40,000. That's the number of paying customers my day job needs to achieve their ticket selling goals. That includes subscribers, single ticket buyers and groups.
15. That's the number of paying customers I need each year to make my freelance marketing business work for me. That includes individual coaching clients and people hiring me to do workshops.
Now let's assume that the theatre I work at wanted to double their audience base and I wanted to triple mine.
We have just created two dramatically different business. My theatre would have to seriously consider what programming they offer. I would have to dramatically change both the services I offer and maybe who I offer them too.
It may turn out that I'm perfectly fine with that, but maybe not. My point here is that growth has consequences. Too often we only focus on the benefits of growth but before you try to expand the scope of what you do, you should take some time to consider the consequences.
For example, consider a professional photographer that wants to double her income. She has two basic options, she can bring in more clients at her existing rate or double what she charges. Bringing in more clients may mean that she has spend a lot more time building herself a platform that will allow her to market her work. Charging more may mean she has to change her client base. Maybe those clients will be more challenging to work with.
Both of these may be acceptable choices AND acceptable consequences, but it helps if you consider those things in the beginning.
What gets artists and arts organizations in trouble is the moment when they want the revenue that comes with growth but they end up hating the things they need to do to get the revenue. That's a horrible place to be. Few things are more annoying then an artist that wants to sell a lot of art but hates marketing, or the arts org that resents the fundraising function.
The decision for more growth/audience/revenue has consequences. You've got to embrace both the decision AND the consequence.