Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

Here’s My Story of Starting a Creative Business

Sharing stories about your products or services is the way to deeply connect your customer with you and your business.

In this article I explained three reasons why sharing stories was so important:

  • People love stories.
  • Stories change objects into something better.
  • Sharing your story gives your customer something to share.

And I also said:

Sharing your story is a way to connect you, your creative work, and your community in a deep, magical way.

So, let’s connect you, me and my work in a deep, magical way. Let’s share my story.

 


 

I’m not going to start at the very beginning, because no-one wants to hear about a nerdy-looking baby who didn’t have any hair until she was 18 months old.

And I’m not going to start at adolescence because no-one wants to hear about a nerdy-looking teenager who dressed in black a lot and thought it was cool to smirk and not like stuff (while secretly really liking stuff).

Let’s start at the end of 2014, when I decided to quit my job and was still pretty nerdy-looking.

 


 

Working full time in marketing for about four years had equipped me with extensive skills, in-depth knowledge and significant appreciation for the way communication between business and brands worked.

It had also given me crippling self-doubt and sadness.

Marketing is a tough business. The creative industries like to show off about their ping-pong tables in the office, beers on a Friday and free sweets/massages/insert treat here for staff, but a lot of the time that comes with unspoken agreements: work long hours. Be on call on the weekend. Don’t talk back to clients. Go with the boss’ whims. Party hard, because you’re working harder.

Some businesses get people to work extra-long and extra-hard with the carrot. Other businesses use the stick. In the name of productivity, they accidentally end up building a culture of self-doubt and negativity. People’s work is unrecognised, so they start to believe the work isn’t any good. Sticking your neck out gets dangerous, so people become timid. Workers get institutionalised in a very real way.

I’d worked hard for my colleagues and clients. I’d also been difficult to manage. I am honest, clear and direct – which means I can be brusque, rude and impatient. I’m strong and brave – which means I can be pushy and impertinent. But after several years working in these environments, I’d ended up believing that I was brusque, rude, impatient, pushy, impertinent…and nothing else.

I felt like the work I did, and the person I was, wasn’t worth anything. I had no confidence in what I was doing.

I had two options: stay secure and rot, or risk failure and flower.

 


 

I decided that I would start a creative business, my own business, where I would feel proud of the work I did. I would value my own work, and so would other people. I would leave sadness and self-doubt behind.

The most important aspect of this business would be that the work I did would show other people how valuable they are. It would give other people the confidence I had yearned for. It would be a business where people knew they were worthy of love and belonging.

I saved up my money until I had just over three months of living expenses, I started contacting people about work I could do, I bought myself a golden stapler and I quit.

 


 

Every time I write an article…
Every time I hold a one-to-one session
Every time I run a workshop…
Every time I design a marketing strategy…
Every time I do a talk on running your own business…

… I am giving people like you the confidence I never had.

I’m letting you know how valuable you are, how much you already know, how much you can achieve, how much potential you have.

I’m saying “You can do it”, because I know you can.

Your business is never ‘just’ your business. We all bring our unique stories into the work we do, the emotions and hang-ups and beliefs and behaviours long-embedded into our lives.

My story is one I want other people to have, and I decided to run my business to help make it happen: to go from self-doubt and sadness to feeling confident and valued.

 


 

My challenge to you is to share something of your story in the next seven days. Do it on your website, social media channels, email newsletter or in store. Share your story and see how it can connect you, your creative work and your community in a deep, magical way.

Elly

 

My Story of Starting a Creative Business - Pinterest

 

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

Sharing your story 1

Sharing Your Story as a Creative Business Owner

In my recent workshop on How to Present Your Products Online, one of the factors I talk about is sharing your story.

Your story – where you come from, what inspires you, why you do what you do and a thousand other things – is a core ingredient of your marketing.

In presenting your products online, via sites like Etsy or Folksy, you can use your story to help customers form a deeper relationship with your product. Rather than ‘just’ a nice cup or pair of earrings or workbook, that product is now a part of a much bigger story.

The story of your travels and how you’re inspired by traditionally-woven fabrics to create textured coffee cups.

The story of your grandma’s jewellery box and how it helps you dream up new jewellery designs.

The story of discovering your ikigai and how it led you to try and help more creative businesses fulfil their brand’s potential.

Stories are magic, fun, exciting and integral to who we are.

