Okay, where are all my creative business owners at?! This article is for you! I am spilling one of my biggest secrets today, and it’s actually quite simple. But this one simple change of mindset has not only helped to keep me inspired, but it has helped my business grow immensely.
Sometimes we all get in a creative rut. Our work becomes repetitive and we lose our motivation. It happens to all of us. Let me paint a picture that may sound familiar…
You are bored of seeing inquiry after inquiry for the same budget and the same look.
You do styled shoot after styled shoot thinking they’re good for “exposure”, but the actual content is nothing to get excited about.
You feel like you lack creative control in your business, because the budgets you are getting aren’t allowing you to create at your highest level.
You are investing in ads, offering freebies, blogging and posting into an oblivion but you are not seeing results or income.
Don’t worry if this is you, because I once found myself in the same conundrum. A few years ago I almost thought about quitting my business because I just couldn’t seem to get out of this rut. But then I had a change of mindset, and sure enough, things started to change. It was that year that I realized the value of investing in your business in the RIGHT ways.
How came this realization, you ask? I started putting my money into places that actually gave me results. In just one year my average client budget jumped by $1000. I was finally getting inquiries in my inbox from my DREAM clients. And my business has continued to grow as I have continued following this simple philosophy.
Let’s dive right in…
How to Get Out of That Creative Rut and Start Attracting Your Dream Clients
If you identified with the description above, then you are probably in the same boat as I was a few years ago. The question you should be asking yourself is:
I asked myself this question a few years ago when my feed just wasn’t looking the way I wanted it to. When my weddings were all looking the same. I knew that the reason for that was I wasn’t showing my best work. In order to start booking my dream clients, I had to start getting my best work out there. But first I needed to ask myself, “Who is my dream Client” Which brings us to step one.
Step 1. Identify your Dream Client
Such a huge part of targeting your ideal client is learning who that person is. Ask yourself this: If you received the inquiry of your dreams tomorrow, what would the client be looking for? What would their venue be? Who would their planner be? What would their style be like? What would their budget be? What type of designs would they be looking for? What type of personality would they have?
After you have identified what your dream client looks like, you can start to understand what type of work you need to put out there. For me, I wanted bigger budgets (Who doesn’t?) and that meant that I needed to show that I could design bigger. Bigger installations. Fuller bouquets. More fine details. More bells and whistles. But mainly, I need to show work that would make people stop in their tracks. But what does that look like specifically? This brought me to step 2.
Step 2. Create a set of goals for better content.
This is when I started crafting a list of things I wanted to create, with my goal being to show my dream clients what I was capable of. My Creative Bucket List, if you will. In case you are wondering what one puts on their Creative Bucket List, here are a few things that were on mine:
Better Instagram Feed
More fine details
I even had SUPER specific things like “use that one cool new Japanese variety of Sweet Pea.” But no matter how specific or how general, I took that list and I made it my primary focus that year. And sure enough, I saw my business start to change.
Step 3. Invest in Creating Better Content
Now it was time to put those items into production. And I knew there were two ways I could do that:
Through styled shoots
Through real weddings
Let’s talk about styled shoots. We all get inquiries to be a part of creative collabs. Sometimes I get more than three e-mails in a week asking me to be a part of a styled shoot. But with my new goals in mind, I knew that I needed to become much more selective. My goal was no longer to gain as much exposure as possible, to simply put my skills to use, or to say yes to anything and everything. I had one goal and that was to create my dream content, and to check things off of my creative bucket list. So, I decided that I was not going to do one more styled shoot unless it was contributing to that goal.
With each styled shoot proposal, I asked myself if the ways I could use this to reach my goals. I thought about how the color palette would look on my Instagram feeds. I thought about the vessels, textiles, and made sure it was adding something new to my repertoire. I examined the possibilities and I proposed ideas that I had, and I noticed that many of the creatives who were inquiring were more than happy to try out some of my creative ideas. Not only that, they were inspired by the ideas I offered, and had even more ideas to contribute. Each shoot that I was a part of was serving my content creation goals, down to every last detail
Not only did I invest through styled shoots, I invested into my real weddings. Every once in a while, we all get a wedding inquiry that we are just a bit more excited about than the rest. Am I right? The kind where you can visualize it, and not only does it excite your creative side, but you know that it is going to be a great portfolio piece. These are the weddings you need to single out and give it your all. I did this, not only by proposing ideas to take designs to a new level, but by investing a bit of my own money into these weddings.
Let’s stop here for a second. It is important that you are careful about how you approach this strategy. There are of course industry standards and you want to make sure that you are pricing things fairly and accurately as to not disrupt the market trend. But you can “embellish” the creations on the day of. For example, I never promise a bride an installation for $1000 that is actually valued at $2000. I am selling her an installation for $1000 that is valued at $1000. But on the day of, I invest throw in a bit more into it so that it presents like a $2000 installation. The bride never knew she was getting a deal, because it wasn’t like I was underquoting. I quoted her for what she ordered and what she could afford. But on the day of, I blew her away. No bride is going to complain about getting more than they ordered - in fact, they gave me glowing reviews, which only helped my business more.
Think about it like Ike a caterer throwing in a few extra appetizer choices or an additional side on the day of the wedding as a courtesy. Or a photographer throwing in a couple free prints. If a client is paying a good amount, you want to give them the best service. Sometimes not being too stingy can also be spun to help achieve your business goals at the same time.
Just something to think about. Yes, I did it invest a little money of my own, but it changed my business rapidly.
With this new mindset, I was motivated again. My work was full of life again, and I was doing work that excited me. Creating things I wanted to create. My enthusiasm showed in my work and my social media presence increased because I was actively doing work I was excited about.
Step 4. Share that New, Impressive Content
This is the step where I really started to see results - once I started posting and sharing the work I was doing. Each styled shoot I did was shared by all of the other vendors involved, which of course helped get that work circulating. But it wasn’t just about the circulation of some image - it was the content WITHIN that image that was stopping people in their tracks. Because I was shooting for the moon now, not just making a cute centerpiece to get a photo, these photos were actually making an impact.
My inbox began to flood with inquiries from brides with higher budgets, with a style and taste that aligned with my own. I was finally getting the weddings that I wanted, and it’s because of the work that I was sharing. It gave the brides confidence that I could create their vision.
And so we end with Step 5…which is obviously our goal in all of this…
Step 5. Attract Your Dream Client
If you are going to invest money in your business, invest into your work. Invest into the creations that you are putting out there for the world to see. Because THAT is what sets you apart, and THAT is what is going to attract YOUR dream client.
Obviously there are many more strategies out there, but this is one thing that really worked for me and gave me results. This is a visual industry after all, and people want to SEE pretty things. It doesn’t mean we should lose sight of the things that are really important in life - which go beyond appearance - it is simply a business strategy. And I hope you will try it and see if it works for you like it did for me.
So, are you ready to get out of that creative funk and start booking your dream clients? This structure worked for me and I know that it can work for you too! And the beauty of this model is not only will you continue to attract the type of business you want, but it will also keep you inspired and motivated, which is what we all want right??
I hope you will try these simple steps and and see where it takes you. Remind yourself why you started on this passion journey in the first place: your art. Remember the artist that you are, and don’t settle for mediocre work. Not only will you be investing in yourself and in your art, but most importantly, you will finally be showing the world what you can do!
And that, my friends, is priceless.