Guest Blog – Michaela Bennison’s Top 5 Tips For Doing What You Love

This week I am delighted to host a guest blog post from Blooming Creative participant, actress, singer & teacher Michaela Bennison.“These last few months have been more than a little crazy for me!
From graduating from university with no job and no clue how earn a fraction of a living with my performing arts skills, within the last 2 months I am now a freelance workshop facilitator and organising my first ever Cabaret Performance for a paying audience.

I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from various friends, colleagues and other self-employed creative, but it’s by actually doing things that I have learnt the most.

So I’ve decided to share the top 5 tips I’ve learnt in the last 2 months!

Tip #1: Always Turn Up On Time 

I always thought this was a given, but in the feedback I received for my ‘Unlock Your Voice Box’ workshops at The Art House I was praised for my punctuality. May attendees had been to workshops where the facilitator had turned up late and, needless to say, were not impressed.

Don’t be that person.

Tip #2: Get Organised 

Lets unpack this point a bit. “Being Organised” is something we’re all told we should be, but the phrase is so broad it can be overwhelming. It’s also a discipline that people tackle in different ways depending on how they work best. These are the two tricks that work best for me:

Making Lists: As one of the most scatty people that may have ever exsisted, lists help me pin down all the various thoughts and tasks wizzing around my brain, lay them out in front of me and prioritise what needs to be done.

This is also great if you suffer from overwhelm; by writing down a set number of tasks to do in a day and ticking them off, not only do I feel great for doing everything on the list, but seeing what I’ve done stops me feeling like I should do more and burning myself out. Win win!

Planning: Although my level of preparation differs depending on the contents, I always plan my workshops. For the first singing workshops I ever ran at The Art House I planned each session meticulously, including what exercises I would do when and the time each section would start. With the singing group I don’t need to plan nearly as thoroughly, but I still know before hand what songs I’m teaching, make sure the materials are sent to the group and that I have spares printed.

Tip #3: Cut Yourself Some Slack 

Ok, so you’re organising and running an event by yourself. It’s a lot of responsibility and you don’t want to let anyone, especially yourself, down. But you are not superhuman! If you need to take a break from your project to go to work, buy food or stop your brain from exploding that’s ok.

If something comes up that you can’t deal with immediately, be honest with you’re collaborators and let them know when you are able to tackle the problem. In my experience, they’ll understand.

Tip #4: Don’t Ask For Permission

Now before you all go off and start setting up illegal open air festivals in local parks, let me point out this is not about practical things. You need to ask permission to use venues you don’t own, equipment you might need to borrow etc. This tip isn’t about those things.

This is about waiting for something or someone to give you ‘permission’ to do the thing you want to do. It can be waiting for a specific opportunity to come along, for more time or money to become available or for someone to ask you to do something with or for them.

I’d been doing this for a long time for various things that I have now started doing. What changed is me wanting to take control and do things on my own terms. So make opportunities and take advantage of those you find,  find ways to work with the time, money or other constraints have and ask others to collaborate with you.

Tip # 5: Believe In And Love What You Are Doing

By far the most important tip. When organising a workshop or event you will have to deal with a lot of crap/doom/BS etc; scheduling meetings or rehearsals, dealing with money, not knowing how many people will show up, balancing the project with the rest of your life, maybe even difficult personalities (which I have avoided so far-touch wood!).

The thing that will get you through is believing in what you are doing, what ever it is; the charities you’re raising funds for, the art you want to exhibit, or the pitch you’re giving to your CEO. If you love it enough, the doom won’t feel that bad. Trust me!”

See Michaela’s website here and pop over to ‘Like’ her Facebook page.

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