Over the past 7 years, I created my dream job. Today I’m sharing how I built my creative business, and how you can too.
First thing’s first.
I have no formal business training, nor am I the type that really cares about big corporate structures. I want to do what I want to do, and I don’t particularly care about receiving outside validation for it.
I’ve also always known that I didn’t belong in a lot of the workplaces where I found myself stuck. And I’ve always felt like my energy was better used to my own ends. So, just know going into this post that me working for myself was a forgone conclusion, though not one that I consciously made.
Basically, my personality was made for this. I just had to figure out how to get there.
I had to do a lot of work to get my head right. I had to realize that I could do this.
And I also had to discover that running a business isn’t easy. But it certainly ain’t hard.Are you ready to build your creative business? Click To Tweet
So, it’s with all that in mind that I share this list of things I did to build my creative business. Each item on the list was part of the process, and I will say that the process wasn’t linear. But overall, here are some broad takeaways from my experience.
How I Built My Creative Business
001: I never pledged loyalty to a day job.
There was never a job I had that felt like a career.
Sure, my bosses felt like it was. But based on how little I was paid and how terrible the environments were, there was never a moment where I felt like I was actually supposed to care about what I was doing.
I think this is generally referred to as “disrespect” by older generations, but here’s the thing: I don’t want to work for someone who doesn’t value me. And the only way to show your employees that they’re valued is to pay them accordingly and give them raises and title promotions.
This was something that was sorely lacking from all my day job experiences.
Sure, I got a ton of new responsibilities every damn day. But raises and a new title? Nope.
I absolutely hated when bosses would tell us we were doing a good job, as if that even mattered.
It seemed like the good job was the foregone conclusion. If you make someone show up 40+ hours a week, they’ll get good at something. But the lack of pay raises always seemed to be the proof that it didn’t matter if I did it or not. Someone else could hop in and do the work and make the meager amount.
So why would I care about the company?
That was always something that played in the back of my head.
I’m not the sort of person who can date someone I’m not crazy about. I can’t do work that doesn’t matter. And I can’t give time and energy to a company that, at the end of the day, doesn’t value me.
So this was something that was easy from the get go.
Companies got my time and energy in exchange for pay. They got nothing else from me.
002: I let myself adapt.
It took me a hot minute to figure out how I was going to build up this juggernaut. If you’ve been here since the olden times when I was a hella depressed mess working for a terrible company, you remember all the lifestyle blog content that has since been deleted.
But it’s gone now.
I realized that wasn’t for me, so I leaned in and wrote about writing and creating work-life balance as a creative with a day job.
Now that my life has changed and I work for myself, I have let myself write about building a creative business.
I want this space to be malleable. I want to be able to write about things as my life changes. I want to adapt to the life I’m actually living.
Similarly, I keep changing up how I approach my business.
We know that companies have to adapt. Like retailers who thought online shopping wasn’t worth their time, if you don’t adapt, you go under.
So, I change my offerings. I change what I give to the world. I offer tarot readings, and those change. My coaching packages change. I make new eCourses and product bundles. I do this to stay viable in the market.
So, if you want to go into business doing one tiny little thing, know that you won’t make it very far. Be ready to hustle like mad and change things up.Like retailers who thought online shopping wasn't worth their time, if you don't adapt, you go under. Your creative biz has to evolve. Click To Tweet
003: I focused a lot of time and energy on my platform.
Learning search engine optimization and creating social profiles that drive people to this space have been key.
Think of it this way: Do you think a business is reputable if they don’t have a website? And when you look at that website, if it’s a static page that has outdated information, do you feel like it’s a good business?
So, if you’re a creative person who wants to get paid for your work, make sure you have a website. Make sure you own the domain of your name or the name of your business. Make sure you keep that website up-to-date.
This gets you a lot farther than you think.
Having an online platform is functionally social proof. It shows people that you’re legit. It shows people that you have social followers that basically co-sign with what you’re sharing. It shows people that you’re actually real.
This is simultaneously the easiest and hardest step.
It’s easy because setting up a website and grabbing your social profiles is simple.
It’s hard because creating consistent content and adapting to the changes in SEO and social algorithms is a lot of work.
But it’s all totally worth it. And it’s something I think more creative people need to take seriously.
004: I invested in what I wanted to learn.
Sure, I went to school for writing. But did you know I’ve taken approximately nine billion eCourses?
And I have no regrets.
There are a lot of people out there who have expertise. And those people are great at sharing it with the world. You can get a lot of value from the online content those folks create for free, but you can get even more out of the course.
If you came here from Pinterest, know that I took a course to help me grow my Pinterest account and attract new folks.
If you found me via Google search, know that I learned SEO from an eCourse.
If you like my newsletter, guess what?
Here’s the thing, folks: You can learn a lot from free content, but you can’t learn it all. You can get some information from joining free Facebook groups and asking questions, but you can’t learn enough.
If you want to get some information in a structured environment that is shared in a way that makes sense to learn, eCourses are my favorite.
From how to create digital products to using Facebook ads to making my planners and journals — eCourses have paved the way for me.Invest in what you want to learn. That's the best way to grow, and to create a strong creative business. Click To Tweet
005: I created a framework that would enable me to grow.
Similar to adapting, you have to have a system in place that will let you grow.
Because what works one day may not work the next. Because the market changes. Because sometimes you need to go back to basics and rebuild something.
Having a set of steps that enables me to reassess what I value and how I show up, as well as how I approach the actual work of creating stuff and selling it has been huge for me.
I think it’s easy to start an online business. You just need to have something to sell and an online presence that looks legit enough for people to want to buy.
But it’s hard to keep going when you don’t do what you love. It’s hard to keep going when you don’t have a solid foundation. It’s hard to keep going when you don’t have a way to shift or re-evaluate what you’re up to.
That’s why I created the framework to grow this business — because I knew I needed something that allowed me to stay creative, but still gave me the structure I needed to keep building the business.
That’s what Art Like a Boss is all about.
It’s the system I created to build my business, and now, you can get in on this action.
Are you ready for Art Like a Boss?
Art Like a Boss is an eCourse and group coaching program that helps creatives build a rock-solid foundation for their business. It’s for creatives who want to build a business that will help them earn some extra income, or help them eventually leave a day job.
If you want to start building something solid that enables you to do the kind of work you know you’re meant to do, Art Like a Boss is open for enrollment — but know that enrollment closes on Friday, October 16.
For more information, click here to read more about Art Like a Boss.