Your Art Ain’t Enough, 10 Action Items for a Comfy Creative Lifestyle
As a creative have you recently looked over your life and uttered the words: “I Can’t! I just can’t!”? Listen, while standing before gawd and the universe, scanning over the unsatisfactory state that has become your life, do you get bummed because you know that there has got to be more than this? You may feel each day that you do not get to indulge in your art is yet another day wasted. Even if your situation isn’t so bad, as a creative spirit you simply want to do more art. After all, wolves hunt, birds fly, cows burger and you, my universally honey dipped, ancestrally charged god sprite ART. Da heck! So, you finally commit to taking the time to indulge in your art and after months or even years, head hung low you have little in popularity and even less in sales to show for your efforts.
Welp, grab ya Gucci little Nubian because this is going to rock your boat. You see, the days where you could just post awesome art and gain a supportive fan base are over. In today’s world, you must invest more of yourself into the business side of your model, or as they say in the biz coaching space, your business play. More of yourself doing what, you ask? Well, my Nubian gawd, I got answers. Here are 10 essential action items to live your #creativescomfylife.
- Clear Goals
If you do not know where you are going, no matter where you go, there you are, even if that place is a soul sucking job or a horrible living situation. A clear goal, such as saving up to six months’ worth of expenses in your bank account, can act as an awesome tool to anchor your daily activities. Clear goals will also provide a sense of peace for you in a world that seems eager to rip itself apart because I imagine peace and clarity are a premium in your life right now. And yet a third reason clear goals are kewl is the universe does not reward ambiguity as it only acknowledges and moves towards specificity. With the whole of your being focused on a specific goal, the universe can align itself to manifest that for you. So herein lies your homework. Once you set a goal do not keep changing it; do not focus on 30k for a week and 50k the next week and forgetting the goal the third week. You have to live, eat, breathe, and meditate on that goal to make it happen. Then and only then, will you reach the tangible results, gain a sense of peace and have the universe charged up to say, “I got you.”
KNOWLEDGE DROP #1: Be creative, be controversial, but most of all, be clear.
- Find your Niche
While working on your marketing, do you find yourself aimlessly surfing online for an hour or more then wonder, “What the heck was I supposed to be doing right now?” You are not focused because you are not focused. The internet’s ability to suck you into aimless meandering with its cool pictures, funny videos, and triggering commentary is greatly reduced when you are very clear on who you want to serve and why.
By defining a niche, not only are you able to stay on task, but like a rocket ship, the more focused your thrust is, the more efficient your journey becomes. From a practical perspective, knowing your niche disciplines you to curate the social content that resonates best with your growing client base.
KNOWLEDGE DROP #2: When it comes to making an impact, a specialist always beats generalist. So, define whose pain do you feel, aka, who you want to serve as it helps you focus your goals and your soon-to-be supporters.
- Create a Movement
A movement is a cause with momentum. Momentum is gained when your life energy provides direction and magnitude to the emotions of a group of amped up folk, aka your niche. Listen, you could do everything right and still not get the results you want IF you are just adding to the market noise. There is an ocean of smart, cheeky, and antagonistic keyboard devotees out in the world who have already said everything you want to say. So, if you are not going to spark your unique movement, save your energy and just lie down in the drift like countless other “would be heroes”. Alternatively, you can leverage the reality of the fact that nothing gets like-minded people to rally behind a cause, like a movement.
KNOWLEDGE DROP #3: Since you have to believe in something, why not believe in you? Be the creative leader of good followers crave.
The difference between marketing and creating a movement is branding. When you name the cause, speak to the pain, reveal the enemy, and provide value in the form of positions or promises, you are providing unfocused thought streams with direction, energy, gravity, substance, and action. You were not given the gifts that you have nor the unique insight you possess for nothing. Like it or not, my peep you are charged with giving refuge and providing insight, solidarity, community, and solutions. When people come across your brand, you want them to say either: “that was crazy or that … was heavy.”
In other words, name the cause, adorn it, and animate its myths and legends that celebrate the traits of your followers.
KNOWEDLGE DROP #4: As a black creative artist, you are from a lineage that has dressed, animated, lit, powered, and banked the world. #creativecomfylife should be a child’s play for you.
- Create a Messaging Library
Individually, humans are amazing and extraordinary beings capable of astonishing feats. However, as a group of species, people respond to the same basic core needs that we’ve responded for generations, such as the need for food, growth, love, individualism, autonomy, and purpose. Your messaging should leverage the unique mix of these core needs to form the bulk of your marketing library. To reach people, speak to these core needs first; to touch individuals, speak to their needs on a more personal basis.
