You might be wondering why I’m posting a review about a business book on a blog about making images. As far as I know, the author is not even a hobby photographer so how is this book even relevant and what the heck is it about? Despite the title’s proclamation; it has little to do with succeeding in life but it is squarely focused on building a business from the ground up. If you happen to practice any creative craft for commerce then you are operating a business which makes this post very relevant.
I’m not surprised at how many creative people don’t realize they are even operating a business. Personally, I consider what I do more of a service where I contribute my personal skills and talents to a particular project, but it still functions and I treat it like a business. The author of “Driven” is Robert Herjavec from CBC’s hit entrepreneurial show the Dragons’ Den. Robert’s tale is the classic rags to riches story. The son of a poor immigrant family moves to Canada and builds an empire worth over 350 million today. His book is unsurprisingly geared toward the hard-nosed entrepreneur who wants to build a company from start-up and turn it into a large scalable enterprise. I enjoyed the book very much and while there is lots to be learned here, I’m not sure the freelance creatives who read this blog will get enough out of it. In media production, and most other creative professions, people operate as individual artists or freelancers and much less like entrepreneurs. It’s important to understand the difference. A freelancer gets paid for the work they do and charge by the hour or project. But interestingly, it is the single easiest way to start a new business that you can grow into something much bigger. The Entrepreneur on the other hand, focuses on building and growing a business far bigger than themselves, their service and talents. The goal of making a business bigger than yourself is to make money 24-7; when you are sleeping, when you are at home sick, and on vacation. Sadly, this is definitely something the freelancer is unable to do.
If you are a freelancer, I still highly recommend reading “Driven” because every concept can be applied to a freelance profession and it will definitely help you think differently about how you approach your creative pursuits. If you want to start a generic business then this book is a no-brainer and should definitely be on your read list. I’ve expanded my freelance services to employing other freelancers and running a full service facilitations company aimed at making production simple for others.
This brings me to something else. I’ve been thinking about writing on the topic of operating creative businesses for the better part of a year and I believe information about this topic could be of value. Many creatives are great at what they do but either need direction on where to start, or maybe they need help with how to market themselves more effectively. In either case, like the book, there is no shortage of material written on the subject about how to start a business, but the information from a creative perspective is sorely lacking. If you want to make a living doing what you love then hit up the poll and maybe I’ll start a new category devoted to turning passion into pay cheque.