“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” ― Gloria Steinem–
To be a thriving independent performing artist (IPA) we must dream big and take action. It is not enough to keep our dreams in our head. We must find a way to put them on paper in a creative way, so that we can actually see what we want and take actions toward making it happen. Every building has a blueprint. This post will focus on how to create your blue print as an IPA. I call it a DREAM SCHEME, which is a business plan for the IPA to thrive.
Before I dive into DREAM SCHEMING, I want to clarify that this is not traditional business planning at all. I am not a financial or business expert. I have carved my own path in this business of show and I am sharing some of the tools and practices that I believe took me from struggling to thriving as an artists. What works for me might not work for you, but at the very least, I hope it inspires and motivates you to open your mind, take action and keep exploring until you find what works for you.
Your DREAM SCHEME is one-third of what I’m calling THE FOUNDATION. THE FOUNDATION is a set of 3 business skills that every thriving IPA should practice. My last two posts focused on the first 2, which were BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE and PERSONAL BRANDING. I believe that if we embrace and begin to practice these business skills we can create thriving careers and lifestyles as IPAs. Let’s get to work!
Your DREAM SCHEME can be a vision board, a journal, a note book, a poster, a bunch of sticky notes or any combination you prefer. It should be something that you can focus on and see everyday. Your DREAM SCHEME is how you will turn your desires as an artist into reality. This is a way to clearly state what you want and then identify the actions you need to take to get there.
DREAM SCHEMING should be done as if you have no fears, no financial limits and no rules! This is between you and the universe, so do not hold back. Also, keep in mind that it will change and grow over time so don’t wait, just start.
A DREAM SCHEME can include all sorts of creative inspirations, pictures and quotes, but I have identified 4 details that your DREAM SCHEME must include to really thrive as an IPA.
If you have been following this blog and taking action, you already have your personal brand in place (Yippeee!). If not, then read my previous blog post on how and why you should develop a (click) PERSONAL BRAND. In short, your PERSONAL BRAND is your mission and/or purpose (your why) as an artists. Once you clarify this for yourself, place it at the top of your DREAM SCHEME in big bold writing. Everything in your DREAM SCHEME should reflect your personal brand.
2. YOUR DESIRES
Your desires are a list of all the possible ways to generate income as an artist. Make a list. Here is an example:
B. Creating an online business (be specific)
C. Selling homemade cookies
To be a thriving IPA we should think about mutiple streams of income and passive income. I’m not talking about your survival jobs (there is nothing wrong with slinging drinks and passing plates, I’ve been there, but let’s dream bigger). I’m talking about dreaming up ways to make money while you are sleeping and creating a life that allows you to have more time to create and perform. I’m talking about generating income from doing the stuff that you really love to do. Only list things that you really love to do. Even if you believe you can’t generate income from it. We have entered the age where anything can be monetized, so don’t block your potential.
This is where your creativity and your business collide and make magic. If you feel bad about the idea of monetizing your passions, I have to chanllenge you and ask why you feel that way? Who in the world told you that it is wrong to get paid to do what you love? If you love what you do, you should get paid a huge amount of money for it. To be a thriving IPA you must shift from doing it just for the love, to doing it because it also pays you very well (never lose the love, though).
Once you have your list of income generating possibilities, go through the list and ask yourself the following five questions about each possibility. If you answer NO to any of the following questions scratch that possibility off the list and move on. This exercise will allow you to narrow down your list and get really focused on taking some action and moving forward. Here are the five question to ask yourself about each of your income generating possibilities.
- Do I have the knowledge, skills or abilities to provide this product or service or am I willing to train to get them?
- Is this idea aligned with my mission and or purpose (YOUR PERSONAL BRAND)?
- Am I willing to dedicate the majority of my time and energy on this for the next 13 months?
- Is there a clear market of people in the world already spending money on this type of product or service
- In ten years will I regret not having pursued this?
