I have seen it time and again. You say one thing about your art and creative business but the underneath tells a different story. We are all about relationship with a ruthless contract to follow. We only care about providing you with the best value (i.e., least expensive option) and charge a percentage. Or, my fave, customer service is our priority, except the answer is do not worry, it will all work out.
There will ALWAYS be disconnects between your professed truth and the reality of you, your art and your creative business. Such is the nature of the beast in an ever-evolving world. However, the work has to be to constantly identify the disconnects if only to hone the value your creative business delivers. The very idea that you do what you say, act as you imagine yourself to be, deliver the why of what you do first and foremost is exactly what clients pay for.
So how to go about the process of alignment? Easy to say, crazy hard to do. Ask yourself why you do what you do? No platitudes – because I love to create/design/photograph/plan – only how you want to change the world. That is what artists do after all. Then look for the why everywhere in your creative business – how you answer the phone, in your contract, in your production process, and, obviously, in your final product. One of my favorite examples, interior designer, Vicente Wolf.
Vicente is an intrepid global traveler. His philosophy is to cross boundaries and bring the world into his designs. His designs mix culture, eras and styles to make a unique statement. Vicente wants to change the world by making his clients aware of all that he has seen in his travels. Seeing globally in your environment (the one Vicente creates for you) is Vicente’s why. I have written about how Vicente lives his why and how his entire business is structured around it. As with all of us, his is a work in progress, but he is very far down the road. Here is the link to my post on Vicente’s blog. I wrote it three years ago but it is as true and relevant today as it was then.
I am a stickler for process, details and alignment because your creative business tells a story. Too often that story is not the same as the story you are trying to tell with your art. No one can tell two stories and hope to build trust. By definition, one of the two stories is not true no matter how much you would like it to be. Clients, vendors, employees and colleagues can smell it when you tell two stories. It breeds distrust and distrust is the cancer of all creative business.
Creative businesses sell a leap of faith. Finding alignment is an investment in trust. With it, your creative business can take your art anywhere. Without alignment and trust, your creative business will forever be the tether to your art’s balloon.
Tell one story and see where that takes you.