Summer Ponderings

Hello!!

Some little thoughts before we go away to Tom’s wedding (Ben’s best mate) in the US tomorrow!

Something on our minds lately has been the expansion of the little art business. We figured out that if I can sell an average of nine paintings a month (or eight paintings and four pieces of jewellery…) then we could easily afford to both cut down to working 3-day weeks, which would be the ideal lifestyle with some time and energy to get back into voluntary work and some of the other things that we feel very passionate about. However, until this month I’d sold on average just one painting every five or six months. Then, over the past two months or so I’ve put a considerable amount of time and effort into the marketing side (web development, social media promotions, special discounts, business cards etc) and suddenly this month we sold SEVEN paintings in a month. Fluke, yes – but still exciting.

Since this little business began to grow and I began putting time into marketing the paintings, I have been seeing all sorts of adverts for business coaching and mentoring. So I have over the past month read about fifty blog posts with business advice, and participated in seven or eight ‘webinars’ (online seminars) claiming to give me the keys to a successful business. All of those webinars went the same way, and none of them were anywhere near as useful as the blog posts which took a fraction of the time to get through.

The webinars would take this format, almost without fail (though the specifics and details would vary):

– I PROMISE YOU that this Webinar will answer your business questions and give you the keys, the tools, the specific steps and everything else you will need to make your business thrive like mine has done. All other business advice, webinars and blogs have told you the wrong things – I will tell you the RIGHT THINGS and you will succeed and be very wealthy very quickly, with very little effort.

– WITH THESE TOOLS think of what you will be able to do! You could buy a huge house! You could pay all your kids and then grandkids through university! You could get a sports car!

– LOOK AT MY LIFE. Five years ago I was in a small flat and in a 9-5 job, not enjoying myself. Now, I’m in a mansion! Look at the size of my house! Here are some holiday pictures from my fifth extravagant holiday this year! Look at how wealthy and happy and free I am!

– YOU CAN BE LIKE ME. It’s possible for you. You just need to learn from me and follow the advice I’m about to give you. You need this lifestyle!! You were not born to work a 9-5 job! You were born to be rich without having to exert any effort! You’re worth it!

– [Some vague piece of advice, after a lot of waffle – such as ‘Value your customers’, or ‘Believe in your product’, or ‘Live the wealthy lifestyle, and then the business will grow and you will become wealthy’, or ‘Get better advertising’, or ‘Cut out the people and influences that bring you down or don’t benefit your business.’ Some of this advice was common sense, and some of it a load of rubbish. Either way it wasn’t worth the hour and a half that I’d lost by this point, having naively believed that their ‘one huge tip’ would change everything, as promised….]

– WHAT YOU REALLY NEED is to invest in your business. To value, and love, and believe in your business. You need to invest in my business coaching – for the tiny (and heavily reduced!) sum of £2000 I can talk you through the exact process, the exact steps I undertook to make my fortune, so that you don’t make the mistakes I made. You need this.

– IF YOU DON’T TAKE MY OFFER then it shows you don’t believe in your business. You don’t actually care whether it takes off. You secretly quite like being stuck in your 9-5 job every day. You aren’t brave enough to invest and watch that business grow. This needs to change. Growth only comes after a risk; a step of faith; an investment. Without my coaching you will go nowhere – but with it I can make you a millionaire within six months. Think what you will do with that money! Think how your life will be different! And think what you would have missed out on if you pass up this amazing opportunity.

Seriously. Every webinar I saw. Without fail. The first thing that comes to my mind (maybe yours too!) on hearing that punchline is that the speaker has already broken the first extravagant promise they made – that the webinar will be not only helpful but will change my life and give me the tools to dramatically and quickly expand the business (it did neither) – so after investing an hour and a half of my life to be let down by this person, why would I invest my little hard-earned savings, my finances, to be let down even more?

It made me think that business coaches are a bit like drug dealers – especially those who coach people in ‘coaching businesses’ (which at least half of the webinars I watched were for). The process is this – they get people to believe that what they’re doing and the way they’re living is amazing and wonderful and worth pursuing. So, eventually, people believe it and get involved. They pay money in order to be like the coach, to live like the mentor and participate in the same things in the same way. But there’s one problem – they can’t afford it; they can’t make it pay. So, eventually, they start their own coaching business to earn money in order to pay their coach or mentor. They then become the coach, talking overly-positively about their lifestyle in order to get people signing up and paying for their advice. And so it goes on. Not really something I’d particularly like to be involved in, to be honest.

