Finding ways to combine corporate techniques with a creative perspective is my thing (Especially when it comes to negotiations). But doing this isn’t always easy – you need to have confidence in the value of your technical abilities, but also be strong enough in your creative vision to not be intimidated by applying a process or tweaking your techniques to be slightly more inside – rather than outside – the box.
No matter what your field of work is as a creative entrepreneur, here are 3 tips for adopting business practices in a way that lets you hold onto the value of your creative process – but also build upon it.
1. Make It Seamless. It can be disorienting for your clients and customers if you end up with a Jekyll and Hyde persona when it comes to how you conduct business. Are they working with a purely creative spirit? Or a strict and by-the-spreadsheet business person? Work on finding a combination between the two that allows you to naturally flow from one to the other so that your customers don’t sense the change – they just sense that they’re dealing with YOU.
2. Add Your Twist. There’s no need to apply textbook business solutions to your business just because an ‘expert’ says so. What you need to do is apply the business solution – but with your own creative twist. For example, invoicing customers is an important practice – it helps you collect your payment and track your revenues/accounts payable. But who says that invoicing needs to be boring? Create a template that matches your aesthetic: your logo, your colour scheme and your vocabulary. Take the core concept of “sending a notification to someone to let them know a payment is due” and use your creative skills to change its form.
3. Benchmark. This is a big, jargony, corporate word for saying that you should look around at others in your industry/field/metier and see what’s working best for them…and then figure out how you can blend their best practices into your work. Start the journey by sending an email to someone you admire and ask for their advice! You reap the double benefit of networking AND helping your business. Just be sure not to get overwhelmed by benchmarking professionals toooo far ahead of where you are – just a step or two ahead so that the lessons you learn are do-able, but still aspirational.
Are you working to find your mix of creative flare and corporate process? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? If there were one person you’d like to reach out to for advice on how they’re making it work – who are they?