What creatives NEED to run a business
**This blog post contains naughty words so if you don’t like that, then please kindly refrain from reading 😉 **
When you make that “crazy to everyone around you” decision to go for broke and start your own business, there are so many things to think about. All that research that you have to do to find out how to even get started in business and the amount of overwhelming advice being given all over the internet is so draining that it can make it super difficult to get your head around it all. In this post, we are going to break it down into the most digestible chunks as possible so that you can start honing in on the things that you need to get done to move forward.
Side note: Check out the Ultimate Creative Business freebie at the end of the post, I promise it super awesome and breaks down a lot of the yucky stuff which will save you some time with researching it yourself.
#1 – A reason why
Ask yourself why you are starting a business? Is it just to make a quick buck? Or, is it because you have a fire in your belly and cannot think of anything else but your reason WHY?
Potential Customer: Why did you start Business ABC?
Business owner: Because I wanted to quit the job I hated…
Potential Customer: …
The conversation ends here because your customer likely couldn’t give two about the shitty job you once did. They want to know the ‘why’ behind the creation of your business. Why do you make what you make? What is your story?
#2 – An ideal customer
So, who is your customer? If you haven’t got a clue, then you are likely not moving your business towards its big goals.
Look at the bigger picture, for example, imagine you create floral watercolour paintings with inspirational quotes. What type of person likes floral illustrations? Why do they want them? What are they going to do with them? Who is the quote on the painting directed at? Who would it inspire? Who would buy your product? Give that person name and have them in the back of your mind when you are selling your work.
#3 – A consistent brand
When you look at all the big brands, there is pure consistency across everything that they do, and this honestly is one of the big foundation stones that is going to set you up to go the distance. Lack of consistency from the customer’s point of view is so confusing and looks like you are not in it with your whole heart. You want to be in it with your whole heart, right? So, use the same logo everywhere, use the same fonts and always been precise and consistent with colours.
#4 – A shit hot website
When starting a business, it is so easy to tick things off your to-do list because “they can be done cheaply.” This is one of the worst mindsets to have when you want to create a business that works. Sure, there are many people who have done this, but it is not without a huge amount of stress and time wasted. Believe me, investing in a damn good website will be one of the best things that you can do for your business. One of the top reasons why people will leave your site is because it is slow to load or it looks terribly out of date. For me, a slow load time is the main reason I will click away. If your website looks like it was built in 1999 or has a banner telling me to get myself a “free website” – I will 9 times out of 10 leave and move on to something with the looks and the load time.
#5 – Paid Advertising
A bizarre myth has developed in recent years which has made many people think a lot of things should be free and this rings true for new small business owners who think that Facebook should be free. A massive part of the platform is, of course, free but the idea that Facebook should promote someone’s business for free is not dissimilar to an artist being asked to work for free for the “exposure”. Facebook is a business that now sits in the public domain on the stock exchange, so they are never going to promote your business for free. Imagine if they did that!? The stock price would plummet, and the whole platform would go down the drain. That would be a waste, wouldn’t it?
So, here is what you need to do… Learn how to do Facebook adverts properly. Don’t dismiss them because you don’t think it works, or you think Facebook don’t care, or that they just want your money. This is especially important if you have already tried adverts and you did not get you the results you wanted – There is a heck of a lot more to Facebook adverts than meets the eye.
Top Tip: Do not use Facebook adverts until you know exactly who your ideal customer is. (See point 2)
#6 – A mailing list
What if you could not connect with your followers on Twitter because there was a problem with Twitters server or Facebook went down (heaven forbid)? How are you going to let people know that you just launched a new product or are having a flash sale?
Your mailing list! It is absolute key that you have one. Get this written down on your to-do list… Now… Go on…
The point here is that you can’t build your audience solely on rented social media land as it can be taken away at any moment. There are, of course, many other great reasons to get started with building a mailing list but here are just a few of them:
Customer relationship building, customer loyalty, higher reach than social media as email generally has a 90% delivery rate, email is the preferred channel of communication, email will always be around.
#7 – The ability to outsource
You might not like this one, but honestly, the do it ALL yourself approach will to hurt you in the long run. Whether that is through time lost messing around with a website plugin, losing time building your whole website and then spending your time learning WordPress. Or designing a logo and wasting precious time trying to figure out how the hell to use Adobe Illustrator when you could be creating a brand new line of products and driving your business forward. Don’t waste time.
Invest in a logo, invest in a professional website, invest in advertising, invest in proper business cards, invest in a copywriter to write your products descriptions and…
#8 – Invest in yourself
Self-Development is an absolute no-brainer in business. I am always learning something new, whether that is learning a new system that helps me make my workflow seamless or learning a new marketing strategy. Nowadays it is so easy to find out about pretty much anything so embrace what the internet has to offer – find an online course that helps you drive your business forward, get a mentor, listen to some podcasts, read more books, meet new people.
Create a mindset that allows you the freedom to INVEST and GROW your business in a way that makes you happy and ready to take on the next challenge. Be forward thinking. Be ground-breaking. Be yourself.
#9 – A support network
Starting and developing a business can be tough especially when you are doing it alone. Sure, your family understand that you are creating something but do they truly know the extent of what you are doing? Having someone to talk to about your business is going to change the way you do business whether that means getting advice, help with creating new ideas and building new systems to get your business running super smoothly or just having someone to bounce ideas off whenever you need to. So, think about this…Who do you have to lean on and get advice from when it comes to your business? (Answer: It’s not your mum or your best friend 😉 )
Create a mindset that allows you the freedom to INVEST and GROW your business in a way that makes you happy.
Gemma Louise Kimpton
Founder, A Place for Creation
Founder of A Place for Creation & Creator of 'My Creative Business Planner' + designer of awesome websites for creative businesses.
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