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Don’t Just Create…Create Opportunity!

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I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity lately, primarily because I am immersed in Julia Cameron’s book, The Sound of Paper. In it, she details her struggles and triumphs with creativity, emphasizing how seasons change physically–as well as in our creative lives.

That’s led me to realize that creativity is more than our ability to devise a winning slogan or a visually appealing website. Our creative businesses are also about what we create for ourselves. Meaning, you can put all of your energy into producing whatever it is that you’re good at–websites, print collateral, etc. But what opportunities do you create for yourself? Are you working on a book detailing your expertise? Are you getting the word out about your professional aptitude? Are you generating new clients?

Being a creative is not just about the artistic deliverables we physically create. It’s about opening doors–and you have to do that for yourself when you’re in business for yourself–no one else will do it for you. If you don’t, you risk growing stale. No one will know about your business. It won’t grow. And it certainly won’t prosper. Sure, there are off seasons when you’re focused on work. But how are you going forward?

 

So how are you creating opportunities? Here are some things I do to keep my professional career and my business expanding:

  • Experiment with a new way to market yourself. Do you rely on direct mail? Try an email newsletter instead. Think of your audience and come up with different methods to connect.
  • Contribute to an industry article or book. Writers and authors use tools like helpareporter.com (HARO) to get sources. If you’re open to these opportunities–and subscribed to hear about them–you’re likely to be able to contribute.
  • Connect to an old client. Just because they’re not using your services now doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Stay visible. Check in with an email or pass on something that the client may find interesting.
  • Read an industry book! It will educate and inspire you. And if you leverage it the right way, it can produce results. I recently read The Referral Engine, by John Janstch and wound up generating a few article ideas from it. Some turned into paying opportunities! I learned new tips to enhance my business and made a few bucks. Score!
  • We tend to follow our peers on social media–what about people that can open doors professionally? I always like to connect with creative directors and marketing managers as well. These people can be great connections because they can give you work and offer valuable industry insights by way of blog posts, etc. You may not land work just by following the director of a prominent agency, but it’s good to get “out there” and social media makes it simple to connect. Once you have a connection, nurture it.
  • Regularly send inquiries to companies that can use my services. I don’t just wait for my phone to ring or jobs to be posted to get work. I am out there in the faces of people who can use my help.
  • Take time to be inspired. I regularly visit blogs of people that inspire me, personally and professionally. As creatives, you have to put just as much effort into your personal endeavors because they likely inspire you to get new ideas and explore new horizons.
  • Stop working. Cameron says that when you “empty out” mentally, it opens you up for new ideas to come on in.

Those are just some of the ways that I create opportunities for myself. What do you do to get out there.

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