Is Being a Solopreneur Really Possible?

Not All of Inner Circle Thumbs Up

Although all the members of my inner circle are not thumbs up about it, I am venturing forward none the less. It’s an idea that I have waited years to implement as a solopreneur. My dream has been to have an organization as well as a magic show based on that organization. So this begs the question that since when making important decisions I have a round table of confidants, does this mean I’m not a solopreneur?

Becoming a Solopreneur Can be a Good Decision

I think truly being a solopreneur in the ultimate sense of doing entrepreneurial activity with absolutely no input from others might technically be possible, but I believe it’s not the smart way to go. If you are an introvert or are seeking solitude for whatever reason when doing business, putting on the hat of being solopreneur can be a good decision.

Managing Online Freelancers

Though, I feel that it is unrealistic to think that you can do it all on your own. Hey, if you’re into being a multitasking phenomenon more power to you, but in the end you’ll make more money if you don’t do all the work yourself and rather manage online freelancers. The suggestion is to have online freelancers do most of the work and then you tweak the results to make it client ready.

Midtown Studio

That’s what I do and it has been working out really well. Yet, despite relying on others is a part of my business model, I still consider myself to be a solopreneur. The flip side of this approach is the methodology I used when having my incorporated company for 12 years in a media studio in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, NY. Although we always made money, I found the approach a bit overwhelming.

Managing People Live

I had, what for me, was a lot of folks in person doing what needed to be done. At any given time in the studio I’d have live 7 or so individual freelancers. One of the reasons that I shut down the organization was because managing people was not what I wanted to do. Though I should mention that the people who worked with me were awesome!

Cyber Delegation

When I discovered online freelancers this became a good solution for me, because I could delegate the work via the internet and then the next time I’d hear from the person who I emailed tasks to do, it usually was for the reason of a job well done.

Use Yourself as Your Initial Guinea Pig

If you don’t have a background of being a manager (either virtually or in person), the secret I’ve discovered to being a solopreneur on the web is to first do the work yourself that you are eventually going to assign to online freelancers.

Making an Income

Make notes regarding your workflow and process then divy up the tasks. You can create step by step documents for each of your freelancers which you email to them. It goes without saying you should be certain that the cost of doing business (freelancers, apps, etc.) is less than what you charge clients. You should have a decent margin.

And Finally…

So what is the answer to the question “Is being a solopreneur really possible?” In my abridged definition I would have to say “yes.” What about you? Are you an ArtisticPreneur and Solopreneur? What’s you definition of a solopreneur? We’d love to hear from you!

John Yianni Stamas asks: “Are You an ArtisticPreneur or Solopreneur or Both?!”

NYC AIM

Are you a small business owner who wants to be more artistic? Or may you’re an artist who wants to have the tools of an entrepreneur? Do you consider yourself to be an ArtisticPreneur or a SoloPreneur? Keep reading for some insights!

Defining a SoloPreneur as a Subcategory of Being an ArtisticPreneur

Hi. John Yianni Stamas here. As many of you know, we sometimes take on NYC AIM Apprentices (online). On a few occasions we’ve had apprentices ask us “What is a solopreneur and how do I become one? And of course, because of our association with ArtisticPreneur.com, we answer:

“Being a SoloPreneur is a subcategory of being an ArtisticPreneur.” In other words how we see it is that an ArtisticPreneur is a type of entrepreneur that can then be broken down into many facets, one of which is to be a SoloPreneur.”

That said, one definition of being an ArtisticPreneur/SoloPreneur might be:

“Someone who works by her or himself and whose primary contact with others, including clients and vendors, is done digitally.”

There are several other definitions of SoloPreneurs as well.

How Do I Get Clients as a SoloPreneur/ArtisticPreneur?

