Big Picture Thinking for Commercial Creative Artists

I will use the term “Commercial Creative Artist” to refer to any creative or artistic individual who is looking to pursue their craft at a professional commercial level; whether it is full-time, part-time or free-lance. The assumption I make is that you are looking to make money, build a business and a professional career as a creative artist.

In a broad sense, you are in “Show Business”. Whether you are stage performer such as a a magician, juggler, show host, actor, dancer or musician OR a designer specializing in fashion, video, audio, web or graphics OR an artist such as a sculptor, painter, photographer or film maker, you are in “Show Business” in some form or another.

“Show Business” is two words and “business” contains twice the number of letters than “show”. This gives good indication that you require twice the amount of effort in the business aspect of your work, on top of honing your show or craft. This is the undisputable reality if you are pursuing your craft as a commercial business. “Business” is the bigger component of the “big picture”. (If you are doing your creative craft for fun and as a hobby, have the most fun with it and ignore anything I’m writing here.)

Many commercial creative artists (CCA) unfortunately do not see the big picture. Their singular focus on honing the skills and techniques of their craft or buying the latest and best equipment consumes their time, energy and resources because they have passion for just the craft. And that is crucial and excellent, because you need passion to fuel your creative drive.

But unfortunately, good technique and equipment alone will not ensure survival, let alone success as a CCA. The business aspect is what the top pros pay equal if not more attention to. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  1. Positioning and related to that Product Differentiation & a Unique Selling Proposition
  2. Branding
  3. Marketing
  4. PR
  5. Direct Competition
  6. Indirect Competition
  7. Market trends that directly affect your industry/ craft
  8. Market trends that indirectly affect your industry/ craft
  9. Time Management
  10. Effective & Productive Business Operations

As a CCA, on top of honing your craft and being up to date to the latest equipment, do you spend time learning, studying and executing the above? Are you even aware of what the above entail?

This is a greater part of the big picture for a CCA.

Many have no interest in the business side of things. But the big picture is – as a CCA you must be concerned with the business and all aspects that impact your commercial viability. If you have completely no interest and are not prepared to put in time, energy and resources to learn and executive the business, you have only four options:

  1. Do not pursue your craft as a commercial business
  2. Learn all the aspects of how to run your craft as a commercial business and then execute them with consistency
  3. Get someone to be your business manager or partner up with someone who understands business
  4. Carry on pursuing your craft without working on the business and be prepared for a very tough career

Assuming you are considering option 4, know this: There are four things that will determine your success in showbiz

  1. Excelling in your craft
  2. Developing the business
  3. Working hard
  4. Luck

The only component you cannot control is luck. That leaves you with only 3 components that are left in your control. So, if you give up any of the remaining 3 components, you only have a 50/ 50 chance of succeeding. If you work on just one component, you only have a 25% chance of success. But, if you work on all 3 remaining components, you have a 75% percent chance of success. Based on these odds, it is a no-brainer in deciding how to purse your career as a CCA.

Undaunted & ready to go?

Excellent… time to get to work!


About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
This entry was posted in Commercial Creative Artist and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Big Picture Thinking for Commercial Creative Artists

  1. NewToMagic says:

    performing as a magician as a job doesnt seem as easy as it seems then. i would need to know more about business and marketing and more. not only do i need to practice magic then. i need to learn these other things if i want to be a professional magician.

  2. MysteryM says:

    You are trying to say that one should actually look at it like it’s a business rather then solely looking at it like an art if one want’s to survive on it? I think that’s true. Afterall, you got to sell yourself to get people to hire you. And the selling part is the same with selling any product. Only in this case it’s an act that is being sold. Hmm. I should have taken a Business course. Ha.

  3. KennethL says:

    Great article. Is there any tips on marketing? Like do advertisements on papers, tv? Or is there something else that needs to be done besides marketing?

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