how to get discovered

Do you ever get frustrated because your artwork (or business) is not being seen by mass audiences?

Do you ever get pissed off that some big company or talent agent hasn’t scooped you up yet to make you famous and make you a ton of money?


If so, you're not alone.


Too often we bust our asses working five jobs just to get by - with barely enough time leftover for our own art-making - while secretly hoping that someone will discover us and grant us all the time in the world to be fabulous and make the art we want to make…. someday. [sigh. waa waaaaa.]


If you’re living this way, stop it.


I’m not saying serendipitous discoveries don’t happen (i.e. the Bieb), and I’m not saying you shouldn’t have big aspirations, BUT either way, you can’t helplessly wait around for it. You need a sustainable, fulfilling plan in the meantime.

This means you need to:

  1. make time for your passions, while
  2. doing work that also enables you to make an income.

Sometimes these two things overlap, sometimes they don't. But if your day-to-day feels good and keeps you fulfilled, if/when the big break comes along, it will just be an added bonus. Like fresh icing on the cake that you already so nicely baked. No cake to hold it up, and the icing will melt into the plate and be sad and gooey. (Icing is good, especially when it's chocolate, but it's not everything.)


You with me?




So how do we go about making this sustainable, fulfilling plan, this solid cake-base?


First thing’s first:

Get real with what kind of artist you are and what kind of audience you want to reach.


Take this quiz:


  1. What kind of artist am I?

    1. I feel better when I create my own way (i.e. self-publish, self-produce)

    2. I thrive in the structure of a more traditional atmosphere (i.e. getting into a company, getting picked up by a publisher/agent, auditioning for roles, etc.)

    3. Some combination of the two

    4. Other: ___________________


  1. What kind of audience do you want to reach?

    1. I’d be happy just doing it for myself

    2. I’d love to reach a small audience (local shows, etc.)

    3. I’d love to reach a large audience (i.e. going on tour, developing a fan base, etc.)

    4. I’d love to be famous (i.e. millions of hits on YouTube, TV appearances, etc.)

    5. Other: ______________________


  1. Bonus: Describe your ideal audience:

Age group? Location? Interests? Values?


Once you are clear, you can start to research and outline the basic steps of doing what you want to do and reaching who you want to reach, based on the kind of artist you are. Find role models. Ask questions. Google stuff. Experiment.

 (In one of my programs, this is the part of the work we'll get to delve into deeper and clarify together.)


While you may not have so much control over exactly how wide of an audience you reach, it is important to be real with yourself.


If your big expectations for fame and fortune are only making you feel like shit in the now, then you gotta reel it in and find a way to source fulfillment with the smaller scale stuff.

If you’re thinking too small and holding yourself back, dream a little bit bigger.


Either way, there then comes the point when you must do the work.


Remember that the more you do your work, the more it will develop and the more you will grow as an artist. You don’t build confidence and charisma by thinking about it; you build these things by practicing, by getting into the arena, as Brene Brown would say.


Here’s a personal example to help illustrate my point:


morethanWhat I’ve learned is that I feel better when I create my own way. As much as I tried to fit into the mold of classical ballet or contemporary/modern dance, it never felt right for me. I only realized this when I stopped beating myself up for quitting the traditional path and instead starting making my own videos.


Making the videos while dancing alone really makes me happy, and I also recognize I really enjoy reaching an audience. It completes the circle for me. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I get starry-eyed and fantasize about being famous… millions of YouTube views, appearances and performances at large scale events, chillin’ with Gaga…

And then it takes me down the rabbit hole of comparison. Why can’t I be like xyz person who is talking to a million people everyday? Is what I’m doing even mattering to anyone?


You see, this mass appeal can be a dangerous thing. It can stop us from doing our work.


But I keep making stuff anyway. I follow the drive inside of me that needs to dance. I find fulfillment in each small step. I create atmospheres in which I can dance it out freely.


And then sometimes magical moments happen in which these atmospheres are created for me, like this time at the Brooklyn Nets basketball game:

The video was live-streaming to the jumbo-tron screen for all 18,000 people in the arena to see. It was exhilarating and amazing. As we left the game, so many people congratulated me, gave me thumbs up, told me how awesome it was to watch me dance.

In that moment, I felt famous. I’ll admit, it was deeply satisfying.


But it also taught me a few things:

  • Practice leads to opportunities. If I hadn’t been making my own dance videos for 4 years, I might not have had the confidence and drive to get up and do that.

  • Bursts of fame don’t translate directly to something sustainable. One experience like this doesn’t actually make me famous or get me “discovered” and that’s ok. I still have to do my work, pay my rent, do laundry, and buy groceries tomorrow. (i.e. I can’t expect one moment in the spotlight to change my reality instantly.)

  • Magical moments do happen. It’s a nice reminder that after consistently doing work and working hard, gifts from the universe can happen to cheer you on. And while it may not change my daily reality drastically, it feels great in the moment, boosts confidence, and increases exposure.


Although it was thrilling and amazing to have that experience, it was icing on the cake of what I’m already doing on a small-ish scale. Do I want more icing? Yes! But I still have to keep working on the cake base.


So back to my point - how do you get discovered?


Here’s what it boils down to for me:


If you want to get “discovered,” you must discover yourself first. {click to tweet it!}


Then, create a sustainable, fulfilling plan for living life in accordance with your creative and practical needs.

Then, allow magic to happen.


No matter how big any artist gets, there was a point in time where he or she sat down solo, got real, and started to create.


Now it’s your turn.


Tell me in the comments below -

What kind of artist or creator are you? What are your aspirations? Are you practicing the work now and feeling fulfilled in the process?


This is a biggie, so don’t hold back.


And if you’re saying, “Well I’m clear on all this, but how do a make a living doing the art?!?”

Here’s a post you might find valuable. But don't read it until after you've left a comment below.


I can’t wait to hear from you on this one.


to self-discovery in all its forms,


p.s. Know someone who really needs to hear this? Use the convenient sharing buttons below or good old-fashioned email to share this post with them. We're all in this together.

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