Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurial Tool Box’ Category

New Season for No-Mind

In Author: Adam Shames, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Health & Wellness on September 29, 2010 at 12:10 am

Fall is indeed here, and I am returning from my blog-break to once again rabble-rouse for innovation to reign and your creativity to blossom throughout this new season and beyond.

I’ll remember this summer as one where I worked less on business but more on my mind — specifically, on trying to detach from the addictions of mind. Creativity is the nimble dance between mind and heart, but so many of us get caught in a stranglehold of mind so that we are blocked from expressing ourselves, taking risks, seeing differently and feeling free to create (not to mention just feeling good). The mind is a powerful instrument, but, as Eckhart Tolle in his classic The Power of Now explains, “about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is harmful.” Too much of our thinking — especially in this Information Overload-Great Recession-Multi-Tasking world of ours — is spent stuck on shoulds, fears, anxiety about the future and replays of the past.

I know mine was. So I consciously broke from my normal routine, both physically and mentally, and shifted my mindset. I was lucky to spend more time than I ever have on Lake Michigan, thanks to my friend Joe and his sailboat (above). I truly was able to incubate — a key part of the creative process — in water and for more prolonged periods than I have before. I was able to leave my scolding mind with the buildings of the city and embrace the great creative principle of “Not Knowing” — seeing with fresh eyes, giving up being right and smart and an expert. My mind stopped being king, and frankly I feel much better and more ready to imagine and create a future that works for me.

In an enlightened state, according to Tolle, you still use your thinking mind when needed but otherwise there is an inner stillness. To come up with creative solutions, he explains, “you oscillate every few minutes or so between thought and stillness, between mind and no-mind…only in that way is it possible to think creatively.” You need “no-mind” — consciousness without thought — to tap into your real power. Here’s more:

The mind is essentially a survival machine. Attack and defense against other minds, gathering, storing, and analyzing information–that is what it is good at, but it is not at all creative. All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. The mind then gives form to the creative impulse or insight. Even the great scientists have reported that their creative breakthroughs came at a time of mental quietude.

~from The Power of Now, p. 19-20

I know I was extremely lucky to be able to take a partial break this summer, and that it’s hard to find the time for “mental quietude.” But you can find a way to reduce your “predominance of mind,” as Tolle would call it, both for your own sanity and to be more creative. Read The Power of Now. Learn to Meditate. Swim, run, practice Tai Chi, paint or lose yourself in a creative pursuit that gets you out of your thoughts. The key is to be aware of — and to be less enslaved by — your involuntary internal dialogue, especially the nasty, needless thoughts that create stress but little else of value.

Want more from Adam? Check out his Innovation on my Mind blog.

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Seed Grants to Student Arts Entrepreneurs

In Art, Author: Linda Essig, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Music, Networking, The Idea, Theater/Film on November 13, 2009 at 1:40 am

Last week, I got to do the thing that I enjoy most in my job (I also got to do some things I enjoy least, but discussing those would be digressive). My colleagues and I made six seed grants to student arts entrepreneurs. If I ever feel down and out about the future, I can go back and read the 24 letters of intent and 8 full submissions to our p.a.v.e. program in arts entrepreneurship we received this October. Reading through these proposals makes me feel that the arts are relevant, vibrant, vital, and sustainable.

Students have some of the coolest ideas. With their permission, I’m sharing some information about the six awardees with you all. Yes, it’s a little bit of bragging, but it’s also sharing some of the interesting ideas that we’ll be mentoring and supporting in the months to come. (And, yes, there were a few proposals that just made you roll your eyes, but those were very few.) A lot of proposals were for projects that could be termed “social entrepreneurship” as much as “arts entrepreneurship,” a combination I find both interesting and hopeful.
With that, I bring you the Fall 2009 p.a.v.e. awardees:
join cast clipartJoin and Cast Ventures: Two Art (Intermedia) students, Jennifer C. and Catherine A., are producing a field guide to the downtown Phoenix arts scene that is itself a work of art.
radio healer clipart copyRadio Healer: Led by Arts, Media Engineering (AME) graduate student Christopher M., Radio Healer presents mediated performances that foster intercultural dialogue in Native communities.
daht clipartDance and Health Together Awards: Led by undergraduate Dance major Mary P., the DaHT Awards is a combination of dance recognition award and fundraising enterprise benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

coop films clipartCo-op Film Productions – Film and Media Production/Marketing student Chelsea R. and her team are creating a support infrastructure for student collaboration across arts and design disciplines.
different from what clip artDifferent from What? Film Festival – AME graduate student Lisa T. in collaboration with Education student Federico W. is producing a film festival focused on films by, for, and about adults with disabilities.

scrath theory clipartScratch Theory – Filmmaking Practices major Chris G. and his collaborators are developing a software/hardware interface that will first notate and then play back via synthesizer DJ scratching.

The Green Stuff of Life

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Money on November 6, 2009 at 9:37 am

dreamstime_2684500Money. Money. Money. We simply can’t live with out it, and we wouldn’t want to either. Money is simply in every fiber and fabric of our lives. It is that basic and deep to us as human beings. It’s something we need to survive.

Think about the things that only money can buy—a better education for you or someone in your family; medicine to bring health of comfort to a parent who is gravely ill, or maybe a beautiful ring for the girl you want to marry. Are these things possible without money—99 percent of the time, the answer to that question is no. Too bad no one has invented a “money tree” just yet. Sure would make life easier, wouldn’t it?

Yet as important and vital as money is in our lives we often don’t stop to consider the long-term effect our values and beliefs about money will have on the outcome of our lives and our careers.

Let’s face it; to a great extent, our financial resources determine what our lives will be like. The amount of money you earn effects most options and choices that are available to you: where you live, the number of children you can afford to raise in the way you envision, how much you can save for your retirement, where you travel, and what kind of car you drive. Read the rest of this entry »

Isn’t it Time You Became a Savvy Artist?

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on November 3, 2009 at 3:56 am

Chapter03It’s clear. The evidence is indisputable.  You’re a talented artist.  Really talented.  And accomplished.  You work hard, and have a top notch education.  Heck, you’re even good looking!  A prosperous life in music is nearly guaranteed, no?   

Unfortunately, no.  Not by a long shot.  But you surely realize this already. 

Being talented is wonderful, but technical skills alone do not assure a successful life in this business! Savvy artists have huge advantages over the others, and it’s no mystery why. They work pro-actively to build their career, making smart choices that allow them to earn a good living, and make a positive difference. In addition to outstanding artistic ability, the savviest artists:

  1. Dream big
  2. Think creatively
  3. Take risks and are willing to fail (or even succeed!)
  4. Create opportunities where they don’t exist
  5. Understand the nuts and bolts of the business
  6. Invent remarkable products
  7. Distinguish their work
  8. Take the initiative
  9. Follow through
  10. Build a strong brand
  11. Prioritize both content AND presentation
  12. Market extraordinarily
  13. Comprehend money matters
  14. Fundraise effectively
  15. Educate powerfully
  16. Embrace technology
  17. Excel with people skills
  18. Maintain a strong network
  19. Assemble an outstanding team
  20. Leave a legacy

Obviously, few people are experts in every category above.  When a weakness occurs, you have three options: 1) develop the skill (costs energy), 2) hire someone else to help (costs money), or 3) forfeit opportunities (costs success).  But most people who architect a fulfilling life in music exhibit many of these characteristics.

