3 Critical Skills for Entrepreneurial Success by @artistsedge

by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor


Entrepreneurial Success

In my 13+ years of business coaching, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs and small business owners from many industries, though my specialty is in the Arts & Entertainment industry.

As a result, I’ve come to 2 conclusions:

  1. Not all people are cut out to be entrepreneurs / business owners
  2. Talent and passion are not enough

Are You Cut Out to Be an Entrepreneur?

There’s a lot of hype and romance around being a business owner, thanks to folks like Robert Kiyosaki, who make it almost embarrassing to be happy as an employee.

I’m the first to say – if being an employee suits your personality and your lifestyle – DO THAT! There is no shame in loving your job and being happy in that role. I couldn’t do it, myself. And I envy that a little. I’ve never had a paid vacation in my life – and there are times when I would kill to be paid to take 2 weeks off!

Knowing yourself, what you want, and what you’re willing to do in order to be successful should precede any decision to start your own business.

Is this you?

  • You thrive in a highly structured environment where others make the key decisions
  • When you see a situation with a clear risk of failure, you walk in the other direction
  • You know what you’re good at, and don’t really want to spend time doing anything else
  • You prefer to climb a clearly laid out path toward advancement and success

If this sounds like you, you will be better served finding a well-paying job doing tasks that suit your skills and interests.

If, however you are more like this:

  • You want to be the decision maker and prefer setting up your own schedule and structure
  • You lean in to fear and risk, not in a self-destructive way, but because you relish the challenge
  • You enjoy the variability of wearing different hats, you savor the way different activities make you think and feel
  • You prefer to blaze your own trail, if it’s too simple, easy and direct, you’re bored

If this second set of bullet points sound more like you – you may already have the makings of a successful entrepreneur. However, there are skills that you will need to learn in order to create real, lasting and sustainable success.


Read more at http://sheownsit.com/3-critical-skills-for-entrepreneurial-success/




The Success of Your Business? It’s a Theory… by @artistsedge

by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor


Debra Russell

In last month’s article, Is it Failure or Feedback? I introduced you to a new paradigm – “there is no failure, only feedback.” That framework is the foundation for this month’s success skill:

How to Use the Scientific Method to Create Success

Do you remember the Scientific Method from school? Perhaps you’ve relearned it through your children. Or perhaps you’ve suppressed that along with most of what you learned in school – no worries! Let me refresh your memory:

The Scientific Method:

  1. Observe a problem, issue, or phenomena (For example, I never get to blogging.)
  2. Devise a theory to solve the problem or explain your observation (I don’t schedule it, so it doesn’t happen. If I schedule it, maybe I’ll do it.)
  3. Devise a test to determine the validity of your theory (I’ll schedule 3 blogging sessions a week at 3:00 PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next 3 weeks.)
  4. Measure and Record your results (I did it on Monday and Wednesday, but Friday just didn’t happen. Every week, it was the same.)
  5. Evaluate your results and assess your theory in light of your data. (Don’t try to fit your data into your theory) Then adjust your theory as necessary (Well, maybe 3 days/week is too much. Or maybe by Friday, I’m too tired and stressed about other deadlines.)
  6. Rinse and repeat (New problem, I am not blogging on Friday. New Theory with Test: How about just doing 2 sessions, at 3:00 PM Monday and Wednesday. Let’s try that for 3 weeks…)

This is a great way to address time management issues (as I demonstrated above). But what has this got to do with your business?

In this world of lightning speed change and a challenging, not to mention, highly competitive business environment, a business must be agile in order to create long term success.

And with the limited funding currently available for most small businesses, you can’t afford to put everything behind an untested product or strategy. Unfortunately, just because you are passionate about your product, doesn’t guarantee that the marketplace will buy with equal passion.

However, if you approach each move you make in your business using the scientific method, you will be able to test before you invest. In business, this is referred to as “Proof of Concept.” And if your theory pans out, you can take that proof to the marketplace and use it to attract investors and entice new customers.

But if, as frequently happens, your theory is disproved (in other words, your idea/product bombs), then you won’t have invested your entire bankroll into this small test and you will be able to shift, adjust, or completely change your product or marketing strategy and test your new theory.

In addition, there are a few principles that underlie the use of the scientific method, that are intrinsic to being a successful entrepreneur.


Read more at http://sheownsit.com/success-business-theory/



Is it Failure or Feedback? by @artistsedge

by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor

So often, we make decisions based on the fear of failure. We avoid taking risks in our business, because we might fail. We don’t ask for what we want, because we interpret “No” to mean failure. We don’t ask for the sale, ask the scary questions, or ask for help, because all of these things carry the risk of failure attached to them.

