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5 Ways For Entrepreneurs to Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

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5 Ways For Entrepreneurs to Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

No matter what business you are in, chances are the competition is fierce. You probably have a website, you have your marketing, you may even blog, but you need to do everything you can to stand out.

Running your own business requires both the right and left brain. It requires doing everything you can to be original in a world where your competition is busy saying and producing the same things. When it comes to standing out, creativity is a must. But you know something? Creativity doesn’t come from banging your head against the wall. It often doesn’t come by staring at a blank computer screen.

It often comes in the moments when we are – Gasp – living our lives. It creeps up on us when we are away from the computer. Those ideas pop up at all times. There is an eerie truth to the cliché that ideas come while you are in the shower. So the best thing you can do is carry a notebook and jot them down whenever they might pop into your mind (feel free to dry off first, if needed).

We were born with creativity. We were born with the urge to draw, paint, write and create. Somewhere along the line as adults, it becomes a struggle to hang on to.

Here are 5 steps entrepreneurs can take to boost their creativity:

 

1. Get some kind of physical activity

I know, I know, operating your business takes time. It takes all of your energy and focus. You are a busy person, who doesn’t have any time for yourself. Or you just hate exercise. Maybe you broke your alarm clock throwing it against the wall. Insert reason. Insert excuse.

I’m not saying you have to run a marathon or bench press 300 pounds. Just start simple. Go for a half-hour walk. Do some pushups or situps before you take your morning shower. Do something. Exercise will jolt your normal routine. You may begin to think of things differently. Exercise will help your creativity. Who knows, you might even become healthier.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

2. Read outside your industry

When you invest all of your energy into building your business it is easy to live life with a singular focus. You spend your waking hours thinking of nothing but how to improve your business. Here’s something easier said than done – you need to break that urge. Sure, read the most important industry books, blogs or research, but read other stuff too.

What else do you absolutely love reading? For me it’s personal essays and biographies. Maybe even a novel sprinkled in here and there. The thing is, reading outside your industry will give you ideas. When you come across an applicable idea, write about it, implement it, do whatever you need to do. This is how you can breathe a little creativity and originality into a world of clones.

 

3. Go out for lunch

Again, I know you are busy. We all are, but if you are a solo entrepreneur, it becomes very easy to live in an isolated world where every day is the same. Even if you run a larger business, it is still possible for your focus to become singularly constrained. It’s time to mix things up and talk with some new people.

Do you have friends or colleagues who do something interesting for a living? Now is not the time to be shy. Call them, grab lunch, grab coffee, pick their brain. If no one in particular comes to mind, network. Truly think about it. You can find someone. Most people are comfortable talking about themselves. So go ahead and ask questions about who they are, and what they do.

 

4. Do what your significant other says 

This is another piece of advice that can go against every grain of our being. If you find yourself extremely frustrated with a lack of progress on any given project, it is probably time to step away from the computer. Go run that errand. Take out the garbage.

Empty the dishwasher. Most of these things do not take the time that we think they do. Most of us are not “above” doing these things, like we think we are. So go, step away, let your brain reboot. You may get that idea while you are gone.

 “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

5. Create something

What are your interests outside of your work? Play guitar, paint, build something, take photos. Whatever your interest may be, don’t neglect it. Even if it’s just a half hour of your day, it will break up your routine and leave you feeling accomplished and refreshed.

 

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Magnus Agency

    Jul 9, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Great article. Thank you.

  2. Salim

    Nov 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Your advice is excellent and I am implementing it immediately! A lot of it I already know but I definitely need the reminder… Thanks

  3. Chris Targett

    Aug 5, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Physical activity has to be my favourite.

    I love the idea of reading outside of your industry, I’ve had some good ideas come from doing something with little relevance to my field.

  4. Heitem Ak

    Aug 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Nice one Matt,

    Physical activities are so underrated!

    Heitem Ak

  5. Rita

    Aug 3, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Thank you for such a helpful article. I especially like the advice of just “create something.”

  6. Dotchamou Zakari

    Aug 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you for your post. I think that in this noisy world where many things call our attention, one of the hardest things to do is to still listen to our inner voice that can help us to innovate and move us far from the ordinary. Those who want to stay for a long time in the road of entrepreneurships know that they must continue to innovate, that is why your article is very useful for any person who want to be creative.

  7. Travel the Life

    Aug 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Totally agree about all the things; and we consider one of the most important is to “create something”.

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The Guide to Staying Motivated While Working Alone

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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.

When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.

But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.

Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.

These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.

1. Include short breaks

My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.

2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking

Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.

3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule

A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!

These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!

1. Music

This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!

2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery

When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.

3. Love what you do

This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.

These last few tips are Industry-related!

1. Make sure you have fun projects

Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.

2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year

Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.

3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry

View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.

These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!

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