How to Be a Creative Entrepreneur and Get…Squirrel!
As this interview series continues, we dive right in to meet another creative. Get ready because these tips are sure to keep you laser-focused, which in turn, keeps your business running and making money!
Holly Mortimer coaches female entrepreneurs in traditional solopreneur creative fields on creating an effective and easy to maintain marketing strategy. She has a degree in Music Business and has spent the past twenty years coaching creative entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses. With all that experience, she has drafted up a couple of tips to keep in mind for your productivity to skyrocket.
Tip #1 – Purge your thoughts, transfer them to paper, and prioritize.
“As creatives, we tend to live inside our heads, playing a constant movie of all the things that need to get done, interspersed with all the visions of where we’re headed. This causes massive disorganization and constant anxiety, making us feel as though we’ll never gonna get done with everything we need to get do. There are tools to help us, scattered thinkers, deal with this. They’re called, a pen and paper. Write it down. Get those ideas and actions out of your head and onto a piece of paper. A piece preferably attached to a bunch of pieces, organized into some sort of bound book so you won’t lose those pieces of paper. I’m speaking from decades of experience here. I’m a writer, so you’d think this would come naturally to me, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. At the start of every day, before I open my computer, I have trained myself to turn to a fresh page in my basic lined notebook and write down everything I need to accomplish that day. From the most mundane tasks to the exciting, fun projects. Then, I leave space for new additions. As thoughts pop in and out of your head, put them on that piece of paper and continue doing what you were doing. After you’ve got it all written down, prioritize. I number them from 1 to infinity, based on urgency. Your last step here would be to take action. Get moving on task number one and don’t move on to task number two until task number one is done. Try this for a single day and see how much more you get done.”
As we spoke about this very first tip, I couldn’t help but bring my financial spin into the picture and say that many times because we, as business owners, don’t prioritize, we tend to give our time, money, and resources to tasks that don’t yield any ROI (return on investment). It’s important to ask ourselves, “From this list, what is the very first thing I should focus on, as it has more chances of generating income for my business in the fastest and most effective way” once you’ve figure that out, tackle that, and everything else will follow.
Tip #2 – Look at the big picture and plan your year in advance.
“As creatives, chances are pretty good we’ve got large projects due to end users, such as readers, galleries, producers, editors etc. As a writer, I spend December looking at the entire year ahead, but this can start for you today. Take a blank calendar and mark out the dates your final projects are due. For example, I know I need to release two to three new novels per year. I map out when I would like to release those three novels, then reverse engineer my lead up to that release date. I decided when I’ll start writing, how many words I need to write per day to deliver a draft to my editor. Then I’ll contact my editor and schedule my draft deliveries. Then I look at marketing strategies and come up with planning points that coincide with my release date. I’ve now eliminated any guess work as to when I can take a holiday, when I could start a new book, when I need to apply for ad space and on and on. It ultimately helps keep me on schedule for product deliveries.”
I agree with Holly on this one, planning is something I speak about again and again. Planning is especially important for financial success in business. As you implement Holly’s tip, may I suggest you add how it will tie into your bottom line and overall business financial health. Make sure your timeline aligns with the financial long-term and short-term goals you’re working towards.
Tip #3 – Outsource, outsource, outsource.
“As creative entrepreneurs, we have issues, let’s be real, and one of the issues I hear across my coaching desk every single time a creative sits down and asks for my help is, “I love to create XYZ, but I hate the day to day stuff.” Unfortunately, that day to day stuff is what keeps the cash coming in. Bookkeeping, operations planning, social media management, website updates and on and on, but mostly the accounting stuff trips us creatives up. If cash is tight, start small. Hire a VA for a few hours a week to do your most dreaded task, or the task that ties you up for way too long, like social media posting, or email responses, or government filings. Spending your time stressing about the tasks that eat away at your creative soul, or you’re just not good at, is actually hurting your bottom line, not helping. Think of all the stuff you can create, when you’re not worried about uploading your product to your website, or making a zillion website changes, or doing your monthly book work.”
I agree 100%. Just to add on to Holly’s tip here, while sometimes many may see outsourcing as money coming out of their business, I challenge you to see it differently. Rather than money coming out, I believe it’s a greater chance for money to come in. As business owners, we can’t be a one-band show forever, rather than trying to strengthen your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. There’re professionals and consultants, just like me, that can take over those things in your business that you wouldn’t say you’re the best at. Focus on what you are best at, the one thing that no one else can do the way you do, in essence, the core of your business. As you perform at your best, and everyone else performs at their best, your clients will notice and your sales will too.
Bonus Tip - Learn to say no.
“As creative entrepreneurs, the world sees us as “available”. Have you ever heard, “Oh, you’re just hanging out at a coffee shop writing? Could you pick up the subs for the school lunch program? There’s no one else.” That’s pulled right from my private stash, I might add. Getting used to saying no and establishing that even though you’re spending your time having fun, feeding your soul, creating amazing content or product, you’re running a business and you’ve only got time to feed that business, your soul and your family, should you chose to do so. Being comfortable saying no, in a way that feels right to you, can only free up your day to grow your business.”
These great tips, from a creative and coach herself, should help you take your business to the next level. They should help you get laser-focused on goals and productivity, connecting the dots to your business finances and overall improving your business.
If you’d like to book a Strategy Session with me and find out how your productivity affects your bottom line, feel free to book some free Q&A time with me. Also, don’t forget to download your FREE Financial Checklist, your step-by-step guide to starting your business or just making sure everything’s in check!
Bio for our creative:
Holly Mortimer is a bestselling author of Contemporary Romance who is currently working on her seventh release. She also coaches female entrepreneurs in traditional solopreneur creative fields on creating an effective and easy to maintain marketing strategy. She has a degree in Music Business and has spent the past twenty years coaching creative entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses.