When you’re building a business around your art or craft, finding the meaning behind your passion, your gift, your skill, is crucial to your ability to market your work and to continue feeling fulfilled by your work. It is important, then, to discover what it is that gives your work purpose in the world. Today’s action step is to figure out the sweet purpose behind your art. This is a personal process, but there are things you can do to make it easier. Here are some of my favorites.
1. Doodle. Just sit with your sketchbook and doodle about your customers, your finished products finding their homes, the way people feel when they see your work, etc. Get a sense for the mood that results on the page. Often, that is what you are giving your customers and yourself.
2. Meditate. If you aren’t into this kind of stuff (I’m not), don’t think of it as meditation. Think of it as quiet reflection. Get in a a space all to yourself with no distractions (turn those gadgets off!). Maybe light candles. Give yourself two or three questions to ruminate on. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes of reflection to tease out what wonderful things you bring to the world through your art. By the way, if you are usually strapped for time or find your attention divided by kids, the day job, or any manner of other issues, you could just extend your shower tomorrow. No one will bug you while you’re in there (I hope!) and the things you have to do (washing your hair, soaping up, shaving your legs, etc.) are very mindless so you can easily be deep in thought while you do them. Still, make sure you give yourself 30 minutes, minimum.
3. Survey. Ask previous customers why they purchased your art. The responses will surprise you and as long as you get permission, you can use them as testimonials on your website and social media to help set the stage for a new customer making a purchase. Plus, you’ll discover, straight from the source, exactly what benefit you are giving your customers*.
4. Assess. If you’ve got an analytical mind, you can spend some time going through your statistics. Match up highs and lows in traffic and sales with different marketing language you used to discover what feelings entice people to check out your website and what feelings are behind their actual purchases. The bonus in this is that you immediately align your discovery (what benefit you bring your customers) with tangible action you can take (using more of the successful marketing).
5. Call in the troops. If you’re really struggling to figure out why you do what you do, it might be time to ask for help. Friends and family are better resources than you think and they offer a perspective you may never have considered about what your work does for you and offers to others. Failing that, speaking with a career coach could be just what you need to get things clear in your head and on paper.
What things have you done to discover the purpose behind your art? I’d love to hear them in the comments and hopefully it will help someone else on their quest for that sweet purpose in their work.
*Because every sale in the history of sales is driven by a benefit to the customer in some way. No exceptions.