Growing your visual practice business – planning tools

Most creative people want to make stuff, not run the business side of things. Maybe this is familiar: you’ve launched your visual practice business (great!) and it’s been more than a year (congratulations!) and now maybe you’re wondering – how do I get more of the work I really want? 

I’m home from teaching “Beyond the Basics” of graphic facilitation with Sophia Liang, and the smart questions from participants inspired me to map out some new visuals about growing a creative business.

First up: Find your focus. Or foci.

The field of visual practice is huge.

Therapy + visuals = art therapy. Education / studying + visuals = sketchnotes. Facilitation + visuals = graphic facilitation. Mediation + visuals = visual mediation. Visuals are expanding the edges of many fields. What else is possible with your unique background?visual practice what is your focus

  1. What combination of visual work is part of your practice right now? Maybe it’s 50% videos and 50% graphic recording, or 20% x five different kinds of creative projects. No problem.
  2. Draw a circle and write down your work in the centre.

Then, draw out how you find new projects 

You can recreate this diagram to help you understand how you are currently attracting opportunities. I think once you see things on paper, you can make strategic decisions.

Label the big areas around the circle. The categories are completely up to you. These ones are just to get you started.

For example, there’s word of mouth (yellow), referrals (green), or the internet (blue).

Then make your best guess on what the current percentage is that you’re relying on for each. If you think 50% of your new work comes from word of mouth, then in the middle circle, colour 50% of it yellow.

Finally: Action Planning

You’ve mapped the areas you want to focus on, now it’s time to grow the part you want, just a little.

Take a close look: what do you want to change in the centre? Imagine that the circle called ‘my work’ is a ring that could be moved around – maybe one year it’s all about the internet generating leads, and one year it’s about referrals from friends, colleagues, and your network. The circle can shift based on what works for you.

For example, to shift from more internet ‘leads’ to word of mouth work: reach out to existing clients with a newsletter, thank you note, or in-person meeting.

Basically, it’s about focussing your strategy. We all only have so much time – so it’s good to focus.

And from personal experience – don’t overlook the at-first-unpaid personal project that feeds you creatively. You never know where that will lead!