In today’s episode, I’m going to challenge you on some lies that you may be telling yourself as a creative business owner. These are stories I’ve heard over and over from past students and clients…and if I’m being honest, I’ve caught myself saying them TO myself on occasion. The problem is, these lies keep us stuck, overworked, and underpaid, and make it impossible (if not a heck of a lot harder) to grow our businesses. Let’s confront some of these unthruths and kick them to the curb, shall we?
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.
2. “I’ll work when I’m inspired”
I’ll say it: looking for inspiration when you need it is a waste of time.
Nothing can quite make those creative muses run far far away more 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.
You craft is not less pure if you charge appropriately for your time, material and effort.
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.)
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.
5. “I shouldn’t ask for the sale”
You need to be telling people HOW they can hire you, what you offer, what results you get as often as you can. This doesn’t mean being “pushy” or cheesy- but remember, we are following you on social media, meeting you at networking events, and subscribed to your email list because we want to hear about how you can help us!
Those are the 5 lies creative business owners tell themselves…but what other ones have you heard? Or have you believed?
Come over to the How To Create private community on Facebook to continue the discussion.
If these topics about creative business are helpful to you, you’ll love our NEW Friday Live episodes over on Facebook. These “biz break” episodes will feature live interviews with experts who specialize in helping creatives grow their businesses, from SEO to copywriting, to pricing, and more. Joining the Facebook group is the best way to stay up to date on those episodes and to get your questions answered live.