8 Things Successful Creative Entrepreneurs Do

With the freedom to work from anywhere in the world and set your own schedule, it is no surprise more and more people are pursuing creative entrepreneurship. From freelance writers to graphic designers and everything in between, creative businesses are growing more than ever. Taking the plunge into creative entrepreneurship doesn’t come without risk, though. While some creative business thrive, others crash and burn.

So how do you mitigate the risk of failure? Well, while not foolproof, there are some traits successful creative entrepreneurs have in common. Here are 8 things successful creative entrepreneurs do.

They Invest in Their Business

Successful creative entrepreneurs understand the value of investing in themselves and their business. They believe in bettering themselves and increasing their knowledge through online courses and books. They stand out in their industry because they go the extra mile to become certified. They take the leap to hire a business coach to guide them through their entrepreneurial journey. Most of all, they understand if you’re not willing to invest time and money in your business, why should you expect someone else to?

They Do the Work

Things successful entrepreneurs doChances are you’ve heard the following phrase, “dreams don’t work unless you do” at some point in your life. It might be a little cheesy but it’s true. It’s also something successful creative entrepreneurs know well.

A lot of people have big dreams and big plans, but they never reach them because they aren’t willing to make sacrifices or put in the work to make them come true. Getting a business off the ground takes extreme dedication. There will be long hours and late nights and you can expect to have to make hard choices about how you spend your time.

It should also go without saying growing a successful business or brand doesn’t happen overnight. Unless you’re a Kardashian or extremely well connected, you can expect your business to grow slowly over time. Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

There will also be days when you feel frustrated and “THIS CLOSE” to calling it quits. It happens! Everyone feels burnt out and overwhelmed from time to time. When that happens it’s vital to remember your “why” and know working hard to achieve your goals will only make you appreciate them that much more when you finally do.

They Stay Organized

There seems to be a stereotype about creatives being messy, disorganized people. Sure, a lot of people (creative or not) lack organization in their daily lives. The truth is, being organized has amazing benefits far beyond being able to find something on your desk. Keeping your workspace, client information, and projects organized in a way that makes sense to you helps you to stay focused and more productive.

Organization doesn’t stop with having an organized workspace or filing system, though. Time management is just as important as having an organized physical space. Successful creative entrepreneurs schedule their time in a way that maximizes their productivity. While that doesn’t mean having a strict minute-by-minute schedule, but it does mean setting a schedule of what tasks will be accomplished and when.

They Know How to Say No

When you run your own business, it may feel like a mistake (and even scary) to turn away paying clients. After all, your business can’t succeed if you’re not making money. While turning down work may make your anxiety spike, successful creative entrepreneurs know how and when to say “no.”

By now, you’ve probably heard about niching down and defining your target client. It may feel counterproductive to narrow down your services and the clients you work with, but it will actually benefit your business. Being specific about what you do and who you work with allows you to work solely on the projects and with the people who bring you joy. There’s also the benefit of honing your skills in a way that positions you as an expert in your industry, which creates credibility. So, while you may be tempted to take on any project that comes your way, don’t.

If a project doesn’t excite you or a task takes too much time away from the money-making aspects of your business, say no. Know your limits. If you’re in over your head with client work, say no to taking on more until you can catch your breath. Constantly saying yes to everything that comes your way will leave you suffering from burnout and cause you to lose your passion for what you do.

They Work Smarter Not Harder

Being a creative entrepreneur means wearing many different hats in your business, especially when you’re working solo. It’s your responsibility to find new clients, market your business, and stay on top of administrative tasks. On top of all that, you also need to put in the time and energy required to complete client projects and meet deadlines. To say a creative entrepreneur has a lot on their plate is an understatement.

So, how do successful creative entrepreneurs find the time to do all that and more? They find ways to streamline their business, cutting corners to simplify tasks and save time. That can include developing templates for anything from contracts to cold emails, using an invoicing software that sends automatic reminders on outstanding invoices, or investing in programs that automate their social media. Part of running a successful business means finding ways to make it work more efficiently.

They Always Follow Up

Did you know it can take a minimum of five emails to close a sale but more than 70% of people don’t send more than one cold email? Successful creative entrepreneurs do! They recognize a failure to follow up with a potential client mean leaving money on the table, so they make it a point to send several follow-up emails before moving on.

They also know taking the time to personalize their emails increases the likelihood they’ll grab the attention of the prospect. Not only does sending a personalized follow-up email help them stand out in a sea of cold emailers, but it also shows they’re genuinely interested in working with the prospect and creates more incentive for the prospect to listen to their pitch.

They also know taking the time to personalize their emails increases the likelihood they’ll grab the attention of the prospect. Not only does sending a personalized follow-up email help them stand out in a sea of cold emailers, but it also shows they’re genuinely interested in working with the prospect and creates more incentive for the prospect to listen to their pitch.

They Know They Can’t Do It All

Creative entrepreneurs have a lot of tasks on their to-do list from day to day. Trying to do everything all on your own is likely to leave you feeling stretched too thin. Here’s how successful creative entrepreneurs manage to get stuff done without burning themselves out.
  1. They outsource tasks. With so much to do and so little time, successful creative entrepreneurs recognize the benefits of outsourcing time-consuming tasks. By hiring someone to take on the tasks that a) you hate doing, b) you’re not good at doing, or c) take time away from completing more pressing tasks, you’re putting your business in a position to grow. The extra time you get from outsourcing tasks frees you up to take on more clients and focus on the parts of your business you love doing.
  2. They master one thing at a time. It can be tempting to try to tackle everything at once, but successful creative entrepreneurs focus on one thing at a time before moving on to the next. For example, rather than using paid advertisements on several social media platforms at once, focus on one at a time. After you’ve learned the ins and outs of each platform, move on to the next. Not only will you feel less overwhelmed, but you’ll also have a better understanding of each platform and what makes the most sense for your business.
  3. They ask for help. Growing a successful business takes a lot of energy and time. Finding time to tackle tasks in other areas of your life can fall to the wayside, so it’s important to be willing to ask for help where you need it. Whether it’s asking someone to babysit for a few hours a day so you can focus on your business or asking your partner to handle the grocery shopping, a little help can go a long way.

They Believe in Themselves

Taking the leap into entrepreneurship can be daunting, but an essential step to becoming a successful creative entrepreneur is to believe in yourself. Believe in the value of your expertise and service and believe what you do matters. Letting yourself get caught up in negative thoughts of doubting your abilities, prices, or services sets you up to fail.

Make it point to develop a positive mindset. Take the time to create a clear picture of your ideal client and what you want to achieve with your business, then tell yourself it is possible. When you believe you will succeed, you create the positive energy required to attract your ideal client—one who will gladly pay the big bucks for what you’re offering.

No matter how you look at it, the way you think has the power to shape your life. Practicing a positive mindset will put you in a better position to overcome setbacks caused by creative blocks, falling into the comparison trap, or imposter syndrome. Take a moment each day to write down 3 things you’re grateful for, reflect on what’s going well and why, and most of all—believe in yourself. You’ve got this.

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