I had a client the other day asking me: “Isn’t it true that if you do what you love, the money will come in?”
“Not quite”, I responded. If you’re working as an illustrator in your own basement, people aren’t automatically come to your basement as ask you to do work for them! You need to market yourself, and to do that you need to know how. Many people make the mistake of trying to list all the things they are good at, which will only confuse the potential client.
Here’s a meme I want to drill in your head: Broad is broke. As an illustrator, you cannot say: “I paint stuff and I can do logos and I can do marketing and I can do…” etc. – you’re master of none and nothing in that case. What you really want to communicate about your illustrations is what makes them special. There needs to be no questions about what you offer.
To demonstrate, Let’s do a fun exercise!
I want you to close your eyes and think of an elephant.
What did you see?
Think about this for a moment.
Now close your eyes and think of a consultant.
See the difference?
The first time around you envisioned a clear picture of an animal.
The second time… I have no idea! A consultant is a very broad term. You could have been envisioning a man or a woman, perhaps in a smart suit, but then what?
When it comes to marketing what you’re good at, remember to keep it clear and focused.
You need to know what to draw attention to, and not try to do it all. Compare these two statements:
“I paint portraits of animals” and “I’m an account manager”. The former is a no-brainer, the second doesn’t really provide much information.
Now: Another exercise! Think of the following brands:
Can you describe what they sell using a couple of words? (For example: “Athletic wear”/ “Fast food”)
Sure you can! We have a winner!
Ask yourself these questions:
What do you do?
How do you do it?
Why do you do it?
Who do you do it for?
It is amazing to be good at a lot of things, but to be able to market yourself you need to focus on what you are great at. Know your mission. Know what makes you different. Once you have brand clarity you will find it a lot easier to market your business. Forget the stuff you are good at for now and put emphasis on what you can really master. Start there!