Being the owner of an independent creative business—a creative-preneur—in a lot of ways is like mixing up a delicious cocktail. Start with equal parts of ‘creative’ and ‘entrepreneur’. Shaken, not stirred. Poured over motherhood, caregiver, and breadwinner. Voilà! Here’s hoping you like a stiff drink because you have just challenged your work-life balance to the hardest war of your life.
And the most satisfying.
We all know being an owner/operator of a business is challenging and at the same time empowering and limitless. Thriving as a solopreneur takes a new form of confidence that you can’t learn but only experience. A confidence that only you can foster. No amount of clients’ paid invoices, testimonials, or accolades will produce it. You have to own who you are, what you offer, what you stand for, and not let outside influences second guess your awesomeness.
Ilise Benun, national speaker, author, and business coach, states that solo/independent contractors currently make up 30% of the workforce and by 2050 they will make up 50% of the workforce. Corporate conglomerates are slowly shifting their work to work-from-home models, with studies already showing employees are being more productive. Interesting data to consider when analyzing a business owner who operates out of his or her home as a solopreneur.
So how do I tackle the challenges of entrepreneurship in order to gain efficiency and productivity, that comes with working at home?
- I need support – from the Designers Roundtable, a business coach, and a spouse – so I can be my own advocate or I will be lost in a cloudy haze.
- I need to be ethically responsible by:
- Continually searching for new opportunities
- Taking advantage of ongoing education
- Staying focused on my priorities
As a creative-preneur (someone with creative thinking who starts his or her own business and works to find and secure the best business opportunities), I choose to determine my business, present, and future. I determine the size and how much money I want to make – easier said than done of course. It’s my story, my vision, my path and I can write it however I wish. (Whoa! What employer will let you decide your own path without red tape and politics? Any roadblocks I hit, I can determine my own path around them, after all “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” that makes us stronger.)
I grew up watching my parents, who owned a golf course, determine how many rounds of golf they needed to sell each year in order to invest back into the golf course to make it even better for the next season. They took very minimal income in the beginning years in order to keep investing in their business to make it the best offering they could for their customers.
Now as a creative-preneur of my own branding and creative design business, I own the company, I make all the decisions, I innovate my deliverables, I decide who gets delegated what, and I subcontract very little. But not without a team of support and my advisory board:
- Web developer
- Business coach*
*Couldn’t have grown/strengthened without them
It takes a village to build a business, and to analyze each gear that makes that business operate and grow stronger each day. It’s astonishing to think that one person really could do it all without feeling like he or she was drowning daily.
All of the above is why a group like the Designers Roundtable (a national accountability group for creative-preneurs) is crucially necessary to keep a solopreneur accountable to NOT fail. Our members have strengthened and grown their businesses because of the support and resources of this dedicated community. I take it on as my moral responsibility, ability, and passion to foster this community so solopreneurs don’t have to go it alone.
“Just because you own/operate your own business doesn’t mean you have to do it alone”
~ Jenny Poff
Creative-preneurship is not for the faint of heart. It is not a ‘set it and forget it’ or a ‘rinse and repeat.’ It’s for creative thinkers, innovators, and doers. It takes dedication and focus each and every day. It takes engaging in the constant battle of work-life balance and not letting one trump the other.
So let’s get mixing and shaking. Find an accountability partner to challenge you and strengthen your business in a community that supports and celebrates YOU. Cheers!