You Stop, Your Business Stops
All businesses take a good deal of upfront investment. This includes money, time and overall sacrifice. However, most businesses will (hopefully) be able to turn that upfront investment into a long term investment all the while allowing for its founder (you) to focus on the pieces of their biz that they’re really good at. Unfortunately, that’s seldom the case for us. When we stop, our businesses stop.
Upfront Disclaimer: This is NOT about working endless hours and foregoing any sense of normalcy in your life!
Assuming you’re looking to stay in this industry for the next few decades, at least, consider that you will continue to work for however long the increment of time your gig lasts for. That could be a day or two years but…it will come to an end. That means the long term work is about relevancy if we do, in fact, let go of the idea that celebrity will carry us to the finish line. But even if we were banking on stardom to propel us forward forever and always, know that there are plenty of examples of those “flash in the pan” moments for many, many performers.
I have a habit of studying actors’ careers when I’m watching something. For example, the other night we were watching the original movie version of ANNIE in honor of the amazing Ann Reinking and I looked up Aileen Quinn (she played Annie). Without any judgement or really any knowledge as to what actually followed her turn as everyone’s favorite red headed orphan, it was clear from a social media dive and a bevvy of news articles that it wasn’t for lack of wanting that her career never materialized much after that first huge hit. I’m simply assuming that the stars didn’t exactly align to carry her forward beyond those few years of massive success. Why?
Because the industry isn’t designed to support us. If we stop, our businesses stop.
“Sure. But there is always luck involved. Who’s to say she wasn’t working plenty hard and the industry didn’t make room for her?”
Fair point. But then it’s up to us to make the room. And, yes, there are many ways to do that (self producing, marketing, key relationship building and the list goes on). And when we don’t do that and we do rely on others, even our representation, to do the work for us, we’re likely setting ourselves up for failure.
“When do I get a moment’s rest?”
When you’d like it! The ultimate point is that we need to build a business AND lifestyle structure that supports the world we’d like to live in. Yes, of course this requires more discipline and responsibility than the average person but this is the wrong industry to be in if we’re looking to practice being “average” anyway. In fact, even if Artist’s Strategy’s work is designed to mitigate the ultimate risk coming from this huge investment and sacrifice we’re all putting in, there is undoubted unknowns throughout all of this so one could argue that it takes a focus on the “exemplary” to find that point of balance where you can find a moment’s rest all the while continuing to create and pay your bills.
That does bring us to the immediate, noting the disclaimer above, while this is not about working every second of every day, it really is about finding your flow in this moment. Building a life structure to support your work while prioritizing the activities and relationships you’d like to is very much within your reach. Setting boundaries and staying consistent is where the work actually is. However, if we accept that our businesses stop when we stop, at least you can make informed decisions one way or another about how best you’d like to use your time. As always, happiness is the real goal.