Getting started as a creative entrepreneur feels like diving headfirst into some very muddy water. You know where you'd like to end up, but you have no idea what is going to happen along the way. Rather than handing off some shotty cliché advice – I'll give it to you straight. Here are my top seven tips for how to get started as a creative entrepreneur (and how to stay sane while doing so).
1. “Fake it till you make it” is just a really uncomfortable way of lying. There’s no such thing as being right or wrong if you see it all as an experiment. If you fake confidence in a competency, not only will you feel like a fake – but people will sniff you out a mile away. Be honest, be curious, and explore together.
2. F*ck networking. Just be a person (hint: you) who is genuinely interested in other people. Don’t listen because you want someone’s business or money, listen because you want to hear. If you’re not interested in your client and their work, maybe you shouldn’t do work for them (and that’s okay, too).
3. Find a practice that nourishes your creativity — and do it every damn day. It has to be off the computer, sorry. When I find myself stuck, my ego tells me to sit at the computer and begrudgingly push pixels around while I yell at myself. This leads nowhere. Slowly. If I strap on my hiking boots and take a 20 minute walk in the woods, something unexpected almost always pops up. If it doesn’t, at least I have fresh air in my lungs and got my blood moving.
4. Bad news is just the Universe asking for a more creative solution. Sometimes failure is the only way to change your thinking. Not only is it okay – it’s a crucial part of growth. Again, if it’s just an experiment – you can never be wrong. You just find another, more interesting way.
5. Stay fresh. Never, ever stop learning. Stay relevant, stay exciting. I try to take a Skillshare course at least once every two weeks. Subscribe to blogs in your industry. Start a side project. Find something that you’re passionate about that makes you feel the way your clients feel. It will make you more understanding, trick you into taking time to nourish your passion, and is a great low pressure place to experiment.
6. Apps. So many apps. You may not be able to hire someone to remind you of your client meetings or balance your business account – but you sure as hell can download apps. My must-haves are Intuit Quickbooks, Wunderlist, straight up Google Calendar and Stitcher.
7. Be your most genuine, strangest, realest self. No one wants perfect. Cool is just fear dressed in black. Care less about what your business cards looks like and more about what people you’ve worked with are saying about you. Be real, express your excitements, open up. Don’t keep your wonderful you-ness all to yourself.
What works for you? Sound off in the comments below:
Originally published in Feather Mag.