Are you just starting your creative business? Do you feel completely overwhelmed? Are you struggling to figure out what steps to take and what to do first?
I’ve had five different readers contact me within the past month who are just starting out and feel overwhelmed and frustrated. They’ve all asked what they should concentrate on first. A couple of the readers even said that they feel stupid, because they don’t understand some of this online biz stuff like setting up a WordPress blog and SEO. And these women are far from stupid. They’re talented artisans.
For all of you who are struggling to start up your creative biz, I’m going to let you in on a few secrets.
We all have moments where we feel stupid and frustrated. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had meltdowns related to technical issues. You should have seen me trying to set up my first WordPress blog years ago before I had access to Laura Roeder’s Zero to Blog program. That weekend entailed lots of cursing and a few glasses of wine.
None of us know what we’re doing at the beginning. We all have to go through a learning process. I had to work really hard to take quality product photos. I had to invest in programs and people to make the tech side of my business easy to manage. It took three years of blogging before I really figured out what I wanted to write and talk about.
I hope this doesn’t discourage you. I know that, “It takes time and lots of effort,” isn’t what most people want to hear. But, I think it’s encouraging to know that time and effort lead to success. Isn’t that better than thinking you’ve either got it or you don’t? You can do it, too. It’s possible.
Now, what should you do first?
I’ve got two answers to this question.
The first answer is: Start with high leverage tasks.
You don’t really have a business until you sell stuff, so you need to take the steps to start selling stuff. This means focusing on your online shop. You need to stock your shop and focus most of your time on your product photography. If you don’t have outstanding product photos, you’re going to REALLY struggle. Lots of creative entrepreneurs rush to list their products in their Etsy shops and don’t take the time to take professional-looking photos. Then they wonder why their marketing tactics don’t work and their fabulous products don’t sell.
The second answer is: Start with the stuff that lights you up.
If you started your creative business because you love painting, make sure you make time for it. Another mistake creative entrepreneurs make is they waste too much time reading blogs, checking Twitter and Facebook, and working on the administrative side of their businesses. The next thing they know it’s been a week and they haven’t created anything new.
You’ve got to find a balance between getting things done that will help your business succeed such as working on your product photography and doing the creative work that fuels your passion.
I hope that this post helps some of you who are beginning your creative entrepreneurship journey.