Are you doing the same thing you’ve been doing since your started your business? Seriously, take a second to think about it–is it pretty much the same as it was last year, and 5 years ago, and 10 years ago? Besides going digital (if you’re a photographer), have you made any significant changes? Are you producing work that looks pretty much the same as when you started? And what about your marketing? Same old same-old?
Is it a safe place, where you are? You have regular clients who bring in regular work and you know ahead of time what you’re going to be doing for them and how much it’ll bring in and what they will and will not accept from you creatively (“but that’s okay–they’re bread-and-butter clients�? you tell yourself).
Is that what you want? Is that what you imagined your business would be when you launched it? Shooting or designing safe catalogues or brochures for conservative clients who demand Black, Latino/a, Asian and white models in ALL the “happy office�? images or who want yet another farkle on that techno-whatsits or an exclamation point after the third “free�? in their (client-supplied) copy (bold AND italics too, please)? If your answer is “no,�? then what are you doing to change it? I’ll bet the answer is “nothing.�?
I don’t work with everyone who comes to me. Why? Because some people do not want to be challenged. If you’re one of those kind of people, stop reading this now and go do something else. You’re not going to want to read what follows. Go. Now.
Okay, for the rest of you, if you’re not having the business you want, change it. You made it the way it is and you have the power to make it something else. It takes guts and being open to new ideas, but you can do it. Here’s an interesting example of an old, stodgy creative company that needed an “intervention�? to change. It got it, and things are starting to happen. Good things.
But look at the risks it took! Though I am utterly disapproving of the fact it did a ton of work totally as spec, there are still great lessons to be learned here–creative for creativity’s sake results in practical applications of the creativity; going beyond their past boundaries results in new business, better clients, happier work; risk=reward.
When was the last time you took a big risk with your business? Tried a crazy promo idea, told a client “no�? when they asked for something mind-numbingly blah, told a client to “use someone else�? when they said they wanted the same work for 50% less–and why not?
Safe isn’t. You’re at the edge of your business cliff. I’m here to push you off.
So you can fly.