Last week I released the final Color Your Soul issue of the year, the Wonder Issue.
As I was putting together the finishing touches — formatting the magazine, finalizing graphics, creating the daily challenge booklet — I found myself reflecting back on the evolution of this strange idea I had over a year ago.
My vision was to create a monthly mindfulness experience, a kind of peaceful, soulful and heartfelt alternative to a lot of the overwhelming content I was starting to see geared toward creative entrepreneurs:
I was seeing so many articles about how to DO more; so few articles on how to BE more.
So many people teaching you their blueprints on how to make, sell, and promote; so few offering you a means of self-awareness to write your OWN blueprint from scratch.
This weird hybrid subscription idea was hard to communicate, mostly because I’d never seen anyone create something like it. Kind of a membership community; kind ofan art experiment; kind of a digital magazine; kind of an online course subscription.
The form felt a bit nebulous, but the mission was always clear: cut through the noise to deliver insightful and inspiring content that would help people feel closer to their core selves.
The only problem, I quickly learned, is that people are already convinced they NEED the “how to do more” stuff. They are willing to pay for something that feels like an easy step-by-step process to a guaranteed return on their investment. (By the way, I know this because I consider purchases in the exact same way. What am I going to get out of this? Will my money be well spent? It’s a natural part of purchasing psychology.)
As it turns out, that makes promoting something like Color Your Soul a bit of a challenge.
Our little community has reached more than 50 active subscribers now, all of whom I’m so grateful for. But let’s be completely transparent here — the revenue generated by those 50 subscribers to this unique product is far less than what I’d make if I created the 124th “How To Succeed on Instagram” e-course. That’s just the truth.
I want to share that fact honestly with you all because I KNOW so many of you creative entrepreneurs are faced with the same dilemma out there:
Do I make/sell what feels EASY or do I make/sell what feels TRUE?
Ie. Do I go with the sure bet or do I gamble on a vision that feels uncertain?
Well, only YOU can truly answer that question for yourself and your business, but here’s the real heart of the message I want to hit home with you today: the fact that it is more challenging to sell something with deeper, more intangible benefits does not mean that it is impossible, nor does it mean it’s a bad business move.
If you gave me the option of standing on a street corner and selling Big Macs or selling a delicious and healthful kale salad, I know which of those options is going to be the “winning” business venture. The Big Mac is scrumptiously artificial and instantly gratifying. The kale salad? It may also be delicious (let’s assume it is) but its real benefit is in the nourishing impact it has on your health and your body. That’s a selling feature with a payoff that’s hard to fully communicate.
But you know what? When given the option, I will choose to sell the kale salad every time.
With so many Big Mac products already for sale out there — delicious and gratifying, sure, but ultimately artificial — I will happily challenge myself to continue to create healthful kale salads in my business because I want to continue to create things that are nourishing, both to MY soul as the creator and to YOUR souls as the recipients.
If something is not wildly profitable, that does not mean it is not worth doing.
You have to remember that there are all kinds of different value metrics to measure when it comes to evaluating your ideas. Money is just one of them.
There are also things like impact (does this project help a lot of people?); growth (does this project help me grow in a way I desire?); and, my all-time favorite, whole-hearted expression(does this project allow me to express my core self in a way that feels good to my soul?)
Color Your Soul definitely fits squarely into that last category. What it lacks in highly scalable profits, it more than makes up for in the immense joy I get putting it together and in seeing the real, lasting change it creates for subscribers. I get to use SO many of my gifts and learned skills in one single project, and the final outcome is something that feels uniquely ME through and through. I would never want to trade that experience for something that is “easier” to sell.
We as creative (and soulful) business owners must come to terms with this: Some things are just simply harder to sell. And that's okay.
Oftentimes the things that are more pure of heart or enriching to the soul, they aren’t the things that people are convinced they need. But that doesn’t automatically mean they aren’t worth doing or that they can’t contribute positively to the overall economics of your business. That’s why it’s so important to establish your values as a business so you can see those more intangible benefits more clearly.
For myself and for Made Vibrant as a business, my central driving ethos remains to choose what is TRUE to my core over what is easy, every. single. time.
As we wrap up 2016 and you take a look at the projects you’re considering for the new year, my challenge this week is for you to take another look at that idea you have that you LOVE but that you’re afraid no one will want or buy.
It may not be easy to sell, but does it feel TRUE to your core? If so, could it be time to give yourself permission to go for it anyway? Will you look back and be glad that you went for the kale salad instead of the Big Mac? (If you hate kale salad, feel free to replace with the healthful treat of your choice.)
Running a values-based creative business is complicated stuff. It’s always a delicate puzzle determining which ideas are worth pursuing, which ones will bring you money (because there’s nothing wrong with earning a sustainable living), and which ones you want to tackle because it lights up your heart.
The fact is, the only person who can navigate that delicate puzzle is YOU. But I hope in pulling back the curtain just a tad and showing you that profits aren’t the only measuring stick for the projects I take on within Made Vibrant, that you feel empowered to see your creative business ideas perhaps in a new light.
Wishing you all a wonderful week!