As a creative, I find much business advice mechanical and one-dimensional. It doesn’t speak my language and doesn’t help me to create more, or better. Which are my two measures of whether a book about creative entrepreneurship has worked for me, or not.
In most cases, not. One exception is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber.
The e-myth stands for “the entrepreneurial myth”, a concept popularized by business coach
Michael Gerber. It’s what Gerber calls “the fatal assumption” that if you’re good at what you do, you can successfully run a business around it.
Creatives are terrible for this. If the work is good enough, they think, it will sell itself.
Sometimes, it happens that way, just like sometimes people win the lottery but a lottery ticket is not a business plan.
Gerber is renowned in the business world for his thoughts around the distinction between working in your business versus on your business. (I would add that these days we also need to be thinking about work that talks about your business as a separate category; more on this soon)
Good In The Business But What About On The Business?
To build a creative business, as well having a product or service to sell (the in-your-business stuff) you also need:
- Somebody who likes what you do enough to part with money for it
- A way to show what you do to those who want to buy
- A way to take money
- An understanding of the assets of your business and how to grow them
- Sustainable processes that are sustaining of you
Most creatives don’t start off thinking like this.
They have something they want to do, and they do it, and hope people turn up. “If we build it, they will come,” is their motto. This is the first reason why most creative entrepreneurs are overworked and/or underpaid.
On the other hand, as a person who values individuality and creativity, you’re unlikely to be impressed by business advice that doesn’t allow the uniqueness of you.
You’re not a business machine but an individual, multifaceted, and complex organism, a mind body and spirit operating in mysterious ways. Creative entrepreneurship needs to recognize that and the overarching importance of what conventional schooling and workplaces ignore: the inner life.
As a CE, you are engaged in a balancing act.
You need to go deeper, ofter. How you do this is:
- You pace yourself, working fast, resting slow, playing often.
- You are open to your own creative spirit.
- You trust that the subconscious mind is doing the heavy lifting, and you can relax and have fun.
- You return regularly to now, to appreciate what you’re creating.
Creativity is not willed, we don’t grasp it or exploit it, we succumb to it. And when it’s going well, when we are in flow, we don’t think about it. We don’t even do it. We become it.
This is what makes creative entrepreneurs different. Our understanding that we don’t create so much as co-create. Our ability to rely on a force that is larger than us.
CEs who have truly gone creative know how to generate the create-state at will. We know that when things get challenging, the first thing we do—before we roll up the sleeves and get to work—is get into flow. Into the create-state.
Having gone deep, you can then return to the surface to take practical action.
Go Creative! It’s Your Native State, the first book in the Go Creative! series is publishing soon. If you’d like to be the first to hear when it’s out, you can get an alert by signing up here:
I’ll also send you my free Monday Motivator and my Compendium for Creativists ebook.