This post is an interview with a small business owner named Barbara Howard. Within this article, we discuss how one balances their professional career, creative career and small business.
I know many of you may be balancing a professional career and a part-time business at the same time and it can probably be frustrating at times. Or you may be a creative talent who doesn't really excel in business so you are still operating as a "starving artist". Whatever your position is regarding the two scenarios stated; I believe the following interview can give you perspective on how to be successful at balancing many different demands while being a small business owner.
How do you balance your teaching profession, your performing career and your small business?
I do it in compartments, when I am inspired to do certain things at certain times. The balancing act of it all is dependent on developing a very structured schedule that helps keep me focused on how I am expending my energy and my time. Being that every activity I am involved in is very demanding; I have to be sure that I give each their proper focus so that neither one is becoming a liability rather than an asset. But there are times when I bring these different avenues together and they work to inspire each other. If I couldn't find inspiration from each part of my life I don't know how I could make it all work.
Is it difficult to switch from a creative mindset to a business mindset?
Yes, it is. It can be stressful at times. But I keep my ear open for what to take and what not to take. I always remember what motivates me so that I can remain operating within my purpose. My creative passions are what push me to remain persistent but my business mindset has to be in place so that I actually grow with my persistency.
Tell me about your small business process with Ben Productions, along with past and future endeavors.
Ben Productions focuses on producing live shows such as stage plays. I not only focus on developing my artistic career but I also support the talents of others through variety shows. I bring in people from different ages and backgrounds and highlight what they bring to the table. As far as myself, I am pushing my current stage production Secret Closet. I am also pushing my single Perfect Peace. My process is all about creating memorable experiences that lead to bigger opportunities and greater demand for my product. In this business, the margins for error are slim to none, so I have to be sure that everything that I produce is with my best effort put forth.
How do you manage your artistic value while still running a business at the same time?
As a professional performer, I expect to get paid for my professional talents. The talents which I display as a performer is my business and every business expects to be paid for the service or product which they bring forth to the marketplace . Of course I want to put a message out that inspires others through my performance but I have to make sure I am a viable performing artist that can take care of myself. I am beyond the "starving artist" mindset. There are certain instances where I know the exposure outweighs the pay, so I take on those opportunities. But overall I know the value of my work and my talent so I expect to be paid my worth.
Do you teach your students how to think like an entrepreneur or in a creative manner?
Yes, I bring all my gifts into the classroom. Right now we are working on a script that coincides with our curriculum, which is poetry and short stories. Beyond them being able to analyze someone else's text; I want them to be able to construct their own text and be able to articulate the meaning of the words they put together. They will take these words and create their own production to be done in front of the other students in the school. I am very unconventional when I teach because I want to keep my students engaged. You have to let them know you are interested in them so that they will be invested in their own growth and future development.
Any last words for readers of this article?
Beyond entertaining people, I want them to be inspired to take their dreams and pursuits to the next level. That is my purpose in life as a teacher, a performer and a business owner. Whatever you aspire to do can be achieved if you are willing to work hard and provide real value each and every time you are delivering a product or service.