If you are just starting out with your business, I want to say that this is going to be an awesome journey for you. I don’t think I could ever have a regular nine to five office job after experiencing running my own business. I think a lot of other entrepreneurs and small business owners can say the same thing.
This journey is not going to be easy, it’s hard, it’s challenging, and it’s going to test you in so many different ways, but in a way, it’s going to help you grow and that’s a win-win.
Where you’re at right now, you probably have a product idea or if you’re listening to this podcast you’ve probably made something with your bare hands. I believe that you can start marketing right away.
You can start building your audience and a community of people who would be interested in buying your product. Even if it’s just a product idea, a lot of other businesses do this, they may not have the product even made yet but they’re already starting to collect in the mass together and audience of people who are going to buy their stuff when they have it up for sale.
What I recommend you do is either set up a website or a landing page. If you can’t decide on your branding name yet, you don’t even have to buy a domain name. There are apps out there that allow you to create landing pages for free where you can collect people’s email addresses.
Whenever you talk about your product idea with people, send them to this page and if they’re interested they’ll sign up. Once you have their email address reach out to them directly, don’t send out a mass email broadcast and get their feedback. Ultimately, their feedback is going to help you fine-tune your product idea and that is what will help you create something that people really want.
A lot of creatives do this backwards and that’s why I’m talking about this now. What we creative people do is we just follow our passion and create what we want to. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s something that I did with Tiny Hands back in 2006. I just made a whole bunch of things. I made hand-bound journals because I just love collecting journals and notebooks, I made beaded jewelry, and then I started working with polymer clay jewelry. Even then I wasn’t making scented food jewelry yet, I was making flowers, stars, and all sorts of things that have nothing to do with what I make now.
The problem with that is, you have all of this product sitting in your wardrobe or on your studio desk and that’s when you feel you’re comfortable with selling. It’s going to be too late then because it will take you forever to make sales. The reason for that is, you won’t be sure where to find your customers and they’re going to be really hard to identify if all you’ve done so far is create for the sake of creating.
That’s a situation a lot of people find themselves in and I’ve had to kind of re-shift their mindset to think that I just described.
A lot of people have some pushback on this because they think their product isn’t perfect yet so they shouldn’t be telling people about it. That’s the best time to get feedback from people. I strongly believe if you want to make a lot of sales and run a successful business, you need to create a product that people want and in order to figure that out, you need to ask them.
If you don’t want to ask them, you need to pay very close attention to market demands – what’s trending right now, what do people want, and get into consumer psychology to figure out what products people just buy all the time.
If you want to turn your creative passion into a business, you need to start thinking objectively about your product idea and how it will work out in the market. A lot of the students I work with have a product that’s almost there. It’s gorgeous and beautiful but it’s missing that component of “What do you think is a compelling reason why people will want to buy this?” Often times it has nothing to do with the product itself, it has to do with how you’re positioning it and communicating to people why something like this is important in their lives. That’s where marketing comes into play.
Having said that, it’s not to say that you should totally give up on making the things that you love to make. As a creative person, I think I would die if I were to just day in and day out work for my business without any love of passion for the things I create because I was just creating what people want. There is a balance you can strike between creating something that people want to buy and what you love to make.
There will be some products you make that are best sellers but you don’t really have a passion for and that’s okay. Ultimately, you’re still paying the bills, making money, and you’re still putting food on the table. We can’t be that starving and struggling artist and I don’t think it’s healthy to perpetuate that.
If you find yourself having to make things for the sake of the people and you are no longer in love with what you make, that’s what your spare time is for. That’s not to say you can’t spend your free time creating things that you really love making. Not all of those products will make it onto your Shopify or website shelves, but maybe one day, they will.
I really do believe that once you have established yourself as a full-time business, you’ve got a huge enough audience, and you’re just making sales consistently that’s when it’s easier for you to put really new and different things in front of your market and see how well they do.
I know a lot of artists that have come to a point in their career where they don’t have to care about what their people want, they just create art because they love to create it. Because they have such a large audience, they can just do whatever they want and their people love what they do because your art is an extension of yourself.
In the beginning, I would highly recommend you really focus on creating products people want, but you also love to make. If you love making jewelry, that’s fine. I’m not saying you have to make t-shirts just because they sell. Jewelry also sells, but you can make jewelry that fills a certain niche with a high need and demand. That’s when you’re going to see sales, but you can definitely still make it your own and unique to you. I know it’s a challenge to strike that balance, but that’s where creative people do this the best.
We’re creative, so we’re great problem solvers. Striking that balance isn’t going to happen overnight and it’s going to take you a lot of soul searching work but once you do figure it out, it’s going to pay off. When you get started with selling your products you are going to see much better returns and sales coming in a lot faster, but if you did things backwards and just created things, put them out there in the world, and wait for someone to be interested in what you have to sell, then it’s not going to work.
If you are interested, I would love to invite you to the “A Sale a Day Challenge.” It’s a 30-day email course, completely totally free, and each step of the challenge will be emailed directly to you if you sign up at https://www.creativehiveco.com/challenge/.
It’s going to be super helpful for your business if you’re just starting out and even if you’re not, a lot of people who are in the “I’m already running my business” stages find a lot of useful information.
Thank you for listening!
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