I have received some helpful advice through online blogs though – mostly just common sense, still, but it has helped even so. One example is that a successful business must have a USP (unique selling point), to make the brand recognizable and to put on the advertising in order to get ahead of the generic competition. I began wondering about my art USP. I definitely have a distinctive style – or so several people tell me – but what to name that? How to advertise that? How to make that consistent enough to make the USP generate sales? I don’t yet know.

Another tip that I see everywhere is that a businessperson’s duty is to give people what they want – then they’ll buy into it. People WANT artwork – sometimes – but often don’t have the wall space for it or already have lots of nice artwork so need no more. Hmm…

 

Along similar lines, I’ve been thinking about advertising. At the moment I just advertise with the product itself – I’ll post pictures of the painting on social media, perhaps with a nice story to make it more personal, and a catchy title – but no advertising slogan. This technique works fine for existing customers, and those who know me already as a friend or family member – but not so well with the general public. What slogan would I say? “Art is what you need in life! Buy some of mine!” … “Plain walls at home? Let’s change that!” … “Colourful paintings here! I think you’ll like them!” …It doesn’t quite work in the same way as advertising something that people are looking for, such as a hairdresser or a builder or whatever it may be. It is HARD to get ahead or successful in the world of art.

That whole process got me thinking about my approach. It’s only recently that I’ve considered it a business at all. I still (until next week, anyway!) work full-time as well, so I don’t consider myself a businesswoman by any stretch of the imagination. And I certainly don’t have the motivation or resources to pay for advertising; I’ve done it all for free so far and don’t plan to change that. But at one point last week I wondered if that was where I was going wrong – if I should start paying for advertising and become a ‘real business’. I came to the conclusion that, at least for now, I’d rather remain a person, a friend, a human being, than a businesswoman. Think about it – how many adverts do you pass on the street or scroll past on the phone or computer – and how many do you end up engaging with and supporting or using their services? BUT if a friend or family member were to start up a small business, you might be more interested in hearing about it or even buying something, one day. That’s the way I’ve worked so far – most of my paintings have been sold to people who know me, and just recently I’ve sold some to friends of friends; people who have seen me recommended by people who know me. So, for me, this is the way forward at this stage. No hardcore paid advertising with catchy slogans to get people involved. Just the slow process of painting and advertising and seeing who out of my contacts might like to buy a painting next, or recommend me to someone. So we’re unlikely to be cutting down to three-day working weeks any time soon, though that would be the dream – but we’ll see where it goes.

Thanks for walking with us! Watch this space! (Or buy a painting – haha!)
P.S. No – we haven’t given up on the missionary idea!! We’ll see when that will happen 🙂

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Summer Ponderings

  1. The last two paintings we bought (not yours, sorry) were hanging in a cafe in Skipton with price tags on. I think the cafe took a % of sale price? We went in because we wanted lunch! We went back, and bought the second picture, because we liked the food.
    Know any good cafés with wall space near you?

    • Hi Jane,

      I did put eight paintings in a local cafe last year for four months which was great fun (no sales though) and then got in touch with many, many other cafes within driving distance but none of them seemed at all interested. Do you know any cafes that might be interested?

      Kat

  2. An email I received the other day after leaving a webinar just as she started that final stage of trying to persuade me to invest in her coaching….

    URGENT: Please open BEFORE NOON

    I’m worried.

    Grace here…

    I’m in a rush and a bit emotional as I write
    this to you.

    I’m afraid you’ve decided not to get my
    Special Editon: Workshop Project with
    all the limited-time bonuses because of
    the investment.

    Let’s face it, $1997 may seem like a lot to
    swing. Even with payment programs.

    And today, more than ever, we need to be
    careful with our money.

    I watch my money like a momma duck
    watches over her ducklings.

    Here’s why I’m a bit emotional though…

    And I hope you’ll hear me out?

    It’s rare that a week goes by that I don’t
    get someone that messages me on FB,
    sends me an email, or even sends me a
    gift because of how my Workshop Project
    system has changed their life.

    I’ve lost count of how many nice notes,
    messages and testimonials I’ve got.

    But, here’s what I desperately want to get
    across to you right now…

    What if they had decided not to make that
    initial investment with me?

    What would NOT investing have cost them?

    What would it have cost their families?

    What would have it cost them in precious time?

    You see…

    Our BIGGEST expense in life is not so much
    what we spend, but our biggest expense is the
    money we COULD be making and the life we
    COULD be living, but we’re not.

