Skip to main content

Life as a creative entrepreneur can be rewarding, invigorating, life-changing, and downright terrifying! Do you ever wonder:

  • Will I ever land another project?
  • Will my money last?
  • Will this bad project ever end?
  • Why does this client seem to hate me so much?
  • Why am I so afraid to hire someone?
  • If my business fails will I ever be able to get a job again?
  • I really don’t even know what I’m doing, no wonder I’m failing.

Like you, I’ve been there, hanging by a thread, wondering all of these things. Truth be told, I still have some PTSD moments when these rhetorical questions fly through my mind, just to terrorize me like Freddy Krueger.

But guess what? I made it. I built my agency, surviving all the moments I thought it was going to blow up into pieces. And guess what also? You will make it through too. Now that I am on the other side of the dark and dreary forest, I can clearly see a few things that I couldn’t see during my journey. If you have moments when you think the business you love so dearly is at death’s door, read on.

1. You are not going to die.

As bad as it gets, your business won’t kill you. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The challenging times we face as entrepreneurs refine and strengthen us to become the best version of ourselves.

2. You are not going to lose everything.

Sometimes you feel like everything you have ever earned is hanging in the balance. One false move and you may lose it all. Don’t worry. You won’t lose everything. You may lose some of what you gained, but it won’t be everything. And what you lose will come back to you in the future, often bigger and better than it was before. Just keep going.

3. Scary times motivate change.

Sure, the phone stops ringing sometimes. Use it to scare you into getting out of your shell and in front of potential clients. Sometimes a lull in projects is just the poke we need to finally make the pivot we’ve put off, or join the networking group we’ve ignored, or finally retool our marketing.

4. There will be more projects.

If you were good enough to land projects before your business started to struggle, you will be good enough to land projects in the future. Hold tight and be patient. Every day that passes is one day closer to the next project.

5. One bad client doesn’t have the power to destroy your business.

We’ve all been there. A project goes bad. The client gets mad. Will it destroy your reputation? No. No single client has enough influence to destroy your business. If you’re worried about a bad client experience, don’t be. It happens. Move on.

6. Don’t worry about your competitors.

It is easy to get caught up in what your competitors are doing and feel like they are so much better than you. Stop worrying about your competitors. Focus on your business. Sure, you may have to pivot once in a while, but in this global economy, there are enough clients to sustain your business and your competitor’s business. They’ll get their share and you’ll get yours.

7. Take things one day at a time.

When things get scary and stressful, don’t look too far ahead. Focus on the now. Stop worrying about a month from now or, even worse, a year from now. The future is way too far out there to worry about it today. A lot can happen in a week, a month, a year, especially if you make smart changes today.

8. You are joining a club, and this is the enrollment fee.

There is an unlisted, secret, exclusive club in the world called…ummm…well it doesn’t really have a name, but it exists for sure. It is a club filled with past and current entrepreneurs who have been exactly where you are today, afraid you might not make it, grinding through a bad project, filled with imposter syndrome, trying to figure out how to make it work or picking up the last crumbs left of their business. Those of us in the club know exactly what you’re going through and we are excited that you’re joining us. Right now you’re paying the enrollment fee through every challenging entrepreneurial experience you face. We all paid that fee too and it really is a small price to pay for the wisdom and growth you’re receiving. Welcome you to the club. We’re happy you’re here.

Michael Janda

I am Michael Janda, an executive level creative leader with more than 25 years of experience in both in-house creative departments and agencies working with some of the greatest brands in the world including Disney, Google, Fox, ABC and NBC. I create books, courses, workshops, lectures and other training materials to help creative entrepreneurs run successful businesses.