The Art of Entrepreneurship
by Jason Torres
I had the privilege to be a guest judge for a high school business plan competition in my local area. I love attending these pitch competitions because seeing these students put their ideas out there requires courage, which is a quality that never goes out of style.
One student pitched a street performing business where he would use his incredible talents as a guitarist along with his charming personality to win over his customers and, hopefully, be compensated for his services.
Each of the students had a set time to present their business to the panel of judges. After their time was up, the judges had a few minutes to ask follow-up questions.
My question wasn’t a difficult one for him, it was simply, “What inspired you to start this type of business?”
The student was excited to answer. It was as if he had prepared for my specific question. In fact, he was so confident that he quickly responded by saying, “I know the exact answer to your question.”
Here was his response-
“I’m doing this business for three reasons: One, because I love it; two, because of the money; and three, for the girls.”
We all laughed with him (he had a good sense of humor). His teacher was a little shocked at his response, but I quickly jumped in and told her that it was fine. In fact, I was so happy that was his response.
Too often, kids are programmed to not say what’s really in their head because it may not be appropriate. I say, let them speak what’s on their mind and correct them if necessary. That’s what happened in this scenario.
I congratulated the student for a good pitch, thanked him for his honesty, and followed up with this response-
I told him that those are great reasons… if he wanted to have a hobby. I continued by telling him that if he wants to have a business, he must take the focus off of him and put it all on the people who are going to pay him.
Here’s the lesson: We as artists need to start learning business principals and the first one we need to grasp is that we make money as an artist only by providing value. Fame, money, or what feels good are results. Our potential buyers expect a quality product from us if they are going to hand over their hard earned money in exchange for our product or service that we created.
That young man understood my feedback that day and if he applies it, he is in for a very rewarding journey as an artist. The same can be said for you as well!