The intersection between business and the arts is tricky to cross unless you’re David Mamet.
Early in his career, Mamet worked in real estate. He turned his experiences with cutthroat salespeople into the play Glengarry Glen Ross. This play and the subsequent film won multiple awards on Broadway and at the Oscars.
Today, Mamet offers two rules for succeeding first as an artist and second as a business person.
He said, “You’ve got to do one thing for your art every day, and you’ve got to do one thing for your business every day.”
Focus On What Success Looks Like
As an entrepreneur, starting a business is one of the most creative acts you can undertake.
An ability to create products, services and offers represents your craft, whereas the bottom line reflects the health of your business.
When I first heard Mamet’s advice, I pictured a bearded recluse hunched over his desk working by candlelight and etching out War and Peace with an fancy quill pen.
That’s not reality. A boss, spouse, child or even a bank manager will need your attention at some point.
Still, it’s relatively easy to work on your improving your craft and building your business every day if you focus on what counts.
In 1996, 23-year-old Kevin Plank created athletic undershirts that stayed dry (craft) during difficult workouts. He drove up and down the east coast of the United States selling them out of his car (business).
What started out as a side-hustle became Under Armour, and today it’s worth more than $4.4 billion.
Similar to what to what screenwriters like Mamet teach, Plank said, “Every great brand is like a great story. Great stories often have humble beginnings.”
Perhaps you want to quit your job and work on your side business full time, spending your days working on what excites you like Mamet or Plank.
Or maybe you want to create and sell artisanal products to a niche group of admiring customers on Etsy.
Whatever your preference, you’ll need to learn secondary skills like finding customers, marketing your work and even taking care of the books so the taxman doesn’t hunt you down.
Work On Your Craft Every Day
Mamet has spent a lifetime writing plays, films, books and more. He said, “There’s no such thing as talent; you just have to work hard enough.”
Mamet also answered the one question every entrepreneur should ask themselves about their business: What does success look like?
Success doesn’t have to be a $4.4 billion valuation.
Instead of trying to break into the top 1% of your field like Under Armour, combine working on your side-hustle with learning a new business skill.
You could learn how to create an online product and sell it to fans and followers. Or you could create an offer like coaching or even a course.
If you’re a freelancer with a artisanal products to sell, you could take a course that teaches you how to create a profitable Etsy store.
Close Like A Pro
Like an investor who adds to their portfolio over time, acquiring new skills every day will help you improve your bottom line.
Cultivate the craft to create a product or service customers love. Practice asking for the sale.
This way of working will give you more resources to reinvest in your business and improve your products or services.
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