Through my social entrepreneurship consulting practice, I noticed many social entrepreneur are highly creative individuals. In my own entrepreneurial journey, coming up with new ideas, creating things people actually like, and finding smart solutions when facing a new challenge are essential for the success of my business.
I also know it is sometimes difficult to keep being creative as an entrepreneur. Whether you are at the idea phase (when the ego seems to get in the way of finding THE idea that will finally get you started), or if you are growing your social business (and sometimes struggle to take a step back and find creative solutions to your problems), those 5 strategies will help!
#1 Save your ideas as they come
Have you noticed ideas come and goes, and not especially while we are working on that specific topic? If you follow up on each idea as they come, you will not be focused enough and loos a lot of time. I am sure you sometimes start this, think about that, strat that, think about something else, go back to this, oh! and that!
The good strategy to boost your creativity as a social entrepreneur is to save your ideas, and implement them later, when the time is right. Some people use a note book (but I find it hard to look back for them later on). I prefer online tools (such as notepad on a smartphone, idea folder on the computer), which allows to organize your ideas, copy paste, merge, transform and so on.
#2 Take time for yourself
Shower. Running time. In the bed as falling asleep/waking up. Yep, that’s the most common places where we have ideas. Why? Because the brain is “off”, relaxed, and thus more creative. Believe it or not, I remember the day I (finally!) got my business idea back before creating Creators for Good..and it was in a spa! (true story!).
If you want to boost your creativity as a social entrepreneur, make sure you take some time off, for yourself. You feel guilty when taking holidays during your first year of business? Don’t!! This allows you to take a step back, have ideas you would never had if sticking to your daily tasks. So, open your agenda and schedule a “day-off”, for yourself, within the next month. Do it now and without guilt!
#3 Transform inspiration into actions
Yes, to be creative, it is good to look for inspiration out there. Reading books, blogs (such as this one ;) ), attending conferences and workshops.. but all the information gathered have no value if not transformed into actions!
My strategy to boost your creativity as a social entrepreneur: every time you feel inspired by some content/by someone, take notes in a 2 column table: one one side, 3 bullets point why it is inspiring, on the other, 3 actions to take for your own entrepreneurial journey. Then, organize your ideas so you know where to start, and which step will follow!
#4 Surround yourself with creative people
Creativity is not just a skill, it is a mindset. There is no way you can keep on being creative if you are surrounded by skeptical people, who never come up with anything new and seem to always think your ideas won’t work.
If you want to boost your creativity as a social entrepreneur, you need to be in the right mindset, and thus be among creative people like you! A coffee once a week with a fellow social entrepreneur, an online group of like-minded people, doing pro-bono consulting for other entrepreneurs… there are many ways to find and share with the right people.
#5 Take your time
This is for those of you who red the 4 first strategies and wonder: OK, but what if I need an idea NOW?! Putting a deadline for your brain to come up with an idea is the best way to kill your creativity.
My strategy to boost your creativity as a social entrepreneur: organize a brain-storming session with 3 to 5 people, and see what come up. START the best idea for now, and re-adjust it along the way. As you go along, you will get closer and closer the the right solution you were looking for. No need to hurry, all you need to do is to start somewhere (yes! even if it is not 100% perfect!)
Do not hesitate to share YOUR strategy in the comments below!
Solène is the Chief Empowerment Officer of Creators for Good.
She developed a methodology that allows Global Citizen to start and grow their own impactful businesses from anywhere in the world – and with no need for investors or government support.