If you’re buried under the overwhelm of starting your own creative business, you’re not alone! Being an entrepreneur of any kind is a major undertaking and it’s scary. I’m sorry I can’t tell you it’s simple, but what I can tell you is that it’s worth it. And hey…heading into the 9-5 that has you counting down the years, months, and days until retirement isn’t easy either.
To help you get after your creative entrepreneurial calling, I’ve pulled together a few tips in the form of questions to help you build an enticing product or service that sells.
What are the specifics of your product or service?
In other words, what are you selling? Pour yourself an overflowing glass of creative juices at this stage because you want to brainstorm all the mind-blowing details of what you’re about to bring to market. No idea is off-limits at this point, so don’t shackle yourself to what you perceive as possible. Open the floodgates and record every idea you have!
This activity must be done when you are free of judgment and inspired by your business idea. And it doesn’t need to happen all at once. Carry a notebook, have an ongoing open email to yourself, or create voice notes on your phone. Whatever you need to do to capture your ideas before they become a fleeting memory, do it. Because these ideas are what make you unique, and could just be the start of the next big thing. Don’t lose them because you think they’re too big, too silly, or too far-fetched. And definitely don’t lose them because you forget to write them down.
Is there a need for your product or service?
You know there is a need because if there wasn’t you wouldn’t be dreaming about it. Find the gap and fill it. Figure out what problem your product or service is solving and share the excitement with everyone you meet that you’re going to be the one to solve this hurdle for them!
Who else is already out there serving the clients you want to be serving?
If there are competitors, that doesn’t mean the market is saturated. It means there is a market for what they are selling. This means there’s room for you too! Get to work and create something that claims the market share you deserve by bringing something fresh and new from what is already out there. Don’t be discouraged by competitors. Find what their business model, product, or service is missing and capitalize on it.
Who are your people and what do they want?
As the old adage goes, if you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll be nothing to them all (or something like that). Figure out who you want to work with and target them specifically. There’s nothing worse than having a full roster of clients or customers you don’t want to work with. Finding your ‘right’ people matters so show them you’re the answer. Be specific about who you’re marketing to and meet them where they are.
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Where do they hang out?
- What do they do for work…for play…?
- Why do they want or need your product or service?
Really get to know your customer and what their needs are. Then, talk directly to them in their own language while being authentic to who you are. Odds are, their words and your voice are complementary anyway since these are the people you’ve consciously chosen to target and serve.
As for the ones that are turned off by what you’re selling, don’t worry…they’re not your people. Move on.
What is your superpower?
We all have one. Find yours and blast it out. Scream it from the rooftops and wallpaper the city with promotional posters. It’s time to differentiate yourself and tell people why they want to work with you specifically. This is not the time to be modest, and with what you have to offer, why would you want to be?
Do you take credit or debit? Because people want to give you their money.
Putting a price tag on your personal creation is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do. But when you bring value, people want to pay you for it. Do some market research on what the going rate is for similar products or services and compare their offering to your own.
Consider some of the differentiating factors that come into play such as the cost of materials, your ability to fulfill the value proposition based on what your ideal customer is generally looking for, or tailored products and services targeting a specific niche market or need.
Pricing is nuanced and will shift based on market supply and demand, so it’s important to be clear on the value your product or service is offering and reinforce it with a price that can be anchored against existing competitors in the market.
Regardless if you develop a high-ticket luxury product or service, or offer a more accessible affordable business model, you want to make sure your business is oozing with value for your people…you know, the ones you choose to attract (see above ?). When the value and benefit you bring outweigh the cost for your customer, you’ll be hearing yes before you even quote the price.
Remember, it takes work and it won’t happen overnight. Exercise your unique creative intellect, be consistent with your efforts, and apply a little elbow grease to create traction in your market.
And finally, don’t give up on your goals because they seem hard. What you went through to get here was hard. Working a job that didn’t meet you where you were mentally, emotionally, creatively, or intellectually was hard. Going back to that will be HARD. Keep going.