Whether you’re a poet, a painter, a musician, or a model, you’ve probably struggled to monetize without having to commercialize. Or maybe you’ve struggled to be both artist and entrepreneur and, eventually, employer. On this episode of WorkSmart, musician and artist and business owner Morgan Harper Nichols explains how she made the leap from freelance queen to Creator In Chief.
Morgan’s always had a passion for creativity. But her turning point came in 2016. She posted a poem to Pinterest and watched as it quickly went viral. While she couldn’t have known then that her art would evolve into a full-time business, Morgan’s desire to continue serving the young women flooding her DMs fueled her steps forward.
After eventually striking a major brand deal, Morgan cut her celebration short and realized the importance of cash flow (hello net 90). So Morgan stepped outside her original vision and opened an online store catered specifically to her younger audience. Two years later, that online store provides enough revenue to pay herself, her husband, and five fabulous employees.
Not all of us are natural entrepreneurs. And if you’re struggling to find your entrepreneurial on-switch, Morgan says find your niche and find your flow. And she doesn’t just mean create. Ask yourself where you have the most confidence to speak up and become a thought leader. Maybe it’s on a Reddit thread. Maybe it’s talking to an audience live on Instagram. Wherever you feel the most comfortable, building an initial online presence can jumpstart your entrepreneurial flow.
When you’re first starting, it’s easy to get stuck on pitch-mode, constantly re-introducing yourself to new clients for one-off projects and abiding by their price points. Eventually, however, it comes time to raise your rates, own your value, and say no to people who won’t pay up. Charging can be tricky so Morgan uses data to back up an invoice. With data from her online store, she determines how much revenue a given Instagram post generates and uses that as a jumping-off point. Just remember, if you’re going to charge top dollar, you must deliver.
More than anyone, Morgan knows the value of a great hire. Having worked solely alongside her husband for years, feeling someone lift a bit of that burden away has been indescribable. Not only do you have support to keep scaling, but you’re also able to provide benefits and a great work environment. And more often than not, those employees will be the ones that keep you going day after day after day. If they can fill in where you’re struggling, all the better.
Morgan found success by having an intention behind her online presence and producing work directly related to the value she offered all along. To find your flow, write down 3-5 experiences or moments outside of creating where you feel like your true self. What are you doing? Who are you talking to? What platforms are you scouring 24-7? Write them down.
Next, think about your strengths. What can you offer other creators? If you see an entrepreneur that moves you, shoot them a quick email offering to help. Building your network will pay off.
Finally, be a student of leadership and learn from success stories everywhere. There’s an endless amount of free or close-to-free information. Take advantage of it.
Remember: work smarter, not harder.
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When hired by a client for a “net 90 account” it means that client doesn’t have to pay you for your products or services until 90 days from your invoice. If a payment isn’t received by that day, a late fee can be charged if agreed upon in early contracts.
When hired by a client for a “net 30 account” it means that client doesn’t have to pay you for your products or services until 30 days from your invoice. If a payment isn’t received by that day, a late fee can be charged if agreed upon in early contracts.
The amount of cash that comes in and out of your business in a given period of time. If your contract is net 30 or net 90, make sure you’ve got enough cash coming in to sustain you before that payment hits.