Or do they? Are those imagined negative consequences actually failure?

Or are they just feedback?

Definition of Failure and Feedback

Failure* –

  1. The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short
  2. The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends

feedback or testimonials blue icon or button. Publical commentsFeedback* –

  1. A reaction or response to a particular process or activity.
  2. Evaluative information derived from such a reaction or response.

* Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

So, let’s take a real world (albeit hypothetical) example, apply these two definitions and see what happens.

Let’s say you’ve put your name in for a job or opportunity and that felt like a real stretch – this is an area you want to work in, but haven’t yet. Or this is the kind of client you want in your business, but they’re perhaps bigger than you’ve tried for up to this point.

And let’s say you didn’t get it. Or perhaps worse, you were called in for an interview, called back to be interviewed by the next level of decision makers, perhaps you even got into the top 2 or 3 choices. And you didn’t get it.


Read more at http://sheownsit.com/failure-or-feedback/



How to Say: “NO” – Boundaries Part 2 by @ArtistsEdge

by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor


Debra Russell

I promise, with practice, being able to choose – yes or no – according to your values and priorities will give you tremendous empowerment and the freedom to create the life you want.

And as I promised in Boundaries and the Power of “NO” (or Go Ahead, Be the Bitch), here’s HOW to say “No.”

Know Your Yes

When you are unclear about what you are saying “Yes” to, saying “No” feels very uncomfortable. Let me give you a few examples:

Your neighbor (insert your person who just assumes you’re available all the time) rings your doorbell and says, “You’re not busy, right? I just had the biggest fight with my boyfriend and I need a shoulder…” And you say “Yes,” because you don’t have anything clearly scheduled. There aren’t any client appointments or external deadlines for your new business. Of course, there are a million things you could be/would be doing, but in that moment, when she knocks on your door – none of those things are clearly scheduled in your calendar. And she needs support, wouldn’t saying “No” be selfish?

A new client really wants to work with you and thinks you’re great – you’re soooo flattered and excited! But when it comes to setting your fees, you are tentative. And when they dicker you down, you agree, because you really want the work and you don’t actually have set fees and frankly the whole money discussion feels really uncomfortable. So, you say “Yes”. You’re grateful for the work, but you feel just a bit uncomfortable perhaps even resentful. Because you’ve allowed them to undermine your value. And that’s why negotiating those fees left such a sour taste in your mouth.

In order to be able to make a clear, clean “No”, you need to know what you’re actually saying “Yes” to. If you have your workday scheduled and a clear action plan for the day, it’s much easier to turn down those spontaneous requests. If your fee schedule is set, it’s so much easier to simply email the fee schedule to them. Then there’s no need for discussion. There it is, in black and white.

In order to create this clarity for yourself, you need to set up your systems: your time management system, your product/service systems, your marketing systems. In my “Systems Creation – Work Smarter, Not Harder” class – one of the fundamental principles I teach is that systems reduce stress, because you’ve already made the decisions in advance.

You’ve decided your schedule. So when someone calls and asks if you’re available – you can clearly answer, “No, I’m so sorry, I’m just not available this morning.” And here’s the coolest part – they don’t need to know what you’re busy doing. You are simply not available.

You’ve decided your rates and prices. So you can clearly and cleanly tell a prospective new client exactly what you charge – what your time, energy and expertise is worth. And then they can make a clear choice to work with you.

When you are clear about what you are saying “Yes” to, making your choice becomes much simpler.

The fundamental truth is, whenever we say “Yes” to one thing, we are saying “No” to everything else. And when you are clear, excited and passionate about what you’re saying “Yes” to, saying “No” becomes a No-Brainer!


Read more at http://sheownsit.com/how-to-say-no-boundaries-part-2/



Boundaries and the Power of “NO” (or Go Ahead, Be the Bitch) by @artistsedge

by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor


The thought terrifies, doesn’t it?  What if they don’t like me?  What if they think I’m a bitch?  I’m a NICE PERSON!  I don’t want to be a bitch.

Or if we’re being really honest with ourselves, I don’t want people to think of me as a bitch.

Even when the answer really is “No.”  We don’t say it – we accommodate, avoid and twist ourselves up into a pretzel.

Here’s the thing.  You cannot survive as a business owner if you won’t say “NO.”  You cannot thrive as a woman if you won’t say “NO.”

So, if the ability to say, “No” is a critical surthrival skill, how do you learn and develop that skill?  How do you know when to say, “No,” let alone how to say it.


I remember watching my Mom, back in the ’70’s, discover her “No.”  She’d had another of her meltdowns, where she had said “Yes, Yes, YES,” until she couldn’t stand it anymore and then exploded with her “No.”  I remember her running crying to her bedroom.

