Maybe you’ve decided to finally build a side hustle out of your photography skills, or come up with a concept for a jewelry collection you know people like you will love, or you’ve decided to stick it to the man and strike out on your own as a freelancer, armed with your unique set of design skills. Now that you have an idea for a business, you start to think about everything that is involved in getting it online. Commence head spinning, right?
When we get a spark for a creative business idea, we get so feverishly excited to jump in and start making the thing, designing the logo, and thinking about how the website will look.
Instead of getting caught up in designing your brand, setting up your website and figuring out what the hell to post on social media (and how much, and when?), take some time, and do a bit of soul-searching to decide the PURPOSE behind your business. This is what will set you apart from everyone else that is striving to be successful doing what you do.
A good foundation for a creative business starts by looking within, not outward at what has already been done. Let’s focus on finding your core values, learning about who you want to sell to, and nailing down how you will infuse that into a one-of-a-kind customer experience!
Find your Purpose
This is the most intense, and most important part of any business venture: creating your mission statement. Find a quiet space, arm yourself with you favorite journal or sketchbook, and freely write the answers to the following prompts:
How are you similar to the customers/clients you want to serve, and how will this business help you relate to them?
What makes you passionate about what you will create for others? Try to put to words that feeling in your gut when you know you are on to something special. Why do you want to do this?
What core values brought you to want to create with this type of business?
What problem is your business going to solve for people?
Take your answers and write a definitive Mission Statement for your business that highlights your core values, and what you hope to achieve by starting this business. Keep this handy so you can refer back to it often!
Who will you create for?
Determining who you will be selling to (i.e. your ideal customers or target market) is the next step in creating a solid foundation for your business. Spending time with the people you want to create for and sell to will save you loads of time with trial and error, and keep your message from sounding too watered down and vague. Use this article to find your niche audience, and do some research to learn about their needs and struggles. This way, you’ll be armed with numerous ways that you can be the answer they’ve been looking for.
How will you sell?
Taking the time to formulate how you will sell your products or services and what makes them valuable is how you will set yourself up for success from the beginning. Too often we see creatives that rush into throwing up a logo and a website, without much thought about the experience or process they are creating for their potential customers.
Give some thought to how your ideal customers will buy from you. How will you structure the buying experience to make it seamless for both of you?
For a service-based business
If you offer a service like photography, design or illustration, how will you package and sell this service? Think about the process you will take clients through, and write each step out, describing what they can expect along the way. This exercise helps you get an outline for your own benefit, but will also go on your website later to help inform prospective clients what it’s like to work with you.
Other questions to ask yourself:
How will you price your packages?
How will you accept payment?
What will your intake process look like? Will they fill out a form on your site or just get in touch with you first?
For a product-based business
If you make and sell products, is there a clear story you want to tell with them? Have you edited your presentation of them to include only the products that represent your best work?
Make a list of the products you will sell, even if they are just ideas at this point. You can turn this into a full-fledged to-do list with my Project Visualization Planner.
Other questions to ask yourself:
How can you add extra value or surprise them? Packaging? Free gifts? Stellar communication from a real human?
How can you test your product to get feedback and make changes?
How will you accept payment? How will you make the customer service experience a positive one?
Defining the framework of your business will not only impress your clients, but it will streamline your workflow, making the act of actually doing business flow so much easier!
This post is a sample from my free email course, Your Creative Business, Up & Running. If you are an entrepreneur that needs to go from creative idea to online presence in a calm and focused way, this is for you.