Creative leaders: get your hands dirty again!


So you got yourself set up in your creative business and everything changed.  Now your days are spent marketing and managing payroll and watching the cashflow and dealing with vacation schedules and calming needy clients.

But wait – what was it you started out doing?  How did you get to this point?  You were a designer or a film editor or a photographer or whatever it was.  You remember.  You loved it and you were good at it and miraculously people paid you to do it. Wow.  But now there’s all this businessy stuff taking up your time and focus.  You are quite good at that too, but with all this business stuff to do you’re dying a little inside every day.

Don’t let yourself lose the excitement that got you into it in the first place.  Think back to the time when you were doing your thing – really your thing.  Weren’t you all day and night deep into your creative projects?  Weren’t you shooting film or designing frocks or writing ads or building apps?  It was about the feel of the materials or the effectiveness of the communication or the elegance of the handbag or the clarity of the design or the beauty of the code.  Remember how that felt?  So – most important – find a way to be getting this back into your life.

Carry a sketchbook, mess up a workbench, crack open a glue pot, play with that new camera.  Work on the projects you’ve had simmering in the back of your mind.  Set aside certain hours during the week where no-one is allowed to bother you.  Where you hide in your little studio.  Whatever it takes.  Make collages, start the novel, get back into the code.

You have to do this – if you don’t your business will not last, and you will be miserable.  Besides which, it’s R and D and therefore a completely legitimate component of your business.  You always planned to be constantly pushing and exploring.  But maybe this part just got pushed off the schedule by the daily nonsense.

Do it.  Get your hands dirty again.  It will make you happy.