My new book, The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living, & Making a Difference (officially released today, though pre-release copies have been available for a few months), tackles each of these issues.  Though focusing on musicians, lessons taught apply directly to artists of all disciplines.  This comprehensive resource is packed with detailed strategies for success alongside examples of real life role models.  Whether hoping to augment income, stand out from a competitive field, add variety to activities, or erect an empire, The Savvy Musician will help you find ways to thrive under any circumstances. 

But it’s only a book.  As Ranaan Meyer, bassist of Time for Three, noted: 

The Savvy Musician unveils a vision for a healthy [artistic] future, articulating 99% of what we need to do.  The missing percentage is YOU.”

 Isn’t it time you became a savvy artist?

To learn more about “The Savvy Musician,” and for a wide array of free resources, visit www.SavvyMusician.com.

The Let it “B” Girl Clarinetist

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Music, The Idea on October 29, 2009 at 6:53 am

I just LOVE this You tube video featuring one of my clarinet customers, Christy Banks. I just LOVE her informal commentary– it makes the video– and makes me not only want to listen to HER but learn MORE about classical music because of her delivery.

I Care, How Can I Get You To?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea on October 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm

One of the challenges each of us faces when we contemplate the development of our ideas into a product or service, is just exactly “how do we generate interest from others in what each of us finds important”?

How do we know if what we see, believe, feel and think will “take root in the market”? What must we do so that others will care about and value our ideas, products and services as much as we do?

Well, if I knew the perfect answer to this, I would have an orchard filled with money trees in my backyard. But what I can share, based on personal experience, are three (less-than-reliable) assumptions about how to get people to care about our ideas and three rules-of-thumb for creating conditions that might actually get them to.

(Of course we never can be sure if people will care for sure– as we know, we all are free to choose….)

Assumption #1:
The House is Burning! Jump! FIRE!

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The idea of a burning platform is actually a metaphor based on supposedly a true story: In the North Sea an oil platform had caught fire and was burning fast. On it was a lone worker. He had a decision to make: Probable death if he jumped, certain death if he stayed.

What we are talking about here is creating a condition where we instill fear and apply pressure– a fear of being unable to turn back- pressure for fast, decisive action or else everything goes up in smoke.

When any of one us is presented with a “must act now” if “you want to live” strategy, most of us will support the strategy and will act. People, after all, do want to survive. However it is hard to predict how we will act. Some will get on board, others will panic and freeze, some will try and make themselves look good at the expense of others, while some will hide from the bad news.

Moral of the story: When faced with a burning platform, people will choose self-preservation over the common good.

Assumption #2: Create Buy-In
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Similar to the burning platform, “buy-in” is also a rich metaphor. Creating “buy-in” is an old sales term. When we create buy-in we:
Present a strong case convincingly
Create a motivational presentation
Make sure everyone understands what’s in it for them
Close the deal by asking for a commitment

The problem is that creating “buy-in” is set up for only one kind of answer. Style and technique take the place of substance and purpose leaving us, “the audience,” not sure if we like, let alone feel good about, what we are suppose to be “buying in” to…..

Moral of the assumption: People see through the art of subtle manipulation. Care cannot be packaged to be bought.

Assumption #3 Create the Perfect Incentives
dreamstime_7453730
“If you want to teach a dog a new trick, give him a bone”… isn’t that how the saying goes? If you set up a scenario that rewards the behavior you seek, then you will get a treat.

The problem is that this system will only work if the rewards we are offering others are important to them. And while this system can certainly shape behavior, it does not produce care.

Take for example the customer service representative who is rewarded based on the number of completed orders they take in an hour. Predictably they will rush through each call and cut as many corners as possible so they can complete more orders and “earn” their treat. On one level the system is working because more calls are being handled per hour. On another, it is destroying the employees natural desire to provide quality service and show they care.

Moral of the story: Incentives don’t incent others to care.

Three Rules of Thumb
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Rule of Thumb #1:
Find Out What is Important to the Other Person and Act On It

We live in a world where, I don’t know about you, but I certainly walk around and wonder ” Does anyone really care about anyone anymore?” People are STARVED for attention- they crave being listened to and understood. starbucks cupWhen we ask questions and learn about others, we empower others through OUR listening and care. And when we ACT on their interests, concerns, wishes or hopes, and deliver something to them that they really care about, we find a much more receptive audience for our own ideas.

The days of mass marketing and appeal are over. We are in the age of “niching” to produce thriving. A grande skim latte with 2 equals, no foam, double cup it please, is the meal du jour and so we must learn to listen carefully to others needs to cater to those we wish most to serve.

Rule of Thumb #2: Support Others In Achieving Their Goals
How does your product or service help support others in achieving their goals? Products and services must offer real tangible benefits. Put the same time and energy into your clients to help them identify and achieve from your products and services something of real value to them. Designing (and redesign) your products and services to reach the right market where real benefit will be offered. By doing so you will find your clients really do care about what you have to deliver.

Rule of Thumb #3: Speak From Your Heart dreamstime_8018984
Stop telling people what you have to offer them. Start talking about what is important to you and speak from your heart when you do.

Story: Several recovering addicts were talking in an AA meeting about how to improve treatment services. The conversation began with the usual ideas– making the community a better place by helping people. And it wasn’t long before the conversation fell flat.

Then one person got up in the meeting and told his story– a story about how in his darkest hours as an addict, in his greatest need, people he did not know listened to him. Total strangers answered his plea for help and got him into treatment. They cared about him when there wasn’t much to care about.

Moral of the story: This recovering addicts goal was indeed simple and by sharing from his heart, the entire tone and energy of the meeting changed. While he really did want to “give back to the community and care for others”, the most important ingredient to getting others in the meeting to become more involved and care, came from his telling his story- his truth- from his heart.

So, tell us your story. (This is why I created the ETA competition by the way. And you still have time to enter or encourage others to do so.)

And if you’ve joined us here at ETA because you want to learn how to better lead “your tribe” forward, or begin to build a tribe of your very own– one that will come to care about what you find most important in life– then start by aligning your words and actions in a way that reflects your honesty and integrity. Even if you don’t know what products and services you would like to offer, this would be an excellent way to begin to figure out what you should offer.

After all consider this: If you are not willing to put your wholehearted-self behind what you care about and tell the truth to the world about what is in your heart, then why should anyone really care?

Having struggled to build, for over twenty years, profitable businesses, creating ETA (that is rising from nothing), written Build a Blue Bike, (a book that teaches how to develop entrepreneurial empathy and transform it into a creative venture), and now, embarking on the journey of launching The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™, I can tell you it is not for the faint of heart, the insecure or vulnerable. And this is also why we as artists need entrepreneurial training– so that every single one of us can learn how to wear our he(arts) on our sleeve and build our audiences for life from the ideas we care most about.

If there is only one thing in this post which I am certain is valuable to you–forgive me for it taking so much of your time to explain- it is this: Listening to others and speaking from your heart it is the only way to build a rock solid foundation of mutual trust in, and care for, the ideas you care most about. No Starving Artist 2010It also holds the key to opening the door to a sustainable artistic career: one that produces enough income for you to live happily-ever-after. Amen.

A Rose and A Thorn

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Risk on October 26, 2009 at 9:00 am

Karma. Murphy’s Law. Tommyluck. There are lots of names for the concept of “When god closes the door he opens a window”. I’ve been experiencing this first hand this week and it has reminded me that no success can be earned without struggle.

The good news is, that Blue Damen Pictures’ film “The Visionary” recently won Best Experimental Short film at the Illinois International Film Festival! We couldn’t be more proud and are delighted to receive this recognition. I like to consider this my rose for the week- something special and rare and difficult to cultivate without investing a lot of work.

