You’d be surprised by how much you do while being an influencer (or a content creator in general). Yes, you might be creating an image to be posted on social media, but there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes! Here’s a list of 6 business skills I think every creative should learn to run a successful Influencer Business:
You need to be able to sell yourself and your services. I don’t mean it in the stereotypical “car salesman” kind of way, but in a way where you know your value, your audience and what you can bring to the table.
The best sales-people are problem solvers. They know their product and are honest with their clients whether it will help them. And if it will, they are so much more confident in the value that they can bring with this deal – so they sell it in the most beneficial way for the client!
I’m talking about really understanding what the brand needs, their messaging and the goals for the campaign – and figuring out whether you would be able to help them. To be able to do that, you should know your audience, their interests and problems in their first place – because ultimately you want every campaign to also add value to their lives. This knowledge will help you solve problems and become a great salesperson!
I used to think that negotiation is just for huge deals between big companies and that it was almost a bad word! For some reason, it had a negative connotation in my head.
Well, guess what? Negotiation an awesome skill to learn and will help you get what you want. It’s about understanding your value (again!) and your options. It’s about being able to walk away from the deal if your value isn’t being matched by the deal. And in this crazy world of influencers and new media, it is absolutely vital!
You should be able to negotiate with brands, agencies, potential partners, etc. – whoever you end up doing business with! Don’t let other people take advantage of you, your time and your skills, you are a business owner.
I’m not talking about going to Law School, but I’m talking about getting comfortable with reading contracts and understanding what is in line with your rights. Because if you’re doing this whole influencer thing right, you’re getting (or sending) a lot of contracts! And you should also aim to stay on top of the laws that may affect you – like GDPR regulations in Europe.
Sometimes knowing when you need professional legal advice is also a skill – and you should be able to do that too. Because that’s the best way to ensure that you and your business are protected and that nobody will sue you if you’ve collaborated with a brand that got in trouble, for example.
4. Time management
I’ll be honest, this is something that I need serious improvement with! As a creative, you can spend all day creating new content and working “in your business” instead of “on your business”. And yes, that might be the fun part that you actually enjoy, but to grow your business and therefore your revenue, sometimes you will have to dedicate time for strategy and all of the admin work.
This will only be achieved once you learn how to manage your time effectively and how to prioritize. Otherwise, you might end up on the slippery slope of working for that daily/weekly post every day/week and will feel like you’re constantly racing with time.
5. Systems and admin
Let’s admit it, admin stuff is so boring but is also very necessary for any business to survive. You need to learn things like bookkeeping, budgeting and how to deal with all of the behind the scenes processes that you may have. And to become more effective at these things, you should set up systems for yourself!
For example, I have a system for my bookkeeping and expense reimbursements: every Monday I collect receipts that I’ve accumulated in the last week and I enter them into my database. I have a Google Drive folder where I add digital versions and pictures of physical receipts, which I then add up in a dedicated spreadsheet. Because I categorise them during this process, I have a very easy task on the first day of every month – when I process reimbursements and itemise everything in my bookkeeping software.
Before I’ve started doing this, my bookkeeping was a real mess! I even got charged more by my accountant because he had to sort through that jungle before filing my taxes. But hey, you live and you learn, right? Learn how to do all of the required admin and create systems for yourself to stay on top of it 🙂
6. Saying no
I think that this is one of the most important skills to learn if you want to run a successful business as a creative. And some of us need to seriously train that “No” muscle!
Why is it so important? Because you need to be able to prioritize what’s important to you and your brand. There are endless opportunities, brand deals that you could do, projects you could get involved with, etc. But will they be serving you and your audience? Or will they be just one more thing on your plate?
Learning how to say “no” in a polite and respectful way is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your business – in my opinion. We don’t want to burn bridges, but we want to make sure that people understand that this isn’t the right time/opportunity for us. And I believe that if this is someone who is worth working with in the future, they will respect you for being transparent with them.
What else would you add to this list? And what do you think of the skills listed above? Which ones do you need to work on? Let me know in the comments!