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Thom
Bennett

Website & graphic design

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Don’t Set the Bar Low for Your Creative Business

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

If we refuse to work to improve, we will suffer our own ennui.

It is not megalomania to say you are going to be the next so and so. Why not you? Presuming talent, desire, fortitude, courage and a heavy dose of good fortune, making your vision a reality is a distinct possibility. To which, I am amazed at how low the bar most creative business owners (and their businesses) set for themselves. Be it money, icons, volume or quality of work, the relative value between you and them makes no sense to me.

Why would you want your business that does $200,000 now to make $350,000 in 3 years? If you are happy with the $200,000 then you need not want $350,000. But if you want $350,000, then $1,000,000 would be more appropriate. Irony of all ironies, you are far more likely to put the effort necessary to get to $1,000,000 than you are to $350,000, so your chances of getting the $1,000,000 are far greater than getting to $350,000. Your first million is impossible, your second inevitable.

And although I am categorically against looking into someone else’s wallet or their lawn, if you must, make sure it is worthy of your envy. You may marvel at the price a fashion designer can command for couture gowns, but take no note of how badly her reputation for service is in the industry. What glitters on the outside, probably does not on the inside. You cannot eat sparkle.

All of the comparing, contrasting, self-flagellation, self-aggrandizement, and posturing, makes me wonder what league you want to play in? I just watched the first episode of ‘The Next Iron Chef’, Super Chef’s edition. In the episode, Spike Mendelsohn, who came fourth in Season 4 of Top Chef, lost his cook-off to Marcus Samuelsonn, one of the greatest chefs of this generation and winner of Top Chef Masters. Spike has come a long way since Top Chef and cooked an amazing dish. Marcus was just better. Disappointment? Sure. Shame? None. Of course, this is television. However, you only have to read Anthony Bourdain’s last book, Medium Raw, to understand how competitive chefs as a group are. Spike wanted to win and thought he could. Being worst of the best served Spike well and will most certainly only help his career in Washington, DC.

We all must seek to be better. If we refuse to work to improve, we will suffer our own ennui. However, if we move only to say we caught the turtle, we are kidding ourselves. Dare yourself to play with the big girls. You might get squished but probably not. Either way, you will learn what it takes to get where you want to go. You may discover that you do not want to be there at all. That is actually better than good. Then you can set about staying where you are, living there, savoring that you are there.

The point is to find your focus, be truthful about your and your creative business’ purpose and to deliver it. Floating around on talent is its own myopia. So is turning a $200,000 creative business into a $350,000 one. Dare yourself to be better than your hopes.

Cover and top image (CC) by thriol via Flickr

This is a cross-post from The Business of Being Creative.

Sean Low is the Founder and President of The Business of Being Creative, a consulting firm focused on providing practical advice to those in the business of being creative. Prior to founding The Business of Being Creative, Sean spent six years as the President of Preston Bailey Design, Inc. representing Preston in his business endeavors around the world. Sean has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his twenty years of business experience ranges from law, investment banking, financial executive to small business owner.

View more at:
http://www.designtaxi.com/article/101745/Don-t-Set-the-Bar-Low-for-Your-Creative-Business/

If we refuse to work to improve, we will suffer our own ennui.

It is not megalomania to say you are going to be the next so and so. Why not you? Presuming talent, desire, fortitude, courage and a heavy dose of good fortune, making your vision a rea…