Lessons, musings and advice from the author of ‘The Life I Won’
They say everybody is creative. I have even said this myself! To a certain extent it’s true because around 98% of us are born creative. As children most of us will be drawn to creative pursuits and ‘make things.’ Unfortunately, it is discouraged and trained out of us through an education system based on Victorian principles which favours academia. A huge percentage of people forget they have the innate talent and never really use it again nor miss it.
Those of us that escape the programming are cursed for life!
Creative people think differently and behave differently. Honestly it is highly unlikely that anyone who is creative is ever going to make money from their talent or ideas. The odds are millions to one. You might as well get that ‘proper job’ that pays the bills because you are fighting a losing battle.
I know you are sitting there right now thinking WTF! Mandy is usually telling me that I CAN make money from my creativity!
Well, I haven’t been lying to you, you absolutely can, but it isn’t your creative talent that will make the money for you. Nope. It is strategy, marketing, and sales. SMS, those 3 dirty words that cause most creative people to run and hide. The reason that most creative people fail to make money from their creative talent or ideas is because they fail to understand and master SMS.
I am going to be honest, I avoided doing it for years. It felt icky and slimy to me. I hate the thought of sales, it made me cringe. Even though I had been a successful store manager and divisional executive who had the best sales results in the company! But I didn’t have to direct sell. Sales in retail were a lag indicator, which means they were a result of everything else you did. So, if you filled the shelves with a great range of fresh, branded, and own label products, built great displays, held top notch promotions, with great advertising and delivered the best customer service through a motivated team, you had nailed it!
Hold on a minute…
Sales are a result of everything else you do, a lag indicator. Now THAT made sense to me!
This was my turning point, so I translated it into the digital world, found a coach who already knew how and BINGO.
Here is how I began to understand the foundations of SMS related to a physical shop:
So, instead of a physical shop window, you need to create a message with your social media page or website that lets the potential buyer know exactly what it is you sell. If I was looking for pet food, I would look for either a specialist store or a supermarket where I knew I could buy it. I would drive along the street and park near or in the car park of the shop that I could easily SEE sold the dog food I was looking for. It is the same online. If I want to buy dog food online I will either google search it or notice it on the newsfeed of my social media. So, if I was scrolling Facebook and buying dog food was on my mind and an advert passed me by, I would stop. Just the same as if I was driving down a street. This is Marketing.
Tempting people into your shop.
Let’s go back to dog food. I am in the supermarket, and I look up and see directional signage which tells me where the pet food aisle is. I walk to it and see that half the aisle is dog food and half cat food and other. I can very easily find what I want. Your website or social media page is the supermarket and then the aisle. You need to guide the customer easily to where they want to be. Any difficulties and they are off somewhere else.
When I am in the pet food aisle, I can clearly see the promoted products because there are posters, signage, displays. Online you need to have pop ups, features, events and make sure that the best offers appear in front of the customer first, if they need to look, they won’t.
In the shop it is the human interaction which dictates great service. Being taken to the product you are looking for and a good checkout experience. It is no different online. Make sure that you automate and nurture your customers. Reply promptly to their questions or you will lose them. People expect immediate responses online and if they don’t get them, they have no loyalty. Why would they?
It’s a BIG WWW out there!
You get what you pay for! If you put a spotty, uninterested teenager who is more focused on their phone, on a checkout and pay them £3.50 an hour, how great a job do you think they will do. Will they care about the results, the rest of the team or the company? NOPE! If you find an experienced person who really wants the job and wants to progress, they are 100 times more likely to care about the bigger picture. This is an important point to remember. Just this week I received a message into my inbox from a person offering Virtual Assistant services at between $4 – $8 per hour. I pay up to 10 times that much to my excellent and experienced team because they are my voice on social media. I have monthly meetings, so everyone knows what is happening and we have a group chat to keep up to date through the month.
If you are a creative and you fail to consider and learn all of this, then I would highly recommend that you find and keep that ‘proper job’.
All the above are learned skills. Stop and think about that for a second. You have been gifted your amazing creative talent and skills, but you can be TAUGHT SMS. I could teach the spotty teenager strategy, marketing and sales and they would be able to do it. It is a process. A set of systems and processes which can be learned and when applied to your area of genius will give you the success you crave. BUT! There is always a but isn’t there? It will take you time and an investment in YOU to understand it all.
Again, I want you to stop for a second and think…
It is very easy to remain in our comfort zone and do what we have always done. But if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got!
It is only by stepping outside our comfort zone that we can achieve those amazing creative dreams that keep you awake at night. You know the ones…you have just sold every painting at that prestigious gallery in London and have loads of commissions booked on the back of it. You have an army of raving fans who are desperate to buy your product of service. THOSE dreams.
They are not dreams.
They are a combination of your creative genius plus SMS.
Trust me, I’ve done it!