But like all gardeners know, you don’t get lovely roses without suffering some thorns and this week has been full of those as well. On Monday my apartment was broken into while I was at my day job, but nothing seemed to be stolen so while it was disruptive it wasn’t the end of the world. On Thursday, however, my apartment was broken into again and my computer, filmmaking tools, and emergency cash was taken. I’m trying very hard to avoid thinking that this was something personal- after all, it wasn’t ME they were after, just my stuff. On the other hand, they were very selective about what they took, and what they took were all my filmmaking tools, and it is hard to not take it personally when someone very carefully and specifically takes away the tools of your trade.

But this story does have a happy ending: everything was insured, after all, so now it’s just a matter of replacing the lost items with new and better ones. I was also able to save my data on an external hard drive which I had taken off the computer and taken into the office with me the day after the initial break in. So while I’ve lost my tools I haven’t lost my footage or the cuts of my previous two films or all of my archived artwork. I have never been so glad for my insurance until now. I have never been so grateful for all the tedious hours of backing up my work on a separate drive until now. My work has been disrupted but it hasn’t been stopped and while the thieves may have only been looking for a good score they have given me something much more valuable without even realizing it: the assurance that I am prepared even for this and the increased drive to now finish the work that was interrupted.

So the moral of the story is: pay for insurance even if it seems stupid because when you need it you’ll be glad you have it, and ALWAYS back up your work and records especially if they are digital. You may lose some of your work, but better to lose some of it than to lose all of it. Lastly, remember that roadblocks are a pain in the butt, but they will make your work better in the end, so don’t take them personally, just accept them and turn them into stepping stones and keep soldiering on.

CAEF: A**ess This!

In Author: Melissa Snoza, Authors, Creativity and Innovation, Current Events, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music, Theater/Film, Writing on October 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm


Yesterday, I attended the second in a series of events presented by the Chicago Arts Educators Forum, an initiative started by Merissa Shunk and Nicole Losurdo and sponsored by CAPE. This community of teachers, teaching artists, and organizations explores common challenges and opportunities in arts education in the Chicago area.

This day of discussions and workshops centered around assessment, everyone’s favorite part of the process when designing an educational program or residency. Confronting the negativity that surrounds this process head-on, the organizers created a parking garage for frustrations (participants wrote their biggest challenges on sheets of paper taped to toy cars and “parked” them for the day) and an anonymous confessional that also served as the event’s video documentation.

Why so negative? Many artists and organizations view assessment as something they must do for their funders and for the public. So many of us have found ourselves daunted by the task of evaluating the same programs several different ways using the specific criteria presented by those who have provided support. It begins to feel like the process of assessment is about teaching to the test – making sure that the outcome fit the objectives set forth by the organization and its funders.

But what other purposes can this process serve? A question that became a lightbulb moment for many participants was: “Who is this assessment for?” Of course, we’re responsible to those who provide support, but the assessment and evaluation process is also meaningful tools for students, teachers, teaching artists, and organizations if done in a way that captures the depth of the work. In this way, we begin to connect our larger objectives and the activities that accomplish them to our assessment tools, rather than putting the cart before the horse by using a standardized method.

Another theme that resurfaced multiple times was the question of how to quantify social and emotional progress, or literacy and cognitive skills that become evident in work samples more clearly than in a multiple-choice test. In the case studies we examined, many organizations found themselves asking students to take pre- and post-residency surveys, asking questions like “Do you feel a personal connection to these characters” on a scale from 1-5. Often, the difference in responses wasn’t meaningful.

A great start to the answer of this question was presented in Dennie Palmer Wolf’s keynote presentation. She displayed pre- and post-residency work samples from the same student, showing the difference in the vocabulary and depth after working with the teaching artist. One could feasibly assign a number scale to these factors to chart progress, in addition to having the samples available for review. Or, she showed diaries of a day in the life of two students, one of which was participating in an arts program, with yellow highlights on the parts of the day where the student felt personally and deeply engaged. Having five of those moments instead of one is a measurable and meaningful effect of the influence this program has.

The day really helped me and the rest of our staff think much differently about how we assess, evaluate, measure, and document our work, and how connected those tools must be to our own objectives rather than a pre-designed template. The funny part is, making these tools authentic in this way will result in data that can then be pulled to highlight the factors a funder will want to see, while telling a richer story that will be meaningful to our organization, the students, teachers, parents, and schools we serve.

Melissa is the flutist and Executive Director of the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble. Like what you read here? For more music entrepreneurship tidbits, visit www.playingclosetothebridge.wordpress.com, brought to you by members of 5HE.

How Do You Find the Time?

In Author: David Cutler, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music on October 20, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Practice that technique.  Work on craft. Draft grant proposal. Begin passion project. Be a good friend. Go to concerts. Take kids to the ballgame. Leave a legacy. Develop website. Improve skills. Read blogs. Market CD. Rewrite bio. Pay bills. Build brand. Meet spouse. Teach. Study. Network. Sleep. Think. Eat. Compose. Gig.

 AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who has time to do all this stuff?

hourglass_redBy our very nature, entrepreneurial artists always have too much to do, with an eruption of great ideas and initiatives in the pipeline.  Finding time to address everything can be tough.  As a result, many artists make little forward progress on important life goals year after year, despite the reality that they’re constantly frantic with work. If this scenario sounds familiar, here are some tips that can help:

 1)      Write it down.  Study after study have shown that people who write down their “to do list” have an exponentially greater chance of getting things done than those who don’t.

2)      Prioritize by urgency.  Rate each activity on your list in order of urgency.

3)      Prioritize by importance. In a separate column, rate each activity in order of importance as they relate to overall life goals. 

4)      Compare ratings.  In all likeliness, these two hierarchies look quite different.  “Urgent tasks” may be taking over, preventing progress on truly important aspirations.

5)      Re-prioritize.  Find ways to reduce the number of urgent-but-less-meaningful tasks.  And re-think your priorities—there should always be at least 1-2 life goals in your urgent column!

6)      Get more done: do less. Most of us have about 80 pressing things that need attention at every moment.  Yet when overwhelmed with demands, little noticeable progress in any aspect often results. Pick periods of your life to focus primarily on one or two major goals, rather than trying to do everything at once.

7)      Map your activities.  Many artists have no idea where all the time goes.  To find out, keep tabs on everything you do during an average month. Then analyze the results, and make changes as needed. You will be enlightened by the results.

8)      Identify and eliminate distractions.  It may only be 2 minutes here and 5 minutes there, but little diversions add up.  See what kinds of inefficiencies corrode your schedule, and exterminate or minimize them. Some common time wasters:

  • Checking e-mail constantly
  • Answering phone calls throughout the day (which also interrupts momentum)
  • Surfing the web
  • Watching TV
  • Drinking coffee
  • Chatting about nothing

9)      Schedule your schedule.   Compose a detailed plan showing how your minutes will be allocated throughout the week.  Then stick to it. Though this requires a time investment upfront, the efficiency that results makes the investment extraordinarily valuable.  

10)  Be specific.  Sure, you scheduled an hour for “personal marketing.” But what does that mean?  Work on web design?  Network?  Write a news release?  Clearly specify which objectives should be accomplished during each window.  This way you’ll know just what to do, and can clearly observe whether you made adequate progress.

11)  Get into routines.  Make your schedule as consistent as possible.  Habits save time.

12)  Don’t procrastinate.  When it’s time, just do it. Don’t permit excuses, distractions, or delays.

13)  Just say “no.”  There may be hoards of people asking you to help with this and work with that.  But if you don’t have time, politely decline the offer. Saying no doesn’t mean you’re a bad person!  They will understand. 

14)  Delegate and outsource. There are undoubtedly time consuming, non-specialized tasks in your life that others could help accomplish.  Farm it out.  Find a local high school student to help for a small fee.  Have your niece do the work in exchange for flute lessons. Do you know about virtual assistants?  These workers are available for hire to do just about any kind of clerical work imaginable. 

15)  Take a break. Nobody can work 24-7.  Most of us wind up taking breaks periodically throughout the day, and then feel guilty about them.  Instead, schedule breaks into the master plan, and enjoy every moment. Work when you work, and play when you play!

16)  There is never enough time; there is always enough time.  Life may always seem busy, but if something is important enough, there is a way to get it done.

Speaking Coaches help entrepreneurs get their message across

In Author: Barbara Kite, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, The Entrepreneurial Artist Competition on October 15, 2009 at 6:06 am

SPEAKING COACHES HELP ENTREPRENEURS GET THEIR MESSAGE ACROSS –

BUSINESS – INTERNATIONAL

HERALD TRIBUNE 

By Hillary Chura
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007

NEW YORK — Whether to appear more confident, better organized or to stop the “ums,” entrepreneurs are realizing good voice and presentation skills can help them come into their own and even compete against larger competitors with big marketing budgets.

Michael Sipe, president of Private Equities, a small mergers and acquisition advisory firm in San Jose, California, worked with a presentation coach who helped him differentiate his business from competitors.

“If a customer can’t determine who is any better or different or worse, then they are left with a conversation about price. And as a business owner, if you’re only in a price conversation, that’s a losing conversation,” Sipe said. “It is really important to paint a picture of why someone should do business with them in a very compelling way.”

Even though business owners may be experts in their fields, that does not automatically translate into being able to market themselves verbally. Many agree that speaking concisely — and in a compelling way — lends credibility. While poor communication skills are not necessarily deadly, they can make it more challenging to win over potential investors, prospective clients, employees and business partners.

“Small business is leaving money on the table because it is overlooking one of the most powerful marketing skills: speech,” said Diane DiResta, a speech and communications coach in New York. “Speech is the way a small business builds its brand, establishes expertise, gets free publicity and gets in front of its market.”

R.W. Armstrong & Associates, a civil engineering project management company in Indianapolis, first hired a speaker trainer two years ago to help prepare it for a pitch worth millions of dollars. The company went in as the underdog but clinched the deal after working on timing, learning how to use descriptive words, introduce co-workers and present itself with poise and cohesion, said Donna Gadient, director for human resources. She said the company paid about $8,000 to $10,000 for a day of training for 25 people.

Tom Cole, a general partner at Trinity Ventures, a Menlo Park, California, venture capital firm, said good communicators had an easier time captivating investors with their verbal and nonverbal skills than do those with less polish.

“Some entrepreneurs are such poor communicators that they never get past the first meeting with us,” Cole said. “A good entrepreneur can give you a 30- second elevator pitch that describes his or her business. Sadly, many fail to do that in the course of an hour’s meeting.”

Coaches, who may charge $100 an hour for one-on-one guidance to more than $10,000 a day for groups, work with clients on content and delivery, tone, organization, diction, timing, how to enter a presentation confidently and refining a message around essential words. They draw attention to flaws like blitzing through presentations as well as rising inflections that make every statement sound like a question from, like, a Valley Girl. They encourage people to use short sentences, speak in sound bites and pause so listeners can digest what has been said.

A less expensive option is the public speaking organization Toastmasters International, where members critique one another’s presentations.

Being a good presenter is more of an acquired skill than a gift you’re born with, enthusiasts say. Techniques that work with a large audience are also effective one-on-one. Patricia Fripp, a sales presentation skills trainer based in San Francisco, said that connecting on an emotional level with the audience and telling people what they will gain, rather than what you will offer, is important.

Lawrence Dolph, managing partner of RFD Insight, a turnaround specialist and growth consultant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said that in addition to being concerned with what they know and how they present it, speakers now must be telegenic thanks to videoconferencing.

“It causes you to be assessed as if you were a television actor,” Dolph said. “You need to have good body control so you don’t look like a stiff. And a lot of that requires coaching. Unless you have been brought through some sort of actual course, you are probably not aware of your body or speech patterns.”

David Freeman, director for client development at the San Francisco asset management company Ashfield, sought help to hone his firm’s message to pension funds, financial institutions and wealthy investors. The idea was to stop presenters from rambling and have them deliver only pertinent information.

“We may fly across the country to present for 45 minutes to a pension fund or consulting firm that can be worth $25 million, $50 million or $100 million in the amount of money we are being given to manage,” Freeman said. “You want to increase the probability that you are going to be remembered.”

When Rebeca Mojica, a Chicago jewelry designer, started her jewelry design business in Chicago three years ago, she found herself being taken advantage of by clients who did not respect her time or wanted free private lessons or discounts. For several months in 2004 and 2005, she hired a coach to help her take control of conversations. She said she learned to be matter of fact in dealing with unpleasant situations and even got tips on how to sit when talking on the phone, with feet planted on the ground and torso leaning slightly forward.

She said coaching taught her how to handle potentially uncomfortable situations, cut down on wasted time and reduce misunderstandings.

“I tended to be a people pleaser. I’m a very nice person, which is great for some aspects of customer service but not good for others,” Mojica said. “When you want results, you need to take conversations seriously.”

Sharon McRill, founder of Betty Brigade, a concierge company in Ann Arbor, hired a coach, Eleni Kelakos, after agreeing to deliver a Chamber of Commerce breakfast speech in 2005. McRill said that while she was comfortable one- on-one, she felt sick addressing a group. After learning breathing and relaxation techniques, her confidence rose.

“I needed to be comfortable speaking to 300 business leaders — leaders who I don’t normally get to speak to — so it was important to come across as competent and smooth,” said McRill, who paid $750 for the insight. “If you can make an impression by speaking in front of a group or by meeting someone at a networking event that helps you be remembered, then it’s going to continue to pay you back later.”

see my Great Speakers and Acting Blog – www.bmkite.wordpress.com for more in depth information regarding speaking using acting skills to help in your presentations.

Cultural Capital

In Author: Linda Essig, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on October 13, 2009 at 1:42 am

I’m participating in a symposium this week entitled PARTNERSHIPS FOR PURPOSE: INNOVATION, CULTURAL CAPITAL, AND RESILIENCE. The panel I’ve been asked to facilitate is organized around the question “How should the university contribute to the development of cultural capital/talent in the region?” “Cultural Captial” isn’t a phrase that I use very often, so of course I looked it up. I was surprised to find that it’s a common sociological term, taken to mean (and I’m broadly paraphrasing from multiple sources), the non-economic “worth” of a family, an institution, or a society, often associated with educational attainment and socialization. This, of course, is not how the conference organizers are using the term or they wouldn’t have invited a museum director, a public art director, me, and others to be on this panel.
Cultural capital as I envision it for the purposes of my panel is a two part infrastructure made up of people and institutions. And, these people and institutions have BOTH economic and intrinsic non-economic worth. In a city such as Phoenix with only one large (public) university and several community colleges, the cultural capital of the city is inexorably intertwined with the university.
It is a fact not widely recognized that universities, especially public research universities, indirectly support arts and culture nationally by providing institutional homes — and the salaries and benefits attendant to them — for creative artists. Cultural institutions such as Actors Theatre of Phoenix, for example, draw regularly from the “human” capital of my school. Because the faculty ranks at universities include the artists, designers, directors, etc who create the work we see at the museums and performing arts venues throughout a region, the region is richer for the presence of the university (and, I would add, the faculty have an outlet for their creative work).
To build cultural capital, existing institutions need to be supported and new ones created. That’s why I’m so proud of our p.a.v.e. program in arts entrepreneurship. Through that program we’ve seed funding and mentorship to students with great ideas for arts-based ventures. Some of these, like the Phoenix Fringe Festival and the Sustainable Symphony are already making their marks on the regional cultural landscape in Phoenix.

