As I watched Episode 2 of the “America: The Story of Us” on the History Channel, my business brain started to kick in. Not only did I learn new things about the Revolutionary War that I didn’t know before, I started to see how the tactics used by the ‘rebels’ could serve business owners well. I assure you many liberties are being taken in this comparison – I’m going on what I recall and my impressions – forgive me if they are skewed. It’s the analogy that matters.
Let me set the scene…
It’s 1773, there is a Tea Party in Boston (the original, not the remakes going on now) and we are tired of taxation without representation. By 1776, the people of the colonies grab whatever weapon they can muster and decide they’re through and they want to be independent. (Pretend they are artists and they don’t want to ‘work for the man – they want to go into business for themselves.)
The Red Coats are highly trained soldiers. They have systems, structure and certain ways things are done. Battles are fought in fields. You don’t shoot the leaders. Certain protocol is followed. The Red Coats are like big corporations.
Well the rebels, I’ll call them US soldiers, decide they can’t win if they play by the rules. They have to make up their own rules. (Like we self-employed artists do.)
The US soldiers use new tactics: snipers and sharp shooters. They kill the Indian guides so the red coats don’t know the terrain. Then they take out the leaders so there is chaos. They learn new techniques and train. Bayonettes come from France and change the way they can fight on the battlefield.
Most importantly, the US soldiers REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to be free.
They want it enough to survive crazy conditions. They want it more than the British want to keep paying for a war across the ocean. More than the soldiers want to be beat up by farmers. They want it and they fight till Britain says UNCLE.
So what can artists learn from this?
You have to REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to succeed and be willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES. No giving up because it’s easier to go sell coffee at the closest Starbucks and heck, they have benefits for part-time workers.
You have to know your strengths and how to capitalize on them.
You have to be willing to learn new things and adapt to what is going on in the present.
You have to be willing to try and fail – George Washington knew he had to lose many battles to win the war. How much are you willing to lose and get back up again, fighting for your dream?
We should be grateful that no matter what is going on, we aren’t surviving Valley Forge in the dead of winter with no shoes, a smallpox outbreak and little shelter.
The US soldiers fighting for independence were willing to commit, adapt, learn and persevere. Are you?
I am! Here’s to your creative success and doing whatever it takes to get there!
– Tara Reed
About The Author
Guest Author Tara Reed has been licensing her art since 2004, working with over 40 different manufacturers in that time. Her designs can be found on everything from fabric to dishes to dish towels. Gift wrap to garden flags and much, much more.
In 2008 she began sharing her expertise in art licensing with artists wanting to learn more about the industry. With a degree in marketing and background in sales, Tara Reed has created the art and built her business from the ground up.
Learn more about Tara and her art business at Art Licensing Info
Editors Note: This Article first appeared in the Art Licensing Blog in April 2010
I love this article of Tara's because it's close to my heart. That revolutionary period in U.S. history was a stepping stone to something great and it is a good time for us to wake up now and remember the lessons. If we could muster up even a tenth of the courage of those rebels and apply it to our lives and careers (including art careers!) it would be a good thing for us personally and for the whole planet.