Comedy | Topher Harless
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Comedians and Self Promotion – 4 Good and Bad Ways to Promote

When you’re a comedian your main goal is to perform. You want to entertain as many people as possible, showing off your talent and abilities.  The inherent problem with that is that if you are going to be successful, you have to let people know you exist.  I mean, you may be talented, but you’re not born famous.  Well, maybe you’re born famous if you’re a celebrity’s kid, but that definitely doesn’t mean you’re talented.  Ask any of Will Smith’s kids.

So, there you are.   A performer with no audience and you gotta get people to know that you’re alive. Here are the best ways and the worst ways to do so.

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Creating Content

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.”  – Leonard Bernstein

“I don’t have time.”  “Really?” I asked my brother, “You can’t carve out even a few minutes?” “Oh, I don’t know.” He responded.  “I might.”

This is my challenge to you and slightly a back handed public challenge to my brother.  Start creating content.  Not tomorrow, or the day after, right now.  There will always be excuses to why you won’t start.  Notice that I didn’t say “can’t,” because you can and you should.

What’s the difference between someone successful and you?  They didn’t need to get paid to do what they love.  They did it for fun and they did it a lot.

Life is complicated.  Most of us have either busy jobs or jobs that we dislike that drain us.  It’s not often that you work 40 to 70 hours a week then decide that you want to make something.  However, as an artist, you can’t grow if you don’t take the time to create something.  Is your dream important to you?  How bad do you want it?  Do you keep telling yourself that you’re going to quit your job and then you’ll have time to do what you love?

You’re full of it and you know it.  Stop making excuses.  Whatever kind of artist you are needs to be cultivated.  If you don’t practice you’ll never get good at what you love and you’ll never get to do what you love full time.  That’s a promise.

You don’t have to start big.  Decide that you’re going to wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and do what you love for just 15 minutes.  Drink a cup off coffee then paint, write, practice monologues, etc.

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Seriously, coffee first. Writing second.

 

Starting small will make doing what you love a habit and will give your life purpose.  You’ll be surprised at how 15 minutes will turn into 2 hours and how inspiration and passion will fill your life.  You’ll start to be you again.

There is never enough time.  You’ll never find it no matter what job you have.  Find your passion and pursue it or you’ll live in the land of “what ifs” forever.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/5632644156/

The Power of NO

In college, a professor once told me, “Saying yes to everything means that you’re saying no to something else because you don’t have the time to do it.”

A while back, I quit a job because it made no money.  I worked as a barista to bring in some extra income.  I didn’t want to take the job, but honestly I felt the pressure to survive and my photography business hadn’t taken off yet.  So, I took it.  It paid too little and I had to quit.  It was a dumb move to take the job in the first place, but I needed something and I had high hopes that I’d get a raise.

Dumb Topher.

Anyway, I quit right as my photography business was starting to take on some steam.  Things were going great at first…  Then work slowed down.  So, I started trying to get creative to bring in some extra business.  At a random chance meeting, a local business owner was telling me about his struggle to maintain a presence in social media as well as getting high quality photos of his clients.  My ears immediately perked up.  After asking a few questions I offered up some help.  I told him that I was a bit of a social bug and a photographer and he was thrilled to set up a meeting with me.

I was excited.  “Look at me,” I thought, “I’m so clever.  I can make lemonade out of lemons.  I’m a real Guerrilla marketer.”

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If I market well, do I get free bananas?

 

When we finally met, I went over what we had talked about, but then suddenly I was asked if I had experience with web design.  I told him that I had some but I wasn’t able to create anything.  He insisted that I do some minor tweaks to his site.  I didn’t want to, but I’m a giant push over with the inability to say no.  So, I agreed.  That turned into major tweaks, redesigning whole pages of the website, filling out spread sheets, making a video, working on creating logos and signs, and basically being completely in charge of the financial stability of his store.

Wow.

What had started as a small offer to help out, turned into me running the show.  Not only that, but I felt so much pressure to make everything perfect and have immediate results.  We had agreed that I would be paid hourly and when I spent hours and hours  getting everything running and presented him with an invoice, he was upset because he didn’t see a lot of results and he didn’t want to pay for something that wasn’t making him any business.

This was a disaster.  Not only had I wasted my time, was not getting paid, but I was also doing a ton of work that I wasn’t qualified to do nor did I want to!  I didn’t even take one picture which was my entire goal in the first place!  I hadn’t set up any guidelines and when I was asked in the beginning if I could do something that I wasn’t good at, I didn’t say no.

The worst part of all of this?  It was all my fault.  I had to pay a stupid tax.  If I had been clear from the beginning about what I was willing to do and what I could do well this would have never happened.  And why did I do this?  Because I needed to survive.  The problem was, I needed money and when you need money you tend to take jobs that you would never take.

If I could go back, I would have just been honest.  I would have been tough.  I would have said no in the beginning and saved myself tons of stress.

Say no.  It means saying yes to what you actually want to do.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucumari/5980792927/”>ucumari</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>