Artist vs Entrepreneur - we tend to treat these two things as mutually exclusive..

artist-vs-entrepreneur
Artist vs Entrepreneur

But in reality there’s lots of overlap like this..

artist-vs-entrepreneur
Why artists aren't so different from entrepreneurs

Reading Jeff Goins’ new book Real Artists Don’t Starve, I’m struck with how often we believe otherwise. You’re either a business person -or- an artist. But the people I’ve admired the most like George Lucas or Michelangelo were in fact both artist and entrepreneur.

The Power of Crazy Little Ideas

Years ago, Project Tango.. A small group of us had this crazy idea “what if we danced tango to contemporary music?” That one little question ended up starting a movement that led to national events and the rest of the dance community accepting “alternative tango.”

Derek Sivers shares his story with CD Baby and how he reached his breaking point where he stopped going to the office and turned off his phone. Things just couldn't keep going the way they were. But eventually Derek realized he was running away from the problem, not solving it. So, each time a question came up he got everyone together, explained his thought process & document this.

Real Entrepreneurs Make Themselves Unnecessary

It's an ironical part of being a real business owner. You make yourself obsolete. I've seen it again and again, where pseudo-entrepreneurs kid themselves into thinking that running a business means they're indispensable. That's ego talking, not your business or your customers.

“To be a true business owner, make it so you could go away for a year," Derek says. "And when you come back, your business would doing better than when you left it.”

Today, Project Tango still continues - each week dancers come together to share their love of this passionate dance. Over time they are building a community.

“Business is as creative as the fine arts,” says Derek. “You can be as unconventional, unique, and quirky as you want. A business is a reflection of the creator..”

“Just pay attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury.”

"You'll Know When It's Time.."

In the end this is why I decided it was time to move on from my involvement with Project Tango. Over time the organization brought on members that were draining to be around. Their negative energy made it no longer fun to be a part of what we started.

At the same time I was confident that we had gotten our nonprofit to the right place. There was a strong enough group of volunteers that the weekly events would keep going. Financially as a business, it was not only solvent but positive in cash flow.

Help for the Creative Entrepreneur

Meanwhile, I continue to advise small business owners. What I realized from my time as a business broker was that I needed to start working with them much further upstream. Often by the time these folks approached me, there was little I could do but slap a price tag on their “business” and try to help them with the sale.

Here’s the basic question you have to answer: are you really building a business vs. creating a  job no one else will want or can do? Often, it’s an unfortunate answer. That’s why I created this course to help entrepreneurs.. Build a Business That You Can Sell

If you purchase with this link, you’ll not only get half off the regular Udemy price, but the first few who purchase will get a spot for the next mastermind group. If you haven’t sat in on one of these sessions, then you’re in for a treat!

There is no better way to finally get past some of your big stumbling blocks than connecting with other like-minded entrepreneurs who “get” what you’re trying to do and won’t let you fail!

To learn more about masterminds click here.

Over the last year I’ve written about a variety of topics. I know, content marketers tell us to simply stick to our “niche.” Basically, find that vein, mainline it, then work it, baby, work it!

creative-community
From individuals to creative community

For a while I tried to write pulpy articles for Blasting News that the BuzzFeed’s of the world reward. That got some traction with a bit of artificial enhancement, but ended up in utter failure. So, I went back to work, writing and creating content that might truly matter to my audience.

But who exactly is my audience? To be honest that’s something else I still don’t know.

Again, the guru’s in their infinite wisdom talk about “defining your avatar” like some D&D generated character:  Intelligence: 16, Wisdom: 15, Constitution:17.. - That way, I could simply plug this into Facebook ads and serve up just what they wanted.

Most of all, I was supposed to have it all figured out - mastery of social media tools, running a kick ass team of elf helpers and marching forth to world domination.. Do you hear the people sing?

Recently, I started simply engaging and connecting. Sure, my creative output has slowed to a trickle but at least on Medium here’s the results - more views and reach.

2017-05-22-medium-stats

Interesting..

On YouTube I’m looking at ways I can partner with other creators..

On Facebook I look for how I can involve others by tagging.

In his upcoming book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, Jeff Goins talks about the importance of community. “The Starving Artist works alone. The Thriving Artist collaborates with others.”

I love the example he gives where J.R.R. Tolkien is stuck after the success of The Hobbit. All Tolkien can see is writing a few chapters with the sequel, The New Hobbit. It’s only when he sits down to lunch with a member of their literary group, C.S. Lewis, that inspiration hits the Lord of the Ring creator.

Another idea mentioned in Real Artists was that Wednesdays were no doubt Tolkien’s busiest nights. Besides raising a family while teaching a full schedule as a tenured professor of Oxford, the last thing he wanted to do was to show up empty-handed at the weekly meetings on Thursday!

No literary group, no beloved fantasy series..

That’s why I started a Facebook group for us all to connect.

