Congratulations! You’ve decided to take the leap to become your own boss and entrepreneur! But wait, what exactly is it you want to do? I’m guilty of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. Even in college, I took liberal arts as I just kept changing my major. After college, I became a mother and therefore stayed home with the kids. This really frustrated me a lot because I was used to working and depending on myself. So I decided to start a jewelry business. That business failed as I wasn’t making any profit and I had no clue how to use social media to my advantage. So I started a VA company and that didn’t work out either! I then decided to get a real estate license and after failing the exam twice, I gave up ( you see the pattern here…). I was still confused as to what I wanted to do in my life.
With all the failed businesses I started, I felt like such a failure! However, I kept asking myself why is it I can’t start and have a successful business? Why do I keep failing at all the businesses I start? What do I need ( besides capital) to start and maintain a successful business? Then it hit me, I was basically trying to start businesses that I had zero interest in and I was doing it for the sole purpose of making a profit. I had no purpose and zero passion. Yes making money is important, but you need to be passionate about the business you are doing. Realizing this, I sat down and really discovered what I was good at. And that was graphic and web design. So I began my journey as a Brand Designer and I haven’t looked back since.
So how do you build a profitable creative business from scratch? Let’s dive in…
Write your personal mission statement
The reason I say to write your personal mission statement first is that you have to know why you’re being a creative entrepreneur in the first place. By doing this, it will make it easier for you to narrow down your niche and clearly define your brand. If you haven’t figured out what you want to do, write down a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Next, write down what other people ask you for help with or what they say you are good at. Then look at the two lists and see which characteristics coincide and BAM you’ve found your business!
Find out who your target market or niche is.
It’s important to know who you are trying to attract as potential clients. Why? Because being unclear as to what your services are will bring in clients and projects that you’ll hate! When I was first starting out as social media and business coach, I took projects for the sole purpose of earning an income and ended up hating the projects! After really looking into strengths and weaknesses I was then able to narrow down my niche.
Having a niche helps cut down the guesswork in your services. When you are first starting out as a creative entrepreneur, you will want to offer all kinds of services under the sun! By choosing a niche, you create a clear path as to where and how you want your business to grow.
Write your Goals
Writing down your goals is like writing down a roadmap for your business. Honestly, I prefer to write down my business goals rather than creating a business plan because once I finish writing the business plan, I file it and forget about it. With goals, I can divide them into two major parts, Long-term, and short term. From there I then write down my yearly, monthly and weekly goals. I constantly refer to my business goals worksheet just so I know I’m keeping track of things and know where I stand in my business. Don’t make your goals complicated either. Be realistic with your goals and think of your goals as mini business plans. Write down everything from business expenses to your projected income.
Create, Create, Create
What do I mean by creating? Create products, services or packages that will earn you an income. That’s the whole point you started your creative business right?!
Some ideas of products are e-books, webinars, email series, and e-courses. These are known as passive income streams for they continuously make you money even while you sleep.
Services can include web design, social media management and graphic design, photography and coaching. These services are pretty self-explanatory. Wherever your strong suit lies is what you should focus on to get clients
Packages are a form of services you would offer to your clients like different coaching services with different prices. These are on terms such as monthly, 3 months, 6 months or intensives/retreats that you could do twice a year.
Blogging is crucial for your creative business because it helps you get clients and create a following for which is very beneficial to your business. Blogging is not easy but if you put the effort and consistency it will pay off.
When I started blogging, I was not consistent at all because first I hadn’t chosen a niche and I had no editorial calendar. After I was able to narrow down my niche, I then was more consistent with blogging. knowing who you serve helps you create and research content for your blog so as to create a following and attract clients.
It’s crucial to remember to engage your readers by replying back to their comments. It ensures that they aren’t talking to an actual person and not a robot.
Now, this is crucial for your business. However, you don’t have to be on every social media outlet! Choose ones that you think you will find your ideal clients and readers. For example, if you are a graphic designer then Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook may work best for you since your work is more visual. Being on every social media platform does not mean you’ll get more clients, instead, you’ll get overwhelmed and actually lose clients because you aren’t engaging with them.
One mistake I see business owners do is not reply to comments or engage their followers. When someone comments on your photo or post, comment back. It’s that simple. One rule about posting on social media is 80% either other people’s content, personable pictures, quotes, inspirations etc. and 20% selling your products and services.
Remeber you are responsible for your brands growth and success.