If you’re a creative, being in business for yourself can feel like a quagmire. Analytics, financials, sales, and the like, can feel like a huge weight to any creative spirit. The most common question creatives ask when in business for themselves is “how do I create a sustainable income out of this?”
Krystle Rowry, founder of Kriss Did It, is a web designer and brand strategist who has taken her creative business to new levels by implementing a few key concepts that she shared with me.
1. Productize Your Service
When you productize your business, you take the custom offer provided to one-on-one clients and transform that service to feel more like a product.
“A few years ago, I started offering done-for-you websites specifically marketed to coaches and consultants. I simplified my premium-priced custom website offer down to only a few essential steps,” says Rowry. “I gave the client four different templates to choose from and minimized the timeline to just two weeks. I simplified the features and lowered the cost. This standardized process resulted in each client swiftly launching their beautiful, high-converting website at an affordable price.
“My clients were thrilled with this innovative approach, and I was happy to finally feel free to take myself out of the process when needed. You can get started with productizing your service by taking action now in documenting your process. Carefully list each step you take to make sure your client achieves the promised result.”
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2. Teach Online
If you’re feeling creative burn-out or simply looking to add another revenue stream to your business, now is an excellent time to consider creating an online course.
“I began teaching creatives eight years ago when learning via an online course was nearly unheard of. Then in March 2020, the Zoom classroom became the norm for students worldwide,” notes Rowry. “I believe every person has valuable knowledge and skills within them that can benefit others. And the truth is, launching a course can completely transform your business, revenue, and impact.
When you offer a course and teach, you’re automatically perceived as an expert in your field. You’ll have the opportunity to bring in thousands from your course sales while simultaneously increasing your value, allowing you to charge premium prices for your one-on-one service.
“Take the first step and note what questions you get asked. The things you know how to do well are likely things others would be willing to pay to learn,” suggests Rowry. “Next, find clarity on your course idea by asking your social media audience what they want to learn from you. You’ll be amazed by the responses you receive, which will help you gain the confidence to get started.”
3. Help Business Owners Go Online
“Once COVID hit, many offline businesses faced a terrifying reality when they were forced to close their doors. As creatives, we have a unique opportunity to help those who are struggling during this time,” says Rowry.
“Building an infrastructure for online sales has never been more important. And going from local to global has never been easier. Perhaps you’re a photographer who can photograph products to add to their e-commerce website. Or maybe you’re a copywriter who can quickly write copy for product detail pages. Whatever your expertise, helping your fellow business owner is more crucial than ever.”
Ask, then listen. Here are the top 3 questions Rowry asks potential clients to learn more about their business and craft an offer:
- What are the goals of your business?
- How can I best be of service to help you meet your goals?
- What’s the investment you’re looking to make to achieve your goals?
4. Reflect On Your Experiences To Find Your Niche
“Even when it feels like there are tons of people in your industry, remember there’s only one you!” reminds Rowry. “From my experience and those of my students, speaking to your individual experience allows you to be viewed as an expert to the clients you most want to work with. Leveraging your specialized experience can quickly help you become the creative who stands out from the competition, delivers a unique value proposition, and consistently finds referrals in your inbox.
“In my first year of freelancing, I used my love of style, branding, and years of pouring over fashion magazines as a way to connect with fashion bloggers. Before speaking with potential clients, I already knew how to achieve the elevated perception of their ideal brands.
“This experience allowed me to become a sought-after designer for fashion bloggers who wanted to work with someone who understood their vision. I used my knowledge of luxury branding as a point of relatability, with which other designers could not compete.”
Here are five ways Rowry suggests to get started in pinpointing your niche:
- Who are you excited about helping? Think about your personal interests and how that knowledge can help your client.
- Take a look at your past work – which projects were the most fun to create? Which came easiest to you?
- Speak with your dream client. Set up a phone call and get a true feel for their dreams and challenges. The magic combination of knowing the specific type of person you can help along with the specific problems she’s having is a key to understanding your niche.
- Consider your story. Is there something you’ve personally struggled with and overcame? Often our niche is related to helping folks with a similar experience.
- Get practice. Over time, you’ll tweak and define your dream client. As the needs of your business evolve, your dream client will evolve as well. Be excited and open to the possibilities!
Being a creative in business can have its challenges – but taking these things into account will allow any creative to have a thriving business.