But one of the themes that came out of the workshop feedback was this: how do I share my story without feeling embarrassed? Without feeling cringey? Without feeling cheesy?

There are a lot of tactics you can use to share your story in a way that makes sense for you, your business and your customer. But before you know HOW to do it, you need to know WHY you’re doing it.

Knowing WHY you’re doing it defeats the feelings of embarrassment. It helps you feel confident and organised. It stops you from feeling like what you’re doing is cringey or cheesy.

Here’s why you should share your story.

1. People love stories.

Every culture uses stories to teach people how the world works. We use stories to frighten, cajole, encourage, impress or enlighten someone. There are stories for everything around us, from how we should behave to how we make a cup of tea (never milk first you heathens).

Stories help us make sense of the world because we are pre-disposed to pattern-spotting. Pattern-spotting helped us survive by explaining the world to us in a way we could understand and maybe predict. So a story is a pattern we can understand very quickly and easily, which makes us feel comfortable and pay attention.

Sharing YOUR story with your community is a natural part of being human. You are showing them a pattern so they can say “Oh, I understand”. Your story might be different to their own, unusual or even unique, but it’s still a quick route to making them feel comfortable and pay attention.

It’s like the magic touch: a sprinkle of your story and you’ve connected with your community in a very deep way.

2. Stories change objects into something better.

Each one of us will have emotional attachments to certain objects in our lives; maybe a dress, a ring, a certain picture or an ornament. This emotional attachment doesn’t come from the object itself – the actual material or design or shape or colour. It comes from the story attached to it.

The story is that your mum handed the dress down to you, or your dad made the ring, or the picture is a scene from where you grew up, or the ornament is a memento from your travels.

When someone says “That’s a lovely picture”, you don’t say “Yes, it’s painted in oils on a piece of stretched canvas”. You say, “Yes, it’s where I grew up”.

Even things we buy because we like the look of it come with a story: “It reminded me of autumn leaves” or “My first house looked a little like that” or “It was the perfect size for my morning coffee”.

Even services we buy are made better by the attachment of a story. A florist doesn’t just create fabulous arrangements; they help create your dream wedding. An accountant doesn’t just sort out your finances; they help you save up for that once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

By attaching your story to what you do, whatever product or service you sell suddenly gets better. It gets magical, because it’s attached to a story. And people LOVE stories.

3. Sharing your story gives your customer something to share.

People love stories, but more importantly they love sharing stories. Spoken stories came long before written stories, and we tell stories to babies long before they can read – stories our parents told us.

By sharing your story with your customer, you are giving them something to share. You’re giving them something to share in a transaction that would normally be fairly solitary.

Here’s an example: You buy a beautiful scarf for yourself from a local knitter. Without a story, you have a beautiful scarf just for yourself. With a story, you have a beautiful scarf for yourself AND something to give to others.

People want to connect with each other. We want to give and share and be part of something. So buying something is nice, but it’s just for you. Sharing a story about what you bought makes that transaction into a potential opportunity for connection.

The difference between saying, about a picture, “Yes, it’s painted in oils on a piece of stretched canvas”, and “Yes, it’s where I grew up” is the second statement starts a connection. I’ll ask, “Where did you grow up? What was it like?” and suddenly we are two people in a vast cosmos sharing a magical connection.

I like to call it the ‘dinner party worthy‘ story. You’re giving your customer something to share at a dinner party when someone points out an item in their home.

By sharing YOUR story, you’re giving them the opportunity to connect with others.


 

This is WHY you should share your story.

People love stories.
Stories change objects into something better.
Sharing your story gives your customer something to share.

And, ultimately, sharing your story is a way to connect you, your creative work, and your community in a deep, magical way.

Next time you feel like sharing your story is too embarrassing, too cringey or too cheesy, remember these reasons WHY you’re doing it. We’re here to connect, and stories help us do that.

 


 

Looking for time and space to understand how to tell your story best?

I’m taking bookings for One-to-One Marketing Reviews in January 2018.

Click here to learn more.

Meaningful Marketing - New Style - Square

 


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Sharing your story as a creative business owner | Eleanor Snare

“My Time Isn’t Worth Anything.” Is Yours? Why Valuing The Time You Spend on Your Creative Business Is Essential

“My Time Isn’t Worth Anything.” Is Yours? Why Valuing The Time You Spend on Your Creative Business Is Essential

 

Today I want to talk to you about time and how we value it.

