The Importance of Creativity in Freelancing and Entrepreneurship

Some freelancers are born creatives.

Others are technical, methodical people who found themselves unhappy with their 9-5 and transitioning to freelancing. The thing is, there’s no such thing as growth if you’re going to stick to what feels normal and safe. If you don’t play, explore, and take risks. More often than not, freelancing, especially when still starting out, is all about creativity and calculated risks. But how exactly does creativity affect freelancing? Is it really that necessary?

Importance of creativity in freelancing and entrepreneurship

One of the best things we love about freelancing is the fact that the sky is the limit when it comes to opportunities. This may sound cliché, but when there’s creativity, there’s no limit to opportunities. It is the thing that encourages freelancers and entrepreneurs to explore and play. To try new things and new approaches to traditional tasks and projects. In other words, creativity encourages innovation. And in a world where so many are creating and building something new, creativity that is unique to you is what’s going to set you apart.

The art of risk-taking

When you choose to become a full-time freelancer, that in and of itself is already a risk. See, the art of risk-taking also lives in the core of creativity, and it’s an art necessary in freelancing. As humans, we’ve all been in situations where we have to take risks. But to consciously do it to forward your business, to grow—this isn’t something we see every day. It is safe to say that one thing that separates successful freelancers from those who aren’t is their level of willingness to try and take risks.

But let’s be clear, not every risk has a reward, and not every risk is worth taking. This is where you need to improve your critical thinking skills. Assess every risk that comes your way (as a freelancer, you’ll encounter lots of them) and determine if they’re worth taking. Be smart with which risks you’ll entertain and which ones you’ll pass on. Here are some questions that’ll help you make such an assessment:

  • Is this potentially leading me towards something I like, i.e. financial growth or skill development?
  • How will this truly impact my freelance business?
  • If I take this risk and fail, am I strong enough to handle such failure?

Aside from asking those questions and being brutally honest with yourself, you’d also want to pay attention to your body and your emotions. How do you feel when you’re thinking about taking that risk? Are you more excited than scared? Are you purely anxious? Does the risk burn a fire in your soul? Knowing how you feel about taking risks is key to better understanding if it’s a risk worth taking.

How to become creative when you’re used to having solid systems

This is a big one, folks. Not all freelancers are creative people. Not all are natural risk-takers. Some freelancers are more technical and prefer a rigid, solid system. Perhaps you have that in your old 9-to-5 job but you’re just not happy there anymore, so now you’re freelancing. That’s totally okay.

But how do you encourage creativity in your freelancing now that you know its importance?

One way to do that is to carve time for personal projects. Whatever that is, even if it’s not related to the business that you’re building, carve time for it. Allow yourself to play and be reminded of the other things outside work that you’re passionate about.

Another is to engage in activities that are not too particular with schedules and systems. Expose yourself to things that are free-flowing, like art and painting. Maybe dancing! It sounds silly but the more you do it, the more you’ll start to engage in creative activities.

And then, it’s time to shift the energy toward your business. You may start with small tasks and remind yourself it’s okay to play around and try new ways of doing it. It’s okay to innovate. If you’re a writer, instead of focusing on SEO like most writers, maybe focus on storytelling. If you’re a web developer, consider taking in more projects and creating websites for creative brands for a short while. The bottom line is, what matters most is that you give yourself permission to be creative, even when it’s new to you.

There is no one sure way to become a successful freelancer. Just like any type of entrepreneurship, this new ecosystem is all about trial and error, experimentation, and perseverance. But if there’s one thing that can definitely help set you apart, it is your creativity. Not only will it impact your personal brand and your business, but it will also help you grow as an entrepreneur. And as we all know, growth equates to success.

Tammy Danan

Tammy Danan is a storyteller who reports on environmental and social issues. She also covers productivity, creative pursuits, and the future of work. Her words have appeared in VICE, Audubon.org, ZEKE Magazine, Shutterstock, Toggl, among others. You may find her on Instagram @SlowFreelancing.