Happy New Year, dearest! Are you ready for the new adventures 2016 has in store for you? I'm sure you are. Here are 7 super easy practical tips you can apply right now to transcend your business & life. Keep on readin'!
There are countless tools and tips you can use and apply to make more money, get more followers, have more exposure, etc. but what can you do to actually make your business (and life) better? You know, not just get more from it, but also stay sane + feel amazing.
You can easily get distracted by all the buzz about the latest toy or tool, but don't be fooled - the things you need to thrive aren't necessarily the latest super fancy gadgets, services, or apps. They can make your life easier, but they will not make your business better.
You will make your business better. By providing brilliant human experience to your people. Always. Go back to basics and stop drowning in the details. You have everything you need already, so let's do this!
7 STEPS TO TRANSCEND YOUR CREATIVE BUSINESS
I've come up with these seven steps while I was struggling to find a way to have a thriving business and stay human at the same time. It has always bugged me immensely, that being professional means, being slightly impersonal, and keeping everybody at arms length.
This has never felt right for me, so I looked for people who shared a lot of themselves and still kept a vibrant creative business going on. I found a few and I started learning from them. These seven steps are my lessons.
1. STOP APPLYING BUSINESS PRACTICES CORPORATIONS USE
This is one of my biggest mistakes when I was just starting out – I tried to use things I've learned as an employee, and that's just.. well, plain stupid. Agencies, corporations, and bigger firms, are often profit driven, not people driven.
And even if they are thinking of humans first, they have to focus the efforts of many people towards a common goal. Yes, it feels crowded in my head sometimes (shhh, don't tell anybody, OK?) but I'm on my own here, so the ways to structure my business and run it will differ from those of a design agency for example. And this is a good thing.
So, the best thing to do is to come up with your own rules. Chances are, all those 9 to 5 working hours, marketing campaigns, point of sale rules, etc. won't work for you. Try them all, adjust them to your needs, and come up with your own personal business practises.
Here is one example of what I mean:
You know what a SALE is, right? Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, and what not. They might seem a good idea, but they are undervaluing your work and in a way they are an insult for your loyal customers. No, I'm not being overly dramatic.
I recently saw a Seanwes' video, where he talked about exactly that – every time you discount a product, think about the people who already bought from you. How would your loyal customers, who love your work and payed the full price for it, feel if you lower the price a month later?
[Tweet "When giving discounts, find a way to reward loyalty, not punish it. #MindfulCreativeBusiness"]
I have created similar principles around my work and most of them will not work for any firm I know. It might seem like to much in the beginning, but it's definitely worth the effort – sit down and rethink your work principles, business model, how you build relationships, and how you brand yourself. Make your business work for you and for your tribe.
2. GIVE A LOT
There is a book called The Go-Giver, that changed everything for me – it gave me the permission, I was looking for, to do business with my heart wide open. I want to share that gift. If you are a human being, looking for a sustainable business model, this is it.
Basically, what it says is that the more you give freely from your heart, the more you receive. And it's true. It fitted perfectly with my view on life and I'm working my way through every principle in this book. Go take a look, it's worth it!
“Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.” ― Bob Burg, The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
3. STOP CATCHING UP & BE HONEST
You probably have a pretty good idea where you want your business and life to be. I know not being there yet is hard, but don't rush it, stop catching up and chasing after other people's success stories. Instead – create your own story by being comfortable with who and where you are.
Be just you - don't pretend to have a team, if it's just you and your cat or doggie.
Be honest with your tribe. Don't spill it all, if you don't want to, but don't pretend to be something you're not, either. I am very protective of my personal life and I don't like to share too much, but I'm brutally honest with what I offer, and what I look for in return – dishonesty is a huge deal breaker for me.
Many creative entrepreneurs share their lives, loves, babies, pets, homes, etc. and I absolutely loooove their stories! But I couldn't do that. I have always been a deeply introverted soul and I feel awkward talking about more personal stuff, even with my closest friends.
