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The Your Ladders Blog

There are a lot of things to think about when you're navigating a performing arts path. These blog topics will help.

What Does Gross Potential Mean?

I discuss gross potential in Spotlight on Spreadsheets and in Money. In both classes I offer you a spreadsheet that you can use to explore it. Remember, budgeting at 100% of gross potential is difficult, so don't do that. 

Check out the YouTube channel for more videos, or go back through the blog for more information.

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NETWORKING

Networking is a word that strikes fear in many folks. It sounds so, well, calculating. And formal. But networking is more than that, and should be part of the toolkit of every creative person, since they have the communication and connection skills to do it. In fact, they probably do it without knowing that’s what they’re doing.

What is networking? It’s getting to know people with shared interests. Ultimately, networking can lead to career advancement. I’ll cover that in another blog. For now, let’s talk about the do’s and don’ts of successful networking.

DO show up. Showing up means going to shows to support other artists. It means volunteering on boards, or on special events, to help out folks.

DON’T always go into events thinking “what’s in it for me?” Be present. That will be enough.

DO talk to people. I know many artists who are introverts. I’d include myself on that list, believe it or not. But that...

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NEVER STOP LEARNING

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in my life is that you’re never done learning. Actually, the hardest part is that I need to accept that’s part of the process. I am a fiction writer, and every time I sit down to start a book I’m convinced I won’t be able to do it. Every first draft is terrible. But editing and polish, plus a lot of practice, teaches me that at some point the book will be ready for readers.

As performing artists you understand that you have to practice your craft in order for it to remain fresh. You also have to take classes and learn new techniques in order to continue to grow. As your craft matures you need to acquire new skills. Some of them are to add depth to your work. Others are to adjust to a new phase in your career.

When you feel stuck as an artist, one of the best ways to reboot is to learn new skills. They can include business skills to help you produce your own work, or take better control of your career. They could also...

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THE ARTIST AS ENTREPRENEUR

I’ve been working in the arts for over thirty years and I’m really excited about a new trend I’m noticing around the way folks are producing their own work, Now, in some disciplines that’s always been the case. But in the performing arts, particularly theater, folks have felt the need to create a  company then create a season then produce their work. There have been exceptions, of course. Commercial theater has a lot of solo producers. But in the non-profit and community realm, starting a company has been the first step for most folks by rote. Or folks aspire to start a company. That’s changing.

I’m seeing two trends in this. First, a lot of the folks diving into this are working in the small/fringe scale. For these artists, starting a company and planning a season can be a resource drain. These groups are usually under-funded, and most folks participating are working several jobs to make it all work. Trying to produce two or three shows a...

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RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS DOWNLOAD

Writing a resume or cover letter is your opportunity to tell your story to a potential employer. While the documents don't get you the job--you do that in an interview--they do get you in the door.

I'm offering a free resume and cover letter worksheet for folks. I've distilled a workshop into this five page document I know you will find useful. Please go over and download it. The world needs artists. Let me help you help them.

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WHY DID I NAME MY SCHOOL YOUR LADDERS?

This past winter I signed up for Marie Forleo's B-School in part to help me take my mystery writing life to the next level, in part to help me do my job running a non-profit arts service organization, and in part because I love learning. I was also teaching an arts administration class, and one of my students told me he was grateful for the practical knowledge because it made graduation less daunting. He also told me he worried about his friends who hadn't taken an arts administration class and were going to try and build a career.

All of this came together and birthed a new idea. What would happen if I took my thirty years of experience in arts administration coupled with my love of teaching, and created a platform where both could live, and be accessible to more people? What would I call this online school?

When I do presentations about making a life in the arts, I show a picture of a long ladder, and explain that many careers look like that ladder. Expected rungs and a fairly...

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