 

The other day, me and a friend of mine were discussing getting some repairs done on his car, and whether he could do it himself.

When we talked, I said “It really depends on whether you feel you have the time to do it and learn how to do it.”

He said, “Well, my time isn’t worth anything.”

The conversation continued but a part of me retreated into my mind in shock.

 

I run my whole creative business based on specific hourly and daily rates that I’ve calculated based on my experience and the market as a whole. I have to value my time as ‘worth something’ to run my business.

That translates into valuing my time as an individual in my leisure hours, and wanting to spend it in fruitful ways.

The conversation started me thinking. We know time equals money, but do we really believe it – particularly when we’re talking about our own time? And when we think about time equalling money in our business, what does that actually mean?

 


Time and money

First, I should mention that, for me, time does not equal money. Time is far more precious.

During your lifetime, you can attempt to accumulate as much wealth as you possibly can. Given the right resources and privileges, there will be no limit to the wealth you can accumulate.

But you cannot accumulate more time.

 

You can be healthier to try and live longer. You can stay awake for more hours. You can multi-task or mono-task or batch your tasks and a thousand other things to maximise your time.

But, ultimately, you have a given amount of time on the planet, and that’s all you’re going to get.

 

Many yoga practices talk about the concept of limited breath; that we only get a set number of breaths in our life, and therefore it’s important to use them wisely through deep and restorative breathing.

These ideas of a limited amount of time and breath were one of the driving forces behind starting my own creative business.

It wasn’t so I could make more money. Although I am paid more on an hourly rate than I did when I was on a salary, my annual ‘salary’ now is slightly less than it would be if I was working in a full time job at the same level.

 

For some people, that’s a bit shocking. They see running your own business as a way to make lots of money.

For me, it’s a way to try and make lots of time. Or more accurately, to consciously absorb the limited time I do have. To ‘make’ it feel more by being more conscious of it.

Getting back time for the things that were important for me was the main reason I began my creative business, and I’m in a position of privilege to be able to do that.

 


Money and things

Second, I see obtaining money as about what you can do with it, not as a symbol of success (even when it’s not being used). Money ‘works’ because it’s a universal commodity; something which can be exchanged for any other product or service we want. When it’s not being used in that way – what is it? What’s it for?

 

One of the exercises I do with my students when I talk to them about employment is to talk about two ways of approaching salary. The first is having a specific number in your head, and wanting to have that number go into your bank account each year. The second is working out how much you need to live the life you want, and aiming for that.

I tell them most people start their working life by having a specific number in their head. They haven’t thought carefully about the life they want and how much this costs. They just want that number.

 

This is what a lot of the business coaches and other ‘six figure folk’ will talk to you about. We want six figures because, culturally, six figures seems like you’ve made it. And as Layla Saad says in this brilliant article, people who push this on us as a sales tactic are failing us.

But if you only need five figures or four figures, then why are you spending all your time trying to get six figures? You are using up a limited resource (your time) trying to accumulate a potentially-infinite resource (money) because you ‘six figures’ is a symbol of something.

 

There will always be more money to be made and no limit to the wealth you could accumulate. There will not always be more time. There will always be a limit.

 


Valuing yourself and your time

With these two things in mind, I want you to know your time is worth something, because it’s precious. You do not have much of it and you must value it because of that. It’s not about your skills or education or any other factor; you must value your time simply because one day it will run out.

 

I value my time more highly than any amount of money I could earn. That doesn’t mean I have so much money I don’t need to work – it means I think carefully when I choose what projects to work on and how I wish to set my hourly and daily rate.

Not everyone has this privilege, and I’m acutely aware of my own privileges in saying I have choice in my work. I believe (and fight for) a society in which people are paid a true living wage, or receive a universal income, which I see as helping us all to move away from valuing humans only through the lens of money and productivity. We are valuable because we live, not because we live with a certain set of skills, talents or knowledge.

If you run your own creative business, however, you are also in a position to think carefully, choose your work, and set your own value.

 


Calculating value

I’ve been clear it’s essential you value your time. But how do you go about calculating that value in a way which translates into something meaningful for your creative business?

How you calculate your worth – that hourly or daily rate, or even the eventual price of your products or services – is up to you. It’s up to how you value your time and how valuable you think your work is to other people.

