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Friday
Mar222013

Are You Creative? Do You Have a Head for Business? Are You an Entrepreneur?

I'm a creative person, and I know many other creative people. We all think deep creative thoughts and we love the process of making things. I like to write. Others I know are great in art, illustration, photography, jewelry making, interior design, embroidery, fashion design, screenplay writing, and product design. But few of the people I know are entrepreneurs. That means that few of us (me included) would risk their security and steady job income to open up our own businesses - enterprises based on what we create.

Yikes! Being an entrepreneur puts a completely different template over what we creatives do during the day, right? I know you're attracted to this blog because you have a love for the creative arts. You probably make something, either as a hobbyist or as a serious pro or somewhere in between, but you might not want to "risk it all" to start your own business. We've all known people who have tried and failed in such endeavors, so we don't want to be like them, right?

And deep down, are we all that confident about our creative skills? We can contribute our creativity to others in a defined job environment, but can we build a business sustained by what we dream about, make and fashion, and develop?

IF you have the guts to go for creative business glory, I encourage you. Period. I ENCOURAGE YOU. 

You heard right. I'm not going to try to talk you out of it, but only if you have the passion to pursue a creative business. Creative people are dissatisfied with things as they are. They have a strong desire to make things better, more beautiful, more elegant, more ... something! The only way to feel satisfied as a creative person is to have courage, focus, and vision - and to take action on your ideas.

Your creative outlet may be to help others make things. It could be assisting with craft time activities geared to young children or seniors. But you might want to base a business on your creativity. Mark McGuiness, the business coach pictured above, has what he calls the 5 Components of Creative Entrepreneurship. These are elements of success for any creative enterprise.

  1. Create (Don't Compete)
  2. Lead (Don't Manage)
  3. Communicate (Don't Be Shy)
  4. Automate (Don't Duplicate)
  5. Accelerate (Don't Stand Still)

Mark's creative entrepreneurship formula is also worth repeating here:

Creativity + Productivity = Success

It's helpful to visualize the end result of your creative work. Imagine what it will be like to design a new jewelry collection and have your own jewelry business. Visualize how you'll decorate a client's new living room and have your own interior design firm. Imagine how great your new photography website will look, promoting your creative services to the public. Hold that end result in your mind, and it will help fan your passion and intensity while diminishing fear and uncertainty.

But never start a business in a vacuum or, worse yet, in an atmosphere that is not supportive to you and your creative mission. Jettison your nay-saying friends and tune out the negative family members who don't believe in what you'd like to accomplish. That doesn't mean to blindly forge ahead, however! Do your research, and definitely seek out fellow creative folk in the community who can give you good feedback and criticism.

Feedback. Criticism. You need both before you plunge into any creative business endeavor. Hey, if you want to merely sell earrings of your own design at the holiday church bazaar, knock yourself out. But if you want to become Earrings R Us and open up stores across the country, then you'd better seek out friendly, but knowing feedback and criticism - the earlier in your business planning process, the better.

This means finding a support group. Fellow designers of jewelry, interiors, and products, writers groups, and so on. Find a group of fellow professionals and hobbyists who meet regularly to critique one another's work and celebrate success. Attend seminars and conferences. No matter what you're creating, there's a group for you to join. Look on MeetUp.com for groups in your area, or consider starting a group if nothing exists for you locally. Don't overlook joining professional business groups like Rotary, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis, or the Chamber of Commerce; they can help you network and grow as a creative entrepreneur.

Read good books on starting and nurturing creative businesses. Check out groups like SCORE that can assist people to write a business plan, map out a business structure, and find funding. Explore Kickstarter and other Internet sites that can help you raise start-up capital through crowdsourcing (others like indiegogo, Peoplefund.it, Smallknot, and RocketHub).

And as you're researching all your business options, FEEL how you feel about business. Are business matters like eating glass or sitting on burning coals? Would you rather be doing anything else but think about the business side of creative entrepreneurship? Is entrepreneurship basically disgusting to you? (It is to many people. Most don't want to be bothered.)

It's self-honesty time. Is thinking about business matters disgusting to you? Maybe you don't have the drive or ambition or stamina to start your own creative business - at least not a solo endeavor. Perhaps you've networked with some kindred souls who would like to join you in business, and perhaps one or more of them would like to take the business lead while you focus on your creative pursuits. Wouldn't that be nice?

Just keep taking periodic reality checks to see if you're enjoying what you're doing, no matter if you're a hobbyist or a business tycoon. Creativity is all about making something, and no matter what scale you're operating at, you should be having FUN. Please, never lose sight of that. If you're a creative person and the creative process or the business you've channeled yourself into is no longer enjoyable, then it's time to change course. Rediscover the passion again!

 

If you're interested in learning more about creative endeavors and business pathways, we encourage you to explore the Sheffield School, New York, NY. Sheffield began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded our course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng ShuiWedding and Event Planning, and Jewelry Design. With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.

  • Request a free Sheffield School catalog describing our distance education courses.
  • Subscribe to the Sheffield Designer newsletter.
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    Reader Comments (30)

    Being your own boss is stressful at times but being in control of your own destiny is a wonderful feeling. If you aren't sure, start by committing a set amount of time each week to work on your idea.
    April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLorenzo O. C.
    A great article and a great inspiration to me. Going to share with a friend of mine as well. The thoughts you have shared here are what inspired me to start my interior design course with Sheffield and I have no regrets. As soon as I am finished, I will be ready to take off. Thank you.
    April 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNioka L Harrison
    must have the talent and hard work to become entrepreneurs
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    September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGad subone
    One thing that can help to be creative is don't be a perfectionist. Your natural output, drained of concern for creating something that's exactly right, will always produce creative results. Being a perfectionist is also likely to stifle your output. Sure, you may produce a few high-quality pieces of work, but you'll also keep yourself from experimenting and trying out some less-than-perfect works that could have led to something incredible.
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