Tara here. I love when a creative sees a way forward that sparks their excitement as much as it makes good solid sense for their business. For example, when they tap into a more focused specialty, a more methodical way of working, or a way of packaging their services that helps them say no to the things they don’t want to do anymore, and create a more specific and meaningful brand for themselves.
Once we see that new way – usually by experiencing glimmers of it in a dream project, with a dream client, or just with clarity around what we’re really best at – it’s hard to go back. We fear going back.
Fear can be a motivator, too. The fear of backsliding – going back to our old job, going back to our old way of doing business, or going back to a way of being that we just don’t want to be anymore – can push us to keep moving forward. And that’s a good thing. A steep and rocky slide behind us can give us enough of a jolt to:
- move forward with sharing more of our personal brand
- move forward with charging just a little more for our services
- finally launching a product that will help shift our business model,
- or just finally declare: “this is new direction is my specialty, it’s what I love and what I want to do, and that’s what I’m calling myself, and branding myself as from here on out, no looking back!”
Big steps forward fuel us. They keep us going after our goals. They keep us from having a wishy-washy brand. They help us keep our eyes on our own page, and overcome our fear of backsliding into “what used to be.”
Sometimes our fear of backsliding is really a fear of backpedalling.
Backpedalling isn’t just inertia having it’s way with you, it’s a much more reactive “let’s reverse this!” reflex. So we’re not accidentally just falling into old habits, we’re actively choosing to change our mind, to go back to the perceived safety of the same old thing, and to do a “take back” on some of the decisions we made along our own personal/professional crossroads.
We’re not fans of backpedalling here at Braid. We typically like to make a decision, stick to it, tweak it, and not look back. But! Here’s the thing: beware of getting so addicted to the big steps forward, that you forget to look back at how you got here, and what you learned along the way that can still serve you!
“Two steps forward. One step back...” can be a good thing.
Just as much as I love seeing creative entrepreneurs find that forward-focus, I also love when they can get far enough along in their vision, get some real work under their belt in this new way of doing things, and then stop proving it so hard.
When we are confident in our forward-vision, we can let ourselves bring some of the layers of our past work and past experiences back into our new business, our new brand, and our new adventure.
Get more specific about what you do! But consider your specialty has layers:
This is the interior designer who wants to embrace minimalism, and have that be the focus of her brand and her specialty. But she’s finding a more balanced work-style when she lets the layers of her client’s aesthetics and her more traditional design background into her approach. A kinder, gentler, less spartan approach to minimalism is becoming that truer creative expert “blend” for her.
Circle back to old ideas that didn’t work the first time if opportunity knocks:
These are the creative collaborators who tried launching a workshop for creative entrepreneurs just starting out – and no-one signed up (well, one person signed up) so they had to call it off. But circle around a few years later and they try a podcast instead. A little experiment with a new platform. It becomes so popular they invited followers to a master class in New Orleans for a creative entrepreneur get-together, and get four times the attendees they expected – in the first day of sign up.
Don’t be afraid to look how far you’ve come:
This is you. Have courage in your bold decisions! But don’t be afraid to look back now and again. You won’t turn to stone. If you can calm the fear of backsliding, but stay strong against the instinct to backpedal – you can look back. Because that journey is what got you here, and how you learned everything along the way!
The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.