When an Apprentice asks about becoming a SoloPreneur, what they are generally most interested in is how a SoloPreneur is able to get clients and make a living. Of course there are quite a bit of ways of getting clients, but an interesting we came upon was featured in a Harvard Business Review article (hbr.org) entitled “How Successful Solopreneurs Make Money.” In the piece the woman who transcribed the interview asked the woman she was interviewing about ways to get new clients. Featured in the article was an innovative way to do so:

“But what she did that was fascinating was that she used the podcast as a way of getting to know the people she wanted to get to know. And, amazingly, more than 25 percent of the people who have been guests on her podcast actually hired her for consulting services as a result, not because she was pitching them hard, not because she said, Oh, this is a quid pro quo. Now you have to hire me. But she was able to use the podcast as an entry point to a relationship, which she then cultivated over time, developed it, added value in free ways, you know, offering things like suggestions about ways that people could improve their websites. And then a lot of those people wrote back and said, That’s amazing, Fei. Could you do that for me? And she’s built a very successful business.”

How Delegating Tasks Can Make a Difference for ArtisticPreneurs/SoloPreneurs

Another post that you might find useful is called “7 Tips To Become A Successful Solopreneur” as seen on the website entitled TheDailyPositive.com. And one of the tips given had to do with the importance of delegating tasks also known as automating your business:

“As you develop your business, you will come across things you don’t enjoy. Creating automated systems will increase your productivity because your system will run itself. You also will create more time to invest in your strengths. You can use automation for social media posts, newsletters, invoice reminders, templates, and more!”

Another Definition of SoloPreneur

Another take on defining what a SoloPreneur is can be found on the website TheWriterEntrepreneur.com:

“A solopreneur is not an entrepreneur. As a solopreneur, you’re everything in your business – quality control, operations, business development, accountant, human resources, driver, office assistant, cleaner, etc. You’re responsible for making sure everything works & you’re responsible for the successes and the failures. You’re not interested in becoming a large corporation or selling the company down the line.”

More on Automation

StartUpNation.com has another take on automation, this time in regards to your marketing.

“Marketing automation. If you don’t automate your marketing, you’ll have to do everything manually, including putting up social media posts and blog posts, doing search engine optimization, sending emails and so much more.”

ArtisticPreneur or SoloPreneur or Both?

In the final analysis it doesn’t really matter whether you define yourself as being an ArtisticPreneur or a SoloPreneur, both terms are fine. What matters is what you DO to make your creative business happen. Are you an artist who is looking for more fans? Or are you a small business who wants to get more new customers and clients? Regardless it all goes back to the concept that you are somehow solving a problem.

What Problem do You Solve as an ArtisticPreneur or SoloPreneur?

People often ask me how can you be an artist and solve a problem? One answer is that you could do a business that solves a problem for other artists. Or, let’s say you do comedy and want more fans. The problem you’re solving in a sense is getting people to laugh which is something that most people want (to laugh). If you’re a small business owner it’s a bit easier to define the problem you solve. Let’s say for example you cut hair. You are solving the problem for those who need a haircut. We hope you were able to glean something useful and relevant in this post. See you next time.

Collaboration in the Digital Age

Digital Collaboration

We are collaborating digitally with people all over the country, and for that matter, the world. It is an exciting time!

Back to the Beginning of NYC AIM

When NYC AIM, also known as New York City Apprenticeships in Media, first started back in December of 2011, one of the first posts we did gave an overview of the kinds of experiences we were going to engage our apprentices with. Those categories, among other things, consisted of targeting your audience and niche, SEO – search engine optimization, two step selling, media personality PR, online publicity, article writing, promotional and educational videos, ecommerce, backlinks and social, email and mobile

In some ways our curriculum hasn’t changed that much, but there is one thing not on the list that is definitely very different than it was back in 2011. What is it? It’s how we collaborate. We used to all be in one physical media studio in Midtown Manhattan, in other words all in the same room when we worked together. Now we very rarely, if ever, are in the same place, unless we’re speaking of a DIGITAL place.

Digital Collaboration has changed the way we collaborate in a big way. Now we able to work with apprentices all over America, all over the world for that matter.

The Purpose of Digital Collaboration as Seen by Wikipedia

Wikipedia.org looks at digital collaboration this way:

“Digital collaboration is using digital technologies for collaboration. Dramatically different from traditional collaboration, it connects a broader network of participants who can accomplish much more than they would on their own.”

