The creative entrepreneur is full of ideas, can find creative solutions to problems and spot gaps in the market. They are self-starters, full of passion and drive. We have a vision of what we want to achieve and go after it like the Road Runner.
The downside of being a creative entrepreneur is our low boredom threshold and impatience to see results. There have been several occasions where I have self-sabotaged my success by allowing my ego to derail me. Fortunately, over-time I have learnt four important lessons.
You need to be your biggest champion and have absolute faith in yourself to succeed. The road to success is tough and you will have many setbacks. Know that you have something special, you have everything that you need to succeed. Each knockback is making you stronger. Believe in yourself. Listen to the negative thoughts, it is your ego trying to protect you from disappointment and failure – but respond from your brave heart, you’ve got this. There is nothing to fear. You can do this. Champion yourself with love and compassion.
Believing in yourself does not mean ignoring any negative feedback or criticism, neither does it mean doing the same thing the same way despite the lack of success. This feedback is precious. It is helping us to become better at what we do. Reframe rejection and/or failure as gifts to help us improve. Road signs if you like to help us find the right path.
To believe in yourself, you first have to know what makes you special and unique. Write down all of the things that you are good at and enjoy – these are usually the same thing as we excel at what we love. Then, the things that you are not good at and prefer not to do. We are all different. It is important to know and understand your strengths so that you can make the most of them, for example, when it comes to developing a marketing strategy and plan.
I know a successful Indie author who creates beautiful images easily and uses these to promote her blog and books on Pinterest and Instagram. She has a Facebook group and uses images with questions to stimulate discussion. Another successful author uses her love of travel and enthusiasm for independent publishing to connect with readers through podcasts, preferring to talk to her audience. There are so many different ways to market your product you need to find a strategy that uses your strengths and that you will enjoy.
Comparing to others.
Don’t. This is much easier said than done. Of course, we all compare ourselves and usually find ourselves wanting. We congratulate other creatives on their success, the new book contract, a best-selling debut, getting an agent, or even a full manuscript request. Sometimes, it feels as though everyone else is enjoying a party and you are on the outside banging your fists on a closed door.
Everybody’s journey to success is different. A writer at a conference I attended said in a pre-dinner speech that an author’s journey to success is a bit like childbirth. You can plan and think you are prepared but how it happens – your unique experience will be nothing like you expect it to be. I remember making a birth plan and watching a soft-focus film of a delivery in ante-natal classes. Needless to say, my experience was completely different as it will be for every single woman who gives birth. Authors will tell you about winning a competition, a chance meeting with an author or publisher, being approached by an indie publisher after self-publishing successfully, achieving success independently – there are as many different journeys as there are authors. What I am trying to say is that your journey to success is unique to you. Comparing where you are to others is pointless because you are on a different path.
With comparison comes envy. That green goblin that gobbles your soul. Do you find yourself thinking negative thoughts? I don’t mean wishing evil upon the person you envy – although you might have such feelings. The judgements: It’s all very well having a debut best-seller but will they be able to follow it? That publisher is too small to have any impact on sales. I wouldn’t want to churn out fiction like that it can’t be any good. These thoughts are partly to protect ourselves, to diminish the pain of envy – I wouldn’t want that anyway. But they are destructive. When we have negative thoughts about other creatives, we are also harming ourselves. It is the same voice that says, You are no good and will fail. We are all part of the universe, made from the same stuff. The synchronicity that brings fortune to us is dependent upon everything coming together in our favour. We are all dependent on one another. Negative thoughts about other creatives pollute the air we breathe – the life-giving force that should be nourishing us.
I started this post by recognising the downside to being a creative, the short attention span. A new project is exciting, the adrenalin rush as you put everything into getting it off the ground. In a big organisation you might be able to hand over the project once it is up and running but many creative entrepreneurs work alone or with a small team of experts. We do not have the resources and/or manpower to trust someone else to implement the big idea whilst we move onto a new one. We also want to see results quickly and can lose patience if they are not immediately apparent.
I am learning how to refine and systemise approaches so that they are fully embedded. It means paying attention to detail, improving quality and efficiency. It means slowing down and being present – fully focused on the task.
It is when you have grown tired of writing your blog or recording your YouTube channel that your audience starts to discover you. By giving up too soon you do not allow success to find you. An entrepreneur who is always moving on to the next new thing will miss out on reaping the rewards from their work.
You won’t always feel like sitting down each week to write your blog, or record your film, especially if that negative voice in your head is telling you: What’s the point? Nobody reads it? Listens to it? But you must because success is about being consistent. Showing up even when you don’t feel like it.
My final message is this – Be joyful and carefree.
We seem to believe that is we are to achieve success we have to suffer in the process. You are doing this – whatever it is – because it is your passion. Fear of failure, self-doubt, and negative thoughts are burdensome. Have absolute faith in yourself. Know that you will achieve all that you dream of and more, and trust the universe to guide you towards that goal. Take pleasure in all of the tasks you commit to. Remember why you chose to do this and be patient. When things are not happening as quickly or in the way that you expect, be curious. Reflect on what you can learn from this moment by being present and grounded. Sometimes we just have to stand still long enough for success to find us.