, the next steps include filming for the video portions of our productions, which have already begun, building the website, finalizing a short list of theaters for our first few shows as well as finding a couple of venues for a fund raiser or two we hope to have planned before June is over. Our next big board meeting to make these decision is next week! Our actual launch date for this performance based entrepreneurial incubator is Fall 2008: Sept/October depending on theater availability.

While the ensemble itself is focused on developing creatively and building entrepreneurial skills for artists, the goal is also to offer our audience members the opportunity to explore their own creativity through our productions as well as through the offerings of the artists themselves.

Stay tuned for more… this baby is about to take flight!

Me, me, me, me, me

In Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble on May 20, 2008 at 3:42 am

Me, me, me, me, me…what does this mean?

Well, it could be a warm up exercise to relax your vocal chords before you begin to sing? You know the exercise, Do, rei, me…

It could also be a reflection of the focus of a nation turning inward towards ourselves because we are increasingly having trouble affording gas for our car and food to fill the refrigerator.

Over the recent weeks I have been speaking to a large number of artists who have been telling me that the phone is not ringing with work, the gigs they did last year were cancelled or postponed this year and they are not sure what is going to happen next.

Yet, it is in times exactly like these, when we need to set aside our me, me, me,me,me’s and instead offer something up for the benefit of others, expecting nothing in return. Yes, I know it is hard to be thinking of others and be giving when times are hard. But by creating and sharing in our own greatest times of need, we release ourselves of our own burdens, if even momentarily. And by doing so we allow that which we give an opportunity to take root, which eventually will produce new opportunities that we can reap because of our generosity. (Even if not directly, the adage what goes around comes around is true!)

Recently, my friend Peter Rossi, a photographer, has been telling me things are slow. Peter generously has offered his time to me to work on shooting video for the Bite-Size Arts Ensemble, since his studio is not scheduled with shoots like he would have hoped. It is also giving him an opportunity to explore the world of video to potentially incorporate into his work. Lots of folks these days are interested in having high quality podcasts on their websites.

Interestingly, as we have spent time together working on this project, Peter has been more at ease then usual about the fact his phone has not been ringing with work. And interestingly enough it has now begun again to ring with calls for new shoots!

Now, perhaps all of this is coincidence. Or just maybe when we give to others instead of focus on ourselves, the universe offers us the opportunity’s we need to do, do, do, do, do….

The Music Paradigm, what is it?

In The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 19, 2008 at 2:36 am

Conductor Roger Nierenberg created The Music Paradigm in 1995. For 14 years, Nierenberg directed the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Florida and for 23 years he was Music Director of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut. Then one day he had an epiphany, and realized that the orchestra was the perfect metaphor for organizational dynamics, particularly during a time of challenge or change and he started The Music Paradigm.

During a Music Paradigm session, business executives are seated among members of a live, professional orchestra. The conductor then leads the musicians through a series of carefully crafted exercises that help illustrate key qualities, reactions, and practices of high performing business teams, designed to teach leadership around the needs and challenges these executives face inside their organizations.

According to Roger Nierenberg, the benefits of this training session is that “the sponsoring organization is able to achieve the reinforcement of key strategic messages, build momentum for addressing critical issues through a shared experience, clarify strategies that may seem too vague or complex, and provide executives with a safe environment for rethinking their assumptions and behaviors.”

By taking business leaders out of their working environment, which can be monocular, and instead placing them in a situation to use the orchestra to create a binocular view, they are able to use the polarity to gain new insights into the needs of their organizations. Brilliant idea and what a great way to allow others, who are not artistic, to dramatically benefit from the experience.

On the website there are a series of videos that you might find interesting about The Music Paradigm experience and process.


In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Fashion on May 16, 2008 at 7:28 am

My mom tells people that she can not keep track of me because I’m always on the go. I will often hear her explaining how I’m a 24/7 type of person. After graduating on Saturday, May 10 from Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA) I can finally say I’ve decided to break the 24/7 mode and take a time out this week. This week has been full of amazing dinners with family, watching movies, and starting a new book “Freakonomics” I would like to take this opportunity to write about two of the best experiences of my life.

