The curse of being creative
Having a creative mind isn’t enough: more skills come into play.
If you are in business creativity itself isn’t enough: more knowledge and skills come into play.
Let me examine some jobs — for their execution creativity is crucial yet is it enough to succeed?
Important. In my simple analysis, the following activities share one feature: they are all solopreneurs, that is, individuals who set up and run a business on their own.
To begin with, here’s a list of types of craftworks.
Barber/hairdresser, shoemaker, carpenter, ceramist, electrician, blacksmith, carpenter, jeweller, plumber, mechanic, baker, tailor.
Some of these jobs need the craftsman or the technician to be super-creative.
Absolutely, despite common belief even electricians and plumbers can carry out the same task in different ways, hence they’ve got some options to choose from and this opportunity must set creativity going plus some other characteristics.
Creativity, sensitivity, manual skill, passion for fashion trends and home decoration ideas are a prerequisite for tailors, shoemakers, ceramists and jewellers. But are those abilities sufficient to run a business or to open a high street shop?
They are not enough! All the craftworks, from small shops away from the buzz of the city centre to dazzling locations in the midst of the urban core need a lot more than creativity.
Especially when the busiest cafés open their shutters 100 metres from one other on the same boulevard, the most competitive programmers are gathered in a handful of portals for freelancers and you can purchase anything you want and have it delivered within an hour at your place.
In such a hyper crowded predicament do you really believe that creativity alone can drag into your shop all the clients you need to be profitable?
You are a very creative baker, you serve the most delicious pastry, the most mouth-watering cakes, you’re known for the most inventive, healthy and various types of bread but you don’t know the fixed costs and variable costs of your bakery. Do you believe this can lead you to thrive or to bankruptcy?
Since the World Wide Web became the new high street shop, the new window inside a shopping centre, the new global arena where entrepreneurs must adopt a sort of fight or flight approach, things changed dramatically for SMEs of every sector and whatever was enough for them to merely survive or to prosper, today is simply inconceivable.
TODAY IS SIMPLY INCONCEIVABLE!
The new toolbox for modern solopreneurs
Each profession comes with its own requirements for hard and soft skills which means that from barbers and hairdressers to electricians, all craftworks need basic knowledge or mastery of 4 key matters.
- business and financial management — your main path to success as a business owner;
- sales management — together with previous point 1 the easiest way to increase your revenue and profitability although the second most important areas to master as a business owner;
- marketing — chiefly web marketing — the third priority, learning how to segment types of audience and how to create cost-effective marketing materials and strategies to position a business inside the audience’s mind;
- writing and communication skills — every entrepreneur needs to know how to write a business model, a business plan, a sale letter or a thank you message.
Excellent quality and attention to details of your products or services aren’t mentioned since I take them for granted! Which means your business MUST no longer be product-centric.
Let me go back to the 4 points. Of course, time on Earth is limited to the conventional 24 hours for everybody that’s why outsourcing or delegating some or all of these tasks is the inevitable solution.
However, letting external accounting and financial services firms decide your financial and commercial policy can be a huge mistake.
That’s why knowing how to read a balance sheet in order to make strategic decisions is the key to run a business as a wise entrepreneur.
Now let me figure out more jobs which are signs of the times and require creativity as if there was no tomorrow.
Actor, app developer, architect, copywriter, dancer, farmer, fitness trainer/personal coach, interior designer, job consultant, marketing consultant, musician, painter/sculptor, real estate agent, singer, web developer, writer.
Differently from the craftworks I’ve just outlined, many of these creative professions cannot be administered without a manager, whose priority, however, is to assist singers, dancers, actors, musicians and painters in building a career, finding music producers, finding art galleries and developing relationships with record companies or art magazines, agents, and the audience.
Today, though, other experts are required to collaborate with the artist manager/agent. Social media managers, web marketing experts, copywriters and communication consultants could support the agent office in order to set the artists free from these burdens.
Last but not least here are the 7 most requested jobs in the future.
- community manager
- digital PR
- digital strategist
- e-reputation manager
- SEO specialist
- web analyst
- web content editor.
As a freelance consultant, I have to acknowledge that creativity for my category can be a real curse although is imperative for community managers, digital PR, digital strategists and so forth.
That is why undoubtedly the first four points I outlined in this post still represent the key to transform a solopreneurship into a real business which instead of struggling to pay bills and suppliers can flourish and be successful both online and offline.
Let me rewrite them once more to stress their importance:
1) business and financial management, 2) sales management, 3) marketing and particularly web marketing, 4) writing and communication skills.
Why having a creative mind can be a curse then?
Creativity is a great tool a tamed mind can offer to someone who needs it in their profession.
That said, nowadays wider know-how is required to use creativity as part of an entrepreneurial mindset which is paramount to run a profitable business.
The problem is that many courses syllabus hardly include these new competencies in the program of study of a business manager. In fact, managers are taught to … run a business, not to create it.
Obviously, we expect a manager knows business management and the basic of marketing but “being an entrepreneur” today needs much more than that and if you speak with a few solopreneurs whose businesses are thriving they will confirm this vision.
Anyway, creativity can be a curse for some people not just because other skills are needed to create a successful enterprise but because having a creative mind needs a few other human attributes no faculty syllabus can teach:
- you should be brave: global markets are like shark aquariums, fight or flight is the norm;
- you should be brave plus cultivate compassion: when you love yourself you love everybody, starting from the people you want to serve;
- you should be consistent with your spark of genius and follow your vision without being affected by negative people trying to put you off;
- you should know thyself: one of the Delphic maxims which fuels great minds and courageous individuals because when you know your “self” you know mankind, its dreams, problems and latent potential but mostly you understand people’s heart;
- you should be cautious to avoid making mistakes caused by the wish to make your dreams come true;
- you should be bold to avoid being held by excessive fears;
- you should let the creativity flow without letting it drive your projects, pick one and carry it out then pick the next and go ahead or choose the project of a lifetime and fulfil it with all your energy and passion.
This last point could become a hindrance many creative people can hardly overcome because for them creativity is the source of their individuality but also the curse of their days and nights, many of them are spent trying to tame the creative mind which wants to do hundreds of things, accomplish plenty of ideas, possibly in the shortest span of time so to have the opportunity to make more, learn more, create more, experiment more, the time to see more places, know more people, live more lives so to have more than one job at a time.
By and large, one of the issues of creative people is exactly the obsessive need to express all their feelings, ideas, emotions which could reveal mental issues.
A research from a university in Iceland provided evidence that people in creative professions are 25% at more risk for carrying variants involved in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. (Source: www.xcode.life/dna-and-health/creativity-curse/).
The curse of the creative mind is this: just one life and too many things to do.
Or rather, too many things to pick from and not all of them could be successful.
Let’s be honest, how many thoughts are really new and fresh every single day of our life? Most of them are pointless and repetitive thoughts. None of us is a non-stop production of flabbergasting ideas.