Christy & Susanne connecting this week over events in their lives this past week. Come join us with no judgment. We are holding space to learn, laugh, and downright pointe at ourselves.
Watch the episode here:
Coffee chat with Christy & Susanne | Be the cycle breaker
Are you working in your business or are you working on your business?
Are you only working in your business or are you taking time to work on your business? Let’s establish the difference first. As entrepreneurs—and we see performing artists, dancers becoming entrepreneurs—not only do you problem solve all the day, but you reinvent yourself, you’re solving the problems, you’re helping other people. You are in charge of your own career.
Working in your business
Now, what does it mean to work in your business? In your business means that everything that is going on from, and I’m drawing from like entrepreneurial, is from connecting with customers to making sure that emails are going out at the right time, to posting your social media, all of that is on your plate, and you’re doing it on a consistent basis. That means you’re working in your business. You’re not taking time to plan. You’re not taking time to take the bird’s eye view from up above and see, okay, what is really going on? You’re not able to see the details and perhaps things that are not working well. That all means you’re working in your business. You are there. You are solving the problems by yourself. You are facilitating everything it takes to run your business.
Now, when we’re talking about artists and what does that look like when you’re working in your businesses, you are facilitating everything yourself. This means you take care of your body, you take care of your mental state, you’re taking care of your classes, you’re scheduling your own days, your performances or you have other people and the company, the choreographer has that done for you.
Yes, you have to work in your business because you are your own business. You cannot hire somebody else to do the performance for you. I get that. That’s you. That’s your business, but you can hire other people, for example, to massage you, to take care of you, to cook for you, to clean for you, to do all the things that are not joy or money producing for you.
Working on your business
Let’s establish what it means when we’re working on our business. Working on a business is actually looking at the vision of your career, your business, where do you want to be in six months, a year, three years, five years, establishing it and making sure that every action that’s being taken is actually working towards that vision. It is development. It’s being very conscious of what you’re letting in, what kind of content you are consuming, what kind of people you’re surrounding yourself, and what you’re putting in your brain and your body, everything that you are. And how are you developing yourself so that you can expand with the expanding vision of your company and you can lead your business? This also includes looking at who you need to hire for support, what you need to shine, your superpower, who you need to add to enhance your superpowers, or where you are lacking superpowers. Look at what you need to install into your business in order to grow more.
The connection with performing artists
Let’s apply that with performing artists. Again, you cannot hire somebody to do your performances, but you can sit down with a coach or even with yourself in the beginning and actually look at where you are right now and get really honest with yourself and see where you want to go. So you have a contract. You know you’re going to have another contract or you are under a contract in a company, but is this really what you want? Is this where you want to go? Is this how you wanted your career to look like? Or are there other opportunities that you would like to take that you may be afraid of or don’t feel worthy of? And what kind of work do you have to do in order to get there? And then understanding that you cannot do that work by yourself. We’re not meant to do it by ourselves.
You need to look at what you have to bring into your circle of influence to get there. Who do you have to connect with? What kind of networks do you need to tap into? What can be taken off of your plate in order to have more energy so you can work on where you want to go?
But you say, “I’m an artist.” “I don’t have money.” “I can’t hire somebody.” What if you could? What would it look like? What if you could, for a hundred bucks a week, have somebody clean your apartment and do your laundry so you don’t have to put any energy into even thinking about that because our energy, our willpower, it is not an endless resource. You have to refill that cup over and over and over again, and that takes energy too. And if you don’t have the energy to do even that, then you cannot live in your vision. You will just perpetually have less and less and less.
When you ask yourself, okay, maybe it’s $100, maybe it’s $300, if you don’t feel you have that, then ask a different question. Ask yourself where you could get it from and what you have to do to establish that stability that maybe is not a time to trade for money. How can you eventually have that as a passive stream of income that’s a second or third or fourth stream of income coming into your sphere so you are able to be more flexible, have more ability and availability for yourself and for others, and have the best career you can.
This very detailed thinking is something that most of us are completely missing. If you ask these questions, you will drive yourself to work on your business and not just in your business all the time. You will be able to take an hour or two hours a day to work on your business.
