Do you want to know how to grow a successful creative business? Are you tired of working for someone else?
In order to make a living as a creative business owner, you must first build a thriving creative business. This means building a team, developing products, creating content, and growing your audience.
If you've already started a creative business, then you probably know how difficult it is to get traction. But with the right strategy, tools, and steps, you can create a sustainable business that will allow you to live the lifestyle you desire.
Quickly, before we go any further, I would like to mention that there is no exact blueprint for success.
No matter how many times you will be told it online, no matter how many click funnels suck you into the depths of the internet, convincing you to open your wallet and part with your hard-earned cash, there is no such thing as an exact blueprint for success!
However, there are different tools, strategies, and steps that you can implement to help you on that journey towards success, which we will cover in this article.
1. Know The Problem
The first step to growing a creative business is knowing what problem you're trying to solve. This will give you direction as you begin creating your product or service. If you're looking to grow a creative business in 2023, then you need to know the problems you'll try to solve.
Know the exact problem you are solving
Once you understand the problem you're trying to fix, you need to understand who your target market is. You also need to understand their pain points, desires, needs, wants, etc.
Know why customers should buy from you
You need to know why people should buy from you instead of another company. Why and how do you solve the problem better than your competitors? Why are you better than them? What makes you unique?
Once you have this information, you can start designing your marketing materials, website, copy, etc.
2. Know The Target Audience, More Than They Know Themselves
Knowing who your target audience is is the first step to growing a successful creative business.
This means understanding what people like and dislike, what motivates them, and how they spend their money and time.
Once you know these things, you'll be able to create products or services that appeal to your ideal audience.
Know what their pain points and frustrations are
Knowing the problems people face allows you to design solutions to those problems and meet the customer's needs better.
For example, if you're selling clothing, you might find out that women struggle to find clothes that fit them properly.
In this case, you could offer a service where they can take a photo of themselves wearing the wrong size dress and send it to you so you can make them a new dress that fits perfectly.
Know where they spend most of their time online
It is important to know where they spend most of their time when they are online. If they're spending a lot of time reading blogs, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and using other social channels, etc.
Then all you have to do is market on those exact blog platforms, for example, resulting in getting directly in front of the right people that you want to target.
Know what makes them feel happy, sad, frustrated, or angry
If you know what makes your customers feel happy, sad, frustrated, and angry, then you can design products or services around those emotions.
For example, if you are selling fishing products and the customer's frustration is that their fishing line keeps snapping, then you can provide them with information on what they need to do differently and recommend a product that solves their problem.
Know exactly what they're trying to achieve
If you're aiming to help creative entrepreneurs with their marketing, you need to know whether they're trying to be a business coach, set up an online business, or are looking for information on how to do a successful product launch.
3. Create a Solid Business Plan
The first step toward creating a solid business plan is to define what success means to you.
What will make you happy? Do you want to retire early or spend more time with your family? What levels of business growth are you looking for? How much money do you need to live comfortably?
Once you know what success looks like to you, you can start developing your plan on how to grow a successful creative business.
What is your unique selling point (USP)?
Your USP is essentially your one-line description of what sets you apart from other companies. It’s what makes you different from everyone else. Your USP is the reason someone would choose your brand over your competitors.
How much money do you need?
Growing a business eats money like it's going out of fashion. Therefore, before you start investing in anything, it's crucial to figure out how much money you need to get by each month.
If you don't know how much money you need, you won't be able to calculate how much return you need to earn on your investment. Moreover, you need to know how much money you need to grow, such as by buying stock and product inventory.
4. Build Your Brand and Start Marketing
You may already know that branding is essential to any business.
But did you know that there was once a time when businesses didn't brand themselves at all? That's right! In the old days, people just went into business because they wanted to make money.
They never thought about how they would market or sell their products. As a result, many companies failed.
Today, however, businesses have learned that marketing is crucial to success. And now, more than ever, it's important to brand yourself.
Develop a marketing plan
Once you know exactly what you want to achieve with your company, you'll need to develop an effective marketing strategy so you know how to reach your goals.
A marketing plan will help you identify who your ideal customers are, how you will attract these customers to your website, what kind of content you should post, which social media platforms you should use, and how you will attract them to an email list.
Additionally, you should outline what things will also help grow the business, such as email marketing tools.
Use social media
Social channels and media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are great for connecting with your target audience and potential customers in a manner that is far more cost-effective than it would be without social media.
Just think, you can get into your target audience's living room as they're sitting on their phone, looking at the screen! Not that long ago, this simply wasn't possible to achieve with such ease, so for me, please use it as it is an unbelievably powerful tool.
5. Scale It Up
The first step toward growing a successful creative business is scaling it up. This means increasing revenue, reducing costs, and improving efficiency.
If you're just starting out, you may be overwhelmed with these tasks. But if you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: there's no magic formula to success. Instead, focus on your passion and work hard at what you love doing.
As creatives it can be useful to visually see an outline of what your week looks like and where most of out time is spent. This then enables you to automate some of those tasks that are eating up the most time, allowing you to focus on tasks that will enable you to grow the business. Check out The Weekly Planner to learn more.
Create a plan for growth
So you've reached the point where you want to expand your business. Congratulations! Now you need to create a plan for growth.
Ensure you set concrete goals for your business. For example, you might decide to double your sales within six months. Or maybe you'd rather try something completely new, like creating a subscription box service.
Whatever goal you set, make sure it's SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
Build a team around you
Now that you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, it's time to build a team around you. You'll need someone to manage operations, someone to handle customer support, a designer to create beautiful websites, and so on.
