Resources To Help You Understand Your Ideal Customer

“Know thyself” is one of the most important pieces of advice for artrepreneurs who are starting to build their creative business and brand. But advice I think is just as important — “Know thy customer.”

Photo by Zane Aveton

“Know thyself” is one of the most important pieces of advice for artrepreneurs who are starting to build their creative business and brand. But advice I think is just as important — “Know thy customer.” Your customer is the heart of your business and the one who will recognize and pay for your value. So, it’s time to learn about thy customers!

Before starting your research, jot down some ideas or hypotheses you might have about who your ideal customer is. Include demographics (age, gender, location, family size, etc.) and psychographics (interests, hobbies, buying preferences, etc.). These hypotheses will help guide your research.

So where can you go to research your potential customers?

Census data

The United States Census Bureau has tons of demographic information that can be crucial for your research. Want to market to individuals who make over a certain amount of money? This data source can tell you which zip codes have the most of this type of consumers. Want to market to families? This data source can tell you about households that report having kids. There’s a lot of information here, so just take some time to browse around and make sure to copy and paste information helpful information into your own research document.

Free services from America’s SBDC

I might be a bit biased here, considering that I work for the organization, but the nationwide Small Business Development Center is such an amazing, free resource. Not only can you work with counselors on every aspects of your business, but some centers also help with research work. For example, in my office at the Nevada SBDC in Reno, we have access to databases that provide us specialized, in-depth information that could be crucial for developing your business model. We receive access to reports from hundreds of databases that provide information that would normally costs a pretty penny to obtain. There are SBDCs all around the country, so visit this page to find one near you!

Free market reports

Mintel is a highly respected data source that provides research on all kinds of markets and people. Single reports can cost up to $5,000, but Mintel offers some reports for free. Check out this page to see if they have free information that might be helpful for you. For example, Mintel is currently featuring two free reports titled GLOBAL BEAUTY AND PERSONAL CARE TRENDS and THE AUSTRALIAN CONSCIOUS CONSUMER. These titles might seem quite specific, but if you’re targeting these particular industries or markets, these reports could be a huge win for you. There are more reports and resources, so go check it out for yourself!

You can also use sites like Quora to get a better idea of trending topics and opinions of those who you think are your target market. This kind of research is less structured and takes a bit more digging, but can be helpful nonetheless.

Surveys

If you have an idea about who your target market is and want to learn more about their preferences, surveys are a good way to collect that information. Of course, you have to actually get your survey to your potential customers, so think about how you are able to reach them. SurveyMonkey is a popular service that can be used to deliver surveys, along with Google Forms (which is free!).

If your survey is going out to people you do not know the age, gender, location, etc. of, it can be helpful to collect this information as part of the survey. You want to make sure you understand the demographics of your potential target market. Other important questions to ask might be: “How do you access ____?” or “How much would you pay for ____? or even “When do you think about/buy ____?” Try using scales and multiple choice options to get more clear and concise answers. The goal of this survey should be to understand the habits and preferences of your customers. From this exercise, you want to learn how and when to reach them.

Google’s Consumer Barometer

Google provides some free resources that can help you understand your ideal customer, such as the Consumer Barometer. This tool helps you learn about how your potential target market behaves online. Understanding how your potential customers use the internet is critical for tailoring your marketing strategies and business model around their habits and preferences.


Once you feel like you have a good grasp on who your potential target markets might be, consider creating a customer profile for each type of person you want to market/sell to. An example might look like this:

Tonya: Tonya is a stay at home mom who is apart of a household that makes over $100K per year. Her average age is 38 years old. She loves fashion and is drawn to exclusive purchases. She likes to show off her purchases to friends and family. She loves her kids and even spoils them. She exercises often and engages in repeated purchases. Once she finds a brand she likes, she sticks with it. She is very active on Pinterest and Facebook, but doesn’t seem to bother with other social media platforms. She acts as the decision maker in her house when it comes to travel decisions, household products, and purchases for the kids. She likes to online shop, but often engages in weekend shopping trips with friends.

As a mural creator, Tonya might be a great target customer for you. Knowing as much as you can about her helps you to understand where to reach her and how to express your value to her in a way that will convince her to buy.


Do some research of your own and then try creating a customer profile for your potential customer type(s)!

NOTE: Some businesses might have multiple target markets. For example, as a mural creator, you might offer high-end home murals to well-off families and fun, funky murals to small businesses. Learn about each and understand how your value and marketing shifts between them.

Research might not be your favorite, but try challenging yourself to find new ways to understand your potential customers. The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to communicate and work with them. You’ve got this!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to make your artrepreneurial journey easier!

3 Misperceptions About Entrepreneurship That Every Artrepreneur Needs to Consider

How many times have you heard the phrase: “I want to be my own boss,” and thought, “Yup, that sounds pretty great!”?

Here at Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet, I’m dedicated to sharing straight-to-the-point information that’s critical for any artrepreneur’s success. That’s why I think it’s important to discuss 3 of the most common misperceptions about the entrepreneurial world.

