10 tips to get your creative business off the ground now

I’ve been doing a lot of yapping lately about how I need to work less, charge more, and say no

Ten years ago, I read blogs like this and thought:

Who are these people who have the luxury of saying no to jobs and complaining about how busy they are?!

Well, good news. 

This busy overwhelmed lunatic could be you in 10 years! Even quicker if you want. But seriously, if you’re just starting or just ramping up, I want you to know — you can do this. 

Back in 2008, I only hoped that I could do this full time. It seemed like such a pipe dream, only for a few lucky ones who had been sprinkled with pixie dust. 

I was saying yes to everyone, and then stressing myself out because I had to learn about medical journals (no clue) and ETFs (no clue) and feeling like a sham because I thought I should be good at writing everything and because I was so desperate to make this viable and not have to go work in Corporate America again. 

Also, I was charging ridiculously low prices. In 2008, I sent an actual invoice for $14.76. For real. 

I was plagued by self-doubt and anxiety mixed with moments of confident action.

Somehow (gratefully!), the moments of confident action were enough to help me grow. I’ll give you one guess as to who usually inspired those moments of action.

Want to get viable quicker with less stress? Here are my tips: 

  1. Pick a market, know them deeply, and speak directly to their needs.
  2. Get organized and treat it like a business. Create a workspace. Set office hours. Use FreshBooks.
  3. Feel discouraged? Move forward. Don’t dwell in negative feelings or imposter syndrome. Everyone feels that way sometimes. They’re not serving you.
  4. Stop maximizing. Know that you don’t have to take every course and listen to everyone and do everything. Just listen to yourself. And Ilise! ;)
  5. Tune into your inner voice. Not the fear, but the clarity. It won’t steer you wrong.
  6. Know your (own!) goals. And know they don’t have to be the same as everyone else’s. My goal was never to be rich or have employees. It was to have freedom and make enough money to pay for my life and have time to enjoy it.
  7. Create boundaries with the people who don’t understand that you’re actually working.
  8. Learn to speak confidently about money. Post your packages with rates on your website (like mine or Jill Anderson’s). When talking about a project, say, “Usually something like this costs X. Is that comfortable for you?”
  9. Keep in touch with a newsletter. (Sign up for mine here.)
  10. Say no to things that aren’t in your wheelhouse or budget. You’ll save yourself so much aggravation. If you know people who work in other specialties or budget ranges, it will feel good to pass the project along.


You can do this. Of course there will be ups and downs. But if you’re reading this, you have the desire. And your internal grit just might surprise you. Remember: If it was easy, everybody would do it!

Come to think of it, maybe I was sprinkled with pixie dust, and Ilise was Tinkerbell. Her teachings, guidance and generosity have helped me more than I can say over the years. If you’re reading this, then you’re already in Ilise’s stratosphere, which I think is the best place you can be. Check out Ilise’s Pick a Niche Kit and get started on tip number one.


Hi, I’m Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a copywriting partner to web designers , my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide). To keep in touch, sign up for my un-newsletter here and get my freebie download, 12 Sparks to Write Sizzling, Audience-Attracting Website Words.