Note: This post has been guest authored by Kristen Bowie, who is a marketing leader, forging the path with data-driven decisions. When she’s not writing for thought leadership and creating sponsorship proposals at Qwilr, she’s hanging out with her two urban dwarf goats, painting, or is out watching a local band.
Utilizing your creative side is absolutely vital in business. To be honest, you probably won’t get far without a little creative thinking. That being said, good businesses aren’t built on creativity alone. It’s essential to have a balance and use your good business sense and useful business skills as well.
Without these ‘soft skills,’ all you’ll have are concepts and no paved road to execute on and realize them. You have to find a balance between being a creative and being a good business person if you want to find success for your business endeavors. This is often a struggle for creative entrepreneurs- it can be difficult to create that balance and make sure that you don’t compromise your creativity or your integrity by employing commercial actions for your business, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips:
Realize That Business Has Room For Creativity
There are a lot of artists who struggle with the eternal tension that exists between creating their art and making a living. Creatives want to be able to do what they want, but at the same time, we all have to make money. It’s not impossible to only work on your passions and make money, but it can be difficult. Business isn’t just numbers, data, and administrative tasks. It’s a creative process in itself. Good business people think outside of the box to come up with creative solutions for the problem at hand.
Spending one hundred percent of your efforts on being creative will only leave you broke and burned out. The truth is that it’s hard to have the time to create if you aren’t making any money. Focusing all of your time on keeping yourself afloat leaves very little room for creativity and even less time on the projects in your business that brought you to this work in the first place. Diverting your attention more on the business is a gift to you, giving you significantly more freedom from doing a job that doesn’t excite or inspire you.
Block Out Your Time
For some creatives, creating or brainstorming is something that they can’t have interrupted. They need the time to explore an idea with their full concentration and if they get distracted, the idea and inspiration will quickly fizzle out.
Multitasking is a nightmare for people who work like this. Trying to handle creativity and business will absolutely slow you down using typical methods of working. Instead of trying to do everything all the time, blocking out multiple-hour blocks on your calendar for specific initiatives is imperative. Turn off your phone, close out of email, and use this time to take a deep dive into your creative initiatives.
Decide how much creative time you need every week and use the remaining hours for business tasks like meetings, calls, administrative efforts. Schedule any meetings outside of creative time blocks. You can utilize this time to schedule marketing efforts like social media marketing, respond to emails, write emails for your newsletter and plan any promotions or events that you may need.
The responsibility to remain consistent, however, is yours. It’s extremely easy to let things slide and check emails or agree to take calls during your creative time blocks. From there, things can spiral until you lose any separation of creativity and business initiatives.
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face in this space is the switch from creativity to business and back. It’s important to check your headspace and take note of what prompts your creative mental space and what puts you in a business mindset. Get self-reflective and figure out your triggers. This should ultimately become an integral part of your structure.
Have A Plan
It’s always possible for business and creativity to fall out of sync. You may just find yourself in a state where you’re working with a creative idea but don’t get the momentum you’re desiring. It’s extremely easy to get carried away during times of inspiration.
It’s important, in these moments, to take a step back and remind yourself of your goals. Does this particular idea or direction you’re pushing for match up with your overall goals? Do you need to rethink and realign your goals to run with this new opportunity?
If you haven’t taken the time to think about long-term goals for your business, it’s time to sit down and get this done now. Once you have these goals defined, make time to revisit them regularly to make sure your creative projects still fit with your big-picture vision for your business and adjust when you need to.
Use Creativity To Create Business Solutions
You don’t have to cut out creativity entirely from your business tasks. Being creative gives you the space to do business differently and find intelligent ways to solve problems.
If you find that the established ways from point A to point B don’t work for your business, think about how you can do it differently. Being creative gives you the space to think outside the box. There’s no rule that forces you to stick to the way things are supposed to be done.
Business Sense Can Help Your Creativity ‘Grow Up’
Creatives don’t like the idea of having their creativity under control- they typically actively avoid it. However, when it comes to building a business, placing all of your hopes on a single creative idea isn’t always sensible.
Being creative is an amazing resource to pull from, but having constraints around that isn’t always a bad thing. Not every idea is going to be a winner- using your business brain stops you from executing on anything that could be a waste of time or money. A business sense will allow you to more effectively measure the likely success of an idea before you execute on it. You can’t always predict what will happen, but it’s a great way to measure future efforts.
At the end of the day, mixing creativity and business sense is an incredibly powerful talent if you want to make money. Even if money isn’t the most important thing to you, it gives you the freedom to further explore your creativity.