During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!
Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.
Destri :: The Mother Huddle
These days, it can seem like anything that can be done, has been done and that the web is saturated with creative businesses. This can make many feel like there is nothing left for them, that it’s too late and they missed the boat. Please, please don’t buy into that!
It’s true, there are many online creative businesses out there. Hundreds of thousands of them, and guess what, hundreds and thousands of them are successful in one way or another. That is the very reason you should be excited. That means that success is possible for you.
In my post on How I Define A Creative Business I talked about how a creative business starts from a single idea, then the excitement follows with more ideas. The problem is, generally right after that we find all sorts of reasons why it won’t work. One of the top reasons I hear from people when they decide not to pursue their creative business is “someone else is already doing it” or “there is too much competition”.
But see in that excuse, you find your answer. YOU aren’t doing it. Your competitor can’t be YOU. I know you have probably heard this a dozen times before, and it can seem so generic-but it is the golden ticket.
So let’s just clear the water before we move on. It’s not too late. The internet is not going anywhere, and the amount of people that will be on the internet in five years is likely to increase more than 30%. Every year there is a new blog platform that comes onto the seen that is the similar to TMH that just knocks it out of the park. They didn’t stop and look at what I and hundreds of others were doing and find a reason not to do their thing.
I don’t look at their success as discouraging-on the contrary, I find it encouraging. That means there is so much more I can do and so many more areas to explore for success in my business. The day no new competition comes and finds ways to be successful in my market would be a very discouraging day for me.
I started to write this post some time ago and hit a wall, and then last week came across Pat Flynn’s post Are You Taking Advantage Of Your Unfair Advantage? and found what I was wanting to express in one paragraph:
Competition is a good thing – you’ve heard me say this before. Coming in later in the game is an advantage because you can see what existing businesses are doing right and what they’re doing wrong. You can be a consumer before you become a company, and can better understand the experience that customers currently have, and what options are available to them in today’s market. You have the ability to come in and reshape that customer experience in whatever way you’d like.
Perfect. I encourage you to go read the post and then I would like to take it a step further for helping you stand out with your creative business with a few actionable steps you can take.
How To Stand Out In A Crowded Market:
- Be the most authentic version of you you can be. Write the way you would talk to a friend. Stand on your soapbox. Be vulnerable. Share your failures. Share your victories. That one thing you’re scared for people to know about? Share it. This will allow you to create a following that can connect with you. Not everyone will – but those who do, will love you and want to support you.
- Find your way to be different. Instead of trying to do exactly what your competition is doing only ten times better, find a way to do it different. In doing this you will tap into an untouched market and eliminate your competition because you are offering something they are not. Then, you can actually collaborate with your competition and share your market. A great book to help you with this is The Blue Ocean Strategy.
- Pinpoint your ideal reader/customer. – this is so important, and a step we are now working on with TMH. Who is it you are trying to reach? Get specific- age, gender, location, occupation, lifestyle. What does she like to do? What are her worries, troubles, and concerns? Write a very detailed description of this ideal person and get to know her – then write for her, create for her, and address her problems in everything you do for your business. This is how a loyal readership and customer base is created. It’s extremely hard to make everyone happy and be successful – on the other hand if you find a targeted niche and remain loyal to it, it’s hard to fail.
- Play big from the start. The simplest way I can define this is: Imagine where you hope this creative business to be in five years – think about it’s success, how you have grown, and how it makes you feel. Now live and work from that perspective. People trust and admire confidence, but remember that most people have a degree of humility after having found such success – you must assume that too.
I know that the four steps above may seem obvious – but the truth is a majority of online businesses aren’t doing them. Go and study the most successful competition in your market, and chances are they’ve nailed every single one.
Now a few practical steps to standing out:
- Invest in a domain name and host. I get asked this all the time, and it goes back to this question – is this your hobby, or creative business? Remember, play big from the start.
- Keep a clean and organized website. You don’t have to invest a ton of money for a great looking site – find a premium platform and start with simple.
- Great images are essential. If you have ten websites all with the same content and selling the same product – the one with the best images will win hands down.
- Brand your business – this goes for your creative business copy, collateral, and online image – keep everything cohesive and identifiable across your brand.
Okay, now it’s your turn. What ways have you found to make your creative business stand out? In what ways do some of your favorite businesses stand out?