Are you a roller coaster fan?
Some people love the thrill of the ride. The rush of soaring to new heights and that potent flood of adrenaline keep these adventure-seekers coming back for more!
For others, those unexpected twists, turns, and drops have a different effect– leaving them feeling disoriented and, frankly, a little bit nauseous.
Entrepreneurship can be a lot like riding a rollercoaster.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
The important thing is deciding if you find joy in the journey of running a business, (with all its ups and downs) or if the negative side effects are a huge turn-off.
If you’ve ever thought of putting your creative talents to work as a full-time career as a writer, artist, or designer, doing the work you love on your own terms, AND getting paid for it… entrepreneurship probably sounds like the dream.
And it absolutely can be.
But before you take the leap, it’s important to consider that all of the benefits of entrepreneurship also come with some sacrifices.
While those sacrifices are totally worth it to ME (I like to consider them the price of admission) only YOU know where that balance falls for you and your current season of life.
For you, it may be different!
The cons may not be so appealing.
And that’s okay!
There are so many factors to consider and sometimes full-time entrepreneurship simply isn’t the right move!
The good news is there are so many other ways to venture into the world of entrepreneurship without diving into the deep end right away (or ever)!
When you understand the pros and cons with eyes wide open, you can confidently step into entrepreneurship!
In this week’s blog, we’ll walk through the many perks of running your own creative business from working on the projects you’re most passionate about to never again having to request time off from HR and everything in between. I’ll also acknowledge the “trade-offs” that come with those benefits so that you can decide if entrepreneurship is truly the right fit for you.
One of the main benefits of pursuing entrepreneurship is the flexibility and freedom it often offers!
As a business owner, you don’t necessarily need to work typical hours or days. Instead, you can create a schedule around your current priorities, circumstances, and values.
One of my business coaching clients started out working traditional 9-5 hours in her business to match her client’s schedules. She’d even work weekends as needed!
But, once she became a mom, her priorities shifted. She decided to scale back on her weekday hours and set firm boundaries around weekends since that was sacred family time! The beauty of being your own boss is you can create a life and business by design!
On the flip side, while you have the option of being more flexible, you will also need to be extra accountable to yourself.
If you decide not to work on that client project because you want to go for a walk or you don’t get around to sending that proposal because your kid needs to be picked up from school, you’ll likely have to find and prioritize time later!
For my client, this meant being willing to take on fewer projects (sometimes choosing to earn less money since she had fewer “sellable hours”). As her priorities shifted, her goals and definition of success did too!
And while it may seem easy to change your schedule when you’re in charge, it’s something that’s actually easier said than done!
You see –
If you are working with a bunch of different clients and you need to reschedule, you have to reschedule all of them individually! You don’t have a built-in team ready to step in and take over for you in your absence!
You can build this for your business… but it takes time!
When you’re a creative business owner, you don’t have a boss or co-workers which means no one is…
…looking over your shoulder telling you what to do or when to do it
…checking your work
…making sure you are on track
…stepping in to pick up the slack
It all falls on you!
So if you’re going to lean into your flexible schedule, you will also need to make sure you are able to deliver for your clients without dropping the ball.
As an entrepreneur, you can establish and reinforce boundaries that matter to you! Since you aren’t beholden to anyone else’s rules, standards, priorities, or boundaries, you get to set your own!
Your boundaries will often be influenced by your personal values, work style, and even the type of creative business you run.
Setting boundaries isn’t enough if you aren’t going to reinforce them!
If you want people to respect your boundaries, it’s on you to set them and make sure they’re followed.
No one’s going to come to your rescue and make sure your time, energy, or personal space is protected (read: you don’t have an HR department as a creative entrepreneur).
You will need to put in the effort to figure out what your boundaries are, make them clear to everyone around you – your team, your clients, your vendors – and then make sure they’re actually being respected.
It’s human nature to test the limits – so don’t be surprised (or offended) if your people try to push your boundaries. They’re not doing it to be malicious, they’re just looking out for themselves, and you need to do the same!
And I’ll be honest, it’s not just about other people!
