Creatives: Create Your Own Opportunities
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”
― Mark Twain
It’s time, creatives: create your own opportunities. It’s not easy but it’s not rocket science either. We are in a unique time in history when the gatekeeper’s powers are diminishing. It is possible NOW to have a thriving creative career. Gatekeepers are turning to social media to find the creatives they want to work with next. Artists and creative professionals are finding incredible success by building their online presence and selling their work, skills and products online. They are creating successful online businesses in or out of a pandemic. If you can build a fan-base, develop a relationship with them and present your work or skills to them for purchase— you can be successful!
Here’s three strategies to help you right now move toward building a successful creative business.
1) Leverage Your Resources
Too many artists and creative professionals think they are without resources. The way they talk, you’d think they were left in the dust, destitute and naked. But it’s not true. If it’s hard right now to get traction in your career it’s not because you are without resources, it’s because you don’t know how to find the resources you need or leverage the ones you have. You may be having a hard time identifying your resources but trust me, you aren’t without ANY.
Whether you begin with a small resources list or you are bursting at the seams, just identifying the resources is only the beginning. You need to create a plan that leverages those resources to maximize their impact. God has given all of us something.
Parable of the Talents
Remember the parable of the talents? The master gave each of his servants varying levels of talents to steward. He wanted his servants to grow his resources(talents) not bury them. It was the wise servant who used and grew his masters talents and the wicked servant who buried them. We are called to steward and grow the resources God has given us no matter how large or how small our resources are. The Lord is very clear that He wants us to take our stewardship of what he has given us very seriously and responsibly.
In Matthew 25:23 the master says to the faithful servant: “23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
So how about you? Are you ready to be a good steward of the resources God has given you? Are you ready to leverage the resources you’ve been given to move your career forward?
In my Catalyst Online Program “Establishing Your Resources” is one of the three key principles for taking your career to the next level. In my course I take my students through an in-depth assessment of the resources they have and the resources they need. We cover all the types of resources you need in the creative world to be successful: personal, physical, financial and talent resources. Once you have identified the resources you have and the resources you need, I teach them how to leverage their resources to move their career forward.
2) Build a Brain Trust
It’s crucial as a creative when you create your own opportunities to be surrounded by a healthy, functioning brain trust, not a group of “yes” men or destructive competitors. If your only source of advice is fellow competitors who are looking out for themselves, your lack of support will be crushing.
If you are surrounded by “yes” men who do not challenge your thinking, creativity or decisions you stall out, loose the traction you had or stunt your growth creatively and personally because you don’t have healthy resistance and challenges. The ideal situation to build and grow as a creative is a healthy, functioning brain trust.
What does that look like? You need people in your life who really love you, love what you do and can speak honestly into your life and work. This is key— they have the freedom to honestly speak to your ideas, choices and decisions in your creative life, your personal life and your spiritual life. They are hard to find. I know. And it’s scary to trust others. But they are critical for long-term success in the art world or entertainment industry.
You need people you trust, artistically, personally, and spiritually. And guess what? They will not often be the same person. Actually, they are rarely one person at all. Successful brain trusts are comprised of many trusted advisors. These trusted advisors can be spouses, mentors, pastors, professors, other artists or creatives. You need advisors from all the spheres of life where you need advice, support, discernment, and accountability.
Want to grow artistically? That trusted advisor must have excellent artistic taste in your genre of art or entertainment and know your work and level of talent. They need to push you, challenge you and be able to know when you are growing or stagnating.
Want to grow spiritually? That trusted advisor must know you deeply and what spiritual struggles you wrestle with, what you have overcome and how to help you grow in your relationship with Christ. Choose someone like your pastor or small group leader at your church. They need to be able to get personal, dig into your life to apply the gospel and provide accountability.
Want to grow your business? That trusted advisor must know what your vision and goals are. They need to be an excellent encourager, understand your niche and challenge you to focus and consistently work your business strategy. This is where our Catalyst Program shines. It is such an encouragement to find like-minded artists and creatives that want to help each other, encourage each other and hold one another accountable in a business strategy that works.
Finally, the repeated theme of accountability is vital to success. You need your community to provide accountability to follow through—when you don’t feel like it, when it’s hard, when you’re discouraged or even when you succeed and want to coast. Trustworthy accountability is the healthy community creatives need for long term success.
3) Work Smarter Not Harder
I find most artists and creatives tend to be hard workers. It’s not the effort that is lacking. It’s knowing HOW to work on the BEST things and WHAT to put your hard work on, that’s the difference. It’s easy to exhaust yourself on creative and business dead ends or busywork. The key is to have a solid, clear vision. And to have a business strategy that works for today’s world. You need to focus and put your energy into the BEST work to do, not simply GOOD work or ANY work. Some opportunities yield exponential results and rewards. Some do not.
Quick iteration and the ability to pivot easily is rewarded in today’s fickle culture and online world. I find that the creatives who create their own opportunities and are successful at it view failure as a helpful tool. They don’t get bogged down by it or allow failure to destroy their creativity or their business decisions. They accept their failures, learn from them and iterate. They keep moving and changing and trying new ways to reach their fans and create their BEST work. They view what they do in their creative work and their business as a journey with high points and low points all leading them to become better at their art and closer in their relationship to Christ. And this is my prayer for you!
If you want a community of like-minded creatives, creating their own opportunities and you want a business system to take you career to the next level- join us in our Catalyst Program Online. We’d love to have you
Copyright © 2021 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.
Questions on Your Calling as an Artist? Check out the Free Artist Calling MasterClass HERE
Need Help in the Business Side of your Creative Career? Check out the Free Catalyst MasterClass HERE