How will you manage the competing time demands of being a creative entrepreneur? Whether you’re a founder building a firm, or a freelancer, you have to find the work, estimate the work, do the work, bill the work, balance the checkbook, communicate with clients—and take out the trash. That’s a lot of hats to wear.
In this episode, I suggest taking a DiSC profile to help you increase your self awareness of the tendencies you face in managing your varied responsibilities. You can find the DiSC Classic 2.0 profile here – https://www.discprofile.com/products/disc-classic-2-0/.
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When you enter your studio, or sit down in front of your computer to work, you’re going to be confronted with all sorts of demands for your time. You’ll have emails to respond to, clients to take care of, and of course project work to get done. And those are just the urgent matters. There are any number of administrative tasks just waiting for you to give them your attention: logging your time, doing the books, making deposits, chasing down payments, ordering supplies and equipment. And then, of course, marketing—but who got time for that?
Like I said, being in business is hard. And at some level you just have to accept that you signed up for this, and you’re going to have to cultivate habits and disciplines that are required for any entrepreneur to survive and be successful. But for all of the tasks and responsibilities that we have to manage, we need to also accept our personal limitations and weaknesses. Nobody is well suited for every aspect and function of running a business. We all have parts of our work that we completely love—that motivated us to choose this life in the first place. But then there are the other aspects that we don’t love so much, ahem marketing for one. Or maybe it’s the financial matters you dread?
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. And so it’s only natural that we’ll find some tasks easy and enjoyable and others, not so much. But even if we did find all aspects of running a business equally enjoyable, we’d still face tensions inherent in the very nature of some of the roles we must fill. For example, when you’re caring for your clients, or networking, or engaging in marketing, you won’t be able to focus on creative work. And if you are doing focused work, all the emails, or texts, from clients are a real distraction. So as a business owner you’re going to have to be deliberate in how you manage yourself, as well as your employees, if you have them.
And the best thing you can do to manage yourself well is to soberly assess your own strengths and weaknesses, and understand your motivators and demotivators when you face various tasks. It’s hard enough to simply get things done, you don’t want to make things harder by falling prey to the natural tendency to procrastinate, avoiding the tasks we don’t like. If we’re not self aware about our work style, we may be making things harder for ourselves. Avoidance patterns don’t make problems or demands go away—they usually just make them bigger and harder to face later on.
One of the things I do with my clients, in addition to getting to know them personally, is to have them take a DiSC profile. The DiSC profile is similar to personality profiles, except that it’s focused on the work environment. This is one of the best management tools I use with my employees, and it’s especially helpful in predicting how we’re likely to respond or react to various aspects of our work.
Becoming self aware about our work styles, what motivates, and demotivates, what appeals to us and what does not—can help us face those aspects of our work that we might otherwise avoid. And growing in our ability to face those hurdles is critical. I’m personally fond of the older DiSC Classic 2.0 version of their profile. I’ve provided a link in the show notes.
Go ahead and take that survey and get your report. And if you’d like help understanding and applying it to your situation you might want to book an hour with me to review it. I’d love to be able to help you adapt to the complicated life of the creative entrepreneur! In the next episode I’ll offer some tips on how you can keep swapping all of your hats.
So until next week: don’t let the business of creativity overwhelm your creative business.