These are great questions for every creative to ask themselves.
This self-diagnostic is especially helpful when you’re seriously considering investing in high-priced coaching and training programs.
When you finally find a coach, there’s a good chance they’re going to ask you (at least some of the same) questions outlined below, to ensure you’ve got a solid foundation to build on.
Ready to turn pro? Let’s find out…
A lot of artists like to think they have their digital marketing bases covered but don’t have all the ingredients necessary to get to where they want to go.
Here are the key questions you need to measure yourself against.
Do you have a dot com domain name?
That would be [artistname].com.
It only costs about $10 per year.
Have you built a website on that domain name?
Set up hosting with a company like SiteGround (we use and recommend them). Install WordPress and start familiarizing yourself with it (there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube).
Does your website contain all essential elements of a press kit?
That generally includes a bio, sample of your best art (or music), high quality photos (of you), social media, videos, testimonials and reviews, contact information, tech rider (if applicable), and tour or media schedule (if applicable).
Do you have a blog? Or do you publish any other type of content ongoingly (e.g., podcast, video series, etc.)?
Content creates trust with your audience. What ongoing publishing efforts have you committed to?
Do you have an email list?
The stats are out on this. When it comes to getting engagement and even selling to your audience, email is a more effective channel than social media by a long margin.
Yes, push notifications, SMS text messages, and even Messenger and other messaging apps are growing in popularity, but your foundation – and even your artist retirement plan – are built on your email list.
An offer that converts forms the foundation of your income. If you don’t yet have this, make it your top priority. Create something people want, and make sure there’s a demand for it. Then you can start growing your business.
This is also called validation.
Do you have products ranging in price from 99 cents all the way up to (at least) $2,000?
If all you have are 99-cent singles, you shouldn’t expect to get rich any time soon.
You need mid-ticket and high-ticket offers too.
If you’re just starting, then I would recommend building your high-ticket offer first, and then rolling out your lower ticket ones later.
Are you clear on all income sources available to you?
Most artists aren’t. They are aware of about three to five income sources and haven’t so much as considered anything outside of that.
There are dozens, if not 100 or more income sources available to artists. You can’t pursue them all, but you should at least be aware of the opportunities available, don’t you think?
Goal Setting, Priority & Time Management
How do you manage your goals, your priorities, and your time?
Do you use your time well? Or do you tend to squander it?
You can have breakthroughs in your career just by optimizing your schedule, and even the most productive artists usually have room for improvement.
Here are some questions you can use to evaluate yourself in this category:
Do you make new to-do lists at least weekly?
Before leaving on vacation, most of us make to-do lists.
The question is, do you make one for your work and your life?
Weekly to-do lists are the bare minimum. For busier pros, daily is essential.
Do you have a calendar (desktop, notebook, or digital), and are your weekly commitments logged in your calendar?
Are your goals fully documented, with a “by when?”
What specifically are you looking to accomplish? When will you have it done by?
There aren’t any right or wrong answers here, as we all find ourselves behind at times. The key is to have a goal, to be working towards it, and to put a deadline on it.
Do you keep a journal?
Not a diary. A journal.
Have you heard of Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley? His friend, Patrick Grove, is always a step ahead of Lakhiani’s monumental success. How? He keeps a journal.
At first, Grove said he spent a lot of time just journaling about the things he didn’t like. And then he started journaling on how to get what he wanted in life. Eventually, he found himself mapping out entire plans (that worked in the real world!).
Check out his story here:
Do you use your journal to ask meaningful questions, map out ideas, or chart a course for your eventual success?
Also see description from previous question.
Financial stability in the artistic world may seem elusive. But if you have a shaky foundation, it can be incredibly difficult to level up your career.
Here are some questions to help you ensure you’ve got the right structures in place.
Do you have a no-fee checking account to manage business income and expenses?
A personal checking account works. A no-fee checking account is better. A business account is the least preferred option, as it often comes with inflated fees, minimum balances, limited transactions, and the like.
Separating out your business finances from your personal finances allows you to create more clarity around solvency and opportunities for reinvesting.
Have you set up your three buckets of savings (emergency fund, dream fund, and aggressive growth fund)?
Put six to 12 months of expenses in your emergency fund.
Once that’s complete, start saving inside your dream fund and make your dreams a reality – toys, cars, vacations, maybe even homes.
Once you’re well underway with your dream fund, start putting money into your aggressive growth fund. This money should be allocated to aggressive investing – meaning you wouldn’t miss this money your gambles didn’t pay off (because you’ve already built up the other two buckets).
Have you automated any aspect of your savings efforts?
In my case, about a third of my income automatically goes to savings and reliable investment vehicles.
Do you have an investment plan?
You may not have the money to invest now, which is fine. But long-term, do you have a plan for investing?
Don’t just look to stocks and bonds. Also look at cryptocurrency, whole life insurance plans, precious metals, and other investment vehicles.
Do you have a strategy for how you circulate your money (intentionally)?
Money likes to circulate.
When we plan and direct it where to go, it follows our direction.
But if we go on autopilot, money tends to circulate all by itself without our active participation.
