How Right-Brained Entrepreneurs Can Mix Business with Pleasure

by Deborah A. Bailey

It can be a challenge to take a right-brained person and drop them into a left-brained endeavor like running a business. Spreadsheets, accounting programs, business plans – just thinking about those things can send a creative person into a tailspin.

What drives a lot of creative people into self employment is that they are stifled in structured work environments. I’m a business coach but I’m also a writer, a photographer and a musician (if my years in the high school band count).

After working as a copywriter in the fashion industry, I changed careers and went into information technology. It may seem like I made a huge leap from the right brain to the left, but actually it wasn’t as big as it sounds. Learning a computer programming language was similar to learning any other language. In fact, when I met with the computer school’s counselor I was told that people who had a background in music or languages actually had an advantage in learning computer programming.

Who’d have thought it? Most people believe that there’s a firm line between the two worlds, but it is possible to cross from one to the other when necessary.

As a right-brained entrepreneur, are you dealing with any of these challenges?

• When you are creative and you want to be self-employed, you will have to deal with schedules, structure and systems. Otherwise, you’ll either start a lot of projects and never finish anything, or spend a lot of time thinking about what you’re going to do, but never starting.

• Putting a price on your creations can be challenge, especially if you feel that money doesn’t mix with creative expression. Pricing is a challenge for most business owners, but you should never feel guilty about asking to be paid. On the other side of the coin, you’ll work against yourself if you feel that being paid equals selling out.

• A lot of the time creative people are expected to give their work away for the “exposure.” Well, at what point have you been exposed enough? When do you start asking for compensation? If you don’t have an answer to that, it’s time to take an honest look at things. Are you running a charity or a business?

• Have you ever been told that you’ll never make any money making art? Were you discouraged from becoming a writer because “books don’t make any money?” When those messages are in the back of your mind, it will be difficult to build a successful business.

Being a creative entrepreneur comes with a built-in set of challenges, such as how to deal with structure when it feels totally uncomfortable.  

Here are a few tips:

• Make a schedule for yourself – nothing fancy. Just write down what you have to accomplish each day. When get distracted, it’ll help to have your list of tasks to refer to.

• Hire help if you can. You may have a lot of interests, but some things are better left to the experts. Rather than struggle with an accounting program, you can have a bookkeeper handle things much quicker.

• Be honest about what you’re good at, and what you’re not so good at. Delegation is not a dirty word. If you can hand off administrative tasks to a VA or an assistant, you will have even more time to work on the things that you do best.

• Get a coach. No, I’m not suggesting that because I am a coach. I’m saying it because no one needs accountability like a right-brained entrepreneur. There’s always a new idea that seems so much better than the idea you had yesterday. When you’re always chasing the next new thing you’re going to leave a trail of things undone. A coach will keep you honest by providing the feedback, direction and accountability that you require to stay on track.

If you’re a right-brained entrepreneur you are a visionary. But every vision requires action so that you can bring it to life. It is possible to stop struggling and manage your creativity and your business.

Deborah A. Bailey is author of two non-fiction books including, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life .”

1 comment

Arabella Bianco said...

Hi Deborah,

I worked in Information Technology as an analyst/progammer and was told that people who were good at english were more likely to be successful in computing than those who were good at maths. I run my own fashion retail business now, and it's quite a challenge. Like most self-employed people I dislike the paper work, but a good tip is to use a software accounting package like Quickbooks. It will do all the adding up for you, and if you have a simple system you can use their free version.

Best Regards, Arabella

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