Tag Archives: creative entrepreneur

How do you choose what you love?

How do you choose what you love?

I recently read this essay titled “How To Do What You Love” by Paul Graham. In it, he outlines some of his processes for choosing to do what he loves. It’s a pretty realistic essay, as well. No bones about it: choosing to do what you love can be complicated and fraught.

So, how do you choose to do what you love? do what you love

  • First, you need to identify what that is. And don’t be mislead: it may not be one thing. It could look like a variety of pursuits, all of which combine to become the life you love.
  • Once you’ve found that thing or combination of things that bring you joy, start doing it! Whether you can only squeeze it in part-time or you decide to jump in with both feet, do it.
  • Finally, the doing of what you love can be both a pleasure and a pain. There will be ups and downs. You will wonder why you ever decided to do what you do. You may change what you do, modify or adapt it so that you love it even more. But like anything else, the pursuit of a life well-lived and well-loved is a practice. Practice daily if you can, weekly at least. Keep at it.

I’ve concluded for myself that there really isn’t anything else to do in my life than to do what I love. In other words, if I’m not doing what I love (or doing something I need to do so that I can do what I love), then what’s the point? My life is mine to be lived, not someone else’s. Whether doing what you love looks like raising a family or painting a canvas, or writing a novel or starting a cooking show, whatever you choose – I say: choose what you love. It’s rarely the “easier” road, but it is by far the more fulfilling.

Business Plan Hooey

Business Plan Hooey

Day 4 of 30 Days of Imperfection. I’m going out on a limb with this one – YIKES!

I’ve been on so many “Boost Your Business” calls since I started my business. So many “6 Steps to 6 Figures” – type webinars. Countless workshops on Marketing and Sales. Books and books about Business Plans.

It’s overwhelming! And personally, I’ve thought pretty much all of it was hooey. (As well as being certain I was doing something “wrong” because even when I followed their advice, I wasn’t getting the number of clients or the income I needed to sustain my business!)

Credit: http://mobile-cuisine.com

Recently it has occurred to me that none of those classes, webinars or workshops worked for me because what I lacked was a deep understanding of my value.

How have I come to know my value? I practiced. I got clients. I lost clients. I got people to come to my classes and workshops. And sometimes I didn’t.

And through it all, I’ve learned my value. I’ve learned what I needed to know about what’s working in my business and what isn’t. (OK, it’s an ongoing process…)

As a Creative I needed to FIRST understand and truly KNOW that my work – what I have to offer the world – has value.

Creativity in our society is so often de-valued; creatives are used to feeling like what they express is misunderstood and not perceived as “worth” anything. The perception that what we do as Creatives is not as “important” as some other professions [read: Doctor, Lawyer, Software Developer, VP of Sales or whatever*] abounds and is pervasive.

So when trying to write a business plan, it becomes excruciatingly difficult for a Creative person to know what value their work has. It’s not in the mainstream, so mainstream rules of business don’t seem to apply.

That’s why I say: know your value FIRST.

What I mean is: sell a piece of work. Sell a session of your service. Find someone (ANYONE) who will buy it. Don ‘t wait to have the business plan in place; don’t (at this point) worry about what others are selling their work for. Get money for what you do.

It’s practice, this selling. How many of your friends/family/co-workers can you entice to buy your jewelry, your short story, your CD, your sketch? (And I mean REALLY BUY IT, not barter for it, or get it as a lovely gift from you.)

It’s practice. Just like you’ve practiced your skills in your art form. Try it: ask the next person you know who expresses an interest in your work what they would pay for it. Then say, “it’s yours, if you want it! I’ll take a check, cash, heck you can pay me via PayPal!” They may laugh at the funny joke you’re making, or they may say, “really? You mean it? I can have this gorgeous piece of work you made?!?”

What would it feel like to sell that work? What would it feel like to know that your piece has found a home with someone who loves it?

Try it out. One person at a time. Two, three, five, eight. At each opportunity, see how you feel. Has it begun to feel more natural and relaxed? Are you getting a clearer understanding of what people are willing to pay for your work? What happens when you ask for more?

When I started my coaching practice, I was hesitant to write the dreaded Business Plan and participate in Marketing my business. It was only after I had coached for a while (friends, friends of friends, other coaches I knew) that I truly began to understand the value of what I have to offer. What makes my coaching style and approach different. Then, and only then, was I able to begin to understand what I needed in order to actually build my business. Only now do I see the importance of a Business Plan. Only now am I able to speak confidently about what I do and how I help the people I serve.

Practice selling. Get a grasp of what your work can garner monetarily. Trying to figure out how to run a financially sustainable business with your Creativity without first having practiced your value will end you up feeling frustrated and confused. Know your value. Know what your work is worth. Know, truly know that people want what you create – want it enough to pay you something for it.

What you have to offer is entirely unique because it comes from you. It has intrinsic value because it comes from you. Your clients and customers know this, even when you don’t. Trust their wisdom and practice receiving your worth.

 

*A generalization, of course. People in these roles are creative in their own way, too. It’s just more generally acceptable to be a Software Developer than, say, a bass player.