Q: How does one successfully transition from artisan to entrepreneur, and what things should be outsourced in order to do so?
A: Many entrepreneurs start out with a passion for the art and the craft they are doing. But eventually, it becomes a passion for the business they have created and the process of managing it.
You can evolve into a business owner while keeping the passion and still loving the core product. Your mind-set just needs to evolve from trying to design and create products to creating and expanding an organization.
In that transition, you must let go a bit.
If your time is spent crafting and designing, then it’s not spent growing the business. You can’t spend a dollar twice, and you can’t spend an hour twice.
As the entrepreneur and founder, your time is valuable. You should prioritize your time on endeavors that will grow your company and turn over a lot of the creative work to other artists by outsourcing.
There are a lot of great artists and craftspeople out there, and they are immediately accessible in this age of technology. That’s a pool of talent that’s frequently underused.
You can make that transition by employing more of these craftspeople while you are growing the business, creating value and providing the art you are interested in to the marketplace.
This will put you on a faster track to growth.
If you would prefer to continue working on the creative side yourself rather than making that transition, you are going to want to find a partner.
You can be the founder, but if your passion is going to stay there on the creative side, then somebody else needs to be CEO or manager. They will need to have stake in the company and form a partnership that allows you to continue to do what you want.
Having someone else do the tasks you aren’t great at or don’t enjoy will not only free up your time, but also will allow you to keep the passion and authenticity behind the brand.
Both pieces need to be done, and they need to be done well, so a strategic partnership can help you succeed at both.
David Deeds is a professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship, the Schulze Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and research director of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.