Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Does Your City Have An Organization That Helps Creatives Become A Successful Business?

Hey y'all, today I wanted to share with you how important it is for us creatives to embrace the business side of things so we can earn a profitable living from our talents.   

I must say, even with a basic business background I had to go through some serious trial and errors to navigate my career as a Visual Artist.  There weren't any real resources to teach you how to make a living off your craft except a handful of books.  After buying all of them, I was still lost.  

Well let me tell y'all about one of the best resources I've come across to help our dreams come true BunBuns!  C4 Atlanta is a non-profit organization that connects arts entrepreneurs to the people, skills and tools they need to build a successful artistic career from Atlanta.  

They welcome all types of creatives, not just visual artists.  So if you are a musician, rapper, MC, vocalist, DJ, dancer, instrumentalist, performer, writer, film director, animator, illustrator, anything creative, this is for you! 

C4 helps you look at your business from all aspects; helping you customize strategies and introducing you to new tools.  I was grateful to qualify for a scholarship offered through C4 which allowed me to take the IGNITE class.  As a member, you can apply for the KP Bridge Program, designed to help artists obtain affordable health insurance for you and your family (for those that qualify).  The TechSmarts meet-ups teach creatives all the different ways technology can advance your business.  Their AIM (Artist in the Marketplace) workshop helps you create a custom marketing plan; it addresses how to effectively let people know about your business and what you do. C4's Website Bootcamp guides you on how to build a website using WordPress.  They offer many more resources, so go check out their website for more information.  

So let me tell you what their IGNITE class is like.  It's an eight week class that strictly focuses on the business side of what you do.  The class helps you envision what you want your business to be like in such detail that you will create your business as you've never known.  

C4 helps you come up with your mission statement, creative offering, vision statement, core values, value proposition, they go over industry analysis, even helping you assess threats to your business! They help you evaluate who your competitors are, help you create a marketing plan including publicity and promotions, how to negotiate effectively with integrity, they even go over the different types of business entities to help you figure out which one is right for you (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, etc.)

The class size is small, so there's a lot of interaction with one another, and you get to meet new friends.  Yah, it's an intense class, only for those serious about their profession. It was really what I needed to propel my career to the next level.

By the time I finished the class, I had an amazing business plan more detailed than any other business plan I've ever written.  Of course business plans are always evolving and changing, but I had a real basic foundation.  This class allowed me to create a bigger vision than I ever thought possible.  I actually developed a logical, realistic strategic plan showing me how to make millions off my art! Yee! 

You may hear from IGNITE alumni how this class has changed our lives.  Here are some amazing results I've achieved with the help of C4 Atlanta. 

Created a business plan that I feel really good about, strong enough to show to investors and new business associates to make a powerful first impression.  We have to show them how serious we are BunBuns!

• We did a little presentation at the end of class explaining our business plan.  C4 invited two very knowledgable guests to give us feedback.  One of the guests scheduled a studio visit and offered me a management deal on the spot after he saw my work.  

• The other guest invited me to do a podcast interview at WonderRoot, a non-profit organization that also serves creatives.  

• I've attended other classes regarding social media, blogging, Google Analytics, etc.  

• C4 sent us emails to free classes offered at other organizations such as how to shoot videos if you have no idea what you're doing (that's me!).  They introduced us to other classes that covered various topics pertaining to business enhancement too.

• From one of the classes C4 Atlanta referred me to, I met an amazing lady who really loved what I was doing and invited me as her guest to an Eve Ensler book talk.  The lady I met has become a real big supporter of what I'm doing, and excited to open new doors of opportunity for me as a business ally.    

• I got health insurance through C4; super affordable world-class healthcare through Kaiser Permanente.  Hospital visits has never been so luxurious. For real! 

Joe Winter, Deputy Director, introduced me to a video director who is going to shoot all my videos.  Yee!

As a proud alumni of the IGNITE program, this experience was absolutely necessary in helping me develop a detailed comprehensive strategy.  It's improved my life.  Personally I think this class is worth at least $5,000 if not more.  

Organizations such as C4 Atlanta are a vital necessity to creatives' career development.  The amount of value they contribute to the Atlanta creative community is immeasurable.  Jessyca Holland and Joe Winter have worked tirelessly with the Board of Directors to see this come to fruition and the impact it's had on C4 members. The amazing thing is, it all started with a passionate vision  - an idea to fulfill a substantial need.

Does your city have an organization that helps creatives become a successful business?  If not, why not start one?  Yee?  From the sprout of an idea, an innovation like this helps develop more prosperous creatives from your city. ATL represent! lol 

That is why the Power2Give initiative is so important in helping to raise funds so organizations like C4 Atlanta can really expand and further develop their capabilities in serving more creatives.  In this case, the agenda is to provide more scholarships so creatives like you and me can really explore just how far we can go.  C4 Atlanta has two weeks left to meet their goal so they can provide these scholarships.  For every dollar donated, the Power2Give sponsor will match it. Don't you want to quit your day job and fire your boss BunBun?! 

As a fellow creative who has gained so much value from C4 Atlanta, I definitely want more creatives to know about this resource.  Perhaps this blog post can plant this concept to artistic communities in other cities in creating an organization that helps creatives with business education.  

The IGNITE program definitely lit a fire under my ass.  I'm so excited for all of us BunBuns! With organizations like C4 Atlanta helping us, we are a few steps closer to making our dreams come true! 


*Feel free to share this post with fellow creatives in Atlanta so they know about this valuable resource.  Thanks!

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