It all started years back with a love for creativity, no flippin’ clue where to start and a big dream to never, not EVER do office-suit-cubicle work life.
That’s how my tiny creative business started. I’m guessing it might sound familiar to you, no?
One of several brands I’ve founded since that scary start, Artisan Events, is a creative service-based business and now well over $5m. The studio is currently tipping near the 8-figure mark in creative service income and counting. These 5 key lessons are timeless take-aways for any smart entrepreneur building a business that stands the test of time and profits.
Happy clients over everything.
Sometimes the simplest philosophy can have the greatest impact on your profits. Putting your client’s success and happiness at the core of every decision you make will only help you grow your business exponentially. Serve and love them hard—not only does it feel good to make great work for great people, it works.
Make them feel like hiring you is the best decision they ever made.
Now, you’re going to have some unhappy clients. It’s part of the process. You need to make sure you treat every client the same—even the unsatisfied ones. Actually, especially them! Your unhappy clients can and should be converted into your biggest fans if you handle their objections and complaints the right way.
I know my business would not have lasted two super successful decades if I wasn’t obsessed with my client’s experience and ultimately their happiness.
Slow and steady works. Don’t feel pressure to rush into anything on your journey. And try to focus always on your long-term strategy instead of reacting to short-term problems.
You don’t have to be the biggest, baddest, coolest biz-kid with the biggest team, best space, and the flashiest website to sign $5 million in service-based contracts.
In fact, you can and should build your business lean. Rent what you need to start, hire freelancers, start where you are—your long game means you’re making profits not just money. Walk before you run. Don’t spend all those hard-earned dollars on sh*t that doesn’t do anything for your long game.
And trust your instincts—if something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right or maybe just not the right time.
What should you diversify you ask? Eventually…EVERYTHING. Teams, services, offers, traffic, revenue streams—all of it.
In baby-steps cause you can’t do it all overnight, K? I hear you. It’s a lot to do but just know we all start at zero everything. Heck, I started at -$25,000.00 when I opened my first business with a loan the bank wouldn’t even give me without a co-signer I was so far below zero. (Thanks, Dad!)
So, back to baby-business-steps. If you’re a service-based business, you want every client that can’t-wait-to-work with you able to hire your company even if you’re “not available”. I eventually solved this problem in my first service-business by building an associate-style team.
Diversify the offers you create for your clients, too. You want to give your dream clients multiple ways to spend money with you. It’s 1000x times easier to get an existing client to spend money than a new one. So, yup—you eventually, remember baby-steps, want multiple offers.
Finally, diversify your traffic and referral sources. You want marketing systems built around paid advertising and word-of-mouth referrals. Depending on one source of client traffic is a quick way to die fast in business—you don’t want one algorithm shift to kill your business overnight. Yeah, that can actually happen.
It’s all work. (Truth-time: even the passive revenue is work.)
This life—growing and building a successful business—it’s hard work. And yes, even the passive revenue machines take work to build, test and refine.
It is not for the faint of heart. Long hours. Dedication. Grit. Money. Eating sh*t. Putting your ego in a locked closet. All of these things are mandatory for success. If you’re looking for an easy job—this is not where you should be shopping.
But, it’s extremely rewarding, highly profitable, and when you use smart strategies like I teach in Get Super Paid, you can design a business you love with your whole heart around how you choose to live your life. That makes the hard stuff a whole lot easier.
The teeniest part of the work…
You decide to be turn your creative secret sauce into a business— boom! Hooray!
Newsflash: This does not mean they will just show up, hire you, and the money will miraculously flow. Nope.
Attracting, landing and keeping dreamboat buyers and convincing them to keep buying on a consistent basis is the biggest part of your job.
So, marketing and sales—that’s what you’ll spend a majority of your time doing. That’s what you have to get really good at—fast. That’s why I created Get Super Paid to help creators, freelancers and service-based entrepreneurs like you skip over the WTFAID-feeling we all have when it comes to selling and get super comfy pitching your genuis juice to the world (and getting paid). After that, there are lots of other skills to learn, too. You probably already figured out since you’re here…the creative-passion-y part that got your started down this path is the teeny, crunchy bite inside your business candy bar. Mmm—who wants a candy bar now?
Silver lining time! There’s a lot of other juicy, creative activities in so many areas of your business. You might, like me, learn over time you love other parts of your business just as much as your original passion-project that started the whole thing.
Wherever your biz journey takes you—enjoy it.