How to Sell Creativity in 2014

bustin-outOne of the best things you can ever have in life is a friend who isn’t afraid to lay the smack down when you need it, and I’m grateful to have a few of those.

Over the last several days, during the holidays, I’ve been very contemplative over some things that were said to me by friends, namely when Misha told me that something I was working on didn’t seem to fit with my brand. It stung at first, but I got past it and found the wisdom in the words.

This brings me to today, where I’ve been thinking how I can do more to satisfy my brand, and serve you all. I have a few ideas and I want to share them with you because I think they will resonate and perhaps you can employ them into your own work regimen.

Doing What Comes Naturally

I’ve already talked about the problems I had with Creatively Published, so I won’t go into that more, but I will say that I have figured out how I’m going to handle that whole project.

When I got real with myself, what bothered me about the project, as I was trying to create it, is that it was a big, FAT membership program, but I felt as if some people might only want portions of the content instead of the buying into the whole thing. This is something I personally have felt with programs I have been involved in, and wish were done differently.

So, Creatively Published is going to become independent module instruction. You can take any of the modules you want, skip others—that way you’re only buying into the portions you need. Of course you’ll still be able to buy the whole program, but it won’t be a requirement any longer.

This will be the business model I follow for any independent training I do, at least for the time being. I know it’s not the norm for online businesses, but fuck the norm. I’m going to do what I believe best serves you, and what feels right to me.

I’ve told dozens of clients, and hundreds of readers and listeners, that sharing and teaching is the way to growing your business. This is what I believe, and I encourage you to look into taking this business model and using it for yourself. You have specialized knowledge in your skill or trade. Why not share that with others and get paid for it at the same time?

We’ll talk about this in more detail in the near future.

Walking the Walk…Again

Anyone who has sold on Etsy this year already knows that the marketplace has changed their terms of service, allowing for people to use some manufacturing process to produce their work. This has been a major point of contention with the sellers, who say that Etsy has lost their way, and now bigger entities, with larger marketing budgets, are coming in to take over.

I do believe this is putting the site in a bad light, I also believe that artists and crafters tend to look for reasons why they aren’t successful in their business, and it becomes easy to blame Etsy. They will point fingers at Etsy, other sellers, the man, or whoever else they can find, laying blame at others instead of being introspective about their business practices.

Etsy also made another change, where they allow people to sell digital products for direct download once someone purchase. For instance, I could sell copies of my book and have people get it without me having to do anything after the sale except to say thank you. I could create digital files for people to use in their shops, vector images for people to use in their imagery, or a number of other products that can be delivered digitally, and it gives me hope for new things.

I had a reasonably successful Etsy page some time ago, but decided to shut doors because, honestly, I never enjoyed the aspect of fulfilling orders. It drove me nuts, and I wasn’t inspired despite all the sales I was making. I closed the shop and found other ways to share my art. Now, because of the direct download option, I am going to jump back into the arena with new products.

Again, I’ll talk more about all the developments with Etsy in a later post, so stay tuned for that. I promise to bring the thunder in that one.

I’m Not a Businessman—I’m a Business, Man!

I’ve been thinking a lot about method and delivery lately. By that, I mean, the quality and frequency of how I deliver content to you all. In the past, I’ve been fairly loose with this, but I’ve decided to be a bit more methodical about it for a number of reasons.

Basically it goes like this: 

  • One quality blog post per week
  • One podcast episode per week
  • One email newsletter release per week

Ok, nothing earth shattering, but it is my belief that if I make these effort a constant and plan for them accordingly, their production will be easier to manage, and obviously more reliable. By keeping this schedule, I am also providing myself dedicated times for doing all the other things that need to happen like marketing, social interaction, maintenance, AND creating new work (see Etsy references above).

Of course, there will be deviations. As a matter of fact, this week you’re going to see two posts from me, so try to control your excitement as you pour over the content twice this week. Occasionally I will add new post, an extra podcast episode, or a secondary newsletter announcement, but as long as you know norm, it allows me some freedom to toss in some timely goodies now and then.

No More Stuffing Our Feet Into Another’s Shoes

Finally, I’ll be making sure that every single thing that comes from me comes with my own spin and flavor. It’s far too easy to try to fit our personalities into preformed packages because others have done it before us. I have done this myself, and whenever I do, I feel like crap afterward. There’ll be no more of that here.

We kid ourselves into thinking that because so many others do what we do that we must follow those methods toward success. In reality, it is our voice, our style, our level of taste that defines us, and it’s why people like what we do. The less time we spend in the boxes others created, the more likely we are to find success within our own tribes of fans and followers.

Here is my challenge to you. Take what you have, make it your own. Serve your products or services in a method that feels right, and do so in a way that represents who you are, start to finish.

Do not worry about the status quo. Do not worry about what changes occur in the sites that we use for sales and promotion. Etsy is a tool, Facebook is a tool, and if treat them as such, they can be used to our benefit despite changes that seem to hinder us. Do not get caught up in the semantics of who is doing what, where, and how. Instead, find out what works for you and your business, and exploit that information until you find what makes your business thrive.

There’s more to come on these topics, but now we have the primer. The framework is in place, and now we fill in the gaps with high-quality content and products, share that work around the interwebs like a happy virus.

Enough ranting. This post is done.

Time to get back to work.

[photo credit]

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Comments

  1. Awesome post! I feel like I just clicked with the content here. My own spin and flavor is what I want for myself. Great reminder to stay focused on my unique journey.

  2. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Really like your choice to sell creatively published in modules – it’s got me thinking about my own work.

    As for stuffing my feet into my own shoes — so right on Dave! I was speaking to a new design client today and as I informed her of my work process the little voice in the back of my head said, “This is probably not how ‘professionals’ work, but this process will allow me to give my 100% best to the project,” …so while I did not recognize myself as a professional in the moment (that needs to change!) I did have the guts and self-respect to honor my process, and my client ended up being totally on the same page with the future flow of things! In fact, all of my past clients have enjoyed the way I work with them. :) So, thanks for this reminder to stay true to myself.

    And, P.S. Remember to schedule time for yourself among all those other productive weekly habits you’ve got going on. ;)

  3. Super helpful and something I will be referring to as I am Re-starting my art business and looking for WHERE what when who how the heck do I fit,,do I make this work…. you are so right! ..Now I am really more aware that it is going to be a completely original plan and no cookie cutters will quite do,,, As I was looking for that perfect system and never fitting……Now?… secretly very pleased yet still a bit daunted by the task. ;) thanks for your excellent share.

    • My pleasure Judith, and you’re right, there is no one right way to do things, except to do what works for you, both in your methods and in your heart. You need to be as true to yourself as you are to the work. Keep a it.

  4. Yup. This is all of the thoughts I’ve been grappling with… rolled up into one lovely blog post. It’s time to find myself a pair of shoes that I’m in love with, close my eyes, and go for it.

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