As creative entrepreneurs, we learn to rely on ourselves. Whether that means long hours, staying inspired, or re-filling the coffee pot, it’s ultimately up to us to make sure that the business stays running. I’ve also come to learn that growth is one of our responsibilities, but building confidence, staying motivated and keeping a positive outlook can be hard. So, how can you get over that bump in the road, and what other tools can you use to help grow your business?
Building confidence is your cornerstone
It goes without saying that confidence and growth go hand-in-hand, right? Unfortunately, confidence is something that you need to teach yourself, and it’s a difficult concept in an industry that’s saturated and wildly competitive. Obtaining a confident mindset will then help you to exude it, and that itself will attract your audience.
If you’re struggling with this aspect of business, consider spending some time investing in getting to know the back stories behind your industry role models. Listen to their podcasts, follow their blogs and read their books. Take a look at what brought them to the success they have. No matter what, always maintain level perspective. Remember where you started and reflect on how far you’ve come. Remind yourself of the work you’ve put in and the “why” that keeps you driven every day.
Short-term goals for long term gains
We love to think about the long-term goals. Obtaining X number of clients, making X amount of money in the year are big time motivators. When you think about it, achieving short-term, measurable objectives motivate us and keep us focused on those long-term goals. Rethink your proposal template. Changing up your offerings could provide your leads with the accessibility to the services they’re searching for, which could lead to that elusive bump in in business you’ve been looking for.
It can be helpful to think quarter by quarter, or even month-to-month. Factor in your team’s personal goals. Design a customer survey. Audit the competition. Dwelling on your competition is never recommended but analyzing what they’re doing right can help shift your own point of view. Tackling smaller tasks (even a simple software transition!) and building confidence from the ground up can help you feel more in charge of your growth.
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Light the inspiration fire
Let’s put this out there – no one is inspired 24/7, not even your industry idols. Burnout can be a real monster for everyone, and as your business grows, your sources for inspiration can shift. Again, we’re in a saturated market and everyone wants to be offering something unique. Pinterest and Instagram are not the end-all, be-all when it comes to finding and staying inspired, I promise!
Some other options to consider: go for a walk, clear your head, and carry a notebook. Consider carrying around a sketch pad or notebook to write down spontaneous thoughts, collect inspiring images in or draw pictures. This small but intentional act can help you to become a more visually inspired person. To take it a step further and play with word association and imagery. This is an especially great tool for creatives who live in the city, constantly surrounded by unique art and video.
If you’re feeling stuck and feel like you’re working too hard in building confidence (and thus, growth) for yourself, remember that you can’t always view the world in the same light. To spark some creativity and inspiration change your perspective and look at things from a different angle. Keep those lofty goals but build in smaller, achievable milestones designed to build toward success for yourself and your business!
Kylie Carlson is the owner of the International Academy of Wedding and Event Planning. With seven locations globally, the academy boasts an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners, designers and stylists.