Fostering Digital Cultural Characteristics According to Forbes

Forbes.com looks at the integration of digital technology in business in an interesting way. Something they put at the top of their list is fostering digital cultural characteristics:

“Without a change in the way people work and behave, the technology falls flat. In other words, without actively fostering digital cultural characteristics, such as customer centricity, responsiveness or breaking down the silos that traditionally exist between business and IT, digital transformation efforts flounder.”

Digital Collaboration and the Way it Changes How We Work With Clients Including ArtisticPreneurs

For the NYC AIM program as well as another organization called ArtisticPreneur.com, we have done our best to integrate digitally.

ArtisticPreneurship and Digital Collaboration Through the Eyes of Artist Steps

Digital collaboration has definitely transformed how we interact with clients. We now are able to accept work from customers who are thousands of miles away. And this is a boon for the ArtisticPreneur collective which is an informal group of freelance digital experts who do most of their jobs for people they never see, accept for the occasional Skype Call.

Confused by the term ArtisticPreneur which is also a website located at ArtisticPreneur.com? No need to be unsure what ArtisticPreneur means. Artist Steps magazine is an online publication about the ways artists can take steps with things like digital collaboration. ArtistSteps.org describes what an ArtisticPreneur is to them:

“When trying to define what an artisticpreneur is, the first thing most people think is that it is a shortened name for an artistic entrepreneur. And you’d be right if you thought this, but it’s really only a small part of what it means to be an artisticpreneur.”

They go further in the article to talk about how ArtisticPreneurs are people with dreams. Our apprentices of NYC AIM are like that also. They are very driven by a dream which is why they work with us in the first place. And although there is the fact that we may never see them in person, it doesn’t change the degree to which they are committed to go beyond expectation.

Digital Collaboration: Everyone Needs to Play in the Same Sandbox Seems to Be Implied by Forbes

An article in Forbes.com had some interesting insights into digital collaboration:

“As smartphones and other digital innovations proliferate, teams are more dispersed than ever. A 2016 Gallup survey showed that 43% of employed Americans spend at least some time working remotely. Further, the eruption of enterprise application software has offered employees seemingly endless options for how they perform their work. This often leads to different teams preferring to work with different tools. For project managers to succeed, there is a growing need for a common interface that brings teams together.”

Agreeing on Technology Can Bring Teams and Collaborations Together

Getting everyone at NYC AIM – both apprentices and mentors – to agree on the technology used was an important step. When we were all in agreement on what gadgets and apps we were going to use things got much easier.

Back to the Beginning and Forward to the Future Including DigiComArts, Lights Camera Read, Video Film Web and Now ArtisticPreneur

As mentioned at the start of this post, we went back to the beginning. The beginning for us was when we were collaborating with DigiComArts and Lights Camera Read doing their workshops at the New York Public Library. Video Film Web’s involvement was also important.

Now the concept of all “being on the same page” has an additional meaning which is agreeing on the digital tools of collaboration. We face new challenges each day as technology evolves and disrupts. Thankfully we have ArtisticPreneur to help us out. In terms of digital collaboration, our goal is “United We Stand.”

Yianni Stamas Shows You How to Launch Your Career as an ArtisticPreneur in 9 Steps

9 Steps to Become an ArtisticPreneur

Launching your career as an ArtisticPreneur in 9 steps requires building your resources both in terms of education and tools.

Hi I’m Yianni Stamas and in the following post you will learn 9 actionable steps that you can take to become an ArtisticPreneur. If you already are an ArtisticPreneur or are interested in receiving additional information that will help you become one, feel free to contact us via our form found here.

1. Learn

As a Web Media Marketer you really are a web designer, digital marketer and blogger all in one. If you are using your digital media skills toward creating and managing your own small business you then become an ArtisticPreneur.

When the new version of the ArtGush.com online store gets up and running it will have instantly downloadable ArtisticPreneur eBooks that show you how to get more customers, clients and fans. Art Gush literally wrote the book on getting new customers being that their first eBook to be released will be called “How to Get New Customers.”

As of this writing Art Gush has not yet started to release its eBooks and is only an example of a resource one could learn from. The real point here is to focus on online educational resources such as Amazon Kindle to get eBooks to accelerate the learning process in regards to digital marketing.

