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Striking a Balance: Marc Esannason’s Insight on Balancing Creativity and Business for Young Creators

Photo of Marc Esannason for insight on balancing creativity and business.

In the dynamic world of creativity and innovation, my passion, unique ideas, and insatiable desire to make my mark on the industry have driven me to be a successful creative entrepreneur. However, amidst the excitement of my artistic expression, there is an essential aspect that is mostly overlooked—the business behind being a creative entrepreneur. As a Creative Director with years of experience in the industry, I have come to believe that too many young creators focus solely on their creative endeavors, neglecting the crucial aspects of entrepreneurship, business.

Creativity is the lifeblood of any artistic field. It is what drives innovation, distinguishes artists and creators from one another, and captivates audiences. I always ask creators “What is their favorite board game?” The majority of the time their answer is Monopoly. I then follow up with a second question, “Where on the Monopoly board does it say “Move five pieces and gain 100 Instagram followers?” Almost all  starting businesses you see on social media are mimicking successful businesses. They are actually not really businesses in the sense of the word.  It’s all about making an impression to look like something they are not. I sometimes ask to see their profit and loss (P&L) statement for their business and their reply is, what’s that? 

While creativity may be the driving force, the business side of the creative industry cannot be underestimated. I highlight the importance of understanding the marketplace, target audiences, and the strategies required to transform creative ideas into sustainable ventures. Building a successful career requires more than just talent; it necessitates a strong foundation in business acumen, marketing, branding, financial management, and networking. I believe that young creators should view themselves as both artists and entrepreneurs. By embracing the business side of their creative endeavors, they can amplify their impact and ensure long-term success. Here are a few key points to consider when embarking on a creative entrepreneurial path:

Education and Skill Development:
To thrive in the creative industry, creators must expand their knowledge beyond their craft. I actively seek opportunities to learn about business strategies, marketing techniques, negotiation skills, and project management. Engaging in workshops, courses, or mentorship programs offers a holistic understanding of the industry.

Establishing a Professional Network:
Networking plays a vital role in any creative industry. Building connections with like-minded individuals, industry professionals, and potential clients can open doors to new opportunities and collaborations. I attend industry events, join relevant communities, and utilize social media platforms to connect with peers and industry leaders.

Business Planning and Strategy:
Developing a solid business plan is crucial for young creators. I identify short and long-term goals, define my target audience, and outline strategies to monetize my creative work. Understanding pricing, contracts, copyright, and licensing helps protect my intellectual property and maximize revenue potential.

Embracing Marketing and Branding:
Effective marketing and branding strategies are key to establishing a strong presence in the industry. I create a compelling personal brand that reflects my unique style and values. Utilizing digital platforms, social media, and online portfolios allows me to showcase my work and attract potential clients or collaborations.

Financial Management:
While you are pursuing your creative passions, maintaining financial stability is essential. I would put together a monthly P&L to manage your budget, track expenses, and monitor the growth or scalability of your business. Establishing a sustainable income stream provides the freedom to focus on your craft without compromising financial security.

My insights shed light on an often-overlooked aspect of the creative industry: the business of creativity. As a creative entrepreneur, I believe that by embracing the entrepreneurial side of my work and striking a balance between creativity and business acumen, I can scale my business, have a successful career, and achieve my goals at the same time.