Once you have narrowed down your list, the next step is to focus in on each idea and to create action steps toward your goals for generating income. A goal without a plan is just a wish, so let’s make these goals a reality.
3. MARKETING STRATEGIES
Your DREAM SCHEME should include all of your marketing strategies.
First, let’s clarify what marketing is.
Marketing is everything you do to teach consumers about the value of your product or services.
Think of marketing as a whole pie. The peices of that marketing pie are everything from your website to social media to advertising to headshots to what people say about your product or services. Marketing is the big picture.
As IPAs there are three major marketing strategies that we should be dreaming and scheming about. Here they are:
I suggest you check out my previous blog “THE #1 WAY TO THRIVE AS AN INDEPENDENT ARTIST”, which is about this very important skill and then add your stategies and ideas on the subject to your DREAM SCHEME.
B. CREATE YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER AVATAR
If your desire is to generate income from selling a specific product or service, it is in your best interest to create an Ideal Customer Avatar for each product or service. The idea is that you will create your Ideal Customer Avatar by identifying all the characteristics of your ideal customers. Think about all the common aspects of your ideal customers, from demographics to age, income, gender, marital status, industry, beliefs, lifestyle, hobbies and interests.
Now use these characteristics to create a single Ideal Customer Avatar. Be specific and very detailed about this person. You want to create their name, age, hair color, where they hang out, what they read, their fears, concerns and issues.
Once you have created your Ideal Customer Avatar you will have plenty of material that will inspire your web copy, sales and promotional materials and the design of your product and services. You will be able to really connect with your customers by speaking and thinking as they would. This exercise is genius and is something you can start using right now.
For more specific questions to answer for creating your Ideal Customer Avatar SUBSCRIBE to this blog and get access to the BONUS page, where you will find a complete list of questions that will help you create your Ideal Customer Avatar.
C. IDENTIFY A NICHE MARKET
Identifying a niche market for your solo show or performaces can be key to thriving as an IPA. First,
a niche market is a small market segement on which a specific product or service is focused.
For example, when I was marketing my one woman show, I focused on colleges and universities. This is actually a huge market, but because of the subject of my show I was able to identify a small subset of the college market that could be interested in booking my show, which was African American and Women’s Studies Departments. I found my niche market and it became very lucrative. Identifying your niche market can lead to a very thriving career. In this case, thinking small can result in big returns.
4. FINANCIAL STATEGY
Your DREAM SCHEME must include everything you desire when in comes to generating income. Please read the previous sentence over and over again until it sinks in. Again. Include your financial dreams in your DREAM SCHEME.
Look, as I stated before I am not a financial expert and I am still learning about money and how to attract it, manage it and make it flow. But what I do know is that if you are struggling financially as an artist, you have to change your mind in order to change your money situation. This is what I have experienced and what I believe.
What I have experienced, is when I think I don’t have enough money in my life, I don’t get enough money in my life. As soon as I feel grateful and made myself believe that I had more than enough, my financial situation changed almost immediately. One day I decided to act as if I had more than enough money, so much that I had to give it away. Suddenly opportunities for me to generate money just started to come outta no where. I know it sounds like bs but it’s true. Try it. Let me know what happens.
The most powerful financial transformation happened to me the day that I decided to write myself a check for an amount of money that I thought would change my life forever. The amount was not crazy, but it was significant. I placed that check on my VISION BOARD where I could see it everyday. Six months later I was offered a contract for that exact amount of money that I had written on that check in January. It changed my life forever.
Use your DREAM SCHEME to get specific about the amount of money you want to generate, how you want to generate income and the kind of lifestyle that you want to live as a thriving artists. Dream big, be specific and take action. It can be as simple as writing it down and placing it somewhere that you can see it eveyday.
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Hey, I hope you start DREAM SCHEMING today.
Is there anything you find difficult about DREAM SCHEMING? Leave a comment. Or contact me directly by clicking the link below.
I’m right here if you have questions or you want to connect. Procrastination is the number #1 cause of failure. Now is the time to start thriving.