2. Study

There is no better way to become empowered with information than to study how other websites are promoting themselves. For example there is a website named artisticpreneur.com. On this site are not only blog entries that can help you with your knowledge to become an ArtisticPreneur, but it also presents the opportunity to study how it is marketed. As of this writing “ArtPreneur” is a more widely used term than ArtisticPreneur and when you study the site it becomes clear that ArtisticPreneur is marketing itself by appearing as a guest blogger on blogs to establish itself.

Whether or not you use ArtisticPreneur as your resource or another site does not matter, the point is to study other sites to become marketing savvy. Study what websites are doing to build their visibility. Are they using ads on search engines? Or are they providing useful information while linking to the website? Or maybe they are even using video.

Regardless of the means of marketing that the websites you study use, by being hyper aware you can learn a lot. Are any of the websites you are looking at employing methods that you would like to integrate into your own personal marketing plan? Studying what others are doing can be very helpful.

3. Workshops

DigiComArts.com has as history of providing online and offline workshops for students in conjunction with both the New York Public Library and the DigiComArts Platinum PIAs Awards. Taking an online or offline workshop like DigiComArts is a great way to affirm the research that you are already doing on your own in regards to marketing. One of the benefits of being in a workshop rather than a class, is that in a workshop you will likely be working on a media project or projects. Since these projects are usually under the supervision of an instructor, this will give you hands on experience creating digital media with instructor feedback. Therefore doing an online or offline workshop is a good step to take.

4. Referrals

DigiRefer is a small online organization that has a casual approach to helping ArtisticPreneurs with their web designing, digital marketing and blogging needs. But they also have a database of digital freelancers who are matched with folks who are seeking media services. In other words, if you are an ArtisticPreneur who has the skill set of a digital freelancer you could potentially be added to the DigiRefer database to get work. There are other much larger groups that do the same sort thing such as UpWork. This can be an important step.

5. Read

Every now and then consider going to your local library, you’ll be surprised at the knowledge you can pick up from regular old books. One of the ways that we have encouraged people to read tangible books other than just eBooks is through campaigns we have done is with LightsCameraRead.com and the New York Public Library. With so much technology at our fingertips we sometimes forget that there are libraries where knowledge can be built. Reading an actual book can be a concrete step.

6. Video

If you have knowledge of the traditional way of making movies and videos, or even if you don’t, MovieProcess.com might interest you. Movie Process explores the very important procedure of producing videos or movies with a cell phone or on an extremely low budget. Producing videos is an important component for ArtisticPreneurs because video can be used as an effective tool for showing someone what you can do for them. You can use the power of moving images to reveal the benefits that a person will receive if he or she decides to work with you as an ArtisticPreneur. Making a video can be a step that makes all the difference.

7. Teach

NYC Workshops is a partner we have worked with when teaching workshops. We also have worked with local learning institutions such as State University of New York in conjunction with educational projects such as the making of the film Thrillumentary that was done for purely educational purposes. There is nothing like teaching as a way to learn. There is something about sharing your knowledge that becomes an educational experience for you. You will see what you know in a different and very helpful light. Consider taking the step of teaching a workshop.

8. Awards

The Platinum PIAs Awards recognizes ArtisticPreneurs who are making a difference in their local communities and around the world. We bring the PIAs because we wanted to emphasize the importance of being an award winner. It may sound cheesy to suggest that you seek out winning awards but in truth, those who  enter and win awards are looked upon in a different light. Of course the larger and more famous that the awards are the better they are to win. But even to have recognition from a small awards show can help boost your career as an ArtisticPreneur. Consider taking a step toward making this happen.

9. Intern

If workshops, eBooks and other forms of education are not working for you maybe consider interning. Although VideoFilmWeb.com officially closed its doors to new clients in 2013, the website remains up years later. Why? Because some of the digital freelancers who came out of its internship program have gone on to doing work on their own. And these freelancers like to be able to put on their resumes that they were an interns at Video Film Web. But even though it is not possible to intern with Video Film Web anymore, it remains an organization that is an example of having a multifaceted approach to media that is a good fit for an internship. Or to put it another way, if you decide to become an intern, be sure to intern somewhere that you are going to learn a lot. Ideally you are currently attending college and can intern as a way to gain college credit. But even if you’re not, there are benefits to interning nonetheless. It’s a great way to gain actual work experience with a media company. Will you take this step?

