I’ve officially made it 40 turns around the sun.
So I made a list of 40 lessons I’ve learned running this business. May it help you with your own creative business. And I’d love to hear your rules of the road – feel free to hit reply and let me know what rules you live by.
- Value simplicity over ornamentation.
- You can’t force creativity. Take a break, get outside, pet the dog, visit a museum, run away for a while. Whatever it takes to reset your mojo.
- Take one full day off of email each week.
- Savor and store inspiration. Read real books and magazines.
- Be a student first. Relish that fact that you don’t know everything. And stay excited about learning new things.
- You don’t have to share your entire life (or anything at all!) on social media to be successful.
- If you’re meeting your goals, don’t feel like you have to be doing ALL THE THINGS.
- It’s ok if you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone is going to like you, but the people who do will be your loudest cheerleaders.
- Don’t burn bridges. People remember your attitude and how you treated them. You might just be surprised who hires you (or recommends you) years later.
- Stand up for what you believe in. You don’t have to say yes to projects, people or causes that aren’t in alignment with your values.
- Design by committee never ends well.
- There is always more work out there. Always.
- It’s up to you to determine what you want to achieve. The hardest question anyone ever asked me was “What do you want?”
- It’s ok to end things. Things get cancelled, companies close down, partnerships fizzle. End it gracefully. (See #9).
- Yes, people are totally judging you (and your work). But the more you put yourself out there, the less it matters.
- Don’t talk negatively about your clients or providers. Not in facebook groups, not in vague posts or in angry tweets. It can haunt you in surprising ways. The world is much smaller than you think. And everybody talks behind closed doors.
- The internet lives forever. Usernames can be figured out, doxxing is a real threat. Always be mindful of what you post.
- Find your people and hold onto them. Support is key for survival. And your partner can be your most important life choice.
- Listen deeply. Respond wisely.
- Don’t waste energy on being resentful or spiteful. My greatest lesson was learning how to to feel happy for other people’s success.
- Sleep > work. And naps are totally justified. Work will always be there when you wake up.
- Your experiences will inform your future work – even if it doesn’t make sense at the time.
- Give yourself permission to pivot. It’s ok if you change your mind on what you want to do. Even if you’re 18. or 40. or 80.
- Grudges hold you back. Let that ish go. They don’t deserve your time.
- There will be a tipping point in your business. Either success will happen or it won’t. It’s ok to move on to the next thing.
- We’re all just looking for someone to tell us we’re doing it right.
- There’s always going to be someone hungrier or more ambitious than you. You can either help them or wallow in self-doubt and pity. I choose to help.
- Be kind to customer support. Even the IRS. They’re people too. I used to sell underwear on the phone. There’s no need to yell at someone selling underwear. You can live without underwear.
- Move your body every day. Stretch. Dance. Climb. Hike. Get out of that damn chair. Long walks > killing yourself.
- Copying others is lazy. So is using stock photos of coffee or wine memes. Be unique. Are you adding visual clutter or inspiration to the world?
- Integrity is everything.
- Write phantom letters. Frustrated or angry at a situation? Write it out. But don’t send it. Totally cathartic.
- Learn how to take a compliment. Let other people sing your praises.
- Save handwritten thank you notes from clients and post them where you can see them everyday.
- Do one big thing a year that scares you. Speak on stage. Travel by yourself. Write a book. Teach. Say I’m sorry.
- Clarity always wins.
- Know when to cut your losses. Off to a rough start? Don’t prolong it – it’s not likely to improve. Your mental well-being is worth more than a dollar sign.
- Don’t take advice from people who haven’t created anything.
- Play the long game. There’s flash in the pan overnight success. And then there’s a lasting career.
- Get out before you burn out.
These tips are so helpful – such important reminders to help us keep on keeping on and staying on track. Thanks as always for such fab advice Michelle x