Tag Archives: value

Business Plan Hooey

Business Plan Hooey

Day 4 of 30 Days of Imperfection. I’m going out on a limb with this one – YIKES!

I’ve been on so many “Boost Your Business” calls since I started my business. So many “6 Steps to 6 Figures” – type webinars. Countless workshops on Marketing and Sales. Books and books about Business Plans.

It’s overwhelming! And personally, I’ve thought pretty much all of it was hooey. (As well as being certain I was doing something “wrong” because even when I followed their advice, I wasn’t getting the number of clients or the income I needed to sustain my business!)

Credit: http://mobile-cuisine.com

Recently it has occurred to me that none of those classes, webinars or workshops worked for me because what I lacked was a deep understanding of my value.

How have I come to know my value? I practiced. I got clients. I lost clients. I got people to come to my classes and workshops. And sometimes I didn’t.

And through it all, I’ve learned my value. I’ve learned what I needed to know about what’s working in my business and what isn’t. (OK, it’s an ongoing process…)

As a Creative I needed to FIRST understand and truly KNOW that my work – what I have to offer the world – has value.

Creativity in our society is so often de-valued; creatives are used to feeling like what they express is misunderstood and not perceived as “worth” anything. The perception that what we do as Creatives is not as “important” as some other professions [read: Doctor, Lawyer, Software Developer, VP of Sales or whatever*] abounds and is pervasive.

So when trying to write a business plan, it becomes excruciatingly difficult for a Creative person to know what value their work has. It’s not in the mainstream, so mainstream rules of business don’t seem to apply.

That’s why I say: know your value FIRST.

What I mean is: sell a piece of work. Sell a session of your service. Find someone (ANYONE) who will buy it. Don ‘t wait to have the business plan in place; don’t (at this point) worry about what others are selling their work for. Get money for what you do.

It’s practice, this selling. How many of your friends/family/co-workers can you entice to buy your jewelry, your short story, your CD, your sketch? (And I mean REALLY BUY IT, not barter for it, or get it as a lovely gift from you.)

It’s practice. Just like you’ve practiced your skills in your art form. Try it: ask the next person you know who expresses an interest in your work what they would pay for it. Then say, “it’s yours, if you want it! I’ll take a check, cash, heck you can pay me via PayPal!” They may laugh at the funny joke you’re making, or they may say, “really? You mean it? I can have this gorgeous piece of work you made?!?”

What would it feel like to sell that work? What would it feel like to know that your piece has found a home with someone who loves it?

Try it out. One person at a time. Two, three, five, eight. At each opportunity, see how you feel. Has it begun to feel more natural and relaxed? Are you getting a clearer understanding of what people are willing to pay for your work? What happens when you ask for more?

When I started my coaching practice, I was hesitant to write the dreaded Business Plan and participate in Marketing my business. It was only after I had coached for a while (friends, friends of friends, other coaches I knew) that I truly began to understand the value of what I have to offer. What makes my coaching style and approach different. Then, and only then, was I able to begin to understand what I needed in order to actually build my business. Only now do I see the importance of a Business Plan. Only now am I able to speak confidently about what I do and how I help the people I serve.

Practice selling. Get a grasp of what your work can garner monetarily. Trying to figure out how to run a financially sustainable business with your Creativity without first having practiced your value will end you up feeling frustrated and confused. Know your value. Know what your work is worth. Know, truly know that people want what you create – want it enough to pay you something for it.

What you have to offer is entirely unique because it comes from you. It has intrinsic value because it comes from you. Your clients and customers know this, even when you don’t. Trust their wisdom and practice receiving your worth.

 

*A generalization, of course. People in these roles are creative in their own way, too. It’s just more generally acceptable to be a Software Developer than, say, a bass player.

Shattering Myths

Shattering Myths

Part 1: The Myth of the Starving Artist

What’s worse: that our cultural mythology tells us that if you choose the path of being an artist, you won’t make enough money to live on? Or, that there are artists who actually perpetuate this myth by believing that making money with their art is somehow less noble, less worthy, than starving?

This is the paradox of the myth of the Starving Artist. I don’t know about you, but I’m frankly sick of it. I think it’s high time we busted through.

First, I want to reiterate a message that I am passionate about: Everyone is Creative. While not all Creatives are fine artists, all Artists are Creative. Remembering that we are all Creative, whether we are painters, poets, actors, musicians, teachers, coaches, accountants, engineers, scientists is extremely important to busting the myths which abound regarding Art and Creativity.

When we embrace everyone as Creative, it becomes more difficult to give in to feelings of separation or superiority around our creativity. It’s no longer necessary to believe that we have to hold ourselves to a different, more painful, standard.

Second, I want to address the fact that there are quite a large number of artists of all stripes who are doing their art AND not starving.

Real life example: My friends Chris and Victoria Jordan come to mind. When I met Chris & Victoria, they were both still working full-time jobs in the law industry. Chris was a lawyer and Victoria was a paralegal. Not typically jobs you would consider “creative” or “artistic”. (I imagine that there are some pretty creative lawyers out there, though!)

Shortly after I came to know them, they each quit their legal careers to pursue their creative and artistic passions. Now, this road was not necessarily an easy one and I am sure there were those among their peers who didn’t understand their choices. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were told: “you can’t make a living doing that”.

Less than 10 years after quitting his career as a lawyer, Chris Jordan has come into his own as an internationally renowned, talented and passionate photographer and environmentalist. His wife Victoria is a poet who assists Chris not only by writing poems which compliment his work, but also publishing in her own right. They are not starving. In fact, they are invited to travel all over the world because of their art.

What I have noticed about Chris and Victoria is that they love what they do, are passionate about it, but are practical enough in the application of their creativity to be able to make a living doing it.

Check out Chris Jordan’s work here: http://www.chrisjordan.com/gallery/midway/#CF000313%2018×24

An example of Victoria Sloan-Jordan’s poetry can be found here: http://www.midwayjourney.com/2010/07/16/midway-journey-ii-kaleidoscope-a-poem-by-victoria-sloan-jordan/

What would become possible for your Creative self if you stopped believing that myth of the Starving Artist? Will you finally let yourself pursue your Creative Dream?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Myth of the Starving Artist…