10 Industry Leaders Give Their Best Business Advice for Creative Entrepreneurs

It’s sort of a loaded question to ask, but we asked it anyway because we want to give you the best business advice for creative entrepreneurs that we possibly can. Well, as much as possible without you actually being a coaching client or part of our revamped Jetsetter Academy 😉


Buuuut, before you get a glimpse into some of our industry’s top dogs’ brilliant brains, I need to give you a WARNING!!! because my goal is to inspire and empower you, not overwhelm you. That said, be on the look out for advice that fits where you’re at in this season of your business. Heck, in your life for that matter. Please, please, please do not walk away thinking you need to do it all or be it all. Be you. Just the best version of yourself. That might mean implementing one or two of these things to start.


Rant over. Onto the goods. We asked some of our favorite industry friends one tough question and we’re so grateful they’ve taken the time to share their thoughts and hearts with you! (Don’t worry, Jesse and I didn’t weasel our way out of answering this toughie. You’ll find our two cents at the bottom.)


If you had to boil it down to one thing that’s helped you get your business where it is today, what would that thing be?


I understand that, as business owners, we want to see RESULTS. But we must separate ourselves from the results themselves. You are not results. You are not defined by a client refusal. You are more than a denied project. You are not the outcome of a flopped launch. You are more than you let yourself believe. When we separate ourselves from the outcome, we free ourselves to believe that the right clients will find us, that new projects will arise, and flops are just valuable business lessons in disguise. When this happens, we are free to believe we are worth far more than our hearts can imagine. So, go on sweet friend, separate yourself from the outcome and enjoy the ride. // Jasmine Star


I think the single most important thing that I have ever done in my business overall has been thinking differently. The way we market, the way we create educational products, the way we try to see business is just a little different from the rest of the world and that has served us so well! We stand out in both the photography and education world because we’re not afraid to do things differently! // Katelyn James


Running out of money is the number one reason businesses fail. We see too many entrepreneurs who fail not because they can’t make enough, but because they spend too much — or don’t have a specific, purposeful plan for where their money is going each month. That’s why we recommend that everyone read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and live and breathe his principles for managing money. // Amy & Jordan


Wise counsel! I meet monthly with a group of fellow CEO’s for Biblical business counsel and to learn alongside each other. It has been the best thing I’ve ever done for our business. I don’t feel alone on the “leadership island” anymore. Surrounding myself with this kind of accountability and support has been a gift! // Lara Casey


ONE thing is hard, but a BIG shift for me has been realizing I need to build my business to run when I can’t. Not just like, seeing that as a concept, but like, doing the hard work to make it happen. If I’m the quarterback of my own business, I don’t know when I’ll be out, right? I could get injured tomorrow and be out all season, so how am I constantly thinking of how I can build this to run either when I can’t … or just need a nap. // Ashlyn Carter


I realized that I have the power to change. When something wasn’t working, I made the change that I needed. When I realized that I was being “team too much,” I made changes to simplify and streamline in order to get on the other side of busy. You can continue to make excuses and put things off or you can realize that today, this very second, you have the power to change for the better. In your business and your life. // Shunta Grant


Focus. Now, I don’t mean the ability to focus on a task and be super productive and get all of your to-do list to done (I’m not the best at that if I’m being totally honest). What I mean is focusing on your business. Focusing on what you’re doing. And that’s it. The ability to put your blinders on, ignore everyone else, and keep your head down is what it took for me to build my business. It ain’t always easy! But, it’s so incredibly worth it. I mean, if it worked for Oprah during the talk show wars of the 90s, it’s gotta work for folks like you and me. You’ve gotta be your version of Oprah. Ignore Phil Donahue (and Sally Jessy…and Ricki Lake…and Jerry Springer). Keep your head down. It makes all the difference. // Tyler McCall


Opening up and connecting with women who get it, too! They’re the ones pushing me through hard times, challenging me to reach a dream and cheering me on as I do. My business would be a lonely, isolating place without them (and truthfully I don’t think it would be anywhere near “successful” if I didn’t have them in my life)! // Kat Schmoyer


Consistently seeking the wisdom of people who are smarter than us. Whether that’s through coaching, attending a workshop, or simply calling up a friend when I’m stuck on something, having the ability to pull from beyond JUST my own resources and brains has been invaluable. I honestly wouldn’t be in business today if it weren’t for our industry mentors-turned-friends who were there to either cheer me on or help problem-solve in some of the most challenging seasons of business. And what’s been really rewarding is how, now that we’re “veterans” in the industry, I’ve been able to turn around and occasionally offer advice or wisdom back to the folks who have always been there for me! // Abby Grace


Having a plan and a vision for where the business is going. Too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day details and miss opportunities that are right in front of us. Making intentional time to work on your business—stepping out and looking at the big picture—can re-ignite creativity and passion and help you build a strategy to move your business forward.

For example, my team meets quarterly to discuss what’s working, what’s not working, challenges, opportunities, and much, much more. Having this dedicated time together where we’re not buried in the to-dos allows us to do things like brainstorm new (or improved) products or put together a marketing plan for the next few months. If we didn’t have this time set aside, we may never have accomplished some of the amazing things we’ve done! // Amber Housley


You get two for the price of one here!
Jesse: Consistency. Yes, there will be times of hustle and pushing it, but there needs to be consistency, no matter what season of your business you’re in. When you’re consistent, you’re always making forward progress. Even if they’re just baby steps, you’re heading in the right direction!


