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Growing a Creative Business

by Arianne Foulks

February 21, 2017 / Updated: January 18, 2023


Growing a creative business and going from maker to business owner can be a rough transition, and there will always be a point where you’re wearing too many hats. If you’re feeling like there’s never enough time in the day to make progress on all that your busy business needs, this series of blog posts is for you!

As a creative business owner, it can be hard to know what to focus on, what to delegate, and what to not do at all. At the start of a business’s timeline, a solo business owner has to do absolutely everything from designing the products to maintaining wholesale relationships to ordering materials and supplies to bookkeeping.

It makes sense to do this at first, before your business is profitable. You may find yourself working overtime, rarely taking a day off, and burning the midnight oil. This is okay, but only at first! Things have to change if your business is going to be sustainable.

Once your business is working (meaning you’re more concerned about getting your product to your customers than finding customers for your product), you will hit periods of “growing pains” where you’re stretched to the limit of what’s sustainable.

Recognizing these periods of growth and knowing what to do to push through them and get to the easier side is vital.

Being handy at a lot of things is nice, but if you want to make jewelry, you’ll find you have a hard time doing that if you’re also the bookkeeper, accountant, legal counsel, sales rep, marketer, order fulfiller, web developer, etc.

  • You can get people to help you
  • You can get software to help you
  • You can even help yourself by becoming more focused

So let’s talk about how you can transition from designer to creative business owner and keep doing the work that you’re best at without getting burnt out by all the rest.

7 steps to shaping up a growing creative business

This was originally a series of posts from 2015. I have re-read, refreshed, and updated the posts so that they have my best information and are applicable for 2017.

1. Clear the decks by getting focused

Before you do the big work of growing your business, let’s set the stage for your best work. You’re not likely to find more hours in a day. Instead, let’s make those hours count: How To Find Time By Cutting Back On Reactive Work

2. Figure out what only you can provide to your business

The best foundation for getting help is to decide what your ideal role should be. Then you can consider how to take care of the things that may not be the best fit for you: Shift Into CEO Mode and Get Help With The Rest

3. Quit trying to do everything at once

Ask yourself the question, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” It brings you focus that will improve your business: Kill Your To-do List And Focus On One Thing

4. Face the reality of burnout

This post is an appetizer, helping you think about why you might be resisting delegating the tasks that you don’t want to do yourself (or don’t have time for): What Happens When We Resist Delegating Business Tasks

5. Figure out when and how to hire help

Do you feel like there is not enough time in the day? Are you worried that you’re falling behind in an area of your business? Here is how you’re going to get some help: How To Make Time & Enjoy Your Work By Hiring Help

6. Implement systems so your business can survive without you

Creating systems for your business is a step you shouldn’t skip. Everything that can be systematized, templated, or automated should be: Do You Have Solid Systems For Your Business?

7. Be a good boss to yourself, too

You work for yourself because you want to have time for yourself and/or your family and because you believe in and enjoy what you’re doing. So don’t ruin it all by working yourself to exhaustion: How To Be A Fantastic Boss To Yourself

Ready, set go! Please check in and ask questions in the Aeolidia Facebook group for creative business owners!

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