Doubt is a part of the creative process, embrace it
The issue of doubt loosely binds together this week’s newsletter. Uncertainty can be healthy and keep businesses on their toes but more often than not it’s paralysing. It holds people in their safe place, afraid to try new things or never taking that first step towards making their idea happen. But that hasn’t got to be the case. Here’s a few ways you can use it to your advantage…
Who will bankroll your next idea? And does it even matter?
“The reason we work with brands at all is that they're better partners for us than the traditional music industry.”
It’s impossible to escape the latest OK Go video at the moment. Shot for new track This One Moment it features the usual mind-bending creativity we’ve all come to expect from the band. This time they’ve managed to fit hundreds of small events into four beautiful seconds. Another viral hit is theirs.
However, what has gone unnoticed and unreported is that the video actually doubles-up as an advert. For a salt company.
Musicians promoting brands is nothing new but the real art is in not looking like a sell-out (ask Tony Hawk).
The collaboration with Morton Salt follows others with the likes Range Rover, Samsung, Chevy and even a Chinese furniture store. Every video the band puts out will likely follow suit. Why? OK Go are pioneering a lucrative new business model for bands, free from the shackles of record companies and their automatic grab on YouTube royalties.
Removing the doubt of who will fund their next big idea allows them to be more creative and be more ambitious with every release. And bands aren't the only ones rethinking old models... ustwo are doubting the resilience of the traditional creative agency model, whilst the big management consultancies are increasingly looking to agencies as their saviours.
Onlyness: Valuing what you alone can bring to the party
If, like me, you sit outside the traditional corporate structure you can find it difficult or daunting to put a definitive label on what you do. In recent years I’ve been asked to be a marketer, storyteller, fundraiser, community-builder, placemaker and more. I know each of these backgrounds mean I can bring a certain uniqueness to any future challenge. However, it’s only recently I’ve started to value this.
The initial fear of being found out in a new role is otherwise known as ‘Imposter Syndrome’. Turns out it’s remarkably common in entrepreneurs and creatives. A combination of self-doubt with self-imposed high standards.
Thankfully it has a cure: Onlyness
Coined by Nilofer Merchant, it’s an appreciation of what only you can offer. It captures the unique value that you carry in your passions, point of view, successes and failures. It’s the joining of past dots that Steve Jobs preached.
I can now say with confidence: “I’m paid for my big ideas and trusted to make them happen.”
So what’s your onlyness?
Breaking the co-founder myth once and for all
Whilst we’re at it, lets tackle another elephant in the room: the perceived problem of going it alone.
We’re regularly warned about the crazzyness of starting a business on your own. Turns out it can be bad advice. TechCrunch analysed the team size of successful $10m fundraising rounds and exits and for each outcome more than half were by solo entrepreneurs! Who knew.
Creative business is full of highs and lows
Co-mentoring is a new friendly place to discuss the challenges of running your creative business others in the same boat.
I've been a member for a month now and found it a great way to get a range of perspectives on a burning issue and to be held accountable to that must-do milestone. What’s more, it’s free to join!
Other things I’ve used and found…
Co-op’s novel take on the advent calendar is a powerful reminder of the company's founding values and proof they live on today
- Not just a number
Big data is often boring and intimidating. Spotify proves that little data can be fun
- Need a digital detox?
When I need to knuckle down to meet a deadline I use Self Control to block the websites that distract me the most
- Are you hunting mice or rabbits?
This great infographic plots the 5 routes to building a $100 million business
- Poetry in motion
Hundreds of animators collaborate on a free, kinetic typeface and the result is beautiful