Over the years as a creative coach, copywriter and university instructor, I found that creatives need to be reminded what's inside and outside of their control, and the difference between desirables and MUST HAVES. Distinguishing these overall, helps them break thru common excuses that can get in the way of success as an entrepreneur.
Check out my below Top 10 Things a Creative Should Know to get focused and uplevel your skills and business ASAP.
1. You Need to Stop Overthinking, and Just Do
It can be hard to over-think through ALL of the reasons you should not launch, scale, or create the idea that has been burning in you, but the truth is that if you have the idea or vision, God planted it there. We spend so much time dreaming, that we forget to be obedient, trust Him, and just do. If you were looking for the sign to start on your idea, reading this blog is your sign. Do it NOW!
2. Know Your Strengths and Leverage Them
Once you’ve identified your strengths, you can be intentional about applying your strengths to everything you do.
We are taught to identify our weaknesses, and work like crazy to fix them. Don’t believe me? Think about these examples that may sound familiar:
You get a report card with 3 A’s, 2 B’s, and a D. What did your parents focus on? What would you focus on as a parent if this was your child?
You are great at jump shots, but can’t hit a free throw to save your life. What do you spend most time working on during practice?
You made an amazing dinner, but burned the rolls….do you apologize for the burnt rolls or highlight the awesome dinner you made despite?
You planned a beautiful party and get tons of compliments, but you practiced false humility by highlighting how difficult it was and how some things just didn’t come together as you planned?
The world is obsessed with perfection, and has a very low tolerance for weaknesses, so we are trained to turn an almost laser focus to them in order to be “more well rounded”. What if instead we focused on our strengths, and applied our natural talents and gifts to everything we did?
3. Don’t Over-Invest (Before the Timing is Right)
Once you decide to go for it, you may feel like you need expensive equipment that influencers swear by, or purchasing systems, apps, or software that you think you need in order to effectively run a business.
Now, there are definitely costs associated with starting and running a successful business, but so much of how we start is not how we’ll finish. As creatives we tend to get caught up with things appearing and feeling a certain way right from the jump. By being ok with humble beginnings you’re able to manage the costs associated with launching and running your business.
As your business grows, you’ll generate more revenue that can then be invested back into your business in ways that help you effectively scale and manage that growth, like client management systems, memberships, and HELP to name a few!
4. DO Invest in Protecting Your Business
Have you heard stories of business owners being sued for a name or slogan by someone with more money? Even if they started the business after the original business? This is a prime example of what can happen when we fail to protect our intellectual property, and it happens more than we know. As a creative protecting our assets and efforts is incredibly important.
Trademarking, incorporating, or filing for your 501(c)(3) are two of the ways you work to protect your business.
Filing for a business license allows you to legally collect fees for your goods and services without fear of breaking laws in your city or state.
And these processes absolutely have fees attached, some of them significant, but failure to do so could land you in a situation where you have to completely re-name and re-brand your business, because another entity by the same name filed the necessary paperwork to legalize the business, and you didn’t.
5. You Need Coaching
This isn’t because you don’t know what you’re doing, and don’t have a handle on things. But there are some pieces of scaling a business that if you haven’t done yet, you won’t know how to do.
Investing in coaching helps you partner with someone who has walked in your shoes, and found varying degrees of success.
Coaching comes in several forms – you may benefit from joining a virtual group on Facebook or Clubhouse where free advice and business insights are provided. You may opt for a paid virtual group that comes with more in-depth support and opportunities for one on one engagement.
A coach’s job is to assess, guide, and partner with you through a charted course to achieving goals that you set together.
You may need one-on-one help, support, and attention , so opting for a one on one coaching relationship may ultimately be what you want. If this is you, be sure to sign up for a free strategy session here.
Having the motivation to start is all up to you, but as the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Having guidance can make all of the difference in your entrepreneurial journey and you don’t have to do it all alone.
6. Social Media Can’t Be Your Only Traffic Driver
Picture it: You’ve gotten consistent with your Instagram posts, and your posts are even good – great graphics and photos, engagement from followers and friends, and you’re seeing the traction from the strategic use of community building through hashtags. Then, there’s a hashtag block. All of the traction you were consistently making, thanks in large part to hashtags, comes to a halt.
(Raises hand) Been there!
If your growth is dependent on your content residing in someone else’s space, how much do you really control your own growth?
