The Artful Entrepreneur

Strategies for Visualizing, Conceiving, Believing, and Achieving

By NAfME Member José Leonardo Leon, D.M.A., Florida Atlantic University

The fusion of artistic performance and entrepreneurial principles has emerged as a dynamic force, reshaping the trajectories of creative individuals worldwide. I’d like to delve into the intricate connection between art and entrepreneurship, unveiling the transformative power encapsulated within the process of visualizing, conceiving, believing, and achieving within the realm of music entrepreneurship.

Many of us, particularly those who embarked on artistic journeys at a young age, often found ourselves immersed in a world of passion and creativity without fully understanding the profound implications of our pursuits. The assimilation of the entrepreneurial term into the broader business world subsequently unveiled a profound alignment between our artistic endeavors and the strategic principles of entrepreneurship.

At the core of this synergistic relationship lies a four-step process, each step serving as a crucial building block for success. The initial step involves the art of visualization—creating a mental tableau where personal goals are envisioned, and one assumes the role of the protagonist. This visualization sets the stage for subsequent actions.

Moving to the second step, conceiving, artists are prompted to formulate a comprehensive plan. Whether labeled a music business plan or an equivalent in other artistic realms, this step emphasizes the critical importance of purpose. Artists must discern how their contributions will impact their respective fields, emphasizing the intrinsic value of giving over receiving.

Pianist in formal attire walking toward to the stage

Photo: Tadamasa Taniguchi/DigitalVision Collection via Getty Images

The third and perhaps most prolonged phase, believing, demands an unwavering commitment to hands-on application and rehearsal. Embracing inevitable mistakes as valuable lessons, this step solidifies self-belief and trust in the contributions offered to others. Believing in oneself and the formulated plan becomes the linchpin that fosters an environment conducive to growth.

Finally, the achievement phase serves as the culmination of this meticulous process. Whether one arrives precisely at the initially envisioned destination or discovers a new, unforeseen path, achievement is a testament to the artist’s resilience, commitment, and unshakeable belief in their craft. The rewards reaped in this stage are the fruits of entrepreneurial spirit and artistic dedication.

In an era marked by heightened competition and a rapidly shifting job market, cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset is paramount. Creativity becomes the compass guiding the 99 (out of 100) individuals who may not secure a specific job, encouraging them to envision alternative paths and seize unforeseen opportunities.

music producer in recording studio, composing base, producing music

Photo: Jose Carlos Cerdeno Martinez/Moment Collection via Getty Images

At the heart of this fusion between arts performance and entrepreneurship is the concept of performance itself. Regardless of artistic specialization—be it music, writing, filmmaking, or any other creative pursuit—every individual is a performer. Teaching becomes an integral aspect as expertise is shared, inspiring others to be entrepreneurial in their creative pursuits.

As we navigate a post-pandemic era, adaptability emerges as a keyword. Thriving in this new landscape demands a commitment to developing and showcasing authentic selves, becoming the best versions of who we are and embodying the essence of our craft.

Hence, the future of music and art education stands at a pivotal crossroads, and it is our collective responsibility to shape it. Let us adapt to the changing times, discover ourselves as performers, and cultivate an environment where creativity and entrepreneurship seamlessly intertwine. Through this concerted effort, we can forge a future brimming with artistic innovation and fulfillment.

About the author:

Jose Leonardo Leon standing smiling on stage with brass instrumentsNAfME member José Leonardo Leon, D.M.A. is the Founder and Coordinator of Florida Atlantic University’s Arts Performance and Entrepreneurship Initiative and Visiting Professor of Music (Trombone). An active and seasoned trombonist, Leon is an Anthem® Award-winning producer for Education, Art, and Culture–Strategy (International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences); Latin GRAMMY® Award-winning album trombonist (Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences); and multiple Global Music® Award Winning trombonist, producer, and composer. His research on post-COVID music entrepreneurship strategies is published in the International Trombone Association Journal and the International Journal of Music Entrepreneurship and Leadership. For more information, visit:

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