Creative entrepreneurs face unique challenges that often require unconventional solutions. Hyper creative minds tend to almost always buck tradition and continually seek out ways to create.
You know the drill: “At all hours of the day and night random great ideas pop willy-nilly into your mind. And from the outside this would seem to be a great thing. But it’s not. Your hyper creative mind is running you ragged. You’re chasing all your ideas and not completing what you set out to do. Frankly, you’re not really getting anywhere.”
Here’s a look at unconventional wisdom and unusual success tips to help creative minds get there (wherever there is) faster.
1. Stand still
Creative entrepreneurs have a lot of ideas – all of the time. This can lead to a ton of half-baked projects and completed projects that are easily pushed aside and forgotten. For example, I once wrote a 40,000 word book and then promptly forgot about it entirely. No joke! Imagine how surprised I was when I found it a year or so later while looking for something else.
In hindsight, I was caught in a “busy” trap. NY Times columnist Time Kreider explains the phenomena that plagues so many of us (especially creatives): “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.” But this isn’t sustainable.
There’s a deeper reason to escape the busy trap: inaction requires you to develop a capacity for emptiness, silence, rest and white space. When you are not constantly jumping around, you allow the invisible wheels of fortune to spin. As an old adage suggests, you must occasionally stand still long enough for success to find you.
So when you find yourself in a frenzy, stop and commit to taking a real rest. Even if it’s just for five minutes. Go for a walk, take a nap, do some deep breathing. Take some time to figure out what’s really going on underneath your frantic activity and it will help you become calmer and more strategic, so you can make better decisions.
2. Conceive and let others execute
The other detrimental aspect to the busy trap of creating means that nothing has time to root, grow and then get refined into a reliable, repeatable process. At the heart of a successful business are reliable, repeatable processes to attract and convert ideal customers .
If you’re like me, the kind of person who wails at the idea of having to do anything twice, then this is where you need detail-oriented team members who will take your great idea, test it, improve it and systematize it.
Now, I can hear the perfectionists and freedom-junkies getting all twitchy at the idea of letting anyone else in on their process, and I have two words for you: Hire geniuses.
Hire people who get you. The ones who share your values and are so good at what they do they make you feel silly for even having tried it without them. Keep in mind, these people do not come cheap.
Make it clear that they must pay for themselves within six months. In other words, a virtual assistant can pay for themselves by cutting other expenses, chasing down payments, and by freeing you up to do more profitable work. A social media manager can pay for themselves by raising your profile so you get better speaking gigs or just plain using social media to generate new business.
3. Approach everything in beta mode
Quit thinking you need to have everything perfect before you launch. Get used to the idea that everything is in test mode. Embrace your errors, mistakes and misjudgments for the worthwhile lessons they will become.
Traditional schooling did many of us a disservice by persuading us the way to succeed is to know the answers in advance. Life isn’t like that. For sure, entrepreneurship isn’t like that.
You discover the answers by living the questions. Get your ideas out into the world as soon as you can, and then iterate, iterate, iterate. Think of success not as a destination, but as the journey itself, and celebrate along the way.
Give special thanks for the clients and customers who let you know when you’ve screwed up. The best possible news is that you have people who care enough about what you do that they will take the time to communicate with you when you let them down. Plus, complaints give you a fabulous opportunity to show people who you really are. Being gracious and loving (rather than defensive) when you’ve made a misstep will almost always convert a pissed-off client into a lifelong fan.
4. Do what needs to be done
Selective neglect is one of the keys to a happy life. Pick the things you want to ignore. Ruthlessly cross things off your list. Especially anything that starts with the thought, “I really should…”
The word should is an indicator that you don’t really give a crap about whatever it is, but you have a voice in your head that says it’s important. This is what is known as a values conflict and it will leave you paralyzed.
How many items on your to-do list have been there for more than three months? That’s a strong indicator that one of three things is happening:
A: You don’t give a crap and it doesn’t need to be done. In which case, please give yourself permission to remove it from your list and brain space.
B: You don’t give a crap but it does need to be done, but not by you. In which case, hire a genius to help you out. See point #2 of this article.
C: You do give a crap, but you’re scared. In which case, take the smallest possible baby step forward and see what happens.
Any time you catch yourself running around the block in your mind that goes, “I don’t really want to do XYZ, but I should (but I don’t really want to)…” Declare enough already! Do it, delegate it, or ditch it. Better yet, challenge yourself to think of an alternate, more creatively satisfying solution.
5. The rules do not apply
Conventional wisdom applies to conventional activities. And that ain’t us, kids. So for stuff like getting your oil changed and your teeth brushed – absolutely – abide by the recommended practices. But growing your business? Learn what the common practices are in your space, and then apply your own common sense, individual style and values.
Use the rules you love and abide by in your life to run your business. Lean on your creativity. Go with your gut. Break the stupider rules. Heck, break your own rules. After all, you didn’t become an entrepreneurs to be bored.
Sam Bennett is a critically acclaimed author, speaker, and creativity strategist guiding artists, business owners, and companies to increase their productivity and leverage their genius. Sam’s work has earned praise from experts and leaders around the globe like Seth Godin, David Neagle, and Keegan-Michael Key of The Key & Peele Show, using her decades of experience as a professional actor and branding consultant to unlock the creativity within others and teach them how to use it successfully within their business or career. Her genius has also been featured in publications such as NPR, Self Magazine, Daily Word, PsychologyToday.com, and ReadersDigest.com.