Although I’m a business adviser, I rarely give direct advice to the creative entrepreneurs I’m helping. Instead, I help them to reach their own conclusions by asking questions, providing information and guiding them towards the kind of success they seek to achieve.
There’s no shortage of advice. Often my clients come to me with an abundance of ideas, plans, schemes and tactics. They are weighed down by advice that has been heaped upon them by well-meaning colleagues, friends, relatives and professional advisers. It’s easy for people to suggest good ideas but the effect is that the person receiving the ideas ends up with a to-do list which is impossibly long. Then they either burn out or just feel overwhelmed.
My job is to help them sort it all out and select the ideas and advice that fits best with their overall objectives. By helping to remove the burden of too much advice, I can help them to focus on the few important things that must be done next in order to become even more successful.
When people offer you ideas and advice about developing your creative business, I suggest you do two things:
1. Thank them sincerely – because no doubt they mean well.
2. Add it to your list of things to consider – but not necessarily a list of things to actually do.
Since they want to be helpful, you could also ask them which of the things already on your to-do list they suggest you remove – to make space for their idea. It’s a tough question!
The art of developing a creative enterprise isn’t just trying to do more and more – it’s about intelligently selecting the best things to do (and therefore actively deciding what not to do) in order to prioritise and focus energy and resources on the most important things.
We don’t need more things to do. We need to decide which things are the most important things to do.