Avoid the Burnout of Building Your Business
Years ago, my best friend and I started a record label. This was my second company. Although, it was my first joint venture. Back then, we were like Damon Dash and Sean Carter. Or, Christopher Wallace and Sean Combs.
In case you’re wondering, I played the role of Mr. Carter in this budding music empire. It was the 1990s. Even better, it was the Golden Age of Hip-Hop. Moreover, all of the entrepreneur-artists had their own record label. Consequently, this gave them control over their musical fortunes.
Find A Mentor, Early
Our business wasn’t the only thing we shared. We both loved art. As a result, we had a mutual friend—Rebecca. Her name is changed for this story. Rebecca was a business owner and sold custom framed art. We loved to visit her store. I learned a lot about her through quiet observation.
Rebecca always had the best stories. She counseled and mentored us. Rebecca, genuinely, wanted us to succeed! She was successful business woman. And, I continued to learn from her for years.
A Lesson in Building a Business
One day, I asked Rebecca a question and her answered stunned me. I wanted to know if she had a succession plan for her business. What would happened when she could no longer work? As Rebecca aged, her arthritis pain would worsen from the constant work with her hands. I knew from our close relationship that some days were very difficult for her to work. However, she was the business owner and the most significant employee. Rebecca had created a job for herself that limited her ability to be a business owner.
Over the years, she hired other artisans and apprentice to help. However, they didn’t stick around. Ultimately, they would find employment elsewhere.
This created a problem from Rebecca. If she stopped working the business she started and owned, it would cease to be an ongoing endeavor. That was the shocking truth. In time, she couldn’t continue to work and the only art store in the area closed it’s door for good. Rebecca was my mentor…but this counsel created a conundrum that I have been mindful ever since.
Create an Enduring Brand
I believe that all artists that start companies to commercialize their creativity are faced with this challenge from the day one. Some people will build their business with this challenge in mind, while others may not think about it until it’s too late.
Part of the challenge is that for the artist, it is his or her’s individual style, signature, or taste that makes their art unique. It’s not a commodity that can be produced at scale by another entity or automation. So to build a creative company, it’s size will be either limited to it’s principal artist unless the business owner enables processes and value chains to be developed that maximize each effort.
Creative agencies can take steps to ensure that the creativity of the company is not hampered by running the business and provides opportunities for continued growth.
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