In our personal lives, we know we need people. The first problem in the world wasn't sin, it was loneliness. God was calling everything "good" except for the fact that man was alone (Genesis 2:18).
Often, we reach out to people when we are experiencing a difficult loss, or when we are going through a hard season. But what about when we're building a business, writing a book, or pursuing a God-given dream?
To be a successful creative entrepreneur, you need people.
Here are the five people every successful creative entrepreneur needs:
When you run out of money to invest, can't get a break, or feel like the entire world is against you, you need that one person who just always believes in you. Maybe it's your mom or dad who has always thought you would be a writer, or maybe it's your significant other who knows nothing about your industry but when they see you it's all heart eyes and talent.
On the days when you feel like throwing in the towel, you need a person who will continue to tell you you are amazing, incredible, unstoppable and everything in between.
For some of us, we have many of these people and they come naturally into our lives. For others, we might be pursuing something that just doesn't make sense to the people around us. Maybe you're the only entrepreneur in your small town, or you've been working on the same thing for ten years and still haven't gotten any breakthrough.
If you can't find this person naturally, hire them! (book a free discovery call!)
This is the person who will show you the ropes, let you stand on their shoulders, and give you advice that has been learned over years of experience. As an enneagram seven, I am continually chasing after new ideas. Whenever I think I have a great idea for a business, I go find someone who is already doing it and sit down to have a chat if I can.
Often, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes work being done that we can't glean from Instagram or website copy. Having a mentor will allow you to ask the hard questions and get real answers from someone with lived experience.
A mentor will keep you grounded while also showing you that it is possible to accomplish even the craziest things.
In the new Top Gun movie, Maverick, (spoiler alert up ahead) one of the most powerful moments was when the teacher flew the course that the students deemed impossible. This is the role a mentor takes, showing you that it is possible for them and inviting you to follow on that course.
We are so much better together! One of the most powerful connections you can have for the success of your business is a peer. A peer will listen to you vent and complain and say, "yep I have felt those same disappointments too" and will also provide you with another opinion.
Peers often have similar goals or are in the same industry. Instead of seeing this person as a threat or competition, see them as a coworker or partner.
Seek out peers who are facing similar problems and collaborate to solve them together.
Entrepreneurship can feel lonely, writing can seem lonely, but neither have to be. Find someone who is working on similar things, and soon you'll be sending funny GIFs back and forth during the day, celebrating each others wins, and saying "let me help," when things are amiss.
By now you're amped because you have a cheerleader hyping you up, a mentor leading you along, a peer at your side...and then someone from the sidelines starts saying, "you're the worst!" Or maybe, that's just what we hear.
Critics often get ignored when really we should be attentive to them. I think there's a difference between a critical person and a critic. A critical person actually says, "you are the worst," and points criticism at your identity. But usually, critics aren't pointing at our identities (although, it might feel that way.)
Critics are pointing at the work; I wish there was more detail here, you could send your newsletter more often, I didn't relate to this post because I live in a different part of the world or don't share your worldview.
If we are willing to pull a critic close, we can enter into a conversation with humility and learn from the critics. Why did you need more detail? What was I not seeing when I wrote this post? How could I write this better?
If a critic is taking the time to give feedback, it's because they care. So listen, and learn.
Your Client (or Reader)
Last but definitely not least, is the person who makes it all happen, truly. Without a client or a reader, it can feel like the investment you're making in your business is worth nothing.
You don't need huge numbers to be serving your reader or client well. But the clearer picture you have of this person, the better. I talk about my reader "Sarah" a lot. To me, she feels like a real person. Sarah isn't real, but every email response to my newsletter or comment on social media is. On the days when I don't feel like showing up, I think of Sarah.
When your work is coming from a place of service, you will always be improving.
Instead of scaling a business for selfish desires or working on a project just because it interests you, your work will always be improving because you're working for your Sarah.
You'll start asking yourself what she needs, what would make her user experience better, how often she wants to hear from you, and how you can better serve her. Keeping your reader or client in mind will continually create a more successful business as you try to provide more and more value for your Sarah.