Streamlining Your Creative Identity June 17, 2023/ Posted By : Maris Lidaka/ 0 comments / Under : Creator Advice Being a mixed man, I am more than just one thing. I’m Black and Latvian. I’m also American and European. This traversing of multiple worlds has also found it’s way into my creative skills and work. I have a lot of skills in a lot of different areas. A lot of other creatives I know are in the same predicament: The world doesn’t know how to take in all that we are. Many a creator who struggles with this issue, including myself. Recently, I realized that I was putting too much onto one of my websites. And got some key input on how to fix it. So this week, I’m going to share the same secret with you. SPLITTING THE ENTRY My area of expertise is the entertainment industry. If I was to list out all the skills I have, it would be something like this: I am a storyteller, writer, creative producer, film director, video editor, website builder, entrepreneur, motion designer , colorist, coach and consultant. Lost yet? Now, if I tried to put this all in one place. This would elicit a few reactions: 1 – Overwhelm at the amount of options 2 – Seeing all the options, expecting to pay less for them. And creators do work that is of a high value. Now, I just can’t declare myself a high-end option without these 2 things: 1 – Expertise and Examples We all have to pass the competency test. This comes through everything that we present. From our web design to social media posts to work samples. Everything we put out there should present expectations we can live up to. It all has to work as a cohesive unit. There was a filmmaker I worked with on several projects. He had made some great work and gotten some accolades. And he was very frustrated that his career hadn’t taken off like he thought it should. He didn’t understand what was holding him back. As we dived in, I realized he didn’t present himself as what he wanted. His website was a mess. He hadn’t bought his own domain name (a killer mistake). The template looked like it was 20 years old. He didn’t think it was important since it was just to house his work. He thought people would see his work and just be impressed by it. But everything we do is part of our work. Ignoring one gives off the impression of a lack of attention to details. That we work hard on certain things. But others might slip through the cracks. 2 – Specificity After the competency test, we need to fill a specific need. Content creation is something that used to be inaccessible. When I graduated film school, just being able to make a film or video was impressive. Because the barrier to entry was high. Now it’s not, so just making great work isn’t enough. We need to present it to a specific group, i.e. an audience. There was a production company I worked for a while back that did incredible work on all size budgets. But getting clients was always a struggle. One day I asked the owner what the company’s area of expertise was. It was defined as making beautiful work. Now, I kept my mouth shut. But I knew this wouldn’t be enough. Again – the barrier to entry is lower now. This company is no longer in business. Now, I am not perfect in my approaches. I have been dangerously close to making both of these mistakes in my own business. And I was able to avoid it by making a phone call to receive this: COACHING I used to think coaching was bullshit. I saw hundreds of people popping up online saying they were coaches for weird things. A gardening coach, really? It looked like a very saturated market where anyone could give themselves the title. But I also know I can’t rely on my own perspective. I called a friend who is a producer and also a coach to get some invaluable advice. For a while now, I’ve felt my points of entry have gone from clear to confused. When I was a freelancer, I had specific websites that pointed to specific needs. Those were: Filmmaking (a personal website) Editing (an editing portfolio) After starting The Blended Future Project, I now had a blog about the mixed experience. Something I had shied away from, but now felt comfortable talking about. I wanted to tell stories and help other mixed creators. It’s what gets me excited to work on every day. But in my approach I made a key mistake: I was adding too much into one place. I have a lot of big goals for the company (and myself). But I was trying to cram them all into one. Which led to some confusion: Is it a blog? A consultancy? A production company? I had done so many things since it started. I had added too many items to the menu. And I had gotten away from the key mission from outset: An online media company dedicated to showcasing the mixed experience. Through coaching, I unlocked that while I have a lot of skills. They can’t all be inside of one business. So what I really have is 3. Which, ironically, are almost identical to the 3 phases of filmmaking (pre-production, production and post-production): Consulting Content creation Post-production So instead of one business, I have 3. The key element here is that the businesses are all linked. Because they are all a part of me. And if you go to my website, you can see how I’ve broken this down. You can see what you’re looking for and choose how we can work together. There might be multiple websites and businesses. But I have one creative identity. And the lesson for everyone here is to think of yourself and your career the same way. You don’t have to be just one thing to everyone. But you have to present one part of yourself at a time, to someone. A CREATIVE FOCUS Now, having 3 businesses might be great. But also, from the outside, sounds like an INSANE amount of work. But these aren’t jobs that I have all hours of the day. These are just systems that I’m building. And there are some key ways I manage my time. Task Ranking Time Blocking Team Building Which I’ll dive into in later writings. As creators, we have stories that we want to tell. But we also have to communicate our own story first – simply and efficiently. We need our audiences to understand who we are and what we bring to the table. That’s the way we build connections and get to create what really matters. Want more filmmaking and creator advice? Sign up for my newsletter. Get my free workbook The Mixed Creator Need coaching or consulting? Book a meeting with me.