Is social media an amazing mechanism and tool for growth? Absolutely! But as a creative, it is critical that you work reside in a space that you control.
Pairing a consistent and strong presence on social media, with one of “The Evergreen Three” helps ensure longevity of your content. IG stories disappear in 24 hours, and IG feed posts have a rotating shelf life of about 3 days. Your blog post, YouTube vid, or podcast episode can be shared, reposted, and repurposed over and over again. Not to mention, you have a greater hand in how that content is marketed and shared, rather than relying solely on an ever-changing algorithm.
Have a website? Add a blog!
Don’t feel as though you’re a strong writer, but have a great stories to share? Start your YouTube channel and share your stories there!
Don’t want to be on camera, but still have great stories to share? Then a podcast may be more your speed.
You’ve got options to share your content, your way, and let social media support it.
7. Be Clear On Your Why
This sounds pretty simple, but can actually be hard to nail down and remember.
In my work with clients, one of the first pieces I work on with them, is to nail down the specifics of why they’re doing this “thing”. You want to launch a product, project, business….but why? I said it sounds simple, but we often make this really hard.
If it’s because the idea is a money maker, say that! If it’s to fill your creative void, say that! If it’s because it comes easily to you and you need a quick way to generate side income, then say that! There’s NO shame or judgement in your why….it’s YOUR WHY!
But the sooner you nail down your why, the better off you’ll be later on down the line when you’re tired, have heard several “No’s”, things look differently than you envisioned, or your success has scaled more quickly than you imagined or want to handle. You’ll need to remember your why, in order to decide if it’s worth it to continue.
8. It’s OK for Your Direction to Change
With that, sometimes continuing is a no-brainer, but maybe the vision has evolved – gotten larger, gotten smaller, or changed focus or direction.
When I have found myself in this situation, it has been VERY hard for me to pivot and let go of my original vision. I have found myself clinging to services, offerings, and even projects that I am no longer passionate about, don’t fit my current lifestyle, and just plain no longer interest me. I held on to the crazy belief that if I started it, I have to see it through to completion.
Are there some commitments in life that fall into that category? Sure. ‘Til death do us part, anyone?
But when I found the freedom to let go of projects and even passions, that no longer served me, I felt so much lighter, and cleared the space in my head and heart to commit fully to the calling in front of me. Each experience draws us closer to where we’re ultimately meant to be.
9. Value What You Have to Offer
What I love about working with creative entrepreneurs who dared to step out in faith with their gifts...creators, women, mamas, and makers…decided their skills should be shared, and were valuable enough to monetize them.
The VALUE placed on what you have to offer, SHOULD BE a reflection of all the blood, sweat, time, and knowledge you put into it. Don't be skurred to charge. YOUR IDEAL CLIENT will pay for the value, over the volume! And if you don’t value it, how will anyone else know it’s valuable?
10. Show Up
One of the hardest things for me. I would dare say even harder than getting started. CONTINUING! SO MUCH LIFE has happened along my life journey that makes me want to curl up and call it quits on doing anything “extra”. Marriage, children, and minding the business that pays me feels like quite enough.
But the way I see it, one of the keys to me having more freedom of time and finances to enjoy my marriage and my children, is to mind MY business.
Being consistent looks different from person to person, business to business. It may be writing for 20 minutes each day, rather than sitting and trying to do a marathon writing session. It may mean committing to a weekly blog post (raises hand). It may be showing up in your IG stories everyday. Whatever consistency is, you commit to showing up.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t take breaks as needed. Sometimes the break is to fine tune the system that will make it more manageable to remain consistent. Sometimes the break is for personal well-being or due to family or life circumstances. You decide what that break looks like, and when you’re ready, continue to show up.
Consistency helps establish credibility, and cultivate community, both of which will be major keys to success in your creative business. But the most important reason for consistency, is to establish the habits that you need in order to be successful.
The accountability to yourself in this area, will help you set a standard of accountability in all of your business practices. One way, or the other.
Whew, I know that was a lot, but overall these tips are the things that keep me and my clients fueled and going. Feel free to return to this list of the Top 10 Things a Creative Should Know anytime you are in a rut or need a good kick in the butt to keep it going.
Not sure how to implement these steps? Struggling with the strategy you need to pull it all together? Let me help you out by hopping on a free strategy session with me. I work with clients to help them leverage their natural strengths in order to strategize for getting starting or scaling.
Which of these areas needs work based on where you are in your entrepreneurial journey?