make it real.
If you truly want to have a wholehearted creative business, there's one thing you really need to consistently practice, measure and adjust:
make it real.
You cannot have a wholehearted creative business without authenticity. Obviously, this is a big one for me, as I've incorporated this value into my business name (you can read how I came up with the name jenuine Ruby on my FAQ page). Throughout this Make Your Mark series, I've mentioned the idea of keeping it real several times, but I feel strongly enough about it that it deserves its own post.
YOU are the heart of your business. You pour your heart, soul and personality into all that you do. You don't have to do what others are doing. You have your own unique purpose and gifts that the world needs. Please don't try to be like everybody else. What works for them might not work for you, because their calling is not the same as yours.
If you're trying to keep up with the Joneses (substitute for whatever creative business you might admire/ strive to be like), your endeavors are going to wear you out. You can't follow someone else's path and expect yours to prosper.
I'm not a gardener, so this might be a bad analogy, but let's liken our businesses to flowers. My daughter loves peonies. Peonies should be planted in the fall and bloom in the spring. They need rich, moist soil and part to full day sun. Zinnias need to be planted in the spring and they bloom in summer. They do ok in different types of soil, and require full sun. (Info from The Farmer's Almanac.)
If my business is growing zinnias, but I see my daughter flourishing with her peony business, so I try to do what she's doing, what will happen? Planting a zinnia seed in the fall is not going to produce a beautiful flower in the spring. It's going to be too cold in the ground for the seed to flourish. So when springtime comes, and my daughter has a lovely garden of peonies, I'm going to be frustrated, wondering what went wrong. I did everything she did, but my results were different.
The obvious thing I missed in this example is that I was following what my daughter was doing to grow her flowers instead of what my unique flower needed.
In all you do, check in with yourself to make sure that it supports your growing wholehearted business. If it's not authentic or nurturing growth, it's not for you. Your words, your products, your photos, everything you produce should be in line with your core values, mission and brand. You'll notice the difference. It feels more natural and less like work when it's in alignment. You won't have to be constantly looking around to see what others are doing and trying to keep up, because you'll be forging your own path, following your heart and your calling.
The key is to really know your own business and nurture it according to its unique needs so that it will grow. It might produce results in a different season that someone else's, but that's ok. Yours will bloom in due time if you are cultivating it diligently.