FILED IN: Education
Posted By: Jamie
Taking a break from welcome gifts today for a small business post meant for creative entrepreneurs! Is it just me or when you scroll through Instagram, is it starting to look like a sea of the same? Or worse, do you put something unique out into the universe only to discover it's been copied a few short weeks later? Where is the originality? Where are the new ideas? I know we can do better. Let's break this vicious cycle. Here are some ways to remain unique in a sea of the same:
Innovation is a decision. It's a mindset. You don't have to completely reinvent the wheel if your style and niche are established. But you do need to continue to bring fresh ideas to the marketplace in order to remain relevant. Stuck on which direction to go in? Evaluate your clients' needs and make a decision to answer those needs in a fresh ways, while still remaining true to your brand. Review feedback you've received, both positive and negative, and take that feedback into consideration. By the way, if a client gives you an idea, it doesn't mean you're not being original if you implement it! Sometimes client feedback can be a great source for innovation. Even better if no one else is doing it and you'll be the first to fill that need in the market!
Another suggestion. Block off time in your weekly schedule to focus 100% on innovation. When you're a creative business owner, making time to brainstorm and create is a meaningful use of your time. If you don't, you'll end up creating more of the same over and over again.
Limit your Pinterest use
Pinterest is a fantastic tool for curating and communicating ideas in a visual way. But it's a HORRIBLE tool for generating new ideas. After all, isn't everything on Pinterest already done? Think bigger and try looking for inspiration elsewhere. Begin gathering ideas from your travels, conversations with friends, nature, fashion trends, movies, and other areas of design. For example, if you're a wedding planner, try gathering inspiration from interior design. If you're a florist, perhaps landscape art would be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Once you have your unique idea in your head, then it's okay to lean on Pinterest for communicating that idea to clients or others you're collaborating with. But I find it's useful to have a unique concept established long before reaching for Pinterest.
Put Your Blinders On
Similar to limiting Pinterest, limit your time on social media as well. If you're anything like me, you can sit down and scroll for hours, taking in image after image. The longer I scroll, the more each image starts to look the same. And it's because, again, so much of the content we see really is the same! Don't let this fool you into thinking that what you put out into the industry has to look like everything else. Don't play the comparison game. Limit your social media to certain times of the day. Personally, I find it's best to do it at night long after your work day is over. This way, you can create authentically during the day, without having social media influence you. Please know that putting your blinders on doesn't mean you're not supporting others in your industry. It simply means that you're looking out for your own creativity first and then supporting others.
Know your 'why'
Don't start a business without knowing why you're doing it and whom you're doing it for. In other words, know your ideal client and your niche market. Once you have this down, you won't need to look at your competitors for inspiration. It will come from within. In times when an industry starts going one way, you won't feel the need to ride the wave unless the trend fits within your niche and speaks to your ideal client. And in those situations where you do embrace the trend of the moment, you'll most certainly put a spin on it that's uniquely you!
Okay, now I want to hear from you! What are some ways you work innovation into your schedule? Leave us a note in the comments!