Why it’s hard to successfully sell our passion projects (and what to do about it)
Why is it hard to sell art… or anything you passionately create?
When we create something, we’re hugely biased toward it.
We took a long journey to get there, to make that vision a reality.
Yet we’re surprised when the thing doesn’t sell well. Others just “don’t get it!”, we think.
Here’s what happened — your experience of the “aha!” moments, during the long journey of creating, all happened within your own experience… nobody saw it. Therefore, you’re the only one who finds the end result, the “pay off”, super valuable.
If only you can find a way to bring your audience along on the journey of discovery and creation, then they might share moments of realization with you. The resulting creation will be deeply valuable to them, because they feel they also had some part to play.
The more often we see you (especially on video), the more we start to like you. This is why I’m always encouraging you to consistently create public content. That content can be filled with stories about your journey of exploration and discovery.
Yet, doesn’t familiarity breed contempt? That may be true, if the first impression you gave them is much more attractive than how you usually are. This is why I encourage you to show up with your authentic presence, because that is sustainable. You’ll continually meet the expectations of your audience, because it’s who you really are. It’s how you show up most of the time.
Approach your content-making like you’re showing up for practice every day, not with the goal to impress or attract. Practice expressing your authentic helpfulness and/or art. Always try to bring the audience along for the journey of how you “got to” that idea. Your skills of communicating online will keep improving, and you’ll gradually get more impressive — naturally and sustainably so!
The journey towards your offer
Your content is also the opportunity to bring your audience on the journey towards your next product. This is why I talk about The 3 Stages of Content Creation:
Stage 1: Explore and experiment prolifically.
Stage 2: Improve on the experiments that made more impact.
Stage 3: Take the best of your experiments and put them into a product.
By following these steps of creation faithfully, you’ll bring your audience on the journey. Your products and services will never be created in the isolation of your own mind. It’ll be somewhat co-created with your community.
Then, what you’re passionate about selling, will also more likely align with their passion to buy it. Because they’ve been on the journey with you, and you’ve become a consistent presence in their life, they find your resulting offer much more valuable. It takes a village to produce a product that sells well.
Storytelling in Content
Within any single piece of content, or offer, you can also bring the audience on a journey:
1. Tell the story of how the idea or product came to be.
2. If possible, do a Q&A event with them, framing the topic in relation to where they are on the journey now, and then, during the event, help them work from that point through to the conclusion of the resulting offer or product.
As you keep telling the story of your journey in different ways, highlighting various aspects, you’ll observe what aspects resonate the most with your audience.
Talk and create more about those aspects, and you’ll notice them having more “aha!” moments.
Your art will become increasingly valuable.
Give this a try, and let me know how it goes for you.