The Business of Creativity & You

How many times do you go on a well earned holiday somewhere and it takes a good week, if not more, to unwind and truly disconnect from the busyness of your life?
Then once you return from said holiday and you are back at work for 3 hours, you feel like you NEVER left! It can take so long nowadays to switch off and next to no time to be sucked back into the chaos of day-to-day living!

Spare a thought for all the artists of the world who have a business. Painters, sculptors, designers, writers and photographers who all have to balance this distinct change in energy and pace, on a regular basis, as they swing from creative activities of the right brain to the more business side of the left brain. Creativity and art require volumes of time to unmask, let go and surrender to the flow of creating something.

It is this very act of being vulnerable and exposed, that helps create the art that connects us to something meaningful. The dilemma for artists is having to regularly move into the left brain mode of marketing, tasks, sales conversations, networking and finances. Every time we are quickly jolted out of the right brain mode and into business activities, it takes so much longer to access that deep surrender and creativity flow – that flow which ultimately creates the work to sell.

I will often hear photographers and artists say to me ”oh, I do it for the love of it” as they speak about how they aren’t yet earning a full-time income from their art. It’s all too intoxicating to stay fully in those right brain activities, and can ultimately become a suitable reason in their eyes, as to why they haven’t sold more. As soon as art becomes a business, you have to find a way of bringing creativity into your business activities. It reduces that abrupt interchange between creative surrender and formalised strategy. Find your own flow and a way of doing things that honour your natural talents.

The biggest mistake I see artists making is focusing their marketing on their artwork only. Instead, they need to obsess about the bigger meaning and story behind WHY they create their art. YOU are the brand. YOU are the defining factor. No-one else can be like you. No-one sees the world and your art the way you do. Creatively find ways to introduce your personality, your beliefs and your thought leadership through your art into your marketing and your branding. We want to see WHO the artist is behind the easel.

It’s interesting to compare the definitions for business and art…

BUSINESS: assignment, task, a chore.

ART: skill, craft, illustrate.

The two seem to be at odds with one another. I hear this a lot in conversations with keynote speakers, psychologists and creative entrepreneurs. They are usually super excited about the skill of ‘doing’ the work and losing themselves in their passions. But when it comes to marketing, there is sometimes ‘a sigh’ followed by a series of self-defeating statements about how they feel hopeless with social media or sales or both. “I’m just not good at it”. It feels like a chore, something they ‘have’ to do.

No matter what business you are in, creativity needs to become a part of your branding, marketing, and your sales process. It does not have to be an all or nothing concept. You can surrender and go with the flow; following your intuition as you ‘do’ the work. Why not approach branding, marketing and sales in the same manner? Less perfection, more action. Be more playful with your marketing. Experiment. Hold those business tasks more lightly and with less attachment to the outcome. Find ways to illustrate your why using different mediums. Photography is a perfect way to do this, and you can hone your message with the most powerful signature photograph.

The way I see a lot of entrepreneurs approaching branding, marketing and sales, is a bit like painting by numbers. It’s usually highly structured. A system to copy something. We often use paint by numbers when we are kids and learning new creative ways. Then we start colouring outside the lines, and eventually, the entire page is coloured in. A lot of business owners seek out the ‘painting by numbers’ equivalent to business activities, but some of us never advance to breaking the rules and taking some calculated risks with our brand positioning.

According to the World Economic Forum, by the year 2020, one of the top three skills needed moving into the future will be creativity. Creativity equals connection in branding. Creativity means that you stand out in ways that other people cannot replicate. We’ve all heard Simon Sinek famous quote, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

When your natural talent is creativity, you are strongly positioned to be able to disrupt your industry and the market! Use it to your advantage! Create engagement! Encourage people to notice you and to be curious about what you stand for.

Focus on understanding who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you unique. Flip the script, look outside the box and think about other ways that you can approach your business tasks. Introduce creative strategies that will allow you to work through the tasks quickly and ease smoothly back to what you do best, which is your art. Make business less of a chore and start looking at ways that art becomes more of a vehicle towards bringing abundance to your life and the lives of your clients.

Here are four key questions that you could be asking yourself to get things started.

  1. How do you craft your marketing to amplify YOU, without actually referring to your art?
  2. What skill can you develop to be great at sales?
  3. What task will communicate with ease the depth of meaning of your artwork and what you stand for as a person?
  4. The assignment of which marketing strategies will illustrate beautifully the value of your work and what drives you as an artist? What lights you up?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you will be more creative in your business.
Add your comments below!

I DARE you to disrupt the status quo with total creativity!