I love being a part of the online business community. There are so many opportunities to connect with like-minded, ambitious entrepreneurs from across the globe.
I also appreciate that we can widely share our unique perspectives, experiences, and opinions to advertise our brands, inspire our audiences, and promote our offers.
There’s a toxic side to the online business space.
While there is a TON of helpful, accurate information about running a business and being your own boss, for every piece of reliable information, at least 100 other people are making (unqualified) BOLD claims and spewing misinformation.
It’s something that genuinely breaks my heart as a business coach for creatives because so many of my clients and audience members are deceived by gurus who claim to have “THE” cure to any entrepreneurial woes.
You can probably relate!
I’ll bet you’re bombarded with false statements like these on the regular:
“Do XYZ to get to $10k months!”
“If you don’t do this one thing, your business will fail!”
“You must be on this platform and you need to post this much if you ever want to see growth!”
…and on and on.
And instead of feeling empowered or confident, you’re probably left scratching your head thinking… these “quick fixes” and big promises haven’t worked for me yet…am I the problem!?
The answer: absolutely NOT.
It’s just that what works for one business may not work for yours, and despite what you may have been told in the past…that’s OKAY!
It’s time to bust some myths and set the record straight.
In this blog, I’ll debunk THREE of the most common myths I see in the creative business world so that you can stop getting sucked into the hype and start distinguishing fact from fiction in your business.
“There is one specific way to run a successful business.”
I call B.S.
It’s all LIES.
Larger-than-life promises and one-size-fits-all business advice do us all a huge disservice.
Business strategy isn’t just something you can plug and play. You can’t order it off of a pre-fixed menu or cherry-pick it from a shelf and see success tomorrow.
And yet SO many business gurus claim to sell THE solution to your business problems.
They may have business frameworks and strategies. Yes, they might even be effective. BUT it’s not the ONLY way; it’s just the way that works for THEM.
Nothing is wrong with you if a strategy touted by that popular business expert doesn’t seem to fit your needs.
There are WAY too many variables in business for a one-size-fits-all approach to EVER work across all industries, niches, business models, and entrepreneurial styles.
Your values and priorities will dictate the business strategies you choose to implement and stick with. These values can vary so drastically from one person to the next, and even from one season in business to the next!
It’s YOUR business.
Build it YOUR way, so it works and feels good to YOU!
Businesses, especially led by creatives, work differently, run differently, and value different things. Plus, the CEOs who oversee these businesses want their work to support different lifestyle needs in their personal life. All of these factors (and more) need to be considered when setting up a creative business that will be successful not only now but for the long haul!
Instead of just taking business advice at face value, approach it with a critical lens.
Each guru, strategy, or framework may offer pieces that can support you and your work. Other portions may not apply or feel as practical to your unique needs.
The key is to learn, apply, shed what doesn’t serve you, and craft a custom plan inspired by the experiences and insights of others who have walked a SIMILAR path before you.
After all, no one will ever have the exact same business as you!
This is the reason my business coaching is so customized.
I have a toolbox of strategies and systems that I’ve used in different companies and industries, and for different results. I work with my clients to sort through these resources so we can find the unique recipe that works for them and their goals.
As you develop your business strategy, you will need to pick and choose or mix and match strategies to find a combination that works. You might need to tweak or experiment. You may even need to invent a new approach altogether.
That’s OK. THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG here.
Don’t be afraid to…
Try things on.
And then, give yourself grace (and an honest review), knowing that you don’t need to force any framework or formula if it’s not working for you.
It’s easy to get caught up in forcing a business strategy or method to work. But sometimes no matter how consistent you are or how hard you try, you may not see the results you’ve been looking for.
It’s frustrating, if not infuriating, to say the least!
When you give yourself some grace and realize that everyone THINKS and WORKS differently, you’ll be able to learn from others without feeling restricted to doing things one particular way.
There’s freedom and power in putting your own unique flair on the systems and suggestions of others.
If you take nothing else away from this post, I hope you hold on to the belief that just because something isn’t working in your business doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. The strategy just may be wrong for YOU.
The moment you take “should” out of your vocabulary, is the moment you take true ownership of your business and step into your role as CEO.
I might SHOCK a few people with this one:
Increasing your prices IS NOT a surefire way to reach your creative business’ money goals.
“Increase your rates” is blanket business advice that many coaches in the online space throw around like confetti!