It’s kinda like the lobby for the breakout sessions or in our case masterminds, which I’ve done on Skype or Zoom with clients.

Down the road I can see holding these meetings in person like some friends have done. This requires considerably more planning and logistics, of course. But it’s nice to know that for now there’s a very affordable and convenient option.

By the way, if you order Real Artists right now, you can get some awesome bonuses.

Bonus #1: The Real Artists Don’t Starve Online Course ($100)
This 12-part video course shows you how to make a living off your art.
Bonus #2: All the Expert Interview Transcripts
Get copies of the interviews with hundreds of experts and Thriving Artists during the research of this book.
Bonus #3: Exclusive Community Access
Get special access to a private Facebook group where Jeff will answer your questions regularly and connect with others reading the book.

Want some creative ways to be romantic? With Valentine's Day just a few days away I thought I'd share of my "game." Okay, I'm not a relationship expert or a dating coach, so these are just some of my amateur attempts at romance.

creative-romance
Wanna do something creative for your valentine? (source: aitoff via Pixabay)

Over the years I’ve done all kinds of things in the name of love and romance. Here’s some of the more creative ways to romance your valentine I can share without total embarrassment..

1 - pick flowers and spread them around their bed (okay, I think I stole this from a teen movie - like Picasso said, “good artists borrow.. Great artists steal!”)

2 - create your own tropical paradise; this one takes some planning - get posters from a travel agency; pick up a straw hat, some pineapple fried rice and a pineapple, of course;  make pina coladas (hmm.. I think this was inspired by It’s a Wonderful Life..)

3 - blindfold taste test; pick out an assortment of flavors and textures for your loved one to guess the food item.. But be nice! Remember, you’re trying to romance your valentine, NOT piss them off!  (ok, guilty.. Stole this one from 9 ½ Weeks. I promise not all of these are movie ripoffs!)

4 - go on a hike and picnic; just make sure that you get back to the parking lot before they lock the gate, or you’ll end up sleeping in your car overnight (luckily, we had some chilled bubbly on hand..)

5 - make a romantic rooftop Italian dinner; nothing says romance like the food / culture of Venice and Rome; although not truly authentic Italian, my personal favorite is still chicken parmesan (I need to make a video of my recipe sometime.. Keep bugging me - I’ll have to do it then!)

6 - camp & watch a rom-com in your tent; okay, again this one takes a bit of planning and preparation - you don’t want to just run out into the woods without having some basics like a full-charged laptop or tablet!.. Check out my two-part series on camping essentials..)

7 - create your own home spa; get some bath salts, scented candles, and make a playlist of relaxing music for the perfect mood and atmosphere

8 - take your date flying - admittedly, it helps to have a private pilot’s license, but you can also charter a plane or offer to pay the gas for a pilot friend

9 - DJ your own night of dancing - while it helps if you’re both into dancing, nothing gets both the heart pumping and the oxytocin flowing like grooving together (plus, tango boosts your creativity..)

10 - go day-tripping - most of these are evening events, but there’s a lot to be said for making a day of it; if you can swing spending the day together, there’s almost no city that doesn’t have some cool spots to explore (and you know how much I’m a fan of “getting lost”!)

Overall, I’ve found that putting a little effort, creative forethought, and planning scores some major points with your romantic crush. It's said that the quickest way to a man’s heart is his stomach, but I’ve found that women also appreciate good food - especially the gesture.

With all that said.. the day before your date is NOT the time to take a crash course on cooking, but you can learn some basic skills pretty quickly. If you’re interested in more tips and videos on this, sign up here.

What's your favorite creative way to romance your valentine?

What are some of the strangest ways to make money?

strangest-ways-to-make-money
strangest ways to earn money - photo: Ryan McGuire Gratisography

Here's some of mine -

For more check out this Steemit post on the Strangest Ways I've Earned Money. What are some of yours?

Going into this new year of 2017 here's what I want more of - more clients who really appreciate what I can do for them, more teams of talented individuals, and more travel to explore foodie spots and dance tango.

Recently, I talked about what to do instead of new year's resolutions.

Sure, money is important, but it's a means to an end.

This is the same with the "stuff" we buy with money.

Danielle Laporte talks about identifying the feelings you want to achieve. Family, success, wealth - stuff. What do you really want at the end of the day?

Is it contentment? peace? love?

Another idea is finding your why. When he looked at the core of successful companies, Simon Sinek realized that they sold their "why" before the "how."

What motivates me?

A friend recently pointed out how I seem to really like helping others. It's true, and ironically I don't see it as some big sense of altruism. I simply like how I feel when I am helpful.

Of course, even though I enjoy feeling this way, that doesn't mean I'm willing to work for free. Sure, I've done my share of pro bono work and even been involved with student films.

After a certain point we all need to value our work, not just for ourselves but even for those we're helping. I also realized that people often only value what they pay for. More often than not, giving your work and advice away may not help others.

So, here's to more of what we want as indie creatives in the new year!