Last month, I officially celebrated one entire year of self-employment. I had dreamt of being in charge of my time, working with dream clients, and experiencing it all in our home alongside my family since I was in high school. I’m grateful for experiences that keep me forever a student. I’d love to reflect on steps I took in business ownership, starting a project, or beginning any sort of creative endeavour. These are practices I go back to in order to cultivate my inner creative being.
I want to start off by saying this applies to all roles. Whether you have stirrings in your heart of becoming an entrepreneur, a content creator, a writer, photographer, a designer, an artist, or an ideator of some sort, the principles are the same.
In my findings, I’ve come to believe that each person is intrinsically creative. By nature, we mirror the Creator. We are given the responsibility of developing ourselves. We are to bring to life works that simultaneously serve others and make us come alive. I hope this outpouring of my journey allows me to be a companion in yours.
1. Have the Audacity
“All too often, it is audacity and not talent that moves an artist to center stage.”Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
Call yourself an entrepreneur, an artist, a writer. I must reiterate: we are all intrinsically creative. The difference between the person who becomes who they dream of becoming, and the one who lives with ‘what ifs’ is audacity. If you’re still on the fence about starting your project, I would encourage you to create the account and write it in your description. The internet is a beautiful place to try things on for size.
I know you have ideas, opinions, artworks, a dream and a story that you’ve been yearning to do something with. Even when you feel like there’s already someone out in the world doing what you hope to do, have assurance that no one will be able to contribute the way you do. There are people out there who will relate to you better. There are people who will be drawn to your charisma, who will resonate with your story, or will be captivated by your work. You are unrepeatable. Have the audacity to show up as yourself — whether or not it’s a version of yourself you have yet to reveal with the rest of the world.
2. Make Room
I could go on about the differences between a professional and an amateur. In the meantime, I will defer you to The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. A professional will make room for their work. You need to be intentional about carving time, money, and energy aside for your business or creative endeavours.
For me, it means setting aside a portion of our budget to invest into coaches, courses, and masterminds to grow my mindset and skill set. It means learning to manage my energy and take care of myself holistically. When I am well rested, healthy, and have had a full cup of time loving and nurturing my family, I am in a better place to create. Each part of our lives impacts all others. As I make time for leisure and create space to pay attention to beauty and details, I simultaneously grow in my craft.
Making room means can mean something different to each person depending on their circumstances. For someone starting out, this could mean working nine to five, and taking two hours each day to dedicate to your own work. It could also mean setting aside 10% of each paycheque to invest back into your business. Keep your why in front of you and treat your craft with the intentionality that the vision you’ve been given deserves.
3. Invest in Yourself
The personal investments seem to always be the toughest ones to make. It’s difficult to exchange hard earned money for something with seemingly non-tangible results. It’s a risk to trust ourselves with actually changing and following through. And yet, the personal investments are the ones with the biggest ROI.
Investing in personal development and holistic formation has helped me with learning how to communicate, negotiate, build my self-image, overcome anxiety, and develop better boundaries to name a few. The soft skills and mindset changes we learn compound. They are applicable to everything. While I can attribute major changes in belief and action to programs, masterminds, and personal coaches, they also come from $20 books. Pick a book up and invest the time.
4. Build Community and Accountability
“You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with.”Jim Rohn
Auditing your network and their influence on your life will drastically impact its direction. I’ve learned that it isn’t exclusive to your top five friends, but also applies to your family, your friends’ friends, and the content you consume. Your influences direct the difference between whether you build up the audacity to own your creativity, or kick it underneath a rug.
One of the most effective ways I’ve learned to supercharge my community, is by strategically placing myself in communities with people growing in the direction I’d like to grow.
Over the last year, I found a beautiful community of women entrepreneurs who believe in living an integrated, aligned life. These ladies join me in weekly masterminds within The Woman School Strategist Community. Each beautiful soul I have come to meet contributes in a way unique to their individual gifts, and is celebrated accordingly. Joining masterminds has helped me to see that I’m not alone in my doubts and fears. They have been contained environments that have breathed encouragement, belief, action, and accountability into me.
Coaching and Mentorship
In conjunction with group coaching experiences, personal business and life coaching has been integral to my growth. DeeAnne from Philosophy of Leisure has equipped me with personal guidance, and foundational frameworks applicable to every area of my life — As a wife, a mom, a creative, an entrepreneur, and a Catholic woman.
Larger investments aside, it is imperative to evaluate the content you consume, the friendships you keep, and who you allow to speak into you. Your why depends on it.
5. Become a Documentarian
“Become a documentarian of what you do.”Austin Kleon, Show your Work
This is one I struggle with most and am continuing to work through. I have spent 90% of my time in the last year working in my business, rather than working on my business. I absorb myself into the mission of my clients and dedicate myself to their success, but find it so difficult to speak and share about my work. This next year, I want to document more of my learnings. Reading Austin Kleon’s Show your Work has helped me to see the value in documenting the progress.
Even if it’s additional to the work I’m already doing for clients, there are people out there who I know do benefit from learning about the heart stuff — the processes, the behind the scenes. Not just the final result.
So if you’re reading this, I hope you’ll join me in sharing, documenting, and becoming who we are created to be. If you are an artist, a business owner, or an aspiring creative, what has been helpful for you? What practices do you go back to in order to cultivate your creativity?