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Newsflash: Creativity is not just for the arts. You don’t have to be a “creative” person to harness that sense of energy, wonder and imagination — and apply it to your business.
No matter what you do and who you serve as an entrepreneur, you can channel your inner artist to build a successful business. Here’s how you can adapt an artist mentality to establish an on-brand, genuine business.
Be true to yourself and your brand
Why did you strike out on your own in the first place? What made you take that leap of faith and launch your own business? I’m betting it’s because you wanted to create something of your own — something original and honest. Maybe you also wanted the freedom to pursue an idea and be your own boss, too.
Artists do this with every new piece they create, whether it be painting, film, photograph or sculpture. They have a unique vision in their heads that needs to be brought to life through their art. They’re also the masters of their own time. Oftentimes they dictate what hours they work and who they work with.
What true artists don’t do is set out to create an exact copy of something in the world that already exists. You can be inspired by other artists, experiences, things you see or what you feel, of course. But straight up copying someone else’s work? Not only is that bad for business, but it’s also bad for your creative spirit (not to mention, it limits your freedom to be creative).
Pave your own way. Honor that vision you had for your business when you first launched. Stick to your values, and build an authentic business that you can be proud of.
Related: 10 Things the Artist and the Entrepreneur Have in Common
Trust your skills and ideas
If you haven’t launched your business yet, or you’re currently at a crossroads, you might be finding it hard to pave your own way right now. Here’s a quick exercise to help you out with that:
Take a deep, deep breath. Hold it for a couple of seconds, then exhale. Felt nice, didn’t it? Now, forget all of the specific details when it comes to your business for just a moment (don’t forget them completely, just put them on pause). Consider why you’re stuck making a decision or overthinking things.
Could it be that you don’t trust your instincts? That you worry about your skills, ideas, and opinions not being good enough? I have news for you, friend. They are good enough. You are good enough. Your vision for your business is valid. Your voice should be heard. You have the skills and qualities to make it happen.
Speaking of skills, many of the skills we possess and hone through our work are actually universal. Skills like adaptability, innovation, independence and communication, for example, can apply to anyone in any field.
Artists battle imposter syndrome all the time. Honestly, all sorts of business owners do, too. But with practice, we overcome those feelings. It takes courage, confidence and trust in yourself. You got this.
Related: 4 Ways to Unlock Your Inner Creativity
Create something you need
With art, you always want to create for yourself. This goes hand-in-hand with being on-brand and true to yourself. You want to execute your art (or the vision for your business) authentically, but your purpose matters, too. Create an experience for yourself first and foremost, knowing that what you produce will resonate with other people.
Putting yourself first can feel uncomfortable if you’re not used to it. But discomfort and dealing with the unknown is actually a crucial part of creativity. It takes practice (and a little faith) to trust your creative process and your vision.
Creating for yourself can be a tricky concept for business owners who serve clients or customers. You want your products or services to be tailored to others’ needs, of course. But don’t let other people’s needs eclipse your own. If you recognize the need for something, others will, too.
Related: How Can Entrepreneurs Enhance Their Creativity?
Look at your business with the eye of an artist
When business is booming, your days can fly by in an instant. Depending on what you do, you might sit at your desk for hours on end, spend most of your time traveling or get stuck in one space for the majority of the day.
If you’re doing what you love, however, you may not notice when the time passes like this. It might not be such a bad thing. But remember to shake things up every once in a while, if only to feed that creativity within you.
Take in your surroundings with the eye of an artist. Go outside, breathe in nature, or experience something different whenever you can. That break in monotony, that little piece of spontaneity? It can work wonders for your business. It can even inspire your work, just as it would an artist.
Be authentic. Trust yourself. Create something of your own, for you. And bring that creative energy and imagination to your work. You can apply these artistic principles to your business, even if you’re not an artsy type or work in a creative field. They’ll help you check in on the health of your business, as well as your passion for the work that you do.