How to grow a creative business without the pain—step 2 will blow your mind! 🤯

Unspoken Insights — Edition 1 — April 14th, 2024

Years ago, a studio owner that I was working for as a freelancer told me that growing hurts. I thought he meant working longer hours. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I recently started working with a US-based branding studio.
The founder, Anna (not her real name), has run it for more than ten years now.
Her team is her, a project manager, two designers, and two full-time freelancers.
Despite the pandemic and the crises we are in, Anna had a great year, almost tripling her revenue since we started together six months ago.
Currently, Anna faces 3 major projects.

Exciting, yes, but overwhelming, fuelling her fear of losing control — the true pain of growth.

The Dilemma:
She can expand and tackle all 3 projects, requiring more staff, or play it safe for one more year by taking on only one.
But what if nothing comes afterwards. How many big opportunities will she have as a small studio?

What’s the wise move here—what would you do?
Here’s what I told her:
If you want to build something that outlasts you, then those are the moments you have to embrace to grow.
But I can’t possible work more hours! I have a family! — She replied!
Well I said, it is not about working more hours, but really about letting go of trying to control everything.Which is the real reason you are working so many hours.
Once you set up systems and train people in it, it will change your life.
You'll worry less, quiet your mind, and sleep better.
You’ll also build a responsible team culture, making it easier to manage more with less effort.

You might think:
Growing equals working harder
That you have to work more hours.
That you have to take on big financial risks.
That you have to put in complex systemsThat people won’t meet your standards.
That you'll lose control with more people on more projects.
Don’t worry, I'll show you how letting go can be a simple and enjoyable process.

Here's how, step by step:
Step 1: Delegate
You are the bottleneck and you know it.
Your business won’t get to the next level unless you let go.
Your team deserves it.
Anna started delegating her tasks.
One team member now checks all the PS, AE & C4D files and completes a checklist that we came up with.
Another takes on the creative direction for smaller projects, learning while they are growing.
Suddenly, Anna’s working days have reduced from 10 hours to 7—a big win.

Step 2: Build the system while you train them.
Most people get this wrong. You are not building the system—your team is.
Bring to build a system with our intellect will always fail—at least for designers.
Using our natural creative approach simplifies this process.
What you do is to show your team how you intuitively perform the tasks you want them to learn.
They take notes and systematise things, perhaps using a Google Doc or a quick video.
They’ll spot problems and improve the system on the fly.
You don’t have to do that much.

Step 3: Let go and focus on higher-level tasks.
Now you can release control and trust others with their ideas, your company can grow and improve.
It builds a culture of responsibility, and you will end up with highly motivated people.
Trust them that they will figure it out and learn.

Step 4: Repeat as needed.
Apply these strategies across various tasks to systematically improve your business operations.
This will allow you to focus on expanding client relationships and other important activities that you currently neglect.

Hiring may seem risky, especially if future workloads decrease.
However, freeing up your schedule to engage more with clients and network can lead to more opportunities, offsetting potential risks.
Growing a studio is more about changing your approach than working harder.
Trust in your team and the systems you build together.
Let go and trust that you can handle any obstacles that come your way.


After all, I'm here to support you.
p.s: Please share this newsletter with your friends and rivals. I'm committed to raising the bar in the creative industry so everyone can earn more, produce exceptional work, and find deep satisfaction in what they do.
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