I subscribe to several newsletters from entrepreneurs, speakers, and coaches as a way for me to glean from their mistakes and wisdom.
But never has the idea of redefining success in my own way turned me on like it has in the last few months. To be honest, sometimes I get envious when I read big income reports and see people I admire and respect in the online business industry do JV (joint venture) webinars, promoting their courses and services.
I have questions: what if that were me? If I only put out more content, could I possibly attract the attention of these big wigs? Would they introduce me to their circle?
But guess what?
When I think about how much work goes into a launch, webinar, FB ads, 7-day challenges, I'm thankful of how I have chosen to build my creative business organically. My mental health can't stand the stress.
And for this reason, I'm grateful that I can define my business on my own terms. That my success is not tied to accolades or how many influencer relationships I amass in 2016 is refreshing.
Defining success on your own terms is abnormal. And that's okay. You have questions like:
What happens when I refuse to create an online course?
What will become of my creative business if I turn my back on 'listicles' and 'How to' articles?
Would my list still grow just like I envisioned? Will I be able to promote anything worth buying to my audience?
You might be drowning in thoughts like this, wondering if you're making the right decision. You want to become widely successful, widely known, and to have a bouncy bank account.
My answer to these thoughts is: yes, you CAN grow a successful business without following everyone else's launch path.
It wasn't until I embraced these 5 principles that I became okay with being the black sheep of internet marketing.
1) "Money is fluid"
Money flows. It comes and goes. I can make money without stress or overwhelm. I'm confident in my God-given skills and abilities, and will continuously work on my skills to make even more money.
I used to have serious money issues. I'd make money from working 30-48 hours a week and be scared to spend $30 on myself, thinking: what if it doesn't come back to me? My mental blocks surrounding money and poverty were preventing me from experiencing how profitable I can be.
But just because one person celebrates a 6-figure month doesn't mean the rest of the online world is experiencing a famine. And sometimes, you've got to let go of the little in your hands n order to experience a harvest.
If you are the type who is too scared to invest in tools or courses your business, hire a coach. A coach will be your soundboard for creative brainstorming, hold you accountable, and help you move past your fears about investing in your business.
2) "Building a creative lifestyle comes first."
I have the freedom to design a life and business I want. I don't have to quit my day job.
This is totally different from the popular opinion of having your head buried in building an audience and selling them stuff.
What becomes of building a 6-figure business if you dread waking up to a schedule of building sales funnels, 4-part video series opt-ins, social media challenges and counting down to when you'll break the 6-figure mark?
Of course, you probably want to build a business that makes thousands of dollars. But most importantly, I want you to build a lifestyle that can sustain having a million-dollar business. Having a healthy mind is paramount. Yes, your mental health is important to me! You can have both a business that thrills and humbles you.
In the same sense, building lasting relationships trumps seasonal launches and the generic internet marketing strategies. I've seen many creative entrepreneurs (myself included) let their relationships fade away because they're too busy implementing this and that in their business.
3) "It's okay if my creative business only makes $1000 a year."
I could be profitable. I could go weeks without making a cent. But that's okay. I only want to work with clients that send creative shivers down my spine. Clients who will pay me what my services are worth.
Wow, that's very controversial, Margaret. Totally disregarding business and cash flow rules, aren't I?
Here's the caveat: you don't have to be a starving artist.
The idea behind "making only $1000 a year" frees you from the obligation to bury yourself in countless webinars and wormholes trying to reach income goals that don't align with how you run your business.
I do not ask you to live life by my rules. If you dream of building a 6-figure empire, please do so. Your dreams are oh so valid!
But this is what success means to me––building a creative business and lifestyle that is independent of slaving over cash flow. A truly creative business will not require you to quit your dreams just in search of the thrill that entrepreneurship provides. You don't have to give up an arm and leg just so you can call yourself a business owner.
It's about calling the shots on how much you want to make at any given time.
It is waking up to your purpose, doing the thing that fuels your spirit and makes you feel connected to God. Staying connected to this part of yourself is important and it is imperative that your business doesn't depend on how much you make. Or how much you see others making in their business.
4) "I have permission to pivot to another business model of my choice."
If client work is too draining, I can move to group coaching. I can also try course creation. I can sell digital downloads like e-books, spreadsheets, and so on. I am NOT chained to serve one business audience or niche.
Something I've been learning these days is to redefine the meaning of failure. After countless hours on the webs reading many 0-to-$1M dollar sales and brands, my love for these entrepreneurs has grown. Not because they now have fangirls and fanboys eager to share their brands all over social media, but because they've embraced the risk to make mistakes and ability to learn from these mistakes.
Your journey as an entrepreneur will have its ups and downs. Yes, you can be persistent. But it doesn't mean staying in a business that is draining your reserve of financial, physical, and mental resources.
If you are not profiting from one audience, it is totally within your rights to find your starving crowd or market. You are not selling out by doing so. Like I said, you don't have to be a starving artist to make it.
5) "I can create premium offers that attract my dream clients anywhere. Even if they are few."
It doesn't matter how many people on earth offer my services. My clients are out there waiting and wanting to pay for my services. I have what it takes to stand out online in a crowded industry.
One of the most interesting but confusing stages in business is creating premium offers/packages and experience for clients. And with this headache comes marketing these services to people that value them.
Here's what marketing is like for most people:
Create lead magnet. Create offers. Make graphics to promote offers on social media. Write endless emails to your list about these offers. Crickets.
What you need to know is this: when marketing premium services to premium clients, you shouldn't speak to any and everybody. This obviously shrinks your audience and who can afford you. However, working with very few premium clients will pay the bills without having to break your arm promoting low ticket products.
You have the permission to selectively work with clients who give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
In summary, repeat these:
I value the ability to choose how much I make and when I make $$$ on my creative journey.
I value the freedom that comes with being a creative entrepreneur; the freedom to create or consume. To adore or to question what I do. To be present or to reflect privately.
I value a honest brand that isn't created by hustling. A brand that is birthed by answering the call to purpose.
I have permission to pivot my business model in search of my dream client.
I have the permission to selectively work with few clients who give me a sense of purpose and satisfaction ($$$).
So, what's your definition of success? I want to hear from you in the comments below.
I write about the intersection of creativity, passion, and profit. I also share my own process towards doing my other creative endeavors via email. So, yup, you might wanna sign up to be my email buddy to know when the next post drops!