So... you’re creative, and you want to get it out to the world and even make some money from it?
While you might not want to think about yourself as a business, providing a product or service for money, is what businesses do and essentially, what you want to do. It doesn’t need to be tricky, confusing or difficult.
There are great support networks for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and plenty of people you can talk to for advice and/or mentoring (just make sure they know about your specific industry). Don’t be afraid to ask for help and ask lots of questions.
Always start with strong foundations, develop a plan and invest in doing it right the first time. When it comes to marketing yourself, get the basics sorted and build from there.
These are what I would class as the basic foundations for marketing yourself:
Create a business plan to formulate your ideas in a strategic way. You can start with a one-page plan and expand on that. It makes you think about what you really want to do and how you want to do it, including costs involved and your strengths and weaknesses so you know where you need work.
Develop an ‘image’ to use across your marketing platforms that emulates what you do and who you are so people can recognise you at a glance and remember you better. (This could be an image/photograph of your art, a logo, your signature, your face, etc.) But the key is to keep it consistent. One image on everything.
Be visible! You can’t make sales if people can’t get hold of you or even find you! Options include business cards, a website, social media, industry listings, an email address and phone number - or do them all! You need to make it easy to be found.
Get out there. Participate in exhibitions, expos, enter competitions and grow your social media. Create interest in what you do and why, don’t just focus on the hard sell, have fun with it, share funny or interesting things and see what other people are doing.
Know your buyer, who they are, why do they buy, where do they live, what is their average income, when do they buy and how did they find you.
Sometimes it takes trial and error to find what works best for you. Marketing is an ongoing aspect that requires regular attention. Some platforms are more measurable than others, but all need to be reviewed regularly to make sure they are working and if they aren’t, you need to find out why not.
You’ve got this. (But if you don't, hire someone who does!).
Thanks for Reading!
*Originally printed in Issue #1 of Creative Nelson magazine on July 1st 2017