It’s actually one of the most common myths I encounter in the online business space.
I get it.
The idea sounds appealing…
You’re working non-stop, churning out client projects, and STILL not meeting your financial goals.
When you’re not making the kind of money you want to earn in your business, it may seem like the most straightforward solution is to charge more for your product or service.
And while this COULD be an option, it’s definitely not the ONLY option. In some situations, raising your prices in a vacuum may actually cause more harm than good!
So, it drives me NUTS when I hear business coaches and gurus pushing their audiences to increase their prices left and right, preaching it like gospel! In fact, many of them lather the shame on THICK and say things like, “why aren’t you charging your WORTH?”
I am all about setting your rates and getting paid appropriately for your expertise, but sometimes raising your rate isn’t fitting.
As much as we want to believe raising our rates can fix our problems in a pinch, it quite simply isn’t a cure-all for every money challenge you have and your rates should be something you only adjust strategically, mindfully, and carefully.
If you blindly increase your rates, you risk:
Instead, when you increase your rates STRATEGICALLY, you CAN build a sustainable pricing structure that allows you to work less and earn more, meet your audience at their level, and continue to over-deliver with an impressive client experience for every project you take on!
Here are a few things to consider as you decide whether or not to increase your rates as a creative entrepreneur.
Can you streamline your offers in a way that allows you to deliver the transformation in less time or with less effort? This may allow you to take on more projects in the same amount of time without sacrificing quality. If you can do two projects for $500 (earning a total of $1,000) instead of raising your project rate from $500 to $750, you’ll make an additional $250 without touching your rates at all!
Can the market bear a price increase? If you are thinking of raising your rates, be sure to investigate first. Take a look at your competitors and consider your ICA (ideal client avatar) to make your rates make sense in your market! Prematurely raising your rates may price out your ICA, leaving you with LESS business and money instead of MORE. When analyzing your ICA, you might realize you would need to shift your marketing in order to support a price increase.
Where can I add value? If you want to increase your rates, you may choose to add value to justify the increase. How can you enhance your client experience, optimize their ultimate transformation, and add meaningful value to their project (aka not just fluff)?
For example: A copywriter may include a brand voice guide with a website copy package. The information in this guide would already be collected during the writing process. Packaging it in an easy-to-use format can add tremendous value for the client and their future copy or messaging projects.
There are a LOT of perceptions out there about being a professional creative. From the outside looking in, it might SEEM like creating your art, being a writer, or designing for clients is all fun and games.
And yes, most of us pursued our creative careers because WE love what we do and find it freakin’ FUN!
The reality is, in order to create a sound business, you need to balance the business tasks with the creative projects.
There are seasons of hustle that will require real work, some not-so-fun tasks (hello admin!), and business strategization that you’ll need to implement if you want to successfully work as a creative.
To me, it’s a small price to pay to get to have the freedom we do and the ability to make a living doing the work that we love.
Because it’s not going to just “happen” if you’re not willing to show up for the not-so-fun stuff. As much as I am ALL ABOUT manifesting your dreams, you can’t just hope and wish your way to success without taking action and putting in a little elbow grease.
You must take some messy action, show a little grit, and get uncomfortable.
Seriously! On the path to success, you will likely have to…
Because THAT is how you learn! Plus, these experiences show you what you do and do not want to do.
On top of these growing pains, you’ll also need to handle some of the business stuff you don’t completely adore.
Sure, one day you may be in the position to hire a bookkeeper, outsource your taxes, or bring on a marketing team. But in the meantime, these responsibilities will fall on YOU as CEO, so you need to be up to the challenge.
If these tasks don’t come naturally to you, or feel like a chore, you’ll need to take an especially thoughtful, strategic approach. You have to be willing to create a system that allows you to do what you need to do consistently so you can keep your business going and support the FUN creative work you love most.
I like to think of it as the price of admission.
IMO (in my opinion): totally worth it!
Now that you’re better able to discern fact from fiction in this crazy, beautiful online business world, I hope you feel empowered to step into your CEO role and become the leader you truly are in your industry.
If you’re looking for support along the way, I would be honored to be a part of your creative business journey. I offer 1:1 coaching packages for creatives who are building their business from the ground up or scaling their current business to the next level.
No one-size-fits-all business templates here!
Everything we do together will be customized for YOU as we assess your goals, define your systems, and set you up to run a creative business you love that loves you back.