What Remains To Be Said

by seanlow on September 9, 2013

There are times when I feel like I have said all that needs to be said here.  I have written about my philosophy, ideas, passion for creative businesses and their success pretty thoroughly over the past three years.  And yet, as I now come back to the blog after a longer-than-anticipated break, I realize there is so much more to say, even if only to reiterate all that has been said before.  The value of the work for me is exactly that – the work.  If it were all a straight line, we could learn lessons once and be forever on the right path. How boring life would be then.  Nope, the work is to keep peeling the onion and if that means working through it all again, so be it.

In this vein, I would like to talk about three things – process is everything, change sucks and your commitment to process and change is the absolute arbiter of the success of both your art and your creative business.

Process Is Everything – What you do from the moment a client contacts you until the project is finished matters.  Everything from how you answer the phone, to what your contract says, to how you set your deliverable schedule.  Details, details, details.  Why?  To identify each moment for what it is and to let your client know the value they are receiving for that moment.  Too many creative business owners think process is about figuring out how to get to the end.  It is not.

Here is the thing:  clients only know what to value when you tell them.  Otherwise, it will be up to them.  So if your contract reads 50% deposit, here is the stuff you will get, see you at the end, how are they supposed to know what matters.  Your presentation?  Your production?  Your transition from idea to execution?  From the 50% deposit, it would seem that what matters is your reputation and salesmanship to get them to say yes in the first place.  But are you really laying yourself on the line?  Saying to your client, here is what matters in my creative business – where you can judge me (and pay me)?  Your creative business is risky as are all businesses and you will be judged.  The point is to be judged where you want to be, and to do the work to make sure that those judging are more than likely to love what they see, hear, taste or touch.  Process is about identifying fans, working with them to share in your creativity so that the ultimate creation is an inevitable byproduct of your time together.  Not the other way around.

Change Sucks – There is nothing harder to do in this world than change.  Whether you are at the bottom looking up, treading water, flying high, or anywhere in between, shifting from that place is beyond difficult.  We are all creatures of habit and, no matter what, we are all comfortable where we are; even in the ultimate dysfunction.  Giving up the known, convincing others that your new way is a better way for both you and them, is a gargantuan task.  Why?  Three reasons – 1) it might not work, 2) there is no proof, and 3) you need buy-in from people predisposed to 1) and 2).  Just because you believe that your new way is a better way does not mean others will, even if you can prove it to them.  Whether we are talking about your clients, employees, colleagues, friends, etc., creating change for you, your art and your creative business is going to elicit a response.  Only the bravest will jump in with you, the rest will need your faith and desire to evolve your art and creative business to come with you, if at all.

Commitment To Process and Change – This one should be pretty obvious.  Your commitment to your process – to identifying all that is valuable about you, your art and your creative business, and, more importantly, when it is valuable is everything.   If you wish to evolve, you have to evolve your process.  You are going to have to change when everyone else is going to tell you no.  And, as with everything, the first time you implement the new process will look completely different from the twentieth.  You cannot get anything into your bones unless you allow yourself to live it.  That means you are going to fail and flop and flub until you do not.  By definition, you will eat humble pie.  My good friend, Rebecca Grinnals, is fond of Will Rodger’s quote:  “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.”  To which, I would add, if you are going to move, you have to have the courage, fortitude and faith to know that when you are on the right track, falling down never means falling off.


1 Kathryn September 9, 2013 at 11:42 pm

You’re posts always have amazing timing and relevance to the path I am on. Thank you for continuing to share, even if just to reiterate!

2 Elizabeth September 10, 2013 at 7:52 am

Glad you are back. We need to read your words. Thank you for reminding us that the basics and the details matter. It’s easy to get so caught up in the day to day tasks that we forget about the process.

3 Eve Poplett September 16, 2013 at 8:59 am

Great blog post. Welcome back! I need your wisdom 🙂

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