I will be forever thankful of my time at Juniata. Our campus has one of the most unique cultures because of the small community of only 1,400 students. As President of the Class of 2008 I had the privilege of delivering the Commencement remarks to a class size of 331 students. I felt like we about to play Game 7 of the NBA Finals due to the amount of people. If your interested, you can view my speech by clicking the following link the video scroll bar to 32 minutes to watch the speech.

My message focused on the essential ingredient to life which, in my opinion, is giving. Delivering these remarks will always be the icing on the cake of my college experience. Since my speech I have been flooded with comments and messages from people who believed in my message. It feels good to know my words meant something to somebody.

The second experience, that has also made a huge impact on my life, occurred while I was sleeping on Monday afternoon. I received numerous job offers via phone calls and emails while I slept. As a person who is always on the move I like to have a game plan for everything. I have been worrying for weeks now about not having a job and then numerous opportunities arrived within a hour.

I have decided to accept a job offer with LiveNation to work as a Sponsorship Coordinator at the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater. Last summer I worked in their marketing department and really enjoyed the office culture and the live music. Virginia Beach has a great atmosphere and it is my goal to become involved in the local surf contests, fashion shows, and other opportunities that will allow me to network.

As one chapter of my life closed on Saturday it seems only fitting that another one opened on Monday.

But the feeling of being on the go 24/7 will have to wait a few days as I plan to relax this week and start my new job next week.

Build an Arts Business Incubator with the NBIA

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 15, 2008 at 8:09 am

Are you in business and wishing you could help artists to flourish? Are you a closet artist by night and a “suit” by day? Why not build an Arts Business Incubator in your city and start it in an area of the city that needs to be revitalized the most? Not only can you help local artists flourish, like Adrienne Fritze is doing with her Arts Business Incubtor in Portland Oregon called Working Artist LLC, but you will revitalize other small businesses in the neighborhood from the rich culture you create by doing so.

Now that I have enticed you to consider this as a real possibility, let me introduce you to the organization that can help you get started:

The National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) is the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship. It provides information, education, advocacy and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting early-stage companies worldwide.

Its mission is to provide training and and information on incubator management, development issues as well as tools for assisting start-up’s and fledgling firms.

NBIA also conducts research, compiles statistics and produces publications that provide hands-on approaches to developing and managing effective incubator programs. In addition, the association tracks relevant legislative initiatives and maintains a speakers’ bureau and referral service. It also creates partnerships with leading private-sector and public-sector entities to further the interests of the industry and its members.

Here is a list of NBIA’s stated objectives from their website:

Provide information, research and networking resources to help members develop and manage successful business incubation programs

Monitor and disseminate information about industry developments, trends and best practices

Inform and educate leaders, potential supporters and stakeholders of the significant benefits of business incubation

Build public awareness of business incubation as a valuable business development tool

Expand capacity to create valuable resources for members and our member’s members through partnerships

Engage and represent all segments of the business incubation industry

To learn more about NBIA click here.

Her Passion: From a Freshman at Appalachian State, Boone, NC

In Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Health & Wellness, The Idea on May 14, 2008 at 8:53 am

Kelly Penick is a remarkable young lady. I met her at the CEO conference where I was one of the keynote speakers. Kelly asked if I would help her develop her business concepts and serve in an advisory capacity on her journey to building her dream. Kelly is starting her venture at almost the same age I started mine. It is exciting to help someone so young with as much determination and drive to excel as Kelly.
My name is Kelly Penick and I am a freshman at Appalachian State University. During my sophomore year of high school, I decided I wanted to become a female entrepreneur and influential businesswoman. I have been exposed to various resorts, spas, and luxury hotels during my lifetime, and the experience has always been personally rewarding. Not only have I received wonderful spa treatments, but have experienced a wonderful night’s sleep on numerous occasions, experienced fine dining, and felt a since of comfort and peace while visiting these facilities.

When I was able to associate the hospitality industry, and more specifically, the hotel & spa industry, with such positive feelings, I discovered my entrepreneurial passion. Would you not love the feeling of ownership of a facility that works to make every second of the day feel relaxed and provide an environment for one to be totally pampered? I thought so, because I can see myself setting back and indulging in these services and appreciating this very atmosphere myself!

