I’m a coach for creative businesses, and one thing that’s very interesting to me is how many of us get stuck on the same obstacles. When I schedule a day of calls, I often offer the same solutions over and over again. Here are a few things I’ve learned for sure:
Rule Number 1: Put down the entitlement crown
To build a successful creative business, there’s zero space for entitlement! Preparing for a career in marketing and sales (which is what your creative business needs to become successful), be prepared to do a lot more giving than asking and expecting.
As you build your marketing strategy, you will want to approach it without expectations. If you hunt your customers, they will feel hunted. If you target your market, they will feel targeted. If you only ever ask for business, your potential business will reject you, raise their defenses and keep you at arm’s length.
When you have a new visitor or potential customer, see that meeting for what it is: an introduction. You would never approach a new acquaintance and immediately ask them for a huge favor. That’s socially acceptable in neither the physical nor virtual world! Your marketing strategy should always feel comfortable for everybody involved.
When creative makers list items for sale online, more often than not they feel entitled to business. They expect customers to find them. They openly demand revenue and return. And then they wonder why nobody’s giving them the respect and recognition they feel that they deserve.
How would you react if a salesman at your favorite store had that same attitude? Imagine you walked into the store, and it was arranged in an unorganized fashion. Imagine the checkout staff waiting impatiently for your sale already. Imagine the customer service desk feeling angry and entitled by the door because you didn’t give the store what they were expecting from you. Would you be eager to revisit?
This is the most common mistake online sellers are making today! They expect customers to find them (out of millions of other storefronts). Not only that, they expect the customers to buy and come back often. They make no attempt to improve, learn, or enhance the customer experience, and they take no responsibility for the success of their own business.
Alternatively, if you focus on giving your customer the very best experience they can possibly have, if you offer information, special promotions, and personal attention to their needs, you will start to build valuable relationships. Like any other good relationships, you will be giving as much as you expect to take, and this will be enjoyable and rewarding for all.
Rule Number 2: Be authentic and realistic
There’s no such thing as a get rich quick scheme, so don’t bother trying. Be authentic to your talents, your service and your craft. Too many sellers are trying to create what they think people will buy. This is a waste of valuable time, resources and creative energy.
People buy what is authentically their taste. You cannot create an authentic experience by seeking the fastest route to profit. Allow your business the grace and space to grow authentically, and you’ll find like-minded customers.
Rule Number 3: Have the passion to persevere
I recently worked with a client who hated what she did. Her storefront was full of a product that she no longer wanted to create, but she stuck with that item because it had sold in the past. She begrudgingly agreed to do whatever it took to make sales.
During our work together, she lashed out, cried to her friends, and stubbornly insisted that her current business model had to work even though she hated her current business model and all the work it involved.
I often tell creative business owners that if what you’re doing doesn’t work or isn’t profitable, that does not mean you have to throw in the towel. But it certainly does not mean you should continue doing it either! There are other ways to feed your entrepreneurial spirit. If what you are currently doing is not working (or it’s not marketable), it simply means your business plan needs some tweaking.
In order to find success, these three things must be in place: Take responsibility for your own success, build a business authentic to your style and talents, and make sure that you’re willing to keep up the work it takes for many years to come! Until next time and all the best.