This is the third installment of a four-part series on building a creative business and lifestyle, based on my experiences, what I’ve learnt from others and my plans for the future.
- Part One: Multiple Streams of Income
- Part Two: Marketing & Publicity
- Part Three: Contribution
- Part Four: The Secret Ingredients
Other than social karma, contribution is a vital part not just of a business, but of a person. I’m not sure how much research there is to back my belief up (I know Tony Robbins assigns it as one of the basic human needs) but we all know that when we help someone, we feel good.
Feeling good should be an adequate reason to help people!
But you’re in business now. You need to make money to pay the bills, buy new resources, advertise and upskill (amongst other things). When do you have the time or money to make a contribution back to society?
Selfless giving is a whole ‘nother level of saint-dom, but for the sake of argument let’s look at ways to can contribute while gaining something for the business as well.
Workshops / Webinars
You’re teaching others your hard-learned skills and sharing your valuable experience. Regardless of whether you are receiving a monetary payment, you are establishing your authority in the field and making connections with potential customers. At the very least, they are likely to mention you a friend or colleague, and you’ve gained publicity with the group you’ve taught and some of their contacts.
Like workshops, consultation helps you build authority and word of mouth. This time, you’re not building it with a group of people, but a deeper connection with one person. You’re making a real dent in their universe. The people who have taken time out of their to help me out are people I remember forever, and often recommend to other people.
One of my biggest motivators to succeed in self-publishing is to prove to people that it can be done. Specifically, children and parents. There are too many people who believe a career in the arts is nigh impossible unless you chance on fame, when in reality there are a number of people making good, full-time salaries in their chosen field. As a teacher, I’m in a position where I can prove that art can be more than just a hobby. So, turning your passion into a business can be contribution in and of itself!