3 reasons why your creative business isn’t growing like it should
Sometimes it seems like you are doing everything right but you still aren’t able to sustainably grow your business. Here are 3 things that could be stopping you from reaching a higher level in your work.
I know all too well that the path to creative and entrepreneurial success is not straightforward but a windy road filled with obstacles that can be hard to overcome. If you are exhausting yourself with a plethora of different tactics, yet business is still only trickling in, here are three things that might be preventing you from opening the floodgates.
You are chasing business instead of attracting it
I coach many creatives and entrepreneurs who tell me that they seem to get business randomly and serendipitously, but when they try to put focused effort into a specific strategy for consistent growth it doesn’t work.
That’s because they haven’t honed in on what they are doing to lure business in organically. What seems “random and serendipitous” is actually an imperceptible magnet that is attracting business to them.
In order to translate ad hoc business into a reliable stream of growth, you have to identify the innate gifts and talents you have that connect naturally with your audience. Your strategy and supporting tactics won’t be effective if they aren’t built on the right foundation. That foundation is — as I explain in the Abundant Business Blueprint™ — your truth.
For example, I know that I connect deeply with intellectuals and highly trained individuals (such as surgeons, litigators, art curators and even classically trained musicians) who want to operate more fully within their creative purpose. This is my niche.
As an aesthete and thinker, I have an elevated visual identity and style of writing that emotionally resonates with this audience. As a result — while being careful not to come off as elitist — I approach my work as if I were running an 18th century salon tasked with enlightening like-minded individuals with refined discussion in a beautiful setting.
That may seem like an unusual (and maybe even comical) approach to business, but it’s really just me infusing my work with who I am. I am an avid reader and thinker, I have a keen aesthetic sense and I love to wax eloquently about philosophical and cultural topics. This is who I am and bringing forth my truth in my work is the only way I can establish an authentic relationship with my audience.
You too have to know your truth and work vigorously to express it in your work. As a creative entrepreneur it will be an uphill battle growing your business if you don’t identify those special gifts that give you a strong sense of identity and strengthen your self esteem.
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You don’t have a formula for consistent growth
Many creative entrepreneurs have a “throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks” approach to running their business that often leads to nothing but chaotic and erratic outputs. If this sounds like you, then you could probably benefit from a more streamlined method of doing business.
I struggled for a while in my early days of entrepreneurship because I couldn’t find a model for running a fulfilling business while also balancing my personal interests. So I’d read a bunch of articles and implement tons of disjointed tactics to push my business forward, instead of relying on my intuition.
As I’ve discussed before, I could only find the high-growth startup model which meant exhausting yourself with 14-15 hour work days for 4-5 years in hopes of cashing in on the extreme sacrifice with a multi-million dollar payout. And then there was the 4-hour work week hype which made no sense to me as I decided to go down this path because I actually want to fill my days in creative service that supports my purpose.
It wasn’t until I developed a formula that worked for me that I was able to see a positive shift in the evolution of my business pursuits. With the Abundant Business Blueprint™ I established a purpose, process, progress model that is designed to sustain business and personal growth:
- Purpose — ensuring sure your work and business mission is rooted in your personal values and sense of purpose
- Process — establishing a reliable series of steps that you consistently flow through in order to achieve desired results
- Progress — having a clear vision of what you want to achieve so you can confidently advance in the right direction
Empowered with this formula you can design a business routine that enables you to efficiently utilize your resources (time, energy, money) instead of wasting them on arbitrary activities that ultimately won’t get you to where you want to be.
You are not ready for the level of growth you desire
You may have heard of the “lottery curse” which is a very common phenomenon (particularly in the U.S.) where multi-million dollar lottery winners ultimately end up in financial ruin (often worse off than they were before they won the prize).
May financial analysts speculate that it’s because these winners were not equipped with the right skills to handle that level of wealth. Because the money came suddenly it was mismanaged and also caused a bunch of residual emotional, psychological, familial and other problems — as the winners were not ready for this sudden influx of money.
Now contrast this with lottery winners in Sweden who experience a great sense of enduring happiness as a result of being able to sustain the financial freedom that their luck brought them. According to research the Swedes seem to be more inept at handling financial windfalls. The Swedes are ready and reap the benefits for a lifetime.
I use this example not to focus on the financial aspects of your business per se, but to illuminate the importance of readiness. If you were to luck out and get an amazing feature in several top-tier publications, would you be ready for that level of exposure?
Well, not too long ago that happened to me for an e-commerce shop I was starting and, because I was not prepared, I botched what could have been instant success. But I am grateful for the experience because the failure opened my eyes to all of the things I was doing wrong and laid the groundwork for future success.
Your inability to grow could actually be a good thing as it may be a sign that you currently lack what it takes to sustain a thriving business over the long run. There is something restricting your ability to expand and you should see it as a blessing instead of a curse. If you keep trying and trying and trying but still can’t see results there is something blocking you. Sheer will power is not going to work in this case because there are important lessons you need to learn.
Instead, identify the blocks then take time to reflect on what they are trying to tell you about your readiness. This temporary constraint is invaluable as it is readying you to take full advantage of your own good fortune that’s to come. And if you need additional support building and preparing for the growth that is to come , start with the Abundant Business Blueprint™ masterclass.