But this time, she did something different.  She went to an Assertiveness Training course.  And when she completed the course, things changed.  She began to say “No.”  She began to ask for help and ask for what she needed from us and from my Father.

And then she even began to give herself what she wanted and fight for what she wanted, when necessary.  And it wasn’t easy.  And it wasn’t comfortable.  But I think it’s why my parent’s marriage survived (62+ years) and they still love each other truly, madly, deeply.  I think it’s also contributed to why me and my siblings are so incredibly close.  And I know it’s made a huge difference in how I handle “No” myself.

Because relationships without boundaries are not, cannot be truly intimate.  If your relationship doesn’t have boundaries, you are not safe.  And if you are not safe, you won’t allow yourself to be truly intimate.

It’s counter-intuitive, I know.  It seems boundaries are about separation and intimacy is about closeness.  So, let me see if I can explain this seeming paradox.  When you are in a relationship without boundaries, you are also without choice.  You can’t say, “Now, I am available for us to be together.”  Because you’re not allowed to say, “Now, I am NOT available.”

And so, you will keep part of yourself closed off, because you are not safe to choose when you are and are not available.  You will instinctively and likely unconsciously choose to keep part of yourself always unavailable.

It is only when you allow yourself to choose, that you will also allow yourself to be fully available, vulnerable, open.





12 Days of Monetization via @cyberpr

Music business, promotion, Last month I was one of twelve guest bloggers for Ariel Hyatt’s CyberPR Music Business blog. Click here to read my article:

12 Days of Monetization: How Do You Get People to Buy Your Music? – Debra Russell [DAY 4]

Stay tuned, there will a free e-book that is a compilation of the entire series.


Self-Employed vs. Business Owner – Which Mindset Will Empower You Most? by @artistsedge

by Debra Russell | Featured Contributor

Many WAHMs and solo-preneurs think of themselves as self-employed.  Why? Because that’s what the IRS calls you.  When you file a Schedule C and your income is 1099 and you are not incorporated or part of a partnership, then you are considered self-employed.

self-employed, business owner, e-mythBut I’m going to take a stand here and say, I don’t care what the IRS calls you.  If you think of yourself as self-employed you are undermining your success!

As I teach in my Business Management for the Creative Mind class, here is my definition of a person who is self-employed:

An employee with lousy pay, terrible benefits, and a maniac for a boss!

Instead, I recommend you think of yourself as a business owner.  It doesn’t matter if the IRS thinks of you that way.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve set up an LLC, S-Corp or whatever.  It doesn’t even matter if you’ve registered a dba!

I want you, in your mind, to think of yourself as the owner of your business.

There are several advantages to thinking of yourself this way:

  • Stop thinking of yourself as the product – you’re the business owner, the product is the product.

When you think of yourself as self-employed, then you are the product!  Your services, skills, and expertise becomes the product (even if you’re selling pies – they’re YOUR pies).

As a result, every job bid, every new concept, every marketing attempt becomes a measure and representation of your personal value.  And your self-esteem and self-worth is now inextricably linked to every failure and success in your business.

As a result, you may find yourself unwilling to take risks, ask for the job, charge what you’re worth – because if the answer is “No” that means you’re not worth it!

If you’re the business owner, and the product is the product, you will be free to test ideas, try things, experiment and discover what will work for your business.  Because every failure is just something that didn’t work.  It’s not a measure of your value.


Read more at http://sheownsit.com/selfemployed-vs-business-owner-which-mindset-will-empower-most/



BGE Radio powered by BlogTalk: BGE Presents

Debra Russell interview

Certified Business Coach for the Arts and Entertaiment Industry- Debra Russell joins Jiggy Jag to discuss all the right strategic concepts, Business operations, Marketing, and Branding opportunities that should not be missed as an artist grow in today’s world of music.


Welcome Message from Debra Russell, Certified Business Coach

Welcome Message from Debra Russell, Certified Business Coach – YouTube

Debra Russell tells you a little bit about herself and her background.

Debra Russell’s ArtistsMBA Professional Mentorship Tour

Debra Russell’s ArtistsMBA Professional Mentorship Tour – YouTube

Debra Russell of Artist’s EDGE gives you a tour of the additional benefits of joining the Artists Marketing & Business Academy at the Professional Mentorship Level. In addition to all the classes, advanced classes and interviews with experts you get at the Foundation and Professional Programs, in addition to the support you get through the Ask Coach Debra calls and email coaching, as a Professional Mentorship member, you get monthly Laser Coaching Sessions.