Make your business a priority
If this resonates with you, then where are the priorities? Even if money is tight, we all prioritize because even everybody that doesn’t make a ton of money still prioritizes, and they could be not for their best interests. Are you going out every day? Are you not cooking at home and spending money eating out? Even the littlest things like that that add up, like do you go to get a $6 coffee every day instead of making it at home? So can it be once in a while? It doesn’t have to be every single day. Can it actually be something that you start to look forward to because it’s more of a rarity or a once-a-week thing versus an everyday thing? Then can that daily indulgence that’s costing you $10 a pop that you could put towards something else that could free your energy in a different way. Can you just reroute the indulgences and maybe vary them up instead of them all coming, going to the same thing.
So think about your priorities. What matters most? Is it going out every night and having those glasses of wine or is it making an extra stream of income or something that could just be taken off your plate that could give you more energy to show up in a better capacity in something in your life? That’s what came up for me.
Let’s say you have kids taking up a lot of your time and effort. You want the best for them. At the same time, you want some time to work on your business. Consider how much do you spend a week on cigarettes? How much do you spend a week on the two cases of beer and all the booze in the house? What’s the actual value? If you were to cut it down, what would it actually look like? How much would you redirect fund-wise into being able to send your kids to private school or hiring a babysitter or a nanny or a day mother?
Breaking the cycle
Let’s look at the artists. We’re complaining about not having enough money. We’re complaining about the directors being not nice. We’re complaining about not getting the role, but what are you doing about it to shift your perspective? Are you just staying in your business and accepting whatever comes your way and rolling with the homies? Are you going to step out of that taking the approach of deciding to actually work on your business because you are your business? How are you going to influence your own business, and who are you going to bring in to have different results?
It is much easier to sit in your dressing room and to complain day in and day out and to go after rehearsals and go after a show and have a drink or two and complain some more and talk about how you fell and nobody saw you and all of these things. They’re important, but what is it really getting you? What are you getting out of it? Is that a behavior? Are you just continuously replaying because it feels familiar? I know the answer. Yes, it is. I can tell you that right now.
Building out of that certain lifestyle is everything but easy. It’s not going to happen today. It’s a process. What you have to do first is actually being willing and making the choice to be different, to not feel the same anymore, to take control. That is where it starts.
In the performing arts industry, it is very easy to feel comfortable and familiar to play along with the game that has been played for so many decades. It takes courage to change your perspective. It starts with you making that decision, today, I’m going to decide how I want to show up. Today, I’m going to take 30 minutes where I’m going to work on my business and not in my business. Today, I am not going to sit and listen to everybody complaining, but I’m going to look at where I’m at and where I want to go, and what kind of decision I have to make. What is the gap? What am I missing? Who are the people that actually are going to feel very unfamiliar for me at this very moment that I know could lift me up and raise me up to a place where I want to go? And they may not be found in your company. They may not be found in your current circle of influence. They may be found by you keeping two of your $6 lattes a week and saving that money for signing up for a membership for a group that you’ve never been into. Understand that even if you tried it for a month or two, you haven’t lost anything. You can only get out of something like that what you’re putting in. If you’re not getting anything out of it, you know you really haven’t put anything in. Showing up is the most important thing. For that, you need to make that decision at you are no longer willing to play the game that has been dealt to you. Make your own game.
Be the cycle breaker
If this feels like something that’s calling to you and you don’t want to leave the industry. You want to be a part of the industry, but not behave like the industry, it takes you being a cycle breaker, being willing to do things that you don’t see anybody doing around you because they feel right to you. And with that, you actually are going to attract the people, the very people that then are also cycle breakers. And you, in a very short period of time, will not be alone anymore.
We are so powerful. Regardless of your age or where you’re at right now, it’s never too late. It is never too early to understand that as an artist, it doesn’t mean that you just show up and do what you’ve been told. If you want to be free to express yourself, you’ve got to work on your mindset. Work on your thoughts and beliefs and understand that nothing is set in stone. Everything is interchangeable and whatever you want to believe is what you can believe because the belief is only a thought that we think over and over and over again until it becomes a belief of ours. Look at every single belief and every thought and every rule that is established and ask yourself if it is true and what would it look like if it wasn’t true and what would it look like if I can rewrite it? How can I interchange it with something else that perhaps would be supporting me in a different way? That’s your homework for this week.
So much ❤ Susanne
About Christy Little
Former professional dancer turned entrepreneur who is passionate about living in purpose and assisting people to see the greatness inside of them to live their ideal life.