When I learned that EM gave a grant to my project, I felt both delight and a little dread for the same reason: now I had to take real steps forward. In some ways, it’s similar to composing a large work (like the two-hour opera I’ve been working on for almost two years) — once you tell people and have some semblance of a deadline, you really can’t quit! However, the lovely EM staff has ameliorated any remaining anxiety, both through verbal encouragement and introducing me to experienced mentors.
The mentors so far have given advice and wisdom on the following subjects: legal issues (including copyright and setting up an LLC), finding potential long-term business partners, hiring practices, organization, marketing, web presence, social media, and reaching out to related businesses. The advice on finding and working with people was particularly helpful, as I’m naturally trusting and needed the reminder to ask the right kinds of questions. Tanya Kalmanovitch’s EM graduate seminar has also been invaluable for setting realistic goals and fitting the business plan into my artistic life.
Through asking for help when I need it, and continuing to refine the business’ end goals, I’ve learned that this project is not something to be rushed. Because I’m targeting a specific audience (musicians, and primarily composers), it’s important that even in beta, the printing website offers a pleasant user experience. While it tries my go-get-‘em nature to be patient, I’m learning to rely on the suggestions of the extensive resources EM offers, and roll out a well designed beta version of the site sometime after graduating next spring.
Learn more about Mattia’s business idea here.