Add Your Listing
Classes and Events
Guide to Getting Involved
Guide to Cleveland Artist Communities
Cleveland Artist Spotlights
Artist Support Organizations
COVID-19 Artist Resources
Hone Your Craft
Guide to Developing Your Craft
Artist Service Organizations
Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute
Arts and Small Business Resources
Cleveland Artist Communities
Homeownership Guide for Artists
Guide to Finding a Job
Calls for Artists
Cleveland Arts Jobs
Guide to Funding
Guide to Managing Your Money
Financial and Funding Resources
About the Sector
Health and Safety
Cleveland Artist Spotlights
Cleveland, meet Megan Kuhar! Assistant professor of Music Technology at Baldwin Wallace University, Megan is not only a musician herself (a percussionist performing in The Commonwealth), but also runs a branding coach biz for musicians megan-kuhar.com, online course, Fan Finder megan-kuhar.com/fanfinder and podcast megan-kuhar.com/podcast. “I help musicians learn about branding, marketing, technology and social media and how to build their brand online,” she says. Artists can be a tough crowd to convince that self-promotion doesn’t have to be sales-y or phony. “Artists almost never want to appear narcissistic or seem like they’re bragging,” she says. A common myth, Megan says, is that you have to wait for an upcoming event to promote yourself. Not true at all! “If you’re constantly working on promoting your work, it becomes a practice and much more about building a community. That type of practice is much less likely to appear phony and inauthentic.” Keep an eye out for the branding workshops Megan will be hosting in partnership with Arts Cleveland this May!
Q. How were you introduced to music, Megan?
A. I started playing piano in the second grade, and picked up percussion in 5th grade band. I ended up majoring in music and just continued to integrate it into my life. After graduating, I went on to earn a degree in Recording Arts & Technology and became an audio engineer and videographer, then I earned my Master’s in Music Technology after that.
Q. Where do you find inspiration and influence for your work as an artist and branding coach?
A. When it comes to entrepreneurship, influence comes on a regular basis. I’m inspired by seeing people doing what they love as independent artists and entrepreneurs. I’m inspired by Mondays—it’s such an awesome thing that we get a fresh start every week. I’m inspired by my clients and by seeing how my work affects them. I’m also really inspired by my husband, Nick. He is such an incredible force for good, he has the strongest work ethic and is always treating people with respect. I aspire to be like him in a lot of ways!
Q. We talk a lot about being entrepreneurial when it comes to the arts. How do you define entrepreneurship? What does it mean to you as a creative professional?
A. Being an entrepreneur is really a mindset. I work in the spirit of motivation, optimism and carry a growth mindset. As creative people, we’re constantly monitoring the world around us, adapting and growing; we’re doing ourselves a service if we operate with a growth mindset. The reality is if anyone wants to be an entrepreneur all they have to do is to claim it. There is no training or certificate that says you’re an entrepreneur; it’s really about an overall approach and state of mind.
Q. What’s your idea of artistic or creative success?
A. Personally, I define success as having a positive mindset, working hard every day at your goals, and loving what you do. Having a supportive community is also crucial. No one can work their best in a silo. You need to be sharing what you do with people, because that’s what it’s for—it’s so that we all can connect and see that we’re not alone.
Q. What do you think about the term ‘creative worker?’ Would you say that accurately sums up your client base? What types of folks do you typically work with as a branding coach?
A. I typically refer to the populations I work with as creatives or artists. But artists sometimes forget that their job isn’t just making the thing and being creative; you’re definitely working and doing a job. So, the term ‘creative worker’ does resonate.
In terms of demographic make-up of my client base, I work at BW so I work with college students of course; but I also work with artists and individuals who are post-grad, early 30s late 20s. A lot are already working as full-time artists, but some want to take the leap into quitting their day jobs and going for a full-time artist gig. A lot of people I’m working with right now aren’t really working outside their field, they’re already practicing artists. As for the idea of the ‘success’ of my clients, my goal is really about meaningful growth and less about seeing someone blow up off the charts and ‘make it’ in order to claim success.
Q. From your perspective, how do you feel your work affects your clients? What would you like people to take away?
A. So many musicians come up to me or message me online and tell me, “Thank you so much for doing this.” We don’t get much help when it comes to the “sharing” stage of the creative process. Musicians spend so much time perfecting their music. But when it comes to talking about their music, they freeze. Or they feel like it’s wrong. There’s this fear that promoting yourself makes you selfish, or that somehow you’re breaking up the pureness of your art.
Q. Can you talk a little more about that? “The fear that promoting yourself makes you selfish, or that you’re breaking up the pureness of your art.”
I often find artists are really afraid of being egotistical or narcissistic. There’s this mindset of, ‘If I’m not struggling I’m doing something out of line with the purity of being a creative.’ But that is just not true. Art is about community. We should be focusing on building our communities. That’s what I hope to help musicians do, and that’s what I hope they take away from my work.
Learn more about this artist