6 Things to Know if You’re Running a Creative Business

Running a creative business (or being a self-employed or freelance creative) can be incredibly challenging at times. Between navigating daily responsibilities, plans for expansion, and methods to make your business stand out amongst the crowd, overwhelm – from jumbled priorities, comparison, feelings of failure, and so on – isn’t uncommon.

So, here are 6 things I’d like for you to hear if you’re running a creative business right now…

Running a creative business: desk set up with lamp, flowers and wall art

6 Things to Know if You’re Running a Creative Business

1. Prioritising work over your wellbeing isn’t a sustainable route to success.

It’s easy to put your personal needs on hold when you have a lot on your plate running a creative business. But, think about it: you are your business’s best asset. It makes sense that you most likely perform at your best when you’re feeling your best, therefore your business has its best chance at flourishing and growing when you prioritise taking care of yourself.

Schedule your workouts, walks, social activities, and self-care in advance, and treat these appointments the same way you would important client meetings – they’re non-negotiable. And, don’t forget to implement boundaries, such as not working through lunch breaks or past a certain hour, and not checking emails before breakfast.

2. Failure is completely normal.

The honest truth is that there’s no escaping failure when you run a creative business. Yes, it feels awful at the time, but it’s worth remembering that failure is normal, it’s something that everybody in business experiences, and far apart from spelling the dramatic demise of your business failure presents an opportunity for growth.

Next time you take a wrong turn, ask yourself what you can learn from your miss-step, and then keep moving forward with your new knowledge.

3. There’s no such thing as an overnight success.

Every seeming overnight success is the result of hours upon hours of behind-the-scenes work that nobody sees. So, don’t be disheartened when your passion project doesn’t explode right off the bat. Know that results come from being persistent. Keep going, you can do it.

4. It’s OK for your creative business to evolve over time.

Something to remember: done is better than perfect. So, if you’re holding out for your creative business to be perfect before really pushing it, then you’re losing so much time that could be spent learning, growing, and discovering more about your clients.

It’s natural for businesses to evolve over time as you gain more knowledge, so my best advice is to surrender to the fact that nothing in business is ever perfect and just go for it. Give yourself permission to learn and adjust as you go.

5. Working through lunch breaks and weekends is more likely to result in burnout than increased productivity.

We’ve touched on this one already, but it’s so important I want to reiterate: you need to factor rest into your schedule. If you don’t, burnout is a very real risk that can make running a creative business feel near impossible (a survey of 1,000 people in the UK from September 2020 suggests that 22% of people have experienced job related burnout).

If your goal is to work as efficiently as possible, then you must fuel your brain with adequate nutrition, hydration, and time away from your business responsibilities.

Be strict when it comes to your wellbeing – no compromises.

6. Comparison isn’t doing you or your creative business any favours.

Comparison is the thief of joy – you don’t need me to tell you that. But, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of comparing your achievements and successes to others’ when we all use social media as a highlights reel.

Remember: there’s nobody else with your exact cocktail of skills and experience – you are completely unique. And, someone else’s success doesn’t mean less opportunity for you. There really is room at the top for everyone.

If you enjoyed this article, check out my blog post on the 7 things you’re actually allowed to charge for as a freelancer.