5 Excuses That Are Delaying Your Career

Just a few words of wisdom (stolen from a well-known marketing campaign):

Just do it.

Put away the excuses. Put away the what-ifs. Put away the “when the weather is nicer and I have more energy.” The time is now. There will never be the perfect time, or the easy time, or the time when all of the pieces will line up exactly the way we want them to. So...just do it.

January and February are prime months for New Year’s resolutions, and once the summer rolls around, many actors feel that initial surge of motivation has completely waned. Excuses creep in, we start hating ourselves for (once again!) letting go of our goals, and the vicious cycle goes, and goes, and goes...

So, to reenergize for the fall season I thought I would address some of the common excuses we actors tell ourselves so I can help you break that cycle.

I’m too nervous to audition.” Nerves cannot be addressed in class or working at home; they can only be addressed by practicing in the audition room! The good news? Unless you are rude or are terrible at your audition, you will probably slip under the radar and they won’t notice small flubs or missteps.

Moral: Auditioning is the best medicine for nerves.

It’s too expensive to do a mailing right now.” I think it is more expensive to let your headshots gather dust on your bookshelf. Someone once asked me how much I spent on headshots, and how many were sitting on my desk. I answered him, and he said, “Wow, that’s an expensive paperweight.”

Moral: Waiting costs money, too.

I’m too busy to market myself.” There are two versions of this phrase: busy with acting work, or busy with everything else. I’ll address both.

Acting work: Great news! You’re reaching goals and making it happen! But too busy? You cannot afford to lose the momentum you have worked so hard to achieve. Marketing is just as important in good times as in bad.

Everything else: If your day job, social life, or hobbies get in the way of your acting career, it’s time to take a step back and ask why. If you really want to reach a goal (in this case, being a working actor), you have to find a place for it in your daily life.

Moral: There’s no place for “too busy” in this business (busy-ness?).

I need to complete my website/reel/postcards/headshots before I can get out there.” This really is two issues. First off, money and time are always a factor, but if you are really serious about your career, you will find a way to pay for your marketing materials. Period. (You find ways to buy those shoes, or to pay for the newest gadget. You’ll find a way to pay for these too if you make it a priority.) Secondly, you can still move forward while you are waiting for your materials to be done. If you keep waiting for things to be perfectly done, you will be waiting for the rest of your life.

Moral: You need to get out there so you have a career to market.

I’m am an artist, I shouldn’t have to worry about this business stuff.” Yeah, you’re gonna have to get over that one. Surround yourself with people and/or teachers who will help you access the business in a way that doesn’t make your head explode. If not, you’re are decreasing your odds of success tenfold.

Moral: Your business efforts allow you to make art!

These are just a few of the excuses that run through my head every day. Seriously, as an actor, I have the fears and apprehensions, but I don’t let that be the end of the conversation in my head. I tell my excuses, “Thank you very much for your feedback, but I’m going to take action now. You can sit back down!”

Leave a comment below to let us know how you get past your own excuses. And if you have excuses that are making you feel stuck, leave a comment and I’ll give you the kick in the pants you need to help you reach your goals!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Erin Cronican
Erin Cronican is a professional actor (SAG-AFTRA/AEA) with over 20 years of experience performing in film, plays and musicals (NYC, L.A., regionally), and on television. She also produces and directs with the Seeing Place Theater, a critically acclaimed non-profit indie company in NYC.
See full bio and articles here!