In conjunction with my appreciation for the resort, hotel and spa industries, I am also extremely fond of the Golden Age of Hollywood. My own personal attachment to this time period in filmmaking ranges from about 1936-1960. I consider the classics in film to have been made during this age and I confidently say that my favorite actors and actresses are from this era.

It is through the images of legends such as Cary Grant and Grace Kelly that I wish to bring back a timeless age of film with all of its glamour, romance and sophistication, to the modern day luxury resort and spa arena. Guests of the resort will experience elegance unparalleled to any other resort. They will be encompassed by a feeling of old Hollywood glamour and its glittering appeal as they enter a world resembling a film’s movie set/furnishings and the aesthetic appeal of that time.

My family is most involved in my life and since I have grown up with parents who are entrepreneurs, I have difficulty seeing myself working for anyone but myself. The knowledge and experience I have received through my family encourages me to set high standards professionally and personally.

Having grown up in a family business, I see myself as a leader and individual who knows what I want out of my career, as well as someone who has been blessed with a vision and drive to make these dreams a reality. My desire is to have the means and ability to not only provide the finest of cuisine, spa treatments, and atmosphere to my clients, but also give to be able to give back to the betterment of the human race.

Over the years I have had family members who have been victims of Alzheimer’s disease and for those who are familiar with Alzheimer’s scope of influence, the family as well as the victims experience distressing emotional and physical burdens. As this disease makes itself more prevalent in today’s society, I seek to be at the forefront in support of the latest research and development, to potentially combat and restrict the disease’s prevalence in society and hopefully provide consolation for families and individuals who have fallen victim to this degrading disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association has several fundraising events that take place annually, such as the Rita Hayworth Galas, in honor of the beautiful screen legend who suffered from Alzheimer’s in her later life. I would love to see my own luxury resort as a facility where such galas could be hosted, and know that I have a hand in helping to aid those who must deal with this most distressing illness.

I look most forward to specifically two aspects of the resort in particularly. There will be a ballroom in the resort, and within that ballroom I wish to have ballroom dancing and elaborate charity events and galas as mentioned before. I also look forward to my involvement with the guests and members of the resort. I can actually see myself walking into the resort each day and interacting with the employees, visiting clients and members of the resort. Since the resort’s atmosphere will instill a sense of relaxation and ultimate luxury, I anticipate clients saying to me: “I feel wonderful, and I thank you for providing such an inviting and rejuvenating destination for my relaxation and comfort.”

At this time, in between semesters at Appalachian State University, I am embarking on obtaining my certification as a licensed Esthetician in North Carolina. This will be the most developed exposure I have received as yet in the Aesthetics industry, and about which I am most anxious and excited. While fulfilling this program, I will be working with valuable mentors to help me develop a logical 3-year plan to become a business owner while obtaining my college degree.

Does Money Follow Passion?

In Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Interesting Articles, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 13, 2008 at 12:41 am

This article appeared a few days ago on The New York Times site under small business in The Shifting Careers Blog. Thanks Ann Permann McNair, Career Services Coordinator for UT- Austin, for sending this in for me to post!
Does Money Follow Passion? Top Bloggers Weigh In


If there is one question that plagues so many of us in our career choices, it is whether it is wise — or even possible — to build careers out of our passions. And there’s a corollary question that often goes along with it: Will financial success necessarily come to those who follow their passions? I’ve covered this before, but I just discovered an excellent post on Chris Guillebeau’s blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, in which several of my favorite bloggers chime in on this subject. (Thanks to Gretchen Rubin, of The Happiness Project, for bringing it to my attention.)

The short answer, of course, is, “It depends.” If you happen to have a passion for choosing stocks, the money will follow a lot more easily than if you have a knack for writing Shakespearean sonnets. But most of us fall somewhere in the middle of those extremes, and that’s why there are as many answers to the question as there are career paths.

Here’s a taste of what the bloggers had to say:

From Mignon Fogarty, of Grammar Girl (a very sticky site for grammar geeks or those needing a little assistance in that area): “Having passion and loving something don’t guarantee that you’re good at it or that it will make a successful business.”

From Darren Rowse, of ProBlogger (the authority on just about anything having to do with blogging): “I think it can be true — but what if you love doing something that there is just no economic sense in?”

