Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

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 »

Meet me in the land mine field…

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone on September 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

dreamstime_3947474Are you ready to learn how to dance your way through a land mine field for your best entrepreneurial idea? Or perhaps you need a better one to be willing to try….

Remember my friends from my post An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic? Well, they seem to have fox trotted right past more than a few explosives. They have managed to find new space at a price they can finally afford, allowing their business to survive, but not with the landlord I referred to in the post. Of course many weeks of negotiation and uncertainty had to pass to bring them to this point.. and I am sure a few sleepless nights as well wondering if they would get through this…

Remember those 200 film editors I told you about in my post 200 Resumes, $1200.00 dollars? Well, I have received a total of 373 resumes from out-of- work or under employed freelance film editors wondering how they too can get through this period of time and make the bucks they need to survive.

Entrepreneurship is NOT for the faint of heart. You need an original idea or a new twist on an old one to stand out from the crowd in your field. This alone can seems difficult to find, as evident by 373 film editors in Chicago alone- and counting- looking for work.

And yet having entrepreneurial vision does NOT mean your entrepreneurial idea will work smoothly, quickly or be easy to scale, let alone survive, no matter how good and valuable it is– as my entrepreneurial friends from the first post I mentioned demonstrate.

Having vision ONLY means you see a unique path that you feel will have value to others and are inspired to try and turn into reality. The REAL HEAVY lifting comes from actually beginning to navigate your way THROUGH the obstacle filled field in front of you to turn your vision into a valuable resource for others and, as such, an income producing path. (Let the rumba begin!)

So, how long does it take to do this? And how difficult is it, really? ( Funny you should ask. It seems I have been in need of reminding myself of the answer to this very same question lately.)

It all depends on:

How much time you spend daily focusing on what you uniquely have to deliver and who will want it.

Your sense of urgency to generate income.

Your willingness to actively interact and learn from every interaction with potential customers until you identify how to explain and deliver your goods or services to your audience and profit.

Your willingness to fail with skill and grace, but openly and publicly, until you get it right.

Having a source of income to be able to keep at it until things click in place.

Your willingness to accept that a good idea is not enough… you need self confidence, tenacity and to figure out exactly how to market the hell out of your ideas without running out of cash until they resonate with others.

None of these skills, in my opinion, are any harder than learning how to excel at your artistry. They just are riddled with different problems, new challenges and a few explosives. What in life isn’t….

The Grass is Always Greener (for making green)

In Author: Melissa Snoza, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Interesting Articles, Legal, Marketing, Money on September 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm

First, a big thanks to fellow ETA blogger David Cutler for featuring Fifth House Ensemble in his new book, the Savvy Musician, advance copies of which are available on his website prior to the full release in November. If you’ve been reading his posts, you know that David brings an incredible energy to the concept of being a working, entrepreneurial musician, and his book is sure to be a great resource all of us who are working to create new opportunities in the field.

In an article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, David’s mention of 5HE’s dual business model was mentioned. When we formed in 2005, we created both a 501(c)3 nonprofit (Fifth House Ensemble) and an LLC for our private events business (Amarante Ensembles, LLC). Same folks, different purpose.

As a young group, we knew we wanted to provide a wide variety of services, including those that would serve the public good (performances, educational programs), as well as those that would help to keep us fed (weddings, private events). We formed both businesses at the same time in order to be able to keep these activities separate financially, and in order to be able to market them in completely different ways.

Since the article was published, I’ve been getting many inquiries from arts organizations both established and emerging about how and why we did this, wondering if the same model would work for them. Interestingly, in most cases the concern is less about the types of services being provided and the best business structure to manage them, and more about how to raise the most money in the shortest amount of time. Inevitably, those who began as a for-profit think that they will raise more from donated funds as a non-profit, and vice-versa.

My first question is always, “why do you want to do this?” A business structure is about the most effective way to manage the types of services you want to offer, so you have to consider what is a good fit for your goals, not just your bank statement.

If you are a performing arts organization that is committed to work in the public schools and bringing performances to underserved audiences, changing from not-for-profit to an LLC will not help you raise funds from venture capitalists, unless something changes about the services you offer. What will you tell them about their return on investment? And do the people you are serving have the resources to pay big bucks for what you do?

Conversely, if you are a for-profit company that has been successful selling tickets to shows, merchandise, and DVDs, and you are attracted to the extra money you think you will bring in as a non-profit but loathe paperwork, is switching to 501(c)3 status really a good fit? Given that you don’t want to be the one to do grantwriting, annual reporting, financial management worthy of public scrutiny, board agendas, and all of the other tasks that go into managing a nonprofit, you may end up paying staff a large part of the added revenue you would see from changing structures.

The only real reason to have a split structure (in my opinion) is if you have services that are distinctly different enough to warrant that. If there is overlap, not only is the purpose for your choice not clear, but you also risk running afoul of the IRS. I remember fondly the conversation I had with Mr. Botkins, the IRS agent who reviewed our 501(c)3 application, about how we had created these two entities for the sole PURPOSE of keeping for- and non-profit activities separate. The IRS doesn’t like seeing for- and non-profit organizations to be connected in any way, via common control (similar officers/managers), contracts, or other financial arrangements.

Know yourself, the type of work you want to do, your tolerance for paperwork, and the types of people you want to serve. Be realistic about how much you have the potential to earn or raise. If the structure you are considering isn’t a good fit for your services, don’t be tempted to follow what you perceive to be the greener pasture, or you may certainly find yourself out in the cold. The best way to get more green is to make sure that what you do is serving the people around you in the best possible way, which will inspire customers to pay for your work, or donors to support its creation.

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.

7 Ways Potters Can Use Blogs

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Money, Networking, WEBSITES & BLOGS on August 28, 2009 at 5:59 am

Musicians? Artists? Dancers? Actors? Film Makers? This post, 7 Ways Potters Can Use Blogs, that appeared today on Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, will FILL YOU UP with ideas!potters

Thank you Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship GCCE for adding us as a link to your blog! What a terrific resource GCCE is for ETA readership.

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship- Opening Fall 2010!

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

InstArtsEntrep_BoldIn the fall of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will open at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

As an independent but collaborative effort with Jim Hart’s Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, IAE will be devoted to the development of the artist as entrepreneur.

Lead by my vision and passion, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will be seeking applicants from any artistic discipline. Requirements for enrollment will be a minimum of a 4 year degree–a bachelors degree– in an artistic discipline. The program will be a two year program that is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. It will begin as a school in the fall of 2010 with full accreditation. Auditions will begin February/March of 2010 for all interested applicants.

For more information about enrollment or if you are interested in partnering with either Jim Hart or myself, in some way, please email me. Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Are You Relevant?

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on August 17, 2009 at 4:48 am

Are you relevant? Do you define your artistic work based on its practical, economic and social applicability to satisfy the needs of those who experience what you do? And if not, then I cannot help but ask the question, why not?

I realize that we all have a need to create and experiment in life. By doing so we are offered extraordinary opportunities to not only affirm who we are but get to know ourselves better. We learn from what works and, more often, learn the most from what does not work for us– which often allows us to find new more meaningful paths to explore.

But at what point in life do we need to become more practical, more disciplined? Is it ever to early (or late) in life to do this? And when you do, or find the help to, what are the benefits you receive for doing so?

