5 deadly errors of creative entrepreneurs

Jessica Sweet examines some of the common problems faced by creative entrepreneurs, and offers practical solutions

When you opened your business you probably didn’t expect that your bank account would need to go on a crash diet.

But that’s exactly what’s happening. Month after month, expenses are coming out, but very little is coming in – leaving your business thinner than a supermodel.

As a creative entrepreneur you were promised that you could “do what you love and the money would follow.”

You found out they lied.

The truth is business is hard.

And it may be even harder for creative entrepreneurs.

If you’re a coach, writer, artist, healer or other type of passionate business owner you face certain problems that many other business owners may not.  These are the ‘deadly errors of creative entrepreneurs’.

Here are some of the top offenders and what you can do to fix them.

01. Feeling like money is sleazy

Many creative and passionate people who started their business for the love of the work feel a little weird about asking for money. The concept of it sounds ok, but when they actually have to do it, it’s a bit harder than they thought.

Work to get comfortable with asking for money. Recognise that money is what allows your business to survive and allows you to continue to do the work you love to do.

02. Spending too little time on the ‘hard stuff’

If you came to do what you love, that’s what you’re naturally going to focus on. But the problem is that only doing the work without focusing on the business makes it a hobby.

Start digging in to the aspects of your business that you may not have attended to before including the accounting and metrics and analytics relevant to your sales and marketing. It might not sound like fun, but it is what will allow you to continue to do what you love.

03. Worrying that being in business will compromise your authenticity

Some passionate business owners worry that adding the business component to their work somehow cheapens what they are doing. You might find yourself resistant to making changes that would be good business decisions but feel inauthentic.

The challenge here is to discern when you can compromise and when things just start feeling wrong. If you begin to create a business you don’t love, you have likely moved away from one of your original and fundamental goals. But being able to introduce some changes for the sake of business will help you in the long run.

04. Hating self-promotion

Many times passionate entrepreneurs can talk all day about their work, but when it comes to really promoting their business they suddenly become mute. It’s as if there is a divide between the work they are so passionate about and the business they are building around it.

Begin to fully embrace your work as a way of serving others. When you see how your work serves, you will likely be less worried about promoting, especially if you can agree that service should be compensated.

05. Giving away too much value

Creative and passionate entrepreneurs are nice. There’s really no other way around it. They’re a big-hearted bunch. And so when somebody asks . . . or implies . . . or even smells like they could use what they do, the urge is to jump in and do it. For free.

If you find you’re giving away too much value, know that you are likely hurting your business. You’re paying for it in time, materials, resources, energy or in some other way. You’re also taking what could be a paying customer and allowing them not to pay. And you’re setting the expectation that your services are not worth paying for. Have a conversation with yourself about how you want to handle it before you find yourself in this situation again.

These are five of the deadly errors of creative entrepreneurs. They may be hurting your business right now, but they don’t have to be. You can make changes without killing your passion or compromising your values.

Because your bank account looks like it could use a sandwich.

About the author

Jessica Sweet is a coach for passionate people around the world who think boring work is the worst form of punishment. She is also a licensed psychotherapist and a blogger for the Huffington Post. You can find out more at wishingwellcoach.com.

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