Talent alone is not enough

Jozi, as the fashion, music, television and soccer hub of the African continent, it provides unsurpassed setting for any emerging designer, musician, actor and football player who dreams of pursuing a career in the above listed industries.

Countless fashion houses, music houses, television houses and soccer houses operate from the city. Some internationally-acclaimed, others have a strong local following – and a lot more is bubbling underneath.

I can say with no doubt that this is the golden time for most of the industries because local talent is up there competing with the rest of world, whether is from Fashion with the likes of David Tlale leading the pack, music with Black Coffee winning biggest Awards internationally, local actors & TV dramas improving daily, National soccer teams qualifying for major events and Mamelodi Sundowns winning Caf Champions League in 2016.

As such, there’s been a deluge of talent. Some trained by reputable academies, others just coming up the ranks in the school of hard knocks. If you happen to be thinking of a career in any of the above listed industries, or have the faintest curiosity – perhaps you should mull over the following questions:

• Can my career choice be considered a lucrative business?
• Ever wondered what it takes to make it big up there?
• Is my career a mere expensive hobby that doesn’t require entrepreneurial skills?

These industries are not for everyone. In fact, it’s brutally cut-throat. In other words: “In any of the above industries, one day you’re in and the next day you’re out!” John C Maxwell hits the nail on the head in his book – Talent is not enough. I don’t mean to put a damper on dreams, but the truth is: “No matter how creative one is, being business-savvy is mandatory”. Absence of this is like juggling three balls up in the air. We all know how this could play out and end. I’ve seen many brilliant talents come into these industries for wrong reasons, for example, instant fame and money. And within the blink of an eye they’re gone.

It sounds exciting when you daydream, seeing your name impeccably stitched on fabulous garments and driving sports cars. What’s frightening is, most young talents endeavour to be in a fast and furious race to grow their empires overnight. They’re oblivious to the fact that microwave results are short-lived.

Vogue US editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, once said: “Don’t go too fast. People have to go to school, learn their craft, and build a brand.” And she’s correct – that’s the healthy way to do things. If you’re an overnight sensation, you can be yesterday’s news in no time. Whereas building something slowly and carefully that has value and quality, that’s what’s going to have legs.

It’s our responsibility, as the experienced, to equip future generations of artists with essential, business know-how. In so doing, the new breed of creative entrepreneurs will be able to gasp cash flow. Also recognize retail maths, and successfully forecast external forces shaping the industry landscape. The weight of one’s talent can never be a determining factor when it comes to running a successful entity day-to-day. Fashion, music, television and soccer are lucrative business – not a hobby.

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