Art and creativity are vital to our identity as cultural beings. We’re able to identify the ethos of eras by examining people’s inspirations in art and creativity. Art and creativity will always be influential in shaping the thoughts, opinions, and behaviours of people in society. Entrepreneurship is equally vital to our advancement as a society, and cultural shifts often occur when the collision between creativity and business is executed masterfully.
There’s a sense of freedom in pursuing a creative career, and most creatives dream of the day where their creative passion can become their “work.” In order for that to happen, passionate creatives should consider these basic yet impactful principles.
1. Stay inspired and create quality work.
“Inspiration is the currency of creative thought.” This is my personal mantra, and it reminds me to regard inspiration as an essential component in the process of thinking creatively. Inspiration catalyzes unique ideas, out-of-the-box concepts, and high-quality work.
Creatives get inspired in a multiplicity of ways. What gets your mojo going? What wakes you up in the middle of the night and drives you to start sketching? Who do you listen to that makes you want to conquer the world? What problem has you searching deep within your soul for creative solutions? What is your inspiration? Inspiration propels people into a realm where creating remarkable, consistent work/strategies becomes a way of life. The best quality work that you produce will always be the work that you created after being inspired. If you want to grow a sustainable, consistent business rooted in creative passion, don’t let anything extinguish inspiration. Stay inspired.
2. Build a consistent brand.
There is a lot of clamour around the word “brand” these days. For the sake of clarity, we will be defining brand as the “guiding principles, identity, and promise that your company communicates to the masses in order to differentiate itself from others.”
It’s vitally important to uncover your “why”. When you discover the reason why you create and use it to articulate your value system and tone, your work will begin to feel unified. This unified feeling is the foundation of establishing of your brand. In order to build a sustainable business, your products, services, and overall identity nee]d to relate to a common identity that your customers are able to perceive and ultimately fall in love with. You’re not done yet, though. The key to making the entire branding process successful is to remain disciplined in maintaining your brand principles and ethos. This is important because it often takes time to develop a relationship and a long lasting “love affair” with your clientele. This relationship is vital to the success of your creative business. Establishing a well-defined and consistent brand will also help you to remain focused as you journey through the creative process. When you know “who” and “why” you are, it becomes much more enjoyable to create.
3. Showcase your work.
Passionate creatives often produce incredible work that nobody ever sees. Take the example of Vivian Maier, arguably the best street photographer in American history. She documented New York in the 1950s and 1960s in a way that seemed to peer intimately into the soul of an era. As a commercial portrait, product, and lifestyle photographer I examine her work and revel at her ability to capture the spirit and heart of her subjects. We know that Vivian probably didn’t want to build a business fueled by her creative passion, because she didn’t showcase her work. In 2007, a man bought a box of her negatives, ten thousand to be exact, and discovered her incredible work. Imagine what kind of business she would have been able to build had she showcased her art.
A great business offers products and/or services that either solve a client problem or furnishes a client’s wants or needs. With the incredible tools found in social media, it has become almost effortless to showcase our art, thoughts, and philosophies with the public. The key is to identify the people who want what you have to offer and then communicate with them consistently. If your creative passion produces products or solutions for a particular target market, it is imperative that you do your research, find them on or offline, and showcase your work to them. If people can’t see your work, they can’t buy your work.
So many of us are exactly like Vivian Maier. I, too, am guilty of hiding my work in the “closet” for the fear that it will be judged or thinking that it really isn’t that good. We all need to get over the nonsense of hiding from people if we have goals of turning our creative passion into a business.
4. Don’t be a diva; listen to your fans.
Once your product or service begins to gain traction and people begin to fall in love with your art, listen to your fans. So many creatives enter into this “diva-like” wannabe creative character that completely rejects criticism or client input. If you are going to turn your creative passion into a business, then you’ll need to know that your voice is not the most important one in all circumstances. The client voice is integral to the success of your business, and client opinions actually matter. If I hadn’t listened to my clients or critics my work would never have become more effective at solving their problems and satisfying their wants and needs. Developing a listening posture to the point where you perceive criticism from your fans as analytical data as opposed to an ego blow, your creative business will not only startup, but flourish and bring you great joy.