Hi, I’m Maddy Anholt and I am a creative agency… okay I get it, it sounds a little forced but by seeing myself as a creative agency rather than as a solo performer I’ve managed to secure eight to 10k sponsorship for my last four Edinburgh shows.
What do I mean by a ‘creative agency’?
Well, a creative agency covers everything – writing, performing, producing, filming, distributing, creating etc. By calling yourself and your team (who you will assemble) a creative agency, you suddenly become more attractive to brands and brands are where the money is.
I hate the term ‘struggling creative’, it takes all the power away from us when we are one of the hardest working industries. About ten years ago when I first started I fell into the ‘struggling’ rhetoric, I found myself telling anyone who would listen how hard this industry is, how little money there is, how it’s only the few who are well-connected or minted that can get anywhere. That thinking did nothing for my career, if anything I drew more unpaid work, less respect and more ‘good for your CV’ jobs to myself. I wanted to go to Edinburgh and do a one-woman show but when I started looking into the costs, I realised there was no way it could happen.
I took a job in marketing straight after drama school (which I’d scrimped, saved and worked five jobs for) and thought that was my lot. But it was whilst working in marketing that I began to see how much brands were willing to pay for campaigns and how, generally speaking, open brands were to new ways to grow their audience.
That got me thinking. I realised I could make myself into the commodity they were willing to spend money on. Edinburgh famously bankrupts all but a handful of big names, but was there a way to market my new show as a campaign to grow an audience for a brand? Spoiler alert if you hadn’t guessed it already… yes there was.
It’s not easy and it takes something us women find very difficult: believing in ourselves and bigging ourselves up, but it’s possible. I’m proof it’s possible, in my first year I secured seven grand, after that it’s been between eight to 10,000 per show. It takes about six months, it’s definitely not a get-rich-quick scam and it will test every bit of patience you’ve got left, but it’s worth it when you do manage to find a sponsor and get your fully-sponsored show to Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is gruelling enough without paying five to 10 grand of your own money. You have to realise you – as a creative agency, have something brands want, and that’s imagination, creativity and potential to bring in a whole new set of customers that they – the big, faceless corporates cannot, no matter how much money they throw at it.
Fundamentally, we do not have to be suffering artists, we can go to Edinburgh and be paid to do it and I am proof that, with enough hard work in the right direction you can be successfully freelance and not eating beans on toast for the month. It’s just a change in mindset. Imposter Syndrome, begone!
For the price of a coffee and a croissant you can watch my video tutorial which tells you in detail how you can get your show fully sponsored. You can watch it HERE.
If you would like a more intensive version, I run a four-week evening courses, just one night a week where I take you through the entire process, and much, much more. The next one beings this January and the link to reserve your spot on that is HERE!