So branding is a big deal. Or at least that’s what everyone with 2 thumbs and an opinion has suggested to me since I started my business 2 (simultaneously long and lighting short) years ago. And I’m starting to come around to this point of view. I mean, I’ve always known branding is important. But I’ve suddenly experienced, firsthand, how the right branding really can change everything.
Until about 2 weeks ago, I thought of myself as a blogger. It’s true, about 85% of my income came from blogging clients. But I created other types of content too and for the past year or so, I’ve known that I wanted to move into doing bigger projects. I wanted to be a ghostwriter.
So, I began working on becoming a ghostwriter. I added “ghostwriting” to my elevator pitch. I told everyone I write books for people (along with blogs, articles, and website page content). I began strategizing about finding this new breed of clients. I began asking for the referrals I was looking for.
And…nothing was happening.
Or at least, it didn’t feel like anything was happening. Fortunately, I had plenty of blogging and blogging-ish clients paying me by the hour. In fact, I had more than plenty.
With all the work coming in, it was all I could do to keep my head above water by focusing on scheduling my time around client deliverables. The money was coming in. I was handling things. But I felt entirely disconnected from my business. I felt like an employee.
I knew I had to do something different. I asked my mentors what to do. I discussed this challenge with my various networking and peer coaching groups. I obsessed about what to do.
I got various answers. A lot of those answers swirled around getting out of my left-brain (yep, recovering academic / rule-follower / people-pleaser here) and doing right-brain stimulating activities.
You know, stuff like:
- Go for a walk in nature.
- Take an improv class.
- Go dancing.
- Take a wine and paint class.
- Write with your non-dominant.
- Visit an art gallery.
- Eavesdrop on a conversation of someone who seems odd (to you).
- Take pictures of random pretty things.
- Write about not knowing what to write about.
- Notice different shades of colors.
- Take a spontaneous vacation to anywhere.
- Try sound therapy.
The list goes on. All of these things DO stimulate your right brain capacity for intuitive thinking…AKA stimulating ideas and creativity that do not come from anything or anyone but your own crazy brilliant mind.
I did a lot of the things on the list and I’m sure they didn’t hurt. But do you know what I didn’t do?
I didn’t stop.
I didn’t take a breath.
I didn’t turn inward and consider what my gut and intuition were telling me.
Until I did. Then I ended contracts with my 2 biggest clients which collectively had been paying me 50% of my income every month.
I started to feel like a ghostwriter. For the first time, I have good ghostwriting prospects and warm leads. I have time and space to cultivate the relationships I need to land that first client. I can really focus on the clients I have. I feel more creative (and want to create content for myself for the first time in months). I have time to think about the big picture again.
If you find yourself in a similar situation to where I was before I made this transformation. I know the question that keeps nagging you and keeping you up at night:
“How the hell do I stop to figure out what I really want to do and how to make it happen when I’m too busy trying to make everyone else happy?”
Well, the short answer is that you simply can’t.
“What? You can’t?” says the Go-Getter Type A personality?
That’s right. You can’t. Because no one can teach you how to listen to yourself.
This is really why it’s so difficult to be an all-in-one show where you handle both the business side and the creative aspects of what you do. Many businesses fail because they’re simply trying to keep clients rather than sticking to their guns, listening to their intuition and business sense, and doing what they do best, at all costs.
It’s a thing: when you start a small business and you get a few clients, you want to keep them. Makes sense. They’re your bread and butter. It’s scary to get out on your own, especially when you’ve spent a lot of your professional life working for someone else and receiving the reliable [but unworthy of your brilliance] paycheck.
But eventually, doing work you don’t like because you’re otherwise afraid of losing clients will get old, and it will feel just the same as working for “The Man” and being on some rich guy’s payroll as a pawn (and anyone on someone’s payroll is inevitably a pawn).
If you take the leap and set the boundaries, though, you learn (like I learned) that big risks reap big rewards and the more you stick to your guns, knowing what you do best and doing only that, the more you’ll attract what you’re putting out there as what you do better than anybody.
Here’s the other thing: getting out of your left brain requires you to stop trying to be right. There is no right or wrong answer to what inspires you, to what motivates you, to what you find to be interesting or exciting or moving.
And that’s exactly what you’ve got to find in order to get into your intuitive canals, if that’s not an easy task for you.
So, this is the point where I’d usually provide you with a list of stuff to try or stuff that worked for me. But I’m not going to do that this time. The only thing that worked in this situation was telling myself it was time to rip off the band-aid and take off the training wheels and focus on what I really wanted to be.
If you are a left-brainer (like me) with a creative block, there’s no pill that’s going to remedy it. You’re going to have to overhaul your life to tap into your intuitive depths and that is a process that just takes time. Maybe it takes 2 weeks, maybe it takes 6 months, or 2 years. Whatever. Give yourself the gift of time you need to work through it and you won’t just love your job on the other side of all of this.
You’ll learn to love yourself more. And that’s the ultimate in intuitive creative energy.
Are you a left-brainer trying to find your creative mojo in the world? Give me a call…that’s my specialty. Let’s bring your desires and my creativity together and tell your amazing story!
Photo credit: konstantynov / 123RF Stock Photo