Many of you have been subscribed to my “extremely occasional” newsletter for a long time. Thank you! And, many of you are new, as I have had an large influx of recent subscribers. After far too long of a delay, I have decided to finally start sharing regular emails to this group (although I promise not to inundate you and I promise to make them valuable).
Future emails will include:
* Questions and answers: I receive so many questions from so many creatives. Many of the questions are shared by countless other people and I will share answers in these emails.
* New content: I have plans for some new content types, more written content, and a lot more FREE video lessons that I will share through to this email community.
* Special offers and new releases: These types of shares will likely include content from me and from other things that I think will be valuable to you. Again, I vow to never be overly salesy and never to share anything that I don’t think will be of great value to you.
So, without further ado, here are a few things for this week…
NEW YOUTUBE VIDEOS
I am starting a new series of content based on the style I used for my new freelance course. In these videos, I will walk you through some mini-lessons that will help you improve your creative career. Here is the first of this series of videos and I have a lot more of them planned. Hope you like it!
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
I recently did a QA session for the newsletter of my Biz Buddy, Tom Ross. The questions were great and this week, I would like to share them with my group. Hope you find some juicy nuggets that can help you in your business!
C Vandenberg Asked:
“My business involves providing wall art (photography and digital art) for use in homes, office buildings, hotels, resorts, visitor centers, lobbies/reception areas, guest houses, restaurants, retail stores, conference rooms, hospitals, commercial buildings, other public spaces, etc. My target audience consists of real estate agents (commercial and non-commercial), home stagers, and the departments in commercial buildings that handle their interior design. What is the best way to find the person and/or the department in a commercial entity (such as hotels and offices) that handle their interior design (new or remodel)? And what is the best way to approach any of them?”
Super fun niche! Congrats! Business is about relationships. People to people. I can tell that you understand that. Congrats on that too. I would start with LinkedIn. In fact, I just did a quick search on LinkedIn for “Hotel Interior Design.” The search yielded 113,000 people results and 69 group results. Let’s look at groups first, then people. The very first group “Hotel Interior Design” has 334 members. Undoubtedly, all of them are either your potential clients or your competitors…or both. It will benefit your business to know as many of them as you can and to be active in the group.
1. Join the group.
2. Begin commenting on posts from others in an encouraging and supportive way.
3. After you have made a few comments, begin inviting some of the members you’ve interacted with to connect on LinkedIn and send them a personal message like this… “I just joined the Hotel Interior Design group and have seen your posts. Thanks for being active in the group! My business provides wall art for hotels and other buildings and I’m hoping to connect with as many people in the industry as I can. Not trying to sell anything…just hoping to connect and build relationships in the industry. Hope you are doing well!”
4. When/if they reply, go to their profile and find something interesting to say back to them… “Thanks for replying! I saw that you did interior design for XXXXX company. Congrats! That’s a great client! I’m sure you’re awesome at what you do!”
5. Begin building a relationship like this over time. Don’t be needy. Don’t be salesy. Let the relationship build and sales opportunities will come out of the relationship.
“As a small 2-person design studio with the owner/founder currently still in the trenches (doing everything), other person is a senior designer, what’s the best way to move away from the feast or famine / month-to-month and genuinely grow a meaningful design business?”
Thanks for your question, Pete. Congrats on your growing agency. Growing pains are natural at the start, no doubt. Feast or famine is super common in creative business. Here are a few tips…
1. Start viewing your business on a quarterly basis, not monthly. Does this quarter (3 month) have enough revenue to cover our business profitably? Looking at numbers month by month usually shows a much more dramatic roller coaster than quarterly.
2. Sell every day, without exception. Every day, no matter what, you do something that relates to sales. You might send an email to an old client one day. Sales. Check. The next day you might go to a networking event and meet some new people. Sales. Check. The next day you might send an email blast to your customer base. Sales. Check. Every day…something for sales. A lot of the feast and famine is self imposed because when we are busy (feasting) we stop finding new opportunities. Then all of a sudden we don’t have work (famine) and we start to panic sell. That creates feast, then we stop selling. Then the cycle repeats.
3. Start looking at ways to engage your client in ongoing monthly agreements. If you do brand identity design, start selling monthly ongoing brand management packages to your clients. If you do web design, start selling monthly web maintenance packages. If you do print design, consider adding some ongoing marketing services to your offering. Those monthly packages can give you some residual income and flatten the financial roller coaster.
Katy Austin Asked:
“I was wondering how you approach networking, either in person or online? Sometimes I find it really hard push all my shyness to the back of my mind. Any tips??”
I was shy by nature while growing up. I still have to battle it when I am at big events. In fact, those kind of become an out of body experience for me. I start to channel outgoing people that I admire. Walk into the room…and fight the shyness and pretend I’m an admired extrovert for a few minutes to start some conversations.
It helps to know that ALMOST ALL the other people at those types of events feel the same as you. Networking can be awkward. But it is so uncommon that the anyone ever says, “Wow that person was too outgoing.” In fact, they more likely say, “Wow, I really like that person. I’m so glad they talked to me cuz I was too shy to start talking to them.”
Malka Klein Asked:
“I’d love to know how to work my way toward taking less projects and making more money. What’s the best approach to doing less and making more? ( I don’t think I’m ready to outsource yet…) I’m tempted to take everything half decent that comes my way because as a freelancer I’m nervous to wait around for the higher priced gigs. But then I’m overloaded and when the big projects do come the smaller ones fall to the wayside and are late. ?”
“NEED” makes us weak in business. If you are nervous about losing a job because you “NEED” the money, then it will inhibit your ability to charge more and RISK losing a project or client. How do you get past this? Reduce your “NEED.” Save money and/or increase demand for your services.
Saved money will empower you to not care if you price out a client, because you have money in the bank…less “NEED.”
Increased demand will empower you to not care if you price out a client because you have lots of other opportunities…less “NEED.”
When you reduce your “NEED” you can start increasing prices and regain control over your business. This will allow you to do less projects at higher prices and make the same (or more) money than you make right now.
Thank you for subscribing and supporting me. I appreciate this great community global creatives so, so much!