5 Mistakes You are Making as a Creative Entrepreneur
When you're a creative entrepreneur sometimes you forget that you should be using your creativity to generate multiple streams of income!
Let’s call a spade a spade. It what it is. Being a creative entrepreneur isn’t easy.
So please oh please don't make it harder on yourself!
It’s easy to fall in love with, and easy to work hard at because your passion is there and the fulfillment is just so rewarding. But it’s not cut and dry. There is no set trajectory or linear path of steps to follow – and that can be frightening. Being classified as “creative” means your business is inherently unique. I’d rather be unique when going into a business venture because it could mean striking gold where no one else has even thought of looking, but the flip side of that is never really having a handbook to fall back on when you hit a fork in the road.
But here’s how I can help you– all of you going after creative, non-traditional dreams– in very specific terms. Let me tell you what not to do. Take a minute to go through a few of the common mistakes I have seen creative entrepreneurs make over the years. If any of these already sound like you, it’s not too late! If you’re just starting out, here’s what to look out for:
1. You’re not treating yourself like a multi-faceted business
If you secretly worry that your business idea will only ever end up as a failed hobby, that insecurity will hold you back. What else holds you back is not thinking big enough. Not recognizing how much people need and want from you. You are in demand, right? You are loved and beloved. The possibilities are infinite. So why are you still producing 1-2 products a year?
It's time to fully commit.
You have the ability to do that comes from seeing yourself as a full-fledged professional entrepreneur… and not just a woman who’s cruising along. Dive in again!
You are running a business that may become the next Apple or Snuggie or Martha Stewart. You’re not selling lemonade in your driveway for $1 a cup. Consider that when you divide up the time in your day. You have to treat yourself like an established business with many moving parts that all need attention. This is important, because achieving success is important to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about devoting time to getting your company up and running, or running smoothly. You’re not being selfish; you’re being an entrepreneur.
I repeat. You're not being selfish; you're being an entrepreneur.
2. You don’t see yourself as the expert you are
You wouldn’t start a company that you have no interest in or knowledge of. This is your thing. Your interest has led you to spend a lot of time exploring the subject because
A. You love your product/field and personally enjoy using it/immersing yourself in it
B. You had a personal problem that you’re trying to solve for yourself and others with your business idea
You are the expert, and people want to hear more from you!
They want to learn from your experiences, hear the story behind your business, and find out all about the product or service you offer. People love a good origin story, especially if you’ve come up with something truly out of the ordinary. They’ll want to know, “How did you think of that?” and you, as the captain of the whole operation, will instantly have a rapt audience. No one knows the company as well as you, which makes you the ultimate expert. Know that, and step confidently into the role.
3. You have the wrong attitude about self-promotion
Everyone around you is a potential customer, and every interaction can be a marketing opportunity. It doesn’t make you the pompous, self-centered woman that everyone else starts to avoid at parties and in the grocery store. It makes you a smart businesswoman who knows what she’s doing.
You have to be your own publicist– even if you can afford to hire a PR firm and especially if you can’t. Your genuine passion and depth of knowledge will always translate more powerfully than someone who reads off a script. You’re a marketing asset, so never be shy about what you do. You need to get your name and your company’s name out there.
To start, you want all of your established contacts to know what you’re up to: that you’ve started a business and what it does. That means updating your social media to include news clips, behind-the-scenes type videos, and a permanent link to your website– and updating often. Every post will not reach every follower, so you’re not bombarding people like you might think. People are focused on their own lives, so you have to fight a little bit to grab the spotlight for a few seconds.
But don’t stop there. Reach out to form new relationships, in real life and online. Social media grants you FREE access to millions of people, and you can take advantage even while waiting on line for a coffee. Not everyone will rush to buy your product right away, but you will be the person they think of when they are in the market later on.
4. You’re not using the data that you have right in front of you
Part of treating yourself like a multi-faceted business is investing time and money into data-tracking efforts. OR simply listening to what the others keep telling you! You need a book! You need to be on stage! Sure you may not know how to enter those fields just yet but come on! You have a wealth of people around you would love to help you out!
And if you don't know, girl, there are 1001 ways to see what "your people" are missing from you! For example maybe you’re getting a lot of likes, but how many people are actually persuaded to click on your website? What do they do once they’re on your page, and how long until they lose interest and leave? You don’t want to blindly spend money on promoted tweets or sidebar ads– you want hard numbers that indicate which type of paid advertising is being clicked on the most and focus there.
Data is the most reliable advice you’ll come across. It is proof of what has worked for other similar businesses, and pinpoints consumer needs and trends in every demographic. Stop guessing and wasting time. You know your field, industry and your company. If not - then really - take 30 minutes and start digging! The most successful and most profitable companies got that way from utilizing data.
5. You’re trying to be a one man show
Entrepreneurs make it because they have the skills and personality for business without needing to rely on a corporation, but no one makes it big completely on their own. You need someone who can help you grow your business and support you in the process. You’re an expert, but an expert in your field. You have enough on your plate without trying to take care of all aspects of your company on your own.
I know that you don’t want to pay for full time staff salaries, so hire only the most essential positions that your business requires daily to stay afloat. Leave other positions on an as-needed basis. For example, you probably don’t need a full-time IT team, even if your business is entirely online. Pay for the help you need, and don’t be afraid to acknowledge that yes, you do need it. Of the Essentials to hire are: advisors and managers to help with strategy and planning, assistants to do the time busting work, and of course the technical experts.
It is beyond fun to work with creatives who are masters of their craft. It is beyond fun for everyone involved to expand horizons, expand brand and yes, revenue streams too!
"There was so much work that needed to be done it was overwhelming. We had a hard time getting things done. Now, we have 2 courses that are selling, signed partnership agreements, will be doing a speaking tour and have a book coming out next year. It's unbelievably exciting!" - Beloved Reality Star
"We wanted to tap in to a new market and needed to know how the others were so successful. I don't understand how Ashleigh knows so much. Now we have hired designers and manufacturers, have 2 stores opening and have our website up and running. I carry Ashleigh's recommendations with me everyday." -International London-based Guru
Click here to sign up for my Make Room for Revenue 8 Step Checklist. You don't have to be 1 thing. Not at this stage. Not anymore.