I am sure as a creative entrepreneur, you started your business centred around your passion. You were super super cool at doing something and you decided to go the way of being your own boss! Of course, it is an amazing feeling, I have been there! :) But have you been doing that for sometime and reaching a point where you feel it’s not going as planned? Or you feel every time you quote your price, people say oh! It’s too high! Or are you feeling that you are doing a job and not enjoying your your work, inspite of being in your own business!?
Well, you know what! I have been in that spot too! And it took me a while to figure out what was going wrong. It was a mix of mindset fixing, changing my brand and tightening business stuff that worked. I am sharing these to help you figure out which of these could be a missing piece for you and perhaps try to fix it.
I will start by saying that at a most basic level, you have to understand that while you might be great at your craft and what you do, running a business does require the mindset of an entrepreneur and you as a business owner will have to look at it beyond just what you make or do. You have to take a step back and take a 360 degrees view at it. You have to start thinking like a leader whose job is to make the business work and not just do your thing.
If you are a reader, I highly recommend that you read the book, The E-Myth, by Michael E. Gerber to help you get going.
Other than this, you have to also think about your brand a little differently than you must have always been doing. These were the understandings that helped me moved forward and bridge the gap from where I was to where I wanted to be.
1. Stop thinking that branding is not for you
I have been guilty of this myself, till I got more deeper clarity about branding and as they say a doctor takes his medicine the last, I took a while to apply it to my business! I can only wish I did it much sooner. The basic problem I feel is that thinking of branding is something for the fancy world. However, at a basic level, branding just helps understand customers better, helps you differentiate and attract better customers and perhaps even charge more. I call branding really like therapy! It makes you more aware of your own strengths, about your goals, not just for business but for life as a whole. After all, your business is likely to be an integral part of your life and I am sure we cannot totally treat it as a separate from your life goals and your personality! So knowing how to make it all work for the best well in advance is surely a help and branding helps you get some clarity in there! So if you haven’t thought about your brand so deeply yet, I highly recommend you ponder over it.
2. You picked up designs from thin air
It's been so common. When you start a business, you don't think too much about your brand. The visual side of your offerings is either done as per what 'looks nice' or what is 'easily available design'. However, think about this, all your identities, be your brand name, logo, business card, website, social media are really the first impression of yours for your customer. Don't you think it should be strategically planned? It would be wise to think about your logo as not what you like, but what will work for your business or what your customer will like. So if the design of your brand is not casting the right impression on your customers, it is leaving them confused or in their subconscious mind, if they are getting the feeling that your business is not ‘worth it’, it is highly likely that you will stay frustrated with people always holding you up on your price!
3. Being like competitors
Isn't it strange! You always tried to be just like them, and after the bubble bursts we talk about, Hey! there is too much competition in the space, I can't stand out! Well, ever think about being confident in your own skin and totally embracing it?
4. Being everything to everyone
At the initial stage, business really feels about just getting the money in. However, to stay in the game in the long-run, it is rather important to stay focussed. If you just try to get anything that comes your way, then you become just a service/product provider. There is nothing exclusive about it. There is no compelling force that will make people come to you. Think about this, a general restaurant with multi-cuisine food is likely to be a quick, easy on pocket option. But a fine-dine serving exclusive cuisine and even just 4-5 dishes might be able to attract lesser people, but at a much higher value. Why? Because they have managed to become exclusive and comfortable being not for all, but the best for some! So think about it, can you become an expert at something. Can you think of being exclusive?
5. Not being consistent
Of course, there are hit and trials in the beginning. But jumping horses too much, too often is not the best thing for any business. Consistency of messages, going to your customers for a long time builds trust. Have you been consistent with how you have build your brand? It may sound strange that I ask you this, but we get so involved into doing your stuff that yes, sometimes you need an external force to ask you all this. And if you are getting some answers or feel a bell ringing, you should be happy that you can at least go ahead and fix it, instead of suffering in your business!
6. Selling a product, not a story
Humans are irrational beings and take irrational decisions. Well, let's accept it, we are all like that! But for marketeers and businessman, this is a thing to play on. Let your business tell a story, let your customers fall in love with your brand, so that the bond always draws them to you and you become more than just a commodity for them!
So I would suggest that you pause and think about all of these. Think about what you want to do and what do you feel has gone missing and taken away the joy from your business. I totally understand the feeling that happens when you need to run your business but its taking away all your joy. Remember! You started all this with so much passion and dreams, so allow yourself to achieve them. And yes, it really is possible. Just take small steps and most importantly be prepared to grow! I do not say it comes in easy, but if you can’t allow your mind to even think about it, how will it even happen…
Hope this helps you! If you are looking for more help, I am happy to be your mentor. You could know more about how can I help you here.