“You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end.” Jessica Herrin, founder and CEO of Stella & Dot
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Already during my time at the Art School in Gent, I tried combining creative work with professional work. I wanted to be an artist in 2 domains, filmmaking and screen printing. Tried both but becoming an early father the entrepreneur took over. Looking back I still see a lot of similarities in becoming successful in both. I still envy in a positive way the artists who could also make a living from their artistic work. My big role model is Karl Mechnig. Love his work and passion and I also know it is far from easy. Here are some findings compiled as a list of 5 items:
1. Gut feeling.
You make or create something because you feel that that is the thing to do. I have many examples in my professional career where I just created something and sold afterwards. That same gut feeling is also the best teacher for learning as you also fail often. Good feed for your experience luggage.
I always compare to humour. Combining words or situations in an unexpected way often relates to your surprise and makes you laugh. Pop Art was a great example of combining ordinary objects in a new context. I have difficulty learning and remembering. Dyslexia. Apparently that is a reason to be creative as you connect things in your brain in a different way. Whatever is the root cause, it is a must in both disciplines
3. Focus focus.
What you do obsesses you. You don’t count in hours or effort. Create and finish is what preoccupies you and nothing can get you away from that goal. The best environment is away from anything that can obstruct or confuse you.
4. Attention is the currency.
When you create you want appreciation and attention. Nobody creates just for her or his own eyes. You need an audience and you seek appreciation. Money as an outcome is great of course, but in the end, it comes second.
Purpose can be translated into call-to-action. Once you moved your audience or customer there has to be that next step. Acquisition. Even if your purpose is to touch the heart and soul, we all need to live, we all have bills to pay. After my first exhibition and lots of flattering words, my wallet was even more empty paying beers and food.
The Clash was the better band during the Punk days. They were also seen as betrayers of the cause as they signed a big contract with a music company. The song “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” was always one of my favourites. And one for startups to take literally. Continue or not. Being critical to yourself and your project is essential. And it will also change the odds of success in the startup scene. We can not be happy with 9 on 10 anymore.