Adam Ayers

Independent Creators: How to Scale Your Business While Maintaining Your Autonomy

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Staying autonomous as your business scales up requires a strong understanding of yourself and your mission — and trust in your team to carry out that mission.

IF YOU’RE AN independent creator, you may be considering scaling your business. While scaling is a great way to increase your presence and profit, it also often requires bringing other people into the mix — a significant adjustment when you’re accustomed to working independently.

Fortunately, it is possible to grow your brand without losing sight of your original creative vision. To help, the members of Rolling Stone Culture Council share 11 tips to help you scale your business while still maintaining your autonomy.

Stay True to Yourself

Stay true to what makes you “you.” It is often presented that in order to go fast, you must go differently. Stay authentic and real. There is power in walking in your truth, and there is power in owning that. Scaling won’t always come quickly; success will take time, failure and patience. Stay the course. – Madison ButlerGRAV

Remember Your Mission Statement

Find your strengths and what makes you unique and build on that. What’s your mission statement and how does that set you apart from competitors? It can be easy to lose sight of why you started in the first place, so in times of transition or intense growth, it can be beneficial to ask yourself questions like this again to stay on track. – Karina Michel FeldTallulah Films

Establish High Brand Standards and Consistency

One of the best things you can do to scale your creative enterprise while maintaining autonomy is to first set high brand standards for your content. The second aspect would be consistency with the work you produce. Scaling generally occurs once you have built a legacy brand. Make your brand a reliable source and people will gravitate to you over time. – Kelly SchwarzeIndie Film Factory

Find Your Niche

It’s important to choose a direction that you can steer without outside interference. It is tempting to try and appeal to the masses, yet it’s much easier to stand out in a smaller pond. Don’t be everything to everyone. Become an expert in your field. This will attract more high-value clients and give you the freedom to perform your unique services. Focus on finding your niche. – Thomas BresadolaSimplified Entertainment

Hire Complementary Team Members

I started as an independent freelance podcast producer. As my client list grew, I hired team members who specialized and did a far better job at some components of my role. Now, we’ve scaled to 30 people worldwide with multiple clients. I kept the tasks and the parts of the role I really enjoyed. It’s also essential to think about how much autonomy you want. That could mean taking fewer clients. – Ginni SaraswatiGinni Medi

‘Fill the Funnel’

Keep your expenses low and focus on “filling the funnel,” which means constantly attracting new prospects and converting them into clients. Sales solve all problems! – Adam Ayers, Number 5

Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Start with an honest self-assessment to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Identify the things you are good at doing, the things you love to do and the things that you need help with. Having this clarity will help you determine how to fill the gaps, giving you the space and time to grow your business more effectively. – Michael KleinTrees Corporation

Seek Out Brand Collaborations

Look to do brand collaborations that align with your personal and professional values. That way, you can keep your media presence in check. Influencer marketing is widely accepted by consumers; take advantage of that to choose what you want to stand for while still aiming to reach a larger audience. – Jacob MathisonMathison Projects Inc.

Straddle the Fence

I learned this term when I was being hired by the studios yet wanted autonomy. “Straddle the fence” means you are there for studios or corporate on an as-needed and as-available basis 24/7 with the right to refuse because you’re booked already (autonomy). This goes a long way in “street cred” for your viability in being hired and delivering both studio-level and independent work. – Susan JohnstonNew Media Film Festival®

Become a Mentor

What can you teach that others don’t have? Become a mentor. There is so much gold in online course creation and mentorship programs. Be the teacher you wish you had. Add a spritz of good PR in the mix and nothing can stop you! – Victoria KennedyMarisa Johnson

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