What strategy do you have in place to ensure your money is moving to the right channels?
Are you reinvesting in your business?
Money you make in your business is the seed money you can use to grow it.
This doesn’t necessarily mean allocating 100% of your income to business growth.
But it does mean being clear on how much you can put back into your business – for tools, staffing, training, systems, advertising, and so on.
Are you committed to your ongoing growth? Do you see yourself as a lifelong student?
If not, it’s no surprise that you should find yourself stuck in a rut.
The best thing you can invest in is your personal growth.
And now it’s thinking time.
Do you read books to further your career growth?
I’m not the fastest reader in the world. I’ve still read about 200 to 300 books to date (I also read 52 books – 104 total – in 2015 and 2016).
Do you listen to audiobooks and podcasts to further your career growth?
I listen to audiobooks and podcasts whenever I’m driving.
Do you watch videos and take courses to further your career growth?
Is there anyone guiding you on your journey that has the results you want?
Are you part of a mastermind group?
Do you have weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly calls with other like-minded, ambitious people who can contribute to you?
Are you part of an online community?
Are you part of a forum, Facebook Group, or membership where like-minded, ambitious people gather and discuss relevant issues?
Success is available to anyone, and it doesn’t have anything to do with talent or smarts.
But there are some roadblocks that can stop even the bravest artists and creatives dead in their tracks.
Here are some valuable questions to ask:
On a scale of one to 10, how teachable are you?
This tends to shift from moment to moment. So, become present to how you feel now. Are you committed to being teachable, even when you don’t feel like it?
On a scale of one to 10, how open minded are you?
Again, this can change from moment to moment. Assess based on how you feel now.
The more open minded you are, the faster the change you can ultimately cause.
On a scale of one to 10, how willing are you to accept change?
As we ask new questions, have new conversations, and take new actions, it’s only natural that there will be new occurrences in our lives. And the new can be uncomfortable. It can even appear wrong.
How willing are you to accept change on the way to getting what you want?
On a scale of one to 10, how willing are you to accept the coaching of another?
We all say we’re willing at first, but then when we’re burdened with difficult questions, or saddled with unfamiliar and seemingly difficult tasks, sometimes we hide away, don’t act, or give up entirely.
How willing are you to accept the coaching and direction of another?
Health & Recreation
Your well-being is crucial to your ultimate success. Without you, there is no business.
Here are some questions worth asking in this area:
Do you have a support group? Family or like-minded friends who can lift you up when you’re feeling down?
As an artist or creative, it’s critical that you develop your inner circle of people you trust and rely on (and know what you can count on each of them for).
The journey isn’t always easy.
Do you get out into nature at least two hours per week?
Change of pace and change of environment are crucial to maintaining inspiration, which leads to innovation and breakthroughs in your business.
Getting outside is important for your well-being in the fast-paced world of creativity and business.
Do you have a hobby you can engage in (preferably something physical, outdoors) daily?
My business coach surfs daily. I try to get out for walks, hikes, and fishing as much as I can.
Is there something physical you can engage in on the regular?
Do you have a refreshment routine?
What refreshes you?
Can you meditate, read a book, go for a brisk walk, or do something else to recharge your battery throughout the day?
Have you scheduled your vacation time?
This should go first in your calendar.
If you’re always going at a breakneck pace, you need a week or two away every three months.
If you’re going at an intense pace, you still need two weeks every six months.
And if you’re working hard but not intensely, three to four weeks per year are recommended.
If you’re working 25 hours per week or less, you probably have a very sustainable schedule already.
Your mission is at the heart of your activity.
Yes, we all do a lot of things for the same, basic human drives.
But there is something magical about developing your “why.” When you know your “why,” all other decisions in life and your career seem to come with ease, including which social networks to be on, who to collaborate with, where to put your energy, and more.
Let’s get to those questions.
Are you clear on the results you want to achieve?
Have you thought about what it would look like to create the life you want? Have you envisioned it vividly in your mind’s eye? What is the impact and legacy you want to leave?
Sometimes, our mission only becomes clearer as we move further and further down our individual path. But best to your ability, I recommend getting clear on the future you’re unfolding.
How much would you be willing to spend to get that result?
We often say we want things, but when the rubber meats the road, we find ourselves balking at $97 courses, $900 weekend programs, and $2,000 masterminds.
What price are you willing to pay for your dream? It doesn’t matter how much money you have right now. What matters is that you’re willing to go the distance.
How much would you be willing to sacrifice to get that result?
The idea that we can get everything we want in life without some sacrifice is beyond misguided.
Most of us would do well to focus on three to five things and see them to completion before we add anything else.
What would you be willing to sacrifice, short- and long-term, to create focus and get the results you’re looking for?
What is your mission? Can you articulate it in one to three succinct sentences?
Your mission is also your brand, which makes it critical to develop.
Starbucks’ mission is this:
To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
I bet you didn’t know that!
Your mission need not be complicated. But it should be defined, and it should be clear.
Can you articulate what your mission is in one to three sentences, such that anyone could “get” it?