This time last week I gave you 5 'This Much I Know' tips on Staying Inspired and Being Creative. This week I tackle the issue of growing a small creative business at the same time ensuring that, that business serves you. By which I mean - gives you what you need not only financially, but also in terms of work life balance and creative/ personal fulfillment.
Sometimes we have a romantic idea of what it may be like to do a certain thing, e.g. be an artist, run a shop or gallery, be a freelance designer, run a wholesale business. With each business and aspect of that business there are things that simply have to be done/ go with the territory. Sometimes you may relish those things, sometimes you may find those things are just not for you.
How do you work out a business plan that ensures you have the balance right for you and grow it to what YOU need?
I'm not an expert and I'm not claiming that I have achieved my personal nirvana...but I have learnt a few things in the five years I have been running my business and I hope my next 5 tips will help you find an answer to that question, as they have for me.
This Much I Know About Growing A Business To Serve You...
- Be clear on what it is that you love doing most of all. Make sure that, that main thing remains your main thing! (sorry for the tongue twister!). What I am trying to say is, you're more likely to stay the distance if you're doing what you love most as that passion can help see you through the tricky things. Try and visualize your perfect working day/week and keep that your focus and your aim. The moment you no longer love what you do, is the moment you need to stop and do something else.
- Set goals, dream big and then break it down into smaller sized actions with deadlines to help keep you moving forward. Be open to change, find what feels good and don't be afraid to say NO if it's taking you away from what you need and want most of all.
- Aim to build a support team. Where possible outsource and collaborate as many of the things that could be done better by others or that you simply don't enjoy. When you surround yourself with good people to work with, you'll soon find investments in others give you greater rewards than simply financial ones. When you are focused on what you do best and enjoy most - that is when you see things grow and progress. A good example was my experience of investing in some professional, styled photography early on in my business. Many of those images are still used in my marketing materials and I saw a marked improvement in online sales from both my Folksy and Etsy shops after investing in them. Not to mention the boost in confidence it gave me to have a set of images I wanted to share with pride. Though my photography skills have improved over the years and I sometimes enjoy having a little play with my camera - I still much prefer drawing and designing, so it was great to know that I could do what I love best whilst someone else was providing me with what I need and doing what they love best at the same time too!
- Be open minded but do your homework. Sometimes great opportunities present themselves in very unexpected ways...and sometimes things you thought would be ideal turn out to be quite the opposite! Basically do your homework before making decisions, fully know what you're signing up to.
- Just do it! There is a lovely quote that goes "An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied" - so take that chance, you never know where it will lead.
I would love to hear any tips you may have for growing a business and maintaining the balance, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Next week, my post will cover the tricky topic of pricing. If you missed last week, I covered the subject of Staying Inspired & Being Creative and you can catch up on that here:
Have a lovely day