The general public has a very narrow view about what it means to be creative. If you are a “creative person,” people usually assume that you’re an art director, a writer, a maker of crafts, an actor, or interior designer. But as entrepreneurs might agree, creativity is within everyone, it’s just differently applied.
This past week illustrated this point for me. I was working on a project with a brilliant engineer who swore up and down that she was not a “creative person” and yet she had built out a pretty incredible technology for online fraud detection. In order to figure out how to best stop fraud before it happens, she had to to put herself in the shoes of the fraudster – strikingly similar to the way an actor prepares for a role.
Then I watched her design the customer experience in real time as she worked out her equations on a whiteboard. The same way folks in the art department sketch out their ideas.
Creativity is so much bigger than arts and entertainment, its the driving force for business disruption.
No matter your area of expertise, you have a creative process. You know your flow, when you’re having a block to work through, and when you are undeniably on-point. And if you can tap into the formula for your most creative moments, you may start to see just what makes you tick as an entrepreneurial artist. It’s a beautiful thing.
If you want to be continuously successful, you’ll keep creating even in the toughest times.
Case in point, Pam Turkin.
Turkin, whose art happens to be baking, founded a cupcake business out of her home in 2008. By the next year, she had ten employees and over half a million in revenue. Seven short years after that, she had twenty locations, ninety employees, and over three million in revenue, making the INC List of Fastest Growing Companies.
But sadly, this company grew too fast and she lost control.
“Like anything that grows too fast, you just lose control of it,” Turkin said. “Once one domino went down, it was a chain event.”
Devastated, Turkin couldn’t dream of starting over again. “Hello Fresh was still writing to me monthly to work with them as an affiliate because they were lacking a dessert option. No longer running a business that could work with them, it felt like a cruel joke when they would reach out,” she recalls.
But as the emails kept coming, she started wondering just what the universe might be telling her because clearly, there was a gap that needed to be filled. So she researched the market and found that there was not a baking comparable to what Hello Fresh and Blue Apron do for dinner. Slowly but surely, she developed Rise Baking, a subscription service that delivers monthly “Baking Boxes” with pre-measured ingredients and instructions to make gourmet desserts.
Not only did this business encompass Turkin’s baking ability, but also her love for teaching others how to bake. “I knew from my failure at Just Baked what I ‘never wanted to do again,'” she says. “I had fallen into the trap of losing my direction there and ended up running a business not creating.”
Now that Turkin has a greater understanding of scaling a business, she’s been able to grow her new business at a much faster rate than a brick and mortar store would allow.
It’s easy to become paralyzed by failure, but really, we only ever truly fail when we stop doing what we love. As you continue on your own entrepreneurial journey, remember that the presence of failure gives you license to be more creative.
So when you do fail, fail hard and create harder.