How to invest in your creative business
As online creatives we pour a lot of ourselves into the people - our clients, customers + community - we feel so grateful to get to work with day in and day out.
But, if you’re anything like me, there are times when you pour so much that your energy cup is running on empty. And you and your business can’t run on empty.
That’s why you need to pour back into your creative business too.
Not only to help keep it strong + resilient for years to come, but also because it deserves a little bit of a reward for providing you with the means to live the life you’ve always wanted to live. By pouring back into your business, you’ll allow it to grow + continue to provide for you.
This is where investment comes into play. It’s all about planning for the future + creating a steady and sustainable environment for your business to grow.
But how do you invest in your creative business? Where and when do you pour back in a way that will benefit you + your business as much as possible?
Here are 3 ways you can invest to help grow your creative business.
/ 1 / Investing in yourself as a creative business owner
As online creatives, we *are* our business. So, by investing in yourself + your growth as a creative business owner, you’re ultimately investing in the growth of your business as well.
Investing in education is a great first step. While there’s a time and place for outsourcing work by hiring someone to do it for you, educating yourself will pay dividends for years to come.
If there’s an area in your business that you struggle with, consider learning to do that thing yourself. It will not only help boost your skill set, but your confidence too.
So, where to get started?
Aside from places like Skillshare and CreativeLive, there are plenty of books, classes, courses + programs out there made by fellow creative business owners who’ve used their expertise to build their own businesses + can help you do the same.
When you don’t have enough time to complete all the tasks that come with being a creative business owner or when you don’t have the energy or will to learn a new skill set (heck you don’t have love everything about your business or do everything yourself!), maybe it’s time to hire support.
Hiring someone (or even a team) to support you is a great way to help you move forward with your business. It could clear up some much needed headspace for you. Plus, it can help you get your creative juices flowing again.
There are a million ways to organize and structure that support for yourself, from hiring inhouse help to outsourcing certain tasks, from offering (paid) internship positions for students to hiring a strategist for premium prices.
What would be the first, or next, area of your business you’ll hire support for? From virtual assistance to social media, copywriting, design + customer support, the possibilities are endless.
We all have them, moments when we feel stuck in our business, unsure of what to do next. These are great moments to invest in personalized, 1-on-1 coaching.
A coach can help you get clarity and focus about your business. They can also help you come to important decisions about taking the next step + moving your creative business forward.
If this is you, then think about the specific needs you have when it comes to coaching. Do some research online or reach out to people you know and trust to find recommendations and testimonials.
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/ 2 / Investing in yourself as a human being + the person behind the creative business
It might not feel like it at times, but you’re *more* than an online creative. You’re a full-fledged, 3 dimensional human being, who has needs and interest outside of business too.
It’s crucial for your health + well-being to step away from your creative business from time to time. These are a few simple + small ways to invest in yourself as the person behind the creative business.
If I’m not careful my ‘down time’ is anything but down time. During a mid-afternoon scroll I listen to business podcasts. Instead of letting myself get caught up in the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I scroll through my Instagram feed + reply to comments. At the same time I’m cooking I’m also catching up on all of the latest blog posts.
Be honest, when is your ‘down time’ really down time?
There will always be new emails, tweets, blog posts, Instagram photos + comments waiting for you, but sometimes what you really need is to sit in hot bath, surrounded by scented candles, close your eyes and do nothing.
Or maybe for you it looks like reading a book, going for a walk, or having a nap.
Because sometimes that’s all you need. To take a few moments to recharge, a few moments that will leave you feeling less frazzled and much better rested, a few moments that will help you drift straight off to sleep instead of lying awake with a buzzing brain.
That’s one of the most important investments you can make.
As you can read more about here, I firmly believe in the power of appreciation + celebration.
Don’t be the person who, once they complete a project, crosses if off of their to-do list + moves onto the next thing without a backwards glance.
Because here’s the truth: you’re your own boss, which means you’re responsible for boosting morale, sharing congratulatory messages, delivering compliments + telling yourself you’re doing pretty much a stellar job.
You have to do all of those things for yourself now.
Think outside of the box + think about the things that corporate employees get. Invite your best friend out for drinks as a makeshift Christmas party. Book a spa day for yourself + put it in the calendar under team retreat. Treat your significant other + yourself to a nice dinner as a ‘bonus’ for booking that dream client. And treat yourself to a piece of chocolate a few times a week for no apparent reason.
We’ve talked about 1-on-1 business coaching before, but it’s just as important to focus on overcoming limiting beliefs + mindset blocks that are holding you back in your life and creative business too.
Because the thing that’s keeping you from starting or growing your business rarely is business-related (knowledge or skills), but more likely it’s mindset-related: perfectionism, fear, self-doubt, overwhelm + more.