In Conclusion

We’ve given you 9 steps you can take to launch your career as an ArtisticPreneur. You’ll notice that several of them had to do with education. This is because we believe that you never stop learning and education is a way to continually move your career forward. Now it’s up to you. You may decide you only want to take a few of these steps or maybe even more than are listed here. The important thing is to take a first step now with other steps to follow thereby launching your career as an ArtisticPreneur. If you would like to contact us you can do so here.

Is Harry Houdini the Greatest Marketer to Ever Live?

Harry Houdini the Marketer

Harry Houdini the Marketer

At NYC AIM (New York City Apprenticeships in Media) we study the greats of media and marketing who came before us. One of my personal favorites is the renowned escape artist Harry Houdini who is one of my personal favorites because when I was younger I was a magician myself.

Ask most people if they’ve ever heard of Harry Houdini and the response will likely be “Yes.” This is a testament to the great marketer that H.H. was. But how did he achieve this? That’s what the article at the Manhattan Magician blog attempts to answer. The blog entry looks at some of the aspects of Houdini’s life that helped to build his name recognition.

Ultimately any apprentice or student of media has a lot to learn from the man. He seamlessly combined his artistry with his promotions. He lead a very creative life as an ArtisticPreneur. Some say he was driven by his love for his mother. First, when she was alive, to shower her with gifts and then after her death his attempts to communicate with her from the great beyond.

Regardless of what motivated Harry Houdini, most biographers agree that every minute of every hour he was alive he was driven to succeed and to be known by the public. There is a school of thought that Houdini wasn’t always the nicest person to be around because he had to dominate everything and to always be the winner, even in the context that wasn’t intended as a competition. But this is also probably what pushed him to achieve.

 

NYC Create Creates Opportunities for Creatives

NYC Create is the new arts organization that has as its mission to help artists – including musicians, writers, filmmakers etc. – to promote themselves, build their audience and ultimately monetize their art.

In a recent blog entry NYC Create announced the 2018 Platinum PIAs winners. Our congratulations go out to Bobby Hart, Danny Hicks, Gary Summers and Martin Stephens all of whom are artists making a difference in their communities and around the world.

In this same blog entry, NYC Create also gave tips and steps to be more successful as an artist, specifically during the “Proof Concept” phase of running your art as a business. This is what makes NYC Create unique in that it provides information each week for creatives to be able to take their creative careers to the next level.

In fact, NYC Create offers an information packed weekly email newsletter to help you achieve your goals as an artisticpreneur.

As subscribers ourselves we at NYC AIM recommend this newsletter as a source for those wanting to move the sharing and monetizing of their creativity forward online.

John Yianni Stamas Shows You How to Create a Creative Side Business in 3 Easy Steps

Would you like to create a creative side business that is aligned with your artistic passion? It’s a lot easier than you might think.

1. Define you artistic passion.
2. Think of something that those involved with your artistic passion desperately need.
3. Come up with a solution for for that need. For example, imagine that acting is your passion, a solution for actors to get work is a good demo reel. You could start a side business editing actor’s demo reels.

That’s all there is to it. We followed the same procedure when putting our “Artist Steps” program together. We knew that artists of all kinds needed a way to build visibility for their art in the marketplace while making a living.

We stepped a bit “out of the box” and developed a system for being able to effectively do fundraising for, as well as make, a web series that would bring the “wow factor” to someone’s work being showcased in it. You see, we live in the digital age and unless you are engaged in it in a unique way you are missing out for your career.

If you apply out of the box thinking you can come up with a service that people need that is fun for you to do, plus is in sync with your pursuit of your art form.

Yianni Stamas Says the Platinum Pias are Open to More than Just Apprentices

The Platinum Pias Community Awards Show for Actors and Artists has long had a relationship with education through Lights Camera Read and NYC Aim. But those engaged in education, such as apprentices, are not the only attendees. There are artist entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

And here is your opportunity to attend too because tomorrow is the Platinum Pias Awards! Go here to find out more.