305 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Creative Business
Y’all, today I am so excited for you to hear from my sweet, uber talented and incredibly smart friend Kathryn, of Creme Brands. We connected two years ago when I worked with her on some direction and coaching for HHE. Since then, we have kept in touch and I am constantly inspired by her heart and her work. I also love following along with her beautiful home renovation!
Kathryn is brand designer and strategist for creative professionals. While she loves playing with great typefaces and creating timeless logos, what she’s really passionate about is helping artists grow confident and heartfelt businesses that are profitable and purposeful. She’s been delighted to work with clients of all sizes in her career as a graphic designer — from award-winning creatives to New York Times bestselling authors. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband Thomas where they are renovating their first home. (seriously, go see the beautiful work they are doing!) Without further ado, here is Kathryn with some wonderful and encouraging wisdom!
There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell myself as I was starting my own business. It’s so scary! Today I just want to encourage you that you TRULY have everything you need.
There is no magic bullet.
I wish I would have known that everyday I’d wonder if I was doing this right. If I could go back and tell myself anything 4 years ago, I’d say this: you’ll google the internet and stalk social media looking for the golden ticket. Soak up as much as you can, and analyze what works and doesn’t work. Most of all, take action on the things you ALREADY know you should do. Take your own advice and trust your commons sense. These are the solid, consistent steps that will take you a lot farther than any magic bullet.
You will never “arrive.” Nobody does.
I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to start enjoying the now. You’ll always want more (money, followers, fill in the blank) and you can always be better at your craft. You will never “arrive.” But the best thing is, no one ever does—not even the people you think have “made it.” The longer you’re on this journey, the more ways you’ll see you can improve…and the more you’ll expect from yourself. So, don’t wait to enjoy your work or your business until the magic, mountain top day comes. I’m guessing the view is pretty great right where you are today—if you choose to see it.
Don’t try to create a business to give you someone else’s life.
I wish I would have asked myself earlier, beyond all the promises of 6-figure businesses, internet celebritydom, and a perfectly curated highlight reel: what life do I really want? It’s easy to fall prey to comparison and swallow the lie that you need or even want the business and life someone else has, instead of embracing your own. Don’t let comparison steal away the very things that make you different and the work YOU were specifically meant to do. Someone else’s life won’t bring real satisfaction anyway. Think about not just what kind of business you want, but the life you want to live, for the long haul.
Don’t do things to fit in or based just on how you feel.
I would tell a new business owner to be honest about what actually has ROI. What you are doing just because everyone else is or it’s how you’ve done it in the past? It’s easy to spend money in some places because it feels good for the short term, but often it doesn’t make the business more profitable in the long run. Make sure you’re not just tracking sales and expenses—actually sit down and look at it. Remember that when you’re a business owner, only a percentage of your sale is actually yours to take home. The best investment I made early on wasn’t going to a fancy workshop, but hiring a numbers person to set up accounting and create a pricing strategy. This big investment may not have given me any Instagram photos, but it’s something I use day in and day out and has allowed my business to be profitable 4 years later.
Stop waiting until you’re ready. You won’t be.
I wish someone would have told me to stop waiting for when something is perfect. Doing it small, doing it messy, and just DOING it is always better than not doing it at all. If you aren’t willing to do things badly, you won’t do any things. Maybe that new idea should be a soft launch first. Soft like a lump of mud. You don’t throw a finished pot on the wheel, because it would crack. You throw a lump, and you let it take shape. Throw your idea out there and let it form so it’s really molding to the needs of the market.
Just wanted to say, you guys are incredible. It’s no small thing to work for yourself day in and day out. Your gifts are already enough for the clients you are best able to serve.
Photo credit | Jennifer Blair