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Pro Advice

Promote Your Talents by Channeling Your Inner Entrepreneur

Are you a photographer or an aspiring musician? Do you dream of directing films, or have a flair for writing, public speaking, or creating viral social media content? If you’re what’s known as a “creative type,” it’s a good idea to get your work out into the world now so you can get feedback and start connecting with peers or mentors who share your interests.

To promote yourself and your talents, we suggest channeling your inner entrepreneur. No, you don’t need to open a business to do this! Entrepreneurship is a mindset, not a job.

Here are some common entrepreneurial-minded tips you might want to consider embracing now, while you’re still in high school, to set yourself up for success as a growing artist.

Be curious.

Research, research, research — not because you’re studying for an exam, but because you’re eager to learn more about a hobby you already love. Read articles, listen to podcasts, or watch documentaries about people who’ve made significant innovations or discoveries in the fields you’re interested in. Once you understand how your heroes became successful, you can start cultivating a path that’s right for you.

Create your own opportunities.

Don’t wait for the perfect invitation to show off your talents; instead, look for opportunities in less obvious situations. For example, if you want to be a filmmaker, ask your school’s basketball or cheerleading team if you can make a mini-documentary about its members. If you’re a writer, volunteer to create a newsletter for a local non-profit. If you’re a social media guru, reach out to some of your favorite brands to inquire about becoming an online influencer. You get the idea.

Build a killer portfolio.

Building an attractive, professional portfolio is important, even if you don’t have much to put in it quite yet. Whatever your medium is — paper, digital, audio — make sure there’s a way people can view your work easily when they ask for it. Instagram is a great (and free) way to show off photos, sound clips, and artwork. If you write, start a blog or create a simple website with links to your work.

Grow, make mistakes, and grow some more.

Entrepreneurs aren’t people who are exceptionally lucky or who succeed immediately. They’re the ones who try and try and try again.

“Creative entrepreneurs realize that perfection is impossible,” writes expert Erik Wahl in an article for Quartz. “They get comfortable with being uncomfortable and let the sparks fly knowing they may make mistakes. They learn to fail fast and fail forward, embracing each loss as an opportunity for growth.”

Seek challenges that place you outside your comfort zone, where you’ll have a high likelihood of making at least a few mistakes. See what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at.

This process will not only help you grow as an artist; it’ll also keep other people intrigued about your activities. Mistakes aren’t always fun, but they can be interesting and enlightening — and isn’t that what creativity is all about?

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