People come to New York City from all over the world to pursue careers in the arts. The city is a global hub for visual arts, theater, dance, music, literature, and television, to name but a few. Not everyone can make a career out of their artistic passion, but the experience of trying can prepare one for the world of entrepreneurship and small business ownership. A recent profile of a dancer-turned-entrepreneur in Crain’s New York Business highlights how the business skills she developed during years of working as a ballet and Off-Broadway dancer led to her success as an entrepreneur. Artists can gain experience and skills in many areas of the arts by focusing on the similarities between entrepreneurship and the arts as a profession.
Honing one’s crafting in the arts requires focus, dedication, and near-constant practice. Dancers and musicians train constantly. Writers and visual artists, such as painters and sculptors, create much of their work through trial and error. All artists must endure auditions and other forms of review, along with the accompanying and inevitable rejection. Artists become great not only by practicing, but also by not giving up.
Starting a business requires a similar sort of discipline. An entrepreneur must dedicate considerable resources to their new business, including both time and mental focus. Someone who has acquired the discipline to pursue artistic expression, as a profession or a hobby, can apply it to their new endeavor as well.
2. Varied Skills and Multi-Tasking
Artists who make a living, or at least an income, from their art must learn skills for the business side of their craft. Some organizations in New York employ dancers, musicians, or actors on a full-time basis, but most artists primarily work as freelancers. An artist does not just create art, but must also manage projects, keep track of income and expenses, and pursue new opportunities for employment.
Entrepreneurs must fill multiple roles within their own business, especially in the early stages of a startup. They build their business while dealing with administrative and personnel matters, seeking investors, and networking with colleagues and prospective customers. Many artists are actually small businesses engaged in selling their skills, a model that would serve many entrepreneurs well.
In many areas of the arts, artists must be ready and able to respond quickly to new opportunities or changing conditions. While any business should have a long-term plan, success may actually depend on the ability to adapt to unexpected situations. Musicians or actors might receive a last-minute call to perform, or visual artists could receive a request for a project with a tight deadline. An artist may put a great deal of time into a project, yet find themselves unable to market or sell it.
The same sort of flexibility is indispensable in a startup business. An entrepreneur should have a plan for all stages of a new business, from the first idea to whatever final stage they hope to achieve, such as normal business operations or sale to a larger company. That plan should allow for enough flexibility to adapt to both new challenges and new opportunities.
The business attorneys at Samuel C. Berger, PC offer fixed-fee packages of legal services in New York and New Jersey. We assist businesses and entrepreneurs with a wide range of legal issues, including every phase of the business life cycle, from formation to dissolution. To speak to a member of our skilled legal team, contact us today online or at (212) 380-8117.
More Blog Posts:
Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Stress in Your Small Business, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, March 28, 2013
Humor and the New York and New Jersey Small Business, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, February 22, 2012
Small Businesses Must Adapt in Order to Make It in a Bad Economy, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, January 24, 2012
Photo credit: Karpati Gabor from morguefile.com.