When building your team, remember that you don't need to hire everyone at once. Start off with one person, then add another later.
6. Automate and Implement Systems
The world has changed dramatically since the year 2003. In fact, there are more than 7 billion people living today who were not alive during the last century. This means that technology has evolved at a rapid pace.
As a result, you really need to consider automating some aspects of your business to give you more time to do what you want to be doing and enable you to scale even bigger and quicker.
Automate what you can
For example, you could automate your email list campaigns or send out automated emails when certain actions occur. Or, you could find a software programme that allows you to schedule posts on social media sites automatically.
These programmes are called scheduling tools. They allow you to define rules that determine when a particular task needs to happen.
Then, the tool does everything else for you. You can now find companies that will automatically send your customers brownies or cookies on their birthdays. How cool is that?
An awesome AI tool that I can highly recommend is Frase. It helps you research, write, and optimise high-quality SEO content in minutes instead of hours.
Use technology as much as you can
There are software packages out there for almost everything these days!
Simply go to Google and look into what things you could outsource by using some AI software or computer tool to do them for you while you sleep.
Even better, because it is done by computer, it does not have a holiday, so it can work around the clock and accomplish far more than you could.
7. Enjoy The Ride, Not Just The Destination
Starting a creative business can be exciting. But it can also be stressful if you're not careful.
If you enjoy the ride, then you'll find yourself more motivated to succeed. In fact, you might even become addicted to success! So what does all this mean? It means that you should enjoy the ride while you're starting out.
Don't get too caught up in the destination. Instead, focus on enjoying the journey. This will make the process easier and less stressful.
Have fun doing what you do best
Remember why you started all of this in the first place, and keep in mind what you actually like doing as opposed to what you need to do most of the time.
If you start focusing too hard on making money from your creative endeavours, you may end up losing sight of why you started in the first place. Some people think that they're going to be rich because they have a great product.
And others think they're going to be famous because they have a great Instagram account. But none of those things matter unless you like what you do.
It takes time to grow a successful creative business. It took me years before I finally got my first company off the ground.
There was no way that I would have been able to achieve my goals without patience and persistence. Rome wasn't built in a day!
Take care of yourself
When you're working long hours, you don't always eat well or take care of yourself properly.
Your body starts to suffer, and you lose energy. This makes it harder to concentrate and focus on what you need to do most. Make sure that you treat yourself right. I have found morning mindset journaling to be a surprisingly beneficial way to create clarity and calm when I need it most.
Take regular breaks away from your desk and spend quality time with friends and family also, try to exercise regularly. A great way to get the most of your breaks and properly reset is to do 5 minute meditation, learn how here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the commonly asked questions about how to grow a successful creative business:
How much time do I need to grow a creative business?
Well, it is a bit of a "How long is a piece of string?" type of question.
The answer depends on how fast you want to grow, what you are looking to achieve, and the type of business you are trying to become. Initially, you might only need a few hours per week.
However, as your business grows, you may need to dedicate several hours every single day to it until you go full-time and you can really throw everything at it.
What are the secrets to a successful business?
There are many factors involved in growing a successful creative business. Some of the key things to know inside out, back to front, and upside down are:
- What kinds of products and services do you offer?
- How good are they?
- Are they unique?
- Is there room for improvement?
- Do you know who your target market is?
- Can you reach them easily?
- Do they trust you enough to buy?
- Utilize user-generated content in customer reviews as it acts as great social proof, which in turn improves the customer experience as they know what others think of the said product.
In conclusion, this means that you need to be honest about your work and deliver value to your customers. You must also be willing to put in the effort required to build a loyal following.
What if I don't have any money?
You don't necessarily need a lot of money to launch a business.
All you really need is passion and determination. You can build a successful creative business on a shoestring budget.
Writing high-quality blog posts that are optimised for SEO, for example, will organically increase traffic to your site without costing you anything other than your time learning how.
For example, you can create a social media account for free, and grow it by simply investing your time and applying the right strategies, but without any money down. Then when you have a following, you can commoditize it by selling people to the audience that you generated, or companies could pay you to advertise their products in front of your audience.
There are many ways to do it; it simply comes down to how creative you can be with it!
How do I grow my creative business faster?
The best way to grow a creative business is to get to know your customers. Find out what they love about your service and product, and then use this information to improve it.
Once you've done all that, you'll be ready to expand.
Prioritize providing and adding value to customers as opposed to chasing the money, the money comes secondary. Additionally, make sure you're utilising all social media channels where possible.
Make sure you have a business profile set up in directories such as the Yellow Pages and a Google business profile. This will help with your domain authority and help you be listed higher in Google's search results.
How long does it take to grow a successful creative business?
This varies depending on the size, scope, and nature of the business.
The amount of time required will depend on the level of effort you put into it. If you work hard, invest money wisely, and make smart decisions, you should see results within six months to two years.
It also depends on what you deem "successful," as only you can decide what this actually means. Here's a very interesting read on how long it took some of the most successful UK based entrepreneurs to get the enterprises off the ground and make their fortune.
I hope you found this article to be a valuable piece of content that provides you with further clarity on how to grow a successful creative business. As business founders, there is always so much to do and so little time to do it all, and as a result, overwhelm and exhaustion can prevent you from doing what you really need to do most. We have therefore developed the Morning Mindset Journal to help with this and enable you as a creative to do what you do best: create.
Additionally, I would love it if you could share this article with one of your fellow creative entrepreneurs and friends that you feel needs the support, as we creatives are in it together!
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us on either of our social channels.