Thursday, February 25, 2010

Goals, Accountability & Incentives: Why they matter

When I was a kid, my parents used to take us out to dinner when we brought home good report cards.  Family dinner at Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse was all the incentive my brother and I needed to try our very best everyday at school.  Additionally, if we didn't do well, we had to bring our report cards home to be signed by mom and dad, and there would inevitably be consequences (no tv for a week!!!).  We were held accountable for our poor performance.  As I got older, my parents became less and less involved in motivating me to get A's.  I worked hard because I wanted to get into a good college.  I was working towards a personal goal.
Goal, Accountability, Incentive= Olympic Gold (photo
The need for goals, accountability, and incentives doesn't disappear when we finish school.  Turns out these elements will contribute to success in everything you do.  Trying to lose some weight?  I bet you set a goal for yourself.  Are you checking in with someone who's holding you accountable?  Chances are if you're not, you're struggling to keep yourself on track.  Have you set up incentives for yourself? ie. If I run 10 miles this week I get to buy myself a new pair of shoes.  You bet thinking about those red stilettos got me off the couch more than once.

The same applies to business, especially in the business of arts, since so many artists and arts administrators work independently.  Trying to get a show off the ground?  There's your goal.  Set smaller ones on a daily or weekly basis to keep yourself from being overwhelmed.  (I will call five potential investors today.)  Get someone to hold you accountable.  I love this concept: two producers from MTWorks have challenged each other to a Producer Off.  As each one raises more funds the other takes off an item of clothing.  You can bet they're checking in with each other to gauge progress (accountability), and the threat of ending up naked on the internet has GOT to be incentive!  Additionally, in business there's the added incentive that, if you're successful, you will likely get paid (and who doesn't like to get paid?).

So there's your fomula for success: Goal, Accountability, Incentive; rinse and repeat.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Most Basic Tenet of ANY Business

Do it.  Whatever it is, stop talking about why not, and do it.

A number of years ago I (against my will) read Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad (thanks Dad).  It has some great information about what distinguishes an employee from a business owner (aka one who works for money and one who makes money work for them).  Ok, so it's a litttttle more involved than that, but if you want the inside scoop, you'll have to read the book.  I decided I wanted money to work for me.  I was willing to take a risk and sacrifice comfort for financial freedom, but I didn't really get how to make this happen.  So a few years and a couple of jobs (read: i'm still working for money) later I finally get it.

You have to do it.  You have to get out there and network your booty off.  You have to make appointments and ask people to invest.  You have to do things that make you uncomfortable until they become comfortable.  What distinguishes those who make it and those who don't is the ability and willingness to go there, to do that. 

If you're constantly saying to yourself, well I can't do that because, or I don't have this, or I'm not connected enough to... whatever it is, if you're giving yourself reasons to NOT do something, you're not going to do it. 
 So start finding ways around your why nots.  Look for ways to say yes, and if you can't think of one, reevaluate what you can change that will enable you to say yes.  Sure there are things that happen in life that you can't control, but there are a great many things we can control.

Make choices, make changes, and do it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday's Featured Event: Hold for the Laughs

So this event isn't exactly taking place this weeeekend, but next Wednesday.  However,since it's a great cause (Doctors without Borders) and takes place before next Friday when I post wonderful things to do, I thought I'd include it.  From Michael Roderick's Blog, One Producer in the City:

Hold for the Laughs is 8 days away! All proceeds go to Doctors without Borders! Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
9:30pm - 11:30pm
The Tank @ 45th Street Theater
354 West 45th Street
New York, NY


Hold For The Laughs is back this month with another great show. We are donating all proceeds from the show to Doctor's Without Borders. This will be big show and you will have the chance to meet many people in the comedy and theater communities. All for a great cause!

At 9:30pm we will be starting things off with our networking event and this month we will have several theater companies in attendance so it will also be a great opportunity for everyone to network and catch up. Stay for the tremendous lineup we have for the comedy show at 10pm.

