How to Manage Complex Projects: Part 2
In the entertainment world, many people wear many hats; songwriter hats, manager hats, tour bus driver hat, graphic arts hat, musician or artist hat . . . and the list goes on and on. I personally have a huge hat collection. It would seem like I have ten heads. I wear them all fairly well, but that is not often the most effective way to operate, even if you can. Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should. That is an important lesson to really learn over and over again. As artists we get carried away, and we get excited, so it’s not uncommon for us to dive head first into all processes. It’s not a bad thing to do, per se, but it limits the other areas to which your energy can go. If you are an artist, and you happen to hate managing social media accounts, then consider, if you will, hiring a social media manager, and freeing up all that time to do what you do best, . . . create!
So when it comes to project complexity, work smart, not hard. Here’s how. . .
Managing Your Resources
A complex project requires a lot of resources, people, time, and as always, the almighty dollar. These components aren’t always readily available, but with solid planning, networking, and mindful frugality, anything is possible.
Your Network and Your offerings
Often people are your best resource, and that’s because people often have their own resource pools, and when networking, those resources can be shared without detriment. There are resources that I or a collaborator may have that aren’t being utilized, or even needed despite availability . . . so sharing is a huge key.
If I have a multi-disc CD burner (which I do), and I am not in a cycle of work that requires its use, then there’s no reason not to make it available for rent, barter, or use-trade. A local band starting up may want to go “old school” and hand out discs, so if I were to lend my burner, which does 7 discs in a mere 3 minutes, then I could either ask for a small fee to use the machine, money which I can funnel to other needed channels, or I can ask them to do me a favor back such as share my page with a nice recommendation post. . . Either way, we all win.
What resources do you have that are of value to people inside and outside of your industry or network?
Even information sharing is HUGE. Sharing contacts, venue info, referrals, and experience stories can be not only be helpful, but crucial to your success. Think of how much time and energy you could save if you discovered through referrals (or more so -Warnings) about a venue with poor business practices, or a history of abusive arrangements, non-payment, etc. It’s like being given back all the time you would have wasted pursuing the “opportunity,” and the same goes conversely, where a great referral is shared which can generate good feelings and abundance. It’s all about the sharing.
Time and Money Management
Time and money management ties into many facets of your complex project management. Time is money, and money is time. Money makes the world go round (sadly), and Time is of the essence. . . All of these cliches are TRUE. If you use your time poorly, then you will not make the money (or gather the resources you need) to prosper. And if you don’t use your money wisely, then you will be scrambling to generate more time to generate income. There must be balance and mindfulness. Work smart, not hard. Struggle, despite what many artists seem to believe, is NOT a required element to be successful. This goes beyond just artists too by the way. Have a budget not only for your money but also your time, and balance the books. Seek ways to save on both. Barter, or trade when possible as demonstrated above, and also don’t be afraid to take on help by delegating team members to certain departmental tasks. To save time you sometimes need to spend money or resources, but the question is this: Are you coming out in the green?. . . Is your exchange practice and the benefits reaped going to help your success (now or at a later date)? . . .
What time and finance budgeting are you practicing? What ways are you being inefficient? What ways ARE you already being smart? It’s important to recognize both.
More on The Grand Vision
Tie all of these new ideas and elements into your existing grand vision. Write it all down and use the living document to reference and to also be able to see (literally) the road map before (and behind) you. Apply time and energy budgets to your creative vision in conjunction with your business practices. Identify the weaknesses and strengths, and once you have done that, get out there and keep working, then touch base again at a designated time. Once a month will work for some, others may need a daily touch down. I would not recommend letting months elapsed between these check-ins though. Too much can slip through the cracks over time, and a business and creative skill set NEED to be watered like plants. If you let them dry up, they will die. One of the secrets to my own personal success, which is tied to my overall happiness, is to keep the plants watered and fed. Give them sunlight, and talk to them. Your endeavors are a direct reflection of your energy, time and resources manifested, so give them all the love they need. This is absolutely crucial.
Remember to have fun and to be creative in all of this. Don’t operate from a place of stress, or negative feelings. Keep it fun and it will be fun and it will feel good. This will make you a happier person and a better business owner, and ultimately, a better manager of complex projects.
Till next time, Be Well.