Running a business is not easy. Whether you are offering online services and programmes, or you are a photographer or designer looking for clients, the competition is fierce, and it is not easy to constantly be seen by your ideal audience. Some days you wonder whether it is all worth it! I go through these wobbles too at times, like every self-employed person. I love my work, and I feel very driven to help other entrepreneurs succeed. But building a business takes time, practice and patience, and when you are a parent as well, life is full on. Today I am going to talk about the importance of doing the inner work.
What are core values anyway? Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or business. These guiding principles have an influence on how you live your life, how you behave in certain circumstances, and how you do business. Core values also help entrepreneurs to determine if they are on the right path and fulfilling their goals. Core values keep you straight. In this post I will explain a bit about the importance of knowing your values and how sharing those in your marketing can help you attract your ideal client.
What would you call yourself? An entrepreneur or a small business owner? We often intersperse these two terms because most people don’t give it much thought and feel they are more or less the same thing. But more often than not, we feel the term ‘entrepreneur’ sounds too posh, too much, too pretentious. So we stick with ‘small business owner’. Feels safe, right? But there really is a difference, and creativity is at the core of it. I tell you why you should start calling yourself an entrepreneur from now on, and feel good about it.
I can safely say that now I am in my 40s I am a lot more confident than I was in my 20s. But I do remember some of the bosses I used to have, when I was a young girl. You probably all have examples of those types: authoritarian, snobbish, with terrible social skills, and just making you feel like shit. It’s funny how, when you least expect it, they can suddenly pop up again in your memory years later. Here’s a story that popped into my head last weekend, out of the blue.
Not long ago I thought that business coaches were for people who run, like, ‘proper’ businesses. Not like me. You know, little old me, who used to work from the spare bedroom, being a creative, and trying to make ends meet. Business coaches, I didn’t even have a clear idea of what they did. I imagined that they’d be talking about stuff like sales projections, the budgets of the company, the targets, whatever, blablabla. Not for me, anyway. But now I am a coach myself. And you know what? It’s not like that at all. I am just like you.
Has anyone ever told you that “you’ll never earn money like that”, or “it’s better to find a ‘proper’ job”? I’ve been on the receiving end of such comments multiple times! I chose to study Art History at uni. I remember the laughs and sniggers of classmates (who all chose business economics) and even eyebrow raises by family or friends of the family, asking whether there was any work in that. Basically, they all thought I was stupid to pick a subject that was destined to lead me to poverty. Does this sound familiar?
What a year it’s been. What a journey we’ve all been on. What has been the best thing that’s happened to you or your business since the lockdowns started 12 months ago? I talk to so many friends, peers and clients, and it seems that 2020’s shit show turned out to be a game changer for many. We were faced with a crisis, and we turned it around. At least, many of us did. Did you? My income plummeted in spring 2020. I lost 50% of my clients. I felt deflated. Anxious. Hopeless. I started getting stressed out about being able to pay for my monthly outgoings.
Most people who have a creative business are finding marketing hard. So unless you are already a complete wizard at Instagram and have built up an army of followers, you are probably feeling slightly overwhelmed. You are not alone. The problem is, in most cases, artists, makers and designers are focusing too much about how to promote their product. But instead, why not focus on the client? Here are five top tips.