4 Ways to make progress in your creative business

Being an entrepreneur myself, and having engaged with hundreds over the years, I’ve learned there are two traits most of us share:

  1. Big ideas
  2. Impatience

Now this is a pretty bad combination because, as we all know (intellectually, at least), turning a big idea into something that is of value and delivers results to our clients takes time and a LOT of practice.

And who wants to do that?!

At first blush, no one. But when you shift your mindset and start to embrace the process of perfecting your craft, the result is finding more meaning and satisfaction in the very doing, not just the end result.

If this sounds good, but you’re not sure how make that shift in your life and business, here are 4 ways you can make progress AND enjoy the process:

1) Identify where you want to go

Big ideas are great; they’re also cheap. Anyone can have a great idea, but how many of us really turn them into reality? The litmus test I use for any new idea is this:

“Will this move me measurably closer to my goals?”

If the answer is “no”, I let it go (for now), regardless of how pretty and shiny it is.

2) Define the tools/practices that will get you get there 

OK, so you’ve done the easy part (having the idea), you’ve determined whether it’s one you should pursue (does it align with your goals?). The next step is to figure out how to make it happen as quickly as possible which is where most of us fall off.

As Tony Robbins says, “If you want better results, ask better questions,” so here are a few to help you move the ball forward:

  • Who has done it before?
  • Can you ask them how they did it (you’ll be surprised how open people are to an email out of the blue)?
  • Who do you need to pitch and where can you find that information?
  • What does a good pitch look like and where can you find that information?
  • What do YOU need to do to ensure your idea is unique, has value, and is something people want?

EVERY big idea and action can be broken down into lots and lots of small steps. And what’s more, each one can be a fun and creative discovery process if you choose to make it so.

3) Put the big rocks in first  

Do you have big ideas, yet you fill your days responding to pesky client requests, admin that could be outsourced, or haggling over your already-too-low pricing? Let’s do a little visualization exercise to turn that habit around.

Imagine you have a container into which you have to fit big rocks (the big, needle-moving ideas), medium sized rocks (stuff that needs to be done, but isn’t top priority) and sand, the minutia that doesn’t move ANY needles, but inexplicably demands most of our time and attention.

Now think about how you usually approach your day. For most of us, our default setting is put the sand in first, the medium size rocks second, and the big rocks last. And guess what? The big rocks don’t fit. BUT, if you do the reverse; put the big rocks in first, the medium ones second and the sand last, it ALL fits in.

4) Do the work

We’ve all heard the rule of 10,000 hours, so don’t give up on a big, potentially life or business-changing idea before you’ve put in the work.  Do whatever you need to get the support, accountability, and resources to make it happen.

Whether it’s a task/time management system to better manage your day, an accountability group, or a coaching program, do what you can to ensure you stay on track. I promise that if you set the intention to find all these things, they WILL be made available to you.

Share in the comments your answer to step #1, where do you want to go. I’d love to hear from you!

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About Justine Clay

Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Through a series of clear, actionable steps, Justine will teach you how to identify what makes you stand out from the crowd, create a marketing message that resonates with your ideal clients, and build a successful and fulfilling creative business or career. Sign up for Justine’s free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today.

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