You are not a ballerina. You are not a musician. You are not a poet. You are a start-up company. If you want money, that pesky little substance required by all who wish to pay the bills, you have to think like a business.
There is no word in the English language that generates fear and loathing in the hearts of creative creatures the way business does. For some, it is the antithesis of everything they believe in artistically. For such deluded (and typically broke) souls, the domain of commerce is devoid of passion and meaning. In it, they see nothing but cold, hard cash and the transactions that generate it, a world lacking both beauty and art.
When you want to build an audience for something, whether it’s a new product or a dance recital, you have to find a way of getting people’s attention. A huge amount of creativity goes into that. Why do you think the people on Wall Street spend billions of dollars annually to hire creative entities like the Madison Avenue advertising agencies? Devising a strategy to build your audience, secure more gigs, and advance your career is great fun in its own right once you see it for the blank canvas that it is.
As long as all you think about is art, all you’ll get is art. If you want money, you have to think like a business. The two are not mutually exclusive. You can, and should, do both. Whether you’re just getting started or have been in the game for a while, the best mindset you can adopt is that of the start-up company. They always have the most innovative thinkers because they have to elbow their way into a crowded landscape and convince people that they’re worth considering.
Start-ups are also an excellent source of inspiration. Apple is one of the richest companies in the world. It started out as a couple of guys in a garage. The industry-dominating player it was up against was IBM. Think about that the next time you complain about having a hard time getting work because the competition is too tough.