5 steps to having a great life as a creative

The golden doors are open, self-publishing has given millions of authors the chance to turn their passion into a full time job. Are you someone who has taken a hold of the great chance to help other authors? We’re now seeing a boom in:

  • Editors
  • Formatters
  • Designers
  • Marketing experts
  • Social Media Managers
  • Publishers

They were 9-5’ers until recently and now they get the chance to live the life doing what they love. So if you want to be one of these people, or you are one and want to keep this snowball rolling, what are the most important things to keep in mind?

I’ve been running Scarlett Rugers Design since 2011, and I wanted to share with you what helps me. I’ve got a bit of experience under my belt, and there’s no use to having knowledge if you can’t share it and put it into practice. So let’s begin…

inner chaosStep 1: Get rid of the shit in your life

We all got shit in our lives, and now is the time to get it out. I’m talking mental shit, emotional shit, physical shit… as in… stuff on your desk.

ANYWAY, just like in our homes our brains get clogged up with old habits, beliefs, and narratives that make us feel like crap and slow us down. Now is the time to toss it. You don’t need it. No matter how much you think you need these thoughts:

  • I’m not good enough
  • I can’t do it
  • I’m too tired
  • There’s too much happening
  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t have the knowledge
  • I’ll just end up failing

Let me ask you- do these thoughts actually help you? They wear nice clothes and pretend to be your friend but honestly, what is the worst that could happen if you tell them to f**k off? You might… you might try and do things. You might try new things, or revisit old projects you haven’t finished. You might end up… accomplishing something. HELL YES.

You are allowed to be in control of your own mind, and your life.

trust yourselfStep 2: Trust yourself. Do things that help build your self confidence and self esteem

You got your own back. You’ve come into this business because you know you can do it, something inside you tells you that, so listen.

Being a creative means there will be a constant flow of feedback for your work, that’s what comes with working in this industry. You create something for someone, and get their feedback on whether they like it or not. You know what? Sometimes they aren’t, and that’s okay.

So you need to do things which will help you build more trust in yourself, and build your self confidence. When you wake up in the morning and have to face your clients you know you have everything under control, and whatever shit hits the fan you’ve got Captain America’s shield to protect you.

Get positive reinforcement from others in your industry, bounce ideas off friends and family, do things you enjoy and love. Tell yourself, in the mirror, that you are capable. Not just capable, but good at what you do, and always getting better.

Why do you love your jobStep 3: Remember why you love what you do, because there will be days you won’t.

There are two people who get into business:

1. Those that love business for business and find something to match it with to get things started.

2. Those that turn their hobby into a profession

Today I’m talking to all you 2’s. For the first 6-12 months you’re going to be on a high. You will come to your self-made office (dining table, home office, lounge room…) and get to work and be in total bliss. Then things will take a turn.

Not dramatically, but very very slowly the other portions of business will creep in. Admin, organization, customer service, marketing, budgeting. And then you may feel the pressure of dealing with constant feedback from clients, both good and bad, both brilliant and disastrous. Slowly what you loved to do now becomes just another job. You no longer run your own business, but you come to work and get through as much as you can, on 15 hour days, working through weekends, sacrificing family and friend time.

A lot of business don’t get past year 2, because the realities of what it takes to run a business set in. It’s really important to find ways to remind yourself why you love doing what you do. This might include:

  • Loving the process of creating something
  • Helping author’s being the best they can be
  • Setting your own work hours and rules.
  • Flexibility of running your own business
  • Learning new things

Whatever it is that helps you remember why you love what you do, write it down and revisit it often. Have gratitude for being able to earn money, and live, off what you love.

Step 4: Challenge yourself and learn new stuff. Do things that scare you.

There is nothing that will bring on a quicker death than stagnation. It is important as a business, and an individual, to keep learning, growing, and doing shit that scares the ever living daylights out of you. When you grow inside, everything will grow with you. When you accept was is and don’t attempt anything new, everything will be covered under dust.

Like attracts like, so get out there and start liking things!

Set goalsStep 5: Have goals.

If you don’t know where you’re going you won’t get there. Have short term and long term goals. There doesn’t have to be many, don’t worry, but at least 1 or 2. Now is the time for daydream, where do you want to be in 5, 10 or 20 years? Let the fantasies flow forth, and start figuring out how to get there. This life won’t just fall into your lap, you gotta go out and get it.

Each of these steps together create an awesome formula. Sometimes one step will be more important than another, sometimes you’ll neglect some entirely, but just circle back to them every few weeks or so. There’s no set way to approach these, just work through them in a way that you feel works best for you. That’s the beauty of running your own business, you get the final say.

What are some other things you think could be added to the list? What has worked best for you to having a great life as a creative?

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