This is part 2 of my blog series about creative rhythm and how it can help you develop a marketing practice. You can read part 1 here.
One of the common themes that I hear from clients is that they don’t know where to start when developing their marketing strategy and plans. They’re overwhelmed.
Marketing as a creative entrepreneur is not about “the numbers” and blanketing as many people with your message, services and products. It’s about finding the right people and talking with them, finding out what they need and delivering something that you can give that meets a need or solves a problem.
That’s the left brain approach, which doesn’t help the entrepreneur who is stuck. Who wants to hear that?
To be honest, the stuck entrepreneur actually hears blah target market blah blah deliver blah blah blah get results. As you can tell, this is scientifically proven!
marketing as a gentle, playful practice
In my own development as an entrepreneur, it’s been a process stepping from behind the corporate marketing consulting role (and resulting anonymity) and bringing myself and my business visibility in a more public way. I’ve found it to be challenging and rewarding and frustrating and exciting.
As a self-described creativity retreat junkie, I’ve practiced and cultivated being in retreat, being silent and contemplative and being in many creative environments. I find myself integrating all these experiences as a business person.
I’ve started approaching marketing as a practice, taking small steps in the beginning and layering a little more, bit by bit, as I developed confidence and capacity. The word “practice”, for me, takes away the pressures of perfection and frees up the creative process. After all, marketing can be a creative way to express ourselves and our ideas. It can be fun, too!
(On that note, be sure to read my announcement at the end of this post.)
Maybe you already have a practice in your life where you experience flow. Piano practice. Yoga practice. Prayer or meditation practice. Running. Knitting. A writing or creative practice. You showing up to the piano, mat, church, meditation cushion, track, blank page or canvas.
You play your instrument and practice your particular art.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of not having to perform, be perfect, to play has changed the way I think about marketing efforts. Yes, there is still fear. Yes, there is still doubt. But I accept that as part of my particular creative process…and it has less power and influence over me. Imagine that!
Finding your own practice which resonates with you is one way to bridge the overwhelm. Clients relax into this and we get to a more creative state of mind.
creative rhythm + a healthy relationship with the soul of your business
Marketing is about showing up, consistency and delivering the goods. As an entrepreneur, it’s also about having healthy, clear relationship with the soul and spirit of your business and with the people you serve.
Part of this relationship is about your relationship with you and honoring your creative rhythm. Sometimes you’ll be in creation mode and sometimes you won’t be motivated at all. Noticing and accepting your rhythms, or patterns, and the rhythm, or cycle, of your market, helps you determine your planning for a day, week, month and even a whole year’s cycle. Pairing your creative rhythm with your marketing practice motivates you to take small, consistent action. I find I am not fighting or questioning myself at each step of the way as much as I used to.
These are some of the parameters that only you know about yourself. As an entrepreneur, you have the ability to apply these to decisions in a conscious way that is in alignment with your values, natural rhythm and tendencies and who you are, right now, not who you think you need to be or should be.
In the next playful marketing expedition, we’ll be focusing on building our relationship with our business via a special “playbooking” session. It will be a lot of fun! Registration is not open yet, but you can sign up for the expedition notification list here.
I’m excited to be doing my first giveaway! If you signed up for my occasional newsletter, you already know this, but Lisa Sonora Beam, author of The Creative Entrepreneur, has given me a free spot in her 8-week online Creative + Practice class to give away to one of my blog readers, Twitter followers or Facebook…likers!
Lisa has been an inspiration since I attended her Creative Entrepreneur Retreat in Mexico. I wrote a little bit about the experience here. Her work as a businesswoman and working artist has influenced my own development and connection to my marketing work. In this class, she shares her personal creative practice through weekly videos and emails with digestible homework.
All you have to do is leave a comment (even a “Hello”) below or on my creative rhythm blog post, on my Facebook Page or Tweet me by Friday, May 11, 2012 at 9 am Pacific to be eligible. (Registration is open to everyone for $147. The class starts Monday, May 14.)
I’ll choose a random winner, so no worries about leaving a “good enough” comment. If you are the lucky winner, I’ll contact you via email or Facebook message.
Spring is my favorite season. Seeds and bulbs buried in the soil break the surface and unfurl to greet the longer days. Barren fruit trees invite bees to shake & shimmy in pollen or sip nectar among fragrant blossoms.
My creative energy seems to follow the seasons. I’m more energized in the spring than I am in the throes of winter, for example. As I come alive in the spring–a time I consider my “new year”–I have creative energy to take on new opportunities and partnerships and create new offerings.
As entrepreneurs, we can make conscious choices about how to run our businesses, depending on which business stage we’re in.
pay attention to your creative rhythm
Your creative rhythm is critical information to knowing how you want to run your business. Do you pay attention to your own particular creative rhythm?
What is your daily rhythm? When are you energized? When do you feel like taking a nap? (Do you let yourself take a nap? I’m pro-nap!)
Take stock of when you do and don’t have energy over a week, a month, a quarter, a year. Do you notice any patterns?
Observe. Write it down. Take notes.
overlay your creative rhythm with market seasonality
Once you know a little bit about your creative rhythm, you can take this information and combine it with your knowledge of the seasonality of your business. It’s not all about self-work and personal development, though it’s an important process!
If you’re a life coach, January is a great month to help new clients reach their goals. What can you prepare you or your business for new clients in January?
In many businesses, big and small, summer tends to be slower than other times of the year. Is there a way to be proactive about the summer slump? Can you use this time to create offerings for the fall? Or can you do something at other times of the year to mitigate the inevitable slow times?
This is just one way to think about your creative rhythm, but it’s a foundational element of how you want to structure your business.
don’t go changing…to try to please me
Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t suggested you be more productive, wake up earlier, or change anything in your current schedule. I’m not asking you to change a thing, because you are already good enough, perfect enough and smart enough to market your business as you are.
This is the first in a series about the importance of honoring your creative rhythm in creating a sustainable marketing practice for you and your business.