Building any brand takes work, but add in the challenge of creativity and a goal like entrepreneurship can easily feel impossible. However, the truth is that most things worth having possess that same dichotomy of risk and reward.
So, how do you optimize your labor in a way that results in the best return on your investment? Well, you start by utilizing your resources. While there may not be a set formula to success, there are a few tools that have proven to provide self-employed creatives with the skills they need to thrive. Here are six of them:
Whether through an interactive social media presence or cultivated in-person relationships, building a strong sense of community is paramount. Aside from the free advertising that connections provide, creating associations with others in your industry can help you to grow as a professional. For some this may lead to mentors, while for others it can result in added business. Websites dedicated to creative professionals in your industry are also great for providing like minded individuals with opportunities to drum up business, score new clients or gain exposure for their work.
In addition to the more literal benefits of community as a resource, there is also something to be said for kinship. As we mentioned earlier, building any brand is hard. Why not connect with those who are going through a similar experience? Learning from others will not only help you to advance professionally, but will also allow you to develop lasting friendships- and those are always powerful for the soul.
Another great way to boost your brand is to heighten your online presence with social media management tools. Programs like Buffer and Hootsuite Professional allow users to schedule content, track the success of posts and ultimately, engage with their audience. Similarly, Flume Pro allows users to answer and manage Instagram correspondences (i.e-comments and messages) straight from their desktop.
If you’re looking to design imagery, promotional ads, Instagram posts, Facebook covers, presentations or fliers but don’t have the ability to work with a professional graphic artist, Canva, is an incredible and mostly free alternative. With the click of a mouse you can choose from hundreds of pre-made designs or create your own from scratch. With fun settings that allow you to save your brand colors and fonts, it’s easy to create a repeatable aesthetic for all of your media and print assets.
If you’re looking for some professional advice on how to take your brand to the next level, you may want to consider turning to books. From successful business owners to New Age thinkers, books provide readers with the chance to tap into the knowledge, experience and ideas of minds from all walks of life. And unless you have the chance to meet every one of the business moguls you admire, this may be the best way for you to hunker down and understand their philosophies on the world at large. Not sure where to get begin? Forbes’ five book list for ambitious millennials is a great place to start.
And while you may feel inclined to strictly stock up on books that speak all things business, it never hurts to throw in ones that will help you to be a better human, too. If you want to feel inspired but not necessarily talk straight career jargon, try picking up The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle or Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. Both of these reads may leave you with a new perspective on your career, and perhaps even, your life.
If you haven’t yet jumped on the podcast train, then now is the time to get on board. Regardless of your area of interest, podcasts provide listeners with a free and endless supply of information and advice. So if building a business has you stumped, try diving into a career focused show. Options like Rise and Grind with Daymond John, The Tim Ferris Show and RISE Podcast are all making waves in this category.
Similarly if you’re trying to find a bit of inspiration or comedic relief from everyday life, there’s plenty of that too. But what’s the best part about podcasts? They’re a multitaskers dream. Listen along for free while you drive, fold clothes or cook dinner, and don’t be surprised if you notice you’re productivity levels skyrocket.
Imagine this: You’re sitting on a train commuting home from work when your phone eventually dies. Bummer right? Well, in the very next moment an annoying situation goes from bad to worse when you’re flooded with a burst inspiration. Typically this stroke of creativity would be welcomed, right? Of course! But without a phone you have nowhere to record your thoughts.
Perhaps this scenario is silly or simply doesn’t apply to your life. (Maybe you never let your phone die or you’re always traveling with a laptop.) Either way the point is that things happen, and having a foolproof way to jot down important notes can make all the difference in developing your business.
That’s where a journal comes in.
As old school as they may be, notebooks and journals are a great place for storing and organizing your thoughts. Whether it’s a list of daily tasks, potential ideas or your unfiltered feelings, journals are known to provide a ton of mental, personal and professional benefits.
If you want to give it a try, but are unsure of the lack of tech, consider trying the Bullet Journal. Designed to function alongside it’s companion app, this particular practice has heavy hitters like The Wall Street Journal, VOGUE and Bloomberg taking note.
When it comes to building a business, the inclination is often to put everything else on the back burner. Unfortunately, sleep is far from something you should be skimping on. In fact, according to an article published by Psychology Today, lots of research has pointed to the benefits of sleep on creativity. So do yourself a favor and give yourself some well earned rest tonight!