I had an epiphany while snorkeling and collecting bay scallops in Crystal River during my yearly summer sabbatical. Searching for scallops is just like finding clients and growing a creative business.
Scallops like to hide in the grass at the bottom of the bay—but when you notice one, it’s very prominent, and you almost wonder why it was so hard to find.
The same is true with clients.
Some of my worst dry seasons in my business have resulted in a baaad scarcity mindset accompanied by spiraling thoughts: when is my next client coming? when will I make more money? is my business over? will this last forever?
Having faith that you WILL find your next scallop (client) creates more opportunity to find them.
You need to clear out your snorkel, adjust your mask, and peep up to see the boat. When you go back down, usually the clarity of my mask helps me see a scallop right away.
Again, the same is true for running a creative business. We all know that taking a break is important for our mental health, but it also really impacts my productivity and mindset when I come back to work. Even a short (snorkel-adjustment) break can make big impact when looking for scallops, and the same is true for even a weekend away from social media and email—when I come back from vacation, most often my inquiries tend to ramp up too because I’m more active on my content strategy and looking for opportunities for visibility.
If I’ve really given an area my best shot, it’s more worth my time to change locations than to keep looking for scallops that aren’t there.
This is a wonderful metaphor for product-market fit. If you’re a creative service provider and you’re just not seeing sales, odds are something is off about your positioning within your market. It could be pricing, messaging, offer suite, or most often, it’s a combination of all three. Working on my positioning and shifting my offer suite to serve my ideal client and their needs and goals is one of the biggest things that’s impacted my studio’s revenue over time. We discuss this in this episode of my podcast, Better: The Brand Designer Podcast. It’s a great listen if this is something you struggle with, too!
I highly encourage you to look for business lessons “out in the wild” too—odds are, the world outside podcasts, books, and mentors can teach you a lot about your business.
I’m so happy to be back from my summer break and in y’alls inboxes again! As always, I LOVE receiving email replies to my mini essays. Even if we’ve never talked, shoot me a reply! I read and respond to every email I receive (: