This is a guest post from Suzanne Paulinski.
Whenever you create art it is not some puzzle made of pieces you found and put together. Like your own baby, you birth an expression of yourself; it’s a piece of your soul. And as the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
So why would you expect growing your art and fanbase to be any different?
As artists (visual, musical, written word, or otherwise) you are in every sense of the word entrepreneurs. Your personal brand is your business. While your music and art is all your own, your business is made up of more than just your creations. Eventually, the goal will be to delegate as much as possible in order to pour all of your energy into the part you care about the most – your art. In the meantime, consider your current team as your start-up posse.
But how do you know who to bring on board to help you?
It’s important to remember you don’t have to do it completely on your own, and you can still build a team on a DIY budget. Below are the 5 most important positions you should focus on filling so that you can begin to build a successful brand while still maintaining your sanity (or insanity, whichever state of mind fuels your art).
1. The Cheerleader – Whether it’s a parent, a friend, or a super fan, it’s important to have someone in your corner who will keep your spirits up when times get tough. In order to grow you will often have to step out of your comfort zone. That can lead to self-doubt, anxiety, and even paralyzing fear at times. Having someone by your side who truly believes in you and your dream is crucial to keep you thinking and living in the positive. The cheerleader is also your biggest promoter, whose love for what you do can attract others to get on board.
2. The Soundboard – It’s important to have someone on your team who is never going to be a “yes person.” You want someone on your team who will tell it like it is, like it or not. This person should not be your manager or your best friend. You want someone who has nothing to gain from you and nothing to lose by being honest. Taking public polls or asking your followers on social media what you should do could open yourself up to too many opinions and even unnecessarily mean or unjust comments that will push you further away from making a decision. When you need real honesty, keep it offline and with 1 or 2 trusted individuals.
3. The Left Brain – Always remember to be honest about your shortcomings. If financial management isn’t your thing, or maybe you simply hate doing it or don’t have time to do it carefully and correctly, be honest. Trying to do it all is only going to hurt you in the end. Most of the positions on your start-up posse can be filled for little to no money, however, if you’re going to invest in any position, let it be this one. Whether it’s a manager, an accountant, or a virtual assistant, your business needs someone who can give 100% attention to the profits, losses, and inventory of your business.
4. The Social Butterfly – It’s not surprising that many artists and musicians are introverts; many are able to perform on stage with ease but are shrinking violets when they enter a room filled with strangers. In that case it’s important to have someone by your side who can be your mouthpiece to the masses. Whether you hire a social media manager, a photographer, a blogger, a wingman, or use your best friend to talk you up at shows, make sure someone is making sure others are talking about you.
5. The Runaway – Profitable growth requires sound marketing strategies, as well as strong networking skills. However, with all of the energy it takes to create your art and promote it, you also need to carve out time to take care of you. When you’re entrenched in your creations and the craziness that comes with building a brand around the clock, it can be difficult to see for yourself when you need a break. Make sure you have someone around you (a significant other, a family member, a best friend) who will look out for your well-being, the one who will run off with you (or kidnap you if need be) for some R&R.
As Jim Rohn is famous for saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” so make sure you choose wisely. Be honest about your own strengths and weaknesses so you can pull in people who can make up for those weaknesses. Living out your dream can be the most exciting adventure of your life, so hit the open road with those who will lift you to new heights not those who are simply along for the ride.
Suzanne Paulinski is the founder of The Rock/Star Advocate, a resource for musicians and recording artists. Whether through role play, organizational planning, business consultations, or confidential S.O.S calls for venting & support, Suz helps the suits stay grounded & the musicians focused on reaching for the stars.