Are you one of the many people who have decided you want to earn a full-time living from your creative abilities - writing, drawing, photos, videos - instead of working your 9-to-5?
Below is a guest post from the wonderful Case Lane who helps entrepreneurs and writers. I met her at a recent conference and she was gracious enough to write this post to help our community! Please enjoy and thank you Case! - BogusRed
For the thousands of people who have decided to ignite their side hustle dreams and start a business, the initial work - creating your product or service - brings peace and joy. But at some point, you realize you have to be able to distribute your content into the global marketplace and pay the bills. In the absence of your own version of Medici family-style sponsorship, how do you manage the business side of your business while staying true to your creative spirit?
Creatives aren't suits
In Hollywood, there is a clear line drawn between the 'suits' and the 'creatives.' The suits are the people who run the studio business like finances, operations and technology departments. The creatives are the writers, directors and actors who bring stories to life. Many suits in the industry want to be creatives. But, in my experience, no creatives want to be suits.
In the transforming global market, many of those people who thought they would be confined to 'suits' forever, are now finding online tools and endless information resources that make it possible for their once hidden creative talents to emerge.
People can spend their time creating, and market and distribute their work all over the world. Latent creatives are starting their own businesses based on their hobbies and passions like watercolors, writing or growing succulents. However, as these opportunities become more successful, people who did not want to be 'suits,' find themselves having to do the business side of their business and are finding no joy in the activities.
Many creatives, myself included, just want to do our work, which is creating. I begin each day writing 5,000 words, but I would do more if I did not have to stop and take the time to manage my business.
The business side
If you are creating, producing and distributing content that you hope will support you, you will have many tasks associated with your work. For example, if you run an online business, you have to
- check e-mail
- manage your e-mail lists
- manage social media
- check your advertising returns
- cover your expenses
- review your spending on distribution and marketing your product or service.
You may have to do the work every day, or every week, but when you're starting out, all decisions go through you.
As you formalize the business, you have to worry about registration, incorporation, trademarks and policies.
And as the business grows, you need to think about teams, benefits, physical and automated operations, and growth strategies.
All this when all you want to do is create.
So how can you manage these rising demands, while staying true to you and your initial dream? Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Prepare to Run a Business
The word "preparation" means the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration. When you begin thinking about transforming your work into a business, think about "making yourself ready" to be the CEO of your own corporation.
Making yourself ready is first about your confidence and belief in yourself. You can be prepared to launch your business and make it successful if you first convince yourself it's possible. Focus on you in your preparation. You may have many people around your life who are trying to convince you that starting a business is not a good idea. You do not need to listen to their comments, you only need to focus on your own vision.
Own your attitude towards business success by preparing yourself to be a CEO. What do CEOs do? They read - about the business, industry and the market they will be participating in. Even if you think you have no time to get into the details of a business, start by taking the time to read and learn more about the world you think you want to live in. Before you know it, you may just find yourself spending time on actually launching the business.
Finding reliable tools will encourage you to work on your business every day. Whether your perfect tool is a good notebook or a reliable pen or the notes app on your phone, you need the right items near you at all times to get started and to avoid excuses around why you did not get the work done.
Taking the first step to obtain the basic tools you need will put you in a business planning and launch frame of mind. If you designate the tools, and an area to work in for your business, you can spend time in that corner working on the business side of your activities, separate from your creative work.
Focus on your Strengths
Are there any traditional business activities that you like or may be good at? For example, if you like numbers you may be able to do your own accounting and finance. If you are detailed oriented, you may enjoy mapping your processes.
Understand the skills that you have that may be useful for completing traditional business activities. Knowing the part of the work that you want to do may help you stay focused and interested in specific business tasks, and you will not have to spend money hiring someone else to do this work for you.
Keep it Simple
If you believe you need a fancy flashy website with moving pictures, spectacular graphics and all the dynamic latest themes, take a look at what James Clear has done. He literally goes to straightforward black and white text, and interested readers follow him there. Or have a look at Berkshire Hathaway's site. One of the most successful companies in the world keeps it simple with links and charts, no flashy pictures, and hardly any color.
Why does simple work?
Because the content is so strong. If you create content that people want to read, they will find it. Although, you might occasionally hear people say how 'cool' someone's website is, they won't mention it again if there was no valuable content to read on the site.
Simple does not only apply to websites. You can manage your graphics yourself if you stay with familiar fonts and standard colors. Keep your finances in one place and use clear labels for filing. Download project management software to keep track of tasks or research. In all instances, do not try and do too much or learn complicated new programs. When you're tempted to get the latest gadget, all you really need to do is remember you want to keep it simple.
As a creative person, you may decide there is absolutely no way you want to do any of the business-like tasks related to your passion. In that case, you can outsource.
You can hire a virtual assistant to do the tasks you do not want to do. Virtual assistants are people who work from anywhere to provide online assistance such as managing a website, sorting through e-mails or even copywriting and contacting people on your behalf. You will have to do research into the VAs skills and negotiate costs, time and expectations. But that initial process will save you hours in the long run.
For specific tasks like building a website or setting up your bookkeeping, you can hire a one-time contractor who can complete the work for a set price. When hiring, you have to be careful with your specifications to make sure the work is done to your preference. By the way, you can have a VA do the research on hiring freelancers for other work the VA cannot do.
Hiring or co-opting friends, family, or neighbors to help you get the work done is sometimes the most viable, and inexpensive option. Volunteers can be invaluable resources when you are starting out, especially if they are professionals in a business field such as graphic design.
If you decide to go with volunteers, make sure these assistants fully understand the work you want done and are prepared to follow-through to the end. You may have a hard time holding a volunteer to a deadline, but you will have to if you want to have your business running in a professional manner.
Setting up and running your own business based on your passion or hobby is one of the most rewarding activities you can do for yourself. If you are a creative, who does not like the business side of business, do not let that fear stop you from going ahead and getting started. Select an alternative option that suits your personality and work preferences so that you can concentrate on what you do best - your creative pursuits.
About Case Lane
Case Lane is the founder of Ready Entrepreneur, a business focused on helping wantrepreneurs become entrepreneurs in a high-tech, global economy.
For more than a decade, Case had a front-row-seat in Hollywood to the transformation from physical to digital media in the entertainment industry. During this time, she helped train a diverse group of current and future media employees who had to learn to directly cope with the impact of technology on their jobs. Realizing a higher percentage of people will have to become economically self-sufficient in the coming decades, Case focused her business on helping people obtain the information they need to start a business and fulfill their lifestyle dreams.
Educated in communications, political science, business, law and economics, Case has lived, studied or worked in eleven different countries as a reporter, diplomat, digital media corporate executive, lawyer, writer and entrepreneur. As a writer, Case has published Life Dream: 7 Universal Steps to Get the Life You Want through Entrepreneurship, and Bloom! Defeat Negativity, Overcome Bad Advice, Love Yourself, and (finally) Become the Happy Person You Want to Be.. She also writes future tech, political and romance thrillers.
To learn more about Ready Entrepreneur, please visit http://www.readyentrepreneur.com where you will find unique articles and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs, and you can sign-up for Case's e-mail list to get tips, strategies and other information.