“If you educate yourself, if you know that there are steps in the real world that you should take, then you’ll take them and you will grow successfully.” ~ Genevieve Tran

Last week’s “Legal Fundamentals” workshop with Andreas Kalogiannides was a great success. It was a catalyst for a variety of conversations and covered important topics that many independent artists overlook.

The second workshop, taking place on August 6, will be hosted and presented by NetGain Partners (53 Berkeley Street), a boutique management consulting firm that has a long history of working with many major arts organizations in Toronto. They share our passion and belief that there is tremendous potential to be cultivated within the independent performing arts sector, and BeMused Network is excited to have them as collaborators on this pilot series.Management consultant Genevieve Tran will focus on a fundamental aspect of making a living as a performing artist: how to grow your career as an artist, organization, and ultimately, as a way to make a living. Tran will be sharing her insights and facilitating discussions around the specific challenges that the workshop participants are experiencing.

Genevieve Tran TEDx TalkTran, who started out as an elementary school teacher, has long felt the lack of financial literacy education in the developed world. She remains a passionate financial educator today, though now her students are professionals and organizations of all sizes. (For a sense of her passion, take a look at her TEDx Tokyo talk below or her blog, Money Big and Small.)

The financial literacy gap hampers artists just the same it does other professionals, says Tran.

“I think a lot of people in the arts are providing a very valuable social activity in our society, and a lot of them are equipped with the passion and the talent to further their craft, in terms of the artistry of it. But there’s a big reality in terms of the business aspect of growing administratively — or getting funded, or financing — that people don’t think about when they want to do something big and impactful.”

This challenge is not unique to artists, and Tran says that during the workshop she will be sharing anecdotal stories of how people got out of difficult situations, but also empirical knowledge, gathered across a variety of businesses and situations.

“In consulting you get to be the fly on the wall in many organizations. We’ve had the privilege of digging into a lot of people’s data, so we have empirical knowledge of what a whole bunch of organizations have gone through.”

Thinking about growth can be a daunting and intimidating step when you are focused on the thing you know and do best — your craft. Neither the feeling nor the challenge of growth itself are unique to performing artists, and Tran says there is a way to address both.

“If you educate yourself, if you’re aware that there are steps outside of just your artistry — if you know that there are administrative steps in the real world that you should take, then you’ll take them and you will grow successfully.”

Awareness of the necessary steps can make an enormous difference, says Tran. She offers the example of a client organization whose board was asked to come up with a strategy.

“This organization has been doing the same thing, year in and year out, and they didn’t really know how to get themselves out of their situation,” she says.

To inform the process the board had the presence of mind to look outside of the organization’s usual sphere. Rather than only surveying the current membership, the organization essentially cold-called people, asking for feedback.

“That feedback became extremely valuable. Because that empirical evidence gathered from outside of their own sphere was a compelling argument, it helped inform a business plan and strategy that ended up being funded — and that was millions of dollars’ worth of effort.”

You don’t have to be working on a million-dollar funding deal to get some invaluable, actionable insights and advice. If you are starting a new arts organizations or looking to revitalized yours, sign up today for this Wednesday’s workshop, 4-6pm at the NetGain Partners offices at 53 Berkeley Street.

Got an idea for future professional development workshops? Leave us a comment below!