An infinite number of people in the business world preach that they have the magic answer to the question "how do I have a profitable business?" And they all have different formulas, e-courses, webinars, podcasts, Facebook groups, voodoo dolls, etc. As business owners, we will pay BIG money to see behind the success curtain. We will pay whatever it takes to learn the secret golden formula to have a profitable business of our own.
I have owned my own design business for 13 years. I have specialized in many areas of branding and provided many services. My offerings have changed and evolved as I have changed and evolved. My business has always made money, but it was never the profit range where I felt like it could be or should be. I always felt like I was going in circles.
After a 2 year sabbatical to raise my daughter, design work started to land in my lap again. It was make-or-break time to get real about my business. Was I interested in having a hobby or a business? I wanted a profitable, sustainable, legit business where I could use my time and talents to help empower other women entrepreneurs to achieve and exceed their own business goals and dreams. I wanted to give back to women in my community, both locally and digitally, so they could give back to their communities and better the world for all of us.
As a creative, it was not important to me at the time to learn about the "business" side of my business. That all changed. It had to. I started to conduct research and educate myself on how businesses really work, grow and meet profit goals.
All the experts say a lot of things, but they consistently repeat these 3 steps to creating, running and maintaining a profitable business.
1. Define your target audience
Do you know who is actually purchasing your products and services? Would you like to be reaching a different target audience? You must define and get to know your target audience in detail. Age range, education, income, etc. What are their likes and dislikes? What websites and competitors do they visit? Where do they shop? Workout? What do they eat? What are their values? Who do they look up to? Who do they trust and why?
Conduct research. Where are people learning about your business and website from? What format do they view your website in most? Desktop or mobile? Pinterest link or Google search? Check your Google Analytics on your website and your social media. Check your email subscriber list. Look at past clients. Market research and it is IMPERATIVE to running a successful business.
2. Identify their "pain points"
A "pain point" is something that your target audience is struggling with in their own lives or in their own businesses. Examples: They feel their website is out-of-date and does not properly inform their own target audience and they're unsure how to fix that. They are having trouble narrowing down their own target audience. They are moms struggling with life balance and don't know where to turn for help. They are women struggling with personal development and are overwhelmed where to begin to fix it. Etc.
Knowing your audience puts you in their direct circles on the internet and in your local communities. It helps you listen and learn first hand what they are struggling with. Knowing your target audience, helps you engage with them, and feel COMPASSIONATE and INVOLVED in their issues.
Compassion means truly knowing them and truly wanting to help serve them and make their lives more positive.
3. Create the EXACT solution for their "pain points"
Truly knowing your target audience helps you to identify exactly what they need and exactly what you can create to solve their problem. And they will be willing to pay for that product or service because they will feel like you read their minds and know how to help them.
You can create the most amazing products and services, but if there is not a NEED for them and they are not solving a "pain point" somewhere, chances are your business will not be successful or profitable.
But what about...
But what about art for the sake of art you ask? What about a painting or photograph just because it is beautiful? Of course create art and beautify the world! Please put that out there for us! But how can you help someone else with it and make a profit at the same time? Can you create a workshop and charge money for children and/or adults to learn to paint to relieve stress? Can you create an online course walking a virtual student though becoming a better photographer? Use your own time and talents to help solve someone's "pain point."
If you do not want to charge for your passion and are not making money, then it is a hobby, not a business. Your talents are special and unique and it is OK for you to charge for them.
Know your audience.
What are their "pain points?"
How can you help and get paid for it?
Get creative with the solution!
Do you know your target audience? What are their "pain points?" What product or service can you create right now to solve those "pain points?"