What Does Your Blue Bike Look Like?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble, The Idea on October 12, 2009 at 11:40 am

balloon_bike_transpBG_50%Bite-Size Arts Ensemble Member, Dharmesh Bhagat, built this blue bike out of balloons for me. Isn’t it cute? What does your blue bike look like? Do you know? And what does it mean to build a blue bike anyway?

To me, the journey of learning how to take the pain in your heart and transform it into an entrepreneurial vision that is so strong and robust it produces an economic engine in your life- financial transportation- is what I call building a blue bike. It is impossibly difficult to do alone and requires an undying amount of support from others to accomplish. And I want you each to know how grateful I am, that you have been here for me on my own blue bike building journey.

Ever since I wrote my book, Build a Blue Bike, the pain in my heart has only grown. While I was very lucky to land a big agent, Susan Schulman, who represented Economist, Richard Florida’s Rise of The Creative Class, my timing could not have been worse. As we entered into a Big Big Recession I was trying to sell this book…..

I still hold out hope that someday I will hear back from Tarcher- my dream publisher. Julia Cameron: Artist Way- continues to be a big hit for The Tarcher Publishing company. So currently my manuscript resides in the back of my sock drawer, while my deep desire to help artists transform from the inside-out continues to grow.

My pain comes from a lifetime of artistic experiences that one-by-one drove me to become incredibly cautious and careful around artists because of the dysfunction I experienced trying to share the music in my heart with them. It was the drama, self-destruction, withdrawal, denial, arrogance, insecurity, back stabbing and anger I saw in others that made me take the joyful music inside my heart and lock it away. This was not what tickled my funny bone and called my artistic name to the clarinet and it is not where artistic entrepreneurial vision comes from. As a child, it was a love for exploring my own artistry and sharing my creativity with others that seeded my entrepreneurial abilities.

And it broke my heart to pull away from my deepest desires to play the clarinet for my life’s work when I was at the top of my musical game, at the end of my days as a college student at Northwestern. I truly wanted then and still want to share my creativity intimately with others. And while I went on to build creative ventures over the past twenty- years, creatively finding a way to put my need to play my clarinet each time at the center of my ventures, my heart continued to feel pain.

So after twenty years of living with my pain it grew so strong and loud, I wrote Build A Blue Bike hoping if I did something positive about it- by writing a book to share with others what only my artistry and unique vision blended together can see- it would help others heal and the pain I felt would finally subside. But the pain did not stop. So when Build A Blue Bike did not sell to a major publisher, my dream and hope for it still, I created Entrepreneur The Arts®. But it was still not enough.

From there came The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble™ and somehow, as this ensemble has struggled to take flight, I realized that while the pain inside of me was duller and throbbed less, as my vision for what I could do with it was growing stronger and clearer, it was still inside of me. I know that our show What is Your Imagination Worth? A New Kind of ROI is going to really help those who experience it learn about how they can change, evolve and grow. But I need what my audiences learn about developing their imaginations, to become something real: something that nourish their hearts and others souls. Something made to last. Maybe even forever- or for at least a lifetime on this earth.

And now, finally, last night, at Flourish Studios, with Stanley Drucker in the house, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™ has been born. Finally, after three and a half years of struggling, I feel like I have found the ignition key for my vision and a turning point for my heart to begin its work of healing.

You see, I want so badly to help you to discover your own vision, like I have. I want your deepest pain in life to become a vision of what you can positively change in the world that will help you create an artistic life filled with meaningful opportunities for you, and others, to learn from and endlessly grow. I know you will be happier and emotionally healthier the moment you decide to. I know when more of you are living a LIFE YOU DREAM that the dysfunction I see in the arts will slowly, but surely, change. I still so want to experience what our shared positive creativity and artistry can do for this world. Don’t you?

So what does it take to build your very own blue bike? One that will last forever, and ever, or as long as your vision can see, and until the pain in your heart has been nourished into health?

OK. If you are brave enough to consider trying to, here are a few things you have got to know:

#1 However long you think it is going to take to transform the pain in your heart into entrepreneurial vision– know that building a meaningful creative venture- one that is built to last- requires a large investment of time– at least a couple of years if not more.

#2 You need to be willing to set aside your need for clarity and perfection and be able to live with a tangled web of ideas at first- a mess- in the development stage of your personal transformation. Turning pain into vision is a process that is not neat and tidy. And you need excellent role models to help you navigate through so you find the most expeditious way. Nothing short will do. The bigger the pain the greater the vision can be and the longer it can take for your artistic vision to become clear and focused and financially able to take flight.

#3 You must be willing to continuously attempt to launch your ideas into the world knowing that you will need repeatedly to rebound from many failed attempts until you finally find some traction for them. You will be laughed at, ignored, disrespected, ridiculed, slighted and humbled by this process every single time it happens– until your vision is perfectly aligned with the pain in your heart and it ignites the transmission of your creative venture. And then… you will be celebrated like the hero everyone always knew you would become. (It is the hero’s journey we are talking about here. It is what has to happen for your artistry to take economic flight.)

#4 You need tenacity to fuel ideas. Consistent effort that is unwilling to stop–What is it that your heart needs most to not be in pain? Whatever that is, there lies the endless source of your tenacity.

#5 You need to be or become a great collaborative communicator. When we share our vision and receive feedback from others about it, we learn how we are being perceived. When we get it right, our vision will manifest itself into economic opportunities that seemingly will pop right up out of nowhere– and become our transportation into our future.

#6 And lastly, you need to have excellent ethical judgement. What goes around comes around. If you do what’s right every single time, eventually you will be rewarded. And if you do what is right and true for you, eventually your heart will feel whole and your ideas will roll and the money will flow…

#7 Remember–Where there is money, there is energy and where there is energy there is a lifetime of economic opportunity…

And politics aside- Isn’t this really what Obama keeps telling us? This IS our moment. WE are the future of history. OUR time has come. It is Now. Are you Ready?

The Artist-Blogger: Finding Your Niche

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing on October 10, 2009 at 11:56 pm

blog2

Of course! You don’t have time to blog.  You don’t even have enough time to breathe, with all your practicing, art making, career promotion, life responsibilities, and the occasional social engagement.  If there’s one thing you simply can’t squeeze into the schedule, it’s maintaining a blog! Don’t be ridiculous.

That’s what I used to think as well.  Yet this week, as I unveiled a new and improved blog for my site THE SAVVY MUSICIAN  (and with it, a commitment to keep up the posts), an important realization struck me—blogging is one of the most effective ways to build credibility, loyalty, and an international fan base.  If you are an entrepreneurial artist hoping to increase your success and opportunities, a killer blog may prove to be one of the most important and cost effective marketing tools at your disposal.

As was argued in The Savvy Musician, without web presence, you don’t exist. You’re invisible, at least in the eyes of most of the world. And while a well constructed but static website can do a lot to advance your cause, a relevant and up-to-date blog shows that you are active, productive, and a reliable source of information. The best blogs give viewers a reason to visit your website on a regular basis, and attract new visitors because of the valuable content. Better yet, a great blog will establish you as a leading and active voice in your field. As a result, you will probably get more gigs, media attention, invitations to speak publically on your topic, and a host of additional opportunities.

