I don’t know if I actually came out and said this in the first “Creative Entrepreneurship Basics” installment, but I’m actually trying to set up a step-by-step process outline for the Creative Entrepreneur in these blog posts. We’ll see how it goes. So, today’s post would technically serve as step #2.
In the first installment, entitled Creative Entrepreneurship Basics: A Great Idea Starts with a Need, I started the process off with the foundational step that marks the beginning of all creative entrepreneurship journeys — the IDEA. And not just any idea, I might add. But, I’m talking about the idea of all ideas — the idea that’s derived from an actual, real-life need out there in the world.
And proceeding forward, wouldn’t the next obvious focal point center in on identifying the one with the need? After all, we’re beginning this creative content journey by seeking to arrive at a final destination, which leads to the fulfillment of that person’s need. So, the question one must ask is . . . who’s the person with the need?
To answer that question, I need to pose a few questions to you for your consideration. As you review these questions, please plan on answering them soon after. By doing so, you’ll naturally start to formulate a clear picture of who your “person with the need” actually is.
So, let’s go ahead and answer the question (“Who’s the person with the need?”) with the following questions:
- What are the demographics of your person?
- What are the purchasing habits of your person?
- Who is your person buying for?
- Where does your person hang out?
Now, I’m not going to act like there aren’t more questions to be answered, but here are some of the main ones. And if you can answer these, I think you can formulate a pretty strong case for your ideal target customer.
Furthermore, I almost hate to admit it, but answering these questions takes some market research effort on your part. There. I said it. And I really REALLY hate to admit that I’m known for shirking on my responsibility in the market research arena. So, can I cash in on the whole “do as I say, not as I do” adage? Please?
I mean . . . I want you to have the highest chances of success in your creative entrepreneurial efforts, so I’m going to keep it real and tell you what I should have been doing all along. I’m going to give you the best practices here, so you can have the highest optimal chance of succeeding in your journey, even if I was hardheaded and didn’t follow my own advice that I’m giving you now.
So, with that bit of transparency out of the way, let’s proceed.
Yes, marketing research is an absolute MUST! It’ll save you a lot of wasted time and energy if you do it. And I can vouch for what I just said, because I’m going through it right now.
Wouldn’t it be to your best business interest to get to your goal sooner rather than later? Answer: an emphatic “YES!” Of course, it would be to your benefit. There are so many other folks out here that are trying to get their entrepreneurial game on. And if you’re piddling around (trying to avoid the work involved in arriving at your destination in the most efficient path possible), then all the business-minded individuals who value doing a little research up front are going to literally pass you by during your creative travels.
I guess what I’m saying is to put up the necessary work in the beginning, and you’ll reap the rewards of your efforts in the long-run. Do the research needed to answer the questions I’ve presented and cater your business-mindedness toward capturing the attention of your ideal target customer.
Case in point: I’ve made more sales in my Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) store since its inception (two months ago) than I have in my Etsy store for over a whole year. Go figure. And it’s really common sense to see why that is. Simply stated, my ideal target customer (“person with the need”) hangs out at TpT.
This is not to say that he or she doesn’t peruse the online aisles of Etsy too, but TpT shoppers are looking for very specific types of products from that platform — the kind of items that I happen to specialize in. On the other hand, Etsy shoppers are looking for a little bit of everything in the handmade realm.
So, where do you think more of my peeps are gonna be chillin’ at? And, where do you think I should probably be spending more of my time at?
Wait. Let me abruptly take another shot at some more transparency before I go any further. Honestly, I didn’t come to the realization that TpT was for me by independently doing some good old market research. I wish I could say I did, though. No, it just so happened that a kind acquaintance of mine mentioned TpT to me. Since she was familiar with my product offerings, she suggested that I look into TpT as a place to sell my educational resources and incentives for adults and children.
And guess what I did? What the sensible person would do, right?
Well, of course I didn’t. That would be too easy. Although, I will toot my own horn for a moment and say that (soon after TpT was mentioned to me) I did briefly look up information on the platform to see what it was all about but soon vacated the website premises, since it appeared I had to be a teacher (with a teacher’s official credentials) to sell on the platform. Well, I’m a business major so that wasn’t going to work out.
But after doing a little more detailed RESEARCH, I found out that I was a perfect match after all. I’m a teacher-author in every fiber of the term’s being, so I proceeded to view TpT as a viable place for Degrees of Maternity to take up some online residence. However, it took a minute to get here. Partly, because I can somewhat be stubborn about being told what to do when it comes to my creative endeavors; and mainly, because I hate doing research.
But because I don’t bask in the glow of all things market research doesn’t negate its validity in the creative entrepreneurial process by any means. As a matter of fact, it’s a must have, have-to do for the start-up solopreneur.
Take it from me. I may not have gone the appropriate research route in my journey (early on), but I sure know how to tell someone else to avoid my mistakes and to travel the straight path to get where he or she needs to go for a quicker results-oriented outcome.
I’ll plan on following up with more on this step #2 of the process in a future post. Keep those creative juices flowing in the right direction.