The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Focus!! December 5, 2008

Filed under: Attitude,Business of Arts,Success — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:53 pm
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I love being an artist. I love artists. I love being around and working with creative people. But, oh, boy, do I get frustrated sometimes.

Because the things that I love the most about artists are also the things that bug me the most. On one hand, our creativity makes us fun and interesting to be around–never a dull moment. There are always new and exciting ideas being bounced around, and being creative is, for sure, one of the keys of success. However, whenever I meet someone that I will term a “slasher”, that is, an actor/producer/musician/bartender, it raises my hackles. Because really simply, there are few people in the world that can do all of that and be successful at all of them.

As creative people, we crave constant stimulation, new things. It’s part and parcel of being an artist. But I really believe that we have to resist the temptation to get into something new every time we have an idea about what that might be.

You’ll probably hate me for saying this, but we need to focus. We need to pick something, preferably our area of expertise, create a plan around it, and go for it. When you have that particular product or service underway, and it’s doing really well, then look for new things to branch out to and add to your success. The truth is, if you focus on too many things at once, your focus will be divided, and nothing will get the real attention it deserves.

The business term for this is Nicheing. It allows you to get really specific with what you are doing, and who you are selling to. You become an expert in your field, and therefore sought after.

I often ask potential clients who their audience or market is. Alarm bells usually go off for me when they say “everyone.” Most products and services are not for everyone, but have a specific market, and if you know who that market is, it makes it a lot easier to sell to, rather than trying to figure out how to get in touch with “everyone.”

There are some resources out there on this topic. First off, a book that is on my ‘to-read’ list that has been recommended to me by a fellow entrepreneur: Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market, and Make Customers Seek You Out, by Dr. Lynda Falkenstein. I also found this short-but-sweet nine-step process to finding your niche.

Good luck. It’s not…. hey, what is that over there? Something shiny! Oh. Wait. Sorry. What was I saying?

 

Happy Birthday to Me! December 3, 2008

Filed under: Business of Arts,Success — Rebecca Coleman @ 9:05 pm
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A year ago, on December 1, 2007, I launched my business full-time.

imagesI have been doing publicity for about seven years, now, on mostly a part-time basis, primarily for myself, or friends. But in July of 2007, I lost my job, and started thinking about what the future might hold for me. I decided to give the full-time publicity thing a try. I enrolled in a small business course at BCIT and wrote a business plan, and on December 1, launched Titania Productions full time.

The whole time I was in the course, and even before, I was constantly asked the question: “can you make a living the arts?” And, honestly, my answer was, “I’m not sure.”

I’m happy to report, that, after a year, it is becoming more and more apparent that you can, indeed make a living in the arts, and I am proof.

It’s been a crazy year. I came out of the corner swinging, and my first job, in January of 2008, Dishpig, at Havana, sold out and kept getting extended. Not every show was like that this year, but for the most part, I have had a lot of fun, and my clients have been happy. I also went through a re-branding process, changing my name to Rebecca Coleman: Marketing and Media Relations, and went from being a guest blogger on The Next Stage to having my own blog, which I love. I have also gotten more and more interested in using Web 2.0 Technology to market your work, and have begun to give workshops on that, and incorporate it into my business.

The new year also holds much promise–I have eight shows opening between January and the end of March, and am currently interviewing assistants to help me with the work load. I have contracts clear through until the end of the 2009 season, so it looks like I’m gonna be okay.

A big thanks to the people I worked with this year–clients, media, graphic designers, photographers, web designers. It’s been a blast. I consider myself very lucky to have a job that I love to do.

Here’s to the next year!

 

A Twitter Resource Guide December 1, 2008

Last week, I did an interview with Trilby Jeeves about the basics of Twitter, which is the micro-blogging site that is rapidly taking over the social networking world. Since then, I have come across tons and tons of really great resources on Twitter, and wanted to share them.

First off, though, I feel like I am finally starting to get the hang of this Twitter thing. Funny, because the only thing I really have to compare it to is Facebook, which I immediately and violently took to. But I’ve been on Twitter for about 5-6 months, now, and I feel like I am just getting the hang of it, or, as Trilby says, discovering my “Twitter Voice.”

My experience of Twitter is that it is much more about resource sharing and less about your personal stuff, which Facebook is so good at. There are lots and lots and lots of people on Facebook who just use it for social networking with their friends and family. Some are using it for business as well, but on Twitter, at the end of the day, I think pretty much everyone is on there for business. Some are bloggers, trying to increase traffic to their site, some are out-and-out businesses, but there are far less posts that read like Facebook status lines on Twitter,  I think.

I also think that Twitter is kind of like a tease. For example, I recently twittered about a show I was working on, The Thing About Men. Instead of saying “Going to the opening of a new show, The Thing About Men, (URL),” I wrote “Here’s the thing about men: (URL).” Twitter posts work best when they don’t (as mom always said) give away the cow. A sense of humour helps, too.

So I promised you some resources, right? Okay, here ya go: I’ll repost the few links that I included with the original blog post.

Twellow: is a Twitter search directory.

The Twitter Handbook is a free, downloadable resource for Twitter users.

David Tinney has an excellent blog article called The ABC’s of Using Twitter Effectively.  He talks about things like automatic versus self-written welcome messages, the protocol of using your photo, and what percentage of personal tweets to business you should use.

Twitter Grader is a tool to let you know how successful you are as a Twitterer. It measures how many followers you have, how many people you follow, and how many posts a day you do. Then it somehow puts that together in a score out of 100. Interesting, but could be depressing.

Mr. Tweet billed “your personal networking assistant”, Mr Tweet can help you to find people you should be following that are beyond your current network, or figure out which of your followers you should be following back. Very cool.

Tweet Later: is productivity tools for busy Tweeple. It includes, among other things, a way to send your new followers an automatic welcome message.

Tweet Deck: “aims to evolve the existing functionality of Twitter by taking an abundance of information i.e twitter feeds, and breaking it down into more manageable bite sized pieces.”

Go forth and Tweet…

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