The entrepreneurial and multi-hyphenate lifestyle is HOT for actors and artists right now.
In the old days, (and by that I mean… 5 years ago…) it was looked down upon to try to do anything additional to your arts career. All of us who went to college for theatre heard at least one teacher say “if you think you could enjoy doing anything else as much as theatre, do that instead”.
So, now that most of us have grown out of that problematic and limiting belief, many artists are looking to expand their horizons and expertise. Whether it’s coaching, teaching, web designing (*smirk*), course creating, social media management, copywriting, virtual assisting, etc., performers are really out here right now.
And the #1 question I hear all the time is: should I start a separate business/website/IG for this other thing, or keep it all under my name?
I have a capital-O Opinions about this. Long story short, it depends.
If the hustle you are starting is a service based biz, a coaching practice, or basically anything I mentioned above, I think a personal brand is going to serve you better than a separate biz brand. If your new endeavor is product-based (i.e. a bakery, an etsy shop, etc.), a more traditional (separate) business model is gonna be the way to go.
1.) Humans crave connection; people like to buy services from people.
Hubspot, the leader in marketing research and trends, says that in 2021, authenticity will be vital. “Now, consumers need more than just great deals to trust, identify with, and invest in a brand. At this point, many brands have taken notice by embracing authenticity and their human side on social media.”
If you run a service based business, just about every marketing guru you listen to will tell you that you need to be the face of your biz brand anyway. So if you’ve already got an artist brand, a built-in audience, and you’re already used to being the face of it, much of that daunting startup work is done for you!
Stop hiding behind your logos and graphics. It’s not serving you as much as you think it is. Instead, own your own ideas and services. Show your face! Use your personhood!
2.) People think artists are really cool. Especially people who are not artists.
I have straight-up booked web design clients solely because someone was curious enough to click on my actor page and was like, wow, she does that too!? How unique!
The gag is, when you’re surrounded by a community of other artists, you think being an artist is the most basic thing you can be.
But the truth is: non-artists are so fascinated by arts careers. So if you needed permission, here it is: STOP HIDING THAT PART OF YOU!
3.) Fellow artists think biz owners are pretty cool, too.
On that same coin, I have straight-up booked singing gigs (in a pandemic!) because I designed a website for someone involved behind the virtual table.
During the web design process, I get to know my clients very well. (In fact, imposter syndrome usually bubbles up at some point of the process, so, not only do I get to know my clients dreams, aspirations, and aesthetic, but I also get to know their insecurities. There’s usually AT LEAST one heart-to-heart.)
Long story short, I’ve made so many incredible friends through my biz. Not only do they get to know me, but they also get to know what I stand for, my attention to detail, reliability, etc etc etc.
It goes without saying that this can only pan out well for you in the arts sphere, too.
4.) Personal brands allow you to pivot whenever you want.
I love web design right now. I do not see a time in the foreseeable future that I will not want to do this.
A year ago, I didn’t even know I had this skill.
The thing is: you just never know. What if, in 4 years, you discover you’re BRILLIANT at something else that lights you up? That people are willing to pay dollars for? That could fundamentally change your life?
You can always build a new website, sure. But it’s sooooooOOOOooo much easier not to.
Not to mention; people *love* to follow a journey. People love a backstory. People are so curious about how other people got from point A to point B. When you cultivate a personal brand (and when the through-line is you), it’s so much easier to tell that story.
An important tip:
Whenever I voice this opinion, folks are like, “okay I believe you, but the other thing I do (besides acting) feels so random comparatively!”
That’s the kicker. You *have* to figure out a way to tell the story so that you are at the center of a multi-passionate story where your artistry and your “other thing” go hand in hand. If you don’t, it will feel disjointed.
So, here’s a few ideas to consider:
Do your two “opposing” activities use any similar skill sets? How might you frame your brand in a way where the skills themselves are center stage, and the activities are just a result of those skills?
So whether you’re starting a new business endeavor or looking to in the future, I hope this helped spark some ideas (or maybe it has given you a reason to THOROUGHLY disagree– it’s allowed!).