4 Lies Creative Business Owners Tell Themselves

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1. “I can’t hire help- I’m The Only One Who Can Do What I Do”

This little lie keeps many creative business owners overwhelmed, overextended, and completely stuck when it comes to growing a brand. We creatives are great at convincing ourselves that since our work comes from US, we can’t possibly bring on others to help us.

This is far from the truth.

Start with the roles in your business that take you away from doing the work that only you can do. (Think about customer service, bookkeeping, certain marketing tasks.) Finding capable hands to take these off your plate can free you up to do more work that is essential to bringing in revenue.

But it doesn’t stop there- you actually can train and work with other creatives who can help you take on the more artistic elements of your brand, as well. Hire creatives who are more talented than you- you can learn from each other. Document your process so you can teach others how you work. Just know this is completely possible- you do NOT have to do this business alone, and your brand growth likely depends on you bringing on support at some point.

Want to know more about bringing on support for your creative business? Make sure you’re on our email list to be the first to hear about our new Curious Courses coming out soon!

2. “I’ll work when I’m inspired”

Nothing can quite make those creative muses run far far away than putting them under the gun and demanding they give you ideas. Waiting for inspiration to hit can be procrastination in the most classic sense. And trolling Pinterest right before you have a project due because you have no fresh ideas leads to uninspired work, or worse, unintentional copy-cat creations.

Avoid this trap by grabbing inspiration when it finds you BEFORE you sit down to work. Get in the habit of taking pictures on your phone of gorgeous architecture when you’re walking your dog. Tear out magazine advertisements with exciting color combinations. Author Anne Lamott recommends carrying around index cards to write down snippets of conversation you hear on the street. Tuck all of the ideas and inspiration away somewhere easy to access when you sit down to work and use as needed!

3. “Money Isn’t Important”

Yes it is. You’re running a business.

In fact, by setting up a brand that allows you to be well compensated for your talents and services, you are better able to provide for yourself, invest in better material for your work, and ultimately be a better creator.

Related lies:

  • “I do this for love, not payment” (unless you’re going to pay your bills with hugs and happy feelings, you need to rethink this one)
  • “I’m creative so I’m no good at business stuff” (well, you are running a business! It’s time to stop telling yourself this story and embrace your leadership role- seek out help for the parts you don’t understand, but recognize that being creative doesn’t let you off the hook for creating a business model that makes sure you are getting paid.)

(Want more about how to shake the hurtful “starving artist” mentality? I highly recommend checking out Dave Conrey’s Fresh Rag podcast for some tough love and valuable insight! )

4. “I’m too busy to work on my craft”

You have lots of client work and it’s keeping you super busy- great problem to have, right?! The trouble is, you haven’t had time to sit down and work on that new metalworking technique, or practice using that new camera lense, or figure out how to make a seamless pattern in Adobe Illustrator, or test out that paintbrush set….you get the idea. And forget working on a creative project that has nothing to do with your business and is just for you and the joy of creating! Who has the time?

The reality is, as a business owner, you won’t have the time unless you carve it out. Get it on your calendar as non-negotiable appointment just like you would for a client. You need time to fill up your creative tank, reconnect with your work and your style, and remember why you want to do this to begin with.

Remember, your own unique skill and style are an incredibly important piece of defining your creative brand. You need to consciously nourish this business asset.

Your turn to share! In the comments below- what lies have you told yourself about your business? Which ones are you kicking to curb in 2016?

Brand Development business advice

Leave a Comment

  • Yehudis January 5, 2016, 10:31 am

    I’m definitely guilty of all the above😳 I’m currently looking for a VA to assist me with blogging and social media. And I def need to schedule time for my photography skills to keep the joy and excitement alive!

  • Naomi Teeter January 6, 2016, 8:56 am

    They are some of the top lies most entrepreneurs tell themselves (myself included)! Thank you for writing and sharing this. It helps us to feel less alone in our frustrations but it’s also a nice little pep talk. :)

  • Julie January 6, 2016, 1:04 pm

    Suzi, you really get to the key ones here (I know personally, and from hearing these over and over from my friends and fellow creatives)! I love this post. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Kellie January 6, 2016, 3:29 pm

    I think the biggest lie I’ve told myself in 2015 was I have lots of time to get my work done. In fact, nothing is further from the truth and I need to change my attitude and get a move on. I missed so many deadlines for posts last year because I wanted everything to be perfect. I have great ideas and inspiration and need to force myself to act immediately rather than not.
    Kellie from Princess and the Yard Ape

  • Daniela Uslan January 6, 2016, 4:38 pm

    Great points, Suzi! I am working on hiring people this year, starting with a bookkeeper. Until now, I’ve felt like I couldn’t “afford” it – but keeping track of my money is the best way to make more of it! I also totally agree that you can’t look for inspiration – you have to take action and then the inspiration flows!

    • Suzi January 6, 2016, 4:40 pm

      Oh, smart move Daniela! A bookkeeper was one of the first hires I made and now I don’t know how I could NOT afford to have her! The time I would spend trying to keep track of my books, plus the expensive mistakes I would likely make are not worth me trying to do it on my own :)

  • Nat, Website Superhero January 6, 2016, 4:47 pm

    Oh, boy, does #1 sound familiar! I’m still struggling to decide what I want to AND can outsource re: admin… 2016 is the year I’ll figure it out! Thanks for the push.

  • Michelle January 7, 2016, 10:49 am

    Love this post Suzi! This rings so true for many of use creative entrepreneurs. I know in the beginning it sure did for me.

  • Janet January 7, 2016, 12:03 pm

    I have been guilty of #1 for sure – tho learning (and loving) to let go! :)

  • Michelle Schroer January 7, 2016, 8:37 pm

    Oh Suzi! I love this list! I have to say that #3 was THE money block I had up until early last year. We, especially creatives and healers, feel that money isn’t important as serving. But, we forget that money is just as important as serving. Without money flow, it’s a challenge to run a business! Thanks for sharing!

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