BUILD YOUR VALUE, NOT YOUR NETWORK.
If you want to be invested in or partnered with by top industry influencers, then you need to prove that you are worthy of investment and be on the radar of the specific industry you are in. Even the creatives with just raw talent that are being invested in had to prove their worth because talent is not just enough to get you what you aspire. Most times when you are noticed and all you have is your raw talent, you get offered “shitty” (bad) deals that get you enslaved because you are not negotiating from a place of strength.
The first or major thing that a lot of creatives (music artists, writers, actors, comedians, photographers, etc.) I meet or consult for especially the ones in the entertainment industry do say is that “I know I am good, all I want is for you to connect me to people” or “you know how our country is, you have to know people to make it” and I am always like “why would anyone want to invest in or partner with you if you have not yet proven yourself to be worthy of investment?” I believe a lot of creatives believe that as long as they are good (who even says you are good in the first place), then a wealthy person or an industry influencer would just find them magically and give them a lot of money or give them an opportunity and then they “blow” (breakthrough), It doesn’t work like that. No investor or industry influencer is ready to invest or partner with someone that is not seen or has not been proven to be valuable. In as much as there is a large allowance for intuition, believe, and passion in the creative world, they are as a result of the value seen in you, also it’s a business and business is for profit-making.
A lot of youths put the cart before the horse, by looking for connections to the top dogs in the game before building value, and they eventually squander the opportunity the network or connections bring them because they haven’t yet built their value. Creatives shouldn’t just aspire to meet with industry influencers or investors but rather focus more on building value to the point whereby they are sought for and by this time, from a place of strength. Don’t just wait or keep seeking quick opportunities here and there, rather create one and be the opportunity being sought for. Remember success is determined when preparation is met with opportunity, and building your value achieves both requirements. There is a simple formula to building your value which is
TALENT + EXPOSURE + ASSETS + MARKETABILITY + STORY= VALUE
T + E + A + M + S = VALUE
(Culled from artist management manual 2012 edition by Jeremy Rwakaara)
This basically means that if you build your “TEAMS”, you build your value.
T- TALENT – What are you good/best at? What do you do to improve on it?
E – EXPOSURE- Get yourself out there in the eye of the public, let people know what you are good at and who you are. What this does is that it helps you get more fans, it positions you to be relevant and important. It also gets you on the radar of the industry you are in.
A – ASSET – What is your content database like? How much content do you have (based on your talent) to trade with or what assets do you have that you can trade with? It could either be tangible (e.g. your creative work, mailing list or database, etc.) or intangible (e.g. image, personality, etc.)
M – MARKETABILITY- Do you have a marketable personality? Do you have a brand persona that is mass appealing? What other things do you have going for you aside from your major act that is also sellable? (e.g. a musician who is also a fashion designer, an OAP (on-air personnel) who is also an actor, this helps you create multiple streams of income.
S – STORY – What personal story are you projecting to the public? A story is a short (a sentence) narrative that compels someone to want to hear more about you. A compelling story helps you get the attention you need, hence building your value. E.g. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – Will Smith, Canadian rap superstar – Drake, Mama Africa- Yemi Alade, omo baba olowo (son of a rich man)- Davido, etc.
Your conscious effort to building your “TEAMS” daily will surely guarantee your success in any creative industry. Building your TEAMS requires hard work, consistency, and perseverance, but it’s also the smartest work you can do. Believe and know this, you can do bad all by yourself, the so-called successful people started from little or nothing too.
Now the question you want to ask is how do I start, It’s simple. An average youth has access to the internet one way or the other, you can start by maximizing this tool, don’t just use your social media accounts to post funny pictures or your location or what you are doing. Use it wisely to project your assets to the world, get better at what you do through research and feedbacks, model your brand persona, and sell your story. Secondly, you need someone (be it a mentor or talent manager/consultant) to guide you on this path, cause the truth is that everyone’s path to greatness is different and uniquely tailored to each person, you need someone with insight and foresight who can guide and monitor your progress path to greatness.
The world is yours, all you have to do is reach out and grab it, I challenge you.
By DEDA AKINOLA.