You designed a thing, now what?
(in the voice of the French narrator from SpongeBob)
Aaaahh~ designing process 🤓, the funnest process of all processes… It is great to spew your creativities on paper or capture wonderful ideas on computer. You may already succeed at making a prototype. Bravo, YOU! If this is your hobby, you can stay in this blissful stage and envision all the wonderful possibilities. But if you want to make it into a business or even a side hustle, we now need to figure out how to make it profitable.
...Unless you live under a rock. (Anyone know what Patrick the Starfish do for work?!?! Puzzles me forever...😐)
Building up a brand and making it profitable is not easy. Instead of telling you the steps, (it varies and you can google the basics) here are some lesson I’ve learned that will really help you.
Lesson 1: BE QUIET
Find where do people in your industry (let’s say fashion) hang out, such as LinkedIn groups, meetups or networking events. And when you find them, ask questions, ask for comments, shut your mouth and listen!! Some opinions can be pretty tough to swallow, but if you are busy defending your business idea all the times, you might miss out on some great points and potential connections. Don't be stubborn, have a think, even a bad advice can inspire something new. That said, don’t take on every single advice, or your design might end up looking like an orange dust bunny on caffeine. (Sorry Philadelphia Flyers 😜)
Lesson 2: BE LAZY
Work smart not hard. You will have a million and a half things to do, and there are a million and one tools for the job. (a lot of these tools are free, search it on google or in your app store) Don’t be scared if you don’t know how to code a website (Shopify, do-it-yourself e-commerce platform), don’t have time to manage social media (Hootsuite, schedules your social media posts), everything is too complicated (Fiverr, hire someone who will do all the research, the tasks or even teach you). MINIONS, COME!!!
(Here are some more resources)
Lesson 3: BE NARROW-MINDED
Who you want to sell to? Everyone? WRONG (for now)…. Be narrow with your initial target audience (Create a persona). That doesn’t mean other people can’t buy your design, it’s to have a specific group of people who will believe in your designs first which makes it a lot easier when comes to marketing, finding the right sales channel and growth strategy.
Lesson 4: BE WRONG
Try sh*t that might not work! Do people like the design in black & white or electric neon green? Test in small increments, so you can adjust the product or the marketing messages fast for the right customers. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you are selling ski masks to robbers, maybe change the neon green color before the production.
And be ok with yourself if you need to start over or change your favorite part of the design, it’s all a part of the learning process (one of the least funnest process).
Lesson 5: BE SHAMELESS
Ask people for help, talk about yourself in social media, admit you don’t have all the answers. Especially in the beginning of building a brand, it’s much about the product as it’s about you, your initial fans will be people who feel relatable to you, to your story, your struggle and your joy.
Not only are these the lessons I have learned, these are also lessons I have failed at (sometimes miserably ;P) re-learned, forgetting again and hit that realization moment at 3 in the morning. Which brings me to the bonus lesson.
Bonus Lesson: BE HAPPY
You need to have that passion. At the end of a stressful day when everything is going wrong and you are thinking about quitting, but deep down, there’s nothing you rather do than this… You have found your happiness. (How zen do I sound!!! HAHAHAHA :D)
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