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Useful Advice for Arts Entrepreneurs

Fifteen tips to guide you along the entrepreneurial path

1. Never sacrifice quality in your artistic work. Quality must be priority for the sake of value. Keep your skills sharp; unused skills rust like farm tools in the rain.

2. You can profit and commit a social good concurrently. This is social entrepreneurship.

3. Don’t do everything. Inspire collaborators. Lead them and learn to effectively delegate.

4. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. You will either assume the learning curve or find others who will fill your skill deficiencies. 

5. Explore being for-profit before nonprofit. Fiscal sponsorship, through organizations such as Fractured Atlas, enables for-profits to compete for nonprofit-only grants.

6. As an artist, find your voice. It is the greatest tool you can possess. Blogging can help; very quickly, you will learn what you can and want to post.

7. Know your company revenue drivers. How does cash flow into, through and out of your business?

8. Competition is part of the market game. Don’t let this compromise your art, but work with it. Find a balance between artistic integrity and the realities of commerce and the market.

9. As often as possible, ask yourself, “What if….?” This question opens our minds to possibility and potential. “What if?” is a key to unlock insight and creative vision.

10. Engage your pursuits heroically. You can do this by serving others and willfully sacrificing on occasion to serve their needs. Get comfortable with risk and obstacles. They are inevitable.

11. Remember that if something’s been done before, it can be done again.

12. If something has never been done before, know that everything starts at some point.

13. Learn from your failures. Failure is inevitable and a primary learning tool. Glean what you can from hard experiences, as this is a path toward greater wisdom, insight and ability.

14. Don’t forget those who help you. Repay them as you can. Take care of your people and they will take care of you. Business is a give and take. Drop those that only take.

15. Entrepreneurship is a game, one that is experientially based. It’s one that hurts, but can also feel great. Entrepreneurship involves impact. This is due to arts entrepreneurship being a lifestyle, rather than mere career pursuit. It is a lifestyle that can yield treasure, personal insight and newfound meaning. Play the game and commit to realizing both your needs and the needs of others. If you fail, try again.

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