Hello everybody, welcome to episode 131 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino and we’ve got a question today that’s a little different from what we’re used to. We’ve got a listener who is feeling overwhelmed by many good creative business ideas from many different endeavors she’s involved in, so there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on exploring new possibilities in the context of building a business. I do think the mental reorganizing involved can be helpful in a wide array of stressors, though. So let’s hear her question and see what we can do…
QUESTION: “I’m an illustrator suffering from having too many good ideas! I have a brand that splits between apparel, comics and props. I cohost a monthly podcast with a friend and I started a bi-monthly comic strip with another friend all within the same niche of alternative fashion. None of these things make enough for me to live off of consistently but I’ve created a decent following for each venture.
The problem is that I can’t meet the demand both in focus and product creation to make them grow to new heights. Followers ask for more of everything. My cohost wants us to devote more time to the podcast project. And weekly comic strips do better in popularity than less frequent posts. I also could get a full time job and leave all these things as side hustles or hobbies.
When I try to focus my life on one path I instantly miss aspects of the other and think of a ton of fun ideas in that area but deep down I know I’d be more successful if I chose one thing.
How do I create a metric to make these decisions when I’m passionate about all the projects and they all seem like successful ventures? What do I do when new fun ideas pop up? Or is there a way to do it all?”
A Good Problem to Have
So there are a lot of different possibilities at play here. And what a wonderful problem to have, by the way! Let’s not discount how good of a predicament this is to be in!
I know the options can be overwhelming though, very overwhelming. So let’s take a look and explore the different possible outcomes.
Before I start I’m going to preface this by saying that you should absolutely fact check everything I say with someone who knows about starting a business and effective marketing. A consultation with someone like that would be a great place to bring this question. You can also tune in to our other show, Optimal StartUp Daily, for tips on small business management and entrepreneurship.
Creative Business Ideas: Can You Do It All?
Now you ended the question by asking if there’s a way to do it all. Off the top of my head, I’d say there definitely is, mostly because you mention them all being in the niche of alternative fashion. If they all have that theme, and they all have strong audiences, I don’t see why these couldn’t become part of the same venture.
I’m not a business expert, but I’d think merging these different avenues would help immensely, because if you’re able to bring all of the audiences together, more people will want to come. People do as they see others doing, so the most substantial the audience is, the faster it will grow.
Going from 1-100 buyers will probably take the same amount of time it takes to go from 100 to 1,000. Don’t know if that’s an exactly accurate rate at all, but I can say with confidence that the higher your numbers are, the faster they’ll grow.
Increasing The Size of Your Audience
So if three audiences come together, the community of supporters theoretically becomes 300% bigger than what it is for each individual venture.
Now all of these fans of your particular alternative fashion can enjoy it in three different ways, with one singular recognizable company name and accompanying logo, and the ideas you’re having can be easily transferred from one type of product to another, all within the same company.
Comic ideas are now going on apparel. Clothing ideas are put to vote on the podcast listeners. Podcasts guests expand your network.
It all starts to work together.
Your Area of Expertise with Multiple Creative Business Ideas
While your business can have all these facets, however, the chances are you’re going to have to lock in one to have as your area of expertise. If you do indeed enjoy all of these ventures equally, then I think that question becomes especially success-based.
Lucky for you, it’s pretty easy to figure out which avenue is most successful. And double lucky for you, doing so will help you to figure out both what to make the focal point of the company if you blend these revenue streams together AND what the most sensible path would be to go down if you choose to not create one big company and instead stick with one and put the other two to the side.
Figuring this out is really just a matter of looking at your growth rates so far. If you haven’t kept track, do some digging or at least start now.
I’m inclined to think that apparel and props would be more lucrative than comics and a podcast, but I could be wrong.
Take a look at all of your business ventures and sort out which performs best. Which has the biggest audience and revenue stream with the least amount of work put in (AKA, which has the best return on investment)?
Calculate Your Return On Investment
If your podcast has 5000 subscribers, makes $10,000 a year, has been around for 2 years and requires 10 hours of weekly work, that would be better off than a comic strip that also makes $10,000 a year but has been around for 4 years and requires 15 hours of weekly work.
So look at least into the fan base, income, time in existence, and hours necessary for each of your business ideas and cross reference them to see which makes the most sense. And again, ask someone more qualified than me who works primarily in this field about all of this.
Communicate for a Shared Vision
However, a lot of this also rely heavily on the others involved. You mentioned having at least two partners across the three platforms. Obviously, if you’re thinking of making any kinds of changes, you’re going to have discuss them with your partners that help you to keep all of this going currently.
Tell them your thoughts and ask them what their visions are for each avenue and what kind of involvement they see for themselves going forward. Not only will this help you to plan, but most importantly, it will make sure you all have a shared vision and are on the same page.
Should you really decide on the podcast for example and your cohost says they’re only interested in doing it until they get a full-time job, that’s going to throw a wrench in things. Sure you can replace people if need be, but this is still something to be aware of in advance.
No Shame in a Full-Time Job
Then, of course, the final idea is putting this all to the side and instead seeking a full-time job. It’s important that you know there’s no shame in having a day job.
Unfortunately, for creatives like yourself, the idea of pursuing a full-time job has a bad stigma attached to it, and it really shouldn’t. Getting a job is not throwing in the towel by any means, and doing so does not take away from the identity you’ve established for yourself.
I would only say that since you’re someone who clearly loves what they do, it’s imperative to find a job that is enjoyable and stimulates your obvious thirst for creativity. A full-time job should not and does not have to be soul sucking.
If you found a steady job that fulfilled you, the reality is that the stability provided would give you a sense of relief, and you’d have more money to help you fuel your passions. It’d be tough, not impossible, but tough to maintain all three side hustles (though you could blend them or settle on one as we’ve explored, yet still have a full-time job).
Creative Business Ideas: Conclusion
You’d likely be short on time with multiple side hustles and a day job.
But the lack of time and the less desperation you’d feel to make money from your passion projects would only help you continue to enjoy them.
Many people feel themselves losing joy from their passions when they become the only sources of money and playing a business game is required to maintain them.
Not to say this would be you, but should you have a full-time job to take that pressure off of your passions, it would only help keep them fun.
And that’s why you got into them in the first place, right?
That wraps us up, folks. Asker, I sure hope this episode helped get you out of your rut with creative business ideas and gave some new thoughts on what the next step is to maximize your time, your income and your passions.
If not, please reach back out and we can look at this again. You and all others can email us at advice AT oldpodcast DOT com
I appreciate you all coming today, hope you’ll be here for the next one, and hope you’re leaving inspired. I’ll talk to you later everyone – have a great day.