Back to school, back to work, beginning of Fall, end of the year, beginning of your busy season, end of your busy season. September marks for most of us the start of transition from one place to another. So what better time to talk about the natural order of things: for there to be (new) life, there also has to be death or, if not death, at least a letting go. Most trees will not survive the Winter unless their leaves die first. Space has to be made for what Fall will bring.
Why not then take inventory of where you are with your creative business? Ask yourself what it is that you cling to and why? We all make assumptions of how things are, will be and how we have to behave. Is it really true that your clients will never accept you charging a fee? Do you have to, have to talk to each potential client no matter how big or small? How important is it that you personally are the proverbial chief bottle washer, dishwasher and chef? How about those “if onlys” (i.e., if only we could charge x or make sure our clients understand how important y is)?
The lens by which you see the world is always colored by your assumptions. Same with your creative business. My aim is not to show you that you are right or wrong, only that you are coloring your creative business’ world with assumptions. Take away the assumptions and maybe you change how you and your creative business act. No one said it was easy. We all get stuck, ignore what is not broken but not necessarily humming along either. An open refrigerator will still keep things cold. It will just have to work that much harder to do so. Leaking energy is only obvious in hindsight. Nobody likes to hear it but function in dysfunction is still function. You can go along for years without change. You may not get close to what you dreamed for you, your art or your creative business. Who cares? You will still be around and that might be enough for you. Would not be for me and I would want to rip my hair out if I was perpetually stuck in third gear.
If you are like me and okay is not ever going to be good enough, then take this time of transition to allow things in your creative business to die (or fade away). Entertain the idea that the “crazy” idea is actually the logical place for you to live. Want a practical exercise? I am of the fundamental belief that there is absolutely NO part of a creative business that should not be a revenue generator. That’s right – whether design, production or somewhere in between – each aspect of your creative business needs to make money for the business. Every employee, vendor, and colleague has to be tasked with turning what is traditionally an expense into revenue. What would it take to make that true for your creative business?
The obvious example I have given many many times is getting paid to present your idea. Holds true for photographers and bakers as much as it does for designers and architects. Just be wary your assumptions of how it is just not possible. Counter by asking yourself what if it were? What would your world look like? Then you can set out allowing those aspects of your creative business that do not fit your new vision to rightly die or fade away. Give deference to the idea that these elements that need to go once had a proper place in your creative business. This way you will not dwell (or be angry) at the thought that these elements have to die because you will acknowledge that they no longer fit. You will embrace the elements (and employees?) that are necessary today as neither better or worse than those you are letting go, just necessary for you, your art and your creative business to transition as its nature intended all along.