Now, the act of simply having a blog won’t necessarily help you.  Thousands upon thousands of bloggers spend obscene amounts of time writing articles that are viewed by almost no one. For success, it is imperative to find a topic that resonates with readers:

  1. No blogger diaries!  Far too many blogs are simply recaps of people’s lives. But here’s the problem—nobody cares (except perhaps family members and close friends)!  So you heard a great performance of Mahler, or your stand partner had cheese stuck between her teeth during rehearsal…snooze.  People are much more concerned with themselves.  Unless your existence is extraordinarily interesting, reject this approach or count on a miniscule readership. Be careful of overusing the word “I.”
  2. Focus on your reader. A far better approach is to write about your readers. What do they care about? What are their concerns? Embrace the word “you,” and choose topics interesting to them.
  3. Be Different. Find a blogging topic or angle that isn’t oversaturated with competition.  For example, there are already great blogs dealing specifically with some instruments. But others have almost no quality sites, and that represents a huge opportunity for some savvy musicians in the near future.  (Maybe you?) If there are already good sources available that deal with your general area of interest, find a specific angle that distinguishes your work.
  4. Find your niche. In my post The Best in the World, it was argued that savvy musicians should discover the one thing they can do better than anyone else in the world. A blog is the perfect platform for establishing yourself as a leading expert in a specific area.
  5. Stick with it. Once you have an angle, don’t deviate too far from it. Readers expect consistency. If your focus is instrument repair, a post on that great concert you attended last night may appear irrelevant and confusing.
  6. Solve problems. The most widely read blogs often solve problems for their audience. For example, musician bloggers could focus on how to throw a better wedding reception, how to practice more effectively, how to address the psychological stresses of being a musician, etc.
  7. Provide resources. Blogs that offer helpful resources—from links to manuscript paper to fonts to practicing exercises –will be visited again and again.    
  8. Influence taste. Thanks largely to the Internet, there are millions of products, experiences, and messages competing for attention.  Ironically, in a time when everybody has access to just about everything, digging through the clutter can be a nightmare.  Bloggers who point people towards the good stuff (great recordings, great concerts to check out, great woodwind quintets, etc.) provide a valuable service to both consumers and vendors. Rather than being comprehensive, focus on highlighting quality gems.

The Savvy Musician Resource Center maintains a library of fantastic blogs that we feel are helpful to musicians.  To view our blogroll, click here.  Please contact us if you’d like to propose an invaluable site that follows the guidelines above and should be added to our collection.

 

Love music, but hate to starve? Hoping to achieve more success with your musical career? Visit www.SavvyMusician.com for a Resource Center with 1000+links, valuable articles, information about the most important music career book in print, and more.

The Future of Leadership in America

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, Intellectual Entrepreneurship, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on October 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I received this email from Rick Cherwitz this morning and it stopped and made me think– What can all of us trained artists do about changing these statistics? Would love your suggestions and I bet Rick would too..
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Folks,

In the process of working on an article, as well as preparing for my interview for the national audio forum on diversity later this month (via Inside Higher Ed), I have pulled together some data with which you may be familiar.

These statistics should give us pause: (1) African Americans and Latinos comprise nearly 35% of all U.S. citizens in the age range of Ph.D. candidates. (2) 44% of the nation’s children come from underrepresented groups and this will grow to over 50% by 2023 and above 60% in 2050. (3) Yet these same groups constitute only 18% percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred, 12% of the total research doctorates awarded, and only about 21% of all graduate degrees. (4) While national data about first generation students is not available (or at least I have been unable to discover it), it is clear from my work locally with IE that the same issues/problems are faced by this population.

Unless substantial increases in each of these categories are made, our nation’s capacity to discover and disseminate knowledge–to be a world leader–will be seriously threatened, as will our ability to produce a well-trained workforce capable of keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy.

Rick

________________________________________________________________
Richard A. Cherwitz, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE)
A Cross-Disciplinary Consortium: “Educating Citizen-Scholars”
Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/ie/
Department of Communication Studies
The University of Texas 1 University Station A1105
Austin, Texas 78712
VOICE: (512) 471-1939 FAX: (512) 471-3504
https://webspace.utexas.edu/cherwitz/www/
spaj737@uts.cc.utexas.edu
________________________

Career Mentorship: The Lost Education

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music on October 3, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Most of the artists I know are highly educated.  Many have multiple degrees in their field of expertise.  Along the way, they typically work closely with several mentors who move them forward in their journey towards artistic excellence: private teachers, classroom instructors conductors, etc. Obviously this form of apprenticeship is quite valuable. 

But most never even consider adopting a career mentor.  Without doing this, is it really such a wonder that we have so many outstanding artists who are unprepared to thrive when it comes to professional demands? Imagine how helpful this practice would be! 

In a class I’m teaching to musicians at Duquesne University called “Career Perspectives,” my students are required to identify and cultivate relations with two career mentors.  If you hope to become a working artist, or already are one but desire increased success, I highly recommend you do this as well. (In fact, I’m a huge advocate of the mentorship process for just about everyone on every level.) As a starting point, seek one mentor in each of the following categories:

  • Artist mentor.  An artist who has achieved success in an aspect of the industry that is part of your career profile.  For example, if you hope to work as a freelancer, find someone who does this now.
  • Entrepreneurial mentor.  An entrepreneur in the old fashion sense—someone who has started and runs a business. Serial entrepreneurs (people who have begun many businesses) are even better.  The best candidates often have little or no knowledge about music, so conversations can focus on business and philosophical concerns.

When identifying potential mentors, keep the following 7 points in mind:

  1. Don’t be shy. You’re not asking for a job or money or their child’s hand in marriage here. Just guidance.  Most people love to talk about themselves, and will be flattered by your offer. And what’s the worst thing that can happen? They turn you down or don’t respond to your request?  No biggie…So just ask and see what happens.  
  2. Find mentors you don’t currently know. Working with people you haven’t previously met has several advantages.  It not only expands your network, but gives you experience approaching someone new with a request.  This is a valuable transferrable skill that all musicians need from time to time, whether approaching a potential donor, presenter, contractor, or other new contact.  
  3. Look beyond the rich and famous. Sure, if you can make a connection with Wynton Marsalis, Steven Spielberg, or Donald Trump, go for it. But the rich and famous may be too busy to handle your request.  And the issues they face may be less pertinent to your situation than those of a mid-level artist.
  4. Geographical issues. The obvious advantage of having a local mentor is that you can meet in person, perhaps over lunch (on your dime!).  There is no better way to solidify relationships than face to face encounters. But even if your mentor lives far away, it is possible to have personal encounters over the phone, through video chatting, or other forms of communication. 
  5. Mustn’t be your mirror image. Just because you play the violin doesn’t mean your best mentor has to be another fiddler.  In fact, perhaps finding a saxophonist (or even a dancer) would be more helpful. They may be able to shed a valuable and contrasting perspective.
  6. Supplement weaknesses.  The best mentor is someone who has skills that you don’t. If you want to raise money, but haven’t fundraised before, find someone who has. If marketing terrifies you, locate a promotional wizard. The purpose of having a mentor is to grow.
  7. The mentor boomerang. You’re just asking for advice, no? But picking the right mentor often opens doors down the road.

 

 

Love music, but hate to starve? Hoping to achieve more success with your musical career? Visit www.SavvyMusician.com for a Resource Center with 1000+links, valuable articles, information about the most important music career book in print, and more.

