How to Build Your Own Creative Business: Funding Your Growth

Build Your Own Creative Business Series by Lisa Jacobs on Marketing Creativity

Welcome back to the Build Your Own Creative Business series! This is a happy {Day 26} of the 31-day series, and if you’re just finding it, you can click here to catch up from Day 1Today we’re going to talk MONEY! As the saying goes, it takes money to make money!

Padding your business expense account can be a stressful thing during the start-up of any business. I think this is especially true for those of us who are makers. We often pull from our own personal bank accounts, and in doing so, we allow ourselves to be riddled with guilt and worry: Am I doing something worthwhile here? Am I just fiddling this money away? Is it selfish to spend this money because I’m trying to do what I love to do? What am I giving back in exchange?

However, being riddled with guilt and worry is not the way to begin any journey! Therefore, I want to break this topic down, starting with you.

Are you investing in the future of your business?

Ask us if we’re investing for our future, and many of us will say, “Yes!” Whether we’re saving for our dream home, our children’s college tuition, or our retirement, we plan ahead. We have personal goals and outlandish dreams, and we visit them often. But, how many of us have such a focused visualization of our business’ future?

I recently read an article that inspired the question, “If you were given $20,000 to invest in your business, what would you do with it?” Truthfully, I wouldn’t know where to start with a hefty investment. However, as soon as your business is off the ground and running, it’s time to think long-term. Because I’m constantly dreaming of what my forever home will look like, and what my neighbors will do, and who will come visit for the holidays . . .  I realized it was time to have a detailed picture of what my small business will one day become. Savings don’t just happen for people – they come with careful planning and budgeting.

Sit down and spend an hour deciding what you would do with $20,000. Just imagining that amount of money coming into your possession will get your creative juices flowing. When I created a list for my creative business, it turned out to be full of things that I not only want, but NEED in order to continue growing and expanding.

Once you have a list in place, prioritize it by numbering it by importance – which item do you need first? Second? Third? etc. That way, you won’t have to wait until you have a massive chunk of investment money (say, $20,000) before you start achieving your goals. If the first item on your list is a new camera, you don’t have to wait until you have the full $20,000. All you need is enough to pay for the camera!

What would you do with $20,000 for your business?

The first time I sat down to do goal-setting with this question, I found myself holding back. Since our income as creative business owners is unpredictable, it’s hard to confidently consider big, expensive improvements in business. Therefore, I cleared the uncertainty from my thoughts and asked:

“What would I do if I had $20,000 to invest and a guaranteed salary of $50,000?”

Boy, oh boy, does that idea open doors! I put all my fears and hesitation away to play a game with that question. Why, I would redesign my website! I would lay the groundwork to start a mail order company! I would publish a book! As these ideas were streaming out of me, I realized that some of the tasks were very doable right from my current situation. (In other words, you don’t need $20,000 to buy a camera … or write a book.) I also realized that taking on some of those tasks would lead me to the financial security I imagined to possess.

This type of visualization helps move your thoughts from what-is to what-is becoming. It’s important to think past your current limitations in order to open up your plans for the future.

Need money to grow your business?

Here are a few things to consider. You could …

Take out a personal loan. However, I wouldn’t recommend this unless you already have a profitable income and a proven growth strategy. Do it only if you’re already doing something that works on a small scale, and then use the money to do the same thing on a larger scale. Anytime you’re borrowing money, make sure you have a winning plan to pay it back.

Take out a small business loan. But remember again, you’ll only get approved if you have a profitable income and a proven growth strategy! That’s not to deter you, it’s to tell you that if you DON’T have a profitable income and proven growth strategy, then that must be the first thing you work on. You don’t need a lot of money to get it, either. It’s about regularly asking yourself: is what I’m doing working? If the answer is “no,” you must change what you’re doing!

Try a crowd funding campaign. Crowd funding is essentially a loan that you don’t have to pay back in cash value. Instead, you offer incentives for donations.

Remember: There’s Plenty of Money

My children settled down to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last weekend, and I walked in to catch the old Grandpa say:

“There’s plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this ticket– There are only five of them in the whole world, and that’s all there’s ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?”

It made me think about business, and how we often hesitate to invest in ourselves. Money is common, and this chance –your chance– to create something out of nothing and build your own career, well, there’s nothing common about that. Let me leave you on this {Day 26} with my thoughts on money:

You are part of an infinite and creative universe that is ever-expanding. You’re made of the same stuff as that universe, and your own resources and potential are equally creative, ever-expanding, and infinite. Money is only one of the resources just waiting for you to enter its abundant flow. It is exchanged all around you, and right to you, every day – just like the air you breathe.

So, go and receive it!

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