When you're building your business it's so easy to get weighed down by all the admin, paperwork, invoices, never-ending stream of social media and a million and one other things to complete.
And to top it off, you're faced with umpteen business experts and marketing gurus telling you that you need to get creative to stand out from the crowd.
This is all well and good on paper, but when you're busy delivering your actual service, getting creative is often the last thing on your mind.
Creativity is such a loaded word, and one we see bandied around a lot as a way to get in touch with the soul, boost our businesses, express ourselves. But what, gasp, if we just don't feel creative? How do we build this into our business, and what, exactly does that actually mean?
What is creativity?
Creativity is a topic very close to my heart. I've lived through times of an overwhelming abundance of creativity, when I literally feel it flowing through me, and I've lived through long periods feeling completely blocked, devoid of ideas and excitement.
If there is one thing I've learnt about creativity it's this - you can't force it. You can work on it & build it, just like you can a muscle, but if the creative juices just aren't flowing it's really hard to get them back. Which is why, nowadays, I don't even try. If I'm not feeling it, then I go and do something else for an hour, or a day, or even a week - however long it takes.
I've also learnt, It doesn't need to be perfect.
For years in my art I got totally hung-up on perfection, and ended up blocking myself up even more. But the truth is, nothing is perfect and if you don't even make a start because you're so hell-bent on perfection then you're not going to make any progress at all.
And this advice is true whether you have a traditionally creative business or not. Photographer or accountant, life coach or web designer, to be an entrepreneur you have to stretch yourself and your mind in ways that only creative practice will allow.
So, how do you tap into this all-hallowed creativity in order to build your business if you really don't feel that creative? Here are my 3 tips to get you started:
1. Try out those crazy ideas!
Lesson number one I've touched on earlier. Just give it a shot, whatever 'it' is. The best way to build your business creatively is to actually listen to all those crazy half-baked ideas and give them a whirl. Some of them are not going to work, but if you keep trying things out you might just strike gold.
Think about this in every aspect of your business, from the big ideas and products, to the day to day marketing tasks.
So you want to open a café with cats? - do it! (OK I admit, that's already been done, but hey, what a totally barmy idea on paper that really has taken off).
So you want to write a blog about origami (when you have a coaching business)? - give it a whirl, who knows where it may lead you.
It's only through trial and error you'll find out what works for you.
2. Develop your own style
Whilst following trends in writing styles and social media posts is a good way to show you have your finger on the pulse, and it's ok to be inspired by others, try not to make everything exactly the same as all the other burgeoning entrepreneurs out there.
You need to stand out to get noticed by your customers, and give everything your own special spin. Whether it be using your own photos in the background of social media images, or choosing a colour pallet that's totally way-out-there, building your own brand identity is a process, and you'll have much more fun doing it.
3. Don't push it
If you really aren't feeling the creativity vibe, then let it go. Get on with something else instead of spending hours chasing a buzz which just isn't there.
Likewise, when you get that calling, run with it. Creativity strikes at the weirdest times, but you'll always produce your best work when you're in the flow.
I carry a pad round with me, just in case, so I can jot down ideas and make a start on blog posts. You can also use a Dictaphone app on your phone. Every so often I go back through my pad, and file all my ideas and jottings into one folder on my computer. This way I have a ready-made bank of blog topic ideas and social media posts, as well as new product ideas and notes which I can build on and use when my business is ready.
For more creativity tips and marketing hacks, Join Becs's group of Creative Biz Stars