I’ll just come right out and tell you guys — year 4 of running Made Vibrant is shaping up to be uncomfortable for me.
What I mean by that is, for the first three years of building the business, my strategy remained largely the same. Explore, experiment, create, fail, and share it all with you in an effort to provide valuable wisdom.
That strategy has worked undeniably well in attracting an audience of eager readers and establishing a group of awesome customers. But the truth is, creating *NEW* things has now become well within in my comfort zone.
Need a boost in revenue? No problem — I’ve got 10 ideas for products or offerings that I can whip up and launch. I’ve done it so many times now that I feel confident in my ability to create and sell a new product.
BUT… new products are not necessarily what my business needs right now.
A lot of things changed this year -- things that have an impact on my overall strategy moving forward for Made Vibrant. The biggest one is obviously that Jason and I got married, and we decided we want to start collaborating on projects a lot more due to the overlap in our audiences and the way our voices/skills complement one another (BuyOurFuture, a one-time payment for everything we’ve ever created and ever will create in the future, being the most obvious illustration of that new collaborative direction.)
With over 36+ products between us, Jason and I realized that if we are going to work together to create content, we need to know that a) the 3+ years of content we’ve created is being utilized to its maximum potential and b) that our existing products and offerings have systems in place to continue to sell without too much ongoing maintenance.
In other words, it was time for a transition in both of our businesses from creation mode to optimization mode.
I know I don’t want to feel the pressure of having to create something new every year for the rest of my life in order to keep my business revenue healthy and thriving. Instead, I want to put systems in place that will attract the right customers for the right existing products, offer up the right valuable content at the right time, and continue to sell great products I’ve already poured time and money into. Not that I don't ever want to create something new again (quite the opposite, I'm itching over here!!), BUT I want to know that anything new I do create is on the foundation of a system that will continue to work for me.
It’s about making sure that my creative work is sustainable.
But this is where the notion of patience comes in.
For the past six weeks, I’ve spent nearly every day learning new email software (Drip), sketching out complex purchasing workflows, rewriting old content to breathe new evergreen life into it, rethinking how to personalize messaging so that you as a subscriber will get content tailored to where you are in your creative journey…
And, honestly, it’s been a slog. It's many hours of intense focus, feeling confused, always overwhelmed, and none of it is exactly glamorous or interesting enough (yet) to share.
Meanwhile, when I look around I can see friends and peers launching new podcasts, creating new products, sharing on social media on a regular basis, being "out there" --and I can’t help but feel a little envious. I mean, that’s the fun part of running a creative business after all --making stuff and sharing it.
But every time I start to feel like the world around me is moving forward while I feel like I’m standing still, I remember what I’m trying to build and WHY.
I want a creative business that lasts.
The ethos that Jason and I live by is about working to LIVE, not living to work. We mold and shape our businesses in whatever way is most beneficial to designing the life we want to live everyday.
For us, that means flexibility. It means being able to travel or take time off or take a creative risk, without feeling like we’re perpetually in “launch mode” or “creation mode.” I have no doubt that we will always be creating, but as you know, creating from a place of scarcity is never as freeing or as rewarding as creating from a place of desire.
Right now, putting these complex systems in place for sustainability (i.e. flexibility) is requiring tons and tons of PATIENCE.
Patience in fighting my instinct to share on Instagram every day. Or create that shiny new course idea I have. Or re-open the iPad Lettering for Beginners course just yet.
It’s holding out on building new skyscrapers across my bustling city so that I can repave the roads and reinforce the foundations of all my existing buildings.
And as the saying goes, “what got you here, won’t get you there.”
I know I talk a lot around here about starting before you’re ready and just beginning something, even if you don’t know what or why yet. I still stand by that advice if you’re at square one and need to get some momentum going.
However, if you’re in a place where you need some time to regroup, to reconstruct the foundation of your creative business, or to be strategic about what you’re building… I encourage you to stay patient.
Fight the urge to get that instant gratification and pull your focus away from the work you’re doing in the trenches. Remember that you’re putting in this time now for an upside that will be SO worth it in the future.
Patience asks us to reject what’s comfortable or easy in order to build something that lasts.
Patience helps you win your own game by allowing you to focus and prioritize.
Patience helps you win your own game because it teaches you to stop caring about the path everyone else is on and keep your attention on your own.
Patience helps you win your own game by giving you permission to work on what lasts rather than what’s popular.
Whether it’s in business or in life, great things take time. Patience is a skill worth cultivating if you’re in it for the long haul!
Consider reminding yourself of your WHY and what will be waiting as a reward on the other side of that patience if you keep going.