On last week’s post on creating niche products, I got several comments from people who felt they just could not limit themselves to one material or idea.
“I’m creative, I just have too many ideas to focus on one thing!”
There is nothing wrong with being creative and having a lot of ideas. In fact, those of us that possess the elusive skill of creativity are often the envy of those who don’t.
But ultimately, if you want to build a successful business, you need to learn to balance the creative brain with the business brain.
The creative part of your brain is the part that keeps you up at night dreaming of new ideas. But the business brain is what you need to edit and figure out which of those new ideas will make it to market.
Not every thing you make needs to be for sale
An important role of the business brain is to edit what your creative brain produces.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is that they try to sell every type of thing they create.
I have creative skills far beyond what’s reflected in the steel and silver jewelry collections you see in my shop. Beyond the vast repertoire of metalsmithing skills I have in my arsenal, I also like to sew, am skilled at felting, and can hold my own with a crochet hook.
But you don’t see any of that in my shop.
Just because you can and do make something doesn’t mean it necessarily needs to be for sale.
It’s ok to have hobbies
The prevailing idea around sites like Etsy is that you’ll be able to turn your hobby into a business. But the truth is that not all of your hobbies are suited for business.
It’s ok to keep some of your hobbies as just, well, hobbies.
And I realize, once you’ve got the entrepreneurial bug, that this is easier said than done. It’s a dilemma I’m all too familiar with.
I love to ride my bike. And every so often, I get bitten by the bug that asks “how can I turn my love of bicycling into a business?” And after entertaining that thought for a few days, I finally remind myself that I have plenty of work to do running the businesses I already have, and that it’s ok for some of my hobbies to be just that, hobbies.
Balancing your business brain with your creative brain means taking a good look at which products make sense to sell, and which products don’t. It means coming up with an overall brand identity and choosing products that fit into that identity.
This is true even for large companies admired for their creativity. For every product Apple brings to market, there are plenty of ideas (some that probably made it pretty far into the prototyping and development process) that the world will never see. Apple has to balance the creativity of their design team with the need to make a profit.
There’s nothing wrong with indulging the whims of your creative brain and trying out different techniques or subject matters as the mood strikes you. That’s where new ideas come from.
But it’s important to spend as much time cultivating and listening to your business brain, because that’s what will help you build a cohesive product line and a successful business.