HART 06 | Taking the Leap
Welcome to part || of our thoughts on taking the leap. In our last Honey post, we looked at a healthy place for your mind/heart to be as you set out to pursue your passions. Today we're getting down to the nitty-gritty : checklists and to-do's to ensure your i's are dotted and those t's are crossed.
1. Before you surrender to the wind and cut all ties, it's important to seriously consider your pursuits. Is there a demand for your product/service/idea? And what makes you different from x number of other people offering the same thing? The world needs pictures and there are plenty of photographers to supply them, so what makes me different/refreshing/more genuine?
2. And since you're already being introspective, let's take a look at your strengths and weaknesses. By necessity, an entrepreneur often wears many hats in the beginning -- you're in charge of marketing, communications, billings, the new website, SEO, shipments, oh, and don't forget you're the one actually creating the artwork so leave some extra time for that. Categorizing your skill(z) may give you a larger picture of what you have to offer that sets you apart from others in your industry -- and this list should include all strengths, even if you're unsure how they might contribute. Listing the areas in which you're not so gifted (accounting, anyone?!), is not meant to discourage you, but encourage you to seek outside suggestion and perhaps a hierarchy of things which you can outsource once your income allows.
3. Keep that pencil out. It's time to record every.single.expense you can foresee. Initially, just scrawl anything that comes to mind : website template, web-hosting, domain name, packaging supplies, new equipment, paints, staples, logo design, business cards, software, business licenses... assign a ball-park figure to each expense and then categorize in order of priority/importance. Client-gifts are a lovely thing but you need a website before you'll have clients to spoil.
4. This knowledge provides us with a realistic expectation of how much $$ and time we need to invest before our business reaches a professional* level. [*Professional here meaning legal and legit.] With this information you can now make a game-plan. Since we love lists, let's start a final one on which we record goals and deadlines for the next year. For example : register business name and purchase domain by 11/25; meet with three web-designers by 1/25; have five new clients by 2/25/14; pull back to part-time or hand in two-weeks notice by 6/25/14... Share the list with a buddy and another industry professional for accountability and realistic second opinions.
5. Finally, take a deep breath and get yourself out there. Whether you have the option to begin full force or you're only able to paint/design/shoot/sew one day a week, it's imperative that you find time to do it and share it. Thanks to the interwebs, there is a vast amount of free marketing available to creative folk -- our work can be seen by more people in more places and shared with the click of a button, often for free! Decide which venues best support your medium and then share, pin, tag, post and submit your heart out.