Have you ever wondered how some online entrepreneurs seem to come up with new ideas for products or promotions day after day while you struggle to come up with one per month?
And let me tell you, that ability to put out new products or promotions constantly brings in lots of income!
It isn’t just creativity, though. Successful entrepreneurs also
- have top quality help — employees or virtual assistants
- are organized — they follow policies and procedures
- use the best tools — from their sales platform to their email service provider to their website page builder
- and more…
…but without creativity, all of those aren’t worth a whole lot of money.
Yes, you are creative!
Creativity is everywhere, always. You simply need to learn to tap into it. Being creative isn’t something that you either have or don’t have. In fact, everyone is creative in different ways. Your way to be creative might not seem like creativity to someone else, and vice versa.
From the moment you were born, you were trying to find a way to explore your environment. You looked into your mother’s eyes, your dad’s, your siblings’… and then one day you realized you were separate and you could get around and touch things and learn things. Learning by its very nature is a form of creativity.
We are all artists when young
Every child likes to color, draw, and paint with abandon. They also like to build stuff, play in forts, and make up stories when they play. You did this naturally from a young age but at some point, you grew out of it. You may be creative in a new way now, but you can also bring back that childlike nature of creativity anytime you want to.
In fact, although we often associate creativity with childhood, you might be surprised when the peak of creativity is for adults.
Philip Hans Franses of the Erasmus School of Economics has been trying to quantify human creativity — that is, to determine at what age people like writers, painters and musicians are at the peak of their careers.
And the numbers show a remarkable degree of uniformity across art, music and literature. On average, Nobel Prize-winning writers produce their best work at age 45. Painters peak at age 42. And classical composers produce their most popular works at age 39.
The average peak age is 42.
You are learning all the time
Even if you’re not actively trying, you’re learning all the time. Your eyes see things, and your mind registers it even if you’re not consciously aware of it. At some point, you may recall it when you need it. You’re learning random facts via YouTube, your Facebook stream and just by walking around and being alive and around others. Because of this, you’re creative. Learning is a form of creativity.
You are an expert in something
Everyone on the planet has something they can claim expertise to. It may be changing a diaper one-handed in under a minute, or something more traditionally thought of as “creative,” such as drawing, knitting, or painting — or something people do daily such as cooking or organizing. If you’re good at something, you’re creative.
Creativity exists even when it’s not recognized. You can be creative in science, in history, in art, and do everything another way. Raising a family is creative. The work you do is creative. Decorating your home is creative. Creativity is in everyone; you just have to find it and unleash it.
And running an online business is definitely creative! You can use your creativity to come up with product ideas, in your writing, when speaking, to design promotions, etc.
How to find and nurture your creativity
If you aren’t used to calling on your creativity when needed, it might take a little work to find it and use it. These steps will help you find and nurture your creativity anytime you need it.
- Record your ideas: When you have ideas, even if you don’t have time to do something with the idea right now (or you think the idea is rubbish), write it down or record it. You can get an app for your phone to write notes, as well as record your voice. When I have an idea for a blog post, I create a draft post, enter the title, add some notes, and leave it there until I have time to go back to it. Because of that, I have over a dozen draft posts that I can complete at any time.
- Look at your goals: When you feel stuck, going back to look at your goals can help. Knowing what you want the result to be can help you figure out how to get there. If you don’t have goals, you need to make them before you start any project or anything at all. Without goals, you have no destination and no motivation. One type of goal is your marketing and financial goals. Download my free Annual Marketing Planner to get started.
- Get a second opinion: This is where having a mentor, coach, or super-honest professional or friend with experience can help you in amazing ways. Talking an idea out with someone who knows which questions to ask and when to push you can bring the most amazing things out of you in terms of creativity. If you can’t find a friend or colleague, my membership program, Reach the Stars Club, is ideal for this
- Find inspiration: Read, watch movies, go for walks in nature – do what you can to inspire yourself. You may have to try new things to figure out what helps you get inspired enough to find your passion and unleash your creativity. Learning about whatever it is that you’re doing can help tremendously.
- Change the scenery: Get away from it and go do something else for a while, without thinking about “it” – whatever that is. Try doing a completely different task. For example, if you’re writing, go do something that requires talking so you can activate other parts of your brain.
- Find ways to relax: When your body settles down, so does your mind. Deep inside your mind is a reservoir of creativity and intelligence. Go rest in a hammock for an hour, go to a floatation pod, meditate. Get very relaxed without sleeping so that you can think. I’ve been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for over 40 years and highly recommend it.