Chicago Dramatists- Branching Out

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Theater/Film, Writing on October 2, 2009 at 9:33 am

If you’ve always wanted to try screenwriting but never felt like you knew where to start, now is your opportunity! The Chicago Dramatists, an organization that supports playwrights and their creative process, is now offering a course on screenwriting. The listing for the course reads something like this:

SCREENWRITING FUNDAMENTALS – The Art & Science of the Screenplay

Like any medium, screenwriting has its own rhythm and flow, challenges and rewards. This course is designed for beginning-to-intermediate writers to learn the art and science of writing cinematically. Topics covered will include Structure, Character, Plot, Dialogue, Genre-Busting, The Genius of Rewriting, Formatting the Page, The Cost of Marketing, Math vs. Jazz, Studio vs. Indie, Contracts, and How to Be a Professional. Class time will entail lecture, discussion, DVD examples, and in-class writing projects. And because screenwriting is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, there will be one-on-one time geared for your particular project.

Piqued your interest? Just think of the possibilities! I hear through the grapevine that this course still has a few slots available, but they won’t last long. After all, Chicago is home to one of the largest film schools in the world, which means that every year more and more filmmakers are emerging in search of high quality scripts to produce and yours could be one of them.

In fact, while I’m at it I might as well mention that Blue Damen Pictures is going to be seeking a writer to help us put together a script for a 10 minute short film that we have a concept for. We are working on a series of short films called “The Insomniac Chronicles” that will eventually be put together to create a feature length film. The award winning short “The Visionary” (which just screened at Elgin Film Festival) is the first film that we produced in this series but we hope to do many more.

So get your pencils ready and jump in to the exciting world of screenwriting! For more information about the Chicago Dramatists course you can visit their website at: http://www.chicagodramatists.org/home/index.html

The Great Balancing Act

In Author: Melissa Snoza, Creativity and Innovation, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Health & Wellness on September 28, 2009 at 7:02 am

In thinking about what topics might be useful for entrepreneurially-minded arts folks, I was reminded of a question that came up at a career skills roundtable that Fifth House led at the University of Northern Iowa that struck me as particularly timely, yet not frequently asked.

A student raised her hand and asked, “How do you balance your professional and home lives? Do you have enough time for a marriage and family?”

Having prepped ourselves for questions about self-promotion, fundraising, organizational development, and the like, this came a little out of left field. In retrospect, I’m so glad she voiced this, because it’s a real challenge that any small business owner will face head-on.

Being in the building stages of a rapidly growing small arts organization, and being in the first decade of our professional careers individually, none of us had particularly encouraging things to say about how much time we’re able to devote to ourselves and to those we love. Starting a business can mean that you work 98% of the day, with your laptop in one hand and PDA in another. Always reachable, always on the clock.

The good part about this is that you’re spending a ton of energy and resources on the one thing that you wake up and fall asleep thinking about. It is the passion for our work that fuels our desire to strike out on our own in the first place, and to selflessly understand that the 9-5 workday doesn’t really exist in any project’s infancy.

But what about the risk of burnout, failed relationships, or medical ill-effects? Most people can’t keep up a the fevered start-up pace forever, and those that do tend to lose at other parts of their life, even as they win. As the amount and quality of the work/gigs/business you are generating grows, it’s time to begin to trim the bonsai and focus on those things that are important both in your business and at home.

This means choosing your projects and engagements more carefully, delegating wisely, scheduling your work time AND your play time, and remembering one of the wisest business lessons I ever heard: EFFICIENCY is the ability to work faster, EFFECTIVENESS is the ability to decide what to do and when. It also means beginning to outsource those parts of your business that someone else can do better and faster.

One of the members of our group has a friend who religiously kept Shabbat (the weekly day of rest that has its equivalent in many major religions) even through the most hectic parts of her college years. When he asked her how on earth she could afford to do it given the huge number of activities she was involved in, she replied, “How can you afford NOT to?” Having  one day to refresh and recharge gave her the energy she needed to tackle the week, and made her focus on working smart and meeting her deadlines in preparation for the day off.

It’s a lesson we can all learn and apply in our own way. Whether it’s scheduling an afternoon with your spouse, creating a daily ritual that includes exercise and time for reflection, or becoming involved in a group activity that has nothing to do with your professional life, the change of pace keeps the mind fresh, the body in balance, and the creativity flowing.

And now, to read this post 40 more times until it sinks in…!

Melissa is the flutist and Executive Director of the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble. Like what you read here? For more music entrepreneurship tidbits, visit www.playingclosetothebridge.wordpress.com, brought to you by members of 5HE.

How Arts Schools Prioritize Career Development

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music on September 27, 2009 at 12:44 am

In my last post, I argued that prospective arts students should favor schools that actively prioritize career development and entrepreneurship.  After all, this shows a commitment to producing working artists, as opposed to simply outstanding ones (who are likely unprepared to deal with professional realities of the 21st Century).  Even if you ultimately decide on a career path outside of your area of study, these kinds of experiences can truly help you succeed.

In this article, we’ll look at wonderful career development initiatives currently in place in some forward-thinking institutions. Obviously, the more a school does on this front, the more commitment to professional success they demonstrate. Most of my research comes from looking at music schools, but outstanding programs in other areas of the arts have taken equivalent steps. 

I have no interest in advocating or discounting any particular school here. (If anything, I hope this post provides inspiration to programs currently falling short.) For this reason, university names are not listed below.

Please note: the phrases arts business and arts administration denote something different than what is addressed here.  Typically, arts business programs focus on preparing students to work with for-profit companies such as the recording industry. Arts administration majors learn about the non-profit sector. Contrastingly in this article, I’m more concerned with the development of performers, composers, dancers, actors, visual artists, private teachers, and other largely self-employed individuals.

CENTERS

Some schools host music/arts centers that provide a number of valuable services. They help students get gigs, learn about opportunities, prepare marketing materials, set up outreach activities, etc.  These centers have names like:

  • Music Career Center
  • Entrepreneurship Center for Music
  • Institute for Music Leadership
  • Institute for Leadership & Engagement in Music
  • Arts Incubator
  • Arts Enterprise
  • Camerata (named after the 16th century Florentine Camerata, which brought together artists, patrons, and students to foster innovation in the arts)
  • Center for Engagement and Outreach
  • Community Engagement Program

CAREER COUNSELORS

Some schools have part- or full-time arts career counselors on staff, available to meet one on one with students.  In other cases, universities hire career specialists who work with students from all majors across the university.  While these employees can be helpful for general issues (resumes, traditional job interviews, etc.), someone who is not an artist will likely be unprepared to address the nitty-gritty and specific concerns of the arts industries. 

COURSES

Some schools offer career development courses, with titles such as:

  • Career Perspectives 
  • Building a Music Career
  • Practical Aspects of a Career in Music
  • Chamber Music and Professional Development for the Freelance Musician
  • Audience Development
  • Audience Connection
  • Web Design for Musicians
  • Digital Portfolio Creation
  • Arts Media & Promotion: Perfecting and Pitching Your Message
  • Music Entrepreneurialism, Leadership, and Relevance
  • The Professional Artist Seminar
  • College Teaching
  • How to Win an Orchestral Audition
  • The Joys and Opportunities of Studio Teaching
  • Getting Your Sh*t Together

SPEAKER SERIES

Some schools regularly organize talks and workshops by faculty members and visiting professionals, addressing various professional concerns.

PORTFOLIOS

Some schools require students to compile a professional portfolio before graduating, including items like:

  • Headshot/photo
  • Bio
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • Sample cover letter
  • Repertoire list
  • Press release
  • Business cards
  • Program notes
  • Recordings
  • Videos
  • Work samples (for visual artists)
  • Website
  • Business cards
  • Marketing plans
  • 5-10 year career goals

MOCK INTERVEIWS/AUDITIONS

Some schools offer mock interviews and auditions, proceeded by preparation sessions and followed with feedback.

