Have you ever wondered how most successful creative entrepreneurs structure their day and support their business?
1. Be ready to do what you love and live what you do
The majority of traditional 9-to-5’ers happily turn off the job when they punch out for the day. You won’t be able to put your passion down, but most days, that’s a good thing. Sometimes,
… the sale will happen just before you go to bed.
… the perfect opportunity will land in your inbox just as you’re about to leave for a family vacation.
… when it feels as though you’ve reached the end of your rope, a customer will email you a grateful love letter out of the blue.
2. Turn down the drama and embrace a bird’s eye perspective
Other times, an unexpected bill will arrive just as you were on your way out for a nice, expensive dinner. That’s the natural rhythm of things: sometimes the tide is high, sometimes it’s low. One day you’ll feel like a star; the next day, you’ll feel like an invisible wallflower. Sometimes you’ll be flush with cash, sometimes you’ll be pinching pennies.
Businesses casually deal with the ebb and flow of the market every day – now you’re one of them.
3. Be relentless in the pursuit of your goals
Keep producing, creating, providing, making, performing – ESPECIALLY when it feels as if no one’s watching. The most well-known in your industry have simply been showing up the longest and with the greatest tenacity. And speaking of goals,
4. Set long-term, annual, short-term, monthly, weekly, daily goals and deadlines for yourself
Know what it is that you want in exchange for your time and energy. Set deadlines and meet them.
5. Wear your many hats proudly
Are you a good boss? Because in this business, you’re your own assistant, photographer, manufacturer, PR agent, customer service rep, office manger, copywriter, VP of sales and marketing, and CEO.
There’s so much to do in a day, and you’re accomplishing a lot! I think one of the tricks to a happy work life is to imagine your ideal boss … and then, BE HER. Give yourself permission to grow into this job. There’s a lot of work to be done, and the only way to do it is by taking things one step at a time.
6. Trust your gut
If you want to make something happen, you have to go for it – no holds barred, full-steam ahead. Give it everything you’ve got, because for every second you’re floundering about your decisions, someone else is making things happen!
7. Be open to constructive criticism
Ask for tips and advice from someone who doesn’t want to appease you. Hire a coach, get an unbiased website critique, or invite an honest discussion with a peer.
I occasionally have to say the hard things to my clients, such as, “I don’t see the marketability for it.” Or, “Your photography isn’t doing your products any justice.” Or, “Your storefront looks like a hodgepodge of mismatched, homemade crafts.” I wouldn’t be doing them any favors by fluffing the feathers of their ego or telling them what I know they’d rather hear.
Find someone who won’t fluff your feathers, ask for advice, put your ego defenses down, and listen with a wide-open mind.
8. Never underestimate your customers
If you don’t authentically believe in the quality and value of your goods, or if you don’t genuinely and passionately love what you do, they won’t buy it.
And if that’s the case, simply refine your work. Get to know yourself a little better: ask what you hope to gain from all this? What could you get lost in creating everyday? How could you improve the entire experience for yourself and your customer?
9. Give and be helpful
What stands out as some of the proudest moments of my creative career is the recognition I’ve gained from either (1.) Giving something away for nothing in return, or (2.) Being helpful to my peers, again, for nothing in return.
In this industry, folks can be takers! Be unique: Give to the world. Spread a seed of helpfulness that will bloom into bountiful, fulfilling relationships.
How can you be helpful? Let me count the ways … Email your subscribers a wish list of products from your favorite small businesses. Offer a useful guest post to an industry blogger (“How To’s” and “DIY” articles are widely adored!). Affiliate with a product you believe in, and go out of your way to make that creator as many sales as possible (i.e., sell it as if it were yours!).
10. Be responsible for your own success and learn from your mistakes
Don’t wait for a marketplace to get you views and sales, go out and find your own customers! Build your own success! No one else on this Earth is to credit for your wins or to blame for your inaction.
And finally, in business, mistakes are your most valuable research. Collect them, but don’t repeat them. Best of luck in every endeavor!