Christian Polanco Hosts:

Brian Jian (NBC Stand-Up For Diversity)

Mara Herron (Sirius XM, Boston Comedy Festival)

Joe Derosa (Comedy Central Presents)

Suggested donation is $10, but please give whatever you can. We appreciate whatever you are able to donate to support. It all goes to Doctors Without Borders.

Reserving your seat by emailing helps us out a lot. Hope to see you Wednesday!

There is no drink minimum, but wine/beer is available.

Thanks so much for supporting indie theatre and live comedy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday's Featured Event: V-Day New York (MMRP) 2010

 Dear readers,
From now on, every Friday I'll feature an event going on that weekend that's a great opportunity or serves a great cause.   This Weekend:

As part of the V-Day Worldwide Campaign
_gaia and Looking Glass Theatre present their benefit reading of
Writings To Stop Violence Against Women and Girls

V-Day New York City 2010 is proud to join the global effort to raise money and awareness for local organizations that work to stop violence against women and girls. A MEMORY, A MONOLOGUE, A RANT AND A PRAYER: Writings To Stop Violence Against Women and Girls, is a groundbreaking collection of monologues by world-renowned authors and playwrights, edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle. These writings are inspired, funny, angry, heartfelt, tragic, and beautiful. But above all, together they create a true and profound portrait of how violence against women affects every one of us. A diverse cast will perform the monologues, directed by veteran director Rose Ginsberg.

Featuring: Alena Acker, Jenn Boehm, Ann Breitbach, Bethany Bryan, Alessandra Cardoso, Elena Chang, Meaghan Connaire, Chelsey Curry, Missy Hernandez, Kaira Klueber, JessAnn Smith and Tara Thierry.

All performances will take place at Looking Glass Theatre on February 12 at 8 p.m. and February 13 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets for all performances are $18 online and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Women In Need, Inc. (WIN) of New York City, NY, the York Street Project of Jersey City, NJ and 10% of the proceeds will go to this year’s V-Day international spotlight theme, THE WOMEN OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.

_gaia and Looking Glass Theatre will also be collecting toiletries, gently-used business attire, diapers, cloth bibs, wipes (refills for rectangular boxes) and non-perishable snack items for both beneficiaries. Check for a complete list of items being collected.

For up-to-date performance information and other V-Day fundraisers visit, or For more information on our beneficiaries visit and

Join us and change the story of women!

GLOBAL SPONSORS: Dramatists Play Servicem Amanda Keidan Jewelry, LUNA, Random House, Shawn & Shane, Vosges Haut-Chocolat

LOCAL SPONSORS: _gaia, Looking Glass Theatre, Art Kitchen, Design Factory, Garden State Rollergirls, Hell’s Kitchen Lounge, Lady M Confections and Melita Wines.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taking Chances: My Take on Risk Assessment

I used to work in a bar/restaurant for extra income. I made cash in hand that complemented my salary, and they fed me 3 times a week. I could afford to buy my lunch and was still saving money. It was pretty good.
Today I work one job. I volunteer, I'm active in a few professional organizations, I'm taking a class, I run almost everyday, I'm starting a business, I write this blog...and I am flat broke.
I have to be honest, living month to month is kind of a scary thing, especially with imminent expenses looming (graduate school anyone?). However, leaving the restaurant was the best thing I could ever do for my career. I freed up 20+ prime hours of my day to network, learn new skills, and seek out opportunities. Giving up my extra income was a risk I couldn't afford NOT to take.
I'm on the verge of taking a few more chances (in spite of the costs of a dentist appointment I know I need to make). But before I deplete my savings account I had to ask myself: Can I afford to NOT take this chance?

Friday, February 5, 2010

You're Invited

TONIGHT! Friday, February 5, 2010, 6-9pm
Co-hosted by Dance/NYC's Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) and Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA) for young arts administrators and Dance/NYC's Mid-Year Symposium participants

@ The Rubin Museum of Art's K2 Lounge
150 West 17th St. at 6th Avenue

No RSVP necessary.  Symposium registration is also NOT required to partake in drinks at the Rubin. 
Cash bar.  2-for-1 drinks from 6-7pm
Free admission to Happy Hour all night and free admission to all galleries too after 7pm.