Are You Prepared to 'Blow-Up?'

Creators are familiar with the trials of making work that leads to failure or moderate success. But... are you prepared for the possibility your work will be recognized? Are you prepared to 'Blow-Up?'

Only the most monastic and self-denying creator possesses no dreams of reaping fame and fortune from their work. But what's the 'plan' for sudden success? What do you do when your novel, comic, film or whatever suddenly hits the 'big time?'

When that moment hits, that is when things get real and you'll only have the briefest amount of time to take advantage of it! The last thing you want is to have a 'tsunami' of cash and offers rolling in with no idea of how to put it all to work for you. Keep in mind, you're most likely only going to get one shot at this so getting things in order properly the first time is top priority.

Off the top understand creating is either your 'hobby' or your 'business'. If it's just a hobby and you don't intend to really put yourself or the work out there, then it's not that big a deal. However, it wouldn't hurt you to keep reading.

If creating is your business, then you'll want to pay close attention:

First off, congrats on your sudden success. But know this; rarely is success 'sudden'. You still have to put in the work creating something others would want to engage with. Nobody just pulls something out of their butt and it becomes 'gold'. So, in order to best cope with sudden success it's best to plan ahead for it.

What? 'Plan ahead' for sudden success? Hell yeah, because for you this is business and the purpose of being in business is to make a living as a creator. So here are things you should have in play 'before' you start selling your work:

1. Set yourself up as a business and Incorporate. Now, there are several versions of corporations available and I'm not going to hash them out here. However, you can go to and check out the Small Business Administration site and get more info than you'll know what to do with! Research the type of corporation you feel will best suit you and then....

2. Consult with an Attorney. Now, before you start sweating on 'how much is all of this going to cost?' again keep in mind for you this is business and you'll need to take steps to do proper business. Sudden success may bring in substantial, if not phenomenal sums and you don't want to be 'winging it' when that happens. An attorney can not only get you squared away as to which type of corporation will work best for you, he or she can set up the paperwork properly for you to get your corporate charter, stocks, etc. You're going to want some type of corporation to be a buffer between your personal holdings and your creative business should something go wrong. Last thing you want is to face down a lawsuit or the tax man with nothing between you and a potential financial 'rape' but your ignorance!

3. Get an Accountant. You're going to need an accountant because unless you're already a CPA, there's no way you'll know all the ins and outs of finances and tax law. All it takes is one misstep financially and you're in the cell where Wesley Snipes spent his time for tax evasion!

4. This is more of a 'nice to have' than an absolute need, but having access to a 'Contract Specialist' won't hurt at all. Unlike a lawyer, a contract specialist deals strictly with how contracts are set-up and they may not be expensive as a lawyer to engage. Another good thing about a CS, is they know contracts so they can spot the pitfalls in an entertainment contract just as well as any other type.

5. Have bank accounts that are related to your business only. If you suddenly start getting big-ass checks for your work, appearances and what-not, you do not want to dump all that money into your personal bank account! That is unless you don't mind Wesley's old cell at Danbury Minimum Security Prison....

6. Get an agent an assistant or secretary to handle the 'light work'. You always hear people working at higher levels of business say, 'I'll get my people to handle that'. Well, when the 'flow' starts flowing in, you're going to need 'people'. You are not going to be able to keep up with everything that will happen even if quite organized on your own. You'll need an agent to represent you. They'll be the person who will get you appearances, setup meetings and start negotiations with industry people who want to promote/adapt you or your work into other mediums and so on. Also, you're going to need a filter, buffer, bulwark, wall between you and the sudden deluge of calls and correspondence you're going to get. Know why it's so hard to get 'Bill Gates' on the phone? Because everyone and their ancestors are trying to! You'll need someone to suss out the fakes from the 'real McCoy's' when it comes to offers and appearances. No one may have known your name before, but now they do so watch out....

7. Most important, don't freak out! Sudden success is just like winning the lottery. If you don't keep your head and proceed in a careful manner, you will piss away everything in an instant. Though the urge to roll naked in a pile of money with champagne may be overwhelming, resist. Take a really deep breath and get to the task of putting the previous assets to work so you can secure your sudden good fortune. Remember, you're only going to get one shot at this so don't go off half-cocked. This is business and you got into this to do what you love for a living.

The great thing about being in the creation biz is; if you do things right when success comes around, you'll get paid forever. Stan Lee, George Lucas, Oprah and many others parleyed their initial success into continued successes and that's your goal. The first 'homerun' is just what sets you up to make a career. It's not the 'end result'.

Here are some articles related to dealing with sudden success you should check out:

Entrepreneur Magazine: How to Cope with Sudden Success

Sudden Wealth Syndrome

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