From J.D. Roth, of Get Rich Slowly (a personal finance blogger who provides solid advice about money while conveying a “money isn’t everything” vibe): “Well, I’m not convinced there’s a strong correlation. I think that financial success can be related to doing what you love, but it’s not always the case. I have friends who love to teach, but they’re never going to get rich at it. I have friends who hate their jobs but make a killing.”

Each of them — and the others — said lots of smart things. So if this debate interests you, read the full post. for Musicians Only

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 12, 2008 at 7:01 am

Are you familiar with it? ReverbNation is similiar to MySpace, except this entire website is dedicated to musicians only. ReverbNation offers an incredible number of online marketing/PR tools available to musicians for free.

In particular, their newest tool, the Tune Widget can be placed on virtually any web page, MySpace, home page, or blog.

This tune widget is five widgets in one. You can play more then five featured tracks (MySpace has a four track limit), post information about your group, including performing schedules and videos, as well as have your newest fan join the mailing list instantly. Your fans can also share this widget with others to help you spread your music for you.

The tune widget offers easy cross-promotion for you with other artists — friends, label-mates, touring partners, AND you can also track everything that happens with your music using ReverbNation’s free statistics package.

All of these features that are included in this single tune widget are also available through ReverbNation separately for free. Wow. Can self promotion get any easier?


The Customer

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2008 at 7:50 am

The Customer is a poem by Frank Halliwell, from Jimboomba, Australia. This poem is really funny, or at least it was to me, so sit back and enjoy. Have a great weekend.


“Good morning! Thanks for calling us!
We’re pleased to hear from you!
Your call’s important to us
So we’ve placed you in a queue.

Please find your account number and
Be sure it is correct..
It’s twenty digits long and if you
Mis-type, I’ll reject.

I’ll lead you through the whole routine
Please use your touch type phone.
Press eight and follow with the hash
After you hear the tone.

If you are a new client here..
Press two, ..if old, press three.
Press four in case we’ve done something
With which you disagree!

You have pressed four, please wait a moment
While I transfer you..
And please enjoy, while we play you
A symphony or two!

Our staff are all too busy now
To talk to such as you
Your call is so important that
We’ve placed you in a queue.”

Time passes and the music lingers
On, and bye and bye..
My cheek and ear go fast asleep,
My wrist gets R.S.I.

But wait! It may be there is hope!
I hear a ringing sound,
At last a human voice is heard
After the runaround!

“Good morning, this is Ladies wear
And may we help somehow?
Complaints?.. Oh! Just hang on a tick
I’ll transfer you right now!…”

“Good morning! Thanks for calling us!
We’re pleased to hear from you!
Your call’s important to us
So we’ve placed you in a queue.

The Poetry of Business

In Interesting Articles, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 9, 2008 at 7:06 am

Thanks to the world wide web and google, here is an interesting light hearted blog post about the intersection of poetry in business written by Judith Kautz, writer and web developer of a site that offers small business owners help and support through online material and articles. Sound familiar?

So, if you are enjoying reading this blog you might also enjoy reading Small Business Notes. But don’t be gone for too long- be sure to come back and visit again soon.
Business and Poetry at first glance have little in common. Most people consider business as representative of the rational side of our society. Business is involved with profit and concrete ways of achieving it. Poetry represents the creative, more abstract side of the world. It deals with ideas and emotions, not the bottom line. Yet, on closer inspection, many areas of overlap actually exist.

For starters, there is a fair amount of poetry about business. Poems about business range from the whimsical — one Ogden Nash verse contemplating work begins

I sit in an office at 244 Madison Avenue
And say to myself You have a responsible job havenue?
Why then do you fritter away your time on this doggerel?

Here are some other famous and not so famous verses about business:

Carl Sandburg in his Chicago Collection addresses all aspects of Chicago life, including its business life. Skyscraper discusses what transpires in the daily life of a skyscraper; To Certain Journeymen is about the business of dying; and Working Girls muses on the flow of life.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Work Without Hope comments on the constancy of work as part of all nature.

Frank Halliwell in The Customer provides a tongue-in-cheek commentary on being put on hold.

Michael Benedikt writes what he calls “Prose Poems” that describe many aspects of the business of life.

