How to grow when you hit a plateau

Have you hit a plateau in your creative business?

If so, you're not alone. 

That's one of the most interesting findings from  The Career Freelancer Status Report: Results From The Nation1099 Survey, 2018, conducted earlier this summer by Nation1099, the excellent resource site for freelancers run by my friend, Robert McGuire:

These findings paint a picture of career freelancers who get a good start in the early stages of independent work but who hit a plateau after about five years.

I have noticed over my 30 years in business that creatives often start out strong. Many don't even need to do any marketing at the beginning. Word of mouth brings clients! It seems easy -- until it's not.

Then, at some point, things slow down but you don't know what to do. Or you are staying afloat, but barely. Or, the best case scenario, things are fine but you know they could be better. How do you grow? 

The survey's findings suggest this point comes around 5 years. I see this plateau at various points on the timeline, sometimes earlier and sometimes much later.
In fact, recently people signing up for my free mentoring session are looking for help to get over the hump after 10 or sometimes 20 years (or more) in business!

Here's what they say:

"I'm at the point now where I'm aware of my strengths, weaknesses and feel comfortable with the experience, skills and education I gained throughout the years. I am now ready to build a real business, the right way. A business that can run even if I'm not the one doing the work."

"We've been in business for years and have done little to no marketing. Its all been word of mouth and we've done very well but we feel like we could be doing more."

"I've been on my own for more than 10 years and I'd like to pursue higher paying clients overall. I'm potentially onto a niche but am struggling with how to grow and need practical advice."
McGuire comes to this conclusion:

The career freelancer needs opportunities to improve their business skills and needs better information and support as they gain more experience.

Watch for my podcast interview with Robert McGuire later this week, when we dig into this idea in more depth. To make sure you don't miss it, find the MarketingMentorPodcast.com here or subscribe on iTunes.