A journey without a plan is a waste of time

One of the best things about being a creative individual is that we tell ourselves and our friends that we’re wired differently, that it’s expected that we be a bit all over the place, that spontaneity, being carefree and a little reckless is the social norm. That society is OK with it, that our parents are used to bailing us out financially (no matter what our age) and our friends just get used to us having no money when we go out.  Sure, this is ok when you’re starting out; when you’re getting established things can be challenging, however what if I told you many creatives I know do well financially, profit from their craft and are earn a respectable living doing so.

“Hold up” you say, or “what do you mean we can flourish and make funds”, that “we can actually afford to live doing what we love”? Yep, there are creatives, artists, musicians and writers out there that not living in the granny flats or a lame excuse for a studio apartment, that aren’t professional couch surfers or borderline homeless. Read on friends, read on!

As creatives and artists, our minds are geared differently. We’re great at doing whatever it is that we do, but when faced with the everyday essentials (like management of our financials, looking at long term ways to sustain an income or avoid getting the power cut off) we tend to freak out and go into complete denial or melt down. I’ll raise my hand right now, and say that I am incredibly guilty of this and let me explain.

I hate numbers, and basic math for me is a challenge. Unless there is a dollar sign in front of a number, it’s very difficult for me to get my head around. I can function, don’t get me wrong, but it overwhelms me. I can’t really tell you my times tables, I can’t rattle off or tally numbers in my head and excel spreadsheets make me literally want to vomit. As a kid I was a creative writing child prodigy, and my Mum and teachers encouraged those skills and the other stuff fell to the wayside.

I’ve come to the realisation that I’m best utilised doing things I love and enjoy and that there are people out there that love numbers and are good at it, so now I outsource. That this way I’m not being un productive or procrastinating and I get to write, meet with new or prospective clients and attend functions and events. Everyone is happier; myself mostly.

Everyone that works with us at Creative Little Soul whether full time, freelance or contractors do only what they love and what they are good at, and you’re only as good as those around you. It means everyone wants to be here, that they’re effective and efficient and that we enhance and complement each other. Everyone wants to be here, everyone enjoys what they’re doing and our turnaround time and productive is a testament to that.

The biggest reason we elect to work with creatives is that we get it. We get that you’re amazing at doing, but that all that other stuff can get a bit overwhelming. That sometimes you just need someone to come in with a different view, perspective and game plan and to take away some of the burden or put in place some structure, support and strategies. When we look at everything grouped together we get overwhelmed (trust me I lay in bed some nights doing my own head in, but then look at it at individual tasks and then it’s all ok).

You have to know where you’re headed, what you want to achieve and what the end result will be. Ask yourself those questions. Without a plan and simple direction you’re heading straight for failure and a broken heart. It’s really not that hard to get there, you just need a bit of guidance (it’s cool I’ve had mentors along my way too).

Over the years I’ve incurred more error than trial, tears and a bruised ego, not being paid or being manipulated into doing stuff for free and others taking advantage of my naïve nature a few things I wish I knew then what I do now.

1. Ditch those in your life that bring or add zero value to it. Friends, workmates, partners, family members or your morning Barista (seriously life’s too short to start your day with shitty coffee). Negativity around you is distractive, soul crushing and counterproductive. You focus more on all the drama, and less on yourself. It’s ok to be selfish and want to do well. Trust me, when you clean up the crap great and positive things start to happen.

2. Don’t be a hero and do everything yourself. There is no shame in admitting you need help. I struggled with this for a long time, but had to realise I couldn’t do everything or shouldn’t have to. If people are kind enough to offer, accept it. To be successful, driven and motivated, you need a support system and cheer squad around.

3. Toughen up! This is and was always my biggest flaw and at times still is. I’m told countlessly that I need to get a thicker skin and not to take things too personally. Whether it’s feedback or criticism, attitude or ego. Not everyone will like you, and that’s ok. A lot of the time though it’s not you that’s the issue, but that person projecting their problems onto you.

4. Don’t work for free. By doing so you’re devaluing yourself, your services and most importantly your self-worth. Yes we need to get our foot in the door, get experience or exposure. But know you’re worth, be confident and believe your good enough and others will too.

5. Spend time alone. The creative soul has so much going on in our minds, heads and hearts. Sometimes it can get too much for us. Be ok with spending time on your own and I highly suggest it.

6. Be committed and want it. Anything done half arsed will yield results of someone that isn’t giving it their all. You can’t work full time, run a business full time and study too. You’re head and heart isn’t in what you’re meant to be doing and other people will see that too.

7. You’ll probably cry, swear, become reclusive or on the other end of the scale end up partying too much. We’re passionate and emotional people. We worry too much and we likely stress ourselves out over the small stuff. I get it!

There comes a point, where you either give up your dream or get serious. You’ll only get back as much as what you put in. If you decide to go for it then don’t do it alone. Surround yourself with positive influences and people on your side it’s all or nothing from here on out! Don’t waste your time and energy wondering what if, just do it already!