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3 Step Recipe for Growth of a Creative Business

Posted by Ilise Benun on

I’m working more and more with clients on developing their positioning and the content to support it (blog posts, white papers, speaking topics and more). So I am so pleased to introduce Maria Guerriero of Portland, Oregon-based, Germinate Creative. Here’s her positioning statement, followed by an excerpt from one of her recent blog posts which I love: 

“I work with creative entrepreneurs and I realign their brand identity so it feels fresh and fearless. My clients finally feel empowered to share their business look and feel with the world.”

A recipe for growth

Germinate Creative is turning 3! Getting here was challenging, but I’m starting to feel the rewards of the work. I feel like I’ve never been in a better place with my business. Great clients, great work, great collaborators and supporters.

With my 40th birthday around the corner, I’ve been reflecting on the past 3 years that I’ve run Germinate and I realize that the success was not overnight. As a creative entrepreneur I needed to adapt as time went on. Who my clients were then are not the same now; who I’m serving becomes more specific. I’m currently aligning my business to attract more creative entrepreneurs and businesses who are ready to grow up their brand identity.

Over the years I’ve taken on roles that felt uncomfortable and sticky, not necessarily because I thought they were good for me, but it’s what my clients needed. Professionally I’ve been called to take on more project management to help my clients. Creatively I’ve been drawing more, getting more projects that incorporate illustration, which is my ultimate dream work.

If I had to write a recipe for growth, it would be in 3 parts:

  1. A lot of doing the work: sketching, drawing, opening up InDesign and Illustrator, designing, meeting deadlines, delivering the goods, back to the beginning, repeat.

  2. Extending myself into new business territory: as a project manager, as an illustrator, with bigger clients and bigger project scopes. Scary, but worth it.

  3. Cultivating a network of top-notch collaborators: writers, marketers, web developers, people who are experts at the things I do not do so they can round out the services I want to offer.


Illustration by Maria Guerriero

The common thread
Here Maria inserts in the original blog post “recipes for growth” she solicited from her collaborators and goes on to describe the pattern she sees.

I see a common thread we all have in our recipe for growth: allowing the business to be “organic yet tactical,” and staying consistent while doing our best work. We all had to stretch ourselves to places that were a bit icky (creatives + project management… bleck!) but ultimately served for us to grow. And our growth? Ultimately it’s less for us and more for our clients. They dictate what the needs are, and we help them. We must stretch ourselves into new avenues, experimenting with things like “inspired development.” And we all love what we do.

What’s your recipe for growth?
The more you work in your business, the clearer you get on who you need to serve, how you want to do it, and who you want to collaborate with.

I believe that’s the true sense of the word expert: it’s honing in on the skills you have, making them kick-ass, AND adapting to what your audience needs.

Now here’s where I want you to reflect on your growth. I’m curious:

  • Are you clear on who you work for?

  • Who’s there in your netowrk to collaborate with, to hold you up when you need a buddy? Do you trust them?

  • Do you feel like you’re becoming an expert at what you do? If not, what can get you there?

Read Maria’s whole post here.


  • More in: Business growth, Content Marketing, Guest Mixers, Maria Guerriero

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