Why You Need Faith In Your Creative Business

Faith isn’t reserved for just the spiritual part of your life. Applying it in your business is essential to having the success you want from your work.

man jumping on rock formation
Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

This post is part of the 60 Day Project – one post a day to help you prepare your business for success in 2021. Subscribe using the button below to get new posts sent straight to your email.


Defining Faith

I consider myself a person of faith. I was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), and still am very active in my church.

I served for two years as a missionary in Washington D.C. – I paid my own way to live in the D.C. area and preach the gospel and serve as many people as I could in that time period.

In the past, faith was akin to “blind obedience”, or “doing it for spiritual reasons”.

But now, after the experiences of the last few years, I define it this way:

Faith = Belief + Action

In a spiritual sense, this could mean that we live our lives in a way that aligns with the things we believe in – that there is a God, whose Son came to earth to atone for our sins, and if we live righteously we will be blessed in eternity.

That belief in God and in the gospel of Jesus Christ determines the actions I take on a daily basis.

Applying Faith To A Creative Business

So how to apply that to our work lives.

First, it helps to know what you believe in. A few examples:

  • If I work hard, I’ll be rewarded
  • If I put the needs of others first, the money will follow
  • If I am honest in my dealings with others, I’ll attract honest partners
  • More money isn’t inherently better, it’s merely a tool that I can utilize to do more good.
  • Mastering my mindset is an important key to success as a creative business owner

Having those beliefs alone doesn’t lead to any results. I can believe all day that “if I watch enough shows on Netflix, I’ll one day be asked to create my own show for the platform and work with the best actors and make millions of dollars”.

False!

The beliefs have to be based in some sort of reality, but also need to be matched with equivalent action.

Having that sense of alignment, where our actions support our beliefs, leads to those beliefs being reinforced and realized over time.

I’ve found that to be true in my own career. By checking in regularly to make sure that my actions are supporting and reinforcing my beliefs, I find that the “blessings” come.

How to implement this principle:

List out the things you believe to be true in business.

For each one, ask what set of actions would support that belief (or what inaction would cost you).

Check in regularly with your actions and your beliefs to make sure that they are in alignment. Be grateful for the moments when your beliefs are reinforced in different ways, and when things aren’t working out, use your FAITH as a guide to what it is you want in your creative life and take action to make it real.

How Do You Know If Your Project Is Successful?

Being able to verify and measure your project success is one of the fastest ways to grow your business.

person in red hoodie standing on snowy mountain during daytime
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

This post is part of the 60 Day Project – one post a day to help you prepare your business for success in 2021. Subscribe using the button below to get new posts sent straight to your email.


Seems weird to talk about data and analytics this early on in the process of this 60 Days Project, but here we are.

(Because it’s important).

How do you measure the success of your creative projects? There’s no one right or wrong way, but I would argue that not measuring is a quick path to feeling like a failure, lacking control over the outcomes, and ultimately giving up.

There are a few ways you could measure the success of a creative project:

  • Did it get finished and sent out into the world? (Launched, published, released, etc.)
  • Did it make a certain amount of money?
  • Did it reach a certain amount of people?
  • Did it make you feel good?

Some of these are more “hard number” measurements, while others – “feel good” – are much more subjective.

One of the first things I did when I set up this 60 Days Project was lay out the things I wanted to accomplish with it, and then set up ways to track and verify if those things happened.

Here’s what it looks like for this project:

Goals:

  • 10,000 visitors to the website by December 31, 2020
  • 1,000 email signups
  • 1 post per day, no excuses

Now, the last one is pretty simple to track. Did I write something? Did I hit “Publish”?

How to track email signups and site visitors, though?

Well, for that, I had to do a little bit of technical stuff. You know, the part that most creatives shy away from because they “don’t know how”. What follows is the simple & painless process I used to ensure that I can measure how this project is going:

Tracking Website Visitors

I set the website up using WordPress. That way I can track visitors to the site in one of a few ways: using their built-in tool, Jetpack, or connecting it with Google Analytics. I chose the latter since I already use GA for my other websites.

It will show me – not 100% accurately but good enough – how many people are visiting the site each day/week/month during this project.

I know that I need to average ~167 people per day to the site in order to hit that goal, so that will help me focus my efforts on things that get people to the site.

Here’s a screenshot from my other site, Craftsman Creative

Tracking Email Signups

For the email side, rather than using any built-in forms that come standard with the WordPress theme I’m using, I connected my ConvertKit account and created a few new forms to collect emails on the site. (If you look around, there’s one in the sidebar, one at the bottom of the post, and one right here:

These all capture emails and put them under the same “tag”, specifically, “Subscribed – 60 Day Project”.

That way when I publish new posts, I can send them directly to the people who asked to get them.

I know that I need about 16 signups per day to the email list, so I can track that inside my ConvertKit account – which is how I choose to track it – or I could set up a “Goal” in Google Analytics to track that as well, though that requires a bit more setup.

The total subscriber view in ConvertKit

Isn’t This A Ton Of Extra Work?

Not really. The whole idea with this is you take a few hours at the beginning of a project to set up your goals and how you’re going to measure them.

Then, ensure that you have a way to track them on a regular basis. Whether that’s just using the insights on your social media app, or a more robust tool like Google Analytics, it’s essential that you can quickly see if your efforts are working or not.

You don’t want to get to the end of a project only to realize you’re not anywhere close to hitting your goal.

