8 top tips to help creatives talk about what they do

Hi everyone, how are you doing? I hope you are snuggling up with a hot chocolate now the Autumn weather is arriving (in the UK anyway), and taking 10 minutes for yourself to read this month’s blog post!

Today I want to help you to feel comfortable about talking about what you do as a creative, which if you are like 99.5% of the creatives I know, will probably feel like the most un-natural and cringey thing to do…but I promise it needn’t feel like that.

This can apply to creatives just starting out, perhaps selling their creations online for the first time or just starting to build up a following on Instagram, as well as those who have been doing this longer but may be falling out of love with the process or are looking for new inspiration on how to talk about what they do.

So where do you begin?

Firstly, you need to address the following negative Nelly chatter, that may be chirping in your head and holding you back. I’ll give you an example of how this may go.

Jodie, age 41, who has a part-time job as a hospitality manager, particularly on the Wedding Services side, has been honing her skills as a lino print artist in her spare time. She’d like to set up a side business, developing lino printed stationery, starting with Wedding invitations, thank you cards and table setting products.

Where she’s at: Jodie has a following of around 300 on Instagram, mainly made up from family, friends and a few colleagues and this is the channel she focusses on. She has a small but strong network of contacts in the wedding industry – a great potential audience for her products.

Challenges:- time is precious, she has a busy family life, on top of her other job, and so when she can work on her side business, she needs to be efficient, and crack on but feels overwhelmed about what is needed to get her business really going. Selling herself and her business feels scary and a big task. She’d like to do more on Instagram but doesn’t have a particular strategy, more posting as and when she can and is unsure on what kind of content to post.

Thoughts:- What if my designs are not good enough? What if I get the social media side wrong? What if it goes better than I think and I don’t have the time to full-fill my orders? There’s too much to do, maybe I just keep it small and sell to family and friends rather than putting myself out there, that feels safer. But what if it could work and this could really go somewhere? I really enjoy creating my designs, what if this is something I could do full-time in the future and I’m wasting time procrastinating when I could be getting on with it?

So, you get the idea, I know myself that I have had all of these thoughts above, and as you read those, you can probably feel the pressure building, and this is often why we can then panic, put off moving forwards and sometimes give up altogether.

Whilst I can’t answer everything in this blog, as it would turn into a book, what I hope will help in the first instance, are the following things.

  1. Download your thoughts out of your head. You can’t talk succinctly about what you do, until you get really clear on it for yourself. Start by getting a big piece of paper and just mind-mapping it out. Brain-dump everything and you’ll begin to gain some clarity. Look at what you’ve written, and circle the things you feel really good about and excited to begin.
  2. Get Real – ok now you’ve got it all down, do no expect that you can do it all, in one month, and do it well. It’s time to get realistic, choose JUST 3 THINGS to focus on. That’s not to mean everything else is a waste of time, it just helps prioritise right now, and then later you can come back to your other notes.
  3. Talk about it – Now this is where it may start to feel a little out of your comfort zone, but with practice it gets easier. To help you practice, record yourself on your phone – it may sound ridiculous, but no-one need see it and it helps you refine how you talk about what you are doing, for example at first you may feel like you are waffling, but with practice you’ll get slicker and more comfortable. There’s something about speaking it out loud too, that makes it more real to yourself, and not just the ideas in your head.

The next step of course is then talking to your friends and family, and whilst I hope that your network is supportive, don’t be upset if they aren’t immediately. Some people take longer to accept that change is coming, even if it is a personally positive one for you,. They may raise concerns about finance for example. This always comes from a place of fear, and they are just trying to protect you, but the more you talk about it, the more they will see how serious you are about following your passion and purpose.

It’s taken a long time to narrow down what I do to make it make sense to my customer, and I still don’t think I’m there yet!
  • Say it with confidence, not with apology – this is a real big one, we are naturally not great at this! So, if you write, introduce yourself as a ‘Writer’, if you create art, you are an artist! This is not easy at all, it took me years to call myself these things, but the more you say it without saying I’m kind of this, or I’m having a go at that’, and especially not adding on ‘I’m not the best, or I’m not very good’ at the end, the better.

Self-Belief is EVERYTHING! You want your potential customers to believe it too, and trust that you know your craft. You wouldn’t trust a builder that said, ‘I kind of build houses, but I’m not the best’, now, would you?!

The more confident you become in your personal creative skill, the more that will come across when you talk about it, which all then helps when selling yourself in public. But also understand that it does take time to build this confidence.

Channel your inner Holly Tucker and you won’t go far wrong!
  • Think about your voice and values – This is all about being uniquely you, being authentic and letting your own values and voice shine through. Don’t let comparisonitis strike, customers don’t want copies of other businesses, people buy from people – they want to know your story, what drives your passion, your behind-the-scenes processes, what you’re working on, how you can solve a problem (e.g., a gift for someone) or brighten their day (help them choose some beautiful wall art for their kitchen) and it’s up to you to communicate that in YOUR OWN AUTHENTIC VOICE.
  • Share more than feels natural – By this I mean on social media, and I know we all have a fear of annoying people or thinking we are posting too much or too little etc, but due to those annoying ‘algorithms’ your audience doesn’t see as much of your content as you might think.

