My heart is burdened with concern for the huge number of youth in Kenya with great talent that they aren’t able to monetize. A good number of them can’t build profitable businesses around their talents. Even when they try to set up such businesses, they fail to win remarkable clients who can honor their talents. So they slave away their youthfulness in careers they would rather die than do. And you wonder why they are dying young.
Are you one of them? Listen up!
Your talent should serve as your core source of living. With cases of unemployment rising in Africa, your talent is your refuge and fortress. Setting up a business around it is your only score to a successful life. Look at it as earning a living for being you. This is the perfect reason why you must seek to build a notable clientele who appreciate your talent.
While attending the first anniversary of “Coast Hiphop arena on 29th Dec 2017 at the Swahilipot hub in Mombasa, there was a constant outcry from talented artists on ‘bad business’. Even with great talent, they couldn’t earn a decent living from performing their art. Their hustle options were:
- Casual jobs at the Standard Gauge Railway construction between Mombasa and Nairobi.
- Matatu (PSV) drivers and conductors.
- Mitumba (Second hand clothes) business.
- Viazi karai (Chips) business.
- Chill for an opportunity to perform in a big event and earn –PEANUTS.
None of this is a bad job, to tell the truth. But doesn’t such keep them away from focusing on their craft? Doesn’t it deny them the opportunity to reach and win remarkable clients for their talents?
While interacting with some of these talented beings, one thing stood out. Most lacked the PRACTICAL entrepreneurial knowledge on how to build profitable businesses around their talents. OUCH!
That wouldn’t surprise you, would it? Come to think about it, talent isn’t appreciated much in the Kenyan education system. Isn’t this the sector that should provide the youth with the suitable knowledge?
If you are keen to note, Music, drama and games are still treated as secondary. An afterthought. Thus, you will not hear a teacher encouraging students to focus on them as a source of income. Instead, passing the academic exams to become lawyers, doctors, and accountants are glorified. Surprised?
Enough of bashing the systems, after all, you know you are best at being you.
Do you want to earn a living for just being you? Then make your talent your business and win remarkable clients doing it. Don’t waste your time doing what you aren’t cut out for. Man up for your talent!
Build your tribe now. Win remarkable clients for what you are passionate about.
How do you build a tribe who believe in your craft? People who would rather launch WWIII than go a day without your product? How do you get those people who are willing to pay, not throw change into your beggarly bowl, but pay you well for what your craft is worth?
Focus your energies on your passion, not the moola
Of course, you want the money, who doesn’t? But that is not what the noteworthy clients pay for. They crave for well-polished and outstanding talent.
Have you heard that saying, “If you want attention, you’ve got to earn it.”?
If only you are 2% tastier than the other dude with a similar craft, you are guaranteed to win remarkable clients. You have the upper hand over everyone in your field. Anything less than that is ‘copy-paste’. It earns you penniless fans.
Aim to add value to your tribe
Do you want to become at least 2% better than your competitor?
AVA – Add Value Always.
When you present your craft to your clients, do they feel Engaged, Educated and Entertained? This is what they are looking for. What new thing are you bringing into your clients’ lives? How does it benefit them?
Gather your evidence into a show-off package
Do you have a BUSINESS PROFILE for your talent?
Before you go parading yourself to your client for an opportunity to transact with them, have them know you. By now you must have good online presence. If you don’t have any- you don’t exist. Beyond your Facebook fan page, Linkedin, Instagram and a few mentions in a strange blog, go professional.
A good business profile should tell your client what your craft is all about and how they will benefit from it. Don’t forget the latter, it is the hook.
Have someone create a professional business profile for you with the best photos to show what you are made of. Mention the people who have benefited from your talent. Use true information. The kind that you can defend. Don’t fake it, it will break you!
If you are a performing artist, have a showreel done for you to accompany the profile. It should show the hip moments of your talent. Nothing crazy, this is business so treat it as such.
Share your profile with your tribe without expecting returns
It is so easy to get caught up in the feeling of spending with the expectation of getting business from clients. They don’t owe you that, yet. But if you pursue them, they will give it to you.
Every time you meet with someone who you would like to get business from, ask them if you could email them your profile. Don’t sweat, most will say YES.
Make use of that email address within the first 48 hours. If you are serious about winning them as your clients, follow up with a call to confirm that they got the email after 24 hours. Your email might have landed in their spam folder. Tech sometimes sucks. It doesn’t always understand the urgency of growing your tribe!
Now, if your talent depends on seasons, don’t be a thumb-sucker waiting for a call from a client you emailed months ago. You are not the Queen of England. They won’t come looking for you. Go after them.
If you are serious winning remarkable clients, keeping in touch with those you want to join your tribe of clients will do you good. People do business with people. Keep those communications lines open so that your craft stays fresh in their mind.
Imagine yourself as a weevil in a tray of rice. Your black coat being always visible.
With your profile in your target client’s hands and open communication lines, you now have the right to ask for business. Before that, don’t even dare negotiate for a deal. You have sold yourself and your client knows you well. They know you are serious about your craft. You have them hook, line and sinker. NOW ASK FOR BUSINESS. They will buy from you because they believe in you!
Create complementary products to sell
You may already have t-shirts, caps, wristbands with your business name or slogan on them. That is good for branding. It is a sure way to run your art like a true entrepreneur. But don’t stop there. How about creating merchandise that your tribe can buy online or in a physical shop?
Think about the Beats by Dre headphones that Dr. Dre and Jimmy Lovine created. Or Beyonce’s parfums. How about designing special traveling bags branded with your craft’s business name? After all, traveling is fun for a majority!
A bonus for you, don’t worry about being copied. If Bill Gates isn’t worried that Microsoft is the most pirated Software, why should you? If anyone is trying to copy you, pat yourself on the back, you are good.
But don’t sleep on it. Keep working on it. The truth is, when you are the YOU-est you, the fakes will break. Only you can do YOU best. Mind your talent; your craft and your bank wells will never go dry.
Did you love this article? Share it with your tribe right away. Trust me, they need it. And hey, don’t forget to drop a “Hello” comment below. Happy New Year!