Now, we continue on discussing how to commercialize our talents. In the previous article, we covered a few things; knowing your product, knowing your market, investing in your talent, training hard and production of your product.
Are you protecting your work?
Now, you have worked so hard in training and development of your product. You feel that your painting is outstanding and none other of its likeness is available anywhere. How do you protect your work from leaches and pirates? If you don’t find a way to protect it, you will do the hard job and others will make the money off your sweat. In the music sector there is the MCSK to help with that, but for the most others there isn’t a body for that. You just have to do it yourself, go to the Kenya Copyright Board, Kenya Intellectual Property Institute (KIPI) and any other relevant body and protect your work. You can get more on intellectual property protection in the arts in the following link >>> https://ipkenya.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/intellectual-property-in-crafts-and-visual-arts-in-kenya/
How do you reach your market?
It’s a good thing that you already identified your market. However, do they know you exist? How do you make them aware? How then do they access your work if they’d like to? There are many channels to reach out to your market. Some old school others new. If you run a local benga band you might find that the good old posters are very important especially since live band gigs will be the biggest avenue to make money and push your CD sales. But with the advantages of new media it’s easy also to make short clips and broadcast them on social media to market yourself. Do you own a dedicated YouTube channel? If you have a gmail account you already have it but don’t use it. If you don’t then someone will put your music online and you will listen to it, see the viewership and likes grow and feel good. But they will be making the money. If you are into painting, do you have a gallery that displays your work? How do we know about it? Do you know you can also make money having an online gallery? Then unlike you are signed by a record label or have a management team then you will still have to do the selling yourself even if you don’t like hawking too much. But you will have to hit the streets with your works or you sleep hungry.
How does the money come in?
Depending on your product and the brand you develop for yourself, there are a few avenues to make the money. If you are in music you will depend on the sales of CDs and DVDs and live performances. However, there are also additional avenues to even make more money on less sweat. Your music goes online and you will make money from google. Your music can make you money on mobile service providers as ring back tunes. The radios will pay to play your music (in our system you may have to bribe them to play your music) and if you belong in MCSK then it becomes even easy because they will collect it for you. If you are into fine art then in addition to sales you can lease out your paintings to galleries, hotels and organizations dealing with events. You are into performing arts you can sell videos of your shows either as hard CDs or via online channels. And if your brand is good then you can make money endorsing products through commercials and advertisements and championing causes like being a good will ambassador or ‘peacepreneurship’.
How competent are you in business management?
Sometimes, when the talent comes calling, we hardly get sufficient time for academics. Sometimes even when the teacher is making noise in an accounting class we only hear the beats of the music in our heads. So it may be that we didn’t do too well in academics. This compounded by the fact that our talent couldn’t allow us to look for a formal job to get some experience in work and management then limits us a little. Knowing yourself well will enable you to understand your limits. That’s when you realize you are a fantastic artist but not a top class manager, not a lawyer, not a salesman etc. That’s when you realize you need the services of professionals. Get a talent manager to take care of business as you take care of your thing. However, this is also another nascent field in Kenya with great opportunities for people to come in and add value.
How do you deal with the money?
When the market finally opens to you, money pours. Too much of it and very sudden. For the most people they are not well prepared for it. Class sky rockets and life changes completely. You will need to keep your feet on the ground. Realize that some talent only lasts for so long until the next big thing comes in the market. When the money is coming in you need to have a good plan to deal with it. Otherwise, you get into ostentation and luxurious living and it goes. You let the fame get into your head then the groupies will not let you breathe. By the time you look for the Boy-Child advocate (Cyprian is Nyakundi) it will be too late in the day and you will be very broke. See Mike Tyson, See some local musicians in rehab today. Many unable to do a round meal a day. One story on how people deal with money comes from Haile Gabrselassie. The legend run and made money. Money now makes even much more in entrepreneurship. He owns hotel chains, he is into coffee, he is into real estate etc. just google him up. Koffi Olomide (my favorite) does well in Music, but what keeps him in the money list is his investments outside of music.
Just a small favour; would you please share this article in your social sites after reading. It is good for your friends too. You never know how it will affect their lives. Thank you