It’s not an easy task for creatives! We are courageous individuals who put our heart and soul out on display for the world to see. Erykah Badu said it best at the beginning of Tyrone, “keep in mind I am an artist, and I’m sensitive about my sh*t”. Just like everyone else we are afraid of rejection and ridicule, however, when we are ready to share our work with the world, we push past our fears. We take a leap of faith and share our ideas, music, poetry, designs, etc. with everyone. I bet we all know someone like this. Many people have access to creation tools, and we are seeing an explosion of creative works and content. Because this is such a bold action and many folks pursue their dreams with such trepidation; it is important that we support our friends, family and peers. We must encourage them to push forward with their dreams. There are plenty of ways to support them, but I want to highlight a few. Support them on social media; purchase the things they have for sale; be honest and give real feedback.
A study in 2018 estimated that the average person spends 8 – 11 hours a day on social media. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, You Tube, Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music, Tidal, etc. give creators a venue to showcase one’s work. Never before was there an easier way to self-promote oneself. In 8 -11 hours, surely someone can find time to like, comment, share or repost something one of these artists post. It doesn’t cost you anything and as I mentioned before, most people are already online anyway. We all engage famous people that we do not know, who probably don’t care. If your creative friend is a musician, stream their music! We need to show the same or greater effort for our friends. Set notifications to be alerted to new content and engage with the posts to help increase their awareness and spread the word.
People often go into other stores or buy things online without hesitation. But when it comes to a friend that they know has merchandise, they have their hand out for something free; or they are quick to ask for a discount. I believe this is definitely the wrong mentality. We should be the first ones to offer to pay full price for our friends’ merchandise. Look, being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of cost. Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time and money to pursue their dream. They do not have the same resources and capital that an established business has. We need to do our part to get them to the top. These are the last folks that you should ask for a hand out or discount. If you can’t afford to pay them with money, offer to exchange their product or service with a skill or service you can assist them with.
Lastly, encourage your friends to pursue their dream, but also give them honest feedback. I remember when I started creating records, there were some people that would say, “that’s cool” or “that sounds nice”. Bullshit! My first records were trash. The best support I got was a real friend encouraging me to get better but being honest with the quality of my work. One friend offered purchased books for me to read to help me get better, others offered to teach me things they knew to help me get better. It is critical to give honest constructive feedback. If someone doesn’t know where they fall short, how can they ever improve? Tell them how it really is, but don’t be a jerk about it.
Nothing that was mentioned above is out of anyone’s reach. It’s scary striking out on your own to pursue your dream and reach a goal. Don’t leave your friends out there alone. DO what you can do to help. You will never know, how much they appreciate and need it. Let’s all grow together.
R. McMillan aka Semfany