How Would You Manage Your Small Creative Business if You Had More Time?
Let's say that I could wave a magic wand, and you could have all that you wished for in your creative business. What would you wish for? If time wasn't an issue, and you weren't doing it all on your own.
The most common things I hear from small business owners and creative entrepreneurs are that they wish they had more time, more time to...
- Be creative
- Grow their business
- Be present in what they're doing
- Not rush through things
- Provide an amazing customer experience
- Be innovative with their ideas
- Work on their marketing
- Think about future goals
- Take time off!
When you reach a certain point in your business, you can end up feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by it all. It might be that you've reached the limits of what you can do alone, or you're working too many hours, or you've veered away from the initial reason you set your brand up in the first place, or you've just lost that creative spark because everything else has weighed you down.
I totally get it. It's all part of being a small creative business owner. Because you're the one that wears all the hats and deals with your ongoing to-do list all while trying to run a successful business. Managing a business or freelance gig can be super overwhelming, especially if you're doing it all on your own.
You likely keep thinking "I'll get around to that" or "I'll get back to focusing on the creative side of my biz soon" or "I've got so many great ideas to grow my business", but that time just never seems to come around to focus on those things. Or if it does, it's late at night when you're overworked and overtired. Business burnout.
It's so common, but it doesn't have to be the only way to successfully manage and grow a small creative business! There are ways that you run your biz without burning out, get everything done that you want to, and find a healthier life balance too. You need a plan. This plan will look different for everyone, but I want to share with you some insights to help you find yours.
It might be that you relate to one of these points, or to all of them, but they are all generally solid steps to take whenever you feel like you're in a rut with your creative business and want to get out of it! By investing this time into your business, you'll find that you'll come out of it with more time to spend on the things you want to be doing.
You'll never achieve any goals if you don't set them for yourself. Setting goals is an incredible way to boost your productivity and motivation because it gives you a drive to work towards. It's also a super effective way of being able to plan out your time, and work out what you need to prioritize in your business.
Set yourself 1-month, 6-month, 1-year and 5-year goals - and be realistic with them. These can include all aspects of your business from social media, to financial, to creative. Just brain dump a whole list of ideas that you would love to achieve and can realistically see yourself achieving, and plan them out in a timeframe over the foreseeable future. That way, whenever you're feeling overwhelmed or drained, you can look back at your goals to remind yourself of what you're working towards and what you've already achieved so far.
Take Time Out
Make some time outside of the everyday tasks of running your business to disconnect a little bit, and work 'on' your business rather than in it!
You could schedule a day or even a few days a month where you fully commit to going through where you're at with your biz, where you'd like to be, what's working and what's not, and what steps you can take next to move you forward. It's very easy to try and cram these thoughts and ideas into our everyday lives, but the reality is you're not going to be able to process things as well if you're stressed, busy, or thinking about other things.
Increase Your Pricing
If you're at a point in your business where you are working all of the hours under the sun and providing a valuable service or product, but not feeling the financial gain from it, then it could definitely be time for you to raise your prices. It's the obvious way to work less and earn more.
This could look like taking on fewer clients but at a higher price point, and therefore providing them with a higher level of service. Or it could be retargeting your audience to a higher price point for a certain product, which might involve a bit of a rebrand or remodel of your business.
Whichever way you go about it, it's very important to make sure that your experience and offering match the price, and be confident in that. Alongside increasing your pricing you'll need to reevaluate the experience that you're providing to ensure that the value matches the new pricing. Take a look at your finances and reverse work out what you should be charging. You can also look at other brands in the same market as you to investigate their prices, as you want to stay competitively in line with that.
Invest in Your Business
Investing in your business is such a scary prospect because there are so many potential risks with it and you will never be able to fully know the outcomes of the investment without giving it a go. But, when you've reached a point where you know you need change, it might be time to look at investing in your business to shake things up a bit.
A few examples of investing in your business and how it can make a difference would be...
- Rebranding with a brand design agency to uplevel your brand, align you in a higher market level and reach a new target audience
- Branding photoshoot or content photoshoot to provide you with professional photography that you can use across your social media, website, or any marketing assets.
- Business coaching to help you niche down on your services or offerings, to help you plan your future goals for your business, or to be an accountability partner
Whatever investing in your business might look like to you, take your time to do your research and make sure you find what feels right for you. It can play a huge part in really taking your business to that next level and changing things up, so although it's a daunting prospect it really can be such a game changer. You've got to spend money to make money, right!
Find Your Inspiration
Losing your creative spark as a small creative business owner or entrepreneur can be so disheartening, and we all know that creativity doesn't work on demand. So don't push yourself or punish yourself when that does happen, because it happens to everyone at some point.
The main thing to do when you are feeling like you're stuck in a creative rut is to actively seek ways to be inspired! Whether it be through visual inspiration such as magazines, art or design, or taking time out to rest and be mindful so that the creative juices get flowing again. You could think about collaborating with other creatives, thinking outside of the box, or being brave and trying something completely new to you.
Inspiration often finds us when we're not looking for it, so put yourself in a different mindset and you'll be surprised at what might pop up! If you're feeling stuck, check out my journal post on some top ideas to spark inspiration as a creative.
You don't need to do it all on your own! Outsourcing can also be scary because if you've always done everything on your own it might be hard to visualize a situation where someone else is involved with that. But it really can change everything.
Delegating tasks or services that take up a lot of your time, or you just never seem to get around to doing, will take stress away from you and also give you back the time to be creative or focus on growing your business!
You may simply have reached the point of what you can do alone, or you can't get any further in your business if you carry on doing it alone. Your time is the most valuable asset you have, outsourcing gives you back some of this time. Outsourcing to a virtual assistant, or coach, or creative studio, whoever it will be, can really help you stay on track.
Finding balance while growing your business looks different for everyone, and happens to everyone at different speeds. But there are ways that you can get your time back and not constantly live in overwhelm, and actually feel that love that you did when you first started your business! I promise!
Creative Virtual Assistant at Kelp Collective