Many young men and women have now finished high school and there are a lot of conversations about what next. Do you go to a polytechnic, open an M-Pesa shop, explore the world of online content creation, sell insurance, engage in a hustle? Then, of course, there is social pressure for university education!
Many are looking at the lifestyles of the talent-driven, content creators and believe that they can achieve success, fame and wealth by doing the same thing.
Yes, it’s true. Comedians, artists, musicians, fashion models, writers, etc are all making a good income from their talents but there is something they never reveal. They are in business. Their talent is their workspace and it is their business. They may make it look effortless, but it is work and it is a business.
Just like any business, one must have some anchor skills and disciplines so as to be successful. There are times when there is no motivation, no client, no excitement but business still has to go on.
Creatives don’t succeed by chance. They succeed because they combine their unique gifts, talent, and abilities with business acumen.
If you intend to go into the same business and be successful, here are 5 anchor skills you ought to learn.
Bookkeeping/ Basic Financial management
If your tools of trade are your gifts, talents, and abilities, you will need to make money. As you make the money, you will need to manage it effectively. Basic accounting and financial knowledge will help you to manage your income, expenses, profits, losses, etc. It will also help you to track what avenues of income are least or most rewarding. It is true that you can hire an accountant to do all that for you, but you can’t do that when starting out. There is a saying in business, “Trust but Verify!” Too many artists and creatives have been taken advantage of by their managers and accountants because they don’t check or understand the finances of the operations. Don’t be one of them.
Sales & Marketing
As you start off your venture, you must remember that no one knows you, your skill or what you are offering to the world as much as you do. Therefore, you must learn how to sell and promote yourself to those who are your intended customers. Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, TickTock, YouTube, etc are all tools for use. What you put in them and who gets to see it is where your focus should be. Because of the volumes of content available in the world, your message must be unique enough to stand out to those you are targeting. If you make statues and carvings, you must know where your audience is to market to them. If you cannot sell yourself, getting off the ground will be quite difficult for you.
This is a big word that simply means knowing how your business is running. Knowing if your team members are content working with you or together, analyzing the market to identify opportunities, assessing which part of your business is eating into your cash and most critical is always being sure you have a business and not a hobby. A hobby is fun to do with no financial gains. A business may be fun-filled, but it has a greater purpose and it generates income for those who are committed to its success.
This is about listening and knowing how to hold conversations with the different types of people you will be meeting and doing business with. Communication skills will help you in pitching, negotiations, understanding your client requirements, as well as resolving arguments and misunderstandings. When you undertake a course on communication skills, you will get to learn what body language is and how to read it, as well as how to influence people. You will also get to understand the distinct nature of media and its impact on your business.
As people appreciate what your talent and what you offer to the world, they begin to associate you with your work. Shortly you realize that what you do in your personal life can easily impact your business. For example, if you are advertising school books and back to school shopping, then you are caught on camera misbehaving while intoxicated, your client may refuse to give you another gig. Remember this, likes, shares and follows on social media do not always translate to wealth and success.
Here are 5 rules to live by in the business world for artists and creatives:
1. Show up every day and exercise your gifts, talents, and abilities
2. Define the measurements of your success
3. Public applause is never an ideal tool to measure your value
4. No is a full sentence and it is perfectly fine to use it when you need to
5. Build and maintain a reliable circle of trust and influence around you
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