Creativity killed your business: 5 Reasons why Creative Businesses fail.
Running a creative business is not an easy task. We mostly work on our own. We get overwhelmed by all the admin, marketing, social media & dealing with customers. We are creative people, we are meant to be creating all the time.
For the past few years, I have taught hundreds of people creative skills. At the classes, I quickly found out that a high percentage of my students wanted to start a creative business.
“I would love to become a creative entrepreneur” – You say.
“Oh great, why is that?” – I say …
“Well, I just love making and upcycling, lots of people sell on Etsy or Ebay and they are making money. I have this great idea and I know people will love my products too” – You say
“That is so exciting” – I say,
“Yes, very exciting! I will start tomorrow” – You say
“I would love to know how it goes, keep me posted!!” – I say
Do you know how many of those people came back to tell me about their successful business? Not enough ..
I also run a Creative business, and after much tweaking, changing and finding my place, these are the top reasons why I think most creative businesses fail.
Most people don’t even start.
Lack of time.
Working on a full time job.
Social life ..
All of these have a priority. Suddenly you don’t have time to be creative.
Make the time. Make the Jump and start.
You haven’t found the love yet.
Because your customers don’t even know you exist.
A few months ago I wrote a post about this .. Finding customers, Who is going to buy from you?
You have made all these beautiful projects, which have got the oohs and high fives from friends and relatives – well maybe from some of them. And you decide to sell them on Etsy, or Ebay or whatever your platform is. And you do what you have to do .. write on your blog, post on Social Media, use Pinterest, spam all the local Facebook Groups you know of .. and then nothing.
“Where are my customers?” – You say …
“Well, if you don’t know where they are … how are you going to talk to them?” – I say.
Be creative. Find your customers, talk to them, love them and they will love you back.
Inspired by Seth Godin.
Creative souls don’t like making plans.
This is my little story .. I used to be an IT Project Manager. I made project plans and I made sure that the projects were delivered to plan. They were big projects. After 10 years in IT I decided to change my career, having a newborn was also a reason to not to go back to the corporate world. So I started my small creative business. I became a creative entrepreneur. Who needs goals & plans? I didn’t think I needed any of those.
“It will be fine” – I said.
And the first two years didn’t go as planned .. well actually, didn’t go at all as there was no plan. I was working more hours than I did in the corporate world, I had no money, I was always chasing new customers, stressed and frustrated.
And one day I sat down, gave myself a kick in the butt and started writing big goals, those that scare you so much that you don’t even know how you are going to make them happen. But I knew that in order to succeed I had to have big goals, and I had to make big plans.
Big Goals -> Medium size Actions -> Small Tasks
And they had to be achieved in 3 months, 12 weeks, 90 days.
That was my world. If a task didn’t belong to a goal, it got postponed – these days it can be delegated, a luxury that I didn’t have by then.
I also cut down the hours. I planned my weeks to the minute. No wasted time was allowed. I blocked 2 hours solid every day for Planning, Marketing, Sales, Growth and Admin. The rest could be spent doing creative work and teaching my classes. I also have two small children, so it all had to be fitted in.
Write down your goals and your plans. Block the time you need to spend running & growing your business. Then during the time you have to be creative, you can be as creative as you want.
You are a perfectionist.
You are either a perfectionist creative or a creative perfectionist ..
You start working on a new project but you cannot get it finished because you don’t have THAT skill.
You take photos of your beautiful projects but don’t share them with the world because they are not perfect – you look at all those Instagram accounts with perfect photos, and you are not one of them?.
You don’t have the right materials, paper, paint, website, workspace, mailing list, sales page, background music, whatever ..
Being a perfectionist is not bad, unless it is stopping you from being more creative and growing your business.
We live in a continuous state of learning, consider your products and your business as a learning experience. Things could always be better but they could also be worse if nothing is done.
You don’t have to get it all perfect, you just have to get it going* (Stu Mclaren, Tribe)
You hide behind a dead Facebook page.
Most Creatives are introverts. I am one of them. Big time.
And most of us hide behind a Facebook page. I am the soul of my business, and guess what? There was not one single picture of me for the first 3 years of running my business.
“I post my products on Facebook every day, but nobody clicks on like. Nobody buys. I don’t know how to get more fans. Facebook is dead” – You say.
“I feel your pain” – I say.
Do small changes every day. You don’t need to be make-up covered front faced on a Facebook live .. you just need to show your amazing work to people. How can you show it to them so it becomes amazing? Do short videos of what you do and how you do it. Show your inspiring workspace. Tell stories about your why, your challenges and your achievements.
And don’t rely on Facebook to sell your products.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you, who motivate you and who make you go the extra mile. Join an online community if face to face talking really bothers you. Attend seminars, talks and meetups.
For you to change your life and your business, you need to make changes to your life and your business.
You keep swapping your time for money.
This one is painful, mainly when talking to smaller size makers. The price for your amazing creations is calculated based on the time you spend making them + the materials you use. That is it.
But you may not be including the time you spend designing, preparing, researching, doing the admin and marketing, talking to the delivery companies or replying to customer emails. A working day has many hours, whether you are creating or not, you need to be paid for all those hours.
Most people won’t even include the running costs when working from home (insurance, electricity, water and other expenses) .. and this is what happens, you end up using your salary to pay for all the bills.
So you end up with no salary.
Put your prices up. Swap features for benefits, products for remarkable products, customer service for exceptional customer service.
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