Kathleen here. Tara and I are spending a good chunk of our November teaching design and branding at two separate local universities. So lately we’ve been helping college students learn how to hone their craft, talk about their work, and get to “doing” – but in our own work at Braid we’ve been teaching creative entrepreneurs who have mastered the art of “doing” to scale their business vision and establish their expertise by going from just “doing” to teaching.
They say “those who can’t do teach” but I’m finding quite the opposite to be true. With popular workshops like Blogcademy and DIY learning platforms like Skillshare making their way into the mainstream, more and more doers are finding themselves in the role of teacher. But it doesn’t always come easy. Calling yourself a teacher, guide, coach, or consultant can be as uncomfortable as calling yourself an expert. So today I’d like to share a few tips on how to go from doing to teaching without feeling like a fraud:
1. Educate Your Client on the Creative Process
One of the first ways you can become a confident guide is by educating your own clients on your creative process. Let them know what they can expect from you and the steps you take to get there before you ever begin working together. If you’ve been flying by the seat of your pants every time you start a new project it’s time to get organized. If you can’t explain your process to your client in three simple steps and make a list of clear project deliverables than both you and your client will feel confused and anything but confident.
Pro tip: Share your work-in-progress with your client along the way. This will allow for a collaborative creation that creates trust and almost always ends in enthusiastic approval. Plus! It forces you to better manage your time for creating and not finishing projects at the eleeventh hour.
2. Share Behind-the-Scenes Sneak Peeks
When I first started freelancing I would blog monthly updates to share my own personal struggles, insecurities, and small victories that come with being your own boss for the first time ever. I never imagined that sharing the behind-the-scenes of what life was like would position me as a kind of authority in freelancing but I started to attract a tribe of other bloggers and aspiring creative entrepreneurs who wanted to more details and logistics on exactly how I worked for myself and managed clients.
Pro tip: Start a blog series to share more than just the highlight reel of what it is like to be a creative. Or take it to real life and have coffee or coordinate a potluck dinner with like-minded creatives to dish on the pros and cons of living what you love. You will be surprised at the patterns, connections, and insights you’ll be able to uncover along the way.
3. Give It All Away (Advice-Dishing and How-Tos)
So once you share the more vulnerable behind-the-scenes you’ll naturally begin giving legit advice and how-to’s that relate to how you work and run your business. The fear here is that if you give away your know-how people will have no reason to actually hire you. Or worse! Your competition will steal your ideas and make them their own. This antiquated notion only serves a scarcity-minded business model that has no place in a world full of new-thinking creative entrepreneurs. Which you are. So when you openly share your gifts of knowledge you position yourself as an expert which in turn makes your dream customers want to hire you for even more access to your genius.
Pro tip: When going from doer to teacher you’ll find that your dream customer begins to look more and more like you – a fellow creative entrepreneur. Sharing common ground with your client can make you feel like less of an expert but think of it more like going to a conference – you learn most from speakers who come from a similar background and are just two steps ahead of you. There is a huge advantage to speaking the same language as your client and simply offering a new perspective in a similar industry.
4. Package it Up With a Price Tag
Once you’ve gotten good at generating and giving away all that teaching content, you’ll start to receive feedback and uncover patterns that will allow you to clearly see holes that need to be filled. That’s when you can become the guide, coach, or consultant who develops buyable offerings that fill those holes. These offerings might look like one-on-one engagements, online courses, offline workshops, or even digital products like eBooks.
Pro tip: There will be an overlap when you transition from doing to teaching – because you still gotta “do” to pay the bills. But over time you’ll find the scale, and your entire business model, shifting to make room for your expanding expertise. And that’s what being a creative entrepreneur is all about.
Are you already teaching (even if it’s in small ways you don’t realize) as part of your “doing” business? Tell us about it on Facebook.
P.S. Sign up for our Letters for Creatives for exclusive Braid ECourse discounts and content not shared anywhere else.
The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.