I started my career in the print industry, before moving into web development & marketing. I’ve worked in small agencies, headed up a large digital agency, lived the solo freelance life and built my own businesses before moving into coaching. It would be fair to say I’ve felt and witnessed the growth struggle at all levels.
When I started coaching creatives and digital professionals I noticed the familiar struggles like I had experienced.
Ultimately most creatives start off wanting to build a business built around their craft to spend their life doing what they love. Naturally with that passion and great work comes more clients, leading to business growth and a full diary and that point is where the big challenges begin. Some creatives decide that the struggle of growth is too much and they revert to a quiet creative life – that is perfectly ok if thats what they want. However, there are creatives that do want to grow their business and these are the main struggles you might face if this is you:
You don’t know how to grow your business
Unless you pay for the training, no one teaches you how to grow a business. It’s an entirely new skill set to what you have spent your career crafting, and when you become busy in your line of work the last thing you want is to add more work to your already full plate. But it’s not just the “doing” of business growth strategy that’s the problem, its understanding it to a point that you can delegate it out. This particular struggle forces the head in the sand scenario and you hit a plateau on growth.
Creative energy is not spent on your own projects
It takes creativity to grow a business, particularly when it comes to social media strategy and email marketing. When creative energy is being spent on clients it is hard to divert this to your own business. In many ways this is the right approach – look after your clients’ projects and your business will certainly grow, but this will ultimately again lead to a plateau.
Growing a business moves you away from your passion
Creatives show a lot of resistance when it comes to doing anything except what they love, and who can blame you? If you were passionate about business growth and marketing, you’d likely be in that industry instead! As the number of clients you win increases as does the time required to run your business, limiting the time spent doing what you love – and so again you hit a plateau – unable to and resisting to push past this block. You can get past this, but first accepting that you’re going to have to sacrifice some creative time to build better systems in your business (yes systems, sorry creatives) before moving into that wonderful space of growth and freedom to choose how you spend your working day knowing everything else is running smoothly.
Unable to delegate with your business being “you”
This is a tough challenge that I personally struggled to overcome. In part because I used to be a complete perfectionist / control freak and in part because I struggled to find someone who had the same style as me in my design work. Naturally, when a client wants to work with you because you have a unique creative style – this can be almost impossible to delegate out. The catch 22 of being too busy to delegate, and too busy NOT to comes into play here. I wonder how many of you creatives have said “It’s just quicker for me to do it myself” – classic case of controlfreak-itis! The truth of this is, if you could take more time to find someone who is a good fit and communicate exactly what you need – this would no longer be an issue. You have to break that vicious circle and take the time to delegate to reap the rewards later down the line.
The great thing is, all of these struggles can be overcome! I could talk about this subject all day, but as I know what a busy creative you are I thought you’d appreciate some quick and actionable instead of a 2000 word post. I created my 10 point checklist on how to grow a creative business sharing my best tips on how to overcome these struggles which you can download here >>>>