The Creative Business Owner’s ‘non-sleazy’Guide to Growing a Profitable Business
Running a creative business is possibly one of the most satisfying ways to make a living
You get to create a sustainable, profitable, successful business around doing what you love on a daily basis. You get to make the decisions and work with clients who genuinely love and appreciate what you do. Plus it will give you the creative freedom to do your very best work. So, I hear you ask:
- “How do I attract the right clients who’ll trust me and give me the freedom and support to allow me to guide them and do my best work for them and with them?”
- “How do I build a profitable business, at my pace, that allows me to live my life in the way I want to?”
- “How do I build a steady stream of clients so I’m not constantly chasing new business, or jumping from one crisis to the next?”
In simple terms….you must trust your instincts. You work out what makes your business uniquely, brilliantly better than anyone else’s and you put that at the heart of your communications. You nail your offer to a point that you can do it standing on your head. And ensure that what you offer supports ad enhances your client’s life or business. At this point, you can then elevate your brand by captivating your audience with your knowledge and authentic creative charm. It may also be a good idea to treat your clients like the intelligent, lovely human beings that they are!
Since starting my business…
…I’ve witnessed first-hand, the pull of the seductive quick fix, formula following lead generation, marketing approaches and promises. I have met and heard from many talented, experienced and creative small business owners and entrepreneurs who have been seduced by the quick fix lead-gen marketing promises. The truth is though, for most, it’s not working.
I personally think that it’s stressful to market your business in such an aggressive way. It gets in the way of who you really are and it can seriously undermine your credibility.
Fact is, you don’t need any fancy tricks to make your business work for you. You don’t need ‘7 step proven systems and strategies‘. You need to trust yourself, take back the control within your business, and grow it the way that works for you and at a pace that works for you.
Why lead-generation marketing is not the answer for everyone
Firstly do you know what lead-generation marketing is? If no, it is a very specific, formulaic way of marketing your business. At its very essence, lead-gen marketing is designed to make the process of marketing your business more reliable, more supportive, more of a guarantee.
You may be familiar with marketing tactics (which is the same as Lead-Generation)? Squeeze pages packed with testimonials, early signing bonuses and £££ value. Hooks, catchy headlines, tripwires and heavy calls to action to gain maximum engagement.
‘How to make six figures in 6 Simple steps!’ or ‘Seven secrets to XY and Z’ plus so many free online training and downloads that you feel like you are swimming in it all!
You’ll have seen the call to actions on innumerable websites ‘sign me up‘, ‘take me there‘, ‘yes please‘ and the cheesy ‘save my seat‘. You’ll have seen the same structure on the homepages. The questions, the aggressive use of language and the emphasis on pain points.
You need to ask yourself how this makes you feel and if not great then you know now that this is not a strategy for your business and personal brand.
This approach is nothing new
It has been part and parcel of marketing since I started working in the role nearly 20 years ago. And as mentioned before, I personally experimented with it in my business at the beginning (and hated it), so I have seen both sides of the story.
From my experience; It feels aggressive, attracts the wrong sorts of clients and makes me feel uneasy, out of control of my business direction and quite lost as a result. You may not feel the same, and that’s OK, but the clients and colleagues that I’ve spoken to have felt thoroughly uncomfortable by using this approach.
So if that is you, what should YOU to do differently, If not lead-gen, to grow your business?
Stepping away from the lead-gen safety net can be frightening. It requires you to put your focus back on you (eek) and your business (yup) and distinguish precisely what it is that makes your business brilliant. I mean, truly look at what makes you happy, where you want to take your business and who you want to be working with (v v important!).
It means trusting your instincts, believing that you and your creativity is enough and putting the focus very much back on what you do brilliantly, rather than all the fluff that we see do much of. It means slowing things right down. Taking your time to get your service or product right. It means investing in your brand, your photography, your content and creating a beautiful experience for those who find you.
It isn’t easy but the rewards are immense. The confidence, clarity and pleasure gained from marketing your business in a purposeful and intentional way that feels right for you is fantastic. A gentle approach is, in my opinion, a more sustainable and happier place to be.
I don’t have a magic formula for the alternative and it certainly doesn’t guarantee anything. BUT that’s not what it’s about.
It’s about working out what sort of business you want to run, thinking carefully about who you’d be overwhelmingly inspired to work with and simply showcasing what you do. It’s about stripping out the nonsense, taking things back to basics and letting your personality, wisdom and creativity shine.