Paying the Bills is hard. You love being creative. You’ve got a great business idea and you are finally doing work that excites you and fulfills a passion. Maybe you even quit your job to run your creative business full time. Catching yourself taking flawless Instagram images, you use hashtags like #creativeentrepreneur. There’s one potential problem that creatives can run into when they pursue their own businesses – not earning enough to actually pay the bills.
Doing work you love and seeing it fail to convert can make you feel pretty bad, but it’s not the end of the world. If your creative business isn’t paying the bills yet, there are a few things you can do to turn things around.
What To Do When Your Creative Business Isn’t Paying the Bills
Rethink a Diversified Income Strategy
You can start turning things around by rethinking your income strategy and adding some diversity to it. Running a creative business require some flexibility. Understand that you will see your workload vary and fluctuate at first, and don’t worry about this. Just do something about it.
Unlike some traditional jobs, you don’t just want to focus on one solid stream of income. Actually, people with traditional jobs shouldn’t just rely on one stream of income, either.
Consider varied ways of selling your own products and services. Create videos to monetize, and develop partnerships with brands who can sponsor content on your site. This takes a little time, but there are many people out there who are happy to help teach you how to do this.
If you’re a freelancer, you can offer an additional services to diversify or boost your income.
Even if you only earn a small amount of income from one source, multiple source will all add up in the end.
Work With a Coach or Mentor when Paying the Bills
I’m a strong advocate of hiring a mentor or coach to work with if you feel stuck with your business and need help increasing your profit. On the surface, hiring a coach or mentor sounds like it would put you in a worse financial situation. It won’t. Hire someone with a proven track record who will help you take your business to the next level.
Coaches and mentors help keep you accountable for the goals you set. They want you to reach your goals and will do everything in their power to help you.
Don’t be bullied, but work with someone you can learn new strategies from to implement and increase your earnings. Work with someone positive who believes in you and your project, and not just their own work.
Get an Accountability Partner Or Join a Mastermind Group
If you can’t afford a coach or mentor, I’d highly recommend getting with an accountability partner or joining a mastermind group for free. It’s important to surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable for the goals you’ve set for yourself. You will want support on your journey to reach these goals.
Interacting in a mastermind group is a great way to brainstorm new products, services, and income strategies for your business with other people.
You can also share resources with each other to help everyone in the group succeed. I’ve been in a mastermind group for over a year now and my business income has definitely increased. These dynamic people support me as we all push each other to the next level.
Two heads are often better than one. In addition to teaming up with a coach or joining a mastermind, you should really grow your network.
Reaching out to other people in your industry doesn’t just enrich your business — it enriches your whole life. See if they’d like to collaborate.
If you find someone else who runs a similar business, think of them as a potential partner. Stop worrying about the competition. Most people want to help each other and will share audiences and resources — to earn more money together.
You may even create a joint product together or promote each other’s businesses. You can divide and offer particular services, or you could even become an affiliate for someone else’s product and earn commission from the sales.
I have a friend who created a joint digital product with someone else. She had to split the earnings from the sales, but she still added thousands of dollars to her income. This income increased for the month — then it increased every month. Without the partnership, she wouldn’t have made that extra money.
I started a podcast almost two years ago with two other ladies and we have a fun time recording episodes each week. We split up all the tasks and expenses along with the income we earn from podcasting each month.
Get a Side Hustle
Another thing you might want to do if your creative work isn’t paying the bills is to get a side hustle for a short time. This is just while you build up your business. But I have to confess, I have seen the side hustle become the main hustle over and over. Don’t worry about that.
Small businesses take time to get off the ground and you want to be able to support yourself during the developing stages. Before you quit your job to start a business, you should have a decent amount of money saved up in an emergency fund. Running a business can be quite costly and it wouldn’t hurt to get a side hustle to help keep you afloat and comfortable.
You can freelance and sell your services to others whether it’s writing, editing, virtual assistant work, graphic design, etc.
You can also pick up a flexible part-time job as a brand ambassador, tutor, Uber driver, etc. Try to choose a side hustle that pays you well for your time and doesn’t dominate your schedule.
You still want to focus a majority of your time and energy on your business, but side hustling can take away some of your financial stress.
If your business isn’t earning you enough money to live comfortably, it’s safe to say you probably can’t afford to outsource. You may need to insource certain tasks.
Outsourcing is all the craze right now among small business owners. If you truly can’t afford to hire a virtual assistant or other team members, don’t feel pressured to this.
Improve your time management and productivity so you can get more done in less time. Also, take advantage of free tools, programs, and resources. Use these tools to help you better manage your workload.
One of the most common misconceptions that new and eager business owners have is that everything needs to be done ASAP. This is really not the case. If it’s not earning you money, it probably shouldn’t be a top priority.
For example, don’t stress yourself out about getting a Facebook page up if it’s not really going to be the focal point. Your business needs every consideration to be about generating income.
Prioritize your tasks and knock things out slowly — but steadily. If you must outsource some smaller tasks, consider sites like Fiverr and Upwork, to find affordable help.
Summary: Switch Things Up and Give It Time
Growing a creative business takes time and you may not earn much in the beginning stages. However, if you truly believe in your business idea and concept, I recommend you stick with it.
Switch up your income strategy and explore your options to connect — and partner with other people. In the meantime, keep your expenses low, rely on a side hustle income to supplement, and lean on your emergency fund.
You can do this.