Now that I have a few tertiary qualifications to support what I am doing, I want to seed my Arts business. $10,000 would fund a solid foundation. Step one was to apply for an ArtStart Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. Then began the long wait for the results.
The hardest part is the waiting; not because I’m on edge, but because my plans have been put on hold. The momentum generated by intense focus while project planning, is stemmed the moment the ‘submit’ button is clicked. It is not comfortable to contain ever-growing, harnessed energy. And it seems counterproductive, considering that power will ensure the success of the project.
It feels unnatural to keep the horses champing at the bit; however, one must await the results before commencing the project. It’s written in the grant conditions that the applicant accepts by participating – the project must not commence before the grant period begins.
So what to do while waiting? The project is always foremost in the applicant’s mind and, as usually happens when your mind is on your goal, other opportunities arise that would meet a need or enhance the project. But you have to let them pass by unseized, always wondering if it is a lost opportunity that would have saved the day should the grant application be unsuccessful.
So one returns to the submitted application and rereads the proposal to see if the step covered by the newly found popportunity is spelled out in the submitted application as one of the steps of the project to be covered by the grant. What, specifically, was the proposal? Was this step mentioned as a budget item? Specifically?
If the answer is ‘yes’, the self-doubt pushes in. How likely is it that my application will be approved? Perhaps this is a second or subsequent attempt to secure the grant. Hopefully this application, strengthened by heeding the feedback given by the funding board, has a good chance of success. But … the history of past failure badgers the brain with messages like: “Seize the definite opportunity in lieu of the slender possibility of grant success, for there will be nothing if the opportunity passes unharnessed and the grant funding goes to someone else.”
This is not true, though. There will be the applicant, complete with all the potential and skills that they had when they made the commitment to seize the grant opportunity. Yes, that was opportunity, too. It may not have certainty, but it offers much, whether the applicant becomes a recipient or not. The process of application and even reapplication, have great value and the actions required serve a greater purpose than just obtaining funding through the grant.
The applicant clarifies the project and hones the parameters, eliminating superfluous elements and gaining greater understanding of the importance of essential items and activities. This informs future practices that often don’t relate to funding. The clarity of vision aids by strengthening further funding strategies, whether through grant application or other avenues.
This is not self-placation, but reality. A business should not be built upon reliance on chance. To succeed, one must be proactive and determine one’s own path. One must brainstorm and research, consulting people with expertise in relevant fields. Goals, once set, should be divided into smaller, measurable parts that lead to the successful achievement of the final goal.
So having revisited my application, I know my next step. There are activities I can do to prepare for starting my project as outlined in my application, should I receive the grant. Some of these activities include setting up structure in my life outside the project, to ensure a healthy balance while working – another element that is crucial for success.
These activities will also prepare for the next stage in the development of my Arts business regardless if I get the grant or not. There are some activities and assets that will require funding, but I continue to save money from sales of my work. Maybe it’s time to stretch it to cover more than studio rent – or maybe I’ll get the grant and these funds can continue as a safety pool for ongoing and unexpected Arts participation expenses.