INTERNSHIPS

Some schools require arts majors to enlist in some sort of internship program.  Others highly recommend them, and maintain a database of potential opportunities.

COMPETITIONS

A few schools sponsor wonderfully creative competitions where students are invited to pitch projects that are evaluated on both artistic and entrepreneurial factors.  Winners receive seed money to enact their proposal.

ENTREPRENEURIAL ENSEMBLES

A few schools now offer ensembles where students are required to do more than simply show up on time and be prepared.  Participants are asked to play an active role in program development, marketing, publicity, setting up performances, working with presenters, or even the overall ensemble vision.

TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIPS

Some schools hire graduate students to teach courses.  Obviously, this hands-on job training is beneficial for those interested in educational work.  It also looks great on the resume.

GIGGING SERVICE

Many schools contract gigs (weddings, bar mitzvahs, private parties, etc.) for their students, providing real life experiences and a source of revenue. While you should definitely take advantage of this wonderful service and real life experience, keep in mind that it only focuses on one slice of the industry. Additional resources are necessary for deeper career guidance.

CAREER WEBSITE

Some schools maintain extensive websites devoted to career and entrepreneurship issues, with articles, podcasts, databases of opportunities, and more.  However, even students without this kind of in-house resource can take advantage of sites like www.SavvyMusician.com (for an extensive list of helpful sites, visit The Savvy Musician Resource Center), so don’t discount a school just because it lacks this feature.

REQUIRED READING

Some schools that do not yet have many or any of the initiatives above at least require their students to read a few books on the subject of arts careers and entrepreneurship. A number of excellent and affordable texts have become available in the past few years. (Incidentally, schools have students research areas that they deem important.  For example, every music program requires music theory and history reading; these topics seem to be universally valued. If no career books are assigned anywhere in the curriculum, this is another sign that the school does not prioritize professional success for its alumni.) 

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As you can see, there’s quite a lot that arts schools can do to better prepare students for professional success.  Now you know (at least a portion of) what’s available. So if you’re serious about developing into a working artist, make sure you have a clear idea about how each school you consider plans to help you achieve this goal.   This way, you’ll have more than outstanding artistic ability and a beautiful diploma to look forward to.  You may even have some marketable skills!

 

Love music, but hate to starve? Hoping to achieve more success with your career? Visit www.SavvyMusician.com for a Resource Center with 1000+links, valuable articles, info on the most relevant music career book in print, and more.

5 Decisions

In Author: Lisa Canning, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Legal, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk on September 26, 2009 at 11:22 am

buffet-image.jpgJust got back from a wonderful clarinet-buying trip at Buffet-Crampon, the clarinet manufacturer I represent, who is in Jacksonville, Florida. It was an especially pleasant trip. My flights left and returned relatively on time, I was offered a convertible to drive as my rental car, and the B&B I always stay at, The Fig Tree Inn, offered me a new room – the nautical room- which I loved.

AND searching for great clarinets felt particularly easy this time. (I swear the French have good days and bad days drilling those damn holes in grenadilla wood. But this time, the great instruments fell one right after another all in a few serial number rows.)

dreamstime_6275191Anyway, while I was having all this fun, I had a thought that you might enjoy reading about 5 decisions I made this week. So here they are in no particular order:

Five. My ability to have insight into a situation, make a decision and take action quickly– usually a skill set that makes me money, saves me time and I trust to protect my entrepreneurial life, cost me. I was just about to close on a small condo in the city, that I intended to use periodically and also rent out occasionally to clients, when abruptly the mortgage company cancelled their mortgage commitment to me. I had made the mistake of advertising it online at Lisa’s Clarinet Shop that it would soon be available to customers passing through town. This particular mortgage company, as is the case now with so many of them, will not currently write any investment property mortgages. I did not think of this property as an investment property so it never dawned on me they would–my mistake. As a result, the seller became impatient and I lost the property.

Oh well. A bomb blew up in the mine field. It happens. ( It’s just in hindsight you feel pretty dumb. It’s that classically-trained-perfect-artist-syndrome inside of me- got to do it “perfectly” EVERY time. Though, neither my real estate broker or attorney thought to ask the question either… hmmm- they are suppose to be my trusted advisors who guide me to achieve what I am trying to accomplish. That is what I pay them for.)

Four. I made the decision of changing my new Not for Profit ensemble, The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble™, to a DBA (“doing business as”) designation, underneath the umbrella of Entrepreneur The Arts®. By doing so, I have turned ETA into a Not-For-Profit. Up until right now, ETA did not have a corporate identity. The reason I decided to do this is because truly the work of ETA is mission based. Changing the way WE ALL think about, and learn to create and act on, the imaginative potency of the arts as a catalyst for change- for us, inside corporations, universities and government too– just like President Obama is trying to do again by utilizing the creativity and artistry inside the NEA to communicate his agenda to the American people- this is a mission that is going to take a village and should be a NFP. (Oh, and if your not sure if you believe me google the equivalent of “The White House in bed with the NEA” and include a few words like propaganda, partisanship and socialism. Is this really what you want to see happen? Are we really going to lie down and just accept letting others lead us towards becoming an extinct breed? Does innovating your artistry matter to you? What if this is truly how you need to learn to leverage your artistry so you can experience change– and see how someone can change how they feel about themselves and the world because of what you do? )

Three. Likewise, I had an inactive LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) set up for the book I wrote. The one that Susan Schulman, (Richard Florida’s agent) agreed to represent on my behalf, Starving Artist Not! (That at Susan’s insistence became Build A Blue Bike) — but the book never sold–

And so this legal entity has been sitting idle.

So this week, I decided to remove the name Starving Artist Not! on the articles of incorporation document and sent a name change to the Secretary of State to replace it with The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™. Since The Institute of Arts Entrepreneurship™ is founded in the concepts of developing an artist into an artistic entrepreneur, the same founding principals in my book, it seemed to make sense. And of equal importance, since the school’s purpose is to help artists create artistic ventures, and not to act as angel investors, we will not, and cannot, assume liability for others actions or businesses.

Equally, this change in our legal status made good sense– we should be an LLC and limit our liability.

Two. I decided to hire, part-time, an actor, Shawn Bowers, who has this amazing gift for social media. After careful consideration I decided if social media was good enough as the primary PR engine for President Obama’s campaign to be elected as President, its plenty good enough to serve as the platform for my PR to promote ETA and IAE. Shawn wrote the press release titled “Chicago Arts Incubator at Flourish Studios” in two hours beautifully, didn’t he? On his first week on the job he set up a Facebook page, Twitter account and identified over 50 blogs and websites to send press to about ETA, Flourish Studios and The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship™. He is off to an A+ start.

One. I managed to decide I would submit an mp3 of my recording of “Shiva” to the folks at UT- Austin who are in charge of organizing the The International Clarinet Association Conference for 2010. I asked to play and I think they might just let me– but I’m NOT advertising they are here. (That already cost me once. I hope the lesson is now learned.) Bless their hearts- really. They get SO MANY requests and everyone comes with their agenda’s jockeying for position– I hate to add one more to their load.. it seems always so political to me. Most of these conferences feature the same twenty-five GREAT artists year after year. No imagination required. Hope this one in Austin steps outside the ICA’s comfort zone a little bit and extends far into the great musical list of creative imaginative and freelancing less-well-known clarinetists.