Twelve Marketing Mistakes Creative Entrepreneurs Make Part 1

marketing mistakes

marketing mistakes12 Marketing Mistakes Creative Entrepreneurs Make – Part 1

If you are going to effectively grow your business, then there are twelve marketing mistakes you should be aware of. You will not grow your business beyond your current revenue level if you don’t effectively learn how to market yourself and the services you offer.

How do I know this? Because I have made may of these mistakes and watched my creative clients make all of them as well. When you become an entrepreneur, it’s usually because you are passionate about what you do – whatever gifts and talents you have, services you provide and products you create. If you are reading this, it may be because you have many talents but marketing isn’t one of them.

What I have discovered in my 15 years as a creative entrepreneur is that marketing is a mindset that you have to cultivate on a daily basis. If you don’t become comfortable with the idea of marketing, you won’t build a profitable business, you will just have a hobby!

Let me share the story of Tom and his brother with you in order to illustrate where we are going in this chapter. Tom wrote, “My brother and I decided one of the ways we would make money for ourselves was to create a lawn-cutting business. Being the astute and smart person that I was, I decided I would figure out how to build the best lawn-care business I could. I made sure I had a really good lawn mower. I actually turned the lawn mower over and made sure I had the sharpest blades. I knew if I created a pattern for doing people’s lawns and made that lawn look great, I’d have a great business and I could make myself some money.

My younger brother, Stan, on the other hand, borrowed whatever lawn mowers he could find. He would often borrow lawn mowers from the people whose lawn he mowed. Within about two weeks, Stan was cutting lawns for six people around the city. While I was still trying to figure out how to sharpen my blade, my brother was raking in the money. What I realized very quickly and what I learned from my brother, which bothered me because he was my younger brother, was that he had all this money coming in and he’d created this really cool business. While he was making money, I was focused on building my lawn-care business. He was focused on marketing his lawn care services.

While I was cleaning my lawn mower, he was knocking on people’s doors, saying, ‘We’ve got this cool business.’ He had so much business he was hiring people in his class to help him. That’s the difference. If you don’t get that, eventually you’ll end up like I did, sitting by the side of the road with no business because I didn’t know how to market myself.”

Tom learned several valuable lessons that summer that illustrate the massive mistakes that creative entrepreneurs make. The key difference between Tom and his brother was mindset. By the end of this blog series, I hope you create a whole new mindset about yourself as a marketer.

I guarantee that this is the secret to your business success!

Marketing Mistake #1 – Not seeing yourself as a marketer.

The fundamental mistake creative entrepreneurs make is that they don’t see themselves in the business of marketing their service or product. They just see themselves as a business owner or service provider, whatever the job is that they do. The truth is that you are a marketer. If you don’t see yourself as a marketer, you’ll never grow your business.

I would imagine that you started your business because you believe you have the credentials, gifts, talents, and passion for helping people. I know that’s why I’m in business—to be of service to others. But being a coach, artist, therapist, writer, graphic designer, or whatever the work is that you do as a creative entrepreneur is not the business you’re in. You are in the business of marketing. Without marketing, you have no business.

Mistake #2 – Thinking that people care about you and your business.

I hate to tell you this, but nobody cares about your business. Doesn’t that make you feel good? Nobody cares about your business, your passion, or your credentials. One of the assumptions we creative entrepreneurs make is that people care about what we do. What I’ve discovered in my own businesses is this: people don’t care about the how, and they don’t care about my tools, training, or processes. What people care about is themselves. They care about their nagging pains, their problems, and their predicaments, what I fondly refer to  as the Three Ps.

Let me ask you why you are reading this blog series. If I can guess, it’s because you are not currently attracting as many clients or making as much money as you’d like. Am I right?

Your specific audience will only bother to think about you or what you can offer them if somehow you touch them where their pain is or where their problems are. The mistake many creative entrepreneurs make is thinking people will automatically care about what we’re offering in the world. People are looking for a solution to their problems. Your job as a marketer is to show them why your solution is the best one.

Mistake # 3 – Believing that because you have a business, you will get business.

I see this so often with clients of mine. They believe in the “field of dreams” model of business. You remember Field of Dreams, the movie? “If you build it, they will come.” The reality is people don’t come just because you build it. When I owned my publishing company, I would see this happen time after time. New business owners would spend tens of thousands of dollars to promote a grand opening, and no one would show up. They would send out thousands of mailers, put up balloons and banners, send out press releases, and pray that people would show up. Then they would realize that they had spent all their marketing dollars for an entire year on one event that didn’t drive people to their store, and they didn’t understand why. Grand openings are all about “Look at me! Look at what I built!” They are not focused on building relationships or solving problems for a specific group of people.

12 marketing mistakes

If you are reading this post and thinking it’s going to be a challenge to shift your mindset, then I want to invite you to join me for a 3 day live workshop in December where we will be focusing on money, marketing and mindset as we create our business plans for 2016. It’s called The Path to Profit: Design Your Roadmap to Success. You can get all of the details here:

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this series on twelve marketing mistakes that creative entrepreneurs make.

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  1. Nanette Levin on October 27, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Too funny, Minette – I’m working on a blog post right now with the working title “I hate selling.” Few realize marketing should be tons of fun. If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve seen your tip #3 true of so many business owners I’ve encountered. Love your tip #2 (sadly, you’re right – but that’s so easy to overcome if you make your message about them, not you).
    I never understood manipulative selling (and started my business during that era). It was so much easier (on the soul too) to build relationships than the groupthink at the time of bullying a customer into a sale. It’s funny how easily you can land an excited customer when you learn to ask the right questions, listen and are quick on your feet with providing ideas they can implement immediately.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • minette on October 30, 2015 at 7:58 am

      Will go and check out your blog post Nanette!! Great minds think alike 🙂

  2. […] marketing mistakes I see creative entrepreneurs make. If you missed part one, you can read it here. In my introduction yesterday I mentioned that you can’t grow your business if you […]

  3. Vatsala Shukla on October 29, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    I always enjoy reading your insightful posts, Minette. More power to your pen!

    I’ve recently seen the instance of the Tom and Stan story in real life and know that the 4 mistakes do exist. A few months back, a young man who used to take one of our car batteries for recharging to the main dealer of the battery brand decided to go into business for himself selling batteries and also offered the service of recharging. I learned about it when I suddenly received a call informing me of his business and I was happy for him but did not need to buy a new battery.

    However, I recently found out that his business was floundering because nobody is buying batteries from him! The market is competitive and had he done a bit of research, he would have realized that more planning was required to avoid Mistakes 2 and 3.

    I suspect his biggest mistake was the Build it and they will come one not realizing that customers will be nice to him when he comes from the brand company as their representative but may not transfer patronage to him.

    I’m looking forward to the next post!

    • minette on October 30, 2015 at 7:57 am

      Great story Vatsala, thank you so much for sharing!!

  4. […] that keep them stuck and stop them from making a profit in their business. You can read part one here or part two here. Being successful as a marketer requires consistency and learning what you […]

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