Feel the fear and do it anyway: three keys to success as a female creative

Hard work, trust and empowerment. Alisha Dunsford has three pieces of advice for women in creative.

I’ve never been the kind of person that thinks being a female leader in the creative industry is remarkable. Nor do I think being a woman has been a direct contributor to the success of my design agency, Marché. But as International Women’s Day approaches every year, I always take a moment to reflect on the achievements of my all-female team in what many would still consider to be a male dominated industry.

Are we special? Hell yes. But not primarily because we are female – it’s because we work hard, we’re curious, we dive deep and we’re great at solving communication problems – characteristics I’m sure all creative thinkers can identify with, no matter their gender.

So as I start to reflect on my own professional successes this International Women’s Day, here are my three key tips for professional growth within the creative industry.

 

1. Be at peace with hard work

Running a successful agency requires boundless energy, patience, enthusiasm, leadership, diligence and dedication. As our industry continues to evolve at a rapid rate, being at peace with the many, varied and constant demands is essential to sustaining your passion and achieving your goals.

 

2. Trust, empower and nurture your team

My style of leadership is to trust in the inherent ability of all team members, giving them full autonomy and support the moment they reach out for help. Learn the art of personal communication and take time to understand what’s important to each person in your team, so you can shape their role with projects that fulfil them.

As you pay attention to the development of your team it’s also important to support them to achieve their personal goals through their work and celebrate their successes. Recognise and never forget how important their role is in helping you to achieve your own goals as a leader. Embrace flexible working arrangements and make their work life as enjoyable as their personal life.

 

3. Stay true and take risks

Don’t try to be everything to everyone, niching was one of the best business decisions we made as an agency, enabling our skills and knowledge to be highly targeted has resulted in extremely effective solutions that we are all very passionate about.

By staying true to your niche you’ll feel more confident to take risks and extend yourself beyond your own belief of what’s possible. To achieve your dreams and goals you’ll have to stretch your abilities – recognise this, accept this and then dive right in. ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ is one of my favourite sayings, it’s one I constantly remind myself of and I continue to thrive on the excitement it generates.

 

Alisha Dunsford is founder and creative director at Studio Marché.

 

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