 

Wealth coaches and other six figure folk tell you if you don’t put a high price on your hourly or daily work, or on your products or services, you have mental blocks to accumulating wealth. That might be true for some – but we also live in cultures with other people. We live with economics.

Economic thought and structures affect us all, in negative and positive ways. Pretending you don’t have to look at competitors, customers, or your industry to put a price on your hourly or daily work, or your products or services, is complete rubbish.

 

Creative business people I’ve met often value their time and set their wage based on social norms, like the minimum wage. This makes sense in many ways; it’s a simple, easy choice, and we assume these wages are able to support someone in living a healthy and fruitful lifestyle.

But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t put a value on your time according to other factors.

A senior designer will get paid more than a junior designer because of experience and skill; are you valuing your time based on experience?

Someone who has a unique gift or a skill that’s very hard to master may get paid more because they are a rarity; are you valuing your time based on uniqueness?

People in London get paid a specific amount more than people outside the capital, because of the cost of living; are you valuing your time based on location?

 

As a personal example, I recently increased my copywriting rates. This was to reflect my experience in the industry and to better fit in with the market average shared by a trusted copywriting group.

Of course, when I did this I was nervous and immediately thought no-one would want to pay for me because I was more expensive. Of course, it didn’t change anything. People still wanted to hire me.

I had increased my costs because of legitimate and understandable reasons, and that made sense to people who wanted to hire me. What are the reasons behind how you value your time and set your rates?

 


What’s next?

Commit to valuing your time. Believe your time is of value (and not just because you might be skilled or clever or talented). Write it down, put it into your journal, make it your phone background. Start to let yourself value your time.

Then spend some time thinking of and documenting the reasons behind why you currently calculate the value of the time the way you do. Is it based on market averages, competition, the minimum wage, or something else? What else might you want to consider when calculating the value of the time you spend on your creative business?

Money is a very difficult thing to talk about and, as a creative business owner, it becomes even more complicated when the wages we’re earning are wrapped up in our own self belief and self esteem. Eli Trier’s email series and ebook called Naked Money is a great way to understand how different creative people relate to money, and their personal challenges. There’s also a Facebook group to join and learn from other creatives.

If you take just one thing away from this article, it’s that I want you to know your time is worth something. To your family and friends, your time is irreplaceable. To your creative business and your customers, your time is invaluable. There’s always more money to accumulate, but we only have so much time in the world. How you spend it, value it, and how you wish others to value it, is in your hands.

 


 

Crystal Clear Brand - A Workbook for Creative Business Owners launching September 28th

 

Your brand is invaluable

On September 28th I’m launching a do-it-yourself product to help creative business owners like make their brand crystal clear.

Your brand is one of the most valuable elements of your creative business. When done right, it’ll help you make decisions more easily and make the most of your time and energy.

The do-it-yourself product is a workbook guiding you through creating a crystal clear brand, done in an interactive, engaging and friendly way.

If you’re interested in learning more about the product and getting updates about the launch, sign up below.

To say thank you for signing up, once you’ve confirmed your email address you’ll get a free copy of my guide written specifically for creative business owners: How to Sell In Person Without Feeling Weird.


 

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Do you value the time you spend running your creative business? How do you value it? Do you believe your time is worth anything? Acknowledging this is essential to the health of you and your business, so why don't we do it properly?

For Your Creative Business, Brand Is More Than How You Look

For Your Creative Business, Brand Should Be More Than How You Look

Today I want to talk about how your brand is more than just how you look.

 

We live in an age of the image. Since the development of television, and even since the invention of photography, cultural commentators have been saying some of our societies have increasingly been dominated by images.

But right now it’s hard to escape the feeling of being surrounded by imagery, particularly online.

 

A few years ago, I went to a great lecture about visual representation throughout time. During the talk, one speaker mentioned we see more images in a day than a medieval person would have seen in their lifetime.

The number of pictures, photographs, icons, videos and more we consume is phenomenal. We have more visual culture than ever before, and in some ways of a better quality than before due to technological developments.

We have social media platforms dedicated to the image, which have developed in recent years. Instagram and Pinterest are the two big players, and we’re drawn to them because of the way in which pictures quickly and vividly tell us a story. They’re easy to absorb and feel ‘easier’ to create than a lengthy written article.

 


 

The result for creative business owners is there’s a big focus on how we, and our business, are represented visually.

