I’ve attended numerous startup events in various countries–from Japan to Singapore to San Francisco. I’ve sat through keynote speeches for industries as diverse as tech, healthcare, education and financial services. I’ve heard countless 90-second pitches, met angel investors and venture capitalists and even worked alongside leaders in traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.
The creative entrepreneur is different. So who is a creative entrepreneur?
In Journey of an Idea to a Vision, Vandana Rajendran says:
“The creative entrepreneur walks a different path from the technology entrepreneur. She/he needs to wear two hats. The first is the designer/writer/artist hat to define the creative vision of their product or service. The second is the business hat to understand the dynamics of their chosen marketplace and sell it to as many people as possible.”
The key here is in the hats–in wearing the two hats and utilising them both. For a creative entrepreneur, one does not exist without the other.
For creatives, it begins as it always does–with passion that pushes you to develop and hone your craft. I’m not here to sugarcoat things for you. If you ask most industry experts, they say it takes ten years to gain mastery in your creative field. If you ask me, there are no shortcuts as far as this is concerned.
Once that’s done, it’s time to turn your attention to the skills and mindset that comes with being an entrepreneur. Firstly, let me just preface this by saying that there are all kinds of entrepreneurs out there and no one size fits all. Some are risk adverse, others are risk neutral and some are even risk seeking. I’ve met and been mentored by all of them. Ask them for advice on the same topic and you’ll get three different responses. The destination is the same. It is the journey that differentiates the three.
Regardless of their risk profile, I think ultimately the biggest driving force for all entrepreneurs out there is the notion of being a part of something that didn’t exist before or reinventing something that did. And for the creative entrepreneur–it’s about being both an artist and a businessperson. It’s about wearing those two hats.
One thing I will say about all the true-blue entrepreneurs I know is that they started a business to solve a problem. And it was highly likely a problem that they themselves had. The opportunities didn’t come wrapped up in a bow with a ten-step plan to success. It was usually hard; with many detours, roadblocks and obstacles that stood in their way.
An entrepreneur exists to solve problems. So tell me, what solution do you offer?
About the Author
Dipa Sanatani is the Publisher at Mith Books and the author of The Little Light and The Merchant of Stories. In The Merchant of Stories, Dipa takes the reader on a personal journey–narrated through a series of candid journal entries–on what it takes for entrepreneurs and creatives to start their very first venture.
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