    Are you getting a sense of that for yourself?

    I know I’ve been throwing around some pretty
    fat numbers.

    It’s because I’ve been around the block so
    many times, I know earning $10k or more from
    putting on FUN, ½ day workshops, online or off,
    is totally doable for you.

    It’s a very LUCRATIVE business model.

    It’s easy to increase the profits in your business with
    workshops when you’ve got my proven processes, tools,
    and step-by-step use of everything I’ve already learned,
    crafted, and honed for you to use right away.

    But let’s do this…

    Let’s ditch those numbers for a moment.

    Forget the big numbers.

    My first goal for you is $5000 from your first
    ½ day FUN workshop. (In person OR online.)

    If you’ll commit just 4-5 hours per week
    of QUALITY TIME to put my system in
    place… $5000 for every ½ day workshop
    doesn’t have to be very hard at all.

    (You just have to follow my PROVEN
    processes and systems, step-by-step.)

    And if my math is right?

    EVEN IF you just earn $5000 for each
    workshop you put on… And you can
    manage to put on only 1 per month?

    That’s $60,000 a year, extra.

    Yeah?

    $5,000 a month may not be a lot by
    some people’s standards.

    But that’s also $60,000 a year which
    is YOURS to keep or spend as you wish.

    Don’t know what you might do with it?

    Could you buy a new ride? (Decent,
    reliable transportation. Or, splurge on
    something fun and sexy?)

    Could you pay off some credit cards?

    Could you put a down payment on your
    dream home?

    Could be a fantastic “Plan B” retirement
    plan if you’re behind the 8-ball as things
    stand right now?

    Maybe… You’ve got kids going to college?

    (Would $60,000 help pay for a couple days?) 🙂

    So, here’s why I’m feeling so emotional
    right now…

    At NOON TODAY…

    If you do nothing…

    Sure, you might “save”
    $1997.

    But at what cost?

    (Or, until NOON you can get started for as
    little as $797)

    Do you want to give up $60,000 a year?

    Maybe more?

    Maybe a LOT MORE.

    I’m saying this from the heart.

    And I truly hope it’s coming across that way.
    I just KNOW because I’ve seen over and over
    what a good person with a little commitment
    can do when they put my systems to good use
    for themselves.

    Even if they’re starting with little to no
    experience, with nothing but the WILLINGNESS
    to be led and shown exactly what to do.

    Even by focusing on this for just 4-5 hours a
    week. Time set aside FOR YOU to create
    something wonderfully fantastic.

    I’ve got proof out the wazoo that this works.

    And…

    I know testimonials are “nice” and all, but…

    In short…

    You want to know if it will WORK FOR YOU?

    I’m glad you don’t just take my word for it.

    I realize I could write you a document as long
    as a Jane Austen book, and I couldn’t convince
    you with WORDS alone.

    So, may I make a bold suggestion?

    Do NOT decide now.

    You can get 100% complete access to The
    Workshop Project, all of my BONUSES and my
    PERSONAL HELP on a trial basis.

    Just give me an honest to goodness try.

    If you aren’t 100% HAPPY with your results. If
    you’re DOING the work, but for some unique
    reason, this system isn’t working FOR YOU…

    If you’re still not seeing how this can change the
    financial picture for you and your family…

    Then just let me know, and we’ll work closely together
    until you get your first super simple “Workshop
    Project” funnel, up and running for you 24/7/365…

    We’ll work together however long it takes. This
    will nearly FORCE you (in a good way) to make
    our partnership a raving success.

    Fair enough?

    Take me up on my trial in the next few hours and
    you can take the payment option and get full
    and instant access to your members area.

    You can be logged in and getting started within minutes.

    And oh I truly hope you do!

    I suspect many of my girls will make payments
    from their profits.

    Makes total sense because $5000 from your first
    TRY at this is just our FIRST milestone.

    And it won’t take us long to get there, if you’re ready
    to begin.

    What do you say?

    Can I count you in for one of the remaining spots?

    ===> Yes Grace! On that basis, I’m in!

    Happy Doing!
    X Grace

    PS You won’t be in this alone! You’ll be side by
    side with 1,000 + other female entrepreneurs
    who will have your back!

    With my system and a lot of smart, beautiful
    and SOULFUL women to help you, people
    have said it’s almost HARD to fail.

    Take me up on my guarantee/trial and see
    for yourself…

    ===> Yes, I’m giving this a GO!

    PPS Payment plan EXPIRES at NOON TODAY

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s