So, with two months left in the year, take a few minutes today to set up some way to track your data and see how you’re doing at working towards reaching your goals.

Want to learn how to create a project from scratch in the next 90 days? I put together a course JUST for that purpose. It’s called Make Something, and walks you through the rest of the process I use for creating successful creative projects.

(Use the code Craftsman for $50 off the price of the course)

Structure Your Life Around Moments Of Joy

This post is part of the 60 Day Project – one post a day to help you prepare your business for success in 2021. Subscribe using the button below to get new posts sent straight to your email.


Quite an unexpected topic/lesson this week.

I usually write about some strategy that I implemented and how it succeeded or failed, or some lesson I learned throughout the week.

This week, however, is a bit more introspective…

The Importance Of Joy

What is your work for?

Is it to make money? For fame? Influence?

I’d suggest that any of those external, monetary, or “vanity” type measurements fall short to give us what we really are after: Joy.

I define joy as a combination of happiness and fulfillment.

It’s happiness squared. A deeper, more visceral feeling.The more JOY we can experience in our life, the better our life will be

There were two very specific moments of JOY for me recently:

A Sunset

The other night, I was taking out the trash and caught the sunset.

Now, sunset pictures from a phone never really do it justice. But in that moment, I stopped, and took a deep breath, and realized how good it felt to be outside, in perfect weather, catching this fleeting moment that will never ever exist in the same way.

I couldn’t help but smile, and feel a deep sense of gratitude and joy.

A Soccer Game

The second time was watching my son play in his soccer game. They’d had an incredible, undefeated season, and in the next half of the season they’re going to move up a tier in their division because they’re “too good”.

(Their average score for the season was 8-1)

Hearing the coach say this, and seeing how hard my son and his team had worked, made the game that much more exciting to watch.

And then, in the second half, my son scored a goal.

He’s not much of a goal scorer. He’s much more suited to the midfield positions where the strengths are in seeing the field, making the passes, and getting the ball to the forwards who have much better footwork and confidence in shooting.

But the cross came. My son was in perfect position. He connected with the ball perfectly and placed it into the upper left corner of the goal.

The keeper never had a chance.

It was a perfect moment, followed by one of the most pure moments of celebration I’d seen from him. The team cheered – he rarely scores, so it was a big deal for everyone.

Now – what’s missing in these two moments?

Neither of them are about business…

The two most joyous moments of my life in the last two weeks had nothing to do with revenue, marketing, sales, clients, products, or the like.

I take a lot of pride in my work. But it’s not my greatest source of joy.

With that realization, I had to reflect on what my business was actually for.

Yes, I want to reach as many people as possible. Yes, I want to provide a good life for my family and me.

But if I chose to spend more time in my business, optimizing for reach or revenue, I’d miss out completely on these moments of joy.

If you work until late into the night, you’ll miss the sunsets.

Working on weekends, and you’ll miss the games.

Life isn’t about building the biggest best business and getting results.

Life isn’t life without these moments of joy.

So, I asked myself, how can I structure my life to create more of these moments?

Again, not what I was expecting to take away from this week.

Where Does Your Joy Come From?

Does your deepest moments of joy, happiness, gratitude, fulfillment come from your work? Your family? Being outdoors? Working out?

Whatever it is, the more that you can structure your life around having these moments on a daily basis, the better your quality of life.

What’s one thing that brings you an insane amount of joy? Can you make room for that to happen today? This week?

Without a sense of joy and gratitude in our lives on a regular basis, it’s near impossible to share those emotions with others in your work.

Bring more joy into your lives, and you can then share more with those you seek to serve with your business.

Want to learn more about finding joy in your creative life? Check out my course Make Something on Craftsman Creative.

The first few modules talk about 6 Human Needs Psychology, which really means how to find joy and fulfillment in your life and work.

The 60 Days Project

Introducing a new written project aimed at helping artists, creatives, and small business owners to get prepared for the winter and the new year.

person using laptop
Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

Toward the end of October 2020 I listened to the most recent conversation between Seth Godin and Tim Ferriss on Tim’s show.

From that conversation, I had one of the clearest moments in my creative career – an idea for a project that fit the framework Seth laid out in the conversation:

  • A “generous” project, one that benefited others more than it benefitted me
  • That I would do “even if it would fail” to meet my own monetary goals
  • That had a set of constraints that would help me reach the outcome
  • And incorporated a little bit of “magic” – the creation of tension for the reader.

Deciding On A Creative Project

What I decided was the 60-day project.

One email/blog per day. 1,000 words or less. Each on a topic or principle that would help the audience – that’s you – to get what it is I think you really want for yourself and your business:

What we really want, [as creatives], is to have control over our financial security, agency and independence, and predictability in times of chaos and uncertainty

Shawn Twing – Tiny Little Businesses

We may say that we want to “start a business” or even “make money with our art”. What we’re really saying is what I just wrote above.

We want control. Certainty. Freedom.

If that’s you, then I’m glad you’re here. Over the next two months – every day until December 31, 2020, I’m going to write everything I know about how to get control over your creative life and business.

Why? Because this year has been really hard on artists, creatives, and small business owners. Really hard.

Rather than add to the downward spiral that is the year 2020, I’d rather contribute to making it a positive time. A time of growth and progress and certainty and joy.

This is one way I know I can do that.

Join Me On This Creative Journey

So – check back here every day, or sign up below to get the daily posts in your email inbox.

I’m excited to join you on your creative journey.

Daren