040: Starting and Scaling a Creative Business with William Warren



What can happen when you combine your passion with your talent? That’s where William Warren of The Sketch Effect found himself when he decided to open his own creative business. The only problem with creative businesses is, as the creator, it can be tough to scale. Today William is here to tell us about his journey to launching his own business and the lessons he’s learned so far from starting and scaling a creative business.

Welcome to episode 40 of the Executive Minds Podcast.

Links + Resources:


The Sketch Effect on Instagram

Jeff Shinabarger of Plywood People on Episode 13 + Episode 14

Three Takeaways:

1. Control what you can control, standardize what you can standardize, teach what you can teach.
When you own a business based on creativity and artistry, it can feel like an impossible task to scale. William’s solution is wise: control, standardize, and teach where and when you can. This means that no matter who the artist is, they are using the same materials as every other sketch effect artist from canvas to markers. There’s a methodology in place to choose the colors. There’s system in place for how each artist draws different objects or writes out typography. All of these processes help grow the business with new artists, while maintaining a consistent look for all products from The Sketch Effect.

2. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
Culture is everything when you’re growing your business. On a business side, when you have your mission, vision and values documented it tells you how to hire, fire and coach people on your team. On a personal side, don’t you want to build a business that you’d want to work at?

3. Don’t go at it alone.
William says that one of the best things he ever did was start an advisory board for The Sketch Effect. He needed more people looking out for the business, speaking into dreams, goals and plans. In addition to an advisory board, he’s involved in a peer group for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship can be isolating, but you don’t need to go at it alone