When a creative brand makes a product, it can be like having a baby.

It can be a long, trying process, but, in the end, we create something we’re proud of.

This amazing thing that we have high hopes for.

I’m guilty of this “child complex” too. I’m crafting the materials for my upcoming Author Branding Bootcamp,  and I have to fight the urge to Oooh and Aaah and Coo at the materials.

Perhaps this feeling comes from our idea that we are putting a piece of ourselves in our creative work and we want it to be the coolest thing ever because it contains a bit of us.

We expect to polish up our little product, kiss it on the forehead and send it off into the world, hoping that the other products will play nice and share and treat our little product with the respect it deserves.

Let me tell you something. The other little products are vicious cut-throat bullies, who will kick your product’s ass if it doesn’t have reinforcements.

If you love your little product so much, don’t let him go it alone.

My annoyingly patronizing introduction has a point; and here it is:

Creative brands should know how to fight.

Trust me. You’ll be doing a lot of it.

As a creative brand, you’ll have to fight for your brand’s place in the market, fight for your product or service to be accepted, and fight for the respect you deserve.

The biggest, baddest SOB you will have to fight is yourself. That voice in your head that says stupid self-deprecating stuff, but stuff that still rings true to your insecure side.

Yeah, that bastard needs to be kicked in the nuggets, because you’ll never get anywhere if he’s running the show.

It’s not enough these days to just have this awesome thing that people should buy or care about. You better back it up with some heavy-duty artillery.

Carry a big stick.

Wave that big stick around and don’t be afraid to use it.

Here are a few big sticks you need to have in your arsenal if you want to get somewhere with your creative business.

1. A business plan.

Groan if you want, but you know I’m right. I’m not saying you need some 50-page document with footnotes and charts, but you need to have something! A roadmap of sorts.

Please don’t fly blind with your business.

I know so many creative brands who want to make their businesses full-time gigs, but they “don’t have time to write a business plan.” Really?

Stop kidding yourself. You do have the time. Stop being lazy about it.

2. A good network.

Do you belong to any professional associations relating to your creative industry or relating to business in general?

No? *smh*

You should really join one. You need to connect with like-minded people. People who understand the process you’re going through. Even if it’s once a month, collaborating with your peers will be a big asset to your creative brand.

3. A marketing strategy.

If no one knows about your cool little business, no one cares. Get the name out there. Whatever it takes.

4. A support system that challenges you.

This should be in addition to your professional network. I don’t mean a “yes man,” someone who’s going to tell you your stuff is perfect all the time, when it isn’t, because they are too afraid to hurt your feelings. These people may mean well– but all their mean-wells will suck the common sense out of you and the potential for greatness out of your brand.

No one likes criticism, but if you’re serious about your brand, you’ll learn to manage it.

Connect with someone(s) you trust to challenge you to be better. People who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, but people who genuinely respect you and want you to be successful. Be wary of people who just like to tear down others. As a matter of fact, stamp them with a big scarlet “B” to warn others to stay away from them. I’ll let your imaginations run wild with what that “B” stands for.

5. Lots of resources.

One of the biggest sticks you can carry is knowledge about your creative industry. Devour resources and information that will help you stay current and succeed in your industry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions you think are dumb. It’s even dumber not to ask them. You have to be willing to continuously grow and develop in your brand and craft. That keeps things fresh and interesting.

Take these sticks. Use them to fight your way into your industry and defend your product.

I’m not condoning violence with this post. Violence is never the answer, unless you find yourself getting your ass kicked.

I’m simply trying to creatively illustrate a point.

If you want to succeed as a creative brand, it’s not enough just to have an awesome product.

Competition is too fierce.

Learn to operate like a business.

Actually make money and a *gasp* living from doing what you love.

That’s what you want, right?

Well, learn to fight for it. Fight dirty, if you have too. And by dirty, I don’t mean doing anything illegal.

For the love of Joe Manganiello, don’t do anything illegal!

I mean work hard and use all the (legal) resources at your disposal to create a kick-ass creative brand.

That’s the whole point of this site, if you weren’t aware; to teach creative brands some business sense in addition to kicking them in the pants.

Light, inspirational kicking, not ass-whooping kicking. I think…

Well, crap, maybe I’m a vicious cut-throat bully too.

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