Personal Development

How dreams radically form the foundation for a successful creative business and life

August 5, 2015

I’m Michelle.
A modern maker with a classic approach to design. Ever in search
of beautiful typography and
baked goods.
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The first step in building a successful creative business is starting with a dream. Explore ways to convert your passion and talent into a fulfilling career. Use the free worksheet included in the blog post to get started!

“All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

How cliche of me to start this with some inspirational wisdom, and by Walt Disney to boot, but that quote is just too powerful NOT to share. I’ve been connecting with so many awesome people lately who all seem to have something in common: they want to start their own creative business, but they don’t know where to begin. Is it by starting a Facebook page, or forming an LLC, or creating a product— or something else? There’s enough advice and opinions out there to make your head spin.

When you are thinking about building a business, I think it makes the most sense to figure out your end game. Before you think about putting yourself or your product out there and making money, I want you to answer this question:

What do you want your life to look like?

Changing your mentality
Past generations have been following this routine: work your butt off for 40 years, and then you can retire and start enjoying your life. When you’re 65. If you make it. That doesn’t work for me. I want to enjoy my life every day, starting now. This mind-shift has become the fuel that runs my business.

Dreaming big
I want you to think about what an ideal life looks like for you. Does it mean that you have enough money to pay for your kids’ college educations? Or to build your dream home? Or to travel the world? Get specific. Do you want more time in your day so you can exercise? Or to get organized? Or to pay somebody else to organize your home? Maybe you want to dedicate your life to charity.

Paving the way
Once you have those dreams established, it’s time to start mapping out the steps to reach your goal. Here’s an example of what said plan could look like, taking into account that you are a creative person with a desire to put your skills to work:

{ Life Goal }  To travel the world
{ Needed }  Freedom to pick up and go, funds to cover the costs

{ How to make it happen }

1. Use your inspiration and love of travel to design travel journals that people can print and use to document their journeys and memories.

2. Begin to connect online with people who share your love of travel. Meet new friends, find out what they are looking for in a travel journal. Run your ideas by them.

3. Share your designs with your newfound travel community. Hand them out for free and see the kind of feedback you receive. Revise and finesse until you’ve created the ultimate product that everyone has been waiting for.

4. Put your journals up for sale online. Your test group and new travel comrades will have already been telling their friends about them.

5. Use the funds from your sales and take your journal out for a test run. Choose a new place to visit and document your trip, (using your journal) to share with your audience. Did I mention that because you are taking your trip to help grow your business, that it’s tax deductible?

6. People are loving your journal, but want printed versions that they can purchase and have shipped to them. Start to work with a supplier to take the designs you’ve already created and have them made into a printed product.

7. You are now hitting both the print-yourself and printed markets, multiplying your revenue. Time to hit up a trade show or team up with a wholesaler. Connect with dealers who want to order mass amounts of your journals and sell them in stores around the country.

8. By this point, your business is mostly being run behind the scenes. You are generating enough income for somebody else to manage the customer service, printing, packaging and shipping parts of your business.

9. Take your newfound time to travel the world and host journaling workshops with the amazing community you have grown. Still tax deductible.

10. Look back on the life you have built in just a few years. Decide if you’d like to continue working with your journaling business, or if you’d like to sell it instead. Take those funds to travel to your heart’s content. Use your time away to dream up your next adventure!

I could walk you through hundreds of scenarios like the one above, but only you can craft the life you’ve been dreaming of. Limitless possibility can be a scary thing— so I’m going to help you out with a little dream-building exercise using a printable worksheet, which can be found at the bottom of this post.

Making it happen
Dreams can’t come true without action and accountability, so I encourage and challenge you to fill out this sheet, and to share it with at least one other person, whether it’s your spouse, a co-worker, a parent, or even with me. Consider this to be the foundation for your future.

{ Download your free dream-building worksheet here }

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  1. […] others, in your own unique way? I encourage you to use the dream-building worksheet I shared in this post to help you in defining your […]

  2. Pamela says:

    Hi Michelle,
    Well I have graduated with my AA Degree in Graphic Arts. And now I m trying to recoup
    and start looking for work. I have made gift tags and bags, and while I was at a portfolio show someone said she could see some of my work as blank cards. I am not sure where to go from here or what to do. I made a book from a hand made book that I did. I can see some of those pages as posters or cards. My website is I have my portfolio in pfd formate


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