#10 Create a weekly smART-Tank of artists, business folks and anyone else interested in supporting the arts to meet with over coffee or dinner. Discuss, share, and use the group to help each artist in it learn how to create a more fulfilling financially viable artistic life. Run an ad to start it in your local paper or post a flyer at somewhere you like to hang out to get started. Expand your circle beyond your friends and people you know and watch how quickly you get results! Think tanks are wonderful ways to expand your circle, knowledge and resource base and make new friends.
#9 Ask for a coffee date with someone you admire that creatively and artistically is thriving and ask them about how they do it! Bring a pad of paper, pen and a great set of questions. We learn most quickly and are most likely to adopt best practices when we surround ourselves with those who are most like who we want and need to be.
#8 Make a list of the three most important things you need to do to advance your career that will take less then a month to complete and get started. Tape that list to a mirror or near your computer so that you can revisit your progress daily.
#7 Talk to others about what you are trying to accomplish. The more you verbalize your dreams and goals the clearer it will become, not to mention easier to reach.
#6 Don’t know where to start? Start with a list of what you do not want in life. In fact make a big long list of all the things you surely do not want to do or be like. After you are done, sit back and look carefully at the list because whatever you put on it is only 180% away from what you really do want from your life and career.
#5 Build a website and print a business card. You can start with a MySpace page for free or come to wordpress, like me, and build a site and blog for free. Business cards are a must. How can you be remembered if you cannot memorably leave your contact info with those who you wish to know? I cannot tell you how many professional people in their 30’s, 40’s, and up I have met at networking events who do not have a business card with them or a website. Seriously.
#4 Fail, fail, fail, fail… NO- I DON”T want you to fail but it can often feel like we are failing until we succeed. Sales books often preach that it takes seven knocks to open a door, but I believe it takes just as many with anything we truly want to accomplish in life. Knocking seven times on a door without anyone answering can be a little hard on the ego but fear not- keep knocking! Knock, knock, knock- because if you do, I promise you that door will open.
#3 Opportunity comes when its ready not when you are! If you want to change the rules of how to be an artist by being one who thrives, then you have to be ready to take the opportunities that come your way WHEN they do. Opportunity is never one to call at the perfect moment. So be ready to open the door and say yes.
#2 Practice makes perfect. Everything in life- relationships, art, careers, our weaknesses- everything improves with practice. But you have to practice smart. Isolate the source of the problem and tackle it. Don’t practice what you know, focus instead on what you need to learn to make all of the pieces fall into place.
#1 Be the kind of person you want others to be to you. It’s all about karma. Be good to your family, friends, significant others, patrons, clients, donors, board members and anyone else in life you interact with. Givers gain- it’s the butterfly principal. What you spread will blossom and grow and come back to you twenty fold.