My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
Here’s a question with a million different answers:
Why did you start your business?
For many of us, the idea of owning a business has been a dream all our lives. For others, it might have come as a surprise when a lightbulb went off and you came up with a brilliant idea that you couldn’t resist putting into action. Either way, there’s something about the mix of responsibility, freedom, and control over your own destiny that’s incredibly appealing to solopreneurs all over the world.
Another reason why many people start a business is that they want to do something that they love for a living; something that will allow them to stretch some creative muscles. And in the early stages of your small business, boy, is that ever true! You’re always having to be creative on a shoestring budget, using smart marketing methods, networking tools, and branding to make sure that your business stands out.
But after a while, once you’re all settled in and the day-to-day pattern sets in, that creativity can start to… fade. Even if you still love what you do, you might find that the creativity just isn’t the same as it was when you got started. Well, that doesn’t have to be the case forever. There are tons of ways that you can jumpstart your creativity as a solopreneur that will push you to ever higher levels of success.
Do you have processes that you’ve been following for a while, or maybe a daily routine that’s becoming a bit mundane? Shake things up! You might be surprised by how it helps you to shift your perspective. Here are a few ideas:
1. Instead of checking your email first thing in the morning, take care of your most important task of the day first and check email later. Maybe the fresh start straight out of the gate without the distraction of email correspondence will help you to think about your day differently.
2. Try moving your evening workout to the morning to get your blood flowing.
3. Reorganise. Do you have a certain organizational system for your business? How is it working for you? Is it time to challenge the status quo and find a different, better way to keep yourself on track? Re-examining the way you organize yourself can be very enlightening.
4. Teach yourself to use your mouse with the opposite hand. This feels really strange for the first couple of days but your new ambidextrous approach might become a metaphor for other things you can try differently (don’t try this if you have a mouse with a right-handed grip as this can cause strain in your left hand. But if you have an ambidextrous mouse, go nuts!).
5. Change your working hours. Even small changes to the daytime schedule can shift the way that you think.
What other everyday tasks can you approach differently? You might be surprised by the results!
Have you heard the Albert Einstein quote, “Creativity is intelligence having fun”? It’s a good reminder that even our “business side” needs a chance to play. A big part of that is your work/life balance, which is about far more than just the time you spend with your friends and family. The ‘life’ part of the equation also has to include activities that you love and that will stimulate your brain in fun and creative ways.
Maintaining activities and hobbies outside of work, like exercise, reading, writing, singing, painting, or dancing can all spur creative thoughts and ideas that may help trigger the creative side of business ownership. Even if your extracurricular activities seem completely unrelated to your business, creativity begets creativity. So instead of sitting at your desk, trying to come up with some creative ideas, try doing something fun! Have a night out with your pals (maybe indulge in a drink or two!), take up a sport, go to a museum or art gallery… All of these things can help stir up some creative thoughts in your mind!
Collaboration is absolutely a creative activity. Working together with someone is problem-solving at its finest, and it can be a great way to approach projects in new, stimulating ways.
Whether it’s a meeting with your virtual team or a collaboration with a peer, get into the habit of holding brainstorming sessions where anyone can throw out an idea, no matter how off-the-wall. Open the door for conversation. Sometimes, these dialogues will be entirely pointless. Sometimes, it might be hilarious! And sometimes, you might generate an incredible new idea. It’s the process of brainstorming itself that encourages creative thinking.
If you’re a solopreneur, engaging a Business Coach, or Online Business Manager, or joining (or creating) a mastermind is a great way to leverage support and creative thinking for your business without hiring costly employees. Collaborations with other business owners are also a great idea. Book a coffee date with someone in your network to chat and see where it may go. You never know where a little caffeine and chit chat may lead.
Blogging is an inherently creative task. When the internet first broke into the mainstream, there were countless blogs out there, all written by people who were doing it just for the pure enjoyment of it. They had an opinion that they wanted to share with the world and the blog was the perfect format to do it. Some might argue that we’ve lost that in recent years, so why not rediscover it with your business?
If you’re passionate about your business, you should also be passionate about your blog. This is a great way to share your knowledge and thoughts with a much wider audience. What gets you excited about your industry? What problem are you solving that you find gratifying? Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch to your business blog, even when you’re sharing industry information. When you allow your personal “self” to come into your storytelling, it can help you to feel more creative, both in the writing and also in the rest of your business.
Plus, having a weekly blog will give you a fantastic piece of content that you can use for content marketing purposes. Your readers will like the opportunity to get to know you on a more intimate level, which can help to build business authenticity and trust. So it’s a win-win!
Sometimes, we get so worked up and stressed as solopreneurs that there’s simply no room left for creativity. Creativity needs freedom and room to grow. Inspiration is rarely found when you’re under tremendous pressure. That’s why it can be so important to take a real break from work now and again. And that means unplugging!
A break can be anything from a nightly walk to meditation to a 1-day road trip with a friend. There are many writers out there who claim they get their best ideas in the bath. So hey, why not draw a bath and have a nice relaxing soak. You never know what creative ideas might bubble up!
If you’re feeling stuck, getting your creative juices flowing can be a challenge. The best way to handle this sort of thing is not to force it. Creativity doesn’t like to be forced. Instead, create the conditions that will allow creativity the opportunity to blossom. Do something you love, have stimulating conversations with others, or take a break from work. Something may rise up from inside you that could be the best and most creative idea you’ve ever had!
How do you maintain creativity at work? Have you ever felt like you were in a creative slump? How did you overcome it? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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