Photo by Tim Sao Koo

No bosses

How many times have you heard the phrase: “I want to be my own boss,” and thought, “Yup, that sounds pretty great!”? I’m betting lots. Me too. But what I’ve learned in my time counseling entrepreneurs and small business owners at the Nevada Small Business Development Center is that even as a business owner, you will have a boss–the customer. As an entrepreneur, you work for your paying customers and clients. Might sound cheesy, but it’s true. You have to keep the customer happy, because without them, you don’t have a job. Their preferences will decide a lot of what you do, so be ready to work your hardest for them.

Even further than that, when companies become large enough to “go public,” shareholders and board members become the boss, and CEOs must still report to someone. So if being boss-less is your goal, entrepreneurship only gets you so far. My suggestion is to remove this hope from your mind and focus on how you can be the best employee in your company. After all, you are the first employee of your own creative business!

More vacations, Less daily work

Social media and word-of-mouth have somehow engrained in the public the idea that entrepreneurs enjoy a 4-day work week and take vacations whenever they want. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, especially in the first few years of starting your own business. In fact, most micro-business owners are working an average of 52 hours a week, and Gallup found that 39% of owners work over 60 hours a week. Even further, many millionaire entrepreneurs suggest working 12-16 hours a day in the first few years of building your business.

Obviously, it’s up to the entrepreneur how much they can, and want to work. But most who are successful choose to work at least the typical 40 hours a week that many people think entrepreneurship will help them to escape. If you’re looking to work less, consider designing a lifestyle company that can provide you enough income to cover your expenses, without guaranteeing potential growth. If you’re looking to become the next big name entrepreneur, work on developing a growth company business model that is scalable, and be ready to work hard to grow it!

Entrepreneurs are millionaires

Due to the popularity of a few well-known entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, some people assume that all entrepreneurs are rich. What isn’t so popular is the fact that most entrepreneurs are small business owners, and don’t actually make millions of dollars every year (99% of business are small businesses!). In fact, Sokanu claims that entrepreneur salaries usually range from $10,400 to $129,200. And according to Fox Business, the average is around $68,000 a year. Obviously, the range of entrepreneur salaries is broad–some become millionaires, but some go bankrupt.

This is why it’s important to create a killer business model before embarking on your artrepreneurial journey, and to truly understand whether you are trying to build a lifestyle company or a growth company. Keeping your expectations realistic can help you build the creative business you dream of.

NOTE: I don’t say any of this to discourage you. But I do want you to have a realistic perception of entrepreneurship before deciding to embark on your own artrepreneurial journey. Being an entrepreneur, especially an artrepreneur, is not easy. But for the right people, it can be the perfect fit. Let your WHY drive you, and follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get more straight-up information that will help you along your artrepreneurial journey!

Peace, Kayla

How To Keep Your Creative Spark During the Coronavirus

Coronavirus got you stuck at home? Stay productive and feed your creative flame!

When you’re stuck at home, it’s easy to get stuck watching TV and your favorite movies–twice. Here’s some advice on how to stay productive and feed your creative flame!

Make a list of creative projects you need to finish or want to start.

Giving yourself a written list of things to do can help you choose them over that pesky television. Sometimes having multiple tasks and projects to choose from gives you the push you need to work on your art!

Read or watch something that will inspire you to work on your own art.

If you’re going to lounge on the couch and watch or read something, choose a selection that will inspire you! For example, I (re)watched Inception, my favorite Christopher Nolan film, and suddenly remembered why my current film project is so important to me! Sometimes we need to see other people’s awesome work in order to re-ignite the motivation to work on our own.

Do a random project in your house.

Right now, you might have the opportunity to do a fun, small project that you otherwise might be too busy to take on! If you’re stressed with your larger projects, do something easy to help keep your creativity flowing! This is the opportunity you’ve been looking for to do a project for fun–not for work, for a client, or with any expectations.

Sit down and really work on your creative business.

One of the hardest things about being an artrepreneur is that you are often working on your business in your limited downtime. While you’re stuck at home, you’ve been given extra downtime to dedicate to building your art-based business! Pour yourself a cup of tea, make yourself a work space, and start working through your art-based business model!

Do something creative with those who are stuck with you!

Maybe you’re stuck in the house with your kids or significant other. Great! Pull them off the couch and tell them its time to start creating! You’ll be surprised how much creativity grows when you brainstorm and work together.

Whatever you end up doing, make sure to keep creativity, fun, and inspiration at the forefront of your activities. Coronavirus got you down? Feed your creative spark and stay motivated on your artrepreneurial journey!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artpreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship meet to feed your creative flame and continue building your very own art-based business.

The Easiest Way to Create a Killer Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch should help you clearly and concisely state your value — here’s an easy way to create one.

The elevator pitch. It’s mystified and old school… so what’s its real purpose? It’s all about being able to clearly and concisely state your value to potential customers, partners, and/or funders. It’s about sharing your value in a way that leaves people wanting more. There’s all kinds of advice out there on creating elevator pitches, but I want to share with you an easier way to develop your perfect pitch. 

