There are billions of ways to make a painting.  The variations are endless and unique and that is part of what makes them art.

I think that a small business should really be treated this way.  But instead we are trained to think that there are very specific and finite ways to create a business.  I subscribed to this way of thinking for a very long time as I educated myself in traditional business models and strategies.   And I must say that it did work from the point of view that my business made money and grew from year to year, just as its ‘meant’ to.

But what it didn’t do is give me a business that melded well with my personal life, particularly as a women looking to create a family.  And also what it didn’t do was give me a business that expressed my deeper sense of purpose.

Over the past three years, I have done a lot of deconstructing of my old business model and gone about creating a new one that supports my personal life and realistically fits with my reality as a business owner, a mother of a one and two year old and a wife.  Hence you get a blog post about once a month- that seems to be all I can fit in at this point in time!

I describe it as approaching my business holistically: seeing my business as something that integrates with all areas of my life that are meaningful to me, and not making myself so busy to the point that I lose activities that are really important to me such as yoga.

In essence, I’ve really tried to give the creation of my business the same mindfulness, receptiveness and intuitive focus that I would in creating a design or a piece of art.

What has this meant for me? Well, while I am guilty of researching business models for my latest business until I am cross-eyed, I need to:

1) Let that all go and allow what feels intuitively true for me as a direction to rise to the surface and then commit to that direction for a period of time.  I follow that thread for a while and about 95% of the time, it pans out.  If it doesn’t I go back to my intuition and try the next idea.  Your audience will tell you (or their silence will tell you) if you are reaching them.

2) It also means that the structure of my business is fluid and open to change. That nothing is set in the ‘forever’ stone.  It can be very tempting to stamp your business with a ‘this is how we do it’ rubber stamp, write the manual, and be done with it.  Always be open to new ways of approaching your business- even if they may seem nutty (this usually means they are cutting edge!)

3) It means being in connection with my core values in my business activities at ALL times.  I find that when the focus drifts from my core values and I get drawn along tangents that don’t genuinely interest me, things start to go wrong and I get confused.  When I stay focused on what I love about my business and keep moving in that direction, I remain fulfilled and motivated.

4) It means reminding myself to TRUST  that where my focus and intent remains true with my business, the money will follow.  This can be the hardest one of all because sometimes it takes a little time for the money to start appearing from heart ventures.  Big things grow from well-established and nourished root systems.  You can and will make money if you continue to be intuitively led to the structures that will work for you- that is why being open to change is so important. I have lived this one for fourteen years and FYI, it still makes me nervous!

5)  Be kind to yourself in times of confusion and self-doubt.  It is so easy for us sensitive creative types to get derailed by criticism.  And it is so common for people to give up just before they have a breakthrough and things turn a corner. Check out this post if self-doubt is a biggie for you.  And ladies, please check your calendar! If you are anything like me, the end of the world and my business and anything that is good in my life occurs roughly at the same time every month!.

The one thing I can tell you about this artful and intuitive approach to business is it’s a heck-of-a-lot-less stressful than the traditional business approach! It also keeps me ‘honest’ because I don’t go in directions that I simply don’t want to because I ‘should’….or at least I don’t go down that road so far that I can’t change track.

When business is art, you have permission to make it what you want it to be, to be a true and honest expression of your creative genius, for it to be something we are genuinely proud to have out there in the world.