Many entrepreneurs get caught up in the hard work and the hustle and they forget what it feels like to be creative.
We are living in an increasingly interdisciplinary world, where it is necessary for entrepreneurs to see themselves as artists, and artists as entrepreneurs. Steve Jobs was inspired from a calligraphy class which became quintessential to Apple's sleek and elegant branding. It is crucial for entrepreneurs to remember the importance of creative vision and not get lost in the hustle and the grind.
Martin is a disruptor and leader who sees her work as a vehicle that forges new connections between industries, from education to design to technology. Here are my top takeaways from our conversation to build a breakout brand.
1. Know who you are.
We live in a world where so many people find value in likes, shares or number of followers. So often the sense of worth and concept of identity fluctuates with external feedback. Knowing who you are and who you aren't is the most important layer of your foundation.
Martin reminded me that it's a process of discovering and evolving. It takes hard work and patience. She would leave herself reminders of the quote "Who Are You" everywhere in her environment. I challenge you to ask yourself this today and over the next couple days.
There is freedom in knowing yourself. If you don't determine who are you and stand on it, someone else will decide for you.
2. Make your work intentional.
For Martin when she is creating art, she focuses on being intentional. Rather than trying to force the art, or plan out the entire piece in advance, she sets her intention and begins to create.
Whether you're an artist or an entrepreneur (we both agree that they're synonymous) there is a sweet spot for your creative flow.
Martin encapsulates it with this quote: "We have this contact between our head and our hand. It doesn't matter what industry you're in. It comes down to drawing. It comes down to the initial mark you make."
What is your mark?
3. Believe in yourself.
If you haven't already encountered people who have tried to tell you what you can and can't do, you will. Even people with good intentions will impose their opinions and beliefs on you. If you want something badly enough, you better believe you can do it.
I remember times when I was starting Fownders, I was the only one in the building, business partners had walked out on me, but I couldn't let go of that vision.
At times, you might be the only one who believes in yourself. If you don't have this unrelenting faith in yourself, why should someone else support you? When your mentality is that you will always bet on yourself, your grit and sweat equity will prove all the doubters wrong.
4. Don't emulate the work of others.
Your best work comes from not copying someone else. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but put your own lens on it.
When I started Elite Daily, we weren't focused on building just another publication company. We focused on building the No. 1 publication in the world for Millennials, by Millennials. Nobody else was doing it, which was a huge reason as to why we chose to do it.
Taking this stand and creating our own work eventually allowed us to capture a market that was hungry for exactly what we were offering. This journey ultimately led to an acquisition by a $1 billion company.
5. Go get your opportunities.
Martin opened up that when she first came to New York and was waiting for people to give her opportunities. She was playing what she called, the "if game." This is a typical mindset of so many people. "If I had the money or if I had the resources, then I could really get my business off the ground."
Instead of looking at what you don't yet have, take inventory of what you do have and start there. Create your own opportunities by leveraging your existing contacts and using your current resources. Scaling a business is a lot like being financially responsible, you have to start by getting creative within your means.
As an entrepreneur, an artist and someone who wants something greater, it's up to you, and only you to discover who you are and go get your opportunities.