Artists: Treat Your Craft like a Business

So here it is, truth time.

For the last several weeks I’ve been on a kick about dancers, dance companies and artists treating their endeavors like a business in order to sustain and grow in this predominantly business minded society. Without playing the ‘right or wrong’ card, that’s just it.

artists treat work like business to succeed tips from dance photographer rachel neville movement photographs

We live in a society that prizes the American Dream, which is essentially financial, above all else. I wish we prized culture and experienced art on a more equal level but that seems only the case for those that commercialize, or ‘business-ize’ themselves.

I’ve hired a business coach. It’s not as if every pro athlete and dancer doesn’t have their mentors/coaches, teachers that they work with to achieve their goals and dreams, but still, having taken that step makes me feel like a bit of a failure.

Benjamin Briones Ballet

The truth is that I need to take my business to the next level if I am to not work 100 hour weeks while pretending to maintain a work/family balance that I and my girls need me to have (and probably my husband should factor somewhere in there, sorry Dave..)

It’s been really interesting, taking stock of all the programming I have, some from my upbringing, much from my dance training, and it’s been wonderful to be able to use some of what I’m learning to help my clients.  But one thing is becoming so clear to me: when we train as artist we spend so much time in the world of ‘work really really hard to get where you want to go, but money will more than likely not be abundant once you get there. In fact, feel honored to just be doing what you are doing..’

Wow. Can you imagine the number of doctors or lawyers we would have in our system if we told them the same thing?  What is the problem here? Is it a chicken and egg thing? Or do all forms of art need, or require, business courses to go along with our training? MBAs for artists?

fitness and movement photography outdoor shots rachel neville

A continuing conversation… but I will keep harping on this to all my clients if they are not there yet: treat your endeavor just as seriously as a business would, investing wisely in teachers/coaches, present yourselves well with good photos, reels, marketing, going the distance and getting the jobs. Maybe at some point we will be able to turn the page here…

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