In today’s episode, Cory Huff joins Charlie to discuss how to think through whether to start a new business, to jump to another project, or to not grow your business as you consider dimensions of your life that you’d like to advance. Cory’s advice comes after a year of deciding to scale his business and the trials he learned from along the way.
[4:11] - Both Cory and Charlie are “accidental entrepreneurs,” but they both ended up running successful businesses - and are thinking of ideas for more! The daily journey is understanding which of the ideas you have are congruent with your business, and which of those are worth pursuing.
[6:12] - This conversation grew out of the fact that Cory has deemed 2017 his “pivot year.” As he has been trying to grow his current business (The Abundant Artist), and not seeing the results he expected, he began to wonder if this business was one that was meant to scale. If not, what happens next? He has been doing a lot of experimenting, both within and outside the fine arts field, where his current business resides - as well as starting some personal projects.
[11:38] - Charlie talks about some of the motivation for starting a business, and how we measure our happiness and success. In many cases, especially for entrepreneurial businesses, the key metric becomes joy and happiness rather than large numbers and money. Evaluating these different factors can help determine where your focus should be for your business to achieve the things you want.
[16:13] - Cory takes us back to 2016 when the goal for his business was scaling. His reason for wanting to scale was mostly to figure out how to reach more artists and help them quit their day jobs to focus on their art. He tried different things like putting on a big conference, and putting together a marketing agency for artists. While these things didn’t work out, he used them as learning opportunities, and has kept his goal to reach more artists as he pursues different ventures.
[19:54] - When deciding whether to pivot and stay within your own business or do something completely different, it’s important to think about how ready the marketplace is for a new type of business. It is important to engage with your customers and potential client-base to be able to create what they want. Cory talks about his experience with this and why some of his previous pursuits didn’t take off.
[24:45] - The Abundant Artist has reached its local max. While there is still some opportunity for growth, Cory doesn’t feel like he could really improve the product enough to grow 10x.Cory talks about some of the different things they tried and how he determined it might be time to do something different. If your reach ambitions have reached a certain plateau, it might be time to question if it’s a market problem.
[31:31] - Charlie talks about the possibility of moving some of the Productive Flourishing resources into an app. He talks about some of the specific struggles he would face in doing this, and weighing these pros and cons to determine if developing an app is something he would want to take on.
[38:12] - As you’re looking at different things to move forward - whether that is adding an element to your business or starting another business - the first thing to think about is whether you really want to win that game. You have to consider what other things you might have to sacrifice to make it possible. If it is not something you really want, it may not be best to pursue that particular venture.
[41:55] - Cory talks about some of the different opportunities that have popped up for him during this time of figuring out his next step. He’s struggled with this a little bit because he didn’t want to tell people he was thinking about projects outside of The Abundant Artist or have his clients think he wasn’t still serious about that project.
[43:35] - It seems to be that our public life is our life, where what people see is what we’re doing. But there are things that we are doing in our private lives that may not make sense in a public narrative, but make sense for our personal lives. Charlie discusses his personal experience with this dichotomy.
[46:35] - When you’re thinking about new business opportunities, try to avoid the “either/or” scenario and try to make it an “and” scenario. This can help to balance not only the work for your different projects, but also the outcomes of those projects. If you take an “and” model, you want to adjust your expectations to match the effort delusion.
[49:08] - Another thing that Cory has been thinking about is not only what he should do and how, but who he should do it with. He’s been a solo business owner for a while now (bar his work with a publisher for his book) and he’s been trying to open himself up to the idea of partnering with people to collaborate on projects. Partnership and collaboration requires giving up a bit of control and freedom, but could be a really good thing as well.
[57:00] - If you’re normally in a collaborative environment, it can be good to have solo side projects, or vice versa. These opportunities may allow you be in a different leadership mode or tap into a different skill set. Perhaps, starting a new project would give you the chance to cultivate and master different parts of yourself that your current business won’t let you.
[59:05] - Cory leaves us with these two things: 1) If you are a visual artist and you are looking for help with marketing your stuff, reach out to Cory at theabundantartist.com and 2) He is open to collaborations right now, so if you have anything you’re looking to jumpstart - let him know!
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