Lessons, musings and advice from the author of ‘The Life I Won’
You can come out from behind the couch now! I am not going to ‘tell you off’ or say that you are not doing things right, but I am going to talk about the importance of discipline when you have a business.
Many of the creative women I come across, and usually end up helping, are the most amazing talented artists who are incredibly disciplined in their craft, but they can be chaotic when it comes to business.
They may have been muddling through with no real plan, attending craft fairs and markets, and posting occasionally on social media. Doing what is traditionally expected of them as creatives. Nothing wrong with that I hear you say…
You are not going to make decent money from your area of genius until you treat it like a proper business.
So, it’s time to get disciplined for 2022 and step up into the world of business like the creative powerhouse I know that you are.
Let me share my top tips for transforming your business from a hobby into a money-making machine!
Let’s imagine that you have a job in an office (yawn – I know, but many of you stay there way too long), and you start at 9 and finish at 5. You would have a morning routine that enabled you to arrive at your job on time and dressed appropriately. You would get up early, do whatever you needed to do, shower, get yourself ready in time to make the journey and show up all shiny and raring to go with at least 5 minutes to spare. You would know what tasks you needed to perform within your job description and the company operational guidelines, and you would be held accountable for them. You would have a lunch break and probably a couple of timed tea breaks. You would finish work, travel home, and have an evening routine including cooking dinner, relaxing, preparing for your next day etc.
So, WHY don’t you treat your business the same?
It’s because you believe what you have been told, it’s a nice hobby but you will never make any money, so that is how you treat it. Start now by defining your workspace, deciding your start and finish times, morning routine and break times and treat your business just like you would a job.
When you take this first step you will be amazed at the difference it makes.
Like it or not you really need to become good at planning. I regularly experience resistance with my clients when it comes to planning, but I harp on and on about it until they try it and when they do, BOOM!
Having a robust plan for your day, week, month, and year is the ONLY way that you will have a proper business that makes money. Let me take you back to the office. Everyone knows what their job is and how it impacts on the big picture. There are usually daily tasks, sales targets, performance reviews, and team meetings. If someone isn’t pulling their weight they are disciplined by the boss. There are often social events or team building, all of which are included in the plan. Imagine if you walked into the office and nobody had a plan, daily tasks, accountabilities, or targets, it would be chaos and very quickly out of business.
So, if you are still on the sofa at 10am clueless at what your next step is or wondering what you are going to do next, you need to hold yourself accountable to a plan.
When you start out in business, YOU are the Chief Everything Officer. You make the tea, clean the loo, and make the plans as well as doing all that gorgeous creative work. If you don’t know how to do things, then it is your responsibility to learn.
Back at the office again, on your first day, you don’t know anybody, where the loos are, where the coffee machine is or what your responsibilities are. Someone takes you round, introduces you to everyone, shows you the rotas, the cloakrooms, the canteen and where your desk is. Then you do some training for the job and usually have a mentor or buddy until you find your feet.
When you start your own business, who shows you around and teaches you what you don’t know? You muddle through as best you know how, maybe investing in lots of courses or online training that give you snippets or have differing opinions that leave you confused. You are trying but feel overwhelmed or frustrated. This is when your biggest responsibility as the CEO is to identify your skill gaps and find the right help for you and your specific business.
If you are a creative, why would you seek out a linear thinker to help you? They don’t understand how you are wired or what you need.
I can’t emphasise enough – find the RIGHT help!
Discipline is about accepting that not everything is going to be easy, success means leaping outside your comfort zone. Nothing grows inside your comfort zone, it’s safe and cosy and nobody pushes you. Imagine in your office job if you just rocked up and did only the things you liked doing? You like doing the photocopying but there is no need to do 8 hours of this in the day so what do you do? Eek it out and hide or take on other tasks that you don’t like doing but that need to be done (if you want to keep your job and get paid at the end of the month).
You just do this in the workplace yet in your own business it seems hard. If you landed your office job and were told you needed to dress to a certain standard and pay for parking you would find the money to do it to make a living, it makes sense. But what I often see is women who have never invested in their self-development and growth really struggling to see the benefit of spending money to discover how to become great businesswomen. There is no difference, it just sits outside your comfort zone.
You are your greatest asset in business.
This is the last time I will take you back to the office! If you are the ‘newbie’ you would normally ‘shadow’ somebody who already knows how to do the job. They will teach you what they know and help you find your feet. Then you go off and put your own stamp on things and settle into your new role. So, who does this when you start your own business? Find them. Stalk people who are already successful, follow them, listen to them, study what they do. Find someone who speaks your language and who you resonate with and see if you can work with them. Say hi and introduce yourself to them, ask for advice and make sure they are right for you. Be a shadow with the intention of stepping into your own light.
I hope my musings have triggered you to think. That is why I spend the time to write them after all. I write from a perspective of experience after working with so many creative women. I know how you think and what your concerns are. So much so that I have used this knowledge to put together my FREE 5-Day Challenge launchpad that teaches creative women the business basics that will help them make more money in their business.