One of the issues I assist creative people with most frequently in my consulting and coaching practice is figuring out which business model they want to pursue.  There are so many options these days for how to go about structuring your business and how to go about selling your product or service that it can be really tricky to figure out which is the right way for you.

There is no simple answer to this, though the internet seems to be full these days of online companies that offer you ‘the’ strategy to achieve a six-figure income.  Such offers can be very alluring, particularly for creatives who are struggling to bring in the income they would like to.  But you really need to ask yourself are these promises sustainable?  Are they relevant to an Australian market (if you are indeed Australian like me).?  And last, but certainly not least, is the business model and the tasks required of you to action it actually something that you want to do? Let me repeat DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THE JOB YOU ARE SIGNING UP FOR?  I find it staggering how many people do not really think carefully about this question.  And lately I’m hearing lots of creatives complain about how much time these seem to spend in front of the computer.

It is true that the internet has offered us freedom to earn like never before for creative professionals.  Do it yourself websites that cost barely nothing and retina displays that offer excellent visuals have made it possible to market your art anywhere in the world.  And ‘must do’ online marketing methodologies seem to be popping up like new religions everywhere!  All well and good, and I personally think that having an online presence and a clever online marketing plan for your business is essential in this day and age.  But I also think that it is really important to consider the broader scope of your business and WHY YOU ARE DOING IT before deciding on how big a part the internet is going to play in your business.  It’s a simple question, but probably the first one you need to ask yourself before making any firm decisions about the shape that your business model might take.

Questions like ‘am I a people person?’. ‘Do I need human interaction every day to make me happy?’ are really REALLY important!  ‘Do I want to spend the bulk of my time on a computer or most of it on my art?’  is another super-important question.  ‘Would I be happy sitting in a shop day after day dealing with customers or do I prefer alone time in the studio?’ Do I like travel and am I open to overseas sourcing and manufacturing avenues or travelling to trade fairs?’

Once upon a time I opened a shop, even though I am a bit of a recluse and hate working in retail.  Granted I only did it when I could afford to hire a full- time manager (I think actually worked there 5 times in 5 years!).  But I know people who felt the same about retail and opened their own store and worked in it.  Needless to say, those shops are no longer around.

Asking yourself these sorts of questions is pivotal to deciding on the business model you employ and the income streams you decide to pursue.  Some of them may be worth playing around with and seeing how you like them, and that is absolutely fine.  But some of them may be a deal breaker and the answer is an outright no.  If that is the case, then save yourself a whole lot of grief down the track and honour that from the outset! The sooner you realise these things the better, because it is very easy to tie yourself up in a business model that isn’t really right for you because you didn’t consider the implications.  I did that once, and I’m really hoping to repeat that mistake the second time around.