This is my healthy, creative business philosophy. It’s helped me on my entrepreneurial journey and I know it can help you too!
The truth is, you need less than you think and everyone can start their own business. You definitely don’t have to be an expert. Everyone knows more than someone else, and can teach the world what they know through their own lens. Just remember…
All you need to do is start!
Keep it Lean
Some small business owners dream of becoming BIG, and the quicker the better- hiring a team, getting investors, finding office space etc etc.
But, I personally loveee keeping our business small – it’s just my husband and I. You are more simplified, flexible and have a lot more freedom. Plus, you’re able to retain more profit for yourself and to invest back into the business.
However – and this is a big however! – you never want to sacrifice your profit goals by stifling your businesses growth. It all comes down to capacity, which I’ll talk more about below.
Grow slow and see what feels right- premature hiring and growth spurts can often be the death of companies.
The 80/20 Rule (aka Pareto Principle)
Here’s a great approach that can help you avoid workaholic syndrome and keep things simplified. The 80/20 rules states that 80% of results come from 20% of the action. So, in a business sense, this principle can really help you hone in on where you should be allocating your time. As a business owner you are constantly faced with the challenge of limited resources. Therefore, in order to maximize your time, the 80/20 approach can help you understand which tasks are most important.
What 20% of your work drives 80% of your results?
Be a Curator
It is everything you leave out that matters. We always look for things to remove, simplify and streamline. Stick to what is truly essential, be a curator. I love how Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson explains this in their book ‘Rework‘:
You don’t make a museum great by putting all the art in the world into a single room. That’s a warehouse. What makes a museum great is the stuff that’s not on the walls. Someone says no. A curator is involved, making conscious decisions about what should stay and what should go.Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, Rework
Make Capacity a Non-Issue
Your earning potential all comes down to capacity when you are trading your time for money. This is particularly true for freelancers and handmade goods. If you’re interested in keeping your business small (like us!) then you MUST consider how thin you are going to be spread.
- Let’s say you make pottery and it takes you one hour to make a bowl from start to finish. You sell the bowl for $100 and your net profit is $40.
- Now assume you spend 8 hours a day (1 bowl/hour) making pottery, 5 days a week.
- That is a weekly net profit of $1600 ((8 bowls x $40 profit) x 5 days)
We also haven’t addressed the additional time you’ll need for actually running the business- marketing, accounting, operations etc! This is a very simplistic example but you get the point. You have to consider your time and your profit when setting financial goals. Either, you need to decrease the time it takes for you to produce the bowl, and/or, increase it’s price. It is so important for you to charge for your time, otherwise your business will never be sustainable.
Passive income plays such a key role in being financially free. It means you aren’t trading your time for money. You create or invest in something once and then it continues to make money for you in the future (at no additional cost). Examples of passive income sources include- investments, digital downloads, online courses, writing a book, affiliate programs and ad revenue.
Taking Inspired, Aligned Action
When you take ‘inspired, aligned action’ you’re acting on a feeling that just feels right and good! Like you know in your heart-of-hearts that it makes sense and all the dots are connecting for you.
Inspiration is fleeting. If you feel drawn or called to create/do something then commit to doing it! This is especially crucial if you’re uncertain with which direction to take next. The most important thing is to decide in that moment and commit. Taking action creates clarity, and the more clarity you have the more you can make decisions you feel great about.
As an entrepreneur you will get countless opportunities and requests. Don’t be afraid to say no. In my experience, following my intuition (doing what feels right), is always the best route. It is the path of least resistance and you will feel much more fulfilled!
Focus on your Why
What is your why? It’s the reason why you’ve put yourself out there, your purpose!
People don’t buy what you sell they buy why you sell it.Simon Sinek
Whether you have yet to start a business or you’re already up and running, coming back to your ‘why’ will give you all the inspiration and focus you need to move forward. Use your story, personal experience and creativity to connect with your audience.
You’re not ‘Selling’, you’re Helping
So there are people out there who absolutely thrive in a sales environment- I, however, am not one of them!! One of the reasons people hate to sell is the risk of personal rejection. However, when you remove this risk you can actually begin to love marketing your business. If you market in a way that resonates with you and your soul you will succeed. Maybe you like using email campaigns, or graphics, or social media, or videos- whatever works!
So, change your mindset. Instead of using the word ‘sell’ use the word ‘help’. You aren’t selling to people, you’re helping people. Let people know in the most passionate, genuine way how you can help them- and you will never feel rejection. Because, you are not selling, you are only there to help solve a problem.
Failure Doesn’t Exist
This is may be an overused phrase. But, if you believe failure doesn’t exist, it doesn’t. There is nothing tangible about failure, it is all psychological. In business you are either learning lessons or your successes are confirming you’re on the right path- those are the only two options. Be kind to yourself.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself- people respond to real. When something becomes too polished it loses its friendliness. So talk like you really talk, it may not be the most ‘professional’ but it will be more genuine.
Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry. Keep things clean and unencumbered but don’t sterilize.Leonard Koren
As I said in the introduction- anyone can start a creative business. You don’t have to be an expert. Everyone knows more about something than someone else. You can teach the world what you know through your own lens. Psst this is the reason why competition or market saturation doesn’t exist. When you pour yourself into the product- competitors can never copy the you in your product!