5 Keys To A Successful Creative Career

Your talent is unique, but your struggles are not.

That’s why I know I can help you.

After years of helping creators— including comedians, actors, writers, filmmakers, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs — I’ve learned they all struggle with the same issues.

Focus. Clarity. Process. The ability to generate opportunities, identify and grow your audience. These are the keys to your success — and they can be learned.

Below, you’ll find a bit more about each of these topics and why they’re so vital to your success.

If you struggle with any of them, I’d love to help you figure it out. Email me.

1. Focus.

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.” — Tony Robbins

Creators rarely have a shortage of things they want to create.

However, that overflowing creative drive can make it difficult to focus your output in a way that serves you best. You wind up drifting from project to project, jumping at each new bit of inspiration, only to leave a trail of abandoned projects in your wake.

Or, maybe you spread yourself so thin with so many ambitious creations they all suffer— none given the individual attention it needs to live up to your true capabilities.

The ability to wrangle your own creativity and focus your effort is vital to the development of your creative career. Doing so allows you to maximize the benefit you get from the blood, sweat, and tears you put into your work.

2. Clarify who you are and what you do.

“With clarity comes conviction and true originality.” — Conan O’Brien

Every creator believes they’re unique, but few can explain why.

To separate yourself from the crowd, you must be able to clearly explain who you are, what you do, and why people should care.

In order to this, you need a vision for your work and a destination where you hope it leads people. You must develop your voice.

This self-awareness and thoughtfulness will ultimately inform everything from your work approach to the promotion of it.

It’s the foundation of your career and it can’t be shaky.

3. Develop your process.

“Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.” — A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

You can’t wait around for inspiration to strike if you want your art to become your career.

While it’s important to give yourself space for the ebb and flow of your muse, you also need to develop processes to ensure you’re as productive as you are creative.

Every creator’s process is unique and you must find one that fits your work style. But make no mistake — process is a big part of being a creator and you need to develop one.

A process is what separates a professional from a hobbyist and it’s what allows you to consistently advance your work and and avoid the too-often erratic nature of a creative life.

4. Create opportunities.

To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” — Bruce Lee

There’s a good chance you pursued a creative career at least in part because you had zero interest in the business world.

That’s fine, but you won’t have a successful creative career unless you recognize business is an important component of it.

Learning to create and recognize opportunities to monetize your work is not an optional part of a creative career — it’s a core skill you need to develop.

But the good news is there are more ways to earn a living through your creations than you realize.

Monetizing your creative work can (and should) be done in ways that don’t go against your core creative principles and don’t remotely feel like “selling out.”

It’s on you to find those ways. Put as much creativity and imagination into your business strategy as you do into your art and you’ll discover them.

And, while you’re at it, get over your fear of self-promotion.

5. Identify and grow your audience.

“I never underestimate the audience’s ability to feel me.” — Erykah Badu

Most creators have no idea who their audience is.

Your audience is not everybody. If you’re a comedian, it’s not “comedy fans” and if you’re a musician, it’s not “music fans.”

Your audience, the audience you will need to find and connect with in order to build a successful career, are your fans.

They’re a unique blend of people specifically interested in the unique things you create. You need to identify them, find them, and connect with them.

Don’t assume somebody else will serve them up to you — it doesn’t work like that. It’s on you to make it happen.

Audience building — the ability to identify, find, and connect with the people most likely to enjoy your work — is the biggest key to a successful creative career.

It’s also the thing creators struggle most with.

Since every creator’s audience is going to be unique, it’s tough for me to give you any specific tips in this post about how to find yours.

But, if you’d like some suggestions about your situation, email me and I’ll be happy to help.