Everyone knows that entrepreneurs need to be gutsy. How else could they face the risks inherent in starting something new? Even just the dream of starting a business is a brave endeavor that most folks can't handle.
The ups and downs of entrepreneurship can be stressful. Not knowing where your next client is coming from can be frustrating. There's a LOT of uncertainty (which is why I'm a business coach - to help people through that uncertainty!).
Being a creative entrepreneur? Well, you might as well turn the volume up to eleven! We often work alone on our projects, and that echo chamber can amplify our fears and frustrations.
But there are three fears I hear time and again from entrepreneurs that we need to deal with... because these fears are genuine realities of the day-to-day work of being an entrepreneur. Yep, you heard me. These things WILL show up in your work and you need to understand that right now. Before you jump head first into something with wild abandon.
Instead of fearing them, creative entrepreneurs need to embrace them. Shocker, right? Well, let's take a look at them and find a path to embracing your fears.
# 1 - Knowledge gaps
Knowledge gaps come in two flavors: what you know you don't know and what you don't know you don't know.
Simply put, you can't know everything, and trying to do so will only make you suffer. Okay, Fusions, you get sort of a pass here because you know a LOT of things, but even so, you still don't know EVERYTHING. There's going to come a point in your business where you're stepping away from what's comfortable and familiar into new territory.
For example, I recently had some wordpress plugin issues that were making my quiz inoperable. I know enough about wordpress to be dangerous, so there are things I know and things I don't know. Then, there are things I didn't even know I didn't know... like how the server side of my web host operates. I had to do some IT consulting, talk to my designer, and found out I'll ultimately need to do some site upgrades in order to fix the issues.
Did I panic a little? Sure. For a few minutes. Then I remembered that I can ask for help and there are plenty of people smarter than me that can solve these issues.
Knowledge gaps don't have to induce fear or panic. Instead, rest in the fact that growing your business means growing pains - and that you'll need to invest in help from time to time in order to cover your knowledge gaps.
# 2 - Business change
In business, the only certainty is change, but the uncertainty of that change can be stressful and overwhelming. A solid business foundation can help keep things stable, but no one can prepare for every eventuality (the pandemic of 2020 taught us that!).
Companies that can remain agile and accept change are the ones that come out on top. As such, being a better entrepreneur is less about facing business change as it is about embracing it. In an interview I did with Jonathan Fields a while ago, he said there is no staying still. There are no lateral moves. Because time marches on and if you move laterally or stay in the same spot, you're actually behind.
On one hand, that feels like an endorsement of hustle culture, but it's not. It's about recognizing that you have a choice to make in any moment. If forward is where you want to do, you can't stay complacent. You have to keep looking ahead, correcting your course, and moving toward your dreams and goals. I've said it before, it doesn't matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop... unless, of course, you've changed your mind about what your goals really are.
See? Change happens. Get used to it now and it'll be your friend later.
# 3 - Financial fluctuations
Income and outgo fluctuate. It's a natural part of business. We have high seasons and low seasons. Planning your business around either is a recipe for disaster.
I remember my first five-figure month. I had just hosted a 2-week telesummit with over a dozen guests. My list quadrupled in size. I was over-the-moon excited and made a rookie mistake - I planned my income for the next few months based on that incredible high.
After decades as a creative entrepreneur, I've learned about cash flow and income projections. I've learned how to find the average monthly income and outgo of my business and that helps my planning go a lot more smoothly. BUT...
- There are still times when surprise expenses pop up
- There are still times when surprise income shows up
- There are still times when I can't predict what's going to happen (hello, 2020!)
Instead of beating myself up, I use the information from those surprises to help my business improve for the next time. And there will be a next time. And when it comes, I'm better prepared to handle it.
There's an old saw: "new level, new devil". I like to think of it as new level, SAME devil. Uncertainty doesn't go away. Whether it's life or business, finances or knowledge gaps, change is inevitable. The thing that matters most is how you navigate it.
Want support? Join us in the Creative Freedom Incuabtor and get the support you need for the level you're at. Whether you're just getting started or you're a seasoned creative, you'll find the community, accountability, coaching and business support you need to have a business making great money doing what you love - without selling your soul to do it.