How to Create an Authentic-Feeling Business
If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s that we want our creative business to thrive.
Of course making money is important – without it, we’re not a business! – but the thriving I’m talking about here is not focused solely on financial success. There is a much more true measure of our success available to us and it takes real guts to tap into running a business this way …
It also has to feel good.
In my many years as an Artist, I have gone from making artworks and products I thought others would want to see and buy; to making deeply personal, authentic and rich work from the heart that feels good and authentic to me. It makes sense to me that if I want people to deeply connect with my business offerings, I need to deeply connect with my needs first!
So in this post, I share some simple, creative tips to get our business work for us – all in ways that feel good on the inside and out.
Authentic-Feeling Business tip #1: Identify Your Resentment
Although we’d all like to focus only on the positives and avoid negative thinking in our businesses, sometimes we need to address the elephant in the room.
I recently read a great article about resentment being a sure-fire sign that we’re under-valuing ourselves with our pricing. But in my experience, resentment is a feeling we experience anytime we are not working towards what really lights us up inside.
For a long time, my handmade Art Prints range was very successful. But after becoming a mother, I began loathing the individual printing, packaging and posting for my orders, because it felt tedious and it took my away from my other new business ideas. That’s when I knew it was time to shift my focus.
Maybe we’re feeling resentful about our prices being too low. Maybe it’s about continuing to make a product line that sells well, but we no longer enjoy creating. Maybe it’s because we’re spending so much time on our business, that we’re neglecting our family and friends. Or maybe, we just need a holiday. All of the above have been true for me at some point.
Mini exercise #1: Getting Real with Resentment
- Grab yourself a piece of paper and a pen. Take a few breaths to feel calm, then ask yourself: ‘What parts of my business do I feel resentful about?’ Be honest and thorough as you list these in dot-point form.
- Once you’ve got yourself a little list, go through each one and ask, ‘How could it feel to let go of this in my business?’ Visualise yourself becoming free of this feeling. How does this feel? Jot down some words or symbols.
- Last question … ‘What is one action I could take today, to help me let go and move into a better-feeling space about this issue?’
Sometimes, just knowing we’re working towards something can dissolve resentment almost immediately. We don’t have to solve the whole problem now, but we all have it within us to make one little step forward. That step forward might be anything from setting a due date for a long-term goal, to sending an email to a new supplier, to hiring a professional to do your accounting.
Authentic-Feeling Business tip #2: Who do you admire?
I read this amazing book recently, called Daring Adventures in Paint. In it, Mati Rose talks about finding her voice and how people she admires, help point her in the right direction.
Think about it. The people we admire, whether they are fellow entrepreneurs, celebrities, authors, organisations or even family and friends; are the kind of people we’d like ourselves to be. I’d like to take this one step further and say that the qualities we admire in others are the qualities we already hold ourselves – whether or not we’re aware of them!
Once we know where our values lie, it gets so much easier to make a business which feels good to us.
Mini exercise #2: My key business values
- Draw a circle in the middle of your page.
- Inside this circle, jot down at least five people and/or businesses you admire.
- Around the outside, begin to list the qualities you admire about each one. Place these anywhere around the page.
- Each time you notice the same quality emerge, place a tally mark next to that word. (e.g. three of your admired businesses are quirky or generous or eco-friendly – they’ll have extra tally marks)
- Once you have exhausted your list, circle all the qualities you’ve listed more than once, PLUS the ones that stand out most strongly for you.
These circled qualities are your key business values!
When I did this exercise, many of the answers surprised me. I discovered I was much more awesome than I thought! I also unearthed some untapped key values for my business, such as philanthropy. So I introduced a yearly Art Auction, using all my surplus stock, to donate to my favourite cause the Fred Hollows Foundation. Last year alone I raised over $1000 in Artwork sales, got to feel great about myself, made loads of new customer connections and moved old stock all at the same time.
Our deep values truly rock and deserve to shine in our business!
Authentic-Feeling Business tip #3: Name your Biggest Dream!
I have left this one until last, because it is the juiciest and potentially, the scariest of them all. Because, if there’s one thing more scary than failure, it’s success!
Naming our biggest dreams out loud – in front of other people – not only brings it out of our heads and into the world, but it enables us to step into new possibilities.
Mini exercise #3: Share your awesome business dream!
- Imagine you had absolutely all the money, all the time and all the self-love in the world to do ANYTHING with your business. What would it be? How far could you shine? How would it feel?
- Leave a comment below and put this dream out there. You never know, one of your fellow readers might have a link, tip or connection to help you make this dream happen sooner than you thought!
- Be sure to include your business website below, so people know how to contact you or share your link.
Happy dreaming everyone! Love Chrissy x
Image source: Sam Covey Photo (This site/resource is no longer available)