There’s a difference between a job, a passion and a purpose. If you get paid to perform a service or to deliver goods, that’s a job. If you love doing it, then that’s your passion. If it impacts the life of one other person, that’s your purpose.
As a creative entrepreneur, I’ve come to realize one lesson that’s been the cornerstone of my journey – do it yourself.
It’s one thing to be a Jane of all trades, where you wear various hats. There are pros and cons for being that type of person. However, I am not referring to that kind of DIY. I am talking about taking ownership of your project, career and life.
When you’re an actress, you are at the mercy of a casting director and/or producer.
When you are a filmmaker, you are at the mercy of investors.
When you are a singer, you are at the mercy of a record label.
When you are a photographer or designer, you are at the mercy of the client who hires you.
In our industry, we are in constant validation mode and many times this restricts creative expression. In my own journey, I’ve come to appreciate creative expression above many things, including money. Therefore adopting a DIY mindset aligns with my core values at a very deep level.
What if DIY is easier said than done? There’s one simple rule you need to remember when you want to pursue your passion for profit…
Reverse engineer success.
Before you can create your roadmap, you kind of have to know where exactly you want to go. If not, you’ll find yourself going around in circles, ending up right where you began.
Is your metric of success…
a theatrical distribution?
OK great! What theaters, the big chains or local indies? Who distributes to those theaters?
a starring role?
OK superstar! What kind of production, film or television? What genre? Who creates content for those kinds of projects? Are you leveraging social media to connect with the gatekeepers?
a record deal?
OK diva! What is your style? Are you constantly performing? Do you know why Napster transformed the music industry? Who are your fans and yes you will need them BEFORE the deal.
Being a DIY is about having a “take action” mindset and not allowing obstacles to stop you in your tracks.
When I was producing live comedy sketch shows, we needed a venue to perform. I whipped out my Blackberry, called the first comedy club that was off-off Broadway and within 5 minutes they said yes. We had a steady gig for several months. Sometimes it really is THAT simple.
Taking action is code for “giving yourself permission.”
When you give yourself permission to go after your dreams, you take away power from the gatekeepers. I call this the “by design” approach. When something is “by design” it’s intentional and created with strategic purpose.
Those endless hours of snapping pics for Instagram and those daily videos to Youtube now have meaning. Those scribbles in a journal and that post-breakup emo poetry now serve a greater good.
Creating a brand, business and lifestyle “by design” gives you the freedom to define success on your own terms. Granted you may need to have a very fluid definition of success but it’s there for the taking if you’re willing to do the work without the validation of anyone, especially industry peers.