3 Reasons Why Growing Your Creative Business Feels SO Hard

3 Reasons Growing Your Graphic Design or Creative Business Feels So Hard!

If building your creative business feels hard, you're not alone, and this could be why!

Watch the video, or read the blog where I share:

+ A valuable business lesson from Food Network (my fav)

+ 3 reasons your business isn’t as successful as you’d hoped (yet)

+ Why working ON your business may feel impossible

+ The important shift you can make to finally see results



You might think that in order to have a sustainable business, you’re required to work even harder, go out and get more clients, or suffer through low-quality clients and tons of revisions and late nights to make it all work.

Well, I want to offer you a breath of fresh air today. 

You actually DON’T need to do all of those things.

Let’s look first at why you don’t yet have the business you pictured:

There can be a lot of reasons your design business is feeling extra hard, but I’ll talk about some of the common ones I see and ones I’ve personally experienced as well.


Why isn’t your business working?

1) Your business looks like everyone else’s.

When we’re solo, we can feel like we’re winging it - we have talent and experience, so we decide to sell the service we’re good at it. Makes sense, right? But, in this age of everything being online, it can be tempting to look at how others are doing things and think, “That’s a great idea.” I’ll do it that way, too. Or, I like this trendy look, I’ll do that too.

This reminds me of a show that used to be on Food Network. I was (still am) a huge fan of cooking and cooking techniques, and I used to watch a lot of Food Network. So, I remember a reality show called The Next Food Network Star” - I think it’s still around. But it was a reality competition, and the winner was awarded their own show on Food Network. The judges would interview the hopeful stars, and the contestants were asked to describe what their show would be about if they were chosen as the next star. 

Since it’s a reality show, there are many hoops the contestants must jump through: Cooking competitions, interviews, and lots of chances to be on camera.

But the common feedback that I saw from the judges and, by the way, the main reason they would “cut” people from the show was surprising - a bit counterintuitive. 

The reasons for eliminating someone usually had less to do with their cooking skills or the way their food tasted - instead, it was largely decided by the contestant’s “point of view” - what they stood for (the concept of their show) that would make them stand out, be memorable and valuable to viewers. Their main message, if you will. Something for viewers to remember them by so they would want to take an interest and keep tuning in.

If the contestant couldn’t effectively convey their point of view or didn’t really have a unique point of view, they appeared as vanilla, like any other good cook out there, and were passed over.

And we can relate this to business. If you’re building a creative biz like everyone else you see on the internet - that makes you a commodity, lost in a sea of same-ness, you don’t stand out as an expert in any one solution and will likely be passed over as well.

This leads me to another common mistake which is:

2) You lack focus or understanding of what you want or even need for a successful business.

If you want to skip frustration, try to get this dialed in as soon as possible.

What types of projects or industries are you best prepared to serve and why?

Ensure your posts, website, and portfolio reflect who you are for and what types of projects you specialize in. This doesn’t mean you can’t take on projects that don’t perfectly fit your specialty, but showing clearly what you do and who you can best serve makes you stand out in your marketing efforts.


A final mistake that may be holding you back:

3) There's no time to work ON your business:

Only spending time on your clients' work and not giving ample time to work ON your business is so common and an easy trap to fall into!

I can relate…

When I was in the early years of building my business, I “thought” I had to constantly work 10-12 hours a day on delivering client projects to keep the money coming in and meet my clients’ deadlines. I remember feeling guilty if I took even an hour during the “work day” to create invoices or organize my office. I would get this tight feeling in my chest even if I took time to bill clients or clear the pile of paperwork from my desk. Instead, I would do those tasks in the evening or on weekends to crank out design work as much as possible.

I also barely took any time off. If I did, I felt worried about projects I should be working on the entire time. I even took work on vacation to “keep things moving.” 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with working when you want and how you want. But, in my case, I was doing it because I thought it was the right thing to do. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t. I thought I HAD to since that’s what I was used to when working as an employee. I also loved working, so it didn’t FEEL like that big of a deal.

But what I didn’t realize was that I was digging myself into a hole that would be hard to get out of:

  • I was taking on any project for anyone (big, small, logos, layouts, magazine, ads, flyers, signage, it didn’t matter to me)—and most of us do this for a while, so it’s totally normal.
  • I wasn’t charging enough.
  • I wasn’t using estimates or contracts most of the time.
  • I wasn’t operating with specific processes.

Even though I worked constantly, I didn’t have much to show for it, money-wise. So, I figured I’d take on more projects and work harder. I feared that if I didn’t, I’d fail or not bring in any money that month.

But, I wasn’t treating myself as a business owner. I was behaving like an employee. Thinking I needed at least 8 hours of billable work every day. I had worked in agencies where I often would work 8-10 hours a day with minimal breaks (if any) and eat lunch at my desk. So, this didn’t feel any different.

All this work time led to another problem: I did not take the time to organize and TRULY RUN my business properly. I was reacting to the needs of my projects and clients, and that was pretty much it! Letting my business RUN ME - letting it happen TO ME.

This eventually led to extreme frustration, burnout, and feeling out of control in my OWN BUSINESS. 

I learned later that I should have spent 25-50% of my time working ON my business. No wonder things were so disorganized, and I was always stressed out! 

All of the mistakes I’ve mentioned today are completely fixable, and it all starts with this one thing:


Focus on the handful of things that will truly improve your business.

Bottom line: FOCUS leads to CLARITY = PROFIT & EASE

Once you have focus and clarity in your business, you’ll start to experience more profit and ease. And getting there is not as hard as you might think, friend! If you're ready to work toward consistent profit and ease, I would love to show you how I did it. Click below:


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