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  • Writer's pictureDennis Howard

Tips for Creatives during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

The entertainment business, like every industry, is at a standstill due to quarantine and social distancing rules worldwide. While some are still engaged in work, creatives in many areas of the arts are stuck at home without the possibility of earning an income. So, what should members of the creative industry do in this instance? Apart from connecting through technology, here are some tips for creatives on what to do while they wait for normalcy to return.

1. Improve your craft; no matter your talent level, this is an excellent time to focus on honing your craft. No matter your field, songwriting, vocal ability, stage performance, writing, dancing, graphic design, comedy, photography, or fashion design. This is a great time to improve and put in practice or rehearsals to improve your craft. The aim is to achieve the highest professional level to ensure longevity in your field.

2. It is time for creatives to end financial illiteracy. Yes, it's been traditional to boast about not knowing or caring about finances. Those days are over! The Covid 19 virus has revealed the importance of financial planning. One of my colleagues in the creative industries has a saying: "artists use money to replace money". What this means is that a lot of artists are consumers but not investors.

During this down period, creatives must focus on financial planning. Looking at investments and the diversification of income streams. Issues such as estate planning, taxation, insurance, pension plan and intellectual property management are essential considerations.

During this break, these should be dealt with in a detailed and serious way, especially for those who have not attended to these critical issues. Get in touch with an excellent financial adviser fast!

3. Digitisation The Internet, applications and software have made this crisis more manageable. We have seen an increase in the utilisation of technology to ease the burden of the disruption and isolation that has occurred due to national shutdown and quarantine measures.

Creatives must improve their digital skills and gain a deeper understanding of the appropriate use of technologies such as podcasting, video editing, digital cameras and the various applications available to assist in reaching fans and building super fans.

It's time to use the platforms to monetise your creative output and brands. Social media and new technology should not only be used to wash dirty laundry in public, which only sews division and conflict in the industry. There are more manageable and less painful ways to remain current. An excellent place to start is YouTube, where you can learn almost anything using technology, improving your craft and digital skills.

4. It's time creatives realise creativity for creativity's sake won't cut it and must understand the importance of formalising their brand in the form of a registered company. Many options are available – sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability and foundation. Consulting with a business development consultant will ensure the right choice is made to suit individual circumstances and goals. The general practice of tax avoidance has resulted in serious consequences for far too many creatives in the past and, indeed, where government assistance is tied to proof that you have been paying your taxes.

5. Marketing and branding are two of the most overused words in the industry. However, very few creatives have mastered or even understand what it entails. They have a limited understanding of engaging in effective branding and marketing. It's time to talk to one of the firms with the expertise and develop a strategy that must include a digital marketing strategy. Outrageous behaviour on social media is not sustainable and only results in adverse brand outcomes.

6. This might sound brutal, but it's also a time to reflect on the possibility that the creative industry might not be the best fit for you. It's a very unpredictable industry that requires discipline, extra hard work and dedication. Unarguably, Jamaicans are among the most talented in the world. The unfortunate thing is that in far too many instances, the least talented, not interested in hard work, are more drawn to the industry. In this business, it's either feast or famine, and the feast usually takes years to achieve. For most creatives, before success is a reality, it's a lot of rejection, frustration and dead ends. Overnight sensations are usually ten or more years in the making.

So, there you go; these are a few practical and achievable things to do while we continue to practice social distancing and fight the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, you can try all these suggestions, and I'm sure you will be better for it. In the meantime, always follow your dreams but remember, a dream without hard work and discipline is only a dream.

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