You might find yourself tempted to let things slide or make exceptions for certain situations within your own control. But trust me, once you start doing that, it’s a slippery slope.
So stick to your guns, be consistent, and try to communicate your boundaries often and as tactfully as possible.
When I worked as a graphic designer for a big firm, the thought of choosing my own projects and clients sounded like an absolute FANTASY!
While I definitely got to work on some cool projects, for every one dream client, there were often at least ten more mundane, or worse yet, nightmare clients I had to work with.
I couldn’t just say, “No.”
I had to be professional and get the job done (skillfully, and with a smile on my face).
Once I started my own business, I realized I never had to take on a less-than-dreamy project or work with unaligned clients ever again if I didn’t want to.
Now, working with swoon-worthy clients all day, every day may sound like a no-brainer.
It’s up to YOU to find and land those projects. Instead of being assigned a new caseload, you have to recruit new clients!
Just because you are “open for business” doesn’t mean you will have people lined up out the door to work with you.
At least not in the beginning!
And this all lands on YOUR shoulders!
It’s up to you to find a way to consistently bring in your ideal clients and projects AND have the guts to turn down anything that doesn’t fit the bill (because no one is doing that for you either)!
And as if that’s not enough, you have to handle more than just the project itself – you’re also in charge of managing that client from beginning to end.
If at any point things go sideways, YOU are the highest point of escalation.
When someone wants to “talk to the manager” – that’s you!
You can’t pass off unhappy clients or work problems to someone else.
They are yours, and yours alone, to solve.
As Uncle Ben famously told Peter Parker in Spiderman,
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
Entrepreneurship is no exception!
As a creative business owner, you have the power to take control of your financial destiny. Gone are the days of bargaining for a raise or hoping for a bonus at the end of the year.
Instead, you have the freedom to set your own income goals and adjust the necessary levers to achieve them.
The best part?
You’re not tethered to a salary or hourly wage. Instead, you have the ability to set profit targets based on your personal needs, wants, and lifestyle goals.
Want to take a month-long vacation? No problem, as long as you plan and budget accordingly.
Need to invest in new equipment or software? You can adjust your pricing or take on new clients to cover the costs.
On the other hand, while entrepreneurship and limitless earning potential may sound quite liberating, it comes with some serious financial risks.
Without the reliable cushion of a salary, your end-of-the-month paycheck isn’t guaranteed.
There’s no money coming in if you don’t make it happen!
It takes commitment and strategic planning to ensure your financial goals align with your creative vision!
One of the best perks of being a creative entrepreneur (in my opinion at least) is that you get to regularly tap into and explore your passions, skills, and talents!
Instead of toiling away, building someone else’s dream, you get to build your own!
You don’t have to limit yourself to only utilizing the skills your boss or manager deems valuable. In contrast, you get to set your own big vision and pursue what lights you up while sharing your one-of-a-kind talents with the world.
Basically, you have the opportunity to work in your “happy place” all the time!
While this may sound fine and dandy, creative entrepreneurship isn’t just a matter of being really talented or innovative.
For your business to truly work, and be both profitable and sustainable, you have to tend to the business side of things.
It’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and days spent in the studio enjoying your creative flow.
The list goes on and on.
Being a successful creative entrepreneur means finding a way to balance your passions with the necessary business tasks that make it all possible!
Clearly, entrepreneurship isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal.
The beauty of running your own business is YOU get to decide what that looks like!
So before the cons of entrepreneurship send you running back to (or keep you at) your 9-5, consider the fact that you don’t actually have to quit your day job to pursue your entrepreneurial goals.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing!
You can be a:
It’s about determining what is right for you RIGHT NOW. And that may change over time and in different seasons.
No matter which route you choose, your creative business should always be in alignment with your current goals, needs, values, and vision!
No one can choose that for you.
So, whether you’re here for the thrill that comes with running your own creative business or realize that entrepreneurship may not be in the cards for you at this moment in time, I urge you to dig deep, get honest, and go for it!
Whatever your “it” may be!
I’d love to be your guide, helping you navigate entrepreneurship as a creative business owner, no matter what that looks like for you now or in the future.
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