A lot of information and education online about creating a ‘killer brand’ ends up focusing on images, colour palettes, typography, and all of the visual elements that going into making a brand.

If you run a creative business, this can be very appealing. It’s likely you understand and enjoy communicating in visual language, perhaps more than in written or spoken language, when talking about your business.

But brand is so much more than how you look.

 


 

Here’s a simple analogy. The clothes we wear are important, but they’re an expression of who we are inside. Our clothes can’t necessarily change who we are; they are ultimately just one way of explaining your personality to the outside world in a simple, easily absorbed way.

Yet if someone only paid attention to your clothes, and ignored the person within them, you’d be annoyed. You might think they were superficial, or perhaps weren’t getting the message you were trying to send out.

 


 

So why concentrate on the ‘clothes’ of a business – our visual representation – when we should be thinking about what’s inside those clothes?

I wholeheartedly believe the visual representation of you and your creative business is important to get right. But trying to make it look good without basing this beauty on anything solid is a sure-fire way to attract superficial interest.

Brand is so much more than typography and colour palettes. It includes:

  • The very heart of your business; what you stand for when you do your creative work
  • The purpose of your business and why you exist
  • The future of your business; the vision you have for what you’re going to achieve
  • Your personality traits and vibe that you give off that attracts customers to you
  • Your ‘soul’; who you truly are in life and in your creative work

The visuals you use for your brand are an expression of all this; they are not it. They’re just one way for you to communicate these things to potential customers.

 


 

Let me give you an example from my own creative business.

My website use a few limited colours to communicate the brand of my creative business. I use green because of its association to nature, one of my core values. I use a taupe colour because it’s warm and friendly – like me – but also sophisticated, expressing the high quality of my work. Finally, I use black and white because they are easy to read and classic.

This is a very simple use of colour to express something deeper about my creative business’ brand. On Instagram, it’s slightly more complex.

I include greenery or nature wherever possible in my photograph; again, because it’s one of my core values. But I also show the other values of my brand – love, play, helping and learning – through the colourful, fun and sometimes quirky images I share.

These images are expressions of me, my personal brand and the brand of my creative business. They’re not an empty shell. They’re chosen as expressions of strong foundations: my values, my purpose and my personality.

 


 

It’s difficult sometimes to step away from the reliance on visuals we have in contemporary culture. It’s very easy to be swayed by gorgeous, pretty, cool or fashionable images – because they are nice to look at, and who doesn’t want nice-looking stuff in their lives?

But the best visuals, and the ones you should use for your business, are those which represent something more meaningful. Your creative business’ brand is greater than the pictures or the fonts you use.

 


 

What’s next?

Here are some tips on considering whether the images you use are based on some strong foundations:

  • Do you know what the brand of your creative business is? Do you describe in colours and typography, or as something deeper?
  • Are you selecting images based on their ‘coolness’ or ‘prettiness’? Or are you selecting them because they communicate something about who you are?
  • Do you feel you’re creating images to fit in with some unspoken style of the platform you’re using? How about trying to fit in with current trends, even if they’re not very ‘you’?
  • Where are you getting your images from? Are you creating them, buying them, replicating them from other people or curating them? And how do you feel about what you’re doing?

How we look in a saturated visual culture is important, to help your creative business stand out. But the way your brand looks is an expression of something much deeper – something you might have to spend some time really thinking about to get results you’re proud of.


Crystal Clear Brand Workbook | Eleanor Snare

This year I launched a do-it-yourself product to help creative business owners like you form a brand that’s more than just pretty pictures.

It’s a workbook guiding you through creating a crystal clear brand in an interactive, friendly and engaging way.

A deep, conscious, clear brand is a huge help in visually representing your business. By understanding what the foundations of your business are, you can select and create images which really express what you’re about. And that is what attracts customers and keeps you enjoying what you’re doing.

Read more and buy the workbook here.


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A beautiful Instagram feed is great - but is it all you've got? Your creative business deserves a brand that's about more than how you look.

Here’s Why You’re Scared of Branding Your Creative Business, and Why You Don’t Need to Be

Here’s Why You’re Scared of Branding Your Creative Business, and Why You Don’t Need to Be

Today I wanted to talk to you about why some creative business owners seem to be scared of brand.

 

First, let’s clarify what I mean when I talk about a brand.

I see brand as everything you are as a business. While your business might include you working in different capacities – doing your accounts, making or marketing, for example – brand is everything else; almost like the space between the things in your business.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon is quoted as saying brand is “what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. In this way, brand is the feelings and thoughts customers or potential customers have towards you (which you can’t always control).

 

Brand is the big, big picture surrounding your business and it’s what moves a good creative business from everyday into something much more.

 


big bad brands

I’ve seen and talked to many creative business owners who are fearful of building a brand around their business, or building a personal brand around themselves.

They see brand as a bit of a dirty word. “We’re humans,” they shout, “we’re not corporations! You can’t define us and you can’t put a logo on us!”

“We’re not numbers – we are complex, hard to explain, human beings!”

When you think of brand as a dirty word, it’s unsurprising you don’t want to be a brand. We’ve heard so many terrible stories about big brands and big corporations hurting our planet, our people, and our livelihoods, that the idea of being a brand – for some creative people – is unpleasant and something to be avoided.

 

However, I also see these creative business people are a bit scared of what a brand makes you do, even though it can be really positive.

Having a clear brand means you have to decide on who you want to be to your customers. You have to decide how you look and sound, what you talk about and when. You have to commit to being something consistently. This entails a responsibility to yourself, to potential customers, and the people who buy from you.

The right brand sets the bar high for your business; you have to live up to what you want your brand to be. It means you have to believe in yourself, what you’re doing, and not let self-doubt topple you.

 


 

With this in mind, it makes sense that some creative business owners are nervous. They don’t want to pin themselves down or commit to a specific set of ‘rules’ about what they can and can’t do in their business. They might even feel like they’re not ‘good enough’ to have a proper brand for their creative business.

But let’s go back to the quote from Jeff Bezos: brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Think about that carefully. We can’t control what people say about us when we’re not there; we can only influence them to say something positive.

Your brand is created whether you want it to be created or not, because every time you do something you are creating your brand.

 


 

98% say coke

Take the example of a big business like Coca-Cola or Jeff’s business, Amazon. Both of these companies work very hard to create positive brands. They want a brand which people like, use and turn to first. Coca-Cola in particular has worked very hard at creating a brand around refreshment and happiness, where their product = refreshment.

What this means is I can predict the result of an experiment I do with my students. I get students to close their eyes, imagine it’s a hot day and reach for a cold drink. Then they hear me open an aluminium can of pop, and I ask them to tell me what drink it is.

98% of them say Coke. Every single time.

Coca-Cola’s brand efforts are so strong that a generic click-hiss sound of an aluminium can being opened is synonymous with their product.

On the flip side, there are lots of things Coca-Cola can’t control which have helped to create its brand. These include things like:

  • We’re more aware than ever of our health and hidden sugars or salt in our food
  • Many countries where there isn’t a scarcity of food are suffering from food deserts or high junk food diets, which we’ve identified are bad for our health
  • Obesity is an increasing problem for the health care of many countries
  • The unethical activities of big businesses, particularly around the environment, are becoming more transparent

All of this comes together to create Coca-Cola’s brand; one which for many people is fun, refreshing and delicious. For others, it’s tainted with negative associations of poor health and a lack of sustainability.

 


As a creative business, you might not have the resources of someone like Coca-Cola or Amazon. But you’re still creating your brand every time you answer a customer complaint, source new materials, post an Instagram photo, go to a networking event, attend a fair…

You’re constantly creating your brand, and you can either choose to do this consciously or not.

So being frightened of building a brand is like being nervous of breathing; it’s happening – whether you’re happy with that or not isn’t really the question.

Instead of feeling scared of branding your creative business, it’s time to feel the fear and do it anyway.

 


 

What’s next?

Acknowledge that you’re creating a brand in the actions of your creative business and your actions as a creative business owner.

This means you can get excited about it; think about what this allows you to do! Perhaps you could try some new photography to showcase your business’ values, or talk about interesting things which, beforehand, you weren’t sure fitted into your business.

You can start to consider what a brand means for the deepening and growth of your creative business. Where could you go next, knowing you can rely on these foundations?

You are a very important part of your creative business. Your brand is the next most important part, and it’s what will help move your creative business from something everyday to something meaningful, inspirational and sustainable.

It makes sense to be nervous about creating a brand for your creative business, but by your current actions you’re already doing it. That means instead of being scared, you can start to feel excited and conscious about what you can do to create something you’re proud of.

If you need some help, take a look at my Crystal Clear Brand workbook.

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I see a lot of creative businesses who are scared of properly creating their brand - but there's no need. Here's a guide on why you might be scared of creating a brand you're proud of and how to overcome those fears.
How to Sell In Person Without Feeling Weird: A Guide for Creative Businesses

How to Sell In Person Without Feeling Weird: A Guide for Creative Businesses

Today I want to talk to you about how to sell in person without feeling weird when you’re a creative business owner.

 

Ever felt like you nearly made a sale...but missed out because you didn't know how or what to say - or you felt so weird about the whole thing you avoided it altogether? Lots of creative business owners feel the same way. Here's a post where you can download a free guide on the specific steps to take to sell in person without feeling weird.

 


selling = strange

Selling is something lots of us get nervous about. Being able to sell well and not be deterred by the fear of rejection is a real skill. I have a lot of respect for salespeople; it takes resilience, intelligence and dedication to be able to make lots of sales, even to people who genuinely want your product.

As a creative business owner, you might find selling in person (when you’re at a craft fair, exhibition or show) quite hard. Often I’ve found the main reason for this is what creative business people like most about their business is actually doing the creative part – not having to flog their wares to people.

However, you might also find selling difficult because:

  • It feels very unnatural – sales conversations don’t seem to feel like normal conversations, where there’s no specific (or at least obvious) agenda from one party
  • It feels awkward and sometimes even impolite, especially in British society where talking about money or imposing your needs upon someone else is the height of rudeness
  • We don’t always value ourselves, our products or our services accurately, and so when it comes to getting people to buy we feel doubly embarrassed
  • You may not even know what to say to get people to buy your wares
  • Or you might know what to say but you’re not sure how to say it without feeling or sounding desperate – or as if you don’t care whether they buy your product or not

So how can you manage these difficult (but completely normal) feelings, and use in-person opportunities to make the most sales for your business?

After all, people like buying from people – especially creative people – so in person selling can be one of the best ways to help your business deepen and grow.

 

The secret is to take people on a journey.

 

The most successful salespeople do this. They take people from A to B (where, at B, they buy your things).

Marketing is a really important part of this journey. It’s almost the thing that helps customers get to A in the first place, and a few steps towards B. Marketing stops sales becoming pure cold calling by ‘warming up’ the customer before you start talking to them about a sale.

So part of what you can do is make sure you’re warming people up before they come and see you in person by doing some great marketing. This makes your trickier ‘salesperson’ job a lot easier.


from awareness to action

The journey which you can take your customer on is best described by the AIDA model.

This traditional marketing concept describes the way people travel through stages of relating to your brand, with the idea being that you can help get them through to the next stage (like a journey through the levels of a computer game).


Level 1 of the game is awareness, where your potential customer knows about and is aware of your brand.

Level 2 and the next stage on the journey is interest, where your potential customer is interested in your brand, services and products.

Level 3 is desire, where your potential customer actively wants or desires your wares.

Level 4 (big boss level) is action, where your potential customer becomes an actual customer by purchasing some of your products or services.


For each stage, you can do different things to get people to continue along the journey. Just like a computer game, lots of people will start the journey, but not all of them will make it to the next level – or the big boss level. That’s completely natural.

The more you’re aware of this, the more you can make sure to get people onto level one through great marketing, and help people along the journey to end with a sale.


how to sell in person without feeling weird: the guide

As I was writing, this article become more and more in-depth and packed with information. So, instead of a lengthy blog post, I’ve turned the article into a 10 page, easy-to-understand downloadable guide so you can have it on-hand whenever you need it.

The guide includes:

  • Some of the common mistakes I’ve seen creative business people make at fairs, shows or exhibitions
  • How you can avoid making these same mistakes
  • Clear examples of activities you can do at each stage of the AIDA model to keep potential customers on the journey towards buying

Here’s a snapshot of the advice for the first stage, awareness.

Snapshot of awareness tips from How to Sell In Person Without Feeling Weird

For the full guide on How to Sell In Person Without Feeling Weird, pop your email address in the box below and you’ll be sent the guide via email.

 

 

P.S. You can see the other people I’ve helped with my advice and ideas on marketing creative businesses in this article: How I’ve Helped People and I’m Trying Not to Be Shy About It.

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