As intimated in this article on the blog, business models are critical to business success in any industry and there are many business models to choose from. Still, not every business model is ideal for different businesses or business owners. For starters, no two businesses are exactly alike, even when there are similarities like industries or kinds of product or service output.
In service-oriented businesses like those in the arts/culture sectors where no two artists or creative professionals are exactly alike, the reality of dissimilarities in business models and style becomes even more apparent. Individual personalities, locales, working style or preferences, skill sets, talents, access to technology and other material resources, all play a critical role in helping to determine the best business model(s) that will work for a given artist(e) or creative professional.
Consequently, to create efficient and workable structures, we must take a second look at the models that exist and perhaps tweak them to create our own. Below, I share four (4) things to consider when designing your business with structures, processes, and systems that help you achieve the success you desire.
1. Assess Your Business and Lifestyle Goals Together
Gone are the days when we are sacrificing personal relationships, good self-care habits, and being happy in our every day lives for our careers and businesses. These days we want everything to work together in one accord. Even better than desiring harmony between the various aspects of our lives, is living in a day and time when this is all possible thanks to the time-saving benefits of modern technology resources like productivity tools automation. So, how do we get to ‘have it all’ though?
We start by understanding that our lifestyle ‘ideals’ and work goals should not be juxtaposed to each other. Then we identify exactly what it is we hold dearest to us. For example, ask yourself, questions like:
– What are your deal breakers?
My real-life example – Weekends Off!
For me, weekends are generally off. When I am structuring my work schedule for the week (both on the backend and for customer/client access), I ensure that all my work gets done by Friday afternoon.
On Friday evenings I enjoy time with friends – and fried chicken and fries cooked outdoors on a coal stove (Jamaican style) is my meal of choice and I may or may not have a beer or alcoholic drink to go with.
On Saturdays, I do very minimal work that is directly related to the business of Kei Dubb. I mostly set my intentions for the upcoming week and organise my work like content creation and publication, rehearsals, and so forth. I prefer to do my personal errands and activities that day, including supermarket runs, having fun with my nieces, house cleaning, and things of that nature. Of course, it does help that there are some features of my business like social media can be kept going without much stress.
Sundays are all about personal time, rest, and relaxation. I do not work on Sundays (and frankly when I try, it just never works out). Instead, I go to church (probably the only active thing I do), read books, watch TV, eat food, and SLEEP… a lot.
2. Value Your Personality and Natural Working Style
I always say personality is an asset. So many of us (especially those of us with creative quirks), will read about building a business and simply try to model the business styles we read about. We do this even it works against who we truly are, and to our detriment in the long run. The truth is, the average creative professional, especially one who is independent, will need ‘unorthodox’ and innovative ways to build their business. The run of the mill style may not work.
On the contrary, I have found that when I build schedules and structures that are naturally aligned with my preferred working style and I am able to work with and not against my personality quirks, I am more productive in my work. A good place to start, is to ask yourself the following:
– What is your natural working style?
My real-life example – Administrative versus Creative Work
Personality plays an important part in how we work and how productive we are at different times. For example, I tend to do my administrative-based work and lots of writing early in the week. Typically, Mondays to Wednesdays. Thursdays and Fridays tend to be more creative so I will record voiceovers for my content, head to the studio to knock out unfinished songs – and so forth. Additionally, I tend to do more creative work later on in the day. However, there may be times when I switch this up. At nights my creative juices are more alive than in the day, so if I have a problem I need to solve in my business, or develop an angle for a creative project I am working on, all this is likely to happen in the afternoon onwards – irrespective of the day of the week.
It is personality quirks like this that help me organise what it is I want and need from both my business and lifestyle (deal breakers), as well as how to get it done (working style).
3. Understand That You Don’t Have to Do Everything Everyday
Unlike many ‘jobs’ and existing career options where you have to do much of the same ol’ each day, you have the freedom within your creative career to take another approach. You can decide that certain days or certain times of the day are for certain activities within your business. Similarly, you can develop schedules and calendars concerning when certain services and/or products you offer are made available to your clients and audiences. This way, you are able to plan better, produce a higher quality of work in each area of what you offer, and show up consistently in the eyes of your clients and audiences. A good place to start, is to ask yourself the following:
– When do I wish to offer what?
As you answer this question, consider all the aforementioned points. Based on your ‘work personality’ and your ‘deal breakers (the things you value the most), what is they best way to go about setting up a feasible schedule for your work, products, and services?
My real-life example – Launching a Podcast
I have been wanting to expand the range of products that I offer through Kei Dubb for a while now. Vlog, podcasts, merch, and of course, new music and events have all been a part of that discussion. As I conceptualised each new offering and worked out schedules for how I was going to get it done, I asked myself some of the same questions I suggested to you above. I decided to start with the podcast as it was most doable.
From there, I looked closely at different formats that existed, looked at what I was trying to achieve with the podcast (quick tips that would really help others get their lives and careers going in the direction they wished for it to go) and then I began to piece it together. Here is what I came up with:
- I decided that I wanted it to be short and that it would NOT have the typical free-flow ‘I could talk forever about this topic’ format that every other podcast have. Instead, I wanted it to be quick to the point and useful.
- I decided a fun and creative way to achieve the aforementioned format was to see if I could select topics and then write informative 60-second blurbs that would fit into the total format of the podcast and highlight that hence ’60 Seconds with Kei Dubb’ – ‘the Tiny Podcast Making a Big Impact.’
- After I worked out the format, I selected four topics to start with and began writing blurbs for them. This way I could create the podcast content on the backend before launching and simply auto-schedule them for publication for time to come.
- Finally, I began to look at the publishing schedule that would work for me. I chose Sundays as my publication dates and decided that every Sunday would be too much pressure in light of the other projects I was working on and chose the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month. This is perfect for me. It allows e enough time to get the podcast done in stages and the short format makes the podcast doable.
By the time I was ready to launch my podcast, I had four shows under my belt (two months worth of shows because of my publication schedule) and I was still making more so that the podcast would hardly ever be late or worse missing. This format and type of podcast may not work for everyone, but it is perfect for me.
4. Decide what your revenue generators will be
Naturally, any successful business model will see you earning money from the work you produce – whether they are consumed as products or services.