5 ways to grow your creative business this year

Since sharing my successes of 2016 I’ve heard from loads of you with really specific & interesting questions. It seems like a lot of us are either running a creative business online, or would quite like to be, so I thought it’d make sense for me to start sharing a bit more about that side of my work. Plus, between you and me – I love this stuff.
Look out for a couple of creative business posts a month going forwards.

Where to start?

 

The obvious place to begin this is by telling you which things I believe have made the biggest difference. Below are the 5 ways to grow your creative business that I’d recommend to anyone trying to up their game or launch something new. I genuinely don’t think I’d be earning without them.

1. Get your goals down on paper. When I was working to quit my job, I had a really clear goal: match my monthly salary so I could go self employed. Once I’d achieved that, I started to coast. I was working hard, and constantly, but there was no bigger plan to it all. I was just doing whatever came my way. When I finally realised this and set myself some goals, magical things started to happen. I went from earning £1k a month to earning £40k in one day. Even my dumbass ‘Make Mark Hamill my best friend‘ project ended up paying off for me, once I announced it on Twitter & made it a daily joke. When we make a pledge in writing, we immediately start thinking about how we can get it done. Don’t underestimate the power of planning. 

Grab my free printable planning sheet

2. Business podcasts. I studied business at A Level, & was kind of awesome at it (one of my exam papers was made into the sample answer for future students! ). I always tell people it was the one subject I studied at school that I’ve actually found useful in my real world life. You don’t need an academic qualification to have a successful business, though – marketing is just understanding how people think; strategy is just common sense mapped out. These days I listen to a whole heap of online creative business podcasts, and they’re constantly inspiring me, motivating me and filling my head with new ideas. (Look out for my post on my favourite podcasts, next week!)

3. Invest in yourself. I’m a huge proponent of taking yourself seriously and investing in your skill set. I bought mentoring services with Jen Carrington way back when I was still with the NHS, and it really helped me focus, pinpoint my goals and get serious about my blog. Later, we worked together again to design my new revenue streams and for me to understand about launch strategies and how I wanted my business to work. Janet Murray’s mentoring services have helped me get to grips with my media plans for 2017, and given me a whole list of pitches to send to the publications I want to work with. You can’t be an expert in everything, and it’s ok to ask – and pay – for help.

4. Make time to be creative. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the working and neglect the thing that got you into this business in the first place. Creating to a brief is fine, but it is not the same as creating purely for the fun of it, and it is in that time that we have new ideas, develop new skills and create our most exciting work. Think of it like a football player – how much time do they devote to practice, and how much to actual matches? If you only ever compete and play matches, you’ll never have time to try anything new.

5. Be annoyingly tenacious. When people ask how I’ve achieved what I have, this is the answer I most often give. It’s probably a bit annoying as they’d prefer I gave them some holy grail secret, but it’s the honest truth, and it’s also completely achievable! When I want something – when I really really want it – I don’t quit until I get there. I have off-days and times when it feels impossible, but then I always wake up the next day with fresh determination and a new angle of approach that I haven’t tried before. There are a thousand angles to look at any problem from, and until you’ve exhausted them all, you haven’t failed. Keep trying. Keep putting yourself out there. You never know which will be the winning pitch.

What are the key things that have helped you find success? Any creative business topics you’d like me to talk about in future posts?