• Advice

3 obstacles that hold creatives back (and how to overcome them)

Building a creative business that fulfills you and provides you with the lifestyle that you want and deserve takes equal parts talent, gumption, and stick-with-it-ness. Forget about waiting for the muse to visit. We have to make it happen. Every. Single. Day.

So, what does making it happen actually mean? It means committing to our dreams and doing our best to overcome the obstacles that threaten to delay the results that we want. The thing about obstacles is they’re much easier to overcome when you know what they are, so here are a few oldies, but goodies, along with strategies to get past them.

Obstacle #1: You don’t know how to do something

We all have dreams. Perhaps yours is having a phenomenally successful gallery show, becoming a best-selling author, or launching an online store. But when we see others successfully doing what we dream of, we assume they must have been born with the knowledge and skills needed to make it happen. That’s just not the case; they figured it out as they went along. And you can too.

How to deal?

  • Ask for advice: No matter what you’re doing there’s someone who’s done it before you. There are no medals for reinventing the wheel, so ask people you admire how they did it. Most people are more than happy to share their experiences.
  • Ask for help: Here’s where you network comes in. Now you know what you need to do, figure out who you know that can help. Feel shy about asking? Make it a habit to help others, and you’ll soon recognize what goes around, comes around.
  • Don’t stop learning: There are tons of free or cheap resources courses available to you. Check out this fantastic roundup by The Muse.
  • Fake it till you make it: In a world of authentic marketing (of which I am a huge proponent), I understand that "faking" anything can feel disingenuous. Here’s the distinction that will ease those feelings. Faking it is not about tricking others into believing you can do something. It’s about tricking ourselves into believing we can do something, so we can push through the fear.

Obstacle #2: You can’t see how you’ll reach your goals

Our need to see the whole picture before we believe it can happen is a classic self-sabotaging strategy. We talk ourselves out of something before we even try. The sooner you release that, the sooner you can get down the work of making your idea happen.

How to deal?

  • Break your goal down into steps. If your dream is to work with higher-paying clients, those steps might include:
  • Articulate what you do more effectively so that it resonates with your dream clients
  • Review your fee structure. If you’re charging too little, you’ll continue to get small clients
  • Figure out where the dream clients are congregating (e.g. conferences, fairs, associations) and network there.

Obstacle #3: You fear failure

This is a totally understandable fear and one that everyone struggles with. But here’s the thing: since we don’t know how to do everything right out of the gate, some level of failure is inevitable.

How to deal?

  • It’s not whether we fail that counts, but how we respond to failure. Allow it to crush you and you’re in for a bumpy ride. See it as a learning experience (after you’ve licked your wounds of course, you are human after all) and you’re in with a fighting chance.
  • Entrepreneurship is a full-contact sport. Obstacles are there to challenge us, because challenge is exactly what we need to stretch and grow.

What strategies will you take action on first?

Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Through a series of clear, actionable steps, Justine will teach you how to you identify what makes you stand out from the crowd, create a marketing message that resonates with your ideal clients, and build a successful and fulfilling creative business or career. Sign up for Justine’s free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today.

Justine Clay is a business coach, speaker, writer & ADHD coach for freelancers & entrepreneurs. Sign up for her free guide: Pricing Creativity: Creative Business Pricing Guide for Freelancers & Small Agencies.

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