Lessons Learned: The Creative Entrepreneur

Over the past 11 or so months, I’ve been studying entertainment business through a degree program hosted by Full Sail University. Surprisingly, my business approach took a shape vastly different from what I started with.  As it is with creativity, inspiration very rarely reflects in exactness.  Instead, it often manifests in better form.

IMDb:Lone Ranger (1949)

What I’ve learned is that there is tremendous creativity involved in conceptualizing, articulating and creating a strong and solid foundation for a business.  As a creative, I’ve had to seek out various types of professionals for help in wrapping my head around a foreign subject.  Some were related to the entertainment industry, but many were not.  Business is the same whether you’re creating a manufacturing company that produces hot and spicy widgets or planning for world domination through filmmaking.  Even though it’s been a feat of great difficulty to force my right brain into compliance, I know learning “the business end of the rifle” is monumentally important to making a living making art.

In my last blog post I quoted a few professionals that have helped me better understand the relevance of learning business and how to effectively make it happen.  From Jim Cones I learned the difference between a Producer’s Package and a Business Plan.  The Film Method broke down the business of film into terms a creative person could understand.  Michael Berger has created a phenomenal business-coaching platform around his book, The E-Myth.  No matter the professional, they have all opened my eyes to how much I do not know.  But that’s okay.  Some of the most important keys to selling oneself and one’s business are, as Jayson Whitmore, co-owner of the design and media production company Royale says, humility and the willingness to learn.  I’ve always said that once a person becomes prideful they stop learning, growing and progressing.  A forward-thinking entrepreneur can’t afford stifling due to arrogance.  Some may make considerable strides, but I wonder just how much more they could’ve gained or grown without succumbing to pride?

One of the most important things I’ve learned from studying business and industry leaders is, as I’ve stated above, the fact that business building can be a very creative process.  Jennifer Lee wrote for Ladies Who Launch saying, “Your artistic gifts can actually help you find fresh solutions to your business challenges and enable your ventures to grow in ways you would’ve never dreamed possible.” She goes onto list “10 Tips for the Creative Entrepreneur,” encouraging ‘creatives’ not to compartmentalize their attributes but to fully embrace and apply them to every aspect of the business creation process. Tom James of Escape From Illustration Island says running a smart business will give an artist “more clarity and freedom to create your next masterpiece.”  Inevitably the dependability trait uncommonly possessed by artists will blossom.  Clients will gain confidence and repay in kind.  Consequently, commitment to these principles has the potential to incite a variation to the world’s eighth wonder: compound interest through referrals. Repeat business produces profits, which results in achieving the goal we all have in mind: to make a living making art.