Do words like “business plan” or “profit and loss statement” make your skin crawl? Do numbers numb you out? Would you rather draw, write, and create than organize, budget, and plan?
If so, then you’re probably what I call a “musepreneur.” A musepreneur is a creative entrepreneur who uses her right-brain intuition and inspiration to launch and grow a business. Sure, maybe your feathers get ruffled when you hear the letters ROI, but that doesn’t mean you can’t artfully run a business.
The key to being a successful musepreneur is to fully embrace your creative nature. Your artistic gifts can actually help you find fresh solutions to your business challenges and enable your ventures to grow in ways you would’ve never dreamed possible.
Here are 10 creative tips to help you do just that:
1. Enlist your imagination. Use your creative intuition to paint the biggest picture of your business success (literally or figuratively). Spend some time envisioning where you want to be a year from now and have fun with it. When you’re in touch with your vision, it’s easier for the details to follow.
2. Create a Right-Brain Business Plan. Your business plan doesn’t have to look like a traditional plan. What’s key is that you’re clear about your goals and that you have them on paper. My Right-Brain Business Plan is a collaged accordion book. The front has inspiring images to connect me with my big vision. The back holds details like financial targets, milestone dates, and marketing goals.
3. Play with the Post-it Note project plan. If detailed project plans overwhelm you, try planning with Post-it Notes instead. Write each task on a Post-it Note. Use different colors to categorize. Then begin arranging them on a large piece of paper attached to a wall. You can draw rows on the paper to show weeks or months and start sequencing the notes on a timeline. The cool thing is your plan isn’t set in stone. You can easily move the notes around as you gain more clarity about what’s next.
4. Track your progress (with flair, of course). When you’re juggling many creative projects (as most musepreneurs do), it can feel like you’re not getting anything done. Rather than getting frustrated, acknowledge that you’re moving forward even if it’s one baby step at a time. A great way to do this is to find a beautiful bowl, and each time you complete something from any of your projects, drop a bead into the bowl. Before you know it your bowl will runneth over!
5. Follow the flow. If you’re feeling stuck, do something creative to find your flow again. Maybe you sing a song or knit a scarf. The important thing is that you keep your creative momentum. See what fresh perspective emerges.
6. Build on what you know. Use something you’re already familiar with to gain clarity on an unfamiliar issue. For example, how is creating a budget like following a recipe? What’s the first thing you do when you prepare to cook? Perhaps it’s finding the right recipe (or a template for the budget). Next, you gather all the ingredients (or the line items on your budget). Then you measure the ingredients (or you put numbers to the different line items). By walking through the steps of something you know, you’ll discover your own creative resourcefulness and the new tasks will feel less daunting.
7. Learn something new. What do you want to know more about as it relates to your business? Find fun ways to pick up that new knowledge. If you enjoy reading, get an interesting book about your business that speaks to you. If you love interaction, take a class. The more you know, the more empowered you’ll feel.
8. Make time for reflection. At least every quarter, carve out time to look at where you’ve been and where you’re going. What targets did you set for yourself in your Right-Brain Business Plan? What action steps did you outline in your Post-it Note project plan? How many beads do you have in your bowl? Identify where you might need to course-correct and acknowledge your successes and accomplishments.
9. Ask for help. You don’t need to do it all! Outsource what you’re not as good at or don’t enjoy. Hire an accountant to set up QuickBooks. Gather a board of advisors to strategize on marketing. Get a virtual assistant to schedule meetings. Delegating frees you up to focus on the heart of your business.
10. Connect with creative cohorts. Get inspired by other musepreneurs. Reach out to someone you admire for some mentoring. Make a date with your fellow creative cohorts to brainstorm ideas and support each other. Together you can help each other grow your businesses!