Thursday, January 1, 2015

How to sell an empty box OR: The Branded Lifestyles of Quirky Female Creatives

my screen shot of ad page from Creative Live, their photo. 

my screenshot from online streaming class. I went for a smiling one.

Recently, I spent about a week watching video classes from Creative Live. I RSVP'd and watched them for free during their initial broadcast.

Creative Live is an online training company; they produce classes on various subjects, mostly in the creative arts, out of two studios (Seattle and San Francisco). They recruit for the live studio audience on their website. There are printable materials you can download; in Ms Olin's case, she creates a very charming workbook you can refer back to later.

(I also reread this, which drives me crazy) 

It's not the content of these two classes that is bothering me.  Like so many day long events of this nature, there were bits that worked for me and bits that did not. Creative Live has a house style that is heavy on Power Point presentation, which puts me to sleep. There are lots of digital products that did not get discussed.
Your results may vary.

What bugs me is the pitch of so much in the crafting world: this is how to have a lifestyle on your terms doing things that encourage others to cultivate/buy a lifestyle of living on your/their terms. Throw in 'quirky' and 'creatives' as your target audience. And don't be coy: we are talking about selling to women in the audience. 

I know, I lost me there, too. What is your actual product?

"YOU! llc"!  

The empty box, with a handmade/homestyle patina. You are your product! 

Even Martha Stewart, who is her own brand, would call that out. She sells stuff with her name on it. Some of it might be useful. Some of it is overpriced. All of it is real stuff.
There's no 'how to build a business' here.  When you break the day long 'pitch' down, there's nothing but a Power Point presentation selling salesmanship.

Back in the eighties, my spouse traveled and did day long 'training' seminars that were sales pitches for more training seminars. Yes, there was a nasty brush with multilevel marketing and EST/The Forum; the ultimate multilevel religion.  Now he hires out as a marketing consultant. 

You don't have to love what you sell. You don't even have to know jack about it. You have to love the process, love the game. And you have to have something to sell that you don't mind selling out.

And here are some classics of that game you can pick up at the library, for free.

And they still work.

I sound like such a crank on this topic, but, there is nothing new under the sun. 

This book is a hoot. 

If you want to start a business based on what you create, look to regular business advice books and websites; most of the information you need is the same information small business owners have needed for years, and most of it is free. The media/medium changes but the message is the same: believe in yourself, believe in your product, and Pay Yourself First. If that means it's going to be a hobby for longer than you want, be okay with that and enjoy it for what it is. Hobbies are beautiful things. 

And if your business is going to be your lifestyle, don't be Scrooge.

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