The other day I had a young talented clarinetist– a sophomore in college- in the shop. We were discussing his future career aspirations and performing was right at the top of his list- like most of my clients. When I asked him what about performing was so motivating for him, his answer was ” Well, for a long time I was not sure I could rise to the occasion and play well enough to become an orchestral musician. It is only recently that I am starting to feel I can. Now the question I am asking myself is, do I want to do this?”

I realize that as a young adult- and even as an aging adult- coming to know who we are is a very important part of our educational journey. And alongside this process of growth and development routinely we must be challenged to answer questions like: “And if you do want to perform who specifically will want what you have to offer?”

I cannot help but wonder what we are really learning about the meaning of art, not to mention effectively reaching an audience who cares about what we have to offer from our chosen artistic field of study, if we are not challenged to explore questions like these. If you excel at Music Theory from the Middle Ages, even if you get a PHD in it and can teach it at the college level– who is it relevant to– besides you?

Take a look at my dear friend Gary Beckman- Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network founder. His received his PHD in musicology in 2007 from The University of Texas at Austin. During his doctoral course work, Gary realized that his course of study was not really all that relevant and went on to pursue something that he felt was not only more relevant, but also deeply motivating for him– developing arts entrepreneurship curriculum. Now don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from my musicology courses and loved my professors who taught them. I also think it is GREAT that Gary has vision for the growth and evolution of arts entrepreneurship curriculum, but think of what he could have accomplished, and how much happier and entrepreneurial he might have become sooner, if he had been challenged to think about how relevant his field of study was, to him and for others, at an earlier point in life?

Questioning and experimenting with our relevancy through action is at the heart of WHY the arts must become a field of entrepreneurial study in addition to traditional skill building. THE ONLY WAY artists can create sustainable happy career paths for themselves is to learn how to produce a product– relevancy.

As a young clarinetist I too asked myself the same questions my young client shared with me. I remember wondering if I could become good enough, play perfectly enough, musically enough and in tune enough to win an orchestral audition and be at the top of the heap. I challenged myself to get there with no other focus than to succeed. ( And of course, without a course or educational guidance to help me think about my goals differently.)

I started out almost last chair my freshman year at Northwestern. By my sophomore year I was at the top of my class– beating out all the masters and doctorate students, some of whom were finalists at regional orchestra auditions around the country. And when I reached that goal, all of a sudden I realize I had no idea what was next. It was not the feeling of eternal bliss I thought I would have, nor was anyone beating down my doors asking me to audition for any major orchestra. Instead it was in the middle of my senior year that I realized that I did not feel relevant. I did not feel that what skills I had developed really mattered to anyone significantly, except for me.

So it was then that I asked myself “how can I use the skills I do have to be relevant?” and from that thought I tested my ideas by putting my solution into action- by opening up a clarinet shop and helping others develop their career paths by helping them find the perfect instrument for their “relevant” music making. It was only then that I actually understood what truly it felt like to become relevant. It’s kind of funny to me, right now, that I am back where I started- after a 20 year adventure building a large business- but life is funny like that. I am being given a second chance to look at how I am relevant and I, again, am figuring it out.

But you see what I realized the first time, at 17, was that what I did have that was relevant was a gift to help and connect to others. I also had a gift to play the clarinet well. I also knew that artists needed to feel better about who they are and find their own confidence, through finding their own relevance, to become kinder to themselves and to others and strong enough to trust themselves that they could actually change the world.

Don’t ask me how exactly I knew this then– call it my God given vision- other than I did not then, and often still do not now, see the kind of inspirational collaboration or connectivity amongst others I crave in the world to see. Of all places- the arts should be outstanding examples for others of both.

Finding my relevancy at 17 gave me my first glimpse into what it meant to make a difference in life. Is it ever too early or too late to find your own? (It’s ok too, btw, if you need a school and a mentor to help you. You don’t have to find your relevancy, like I did, alone.)

Finding your relevancy will give you vision to lead. It will temper your being into a refined piece of artwork that the world wants and that you will be happy to share.

Finding your relevancy means you will feel at peace- because you are valued. You are payed- because you are needed. And that you will feel confident- because when we feel connected to ourselves and to others simultaneously, life does not get any better.

“Are you relevant,” I ask? If not– it is time to learn how you can be….

An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Leadership, Legal, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on July 30, 2009 at 9:03 am

Lisa 2009Today I drove into Chicago to meet two women who run and own a two-year-old-child- development center. For the purposes of this post, they and their business will remain nameless, but the jist of their story I will share because it holds a few really important entrepreneurial lessons…. and a little bit of magic.

First- a little bit of background: My meeting with these women was my first. I was referred to them by another client. They expressed interest in finding a business coach, so I made the trip to meet with them.

What I learned while I was there: These two women have created a center that over the past two years has grown from an idea, into a business plan, to a real physical location that now 100 families 3-5 times a week use weekly for their children to play and learn through arts based experiences.

These ladies are extremely intelligent, well educated, hold advanced degrees, and have had very successful careers. They were inspired to start a business together based of their common interests and past lives where they realized the importance of arts education and what it could bring to a child’s developmental learning through play. Childs Play Touring Theater, which I have written about before, has a similiar focus through theater- another extraordinary business in its own right.

But my point in sharing their story with you, is to reveal how close they are to failing in their business. While they bravely and fearlessly invested their time and money for the past two years, and risked their futures while passionately embracing their mission, they are finding themselves feeling uncertain about their future in business mostly because they did not plan for change in their business plan.

Every business plan changes. We start with one on paper and then need to keep revising it as we go. These women wrote their plan and then when it no longer made sense to follow it, stopped using it as a measuring stick.

What I mean by this is that a business plan is written with both intellectual mastery of your venture and emotional mastery of your understanding of what it will take to accomplish. It is written with a certain level of profitability to achieve, sales and specific offerings in mind. When any one of these elements is not being achieved, as a result of economic conditions, clients needs and desires or for any other reason, it is extremely important to revisit both your thinking and emotional understanding of what has changed and why.

This allows you to not only figure out how to get “back on track,” or find an equally new parallel track, but it also educates your “gut” –increasing your awareness– about what it looks and feels like when the sand under your feet is shifting and you need to zig or zag, right then. This awareness becomes critical as your venture grows, and remains critical through out the life of your entire venture.

So, as a result of having distanced themselves emotionally from their plan, and not continuing to revise their course, NOW they have a real problem- their business might not survive.

What created their problem? Where was the zig they missed acting on?

With an extraordinary economic downturn looming unannounced before they opened, plain and simply- their passion lead them to open in a large location and spend more on space than they now can afford. The business did not grow as quickly as they had projected. While they have retained customers through this downturn, they have not added them, as predicted in their plan. Having not taken a salary in two years, they are now weary, their planned savings has run out and their landlord wants his money for rent past due and frankly wants them evicted.

So what would you tell them to do? Pray? Close their doors and run?

Sometimes, in key moments in a venture- when everything can turn to dust ( and everyone has these moments) the chemistry is perfectly ripe for magic to happen. Let me explain.

You see when I was driving down to meet them, I was following the directions my GPS was giving me. As I left the expressway and turned on a major road that intersected with their street, I looked to my left and saw a business that sold kids furniture that had a name that was extremely similar to theirs. At first I thought maybe it was their location. But then I realized, while the name of this business complimented theirs nicely, it was an entirely different business.

Thinking nothing more about it I drove to my meeting. Well, as their stress filled tale unfolded before my eyes, and we began to brainstorm about how they could avoid bankruptcy and closing their doors, I remembered the building with the sign I saw around the corner from them. I quickly asked them if they knew the owner and the business and they said yes. In fact the owner of that business had made a point, on several occasions, of coming to visit and offering advice and encouragement. In turn, they had referred business to him.

It was right then it popped into my head that their business was an excellent marketing opportunity for the owner of this childrens furniture business. His store would benefit from having a play center inside of it. Why? Because nothing but parents walk in and out to pick up their kids. Parents could browse while they wait for classes to finish or as they come and go with their kids.

By pitching the idea of moving their business into his store- which by the way is a huge store with lots of extra space- not only could their synergy help each of them, but potentially these women could negotiate a free place, or almost free place, to run their business because of their ability to bring in clients to the furniture store daily and build traffic and interest for his products. Not to mention the fact that currently the owner is not open Monday through Friday- but only by appointment- and by allowing these woman to run their business in his space, he would have built in store hours and be open for business as these women easily could allow people to browse and set up the owners appointments.

It turns out that this owner is a furniture manufacturer first, and a retail store owner second. He also runs large print advertisement in major publications–the same ones that would help these two women and their business. By encouraging him to include in his advertising that he hosts a learning development/play center for children inside his store, it will only add to the communities positive impression of his business and interest in it.

Seems as though, magically, we might have stumbled into not only a clever marketing proposition for both businesses but also a way for these two women to not close their doors. And the most magical part about it was that for the most part, the idea that held the most promise and quickest fix for them was right there for the taking– if they could have been a little more able to zig and zag.

It just took them inviting a total stranger in to speak with them, with a good mind for out of the box ideas, and a lot of experience “zigging and zagging,” to let them see the connections they already had and could leverage.

Next week these two ladies have asked me to take the lead in negotiating this vision over lunch with the owner of the furniture store. I hope the cosmos keeps the fairy dust sprinkler on until then–when your parched enough to die, a little goes a long way to restoring you to life.

Austin, TX: New Arts Entrepreneurial Finishing School- Opening 2010

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on July 23, 2009 at 12:55 am

When it comes to insisting that all artists becoming more entrepreneurial, James Hart and I are kindred spirits. I cannot agree more with James statement that “We need to teach our students how to have vision. Imagine the cultural implications.”

I met Jim last weekend at Columbia College’s Creative Entrepreneurship Conference. James Hart is living my dream! He and his family just returned to the United States this past year, after founding, building and finally selling a professional finishing school focused on entrepreneurship training for theater students in Norway called TITAN Teaterskole.

The International Theatre Academy Norway (TITAN Teaterskole), is truly one of a kind and its creation was, for Jim, a true labor of love. The school is now in its fifth year of operation and in the very capable hands of Brendan McCall, who left his teaching position in the acting program at the Yale School of Drama masters program to head, run and own TITAN.

Now, with that incredible experience under his belt, Jim plans on opening, in the fall of 2010, in Austin Texas The Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, just like the one he built in Norway. It will be founded in Jim’s educational programming and philosophy which he calls The Hart Technique.

What is the Hart Technique?
The Hart Technique is a two-pronged approach to theatrical training. It is equal part Artistic technique and Entrepreneurship. Artists studying the Hart Technique have a foundation of artistic thinking. They know how to think, as artists. They are sensitive to the impulses that move them and have vast imaginations. They also have a practical viewpoint which stems from market realities. This later viewpoint, which is unique in American theatre training, enables graduates to aide their communities, to be necessary as artists, to fill gaps in community cultural offerings. They are fiercely determined and committed to overcoming career obstacles and know how to both lead and follow. Because of this entrepreneurship skill set, graduates are more able to make a living via their creativity. IMAGINE THAT!!!

The best way to learn about The Hart Technique is to experience it and practice it yourself. Workshops are offered in a wide range of venues–in theatre companies, colleges, universities and privately.

What makes the Hart Technique different from other theatre training?
The majority of theatre training programs in America are offering all arts technique and no business skills. This typical path is usually comprised of a version of the Stanislavski technique and its normal support classes. However, we, as educators, know that this path leads to widespread unemployment. Each reader should ask themselves, if we know that this technique leads to under and unemployment, why is American theatre training still following this standard path? I believe the reason lies in the fact that schools must be marketable. They have found a system that generates student numbers, but not students with a number of jobs.

How is the Hart Technique of service to society?
One of the facets of The Hart Techniques is that students are guided to discover their “voice” or unique perspective or way of expression. Graduates have this unique expression, coupled with entrepreneurial skills. As entrepreneurs, they know how to study their markets and communities and find gaps. They can then fill these gaps, eventually creating niches.

Graduates who know how to create opportunities for themselves, inevitably create opportunities for others. As these entrepreneur artists create original enterprises for profit, they inevitably create jobs.

What skills do graduates of The Hart Technique have?
Graduates have entrepreneurial skills. They have a knowledge of creating and adhering to a budget, how to create a mission statement, how to lead themselves and others, how to market themselves (and generate press as they do), and a wide range of other business related skills. Artistically, they know how to have vision and build that vision into a concrete reality. They are masters of brainstorming and can follow their creative impulses without fear or judgement. They understand text analysis and how to effectively play a role. Not only can they play a role, but they can direct others in the playing of roles. Often times, our graduates direct others in roles they have personally written. In brief, our graduates have the skills to compete for existing work, but have the ability to create their own.

What jobs can a graduate expect to have?
Graduates of The Hart Technique have created artistic companies (theatre and production), have sponsored gallery showings, done standup, acted in and directed films and professional theatre. Many do go on to compete for commercial opportunities of a standard nature. Still more go on to create their own opportunities, profiting as they do.

Is The Hart Technique applicable ONLY for theatre artists?
Absolutely not. The Hart Technique is applicable towards any medium of artistry AND enables artists to hop from one medium to another.

What if I am not interested in starting my own business or being a leader?
None of us knows what five years down the road brings us, much less tomorrow. One constant in life is change. Why limit oneself? Leadership skill enables one to lead oneself in the most effective manner possible (in addition to others). The Hart Technique helps artists develop discipline–the sort of discipline of a marathon runner. That is a skill set that will serve one throughout their life.

Why are more schools NOT offering similar training?
Most theatre training programs in America copy what the big, successful graduate training programs are doing (There is some exception to this, of course). Knowing that this typical system (all arts and no business) leads towards widespread unemployment, one must ask, “is it ethical to continue teaching this typical curriculum”?

In time, more schools will begin to offer such entrepreneurial training in their curriculums, as it is a system that generates employment. American theatre training NEEDS to go in this direction. This sort of training stimulates new voices with perspective. These individuals have the tehcnique to build their ideas and the business technique to make a living.

Some schools believe changing their curriculums to be too risky, if they are generating enough student interest now. However, to those institutions and individuals, I say, “Post your graduate career success record. Make public how successful your curriculums are (or are not).

Curriculums such as The Hart Technique serve students and institutions alike. Graduates have a higher likelihood of working and schools can boast of all of the graduates who work almost immediately out of their programs.

Interested in enrolling in the new school? Questions about the program, tuition, referring a student?
Contact Jim at:jim@harttechnique.com
Phone: 512.410.9335
Fax: 512.380.0155

About Jim Hart
Jim Hart is an award-winning actor, director and producer. His work has been seen in America, Russia, Norway and Taiwan.

As a director, he has directed numerous Tony Award-winning and Hollywood actors, including Marian Seldes, Roger Rees, Dylan Baker, Kerry Butler, and others. He has directed classics of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Marivaux, Gogol, Miller and more, including a large number of world-premiere productions. He is currently directing “The Story of a Mother”, an animated tale, and “On Death and Dying”, a documentary on our culture’s many perspectives on death and dying. He serves as Producer and Artistic Director of Sleeping Hero Productions.

Hart is the founder and former Dean of TITAN Teaterskole (The International Theatre Academy Norway) in Oslo, Norway and former artistic director of TITAN Teatergruppe, a professional theatre company—both of which are located in Oslo, Norway.

As an actor, Hart has performed in a number of venues including Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, (where he received the Judy Award for his performance of Puck), Theatre Alliance in D.C., and Internationally in St. Petersburg, Russia and Taichung, Taiwan.

Hart is a Fox Fellow, having received a grant to study ritualistic mask dancing in Bali and India. He spent nearly a year in Asia, studying ritualistic theatre in Nepal, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong, and is one of the founders of The World-wide Art Collective, the largest theatre festival in the history of Taiwan.

He served as founder and Artistic Director of the New York-based theatre company Etudes Workshops (2001 to 2003). Etudes explored multi-cultural theatre forms of the Fantastic (focusing on rhythm, physical aesthetics, and masks and puppets). This venue, drawing teachers from a multitude of disciplines and mediums within New York, exposed artists to varied artistic aesthetics and provided ground for new collaborations to occur.

Hart’s teaching credits include The International Theatre Academy Norway, Yale School of Drama (Graduate school), New York University, Yale University (undergraduate program), the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Tufts University, Univ. of Alaska at Anchorage, Fu Ren Univ. in Taipei, Taiwan, Harlem School of the Arts, Capital Hill Arts Workshop in D.C, Classical Theatre of Harlem, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Utah State University, Rowan University, Peridance in NYC, Kirkenaer Ballettskole (Oslo), and others.

Show Me The Money

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Legal, Money on July 14, 2009 at 12:06 am

In the last couple of weeks I have been trying to help a couple of small businesses establish their legal identity, understand why they need to, as well as find financing. Below are some great articles and resources for a variety of issues related to these topics. As for financing, while there is no questions it is really a TOUGH TIME to find money, it is still possible. While traditional lines of credit from name brand banks seem virtually guaranteed to be declined in this economic climate of bank failures, if you are creative, there are still ways to find the money you need to build your business.

Here is a list of terrific resources I thought you would like to know about:

BUSINESS FINANCING

SBA – Financing a Startup
http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/start/financestartup/SERV_BANKERFRIEND.html
SBA article on financing your startup

StartUpNation.com – Dispelling the Myths about Factoring
http://www.startupnation.com/articles/1213/1/AT_Alternative_Business_Financing_Solutions.asp
Alternative Business Financing Solutions: Dispelling the Myths about Factoring

Alternative Federal Credit Union
http://www.alternatives.org/businessloans.html
Sample of alternative credit options

Prosper.com
http://www.prosper.com
Prosper is an online community for person to person lending. Individuals borrow money from other individuals on a secure P2P loan marketplace.

Checklists for Commercial Loans & Lines of Credit
http://www.vcb-ca.com/businessloans.html
Typical checklist of items required to apply for commercial loans & lines of credit.

BizBuySell.com
www.bizbuysell.com/guide/b_finance_1.htm
Article on sources of financing, and where to go to look for money.

BUSINESS STRUCTURE AND RECORD KEEPING

IRS – Frequently Asked Tax Questions and Answers
www.irs.gov/faqs/faq-kw146.html
IRS article of frequently asked tax questions.

IRS – Business Tax Information
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/index.html

IRS – Keeping Records
http://www.irs.gov/publications/p583/ar02.html#d0e1782
Article from IRS regarding keeping accurate records.

Cash Accounting vs. Accrual Accounting
http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/ObjectID/08E205EE-E8B6-4D25-A2B01C3AC318E291/catID/1745D9A3-D50D-4AAD-BFB3ED609A4EE3F5/111/ART/
All businesses need to choose one of accounting methods. This article reviews two methods of accounting; Cash Accounting

HCMPublishing – Choosing A Business Structure
http://www.hcmpublishing.com/Small-Business-Book/Business-Structure.html
Small Business Structure. Comparision and discussion of LLC, S-corporations and c-corporations.

TaxGuru.com – S-Corp vs C-Corp
/www.taxguru.org/corps/scorp.htm
Comparing corporate structures of S Corporations vs. C Corporations.

Scoreknox.org – For Profit versus Non-Profit
/www.scoreknox.org/library/versus.htm
For Profit versus Non-Profit

Non For Profit Corporation Information
www.form-a-corp.com/non-profits_QA.php
Advantages and disadvantages of nonprofit corporation; starting a nonprofit corporation by incorporating your business today.

PowerHomeBiz.com – Why Incorporate?
http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol128/incorporate.htm
Article on the true value of Incorporation

Benefits of Incorporation
http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/incd-dgc.nsf/en/cs01357e.html
Why Should I Incorporate?

BizFilings.com
http://www.bizfilings.com
Incorporate Business – BizFilings helps you incorporate your business, form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT

The Small Business Start-Up Guide
http://www.isquare.com/chapter3.cfm
Advice and assistance for the entrepreneur, home and new business owner.

AllBusiness.com
http://www.allbusiness.com
AllBusiness.com provides information, products, and services for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and professionals to start, manage, finance and build a business.

Startup Nation
http://www.startupnation.com
StartupNation is your source for small business advice – participate in our entrepreneur forum, get help starting a business, and find resources to work from.

Entrepreneur.com
http://www.entrepreneur.com
Caters to international business people who are actively seeking opportunities abroad. Includes searchable issue archive, also browsable by date.

Score
http://www.score.org
Free online and face-to-face business counseling, mentoring, and training. Business help and advice for small businesses just starting or for existing businesses

SBA – Small Business Administration
http://www.sba.gov
An electronic gateway of procurement information for and about small businesses. Search engine for contracting officers, marketing tool for small firms.

How To Not Get Screwed

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Money on June 14, 2009 at 2:44 am

A few days ago, one of the artists that I work with sent me a link to this video:

You know those tingles that you get when you realize something is true and you wish that it weren’t? I was getting those. By day I work as a sales rep for a commercial art studio called Steven Edsey and Sons and I have heard every single one of  these lines. It’s just part of the job. Sadly it has been especially prevalent lately with budgets being so tight. Everyone is looking for work- at any price- and the people handing out the jobs know it. There is always the veiled (and sometimes not-so-veiled) threat of “if you won’t do it for this price then I’m sure there are dozens of other artists who will” that hovers in the back of every negotiation like an optomist at a pity party. Invariably I find myself caught between a rock and a hard place: do I take the job because any work is good work? Or do I stand my ground and protect the interests of the artists I work for. Here is what I’ve learned to do:

*  *  *

The Line: “We need [filet mignon] done but we only have [taco hut] budget.

Money is tight all around- and there is no shame in working with a budget. This is one of those “work is work” situations where you don’t want to say no outright but you’re not sure it’ll be worth the trouble. Never say “No” straight out. Even if you’re not sure you want to take the job, make an effort to work something out. Find out what their budget is and quote them a price slightly higher than it. They won’t always go for it, but if they do, it’s a good sign that they want to work with you enough that they’re willing to meet you in the middle. Defer them (but not too long) and check your schedule. If there is nothing else going on then I tend to err on the side of taking the work. Sometimes you’re doing them a favor and they’ll remember it and come back- but we’ll get to that later.

The Response: “Let me see if [the artist] is willing to work for that.” (Or alternatively) “Let me see what you are looking for and I will let you know if I can accomodate you in my schedule.”

*  *  *

The Line: “But it only took [the artist] fifteen minutes to do”

I love this line: it says “well if time is money and you didn’t spend much time, then I don’t owe you much money”. Patently untrue and here is why: a professional artist can make artwork in a short amount of time because they spent YEARS practicing. Professionals are professionals because they work well and more importantly work well with a deadline.

The Response: “It took 15 minutes to do, but 15 years to be able to do it that quickly”

*  *  *

The Line: “We don’t have much money for this project but we’ll send you more work down the line.”

It’s easy to buy the present at the expense of the future so I usually take this line with a heaping helping of salt. If this is coming from someone who has called regularly in the past, or someone who I’ve worked with on a job with a decent budget in the past then I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. If you give them a deal and you’ve never worked with them before then be sure to tell them that it is a special rate because of their budget, and be sure to tell them what the normal rate would be. Don’t let them go away thinking they can always get your work for that price.

The Response: “Well since you’re on a tight budget we can give you a special rate this time of [$$], but our normal rate is usually [$$$$].

*  *  *

Final Thoughts:

If you decide that you can’t take the job because there isn’t enough money to make it worth your while, then quote your lowest price and stick with it with the line: “I’m sorry, I really don’t think I could deliver quality work for less than [$$$].” It’s a polite way to stand your ground. I’ve worked with people who have cut me deals and still stood their ground and I respect them for it. I can’t always afford to hire them, but I always know that if I had the money it would be well spent.

If they don’t pay their bills, be persistent. I had a client wait over a year to pay for some artwork that we did and we sent them a notice every week. Be a polite pest. Sooner or later they’ll pay you to make you go away. This also works if you’re trying to get a settlement from an insurance claim. (Trust me I know).

Creativity is a difficult thing to put a price on, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you think your work is worth and to expect to be paid for it. You wouldn’t expect to get a filet, a hairstyle, or a video for less than it was worth, would you? Creativity is your product and if your product is good then people will pay for it.

Asparagus: The Long View

In Author: Melissa Snoza, Cooking & Food, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Money, Music, Risk on June 13, 2009 at 2:42 am

Perhaps it’s the economy, but garden centers nationwide are finding themselves having trouble keeping vegetable plants on the shelf this season. Having started my journey with a few tomato, cucumber, and squash plants myself over the past couple of years, I was one of the many inspired to take my efforts to a whole new level this season.

So, I dutifully go off to my local home improvement center, rent some heavy machinery, and cut out 50 more feet of plant bed to house my new garden. I till, I mulch, I compost, and finally, I plant.

Of the many types of veggies I laid in the ground this spring, one of the most curious is asparagus. I had never attempted to grow this odd little vegetable before, and most people don’t have any idea what the plant looks like, or how it grows, based on the look of the tender spears we buy neatly rubber banded together at the grocery store.

Starting an asparagus patch begins with tilling the soil deep, breaking up rocks, adding rich organic material, and digging trenches in which the bare roots will be laid. Then, you cover with a couple of inches of loose soil, and wait.

Finally, little baby spears come out of the ground, and you begin, little by little, to add more soil to the deep trenches. With patience, you’ll have topped the plants with enough soil to level the surface. Each asparagus spear grows straight out of the ground, reaching its full height in a single day. They don’t get taller or fatter after this point, rather, the tips that we enjoy munching on leaf out and become like miniature christmas trees, sucking up sunlight and feeding the roots below.

So, once you see the little shoots emerge, it’s dinner time, right? Wrong.

Even with 2-year crowns, most gardeners wait a full one to two more seasons for their first harvest. Those tempting, green stalks that scream “EAT ME!” during that time have to be left alone, because the newly-laid roots need the energy they provide to establish strong roots that will produce year after year.

And now, the point. Those of us who have made the commitment to create, establish, nurture, and feed a new entrepreneurial project have much to learn from this ferny wonder. As freelance artists, most of us are trained to think in gigs – how much $$, how much time. Being an entrepreneur is something else entirely. When you seek to write the checks, not have them handed to you, you make the commitment to take the long view.

One of the most successful ensembles I know spent their first five years feeding their roots. During that time, every dollar of income they made went straight back into their business. Forgoing the usual small income that they could have paid themselves initially, they chose instead to put their money into marketing, press materials, and large artistic goals.

At the end of this nurturing period, they had enough money to commission a very well-known composer. As a result of this project, they became the ensemble of choice for the newly-created work, performing it at a large venue in NYC, which came with a stunning review in the NY Times.

Then, their world changed overnight. Booking agents who had stubbornly refused to answer their calls were responding with engagements, and tours were scheduled nationwide. Dates were planned so well in advance, that the players were able to create a yearly budget, prioritize providing health insurance, and pay themselves a salary for their work that was more regular than a per-service fee.

Had they chosen to harvest too early, they may have been able to afford more trips to Starbucks, but wouldn’t have achieved the commission that launched them to national attention. Consider how the lowly asparagus might have something to teach you. Would a web redesign yield more profit than expensive dinners out? Would better quality press kits make more of an impact than a couple of months of cable? Sacrifices in the short term lead to long-term, sustainable success. The asparagus patch understands this.

After that initial few years of gaining strength, it continues producing heavily with very little effort for over 25 years. I can’t say that a career in the arts will take as little attention as this, but it can certainly feed you as well if you give it the right start.

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.

The Shack: A DIY Author’s Success

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, Money, Risk, Writing on January 19, 2009 at 1:46 am

Another story about how “they said it couldn’t be done”…..
Written by Karen Hunter, BlackVoices.com
theshack‘The Shack’ sold more than four million copies-one of the biggest hits of the year. But what many don’t know is that the publisher sold about a million copies of the best seller out of his garage in California. After submitting the manuscript to 20 different major publishers, both mainstream and Christian, and getting 20 rejection letters, Brad Cummings, along with his partner Wayne Jacobsen, who has had several works published by mainstream publishers, decided to print the book themselves.

“It was a little too much Jesus for the mainstream publishers and too edgy for the [Christian] publishers, but we knew it was fine just the way it was and we didn’t want to change it,” said Cummings. “Wayne had grown tired of the publishing industry because it was in the same old rut. I was actually hoping no one would buy it because I didn’t want to just give this away.”

Without any advertising, very limited marketing, but with a whole lot of faith, Cummings and Jacobsen went to a small printer nearby, printed 10,000 copies and were in business, launching Windblown Media. Their marketing? A podcast, TheGodJourney.com, which they hosted weekly and talked about God and things that mattered to them. About three years ago, they started talking about this book they were working on and their audience, about 8,000 strong, showed a great interest in the project. Cummings and Jacobsen had 1,000 pre-orders before they even finished the book and they sold out the 10,000 first print-run in less than three months. ”

“It was like that commercial where someone tells two friends and they tell two friends and so on,” said Cummings. “It was all word of mouth. Our listeners were the best PR reps we could find. And we didn’t have to spend a dime to get the message out there. For a year and a half we were unintentionally teasing people about this book. When it finally was out, people really wanted it. But more than that, they wanted everyone they knew to read it, too.”

Cummings and Jacobsen started selling ‘The Shack’ by the caseload and had to expand their operations and move it from the study in Cummings’ home to his garage, which was filled to the hilt with cases of books.

“This is the quintessential Cinderella story,” said Cummings. “It frightens some of the big publishers because they say, ‘Oh, my Gosh, they don’t need us!’ We’re not the new gurus on the block. We don’t have an explanation for this other than this message resonates deep inside of people.”

The story is about one man who experienced a tragedy and questions the existence of God. He receives a letter in the mail from “Papa,” which is the name his wife uses for God. Papa wants to meet him at a shack. He decides to go and what he finds is a whole new understanding of God.

“One of the coolest responses we got was from a 13-year-old girl who told us that the way she read her Bible she never measured up,” Cummings said. “She never really felt that God loved her. But after reading ‘The Shack’ she fell in love with Papa and now has a brand new understanding of the Bible. ‘The Shack’ has led her into her own conversational relationship with God.”

‘The Shack’s message is definitely inspiring, but the story of its success should also be encouraging to anyone who has a great story to tell and cannot get a mainstream publisher to publish it. Have faith. And do it yourself!

Jump Start Your Life- I have the spark plug

In Accounting, Art, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

dreamstime_3139037One of the reasons I want to write books is because books, art, poetry and film, as examples, all intrinsically are built to last. Their very form offers easy “spark-creating-experience” access, like a hand full of nourishment going right into our mouth. Love that rush of energy that follows, don’t you? You know, the part before you get tired?

While it is impossible for a memory to replace the actual real time experience of ephoria, or intense joy, anger or sadness– only the kind a work of art can deliver, it can be waiting eagerly for you on a shelf, if it’s a book, or hanging on your wall.

What a basic concept entrepreneurship is for artistry, and yet without this simple “must have”, generations upon generations have defined who we are and what we are capable of creating for others in life, through a very narrow, confining, and as I see it, rather destructive single lens.

In honor of the power of the written word to enlighten and transform, here is my recommended reading list to jump start your very best you in 2009.


Do You Want to Become More Entrepreneurial?

* Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham

* The Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki

* Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies,
by Michael Gerber

* Who’s Your City? How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, by Richard Florida

*The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live, by
Scott A. Shane

*Bounce!: Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, by Barry J. Moltz

*Birthing the Elephant: A Woman’s Go-For-It Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business, by Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman

Marketing Maven
* Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin

* The New Marketing Manifesto: The 12 Rules for Building Successful Brands in the 21st Century (Business Essentials) by John Grant

* The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

* Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say by Douglas Rushkoff

* Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

* The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel Rosen

* The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott

Organizational Development
* The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market by Michael Treacy

* Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

* The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky

*First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

* Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham

* Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Financial Health Check
*The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical & Spiritual Steps So you Can Stop Worrying by Suze Orman

* Finance Your New or Growing Business: How to Find and Raise Capital for Your Venture by Ralph Alterowitz and Jon Zonderman

*Conscious Finance: Uncover Your Hidden Money Beliefs and Transform the Role of Money in Your Life by Rick Kahle

*The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life by George Kinder

*The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist

Reaching for Greatness
* The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

* This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love by Tama Kieves

* Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland

* The Everyday Work of Art by Eric Booth

* The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer

6 Tips for Using Free On-line Business Tools

In Accounting, Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 6, 2009 at 1:33 am

January’s Entrepreneur Magazine offered these six tips on using free on-line tools:

#1
Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it. “Because there’s so much out there, businesses have a tendency to be like a kid in a candy store,” says Drew McLellan. “Start with the strategy of what you want to accomplish, and then find the tool that will allow you to do that.”

Adds Mike Whaling, “It’s a matter of figuring out which tools are right for your business. Know your audience, and then go to where they are already having conversations.”

#2
You don’t have to figure it all out by yourself. McLellan suggests doing a simple Google search on a tool or task you want to accomplish. “You’ll find people talking about it,” he says. “And people are incredibly quick to share what they know.”

#3
Don’t lose your company’s brand. Using a variety of tools can lead to an inconsistent company image and voice. Says McLellan, “Run it through the litmus test of ‘Is this right for my business? Does it portray my business the way I want?'” Whaling also emphasizes thinking about what your business’s name will be associated with because many free tools are ad-supported.

#4
Push your preconceived notions aside. MySpace and Facebook aren’t just for the kiddies anymore. Says McLellan, “There are a lot of people conducting business on [these sites].”

#5
Does the tool have staying power? For every successful blog, video website or social network, there are dozens that won’t make it. So, again, talk with people online and discuss their experiences with the tool to gauge its stability and reliability.

#6
It may be free, but you still need to invest. Just creating a profile won’t cut it. Making the most of these tools requires time and effort, says Whaling. “There’s an investment in reading other people’s blogs, commenting on posts, getting involved in the community and building relationships.”

Can you get someplace in life for nothing?

In Accounting, Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, Theater/Film, Writing on January 5, 2009 at 1:25 am

Is it ever possible in life to get somewhere for nothing and have it be somewhere really good? Over the decades, we certainly have heard that “there is no such thing as a free ride” and that “if it’s too good to be true, it likely is”.

But these days, thanks to the internet, there is lots of FREE stuff online, much of which supports the entrepreneur and a start-up venture.

According to an article which appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine this month, Gary Vaynerchuck, co-founder of Wine Library, has been taking advantage of free business tools for nearly three years to grow his 11 year-old wine retail business. Using a combination of web-based tools, such as social networking, blogging and video, he’s taken his company to annual sales of $50 million. One way Wine Library uses these tools, is to notify his friends of daily specials by using MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, in place of email. His success with these tools has even landed him two book deals and regular speaking engagements across the country. “Building brand equity and connecting with your consumers through these social tools has a global impact on your business and your brand,” says Vaynerchuck, 33.

Alison Boris, 38, and Kathi Chandler, 31, have also been capitalizing on free tools since nearly the beginning of their LA based hand bag boutique, called AllyKatStyle. Besides a MySpace page, they also have profies on Digg and StumbleUpon, which are community content sharing sites, to grow their business.

All these free tools also mean that for even a small business, the “little guy” can look a whole lot bigger, not to mention more sophisticated. With a price tag of FREE, it’s hard not to want to take advantage and get on the ride to somewhere great.

Have I gotten your attention? Good, then let’s get you started:

Communication/Email
Dimdim ( dimdim.com)- open source web conferencing application; free basic service
Jott (jott.com)-voice-to-text service for creating notes, lists, e-mails and text messages; free basic service
Oovoo ( oovoo.com) -video messaging, chatting and conferencing
Paltalk ( paltalk.com) – Group IM, chat and video call application
Plugoo ( plugoo.com) -direct chatting with any blog or site visitor
YouSendIt (yousendit.com)- send files up to 2GB; free basic service

Content, Media, Video
Audacity (audacity-sourceforge.net) Open source software for cross-platform audio recording
Blip.tv: (blip.tv)- Video blogging, podcasting and video sharing service; free basic service
BlogTalkRadio (blogtalkradio.com) radio network for users to host their own shows
DropShots ( dropshots.com)- Video hosting and photo sharing
Feedburner ( feedburner.com)- media distribution services for blogs and RSS feeds
Fix My Movie ( fixmymovie.com)- Video enhancement service; free basic service
Paint.NET ( getpaint.net)- image and photo editing software
Phixr (phixr.com)- picture and photo editor
Seesmic (seesmic.com)- Video conversation platform
SlideShare ( slideshare.net)- Share and embeded slideshows. Powerpoints and PDF’s into web pages
VideoSpin ( videospin.com)- video-editing software

Financial
BizEquity ( bizequity.com) – company valuations
Mint ( mint.com) – personal finance, money mangement, budget planning and financial planning software
MyBizHomepage (mybizhomepage.com) – financial dashboard for small business Quick Book users
QuickBooks (quickbooks.com) small-business accounting software; free simple start 2009 download)
Wesabe (wesabe.com)- Financial advice, analysis and planning

Marketing, Networking, PR
Wordpress (wordpress.com)- Blog publishing tool
Craigslist ( craigslist.org)- Online classified and job posting network
CollectiveX ( collectivex.com)-Create social networking and collaboration sites for groups
Digg (digg.com)- content sharing site
Linkedin ( linkedin.com)- Business social networking site
Pligg ( pligg.com)-Open-source, community-centric site for discovering, rating and sharing content
PolicyMap( Policymap.com) -Geographic and demographic information system for creating custom maps, tables and chartes; basic free service
YouNoodle ( younoodle.com)-Netowrking for startups and valuation with Startup Predictor
YourPitchSucks (yourpitchsucks.com) PR pitch reviewing and advising
Stumble Upon ( stumbleupon.com)- Content sharing site

Office Productivity, and Organization
Adobe Buzzword (adobe.com)- Collaborative word processor application
CutePDF Write (Cutepdf.com)- PDF creator; free basic service
Dabble DB ( dabbledb.com)- Create, manage and share online databases; free basic service
Doodle (doodle.com)- Schedule, and coordinate meetings and other appointments
FreshBooks ( freshbooks.com)-Invoicing, time-tracking and expense service; free basic service
SurveyMonkey ( surveymonkey.com)-Create and publish custom online surveys; free basic service
ThinkFree Office ( thinkfree.com)-Office productivity suite; free basic service
WuFoo (wufoo.com)-HTML form builder for creating interactive forms;free basic service

Project Management, Collaboration
Remember the Milk (rememberthemilk.com)-Task management solution and to-do lists
Socialtext (socialtext.com)- Wiki and website collaboration; free basic service
Team Task ( teamtask.com)-Collaborative project management and community website builder
Yugma (yugma.com)-Web meeting and collaboration service

Web
Google Alerts ( google.com/alerts)- E-mail updates on choice of query or topic
KickApps ( kickapps.com)- platform of applications to integrates social features into a website
Microsoft Office Live Small Business (smallbusiness.officelive.com)- Create a company website, domain and email; free basic service
Synthasite ( synthasite.com)- Web hosting and building
Weebly ( weebly.com)-Website and blog creator
Widgetbox (widgetbox.com)-web widgets for various applications
Woopra ( woopra.com) -Web tracking and analysis application; free basic service

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

In Accounting, Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Customer Service, Emotional Intelligence, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Clarinet Shop, The Entrepreneurial Artist Competition, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on December 23, 2008 at 3:04 am

f91ddde14399af3663324567dfa4My wish for you, ON CHRISTMAS DAY,
will be for you TOO, to keep the GRINCH at bay!

But if by chance, you simply cannot,
Band mighty together, as a great big Who-Ville lot!

WWHHYY????? Smarty-Arty, I hear you say?

BECAUSE, with all your JOY stirring together,
the grinch who came to visit, just might feel a WEE bit better.

Merry Christmas, my dears, what’s your ETA,
to ENTREPRENEUR The Arts, in a new innovative way.
PLEASE COME WITH ME, lets ride far, far and away!

signed your friend, an artistic missionIST, a student of Dr. Suess-a-visionIST, gliding, and sent with love.

And They Said It Couldn’t Be Done…

In Cooking & Food, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Money, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film on December 12, 2008 at 8:09 am

This article appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine online and offers four classic inspiring examples- mini-case studies- of four great entrepreneurs who made it big when other said they would not succeed.
**************************************************************************************************************
dreamstime_7218647
Entrepreneurs are notorious for their ability to press on with their ideas despite what other people tell them. Naysayers abound when innovators want to try things nobody has ever done. Fortunately, innovative entrepreneurs have persisted with their efforts and given us some of the modern luxuries we now take for granted.

The Wright brothers mimicked the birds. Henry Ford harnessed horse power. They are but two well-known examples of visionaries who propelled the 20th century forward. Other now-famous people stared down negativity and triumphed. Find out how four such business-savvy folks stuck it out in the face of adversity.

Clarence Birdseye knew inferior freezing methods led to bland-tasting reheated food, so he developed quick-freeze machinery to produce quality frozen food. Shoppers didn’t believe. Birdseye went broke. He stuck with it, eventually overcame consumer skepticism and went on to set the industry standard. Read more here.

Television network executives weren’t sure the viewing public would accept a sit-com with a Cuban leading man married to a feisty, American redhead. So Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball produced the “I Love Lucy” pilot with their own money. Network execs said TV shows had to be produced in New York and with kinescopes. Lucy and Desi took a salary cut to produce the show in Hollywood on expensive film, but, as part of the deal, the couple kept rights to the show. At every turn, Lucy and Desi were a step ahead of the studios, revolutionizing television along the way. Read more here.

Fred Smith wrote a term paper based on an idea for reliable overnight delivery. His professor gave him a C because the idea wasn’t feasible. Years later, many potential investors agreed with the professor, refusing to send capital Smith’s way. The funds he did raise in 1971 and ’72 were gone by ’74, along with his investors. One catchy slogan and several million dollars of hard-won capital later, Federal Express was on its way to profitability and long-term success. Read more here.

Steve Jobs wanted to give everyone a computer at a time when nobody realized computers were necessary to have. He founded Apple to create home computers, experienced some early success, faltered in the consumer market with the expensive Macintosh, was ousted from the company he founded, dabbled in computer animated movies—Pixar ring a bell?—and was eventually asked to return to his first love, where he turned around Apple at a time when it was in trouble. Read more here.

Hey, do you want to BLEND in?

In Accounting, Art, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea on December 6, 2008 at 8:49 am

Remember me? Ryan Conrad? Juniata College Grad? Last time I blogged I shared with you my story about speaking at graduation.

I am sure you have heard the expression “ a little fish in a big pond”? I am now that little fish in a big pond called Virginia Beach, and I would not have it any other way. I’ve been leading a fast-paced life since I last posted, just days after graduating from college. I now work for Live Nation, the largest concert promoter in the world, where I handle sponsorships accounts.

Upon moving to the beach, my goal was to continue organizing and promoting parties that focused on art, fashion, and music. I was fortunate enough to meet a talented artist who shared my vision. We complemented each other very well because of our diverse backgrounds. My event planning experiences coupled with his artist network seemed like a great fit.

I took my concept that I created in college, which was a traveling fashion and art show targeted at the college demographics and transformed it with my partner’s help into Blend. In the last few months we successfully pulled off two parties operating under the name “Blend.” We chose the name Blend, because we effectively brought together the artist community, DJs to spin at our parties, and fashion designers. The main objective of Blend is to plan art and fashion shows featuring local artists and clothing company in the night club setting.

Our parties were featured in numerous forms of media and soon became a prime-networking tool for people interested in the arts. Sponsors such as Red Bull, Frank 151 magazine, and international clothing company, Shmack started to believe in the brand that has been created.

Unfortunately, Josh has decided to move on because of other commitments to his job. However, I’m already starting to plan the next party with other business people who believe in my vision. Blend parties truly brings out a diverse crowd and artists. Over the course of the last several months I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many passionate artists and fashion designers who are trying to make their mark. They stress time and time again how they just want people to see and appreciate their work. My hope is to have as many people as possible, or fish (to continue the metaphor) start to believe in the Blend concept. If I continue to be successful, just maybe, a ripple affect will be felt in art communities in other parts of the pond. I mean other cities, as I try to expand my Blend parties.
blend4blend1blend5blend6

…and what do you think?

In Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Risk, Writing on December 2, 2008 at 12:41 am

This last week or so I have been hiding. Under the festivities of the holiday. Under the weight of my thoughts. Behind the screen of my computer– uncertain of what to do next.

I am again at a turning point on the journey with my book-or is it now books? And again, I feel a bit lost at sea and uncertain as to what is the best thing to do next. (Oh the joys of being a sensitive, intuitive entrepreneur in the arts. At times all this intuition I have can leave me feeling a bit like I am short circuiting.)

My book, Build a Blue Bike has not sold. The economy is in the tanks (in case you had not noticed) and publishers are merging, folding and buying only those books that seem like sure-fire slam-dunks. After all, Build a Blue Bike is a book that is an entreprenuerial risk. The artist as entrepreneur? Huh? Do artists even care about how to evolve into this blend of artist and entrepreneur?

So one of the strategies I created to help demonstrate the value of this book and its worthiness was to build The Entrepreneurial Artists Resource Guide as proof that there are a lot of people, programs, products and interest in this seemingly esoteric topic. The guide offers great information and also proves to publishers that there are a growing number of artists out there marketing to other artists on how to become more entrepreneurial, quite successfully.

So the issue now lies in the long journey I have been on with my agent Susan Schulman. Agents sell books to publishers. That is their job. Susan has told me that she sells everything she takes- eventually. It has been a year, almost to the day and we have had lots of positive rejections from big houses- but only ten in total. (A positive rejection means that the editors who buy books for these publishing houses thought the material was worthy, interesting and valuable but that it was not a fit for them in the end.) Other agents who I have queried about my situation have told me that “it can be 30 or 40 responses before a book gets sold, so toughen up!”

The latest thought is to combine Build a Blue Bike with The Entrepreneurial Artists Resource Guide, which Susan thinks will sell. To do this means re-writing a very lengthy book proposal to resend to publishers. Of course there is always the option to simply self publish. There are some incredibly successful self published authors. A couple I personally know are Peggy McColl and Bob Baker.

As a true entrepreneur part of me says to hell with waiting around for a publisher to recognize the value of my material– if an agent like Susan Schulman did, that is proof enough and I should just move along and self publish. And another part of me says, I need the credibility of a named publisher, if I can get it, to help me shape the future of the arts in universities and corporations. Certainly part of the problem has been the economy in getting my material sold.

What do you think? Should I wait and see if I can get it picked up by a big publisher under this new format? Or should I go ahead and self publish? Sometimes publishers come back to you after you self- publish and ask to publish the book. Tama Kieves book, This Time I Dance, was picked up by Tarcher/Penguin-Putnam in exactly this way.

Entrepreneurship and artistry are a complicated blend of business like actions, intuition and creativity. Intuition is the lever that brings both together and at the moment mine feels a bit overloaded with too much information.

Artists: Marketing/Sales Strategy and Planning Workshop

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Networking, Risk on November 20, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Hey all you BETA readers, (BETA stands for Blog Entrepreneur The Arts, and also works as a great metaphor, don’t you think?) I would like to make this bog increasingly “virtual”. By that I mean that we, as a body of interested BETA readers, become part of a global community of artistic entrepreneurial supporters and friends.

One of the great things about blogs, is that in addition to reading something of interest often you can find a new source of information through links found both inside the post as well as through comments left by others. And if you leave a comment, make sure to leave your website address for others for this very reason-to be able to connect! By all means use this site as an opportunity to meet someone new to say “Hello, I read your comment on the ETA blog..and” (What do you have to lose? Nothing. It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, remember?)

So in the spirit of going global I want to remind all of you that selectively, as they role in, I will offer localized posts on workshops, events, projects or openings that serve this readership and are about people and places we should be in the “know” about anyway. Just email me your details about your next upcoming ?? so we can get you into the limelight.

Here, listed below, is one of those exact kinds of posts from Adrienne Fritze– a dynamite resource for artists located in Portland Oregon. If you live anywhere near Portland, or are willing to get there, check out this fantastic workshop she is offering and at a minimum go and check out her site too and say “hi”- after all you already have ETA in common, right?

“If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master.” – Francis Bacon

Wouldn’t you, the independent artist or creative, love to have a reliable, step-by-step path to selling your work and services to people who want them?

I couldn’t find anything like that out there when I began my arts career. So I took everything I’d learned as an Ad Gal working with the world’s largest interactive advertising agency, broke it down into bite sized pieces and developed the Guerilla Exhibitor workshops for artists and creatives.

I know that developing marketing mastery is key to your sustained success, and this workshop is the foundation for that development. You will leave this workshop with:
1. Practical knowledge in how to plan and strategize your marketing, which you will be able to replicate as you grow your business;
2. An Action Plan that you can immediately implement;
3. Confidence in knowing where you are headed in your business

If you know this is something you want to do, skip to the bottom of this promotion and call in or register online. If you’d like a bit more information, please read on.

A Bit About Marketing from the Guerilla Exhibitor’s Point-of-View
The goal of marketing is sales. How you reach that goal is referred to as your Marketing & Sales Plan.

A critical piece of that plan is Branding, and the key components to defining your brand are knowing your: Vision, Mission and Products [including Services]. Your Market is the people who want what you have to offer. Knowing these key components leads you to your Strategy for getting the word out about your products, and receiving money in exchange for them.

Once you’ve defined how you’ll implement your strategy, you will have created your Marketing and Sales Plan.

This workshop assumes you know your Vision, Mission and Products*, and focuses on these three points of your Market:

Profiling: who wants what you have to offer
Where they Hang Out: Knowing and having access to the places where they spend their time – online, meetings, events, magazines, clubs, activities, etc.
The How’s Have It: Defining how to reach them so they know you have what they want and how to get it.

*If you feel you do not have all the necessary pieces ready to take on this workshop, send an e-mail to a@workingartistsonline.comand ask for the FREE worksheet “Capturing Your Vision and Mission, Defining Your Products and Services” and fill in the blanks with your information. If you still feel lost, get in touch with Adrienne to discuss the best way for you to get up to speed to be ready for this workshop. She may be reached at 503-349-6075 or a@workingartistsonline.com

Now is the time to think critically about how you will survive, and thrive, and planning is the key.

Here’s how the day will go:
Defining Your Market
Profiling Who
Where They Hang Out

Reaching Your Market
Media
Physical markets
Online
Referrals

Setting Goals in Time
What Actions You’ll Take
Defining Your Tangible Goals

Details about the Where, When and How of the Workshop:

LOCATION: souk, 322 NW 6th Avenue, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97209 [http://soukllc.com]

DATE/TIME: Saturday December 6th, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

COST:
EARLY BIRD | $85/participant [Register by 11/22/08]
WEEK OF EVENT | $125/participant [Register between 11/23-12/5]
Register Online at:
http://workingartistsonline.com/gxmarketing.html or call 503.349.6075

Your Course Leader:
Adrienne Fritze has a checkered 35 year background in the world of self employment, as corporate executive and now as an artpreneur and educator. A sampling of her experience includes publishing magazines and role-playing whodunits, managing interactive marketing projects for companies like Samsung USA and now as a practicing artist and business educator. She lives in Portland Oregon with her extended family, and is the brain and brawn behind Working Artists LLC