Tips on Becoming a Creative Entrepreneur


- Jay Maharjan, 01-05-2011

Living in Los Angeles, I come across creative types who are often struggling to balance between mastering their craft versus marketing them. Creative professions, by nature is highly competitive in regards to making monetary gains. Creative types disregard the realistic aspect of making it and truly follow their passion. And by all means they should give their best to master their craft, but being little bit entrepreneurial would make a lot of sense.

Fundamentals of entrepreneurship applies in the creative domain as well. Highly successful entertainers are savvy entrepreneurs. Mick Jagger, though hard to believe, attended the prestigious London School of Economics and had a strong entrepreneurial acumen; Oprah Winfrey has built her media empire and now starting her own network, keeping entrepreneurial spirit alive all along the way.

  1. Think Outside the Box

It is ok to focus on non-glamorous venture while honing your craft. A notable screenwriter friend of mine built a post-production business of transcribing for studios and production companies after finishing his internship at a major Studio. He was extremely passionate about building this venture. He became so successful that after building a solid clientele and track record, he sold the company. With the new found fortune and keeping his passion for screenwriting, he focused full time on screen writing. He successfully sold his first screen play the following year for half a million dollars – in a bidding war between multiple studios. The takeaway is that his dynamic personality along with the passion for both business and his craft allowed him to be successful in both areas. The creative types MUST learn to be entrepreneurs.

LEVERAGE on social media: Social media is a great on-ramp tool to connect ( with influencers, executives, studios, production companies)

There is a plethora of applications being created, making social media as the tool to connect with the end users. a company that I am a part of, uses mobile devices to interact with live television events. Our technology technology enables major advertisers to interact with customers, fans via twitter, eliminating expenses related to traditional media like radio and television.

Spot411, another company founded by one of my business partners, uses a facebook platform to socially watch television shows and movies simultaneously among friends viewing from multiple locations.

How can a solo creative entrepreneur build his presence on Twitter, Facebook and connect with entertainment industry?

- Be exceptional at what you do!

This may sound like a simple advice. But in reality, this is the foundation for everything that follows. You can have ICM, CAA represent you, but end of the day if you are not exceptional at what you do, you probably wouldn’t make it. In creative field, just like in any other field there is a portion that has to do with the god given innate talent and the rest has to do with dedicating everything you got to master your passion. Once you have your craft mastered, then you would want to push your presence on social as well as traditional media networks.

- Trust is everything!

To be an influencer or get noticed in social media, winning trust is essential. Impacting within social media is not a popularity contest. It is better to have a small pool of like-minded people in your vertical group than a random large following. Once you have your social network in place, the beauty of social media tools like twitter is that followers are already opted in so you can communicate with them directly (DM) without coming across as spammer. Even the ones who are not following you, you can interact by addressing directly and publicly via a tweet.

- Social Media is JUST a medium

Social media tools – the likes of blogs, twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Four Square are just tools. Smart creative entrepreneurs must learn to use them appropriately and not use them just because its a fad at that time.

You must be good at what you do. Once you choose the right social media tool, the message still has to be appropriate and effective. Higher frequency of messages does not translate to higher effectiveness. Articulate your message, keep your value proposition simple – follow the priceless advice from the world of sales – KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!

- Think like an investor investing in your own creative venture

Treat your passion as an entrepreneurial venture or a career.

Before spending anytime on social media, think of it like a venture and rationalize in a way that if you would pay somebody else to do what you are planning to do yourself.

If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t be doing it. Bottomline – make sure that time is being spent wisely and you are not distracted from the craft that you should be mastering instead. Creative entrepreneurship is truly an ART of business.

-  Always add value!

Creative arena can be self-centered, narcissistic at times and that it is easier to forget to help others succeed before focusing on you. The reality is that if you help your fellow artists succeed, in essence you are creating a roadmap for your own success! It is not a coincidence that major producers, directors, screenwriters and artists – that most of them supported each other prior to becoming famous collectively. Most likely, they parted their ways when they made it big, but just like mega business moguls, most of the entertainment moguls had that supporting camaraderie early on in their career.

I would love to hear from creative entrepreneurs out there! Feel free to shoot me an email – ideas4entrepreneur at gmail.com – or post comments here..

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12 Responses to “Tips on Becoming a Creative Entrepreneur”

  1. Lamar says:

    great advice

  2. [...] is a follow-up piece on what I was writing on creative entrepreneurship. I was encouraged to explore further on the topic [...]

  3. d_mac says:

    entreprenership should be a required reading at Film schools, appropriate advice thanx

  4. Tina Lee says:

    must read for hollywood types!!think like entrepreneur

  5. admin says:

    thanks for the comments.

  6. Entrrunion says:

    Appropriate advice for creative types

  7. Glrff says:

    Any ideas on promoting film festivals?

  8. Jay Maharjan says:

    Social media works really well. twitter is effective when it comes to building a large following in your niche area. social media is widely used by professionals within the entertainment industry. You can use twitter tool like tweepml.com to build a network of likeminded professionals. Will write more on this topic. Hope this helps!

  9. Jay Maharjan says:

    Just got back from OMMA New York..takeaway from the event is that there are many tools out there to measure your influence on social media. Social media branding is for real. Sooner you learn to exploit and measure on social media as a creative entrepreneur sooner you will be able to reap rewards.

  10. Glrff says:

    Tnx for the reply will try twitter

  11. Jay Maharjan says:

    Here is a good case study for film festival promoters -


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