It’s taken some years but I’m finally beginning to understand marketing. It’s simply communication, nothing more or less. It’s not the slick, deceptive sales pitch I used to think of, any more than talking is always lying. It’s simply communicating with people who don’t know you yet. You can be genuine or deceptive but that’s up to who you are.
Looking back at the development of this site, I’ve always written with a particular person in mind. A treasured, highly vulnerable friend. Or myself, 10 years back, and fighting to survive. And I wanted to help that person to feel safe, so I showcase my own vulnerability – see, we are not so different. I wrote and shared with honesty, and always with the intention to help rather than harm.
I’m beginning to see that in some contexts, this person is what’s called an end user rather than a client. If I want to do something to help people who are homeless, or dealing with poverty, or chronically suicidal, then I can make that happen by liaising with someone who also care about them and has some money to put towards that project. The people in need shouldn’t have to pay for it themselves, they should access it and benefit from it simply because they are people in need. That makes them my end user and the people with the funds – a business, government, or not for profit, my client. I am good at helping my end users feel comfortable and safe with me. Part of the process of helping my business become sustainable is about making sure my clients also feel safe and comfortable.
Their needs and language are different. They care about authenticity and sincerity too, but they also need to see competence, endorsement, professionalism. Will I turn up on time? Fake my information? Make their staff feel intimidated or incompetent? Can they trust me to do my work to a high standard of quality, communicate well, keep their best interests in mind?
So I am wrapping a new layer of professionalism around the heart I wear on my sleeve. Polishing up how I share my work with the world. It’s good work and it’s worth people’s time and money. I absolutely believe this.
I’m working on a new template flyer for all my Training which will feature an image from the artworks in that specific talk. I’m going to start with a few of my many talks and create the rest in time.
Still a work in progress, hence the sarcastic copy. 😉
The new format for my business is four suites: arts, writing, training, and community development consulting. Each of these require specific administrative structures, templates, marketing, licences, insurance, and so on. I have been very scattered this year and I appreciate the clarity of this approach. I am also feeling very mindful of my exhaustion and how much I’m missing my family. I’m currently in two community development projects which are wonderful, but considering closing that option down for awhile after they finish. Giving myself good stretches of time, say a good week or two to develop each suite of services, would be a real treat to see more rapid progress. Moving a hundred rocks up a hill an inch at a time is far more draining then getting five rocks to the top of the hill every week.
I’m also having to give serious thought to my networks. Can I really afford to keep running them, unpaid? There’s only so much I can do, so many hours in the week. The psychological weight of them is significant. The hearing voices network remains scattered here in SA, I’ve been unable to gather a united community. Perhaps it’s time to let it go for now. The DI remains so dear to my heart, but I also feel so tired. Public advocacy work is draining and devastating, it closes so many doors. I just want to earn a living and enjoy my family. I don’t know, I don’t have answers yet. Sustainable work means less balls in the air, lower personal cost, less unpaid projects. So much love, still, but less sacrifice. I don’t know where this goes next. I’m so glad for the supports I have, and the two beautiful places I’ve found a home in at SHINE SA and Tooth and Nail Studio. I feel very fortunate to be in places where I’m with good people and feel valued and safe while I figure this out.
In the meantime, still building, and still painting. 🙂 From the chaos, things are emerging.