One of the most common types of clients that I have walk in my door are people who are mid-career. They’ve been in the creative industries for a long while but have hit a fork in the road, a block, or a turning point. Perhaps the creative passion that filled them up 10 years ago has been replaced by new creative passions. Perhaps what used to work for them is changing as the world around them changes with new technologies, new markets and new trends. Often by the time I am working with someone at this stage they are just about ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Before you set a match to years of hard work here are five tips for mid-career creatives to help you get unstuck.
Tune in with your vision.
This really is my go-to answer for pretty much everything. It’s kind of the baking soda and apple cider vinegar of my consultancy business because seriously, it does clean up just about everything. Tune in to who you are right now, what your vision is for your life and what your vision is for your career, creativity and your business. Often, the answers that come out of this process hold the key to a new phase. It’s possible that what used to be your driving vision has changed, maybe the priorities for your life have shifted or perhaps you have simply lost sight of the underlying “why” behind your business.
Take a birdeseye view
In traditional business they call this a SWOT analysis. Take a look at what’s working and what isn’t. See where new opportunities might be hiding and recognise where new threats and obstacles might be blocking your way. Sometimes this process is enough to identify any roadblocks and boot them out of the way. An outside consultant (someone like me!) or switched on friend is really recommended to get some fresh eyes on your business and creative life.
Take it to the next level.
Be grown up in business. Sometimes we’re used to operating at a certain level and haven’t realised we’ve actually graduated to a new way of doing business. Maybe you are at a point where you are able to outsource certain aspects and automate others. This can free you up for bigger, better, different, or more strategic things and inject some space and energy back into the role you play in your business.
Cull the dead wood
Have a look at the parts of your business and creativity that you really love and see if now you’ve been operating for a while you have the means to let some of the less juicy things go. Being mid-career is an exciting time. It’s an opportunity to leverage everything you’ve learned, so take the opportunity to see what new skills you have compared to when you first started out and allow your business to evolve and reflect that.
Give Your Business a Shake Up
It’s easy to get stale doing the same thing day in, day out. Sometimes what’s needed is a new product or a new project that reminds you of what you’re passionate about. If there are aspects of your business that are really working, then you won’t want to get rid of those, but perhaps there are some new products, projects, or ideas, you could be giving a go in order to get your juices flowing again.