So, I found my own way to share bits and pieces of myself and my work, without sharing my cat (yes, I kinda have one) or my selfies (I don't have many of those, I prefer photographing the cat – he's so very pretty!)
“As long as you’re trying to be someone else, or putting on some act or behavior someone else taught you, you have no possibility of truly reaching people. The most valuable thing you have to give people is yourself. No matter what you think you’re selling, what you’re really offering is you.” ― Bob Burg and John David Mann, The Go Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea
Ask your soul what it feels comfortable with and don't do things, just because "everybody"'s doing them. Focus on serving your audience, delivering great content, and telling your own view on life.
Also, building a brand, doesn't necessarily means it all has to be about you. On the contrary, make it about your tribe. Or, if it feels right, spill all the beans. Just make sure you are perfectly at ease with what you are doing.
Be honest with your tribe – if it's fake, it will brake. #MindfulCreativeBusiness"
4. INVENT YOUR OWN PROCESSES
This is something you can borrow from corporations, but not 'as is'. You do things every day: you write posts, create products, talk with clients, etc. Write down all these tasks and what it takes to do them. Create your own processes – you'll have your personal manuals, and you'll not have to think and reinvent the wheel all the time.
Thinking is good for creativity and bad for productivity. #MindfulCreativeBusiness"
Have a process ready for all the tasks you can think of. Try them out, adjust them when needed, and stop wasting precious time and energy with overthinking things.
5. PLAN & SCHEDULE
There is a fine balance between having the freedom to create new things and planning your work to stay productive. The only way to find your balance is to try, fail, try again and eventually have a working model.
The thing is, you have to plan things thoroughly, or you'll never do them, but when the plan is ready you need to move on and do all the work. Can you do that?
If you cannot, you might be better off without too much planning. But if you can, oh boy, there is nothing better than structured and well scheduled work. I love it! So, find calendars and planners you like and start planning & scheduling.
PRINTABLE + FILLABLE A5 MONTHLY CONTENT PLANNER
Editorial calendar + Newsletter planner +
Offerings planner + Social Media tracker +
To Do list
Perfect for your A5 Filofax + for paperless workspaces.
Also, I'll be opening a shop filled with planners and other amazing printable goodies real soon, so get on my mailing list and don't miss a thing!
6. CREATE MORE, CONSUME LESS
This is super important. And very tricky. How often do you check your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on your phone? And I'm not talking about the times you connect with people or upload content, or repost valuable articles. I mean the times when you "need inspiration" or you are bored and need pretty pictures to distract you?
I did that so often, that I had to delete the apps from my phone. This type of browsing is causing visual pollution and it's clogging your brain.
No, you don't need more inspiration, you need room to breathe, to unfold your pretty amazing soul, and to imagine again. So, turn off the feeds and go create magic.
Stop scrolling for inspiration, go offline, breathe, and start creating. #MindfulCreativeBusiness
7. CONNECT TO PEOPLE
I am a solopreneur and I love it that way. I can work easily with people, as long as they are as motivated, dedicated, and hardworking as I am. See the problem there? That's rarely the case! And that's OK - people get excited by and for different things.
A dream project for you might be a true burden for your fellow creative. So, I prefer to work alone or lead projects, where I'm the main driving force (and force is the most splendidly suitable word for me in such situations!) That being said, there are other more satisfying types of connections you can make.
I've always wondered, if it's OK to chat up somebody and tell them what I like about them and why. Would they ignore me? Almost certainly, not! It turns out people know when you are genuine (it's a superpower good hearted humans have) and they love hearing (or reading) lovely things about the work they pour their hearts into. So, go out there, say 'Hi!', ask questions and make friends.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
These are my most important lessons from last year. Now is your turn to tell me more about your journey.
What do you struggle with most in your creative business? What would you change right now?
Which steps, do you feel, can help you transcend your business?
Thank you for reading this big long post and do let me know what you think in the comments below, if you please!