Running a creative business comes with many emotional ups and downs and so, in my experience, investing in working with a coach is most valuable.
Getting a coach is one of the biggest commitments you can make for yourself, your life, AND your business. It’s a promise that you’re going to take it seriously, a statement of intent that you want this + you want to make it work. Just the act of giving yourself that permission is incredibly powerful.
Making the investment is scary, but here’s the truth: knowing you have an investment riding on the experience will result in you going out of your own way to do every exercise, to get what you want out of every coaching session + to ultimately push yourself and your business into success (whatever success looks like for you).
P.S. If you struggle perfectionism (and it’s best buddies comparison, fear + self-doubt), then working with a perfectionism coach like myself might be the right fit for you. Click here to learn more about my Ditch Perfect + Take Action coaching program. I’d love to work with you to come up with a personalized action plan to help you ditch perfect + make that big idea you have for your creative business happen.
/ 3 / Non-financial investments you can make
Up until now, we’ve talked mostly about making financial investments in yourself and your creative business. But non-financial investments, the parts of yourself that you invest into your journey, can make all of the difference too.
Letting go of your perfectionism
My perfectionism story isn’t that much different from the ones my clients share with me.
For most of us, perfectionism serves us in the simple and structured environment that is school and college, where we know what’s expected of us + our inner people-pleasing perfectionists loves the predictability of knowing that when we put time and effort in an assignment it will be rewarded with a good grade.
But after college + university is when everything changes. Most jobs aren’t well-defined and neat and tidy and structured. Assignments are often vague and there are no grades to be had (if we’re lucky we get a grunt from our boss). Corporate culture appreciates speed over diligence, quantity over quality + group work in project teams over solo work.
Sitting in that cubicle, feeling utterly miserable, I realized that my perfectionism, which I previously thought was my superpower, was holding me back in so many ways. My perfectionism had to go.
And it did. I made great progress learning about perfectionism in general and my perfectionism in particular. Later, I developed a process for managing my perfectionism + I help others do the same.
Letting go of your perfectionism is an investment in yourself that you’ll reap the benefits from for years to come.
Because you’ll be able to push forward, even without any guarantees of ‘perfect’ outcomes or success. You’ll be able to hold steady in the face of any obstacles or roadblocks that you come across along the way.
Through overcoming your perfectionism you’ll also leave behind your inner control freak + you’ll be able to accept the fact that there are so many things wildly out of your control because you know that you’re capable of handling whatever comes your way.
But mostly, overcoming your perfectionism will result in a better way of managing your fear. The fear of the unknown, of criticism, or of failure will no longer paralyze you. Instead of fear, there will be a sense of trust: trust in your ability to make things happen + to handle whatever issues and obstacles may come your way.
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Reading books that change your way of thinking
Great books can give you an insight into your thinking and behavior, the courage to do the things you want to do, whether it’s in your personal life or in your creative business, and the confidence to do those things in your own way and on your own terms.
Some of the books that have had the biggest impact on me + my creative career are Quiet by Susan Cain, The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly by Brené Brown + Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Doing the work that needs to be done
I don’t know about you but I’m over the glorification of hustle and busy-ness.
Having said that, I know for sure that I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t have worked hard along the way. To me, there’s a difference between hustle and hard work. I call it ‘productivity with purpose’.
Through working smarter + more purposefully, you’re able to invest a whole lot of hard work into your creative business + prove to yourself that you’re capable of making big things happen.
Setting up a gratitude practice
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that if you’re constantly go-go-go, you’ll miss out on all the key lessons + insights from the journey you’re on.
So, don’t forget to make the investment of showing gratitude to yourself for killing it as an awesome human being + creative business owner.
Practicing gratitude helps you stay grounded through the ups and downs of business. It helps to keep things in perspective when you’re stressing out about your neverending to-do list. And taking the time to reflect helps you to stay intentional and focused in both your work and life.
Talking about investing…
If you’re tired of struggling with your need for constant perfection + need a little help with overcoming your perfectionism so that you can start making those big ideas you have for your creative business a reality, then invest some time and energy (do it today!) into my fan-favorite (not to mention FREE!) ‘4 steps to ditch perfect’ workbook.
SHARE WITH ME IN THE COMMENTS: WHAT INVESTMENTS HAVE YOU MADE IN YOUR CREATIVE BUSINESS? IS THERE SOMETHING YOU’D LIKE TO INVEST IN SOON?
Hey, Wendy here!
As a perfectionism coach, I help online creatives #ditchperfect, overcome their perfectionism + take action on the big ideas they have for their business. Let’s work together and make those ideas happen.