Solo entrepreneurs are not companies. Stop over-complicating things

As a creative business coach I am on a mission to keep business and marketing simple

As a business coach I work with creative entrepreneurs and small businesses, to help them get more clients. Most of them have one thing in common: fear. Fear of becoming visible through marketing and getting judged for it, fear of starting, fear of failing – but also fear of tech and being a business in itself. They over-complicate things in their head, start feeling overwhelmed, and then they freeze. They think they need to have it all 100% sorted, or else they can’t call themselves a business. They look at peers and competitors, and believe that everyone else has it all well organised and they are in a mess. So they procrastinate, panic, or even give up. Is that you? Today I am telling you to chill out, and listen. It ain’t that hard, really!

Just because you have started your own business, and you call yourself a business owner, does not mean you have to think in corporate, business-y terms.

Some of my clients come to me asking for help with a business plan. “A business plan?” I ask. “What on earth do you need a business plan for?” Unless you are applying for a bank loan, the only thing a business plan is good for, is the bottom drawer. Nobody looks at it ever again.

A marketing plan, now, that is a different thing. You will need a marketing strategy to find clients and make sales. Not a business plan. This is what I mean by creative entrepreneurs over-complicating their lives, and creating chaos in their minds. If you feel you have to write a business plan before you even start trading, it may be another two years before you even get your first client. No need. Relax. Just start focusing on the actions.

You are not a big company. You are a small business. Perhaps a freelancer. Perhaps a creative studio with a small team. You can keep it simple. Promise. Outsource your accounts, for sure, but the rest should be pretty straight-forward. Simple does it.

coaching for creative professionals

What does a small business need to start up?

So what do you need, then? You need clarity and goals. Know what you want to achieve, and by when. If you know that, then you can create a strategy. How will you get where you want to be? By the way, even the word ‘strategy’ scares a lot of people. Stop using that word in that case. Strategy is just a big word for a plan.

Have you ever planned a holiday a few months in advance? Did you manage OK? Then you can also make a plan to reach your business goals. Nothing difficult. Just use common sense. You’re smart enough.

Decide where you want your business to be in 12 months, and then walk back in time. What steps do you need to take each month or week to reach those milestones? If you want to earn, say, 3k / month (or whatever is your ideal income) by this time next year, how does that translate in terms of sales? What do you need to sell each month to earn that? How many clients will you need? How will you find those additional clients? Break it down into small chunks, and you will start seeing the wood from the trees.

Photo by Alex Smith on

The key ingredients to a successful small business

Have it clear in your mind what you are offering, to whom you are offering this, and what your message is to your ideal clients. Clarity! You need to have those key ingredients absolutely clear. Once you know what you are selling, and who your ideal client is, you can tailor your message, and all your marketing activity will be so much easier. Whether it is Instagram posts, videos, email marketing, or blog posts, it all flows so much better if you know where you are heading with it. As a creative business coach and mentor, I help my clients with all of this in my coaching programs.

No more randomly shooting from the hip, but targeted communication. Your dream client will be able to recognise themselves instantly in your offer if you know how to tap into their problem, pain point, or emotions. Your job to find out what these are.

So no, you don’t need a business plan, excel sheets full of sales targets, nor pages full of complicated strategies. Running a business should be fun, joyful, and simple. You have a product, you need to find a buyer who needs that product. Know where the client hangs out on social media, try and get them on your email list, or sort out your SEO so they find you organically (eek, another scary thing? No, also pretty easy to sort out! Read this blog post about SEO).

Oh, and don’t forget to talk to your real-life network. As in real people, off-screen. Very useful, and you can’t beat some good old fashioned marketing by face-to-face networking. The more people know about your business, the more chances you have to get clients. Go for it. And remember; you are a brave go-getter already! You’ve got this.

Work with me

creative business mentor coach

If you want to work with me 1-to-1, I offer coaching programs for creatives and other small businesses.

Book a free call to find out more about my 1-to-1 coaching programs.

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