In creative business, you can either think of a solution to a market problem or die trying. (Yes, go hard or go home, Gary Vaynerchuk style.)
First of all, it’s confusing how we can huddle our creativity around making it profitable. It just doesn’t feel right. The terms ‘creative’ and ‘business’ just don’t go naturally together.
Creativity is all about natural instincts.
When you say creative, you think about passion and imagination. You think about art and craft. You think about beauty in its purest form.
And when you say business, you have to mean business.
You think about all the things you have to do and all the systems you need to put into place to keep the business running. As heard from Dale Partridge’s Startup Camp podcast with writer-extraordinaire Jeff Goins and the latter quoting from the book E-Myth by Michael Gerber, in business, you need to be have a technician, an entrepreneur, and a manager.
Try setting up a creative online business solo.
You need to be all three (technician, entrepreneur, and manager) in one human body form. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. And definitely not the easy route to setting up a business.
Let me tell you something about even trying to do this: you’re seriously in deep shit. I know I am, because the level of discipline required to even manage your time wisely is vital to how and when you’re going to launch and make your business profitable and sustainable.
The number one thing you cannot afford to do when setting up an online creative business is to underestimate time.
In saying so, I agree with Jon Westenberg’s Medium article, you do need a business plan.
Why do we need a “boring” piece of white paper to plan our business?
Because that “boring” piece of white paper is going to help you gain focus and clarity and consistency and integrity, friend. That “boring” piece of white paper is what you will turn to when you’re stuck because you want to read more about your favorite writers and your favorite articles online. It will remind you that you are in charge of what you’re supposed to do with you’re time. It will make you recall all the reasons why you started this venture in the first place. It will help you remember work.
Let’s face it: work is not sexy. It wasn’t designed to be sexy and, even though some might argue that their work is sexy, there will always be a catch. For instance, I love working for myself and meeting new people but I hate having to deal with aggressive marketing and search engine optimization. Or, my work is so sexy because I get to inspire other people but I have to get some time off or be away from my loved ones in order to so. Work is simply where you spend your energy towards so you can appreciate life even more. There’s always a catch and that’s why it’s called work.
Now, I’ve noticed myself do this a lot: I try to start the day as healthily as possible (i.e. no gadgets and computers first thing in the morning, drink water the moment you get up, exercise, eat within the first 30 mins of getting up, etc.), but when I do start turning on the computer and checking out emails and social media feeds and working on writing and creative business, I find myself losing focus.
I figured that you only lose focus when you’re not clear on your goals.
That’s why we need to write down our business goals in a business plan (though some creatives like Regina prefer to call them as creative action plans).
It makes sure that we can go back on track even if we stray a few—ok, several—times during the day.
Why are you doing this? What are your intentions? Who will benefit from your life’s work?
All of these are questions we should continuously prod ourselves with. Sometimes—ok, several times—we are distracted by small talk and small things and superficial activities that seem to entertain us to no end. But that’s okay. Being hard on yourself for activities you enjoy is detrimental to being the person that you are. The point is to see the point of your activities and finally learn to value your time by doing what matters most to you.