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You may have already started your business and maybe it hasn’t grown, or just hasn’t continued making steps forward. If something is holding you back then you need these tips to take your business to the next level.
The biggest step you can take is making a plan and just starting and while that is a huge initial success you need to keep moving forward because you’re only beginning. For a business to grow you can’t stay still, because your business will stagnate and eventually start moving backward.
These are wholistic tips, in that I want to talk about the mindset that will help take your business to the next level.
I’m going to talk about how to go from someone who is taking middling incremental steps forward to someone who is open to accelerating their business’ growth by exploring new opportunities, taking a chance on riskier strategies.
Why My Business Didn’t Grow
“The hardest part is just starting” is what everyone says, and it’s very true. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to keep the momentum going. And even then it can take a long time to see some growth. It could be years or it could be right around the corner.
I made the big move to create my new brand, learning how to build a website, learning SEO, marketing, video editing, writing etc. I have built skills in areas I have never needed to be skilled in before as a professional photographer.
I know a great deal about photography and art, having done so for 10 years, but building a brand requires you to wear many more hats. There’s a lot of learn. The problem I have been making is that until recently I have only been making small steps.
I had an epiphany the other day about this, which prompted me to write this article, to articulate my thoughts as well as help anyone else in the same situation. I realised what I wasn’t doing: I wasn’t taking big steps forward.
Tip 1: Take Big Steps Forward
When I say big steps, what I mean are giant leaps forward. These giant leaps can take all forms but usually require large doses of courage and determination.
One of the biggest steps you can take for example is quitting your day job. This is a big step that can’t be taken lightly or rashly. It has to be a calculated move, and it can fill one with much trepidation; but with proper planning you can placate those worries.
I’m not saying small steps are bad. Small steps are publishing another article, working on a new product, they’re incremental steps of progress. Usually these steps are pretty straight forward.
For you, big steps could can be anything that is standing in the way of your business’ growth. It could be dropping a hobby to allocate more time to your business, or it could be postponing a holiday to allocate those funds for capital to invest into your business; or filming video for a new YouTube channel, or as I said quitting that day job.
These steps usually include an unpleasant aspect attached which at first feels huge, but in actuality is very small compared to the size of the positive outcome from the results of your actions.
The key to preparing yourself to take that big step is to reassure yourself that you can take the risk because you’ve taken then necessary actions to mitigate any losses. For instance maybe you have saved up a fund to tide you over for when you quit your job.
The next two steps are essentially big steps forward but all three are interlinked.
Tip 2: Take Risks
I’ve invested heavily into my own website with software and gear, and I’m putting in the hours, but I know that with YouTube I have been very risk adverse. I’m creating the simplest videos I can, mainly in an attempt to keep up consistency.
And this has worked, while I have kept uploading and I am not giving up, I know the videos are not at a level of production I am capable of.
For instance I am still very reticent in front of the camera. Opening myself up is risking ridicule, but I have to do it; opening up your personality on YouTube helps you connect with the audience better.
I also made do with 10 year old lighting gear, so I need to invest in better gear and essentially risk the capital I have.
Investment is always a risk, because capital for a small business is precious, it has to be spent wisely.
I’ve invested in better lighting with a new YouTube lighting set up and a new flash photography setup for thumbnails (YouTube and web). I’ve also invested in software and services like VidIQ and Epidemic Sound.
I was already using cheaper alternatives to these gear and services, but the level of production, particularly with the older gear showed. Now the difference is light and day. Better lighting has helped make a thumbnail that is generating the most views so far for my latest video.
Just look at the difference with new lighting gear in these two thumbnails. The impressions and CTR (click through rate) show that the new lighting was a good investment.
Now I have better lighting for YouTube I will not have to rely on daylight which my Creative Niche video used. The lighting was all over the place with that video. No longer will that be an issue.
Tip 3: Investing in Your Business
This is another big step is to take your business to the next level. Investment takes money and when we are starting a business we don’t always have much capital to start with.
This is especially true for small business startups where you are the sole person running it and you will most likely already have a day job; which may or may not be related to your business.
Starting a new business, the kind of which this website teaches, requires substantial investment into website building which includes:
This can run into the hundreds of dollars. Then there’s equipment:
This can run into the thousands of dollars.
Businesses like this can’t be built piecemeal. Investing in a top spec camera but going cheap on the lighting won’t work. Similarly for a microphone. It’s like a jigsaw, you need all the pieces to complete the right setup and not investing in one area will affect everything else.
As I said, a great camera with top tier lighting will be for naught if you are not using a professional microphone. Now lots of people say just start with your phone and I would echo that advice, especially if you are young.
But for you the reader, who is probably a working professional or someone with a job, you can most likely afford a camera, a microphone, and a laptop etc. You can either buy all that outright, save up, or use credit. There are few excuses for not investing in the right gear.
The problem of course is ROI (return on investment), you are shelling out all that money and the return will not be much, it’s a slow process, it might be years before you see a return.
But it’s the same for nearly all YouTubers when they started. It’s also the same for websites, it took my website a full year to make a return. It would not be where it is if I didn’t just go all in.
That’s what I’m doing, I’m going all in.
I have responsibilities to my family, I have bills to pay, a second job, but there is no better time than now to start a business. But don’t dip your toe in the water; you want to make it work? Then just dive right in.
I am building this website to be a huge resource for anyone building their business; there’s no paywall, all the content is ready for you to use and put into action. Check out my comprehensive article: How to Build a Creative Business, and choose which step you are currently at and go from there.
Artist / Photographer / Videographer