KNOWLEDGE DROP #5: Speak to these core values in a way that your fans say, “you get me.”
- Content Array
As the title of this post suggests, your art alone is not enough to gain the attention you need to support your preferred lifestyle. You also must do all these friggin other things, such as branding, design, etc., to ever have a hope of creating the fanbase you deserve. So, once you have your art, a niche, your movement and messaging ready, you get to master the technical parts, such as syndication, distribution, and nurturing of your fan base. Miss this reality at the peril of your art career. Goodbye art mystic, hello Walmart greeter. Just so you know, while syndication is the process of preparing your content for credibility and relevance on various social platforms, distribution is the actual process of posting your content to these online touchpoints.
The syndication process involves more than your creative work as it also includes calls to action, memes, brand ID, hashtags and so on. Also, image size and video length are parts of the syndication process.
I created a syndication and distribution checklists available to download to make sure that all considerations are efficiently completed so you can get back to your art faster. You can get it at Infinitegods.com You can also check my feed for a deeper dive on the topic.
KNOWELDGE DROP #6: Do not build your empire on someone else’s land. Use your content to create your own contact list and nurture the fervent fans there.
One of the most prevalent character traits of creatives like you is being a loner. I, WHOAH!, put the knife down! Now slide it away with yer foot. Ok, so, I know that you are perfectly comfortable being alone and often try to do it all on your own. However, as a creative, you should understand that you are not an island by yourself, your growth really does take a village. Trying to do everything on your own is the opposite of living the #creativecomfylife as it is unproductive and uber stressful. As black folks, we are accustomed to making something from nothing. However, what is often a challenge for us is finding and trusting the right people, but my little kumquat trust, you must.
The reality is that you can magnify the effect of your media campaign when you reach out to advocates who can help you reach more like-minded people than you ever could on your own. Advocates certainly include influencers, media writers, content curators, insightful commentors, business alliances, other up-and-coming artists, and niche industry old heads.
KNOWLEDGE DROP #7: Advocates are the connected people who love getting caught up in your momentum.
Many would be creative leaders leave their success up to chance only to get frustrated when things are not happening and they can’t seem to figure out why. I know they must have come across at least one of the many analytics tools that can measure web traffic, help track and weigh every step across a sales funnel.
For instance, Google analytics tool works on almost any platform while most website building apps, such as WordPress, have plugin analytics; even your email newsletter tool is likely to have something available for you. Turn it on, enable the notifications, and monitor your success weekly. Warning! Don’t get discouraged in the beginning of the process when activity is low. Analytic traffic that gets below several hundred hits per week is just noise: some of it may be legit, but a lot are spiders, uninterested surfers, and even your own visits could be logged if you did not set your tool up correctly.
KNOWLEDGE DROP #8: What gets measured gets done. Routinely measure and track your advancement process regarding your primary goal.
- Task Lists
Quick and short task lists are like mana from heaven as they allow you to quickly shift your mind from art mode to management mode, and back. Task lists also act as anchors to consistency. The key is to keep them short: don’t include every potential tactic, technique, or consideration on your task list as it will only confuse and bog you down. You can use content décor, different calls to action, and so on, on other campaigns.
KNOWLEDGE DROP #9: Hit it and quit it. Treat your task list like a juggler. Be action oriented, complete the task, let it go, and move on to the next thing.
We both know that if you were asked, “Why are you not living your #creativescomylife,” you would have a long list of reasons. I know although these challenges are real, they are rarely insurmountable. Fam, remember where you came from; remember your lineage. With that in mind, I challenge you to stand in a place of 100% accountability of your situation and from there know the reason you do not have what you want to have is because you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing. Doing what you’re supposed to do WHEN it supposed to get done takes discipline.
Developing discipline is like improving your creative skills; it only grows when you use it. The most effective way to improve your discipline is to have simple task and habit lists for you to accomplish daily. Imagine you are already living the life you want to live. Think about the daily or weekly tasks the future version of you would need to complete. Now, create those lists for each department of your business hustle. For example, whether your business is just you or a staff, you need to create task lists for each core department such as admin, marketing, sales, quality control and production teams.
Once you have your lists created, simply complete them daily. Make a commitment of not making any dramatic changes to the direction or theme of the campaign. Indecisiveness is the death knell of discipline.
KNOWLEDGE DROP #10: Discipline is like trust: without it, you are nothing.
With the right action items and tools there is no reason your art can’t carry you to the life you want to lead- your #creativescomfylife. Speaking of tools, visit me at Infinitegods.com and download the syndication/distribution checklists I mentioned above to get yourself started on the right foot. \/ PEACE!