- Energize: If you are feeling tired and you cannot take a 90-minute power nap, it can help to do something that gives you energy such as having some caffeine, vitamin water, or a green juice. Do something aerobic so that you can get more oxygen into your bloodstream. When you have more energy, you will come up with better ideas faster.
- Do things: No matter what else you do in life, if you really want to be creative you need to do things. You need to act. You need to implement it. That means you need to make choices and decisions based on knowledge and confidence. With practice, you will succeed.
Just remember that creativity is already within you. You don’t need anyone to teach you anything to be creative. Every single day you’re creative in a million different ways that you’re not conscious of at that moment. What’s more is that you can, with practice, call on that creativity when you need it.
How to put your creativity to use in your business
Everyone always talks about “thinking outside the box.” This simply means that you need to come up with a brand new way to tackle an issue or problem in order to find solutions when the old ways are not working.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to get over thinking about things the same way. You may need to employ some tactics and techniques to break out of the mold and think outside the box.
Consult with a colleague or friend: When you’re stuck and cannot come up with any new ideas, you can boost your creativity simply by getting another opinion from a colleague or friend. Even if the opinion is contrary to yours or out and out wrong, it will stimulate a new part of your brain learning about it, thus triggering new ideas within you.
Ask an expert: One way to get new ideas is to surround yourself with experts and talk to them regularly. You can find experts by looking at book authors, local college professors, and others, but you may also know someone who works at your place of employment, goes to your place of worship, or that you know through someone else. Never be afraid to go out for coffee to talk to an expert about the topic they love. They’ll enjoy it, and you’ll open your mind to facts you maybe did not realize. And of course, a life or business coach can be the expert you need.
Break It down: Stop trying to figure it out; instead, break it down to the smallest parts. When you do that, you’ll start seeing things differently. For example, if you ever watch the TV show Runway, one reason the designers can come up with such creative clothing is that they break down the pieces differently. Some use a piece of fabric as a sash. Another will use the same piece of fabric as an inset or stripe within the article of clothing. See how you can use the components of your business differently — content, campaigns, etc. You can take blog posts and put them together to create an e-book, for example. Or write an e-book and break it down as individual blog posts.
Start over: Sometimes you need to start from the beginning to find the answers. That may require that you reconstruct the thing, situation, or story from the beginning. When you think about murder investigations, this is how they often catch people. They start from the beginning with the victim and learn all they can about the victim’s life. That sometimes seems irrelevant, but it often leads to the killer.
Do some research: The more research you can read about your topic from every angle, the more likely you are to be able to come up with out-of-the-box solutions and ideas. The more you know about what others know, and what others think, the easier it will be to develop your own ideas and opinions.
Write freely: As you learn more, start writing it down or otherwise recording it in a way that you can check your notes. Free writing of what you know or feel, without looking anything up and thinking much about it, is a great way to come up with new solutions. In this way, you don’t interrupt the flow of creativity — because your mind knows a lot more subconsciously than it knows consciously. A friend and colleague of mine does something called “morning pages” — she writes down a stream of consciousness each morning and it helps her figure out what’s on her mind and where she wants to go. She got the concept from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Create a mind map or outline: Even if you’re not writing something, a mind map or outline (depending on how your brain thinks) will help you organize your thoughts better. Putting it all in order, and rearranging it and adding things to it that you may not have considered at first, will help. I always start a book with a table of contents, which is just an outline. In this way, I organize first and then the writing goes much faster. The end result is better, too. I once wrote an 800-page book doing just this! (The publisher required the TOC in advance, with the book proposal.)
Change your focus: If all else fails, just get away and change what you’re doing and looking at or thinking. Just stop thinking about it at all. Go for a long walk, go for a swim, do something else and let it go for a bit. If possible, surround yourself with Nature in a park or some woods. This is one of the best ways to come up with solutions. When your mind is at rest, it’s putting all the things you’ve learned together. But you cannot accomplish that if you don’t get away.
Try some of these tips next time you need to think about something in a new way. The truth is, anything you can do to trick your mind into letting go of the old way so that you can come up with new and relevant ways to do something is valid. You can really blow your mind when you start realizing how creative one had to be to come up with the idea of the telephone, the computer, and other technology. But remember that you have the same equipment and there are likely discoveries and inventions that someone hasn’t even considered yet. Will it be you?
What do you do to bring out your creativity?
What technique works for you? Leave a comment and share it with others to help them access the creativity within them!