Back to Work: 3 Big Summer Lessons in Creative Business to Remember All Year Long
Just about now millions of small children are getting ready to go back to school. But behind the frantic uniform shopping and last-minute Summer entertainments, there’s another, lesser-known army getting ready too.
Manned by foot-soldiers who simultaneously run a creative business and hold up the family show, this is an army of Mothers, deep and loyal in the trenches, not ‘back to school’, but ‘back to work’.
Of course, there are some fathers as well, but as a creative freelance copywriter for product-based businesses, the people I work with most frequently are women. They are mothers with children who’ve chosen to start a creative business to make an income and take care of their family. And they’re gearing up for the busiest selling time of the entire year.
So, when there’s so much to do, so much to think about and so much to read, what should be the big things on our mind as we get back to creative business? How do we filter through the sea of information, getting back to work as the kids get back to school?
Here are 3 big lessons I’ve learned this Summer that will stand you in great stead all year round.
Spend 80% of your time doing what you’re good at.
Distraction is going to be the death of you. Trying to do it all is going to stress you into yelling at whichever poor soul is standing in your way. No one wants that.
So what are you ACTUALLY good at? What ACTUALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE to your business?
Choose the things that really and truly make the difference and do them - for 80% of your time.
I’m not talking about things that make you feel more popular by the way. I’m talking about the stuff that actually makes you sales and puts money in the bank. Even if you’d sell your own right arm for love of your business, money and sales is what makes a business a business.
So spend your time doing what you’re good at, not endlessly trying to conquer the things where you see no returns. If it’s really that important and you can’t get it done, find (and pay) someone else to do it for you. Then get back to work on your best 80%.
Keep returning to your one big thing.
Whenever I write a product description, or I start to develop a tone of voice for a new brand, I ask myself “What’s the one, big thing this product does?” (Let’s call it the ‘OBT’ for short…) Or “What’s the OBT this brand really stands for?”.
You have your own OBT too and you need to tell us about it all the time, in a thousand different ways.
When you don’t know what to post about, write about, what product to develop, what trade show to be at or what activity to finish next, your OBT will be the guide. Filter out the noise and tune into it.
Tell us about it across social media, your website, your shop, the way you sign off your email.. Your OBT is the key to communication and connection, and connection is the key to letting the world know who you really are and getting them to buy into what you do.
Remember what you’re trying to change.
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed this but there are all kinds of new brands springing up that are pulling the rug out from under the old guard, and rightly so. Some of my new, current favourites include Grace and Green, BYBI Beauty and Kate Hudson’s Happyxnature.
How are they doing it? Well, these brands don’t just exist to peddle products. They’re on a mission to end important problems like period poverty, climate change or the use of pesticides. These are brands that think bigger and exist to make a change.
There’s a reason you started what you’re doing. It might not be to change the entire universe, but even changing the world on your own doorstep is important. If you set out to get more time with your family, then when the nativity rolls around at Christmas, choose to take an hour off and go along. That’s why you started, to have that flexibility. That’s the important change you set out to make.
I set out to help creative business owners to tell the world who they are and never to feel invisible online. It’s my guiding light. It helps me to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the right jobs, to know what content to create and where to post it. I know what it’s like to feel on your own and invisible and I don’t want that for anyone. That’s the change that I have to remember I set out to make, so what’s yours?
Sometimes we make business and life more complicated than it has to be. What are you good at? What’s your one, big thing? What are you trying to change? I believe that answering these questions every day in what we chose to do will take us far.
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