This post outlines a proven process and framework for building successful creative businesses.
It's been done before, and now you can do it to.
It takes work, faith, and the proper mindset, but it's all here.
Start With Your Mindset
Step one is to start with your mindset. Why?
Success is 80% mindset and only 20% skills and strategy.
This means looking at the things you believe that determine your thoughts, your actions, and your outcomes.
With a crappy mindset, it's hard to get anywhere in your creative life. Before you look at your skills or your business, you have to first adopt an empowering mindset that gets you up every morning excited to do the work.
Then Create A Vision For Your Business
Now that you have a better mindset to operate from, you can create an exciting vision for yourself and your business.
This process of envisioning the future you want, setting goals and outcomes that you care about, and then working toward them every day until you achieve them is the foundational habit that will help you build your successful business.
Lastly you need to understand that to become a business owner will require you to wear more hats, to step into different personas that every business needs in order to be successful, even if you're the only one working on the business.
Master Your Finances
Anyone can create a product or service and offer it to the world. But not everyone can build a profitable, resilient business.
The reason is that not everyone masters the financial side of being a creative or running a creative business.
While many of you reading this are extremely talented, the industry you're in doesn't owe you anything - not fame, not fortune, not even an audience.
You've got to earn every dollar, every fan. You do that by methodically paying attention to what works, and then spending time understanding your finances, your profits, your budgets, how much you charge, how you structure your deals, and how you invest the money you make.
You can sell a thousand books for $15 apiece and make $15, or you can lose money because the books cost $20 to print and ship.
Build a proper foundation for your business to be built on before you move on to the other areas.
Grow Your Business Through Marketing
There are basic principles that will get you further than most marketing books and people writing about the subject online. Finding the 20% that works for your business is part of your job as the owner of the business.
We're now in a world that can spot self-serving marketing and advertising from a mile away. People don't want to be interrupted anymore. They're looking for a specific job to be done, and it's your job to put your business in front of them in a way that serves them first, not you.
This makes sales a natural progression rather than an event to be feared, by both you and them.
Create multiple offers at different price points so that more people can work with you in different ways. Doing so provides more stability for your business.
Think about creating happy customers, not just forcing people through a sales funnel and squeezing out a dollar on the other end.
Nail It, Then Scale It
Mastering these different areas of your business is about seeing your business in a new way - as a system of interconnected, interdependent pieces, not just a sum of its parts.
When you see how all of the parts of your business work together, it becomes clear why your business was stuck before. You can now identify the constraints, remove them, and grow as large as you'd like.
The Craftsman Mindset
One of my favorite - and one of the most impactful - books I've ever read is So Good They Can't Ignore You, by Cal Newport.
In it, he outlines how he came upon an idea he now calls The Craftsman Mindset:
[It] began with a 2007 episode of the Charlie Rose show. Rose was interviewing the actor and comedian Steve Martin about his memoir Born Standing Up. They talked about the realities of Martin’s rise. “I read autobiographies in general,” Martin said. “[And I often get frustrated]… and say, ‘You left out that one part here, how did you get that audition for that one thing where suddenly you’re working at the Copa? How did that happen?’ ” Martin wrote his book to answer the “how” question, at least with respect to his own success in stand-up. It was in this explanation of “how” that Martin introduced a simple idea that floored me when I first heard it. The quote comes in the last five minutes of the interview, when Rose asks Martin his advice for aspiring performers. “Nobody ever takes note of [my advice], because it’s not the answer they wanted to hear,” Martin said. “What they want to hear is ‘Here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script,’… but I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ ” In response to Rose’s trademark ambiguous grunt, Martin defended his advice: “If somebody’s thinking, ‘How can I be really good?’ people are going to come to you.”
This focus on outcomes is a huge part of the process I've outlined in this post. What are you really after? How will you measure if you're getting closer to that outcome? What daily habits can you implement in your life to get you there even easier?
It starts and ends with mindset.
Adopting a Craftsman mindset, and a Craftsman work ethic and framework outlined here is how you get everything you want.
There's ONE thing that every creative needs to do to grow their business.
I can say that definitively because after talking one-on-one with over 100 creators, this is the most common recommendation I give in these coaching calls.
The Craftsman Creative Book is out now! Head over to store.craftsmancreative.co to grab your copy - or copies today.
Anyone who grabs two copies - one to keep and one to share - will be able to mint their own, limited, First Edition NFT, which gains you access to an exclusive area in the Craftsman Creative community to discuss web3 for creators and all of the opportunities in that space.
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