Your followers aren’t all online at the same time, and depending what strategy Instagram and Facebook are using at the time, it may even only by 10% of your overall audience that are seeing your content regularly.

So, post away consistently, in a way that works for you. The key is to keep it interesting and fresh, don’t just repeat previous content. Think about different angles of how you can talk about things. So, to use our example of Jodie above, who has created a new lino print piece, she could talk about this in several different ways: –

  • What inspired the design and choice of colour?
  • Where did she get her materials from, (supporting other small businesses builds that sense of community too)?
  • Ask her audience to vote or versions of designs or what they think of it to increase engagement
  • What products will she use the design on specifically
  • Show the process, ideally using video (increases reach) for a behind-the-scenes post
  • Talk about what she’s learning with each piece, how she is growing as an artist, what direction she would like to go in
  • Other artists she admires or has learned from
  • And if at the very beginning, post at different times and then look at the insights to see what has worked best
  • Get an accountability buddy or join a group

It’s easy for us to get in our own way as creatives, with similar thoughts to my example above, which is why being accountable to someone else can really help. We are much more likely to take action and tick off what we want to do on our list, IF we have said we are going to do it, to people that we care about and respect, because we are less likely to let someone else down, than ourselves!

Choose your buddy wisely though, pick someone who is likely to both support and understands what you are trying to achieve, will also challenge you, and check in regularly to see how you are getting on.

If you want to take one step further, then join an accountability group, such as the one myself and my accountability buddy, Clair set up. We knew how well it was working for us, and so we wanted to extend that model to other small businesses and entrepreneurs working on their own to help them move forwards with their businesses. And this all gives you a new audience to talk to about your business, further building your confidence.

If you’d like to find out more about our accountability membership WOW Wednesdays, then click here.

The WOW Team in action!
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about lots of different things

Whilst honing down what you are doing helps in terms of productivity and clarity, to not feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to talk about different areas of work if you are a multi-creative business.

More and more people are developing multi-passionate careers, especially since lockdown, so if you are creating this kind of business, be proud and shout about it. I speak from personal experience of this, particularly at the start I felt the pressure from family and friends who thought I should just focus on ‘one thing’ at a time and it took me years to realise that that’s not how I work best, and work with my skills rather than against them and be confident enough to say that to others.

I felt myself almost apologising over the fact that I did lots of different things, often using the phrase ‘Jack of all trades, master of none!’ But instead, I’ve now practiced talking about them all in a way that links and makes sense to who I’m talking to, which helps them to then understand where I’m coming from and why I do what I do! It no longer feels jarring or scatty, it makes total sense.

The bonus of taking this approach is that out open yourself up to a deeper conversation and the potential of aligned collaborations, which I’ve really noticed this year. If you think about it, it’s obvious really, the more topics and projects you work on – the bigger the spread of connections, casting a wider net which helps to grow your community.

That said, it’s not for everyone, and working this way is not better or worse than having a single focus, it’s just about celebrating how YOU personally work best and using that as a means for a quality conversation with your audience.

So, I hope that gives you some ideas of how to begin talking about yourself and your business, because your business is a reflection of you as a person, and is what makes it unique and special. – so go on, Tell the World about it! What have you got to lose?

I find using a graphic really helps people to understand the multiple projects I do and how they all work and fit together

And now some NEWS! Practicing what I preach and telling you about it!

Following on from above, and to extend my own messaging about what I do, to further help people understand what The Curious Creative Club is all about, on Friday 8th October I’ll be sending my very first The Curious Creative Catch Up, email newsletter out!

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and I think will really help to put all the different creative projects I do in one easy-to-read place.

So, what will it include?

  • What 3 things – the key projects I’m working on at the time, a little news about them and chat, for example an insight into something that we’ve been talking about in the WOW group lately, that may apply to my readers too
  • My Favourite nature pictures – from the previous month from my @soothedbynature account, and what I’ve noticed on my dog walks to bring a little nature to your day
  • A little Creative Challenge – For yourselves and your family / friends to have a go at, similar to what I did in the @psychologiesmagazine Lives I did last year.
  • Creative Community Round UP – This is where I’ll share what I’ve been watching, listening to, or reading from the many creative and wellbeing connections I’ve made so you can benefit from their incredible expertise and tips too.
  • And finally, any offers or spaces I have within my groups / projects – Email subscribers will hear any CCC news here first.

So if this sounds like something you’d love dropping into your inbox each month (I will not be bombarding you!), then please sign up here, before the 8th of October (If you want to receive the first edition), and subscribers after that will receive the next one on the 8th of November.

Thank you and remember keep talking and sharing about your own unique creative talent, and do let me know in the comments below if this has been helpful, 🙂

TC, and get cosy now Autumn is setting in (I’ll be talking all about using Autumn in your creativity this next time!),

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

PS, If you don’t already follow, you can catch me on Instagram @thecuriouscreativeclub where I share regularly all about my creative journey, thank you!

PPS, Next week I’m doing the session below for @thecreativemap , the sessions are FREE so do sign up if you fancy some Autumnal inspiration!

One Comment on “8 top tips to help creatives talk about what they do

  1. Pingback: Ready to Re-Imagine?

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 )

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

%d bloggers like this: