Starting your own creative business is not an easy task. Though often glamorized by social media and the #hustle revolution, the reality is… it’s HARD. WORK.
And while I am absolutely an advocate of going for it (hello - I’m doing it myself!) I can’t stand by and talk about the sunshine and rainbows without letting you in on the gloomy, muddy mess that is sometimes entrepreneur life.
So, without further ado, here’s my list of 5 things (although there are many more!) I wish I knew before starting my own creative business:
1) You will wear many hats - This should go without saying, but when you’re starting your own business, unless you’ve taken out a loan, or have investors in your corner, you will be doing everything yourself. And this doesn’t just mean creating and putting out the product you’re selling. We’re talking branding, website, social media, pricing, financials, packaging, shipping, ordering materials, customer service, marketing plans, future product planning… all under the umbrella of your coveted “CEO” title ;)
2) You will work long hours - This is a big one… While many people leave their jobs to “work for themselves,” I think we tend to underestimate just HOW MUCH work it takes to run a successful business. So when you’re first starting out, you should expect to work more than your typical 9-5 job… but be encouraged that it shouldn’t be this way forever. If you’ve got a good plan in place, and are willing to put in the work in the beginning, you should eventually be in a place where you can hire others to help lighten your load, and even work on that “passive income” stream (more on this later.)
3) You will think about quitting - I’ve spent 4 years building my business, and at least *thought* about quitting once a month… but the keyword here is “thought.” Because even though there have been challenging moments and days when I’ve felt completely worthless, there are at least a dozen other moments where I am more fulfilled in my work than ever before… which leads me to my fourth point…
4) You just might find what you have been looking for your entire life - And this is what has kept me going all these years. I have found myself regularly saying phrases like, “I can’t believe this is my job,” and “How do I get paid to do this?!” It might be crazy to imagine, but it happens…. just not by accident.
Which leads me to my final, most important point…
5) Launching well is KEY - Unfortunately, this is something I did not fully understand before putting my work out into the world. I was just excited, eager, and ready to go! If you find yourself in the same place, don’t worry - it’s okay! But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s this: you only get one launch. So if you spend time doing the work before you launch your business out into the world, you will not only have anticipation built within your audience, but you’ll be ready for the challenges that will come your way, because you’ve planned for them. (Not to mention, once you begin to receive orders, or requests for work, it’s a lot more difficult to squeeze in the foundational work that comes in with a well-planned launch.)
Now, I know all of this sounds like it’s a lot of work… and it is! HOWEVER, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. I’ve put together a Creative Business Launch Checklist to help guide you as you begin the process of planning - so you can do it well from the start!
Just remember, you’re not in this alone, and there are countless others who were once in your shoes, ready to share the knowledge they’ve learned in their own creative pursuits… you can totally do this!