Clearly, poetry about business covers all of history and all types of styles, but the common denominator is that it comments on this experience we call business. Uncovering the few examples I have cited here has been inspiring and fun, so much so that I have started a page that links to any poetry that relates to business. This should be a useful, ever-growing reference page of poetry about business.

Self Promotion is Necessary

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Interesting Articles, Marketing, Networking, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 8, 2008 at 1:20 am

Creating a buzz and a following for your work requires that you invest time and effort into doing some self promoting. While I am sure your artistry is first class, who will know if you don’t make it available to as many as possible to see, hear or read? I can’t tell you how many of the clients I have worked with who have literally decades of experience as artists, yet who do not have an online presence. These days anyone interested in you or your business will likely head straight for your web site, so you have to have one. Self Promotion is as important as your artistry.

Not only will your website attract future clients, audience members, buyers, donors or anyone else you seek with instant information and credibility, but it will also provide a critical first step to attracting press, broadcasts, and trade or industry news coverage. Case in point, a client of mine was recently reviewed by Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich, The review turned out OK, but his name was misspelled and his band name not even mentioned in the article- a band he has had for over twenty years. Why? Well most likely because Howard could not find him on the web because he does not have (yet) a web presence. This particular individual learned quickly first hand, and in spades, the value of the web site he is currently investing in and building.

Essentials you need in your Web Site
Maintain an up-to-date site with a compelling home page. Your opening page should welcome visitors and clearly explain to your audience what business your in, reflect the personality you professionally wish to convey, and showcase whatever you produce.

Create an online media kit that gives customers and journalists alike the chance to learn behind-the-scenes facts and stories about you to supplement what’s on your home page. (The term “kit,” by the way, comes from the print version that traditionally collects all press material into a folder or binder, which is mailed or hand-delivered as a packet.)

An online media kit not only saves you that delivery cost, but also lets users choose exactly which documents to download. You don’t have to guess what a reporter wants or overload the media with materials. Electronic media kits are efficient and cost-effective. They also can expand or shrink to fit your pace of growth, business development, and resources.

Media Kit Essentials
If you’re starting from scratch, keep it simple. You can always upgrade and add more later.

Typically, media kits cover these four basic areas:

* An overview or short biography about your business, if you have one.

* A clear, concise summary of the products and services you offer for sale.

* One or more current press releases. If you need to learn how to write one click here. Make sure these are always up-to-date, so you aren’t still announcing news from 2005 when it’s 2008.

* Professional credits which include your title, bio and photo, and some personal data if you would like. If you have employees, include those bios and photos too.

*Add a link navigation tag to your web site that says Press or Media to easily find these documents on your site.

*Format your documents using software that works on multiple platforms and is user-friendly. That way, anyone with any computer system and web access will have no trouble downloading the kit. Many marketers also rely on the Portable Document Format (PDF) developed by Adobe Systems. Learn how to quickly convert Microsoft Office documents to PDFs.

*Make sure your media kit has a consistent look and feel that reflects your image and brand.

Website Development
I highly recommend shopping around online for a web site developer that is large enough to offer a full range of services and also cost effective. When I did my own research, to decide who to use to build my sites, I looked at a large range of developers- both high end and dirt cheap- and decided I was better off being the creative force behind the development of my site and saving money doing it. So I opted for a low cost provider, but one who offers every imaginable service and feature I could ever want on my websites. Their name is Heritage Web Solutions and you can get a website built for as little as $199.00 to start. Monthly hosting with them starts around $10.00 a month.

I did all the design work for my sites and they simply executed. It was some work getting them to do what I asked, but the price made it all worth it. ( However, the flash elements I use in my site do cost extra.)

By developing a web presence and offering clear marketing messages about you and the products and services you provide, along with a few interesting stories, testimonials, or articles to illustrate who you are and why you should be remembered, you are setting yourself up to attract both customers and media, not to mention at the lowest cost possible. I remember the days when the only way to reach your audience was through direct mail. I use to mail tens of thousands of postcards out at .20 cents apiece spending thousands to promote my work!

Now the world can become familiar with you and your gifts in life for next to nothing, but only if you do the work to make your presence known…

The Artistic Temperament and Business

In Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Risk on May 7, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Learning to manage your emotions in business is a challenge for everyone, but especially for artists. In life we all strive to balance our decision making process using just the right amount of emotion and just the right amount of logic to come to a decision we feel is justified, worthy and that we feel good about making as a result. But in business, we must learn to do this in front of and with others- namely our customers, patrons, donors, board members and anyone else we engage with regularly who holds a financial key to our success.

As artists, we are taught that a full showing of expression is something to strive for in our art form. As a result, rarely are we taught how to take that expression and use it purposefully in a business context.

However, don’t think that what I am saying is that business is completely devoid of emotions. Even the most controlled business types recognize that emotion certainly plays a role in running a business. Imagine running a company without receiving any of the thrill of closing a big sale, or the high of releasing a new product you have worked hard to develop, or having your work featured or reviewed in an important publication. If running a business means putting in 12 hours a day, along with all your savings, to check your passions at the door, you would never have enough energy to keep them burning through all the ups and downs of your ventures development.

Yet, as an artist myself, I am the first to tell you that it takes a lot of work to understand the nuance of when to show emotion and when to use your logic to produce a productive result. Artists are wonderful at being compelling and convincing. The artistic temperament is one that can persuade and entice even the most reticent into listening to their message, story or sales pitch. Our passions can uplift and change the mood of all we touch, and yet I know myself how I have struggled and worked hard to recognize and learn when and how to use my emotions purposefully in business situations. I tend to lead with my heart and have had to work hard at learning when to emote and when to set my intensity of expression aside, because it will not help the situation I am being presented with.

Unfortunately emotion at the wrong time in a business situation, if insufficiently checked by logical reasoning, can be incredibly destructive. In the beginning of a venture it often leads to the most costly errors. It’s a fact that most start-ups make their most costly and deadly mistakes right at the beginning. Excited by the prospects of starting, our emotions rule (multiply that by 10 if your an artist) and we have the potential to spend way too much money on that fancy brochure, website or a piece of equipment for our venture. Had our more logical head prevailed, it would have helped us instead decide to start with less, save the cash, and diminish the risk of potentially going out of business quickly.

Emotions can also result in offering a customer an unprofitable price in desperation to close a sale when cash is too tight and panic replaces our ability to remain logical and calm. It can also cause us to create tension, distance or misunderstandings in key relationships that advise us, provide customers to us and can help our venture grow because of our own insecurities and fears. Emotions, I hope you are beginning to see, can be the enemy- the tornado- the cyclone- that can mark a path of destruction instead of success.

This applies to pretty much everything in business. But the goal isn’t to get rid of emotion and become a cool calculating machine either. Instead, you need to learn, while navigating unchartered water, to recognize when fear, anger, impatience or desperation might prevent you from making a good decision because your head is clouded with these kinds of negative influences.

Think instead of business as a strategy game. A game of risk with the short-term outcome being a complicated mix of hard work, timing, luck and skill. So if things are not going as smoothly as planned, don’t make a future decision based on your emotional reaction at the time. Sit back and wait a bit until your emotional reaction is no longer as intense so you have the opportunity to skillfully make a good decision. And make sure to communicate to those waiting on your decision or who have been of help to you that you need a few hours, days or weeks to come to the right conclusion. It is as important to communicate your lack of clarity and need to think as it is to compellingly or logically reach an outcome. Trust is built when you communicate to others your uncertainty and need to reflect.

But don’t think that these destructive emotions only surface in artists. It happens all the time with every kind of business owner. We all experience these kinds of emotions in business. It’s simply as artists that we are blessed and cursed with a greater abundance of them.

Controlling our emotions in business takes practice- Practice in elevating your consciousness to recognize when your decisions are about to be made based on irrational emotions so that you have the opportunity to stop and re-evaluate whether your decision will produce a positive outcome or a self-destructive one.

Hatch Your Business on Campus

In Interesting Articles on May 5, 2008 at 11:57 pm

The college campus, it turns out, is FINALLY beginning to be recognized as an ideal incubator for hatching small businesses these days.

According to the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., more than 2,000 colleges and universities now offer at least a class and often an entire course of study in entrepreneurship. That is up from 253 institutions offering such courses in 1985. More than 200,000 students are enrolled in such courses, compared with 16,000 in 1985.