Becky: Doing the scary, “risky,” hard things not everyone is willing to do. Sometimes that’s putting yourself in front of the camera. Sometimes that’s scrapping something you spent a lot of time and money on. Sometimes that’s trusting your gut and saying yes to a big, fat idea that seems crazy! Sometimes that’s humbling yourself and getting back in the game after a failed attempt. If you’re willing to get uncomfortable and overcome awkward, you’ll stand out from the crowd and gain a lot of confidence along the way. // (Yours truly!), Idealust


What stands out to you? What words jumped out at you? What inspires you to take a different approach to how you’re currently doing business? We’d love to hear in the comments below 🙂



14 creative entrepreneur leaders give advice for a successful 2018

As business coaches for creatives, we chat a lot with our clients about what they should be focusing on and when they should be focusing on those things.  But, there isn’t a magic formula that works exactly the same for everyone. There is so much to consider (our clients’ strengths, their experience, their goals, their audience, their lifestyle, what’s working best in the industry, what’s working best in other industries, etc.) when it comes to creating that custom game plan.


Maybe you already have your Word of the Year! Maybe you’ve sort of sifted through what you think you should/want to/need to focus on in 2018? Whether you have that tidy roadmap yet or not, we recommend soaking up some free and incredible advice from some of the top leaders and educators in creative spaces.


We asked some of our favorite people (some just happen to be friends, too!) leading the creative industries one question in hopes that their answers, all compiled together would give you…


  1. Encouragement as you head into 2018
  2. Direction as you’re trying to decide how you want this year to go
  3. Permission to figure out what works best for you and not do it all
  4. Hall pass to skip some of the business mistakes they’ve/we’ve had to overcome
  5. Insight into what industry leaders are up to and seeing if those things spark creativity or clarity for you

And so, we asked these super smart entrepreneurs…


If you had to choose one thing creatives should focus on in 2018, what would it be?


Focus on what you don’t have to do! I didn’t realize until the last couple of years that if I truly wanted to grow my business, I had to think like a growing business. When I started paying my sister $15/hr to do some work two years ago, I never could have imagined the growth and freedom we would eventually experience! Make sure you create space and margin in your life for your big goals to happen! // Katelyn James



Don’t let dollar signs blind you from your mission. // Brooke Saxon-Spencer, Belong Magazine








For us, 2018 is all about structured flexibility. We’re going to set ambitious goals in every area of our life, and put a written plan in place to achieve every single one of them, while at the same time giving ourselves enough grace and margin to be flexible as we adapt to our new role as parents. // Amy & Jordan



Tune out all the noise and focus on your unique assignment here on this earth. // Lara Casey








Make time to connect with people you admire, connect with people you can offer advice to, and connect with people who encourage you and support you. Make a list of people you want to connect with in 2018 and make it happen! Say yes when people reach out for advice, and at the same time reach out yourself. // Joanna Waterfall, Yellow Conference



We need to focus on doing it differently. The more and more the industry grows and the more crowded the space gets, it’s more important now than ever to lean on the creative part of creative entrepreneur. The principles of marketing won’t change. But it’s time for us to master the principles, and then do them differently. How can we elevate our content? How can we give a more high-touch experience? What can we do that shakes things up? // Ashlyn Carter, Ashlyn Writes



Focus on building relationships and creating video content. // Davey & Krista







My biggest mistake in past years has been rushing into the year with so many to-dos, too many ideas and no sense of direction. 2017 was the first time I took time to plan, look ahead and figure out what worked for my business (not what was working for everyone else’s) and in return, it was my most fun and profitable year in business! There’s something to be said for stepping back, waiting and making intentional moves forward! // Kat Schmoyer, Creative at Heart Conference



Declutter. The constant jumble of excess stuff leads to such discontentment for me, so focusing on getting rid of what doesn’t matter to make more room for what does matter makes an enormous difference in not just my job satisfaction, but my bottom line as well. // Abby Grace




The phrase echoing in my head for 2018? Do the things you need to do. It may sound simple, but it’s hard work figuring out what those things are, what they aren’t (hello, essentialism!), and cultivating the discipline and accountability required to do them well…. hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and beyond. But hey, the results will be worth it… right? // Jen Olmstead, Tonic Site Shop



Go after what makes you feel alive and take big risks to cross dreams off your list! Get off the sidelines and into the game! // Carrie Grace







Let’s focus on focus! Give your best time only to what moves the needle in your business (and real life!) and forget the rest. Routinely asking this question from Gary Keller (author of The One Thing) has revolutionized my approach to work… “What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” // Callie Lindsey




Celebrating and sharing what makes you you! You have something so special to offer, just by being who you are. Your unique approach to your business and client experience matters… so what can you do in 2018 to let your light shine? // Andra Barkey & Kelly Zugay, With Grace and Gold





Part a) What do you want to be known for? It’s a big question. But, what good is it to build a business around something that doesn’t include the answer to that question! Part b) Have a plan. A roadmap. We’re talking marketing. We’re talking strategy. We’re talking business moves that feel like the perfect representation of you and business moves that feel uncomfortable (maybe it’s using more video!?) that not many others are willing to do.  // Becky & Jesse Morquecho (Yours truly!), Idealust


What stands out to you? What lines up with how you want your year to go? What words jumped out at you? What inspired you to take a different approach to 2018? We’d love to hear in the comments below 🙂