There are lots of potential ways to increase your profits, but today I’m focusing on the 3 things that most directly impact your profitability and help you experience true creative freedom.
If you're like many of the creative entrepreneurs I know, you're probably working a side-hustle. Your day job is also probably not exactly what you thought it would be when you went for that interview. The pay may be okay (maybe). The hours might not be that bad (well... then again). But the opportunities, the stimulation, the challenge? While they may have been there at first, they've fizzled out and now going to work feels, as one of my clients once said, like wearing a pair of itchy pants that just don't fit anymore.
Fusion Creatives are dynamic, proactive, and thrive on challenge. Chaotics are at your best when you have autonomy and just a little challenge. Linears enjoy the challenge of problem solving. Pandemic aside, you probably haven’t felt much challenge in your job recently, and you certainly haven’t been given much autonomy.
It probably feels as though you’ve been under-stimulated, underappreciated, overworked, and micromanaged for as long as you can remember.
Something needs to change… but you’re paralyzed by your fear. As a result, you find yourself falling back on those same old excuses.
They help you feel safe, but you already know that safety is an illusion. Excuses help you justify putting your dreams on hold. Don't get me wrong. Some reasons are important and necessary. There's a time and a place to act and a time and a place to wait. Do what you can as you are able. But, if your excuses are keeping you stuck in your old comfort zone, it’s important to remember that growth doesn't happen there. We don’t live our best lives by staying in our comfort zones.
Here are some excuses that you need to stop making if you’re serious about making your dreams come true:
Do you know that for a fact? Just because you don't currently know anyone who wants to buy your offer doesn't mean NOBODY will buy it.
In the past 25+ years, I've launched and sold hundreds of offers, and hundreds more that didn't sell the first time I offered them. But many of them did sell eventually - when I found the right match between offer and audience.
Nobody knows how viable their idea for a business, product or service is until they carry out their market research. This enables you to determine the need your offer can fill and identify areas where competitors aren’t servicing those needs. Any time you can match your offer to the right audience, sales happen. It takes time and effort, sure, but I've yet to see it fail.
Unless you're actively working from home while managing to homeschool your three kids, struggling with a chronic illness, and dealing with a combative spouse all day, you've probably got a few minutes. And even then, I know folks who make the time. This is a mindset issue.
I ask the same question to everyone who applies for the Creative Freedom Incubator: How much time can you reasonably devote to growing your business each week?
You've got to be honest with yourself. You may have to let go of some things. You may have to (gulp) ask for help. But even if you have 10 minutes a week you can do SOMETHING. The goal is to find the best use of those 10 minutes and stay on task.
Bluntly, I've never had anyone tell me they had less than an hour a week (on average) to work on their business. Even in 5-10 minute increments, you can get things rolling. Will it take a lot longer than someone who can give 20-40 hours a week? Sure, but you're not here to compare yourself to them, are you? Stay in your own lane and keep your eyes on your own paper!
Instead of asking where will you find the time, ask yourself where can you find the time? Can you shave 2 minutes off of your morning routine? Who can you get to help you at home so you can focus on work? Can you hire someone for even a few hours?
When you master the art of delegation, your support team will grow and be able to help you play to your strengths so you don’t multitask your way to burnout.
How much do you really think you'll need? Unless it's a product that needs a lot of R&D, certifications, or licensing, you can probably start from scratch. Take pre-orders to generate the revenue to create the product - which will also prove demand!
You can also borrow money, but I don't advocate for that because debt is a claim on your future income. Instead, I encourage my clients to find interested buyers first, set prices that give you a built-in profit, and charge fairly for your work.
It’s also prudent, however, to try and find ways to save on business expenses so that you don’t need to borrow. For example, a virtual POS (point of sale) like Square turns any digital device into a POS terminal, saving you the cost of new hardware.
Try to make as many of your expenses as flexible as possible. Fixed costs often sink a new business when cashflow is tight. There are many such ways in which you can make savings and improve future cash flow.
Especially right now, I can see where this seems to make total sense. Healthcare benefits, a steady paycheck when so many people are out of work. Your job may feel like a pair of golden handcuffs right now. As I said earlier, there's a time and a place for waiting. Check in with yourself. If your health and well-being are truly dependent upon your day job, then stick with it! Build your business in your free time and do what you can as you are able until you’re ready to go full-time.
Also, set a financial goal for yourself. Get clear on how much money you need in order to leave. Once you've hit that number, if you're still holding onto that day job, it's probably just your excuses talking.
Fear is tricky. It takes a small grain of truth and weaves a fantastic tapestry of lies around it. Because one tiny piece of the fear is true (I don't know anyone who will buy my offer), you convince yourself the entire fear is true (No one will ever buy this. What was I thinking? I must be crazy!). THAT is the kind of thinking that keeps you stuck. It's also how to tell a valid reason from an excuse. If you're wrapped up in irrational, unprovable fears, it might be time to put your excuses in check and re-focus on achieving your dreams.
Need help? The Creative Freedom Incubator is here to help you eliminate your excuses and stay focused on what really matters to you. If you're ready for healthy business growth - regardless of what stage of business you're at - check out the Incubator and see what kind of support is available!