I know that when I started my first business from my college dorm room at Northwestern University in 1985, entrepreneurship was something but only a few students in the business school talked about, and absolutely something no one talked about in the school of music.

While entrepreneurship in the arts still has a much further way to come, in terms of acceptance among faculty and stewardship at the university level, the movement of teaching entrepreneurship on college campuses is unstoppable and gaining the kind of momentum that will allow it to begin to more easily spread into all areas of study- including the arts.

So it looks like we have come a long way baby!

For more about the development of entrepreneurship classes, read the New York Times Article A Classroom Path to Entrepreneurship that was published just a couple of days ago.

From Clarinet to Coffee- What a Conundrum?

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music, The Clarinet Shop, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on May 3, 2008 at 2:09 am

Marianne Breneman is a clarinetist I know through Lisa’s Clarinet Shop. She is also someone who sets a wonderful example of being entrepreneurial. You see entrepreneurship is not necessarily about owning a small business, even though Marianne and her husband, Brian, do together own Koka Coffeehouse in Cincinnati, OH. But instead, I see entrepreneurial artists as those who take responsibility for their destiny and create the opportunities in life they need most to thrive.

How does Marianne do this?

#1 By having a great education to allow her to the flexibility to choose who she teaches and where she teaches.

As a native of the Detroit area, Marianne holds degrees from Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). With a strong educational foundation it is no wonder she has a very full active teaching studio, as well as serving on the faculty at The College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, OH. With her credentials, Marianne can afford to have a policy of accepting students by audition only.

#2 By creating performing opportunities to fill her need to play and by taking it seriously enough to commit time and resources to its development.

While Marianne is the second clarinetist with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, she is also a founding member and the Managing Director of Conundrum, a unique chamber ensemble of Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, and Piano.

Having built a chamber group over a ten year period of time, as one of the founding members, I can tell you that Marianne is a very entrepreneurial musician. Having played with lots of musicians, some who perform in major venues and others who are fine freelance artists, most musicians have not learned how to take a risk and build an organization that will give them the freedom to play where they want and what they want. Most artists will tell you they would love to do this, but the number one reason they don’t is simply because they have not (yet) learned the skills they need to be entrepreneurial, like Marianne.

An excerpt from the Conundrum website:

What is Conundrum?

“…Glad and sad in the same pair of trousers, I left for Reno ,asking the question over and over as the dirt passed; “why do I feel this way?” The answer was in the shape my feet left in the dirt. Not hooves anymore, but size 3 sneakers.

Why am I a tiny pony in sneakers? Why are there no answers, just more questions? Who wants to listen to any sound that comes out of me? And geez, why do I smell like an old rope? Riddles, rhymes and indecent sirens of pain…”

Yes, puzzling but important questions face us every day. Who am I? How is this supposed to work? What part fits where? Are you my mother? A life’s enigma; a heart’s quandary; a spirit’s conundrum.

When searching yields riddles, like children we play.

Soprano, flute, clarinet and piano:
an unconventional combination of voices creating textures of elemental beauty-melody, rhythm, harmony and language. Alternately serene, playful, quirky, or lush.

We play music we like and we do it with conviction. Our audiences seem to be happy and excited after our performances.

Conundrum is:
Mary Elizabeth Southworth-soprano,
Danielle Hundley-flute,
Marianne Breneman-clarinet
Philip Amalong-piano.

#3 By building on personal interests, Marianne and her husband, Brian, are creating life on their own terms.

When you risk with your heart, and use your head to execute those passions, you find that life offers you whatever you need to flourish. Not only do the Breneman’s now have two coffeehouses, the second which opening in June of 2007, but they are using their creativity in life to create financial and creative opportunities that they can enjoy for a long time to come.

An excerpt from the Koka Coffehouse website:

Welcome to Koka Coffeehouse!

You’ve seen us on Eastern Avenue. We’re the warm happy glow on a cold dark morning. The sunny yellow building with cheerful spring flowers.

No recollection?

How about the tacky flashing light-up arrow sign with the witty sayings?

Wit. Great Coffee. Friendly Service. Intelligent Conversation. What else could you ask for?

Koka Coffeehouse. Not Bigger, Just Better!