A few years ago, I took a Masterclass course by top screenwriter David Mamet.
He gives an interesting piece of advice inside the course. Mamet lives his creative life by two rules.
“You’ve got to do one thing for your art every day, and you’ve got to do one thing for your business every day.”
Since then, I’ve gone out of my way to find out how to put this into practice. This week’s article is about a British entrepreneur who coaches students to do just that. I’ve also linked to some more great advice about this topic.
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How To Work On Your Art And Your Business
Many new creatives spend dozens, if not hundreds, of hours writing a book, recording an album or shooting a film.
After finishing their passion product, they often move onto the next project rather than promoting or selling what they just created. They rail against asking for the sale or claim it will devalue their hard work.
This mindset means the creative doesn't get paid much or at all for their project. As a result, they've less money or time to invest in a new project. Or they might have to find a job unrelated to their passion. Behold the cliché of the starving artist.
On the other hand, successful creative entrepreneurs aren't afraid to ask for the sale. They understand creatives, just like doctors or executives, deserve to get paid. American playwright David Mamet said, "You've got to do one thing for your art every day, and you've got to do one thing for your business every day."
Assuming the creative knows how to write, paint or draw, how exactly can they get started working on their business?
Laura Phillips is a British entrepreneur who runs Love to Launch. Her business coaches students and clients about how to create, launch and sell online courses, products and services. She says,
"I teach people how to create an experience, an event that people actually want to show up for that gives them a taste of what you're about as a professional.”
Since founding her business in 2017, Phillips has worked with hundreds of students and has partnered with online influencers like Ryan Levesque, Todd Herman and Stu McLaren.
She relies on a team who help her run the business. A community mentor provides support to clients and students, and an executive assistant handles administrative work and booking calls.
Her approach relies on finding prospective customers or clients on Instagram or Facebook and reaching out to them directly.
"I love Instagram for launches actually because you get to start the conversation," she says. "Send a quick voice note to introduce yourself and to get to know people. You could instantly build that relationship."
Create Content Fans Love
Phillips' approach leans heavily on content creation, that is a webinar, video series or a group coaching call. Here, a creative holds a big advantage over other online entrepreneurs. They already know how to make something people enjoy. It's just a matter of presenting their work as an event fans show up for.
"The actual content that we generally put out in launches are a series of trainings, a series of workshops," she says. "So rather than just relying on email, which is more difficult these days, we want to bring in a small group of people and teach them something on a live class."
Phillips helps her students avoid overwhelm by advising them to focus entirely on one platform they feel comfortable with. These days, that's Instagram. She says,
"When it comes to social media, when it comes to lead generation, when it comes to any kind of marketing, if it feels easy, it's going to feel enjoyable. We've all got time throughout our day to take our phone with us and to answer a few direct messages and send a 20-second voice note to someone."
A typical launch–it could be for a book or course–lasts about two weeks. The creative entrepreneur delivers content to his or her fans based on their creative project.
Usually, they deliver this content over group coaching calls or via a webinar. That approach helps them forge a loyal relationship, and it also helps the creative understand more about what his or her audience wants and will pay for.
"You have a week really for delivering content for teaching...creating that experience, building that relationship," says Phillips. "When you move into the second week, it's all about sharing your amazing offer. People who hate selling can do it, because really it's all about showing huge value in advance of asking for the sale."
Once a creative becomes comfortable with helping their audience, asking for the sale will come naturally. After that, they'll have more money to invest in their next creative project, or they'll be free to turn down work that no longer interests them.