Working as a color professional might mean contracting gigs for other businesses, like consulting in a designer showroom or a paint store, or working for an interior design or architecture firm. Stagers, interior designers, interior decorators, and paint contractors also include color consulting on their menu of services. If you’re like me, it means going solo as a solopreneur building and working with your own clientele.
Odds are you have the creative down – no problem there – in fact, you have so much creativity it can be a challenge to stay focused on just one thing. Odds are also good that you suck at sales and marketing your business.
Be honest, if you could choose one of these two assignments, which would you choose? If you want, share in the comments below and tell us why.
- Your assignment is to create something. You have one hour. No rules. No specifications. Just make something. Write, draw, macramé, cook, corral paint chips into random palettes – whatever. The assignment is at the end of the hour you have to have made something.
- Your assignment is to sell an hour of your services. You have one hour to sell one hour of your services. Blast an offer out to your email list, make phone calls, contact old clients, go knock on doors. Whatever it takes, you just have to invoice and collect for one hour’s worth of services.
What would you choose?
I worked in a commissioned sales environment for over a decade. I know people who would jump at Option 2 and actually be excited about it. Option 1 would make them want to stick a fork in their eyes. The superstar salespeople would hit the ground running fully intending to sell more than just one hour of services and most of them would absolutely do it.
As for myself, Option 1. All day long. Sometimes the amount of creative work I am able to produce in one hour astounds even me. Don’t assume that’s a brag about my creative talents. It’s not. I simply have the ability to leave reality and melt into my own creative microcosm where no one and nothing else exists. It’s my happy place for sure. When you grow up, you realize that you can’t spend all day in your happy place. Because – bills, kids, dogs, husbands, groceries, miles on the treadmill trying to outrun a fat ass, age, Father Time, etc.
When you want to monetize your passion for color, you realize some things even more poignant:
- You MUST melt into your happy space in order to PRODUCE things and/or curate opinions of value for which you can charge money.
- However, you MUST balance the time you spend in your happy place creating with the time you spend MARKETING what it is you are extraordinary at producing.
That, my friends, is a harsh reality for a creative soul to embrace.
Hiring someone to do sales and marketing for you is an option. However, that still will not get you completely out of the self-promotion loop because that person you hire now works for you. They will require you to take time outside of your happy place to inform, guide, and direct them as well as maintain an ongoing, feedback-based conversation. Even so, delegating can be a huge help.
When I was in my happy place building Camp Chroma, I often thought about how I was going to market and sell the color professional training that I was authoring.
I found a course-building mentor to help me figure out not only how to construct an effective online learning environment but also how to do the sales and marketing. Here’s how that worked out. The struggle is real, people. Not my jam.
Building the learning environment involved hours and hours in my happy place and it indeed makes me happy. I have determined Camp Chroma is a living, breathing entity that will forever be evolving — and that’s fine with me.
Even with a good mentor guiding me, I still dislike figuring out the sales and marketing. Like all the services you’re advised to employee. Like what you ask? I shall tell you via a list:
- Webinar service
- Landing page service
- CRM which stands for Customer R-something (don’t know/don’t care) Management
- Fancy, self-hosted shopping cart gateway
- Professional sales video producer
- Facebook Ads expert
It wore me out. After I got Camp Chroma built, I was tapped for energy. Nevertheless, with the stakes and risk high, I entered the marketing battlefield and it pushed me over the edge.
Color me done.
I promptly fell back into old habits. Which can be summed up with, “Shut up and get out of my way, I’ll do it myself.”
So, that’s where I am. I’m doing it all myself. . . for now. As a result, Camp Chroma is pretty much all I talk about. It’s all I talk about because it occupies the majority of my happy place and it has for over a year now.
The latest accomplishment was to retool the landing page for Camp Chroma. It’s a huge accomplishment for me because it’s all about the sales and marketing stuff at which I do not excel nor care for.
Updates on the landing page include: got rid of the stupid video, changed colors, changed the message and details. If you’re interested you can check it out, here’s the link. Camp Chroma
Can guarantee it’s not the last time that page changes because even after making a boatload of changes based on feedback and suggestions from online marketing experts, there are still a lot of things that would make it better. Oh wait, the correct marketing term, I believe, is convert. Let me rephrase, there are still a lot of things that would make it convert better.
See there, I really am committed to learning about online sales and marketing. Just so happens I’m doing it very publicly with Camp Chroma. There were moments when I wondered what in the world I was thinking investing so much time, effort, and money into creating an online training platform with no clue what to do with it after it was built. And that was part of the problem.
I got sick and tired of thinking about it. So, I’m just freaking doing it.
Surely, I am not the only color professional that struggles with the sales and marketing aspects of their business? Am I?