NOTE: Your pitch shouldn’t actually sound like a pitch at all. Instead, it should sound like you clearly and passionately understand the value you bring to others. 

Today I attended the International Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium and learned a new, easy approach to the dreaded elevator pitch from two amazing marketing wizards, Kay and Shi! Here’s a basic version of the super helpful template they shared: 

When TARGET CUSTOMERS want/need THIS THING, I help provide them a solution by DOING THIS.

Before creating your own elevator pitch, I hope you’ve worked through your value and messaging. If not, please revisit this article

Here’s the elevator pitch I created for myself during the Symposium

When creatives and artists want to become entrepreneurs, I help them by sharing helpful and straight-to-the-point information about how to build their brands and business models.

Here’s why I LOVE this template: It’s one sentence! Two tops. This makes your elevator pitch easy to create and natural in conversation. Ever tried developing a pitch that sounds too much like a pitch? Or one that seems impossible to remember? Me too. This strategy will solve those problems and help you feel confident about sharing your value with anyone who asks!

Try developing your own quick and easy elevator pitch and comment what you come up with below!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Here are some more examples to get you started:

When business owners need help growing, I help them by creating tailored video content they can use to share their brands and reach new customers.

When authors and publishers need to make their work stand out on the shelves, I help them by creating eye-catching covers and graphics that perfectly capture their stories.

When restaurant-owners need the perfect atmosphere for their new locations, I help them by creating murals that transport and entertain their customers.

Your turn. Let’s see what you’ve got!

One-page Business Plan for the Creative Entrepreneur

We’re going to go through an easy-to-complete one page plan that will help you strategize for your future creative endeavor!

By now, you’ve already decided that it’s time to start your own creative business. If you have a good understanding of your value, message, brand, and available resources, it’s time to get into your first business plan. Don’t worry! We’re going to go through an easy-to-complete one page plan that will help you strategize for your future creative endeavor!

Remember: This one page “plan” is meant to help you develop a business model around your art. A business model is a strategic plan for how your business will operate, and is based around what we discussed in the last blog. (Make sure to revisit this page if you’re not totally clear on your value, message, brand, and available resources.)

I’m going to present you with 8 questions on which your business model relies. Try to answer confidently and succinctly. Your compiled answers will create your first strategic business plan!

Based on your value, message, and brand:

Who is your ideal customer? Mention demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) and psychographics (their interests, their career choice, etc.). Is your target customer a person or a business? Be as descriptive as you can. If you think you might have multiple target markets, write down each one so that you can test out your expectations in the first few months of operating your business. Learn as much about your potential customers as you possibly can!

How are you going to communicate with your ideal customer? Think about what channels you’ll use to make them aware of your services. Channels can be: social media, website, traditional marketing like billboards, word-of-mouth through referrals, etc. Also think about how you are going to communicate with your customers once they are already your customers. How will you work with them? Maybe it’s online, over the phone, in-person, or something else. Don’t forget to think about which methods will help you share your value and brand most clearly.

How are you going to deliver your value to your customers? If you’re selling a product, how are you going to deliver that product? If you’re selling a service, how will the customer receive that service from you? What does the process look like? Customers will want to know what working with you looks like, so plan out your process strategically.

What skills do you need in order to create and deliver your value? Most likely, you already have the skills you need to create your art-based product or service. Try describing them. Also think about skills you will need in order to promote and deliver your value to others. You might need website-building skills, networking skills, etc. Try to think outside of the box here.

What resources will you need in order to create and deliver your value? You’ve already evaluated the resources you currently have. Are there any others that will help you to build the art-based business you envision? Think software, partners, space, etc.

What is it going to cost to create and deliver your value? You’ll need to consider materials, travel, your own labor, and more. Write down all of your expenses, so that you can decide on how much to charge your customers. Your prices should be higher than your expenses, so that your business can make a profit. (If you’re pursuing a growth company, you may need a large amount of money in order to start-up. We’ll talk about potential funding sources in future posts. If you’re pursuing a lifestyle company, costs generally come about for every new project you work on.) Understand when your expenses will appear and how you will pay them.

How are you going to make money? Will you have multiple product or service offerings? How much will you charge for each? How will you collect the money you’ve earned?

What does the competition look like? It’s crucial to understand what the competitive landscape looks like so that you can know if: your prices are attractive, your value and branding are truly unique, how others communicate with your potential customers, and so much more. Start with a Google search, ask around your creative community, and learn as much about your competitors as you possibly can.

So… that was a lot, huh? Don’t worry. Creating a strategic business model takes lots of time and thought, but these questions will help put you on the right path. Look at your written answers and see where gaps exist. This is where you will want to focus your attention before officially starting your business. You might want to get going right away, but these gaps can cause you to be unsuccessful in the future. If you want your business to succeed, building a solid strategic business model is key. It’s like they say: If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.

This blog is going to cover each of these questions in more depth, so that you can do your best to prepare your art-based business. Follow below and continue building the creative business of your dreams!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. You’re building a brand that’s going to last. Be patient.

P.P.S. Strategyzer.com’s Business Model Canvas is the method from which this one-page plan was derived.