It’s been a month, 6 months, maybe even a year, and your new career as an artrepreneur isn’t working out how you thought it would. What do you do now?
It’s time for rest and reflection. If you’ve already said goodbye to your other sources of income, you might not have time to rest, but you MUST make time to reflect.
#1 What’s going RIGHT?
#2 What’s going WRONG?
Because every artrepreneur’s situation is different, I’ve listed a few possible scenarios below. These scenarios are meant to be an example of how you might go about evaluating what’s going right, and what’s going wrong, with your creative business.
NOTE: Throughout this article, you’ll see many links to this article (and others). Revisiting your business model is one of the most helpful ways to evaluate your situation and make necessary changes. I would suggest that you visit this article and conduct an evaluation of each part of your business model. This will give you a comprehensive view of your art-based business.
Maybe you’ve secured a few customers, but not as many as you hoped for. Where did these customers come from? Did you already know them? Did they find you via social media? Through word of mouth? Think about the communication you’ve had with them to understand whether or not the channels you’re using to advertise are actually working.
Secondly, who are these customers? Do they match the target market profile you created when you first started out? You might find that your real customers are totally different from the ones you assumed you’d have. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers about how they found you, why they chose you, and how their experience was when working with you.
Maybe you’ve gotten lots of engagement online. That’s great! Look at the kind of content you’re posting and see who’s interacting with it. By doing this, you’ll be able to tell what kind of content is of interest to whom, and that will help you better focus your time as you continue on.
But perhaps you still aren’t booking customers, despite your positive engagement rate online. Are potential customers reaching out to you, then backing out once they learn about your prices? This might be a sign that you need to restructure your pricing model. Are people not reaching out at all? This might be a sign that although you post engaging content, your value or the service you offer isn’t clear enough. Or maybe customers don’t know how they should contact you if they’re interested. You might need to revisit how you’ve written or worded your messages to understand if your value is clear.
Maybe you’ve developed a solid business plan and have created a cool brand, but you’re getting no interest at all. This could be a sign of a few issues:
1) The market doesn’t exist. Maybe the need that you believe you’re filling just isn’t really there, or maybe it doesn’t exist on a large enough premise to sustain a sustainable creative business. Consider conducting more research to understand if this might be the case.
2) You’re way off target in regards to who your target customer is. You might be sharing your awesome value with all the wrong people.
3) The way you’re sharing your value isn’t resinating with people. Your branding might be fogging up the true value you provide, leaving people disinterested or unsure about what you’re offering.
4) You’re missing the strategic partners you need to make your business model complete. Maybe you’ve created a product and have been trying to sell it online through your own website, but what you really need is a retail partner to help sell your product at the rates you want. Or maybe you don’t have enough credibility to secure the customers you want, so you need a strategic partner who will back you.
There are all kinds of potential factors that might be contributing to the slow growth of your creative business. It’s your job to take some time to reflect about all you’ve done so that you can identify these factors and make adjustments to fix them.
Whatever you do, don’t give up... UNLESS:
If you find that there might not be a big enough market for you to serve, or that you’re value is already being provided in the same way somewhere else, or that you don’t have the passion to push past your slow beginning… it might be the right decision for you to throw in the towel and start pursuing something else. In today’s world, people are chastised for “quitting.” But sometimes, quitting is exactly what you need to do to find success elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to move along in your artrepreneurial journey by dropping an unsuccessful business model and picking up a successful one. Your artrepreneurial journey is not limited by a single business idea, but by how you evaluate that business idea and ultimately find a successful way to share your art with the world.
Now is the time to take a step back and evaluate. If you run into questions during your reflection, please leave a comment below so that I and other artrepreneurs can help you work through it! Good luck!
P.S. Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get more straight-up information that can help make your artrepreneurial journey easier!