Lately, it seems like every time I turn around there is some new blog post or sponsored link on facebook or instagram or a new delivery in my email about how to make your business stand out, how to create a perfect funnel for your business, how to be the one in a million who can make six figures in a hand-made profession. There are strategy upon strategy to help people just like ME get to that Holy Grail of the business world, but none of it is (no matter what they tell you!) for free. I signed up for a webinar recently that promised to share for free her strategy for creating a great business, only four simple steps to follow, and somehow it ended with thousands of dollars for this strategy that she was just “giving away” at a great discount…But it’s still enough money for her to base her business on and be the great white shark who is making six figures in a single month…Yeah, you know why? It’s because all of us are dying to break ahead in the market so desperately that we are willing to pay just about anything to be given the tools that will give us that one little advantage…Go that one extra step that maybe no one else is willing to go. It struck me in that moment that what that person has built is not a business, but a scheme, and it is thriving because so many of us are not. Does that make her a great business woman? Maybe. Is it the kind of business I want for myself? Nah, not really. Do I think that *if* I could afford her fee, her plan might actually help my business? Probably. And there’s the clincher. We are vulnerable. We are in need of that one lucky break, and we are willing to throw caution to the wind for a chance at a “Maybe.”
I think staying current and in touch with the business side of things is pretty important. I confess I do not invest enough time into market research or consumer trends before just diving off into the direction that my creative heart tells me to go. I am the hopeless romantic that believes that if I just stay true to myself and not follow trends, I will sustain a more consistent business. But among all of this talk about trends, market value, SEO, metadata, tags, social media, outreach, I confess that I 100% lose my focus. I lose the part of me that loves to make things. I stop being led by what inspires me and I fall prey to the trap which is another media trick, telling us that we all deserve MORE! We all can be a big fish in a little pond! We all can strike it rich! The very essence of these promises contradicts the nature of creativity. Of standing alone where you are with your talents and being proud perhaps not of how many figures you generate in a year, but with how authentic are you being to yourself and how is your work making an impact? How is comparing yourself to others constantly NOT a distraction? How is spending every free moment on blogs and reading and listening to people who’ve made in happen their way, not distracting me from figuring out how to do it my OWN way? It may work for some people, and I am not hanging up my self-education on the market trends all together, but I refuse to let myself be the market that drives the success of other businesses telling me my own place in the market is disappearing. Instead, I am going to devote more of my time and energy to the pursuit of that purest form of creativity, and hopefully my time will come. If it doesn’t, at least I will know I haven’t sold out in the process.