No matter what business you are in, chances are the competition is fierce. You probably have a website, you have your marketing, you may even blog, but you need to do everything you can to stand out.
Running your own business requires both the right and left brain. It requires doing everything you can to be original in a world where your competition is busy saying and producing the same things. When it comes to standing out, creativity is a must. But you know something? Creativity doesn’t come from banging your head against the wall. It often doesn’t come by staring at a blank computer screen.
It often comes in the moments when we are – Gasp – living our lives. It creeps up on us when we are away from the computer. Those ideas pop up at all times. There is an eerie truth to the cliché that ideas come while you are in the shower. So the best thing you can do is carry a notebook and jot them down whenever they might pop into your mind (feel free to dry off first, if needed).
We were born with creativity. We were born with the urge to draw, paint, write and create. Somewhere along the line as adults, it becomes a struggle to hang on to.
Here are 5 steps entrepreneurs can take to boost their creativity:
1. Get some kind of physical activity
I know, I know, operating your business takes time. It takes all of your energy and focus. You are a busy person, who doesn’t have any time for yourself. Or you just hate exercise. Maybe you broke your alarm clock throwing it against the wall. Insert reason. Insert excuse.
I’m not saying you have to run a marathon or bench press 300 pounds. Just start simple. Go for a half-hour walk. Do some pushups or situps before you take your morning shower. Do something. Exercise will jolt your normal routine. You may begin to think of things differently. Exercise will help your creativity. Who knows, you might even become healthier.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein
2. Read outside your industry
When you invest all of your energy into building your business it is easy to live life with a singular focus. You spend your waking hours thinking of nothing but how to improve your business. Here’s something easier said than done – you need to break that urge. Sure, read the most important industry books, blogs or research, but read other stuff too.
What else do you absolutely love reading? For me it’s personal essays and biographies. Maybe even a novel sprinkled in here and there. The thing is, reading outside your industry will give you ideas. When you come across an applicable idea, write about it, implement it, do whatever you need to do. This is how you can breathe a little creativity and originality into a world of clones.
3. Go out for lunch
Again, I know you are busy. We all are, but if you are a solo entrepreneur, it becomes very easy to live in an isolated world where every day is the same. Even if you run a larger business, it is still possible for your focus to become singularly constrained. It’s time to mix things up and talk with some new people.
Do you have friends or colleagues who do something interesting for a living? Now is not the time to be shy. Call them, grab lunch, grab coffee, pick their brain. If no one in particular comes to mind, network. Truly think about it. You can find someone. Most people are comfortable talking about themselves. So go ahead and ask questions about who they are, and what they do.
4. Do what your significant other says
This is another piece of advice that can go against every grain of our being. If you find yourself extremely frustrated with a lack of progress on any given project, it is probably time to step away from the computer. Go run that errand. Take out the garbage.
Empty the dishwasher. Most of these things do not take the time that we think they do. Most of us are not “above” doing these things, like we think we are. So go, step away, let your brain reboot. You may get that idea while you are gone.
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
5. Create something
What are your interests outside of your work? Play guitar, paint, build something, take photos. Whatever your interest may be, don’t neglect it. Even if it’s just a half hour of your day, it will break up your routine and leave you feeling accomplished and refreshed.