I attend a lot of events in Bristol, I’m always looking for ways to meet new people and expand my network, I get most of my work from networking.
At an event, the first thing people ask when they meet you is “What do you do?”
This is where having a really concise pitch helps. You need to be able to sum up what you do quickly and simply to keep them engaged, otherwise they are liable to politely exit your company and find someone less flaky to talk to.
Knowing what to say and how to say it to hook people in takes practice and determination. It will evolve over time as your knowledge, experience and the nature of your business does.
I work predominantly with micro businesses, often individuals who have gone through the messy start up phase and are just establishing themselves. They are at the point where they recognise there are areas of weakness in themselves and their business and accept they need to invest in some support.
I introduce myself as an author and entrepreneur. I write and have built a business around my books to help other creatives be better at business.
It surprises me how many people tell me they are not creative.
Who told you you’re not creative? That’s absurd!
Human beings are inherently creative. Just because you’re not Leonardo DaVinci or Picasso or don’t spend your free time on handicrafts, doesn’t mean you are not creative.
A big component of creativity is problem solving. As a self employed person your whole purpose for being is to solve the problems your customers have by providing solutions.
I deliberately used the word ‘flaky’ earlier because it’s the one word that people associate with creativity that they want to disassociate themselves from.
So you think you are not creative?
Do you recognise any of these?
When there’s work to do, sometimes a million other things take up your time, like washing up, browsing the internet, making yet another cup of tea. Clearing your head, creating a sense of urgency, not using your brain by occupying yourself with mundane tasks is often just part of your process. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but don’t let it cripple you either.
So much to do, so little time
You seem to be constantly busy. Could it be that your brain is making a big deal out of things? You’re great at ‘creating’ things to do to fill you time and constantly on the look out for ways to make it easier.
You thrive on stress
You need to be constantly stimulated, if you’re not stressed you feel purposeless. Pressure forces you to come up with solutions and work efficiently, an inherently creative process (even if it involves putting formulas into a spreadsheet!).
You like an easy life
I described myself as lazy to a client recently. My point being; I like to systematize and organize things because I don’t want to waste my time repeating myself, freeing up my time to do the stuff I love. Finding a way to automate a task is a creative approach.
We all take risks. People often associate risk with recklessness so we tell ourselves we’re ‘risk averse’ because it feels safer. Some of us are more open to risks than others but the very act of being self employed is a risky thing to do. If you don’t take risks you never make any discoveries or learn anything new.
If you ever question your capabilities, if you ever fear making a fool of yourself, or getting it wrong it’s not something you’re comfortable with. You recognise it and want to change it and you need to try different approaches to do it.
Self doubt often comes from us telling ourselves or being told that we ‘can’t’ do something or we are ‘not’ something. Stop telling yourself you’re not creative, all you’re doing is adding to that list of barriers.
Self esteem comes from embracing your small victories. Every little win accumulates and each of those wins was as a result of you solving a problem.
We all have moments where we question ourselves and we all have moments where we believe in ourselves. We need both of these in order to make decisions and find the sweet spot where we are at our most productive and contented.
You are always learning
We are always learning, often without even realising it. But if you actively enjoy learning it’s because your brain is hungry and curious and that’s fuel for creativity.
You have peaks and troughs of activity
Sometimes you are really into this thing, another time you really enjoy something else. These cycles you go through are the way your creativity stretches it’s legs, by trying new things.
You get bored easily
This impatience is your brains way of telling you it needs stimulus to consume, it’s running out of creative fuel.
You can happily do the same thing for hours on end
This is either because you’ve found something that you want to explore in more depth and examine more closely to better understand it, or because you need to switch off and give your brain a rest for while (probably because it’s been busy doing something passively creative).
Do you ever find yourself so consumed in an activity that you shut out everything else around you? You’re in ‘The Zone’ and even if you’re working through a methodical or analytical task, The Zone is when your creative brain is at its most stimulated.
There is a sliding scale of creative expression. Some of us are more creatively expressive than others (artists, writers, musicians, etc) but that doesn’t mean you’re not creative. Maybe you’ve not found the thing that works for you to creatively express yourself? Or maybe your version of creativity comes from problem solving?
We are all creative, because we are all inherently decision making creatures and problem solvers and that is what creativity is really about.
If you’re still not sure, here’s a nice feature on ‘Lifehack’
If you do any one of these things, stop telling yourself you’re not creative, you are, and it’s OK. Embrace it, you never know, you might like it