My experience of running a business has been rewarding in many ways but, it’s no walk in the park. If you’re creatively inclined like myself, you may have had the thought: “how can I design my life so that I get to do more of this making stuff?” It’s no secret that I’m a big advocate of this – I’m often encouraging people to go for it. However, if you’re planning on making a living from it, it’s important to really think about whether you want to create a business of it, or if you’re better off with a creative hobby.
Here are some questions to help you decide:
a). Do you have an unwavering love for what you do? Do you eat, sleep, breathe and think about it all the time?
b). Do you just like it a lot right now?
a). Do you have a relatively clear vision of the career and lifestyle you want to have?
b). Does your vision change fundamentally, with every day, every encounter and every new experience?
a). Are you a self-starter?
b). Do you prefer to have things all planned out for you?
a). Are you adept at juggling several different tasks and responsibilities?
b). Do you prefer to work exclusively on one thing at a time?
Confidence and fearlessness
a). Are you proud to show and tell the world about what you’re doing?
b). Do you hate talking about yourself?
a). Do you have a thick skin when it comes to what others think and say about you and your work?
b). Would you rather not put yourself out there for scrutiny?
If you responded ‘yes’ to most of the ‘a’ questions – welcome to the wonderful and challenging world of enterprise!
If you responded ‘yes’ to most of the ‘b’ questions – why ruin a good thing? Why not nurture your creativity without the pressures of business, for now?
If I had to sum up the qualities I think it takes to make a living from your craft, I’d say that these are up there: passion, focus, drive, multi-tasking ability, confidence (at least enough to fake it well), fearlessness and resilience.
At the end of the day, running a creative business is about so much more than just making (see my post on non-creative business priorities for creative professionals). Some people welcome this as a necessary part of the lifestyle they want to lead but, for others, these demands destroy their enjoyment of their craft. With a creative project, you can change your mind, change the plan at a whim or quit at any point. You can do so with a creative business too but, the consequences of this kind of spontaneity could be more significant.
Let me know if this post has been useful to your decision-making.
- Beyond Making: Non-Creative Business Priorities, for Creative Professionals
- 4 Ingredients for Creative Success + The CAKE Series
- 6 Pieces of Advice for Starting a New Business in the Afri-Sphere