THE Creativity Chronicles

A journal of creative thoughts, content commissions I'm working on and where I'm at right now. The life of a creative copywriter.

"Creativity takes courage" - Henri Matisse

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Profit Before Popularity

February 26, 2018

One of the things I so often see is people spending time to grow their Instagram following to look successful and like they are doing well in business. This often means spending every waking hour on the platform, putting image after image up and obsessively liking and commenting on industry updates. Now whilst this in itself isn’t necessarily bad (after all, it’s networking and looking for business opportunities) the problems come when people spend too much of their time working for free in order to build a portfolio and never end up making any actual money. Quite honestly, looking successful and appearing popular becomes more important than actually living life on their terms.


And I see this most of all from those who are prioritising their portfolio (or their Instagram feed) more than their actual business offering. This usually means a busy social media page with lots of likes and interaction but it doesn’t always translate into actual tangible money eg these business owners are going to be pretty cold when the snow falls down and they have to use their smartphone battery for warmth as they can’t afford the heating bills.


So although, I champion regular marketing activity (and advise on this for a living), marketing your business just to appear popular is not a good move and will leave you without a meal ticket (and probably bust within a year or so). Now I’m the first to champion charity and giving back eg working for reduced/discounted rates for new businesses, flexible payment terms and giving percentages of profit to charity but I learned very early on in my career that I can’t afford to support others until I’ve made sure I can sustain myself.


There’s also a big difference between genuinely giving to others and simply peacocking about trying to look popular by  living online, showcasing how “successful” you are and hash-tagging the shit out of anything trending. Now there is an argument that in order to build the ‘know, like, trust’ factor you need to be building an audience to sell to. This is true. However, if you always work for free, for cheap and quite frankly for show then you will never build a sustainable business.


If people want to work with you there is a value exchange and there has to be a price to what you do. And the price you charge shouldn’t be simply to get an Instagrammable picture or a testimonial that you can use to say how amazing you were because you’ll end up being known as the person who is good for a freebie, that never makes a penny (revert back to the second paragraph to see how that turns out).


So here is what I suggest: dedicated time to update your social platforms and spend time on your portfolio and prettying your pictures but in the meantime, working out your road map to make money and actually work on your business and not just your image so that you can be in business for the long run. In my experience, people care way too much about how they look and not enough about they choose to live. It’s not about looking successful, it’s about being successful, whatever that means to you.


I’m guessing it means enough money to live and an amazing life to back that up. You won’t get either of these hanging about waiting for likes to validate your decision to start up in the first place or tell you that you’re worthy. So how about, price yourself properly, roll your sleeves up and get working so that you can live a fantastic life rather than waiting to see if anyone comments on how great they believe you are based on a grid of pictures that at the end of the day mean very little in the scheme of things. Let’s go find #thehappynow for real perhaps?

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