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Somewhere, in a small (or I’d like to think, rather large) pocket of the internet lies a group of people who are deeply creative. Some might already call themselves business owners or entrepreneurs. Some are on their merry way.
These people, they see their online home as their art. They use it to paint a picture of what they feel inside. They are driven by self-expression, beauty and making the world a happier, more inspired place.
Is this you? Hello! I see you.
When you decide to take a chance at this online thing, you start off starry-eyed and hopeful. You’re going to help people! Inspire them! Make something of yourself!
But then, internet marketing happens.
I'm not making 6-figures, you realise.
All of a sudden, you feel stuck. You're not doing enough. Increasingly, you doubt your work’s value. Heck sometimes you doubt your value.
They’ve got you right where they want you. By the root chakra.
Online marketing in the coaching and creative ‘entrepreneurship’ world, as it stands, is designed to step on our greed glands. Consequently, through our marketing messages we’re influencing a generation of people - SMART, intuitive people who have creative gifts to share and are bold enough to share them - to feel behind and less-than before they’ve begun.
I can see how much of an impact the incessant promises of immediate riches is having on our beloved industry, and what it’s doing to our creativity and souls. And frankly, it breaks my heart.
You must do MORE! Be MORE! Earn MORE! - MOREMOREMORE!!! These messages are everywhere. In your inbox. In your Facebook feed. On Pinterest (oh, Pinterest - I fear for what you’re becoming). In the blogs you read.
Erryday, the same ol’ rags-to-riches stories selling puff programs at a vastly inflated price. You begin to question how content you are with your creative work, wondering if it’s of value if it’s not earning you six figures.
She's earning six figures. Maybe you should pack it in and start doing what she’s doing?
Now look, sometimes these messages are actually helpful. They show up as exactly what you need, exactly when you need them. They lead you to find the right mentor or the perfect program. And that’s great. (Truly, it is.)
But it's not always 'divine intervention'. Mostly, it's just good targeting. And when there's lots of people with good targeting and the same marketing, it's rather unhelpful. Particularly when you’re swamped, and yet you accidentally STILL buy your 10th course for the year (and let's be real, we never finished #1).
Online marketing geared towards business owners, in my eyes, is lacking something: Humanity, originality, consideration and substance.
Programs and advertisements are skipping relationships and offering 'quick fixes', inducing business owners to jump straight in and shoot for riches, as if that's the only thing that matters. They trigger scarcity that influences us to bypass the search for creative fulfillment, of finding what brings us alive.
But that’s the thing: Finding what brings us alive is where all the joy is. And isn’t that what we’re in it for in the first place? To do more of what we love?
What if passion came before (though not instead of) profit when it came to our creative process?
What if, we continued to follow the lead of our intuition toward what brings us true soul-level satisfaction?
What if we trusted the wisdom of our mind, soul and body and in the process, discovered our creative essence?
This way of doing things is powerful, and it feels really, really good.
So how do we fix it?
How do we avoid falling in this trap, too? How do we market ourselves share our work/art to our audiences with the respect they so deserve?
And similarly, how do we avoid falling prey to being marketed to in this way ourselves? (We’re sensitive, yo. That energy seeps into our psyche and lodges itself inside us - and that shiz ain’t cool).
We engage with our power.
First, we take control. We filter the messages we consume and the advertising we allow into our lives. We chose who we allow to influence us wisely. Unfollow button? Best invention on Facebook ads everrrrr.
We spend wisely. Buy all means, we can buy the programs and the formulas. (After all, our mate Ben Franklin told us ‘an investment in knowledge pays the best interest). Sometimes, they help.
- We go inward. Critically, we establish our creative flame and inner-connection with ourself. We develop a body of work that we're immensely proud of. Without it, no amount of formulas will sustain us for business in the long-haul.
- We go outward. We connect through our humanity. Over what makes us real: our quirks, our vulnerabilities, our personality, our desire to serve, our desire to inspire, our desire to live quietly, our desire to live large, our obsession over fruit loops and our guilty pleasure, watching the Kardashians (I know, I know).
- We stay where the magic is. We remember that we can trust ourselves.
Things to know:
Creativity is a non-linear process. You’ll be required to go deep and explore the crevasses of your soul. Sometimes you will achieve success right away. That’s amazing. Sometimes you won’t. You’re doing fine too, keep going.
At first, it might not be as easy. A creative business doesn’t always fit formulas. It doesn’t fit in molds.
Like the first bite of a perfectly ripe peach, there’s a sweetness to money earned from your creations. We should be working smart and strategically to earn more of it. We don't shy away from money.
Money, in the right hands (your hands) is a positive energy and will help elevate your life and business, helping you to extend your impact to a wider sphere of people who will benefit from your work.
But, also: We have permission to not earn six figures in our first year. We have permission to not earn six figures in our fifth year. We have permission to not earn six figures ever. We have permission to wildly exceed six figures, whenever. But also, we have permission to not talk about our figures online. Ever.
And whereto from here?
I believe we can do better.
I believe we can invest in our stories. That we can learn to mine our hearts and experiences and pull out the gold for sharing.
I believe we can bring our humanity to the table. We can create genuine connection and provide real value. We can do it our way.
We can dig deep into ourselves, discovering the unique gifts and perspectives that are us. This is how we connect.
So what if we choose to take back our power? What if we chose to strengthen the connection to ourself?
Trust that you have within you a powerful creative force. Allow that force to guide you to your best, heartfelt work.
If you’re building a business or developing creative projects, remember that the three strongest assets available to you are your humanity, creativity and connection.
Love people genuinely and love them hard (do that and you’ll never have to market yourself hard anyway). Create from a full cup. Switch off from the noises of the outside world from time to time, and tune into you.
What’s your heart saying?
What’s it yearning to explore, purely for the love of it?
What’s it willing to create?
I fully believe that when you focus first on filling yourself with inspiration you become a powerful force, because the energy of inspiration is the most powerful creative force in the world.
And while the creative route isn’t always the fastest route, sometimes it’s what you learn on the journey that matters most anyway.
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