Top 10 Lame Excuses for Not Marketing Your Creative Services

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Recently I sent a message to some of the readers of my Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor asking them to, honestly and without guilt, share with me their lamest marketing excuses by finishing this sentence:

I should do more marketing but…

Here are the top 10:


The last one is my favorite—and I suspect closest to the real reason.

It came from Martin, a photographer in Germany. Here’s how he filled in the blank: 

I should do more marketing but I’m afraid it will work. 🙂 

I wrote back asking, “What then? You’ll be overwhelmed? You won’t be able to handle it?” and he wrote:

hmm… well I watched your [online course] “Command the Fees You Deserve” and it has been interesting to see the level of improvement in what I do since then. (More online courses here…) 

I’m the kind of person who wants to know his options and likes to keep improving. That is why I’m interested in your work.

It is also interesting how obvious and universal your advice is, looking back at it. I used to live in Canada for 13 years and I moved back to Europe now. Comparing the cultures and the way business is done here or there. All your mentoring applies everywhere the same.

As a commercial photographer, I know now that by implementing your tactics, I can grow significantly and most importantly, I know where to go.

Will I be overwhelmed? Not be able to handle it? Maybe so, but that’s a good problem to have I think.

Creatives are not good at these things and you are really giving us the hope for better future 🙂

Then, copywriter Deidre Rienzo expanded on Martin’s “lame excuse” in a post on the Marketing Mix Blog, Is This The Real Fear of Marketing? Here’s an excerpt:

If I lived in a world where I just did stuff instead of making excuses, I’d be at least 1000 times more productive. Unfortunately, excuses are something that I make every day. Especially about my marketing.

First, I think: It’s not as important as (insert pretty much anything).

Then, I decide: I’m totally doing fine/okay-enough right now.

But to be perfectly honest, I know the root of every excuse I’ve ever made. It was on Ilise’s list of 14 lame marketing excuses. And I shuddered when I read it: “I’m afraid it will work.”

Yep. All of my excuses pretty much boil down to that.

If it works…I will be too busy.
If it works…I might not be able to manage my schedule.
If it works…I might be overwhelmed.
If it works…I’ll have bigger goals to try to beat next year.
If it works…it might be too hard.
If it works…I might not do a good job.

So, while these concerns feel real, they’re rationally pretty ridiculous. Despite these excuses, I do actually get some marketing done. How?

Only because I can usually muster 5 minutes of clarity each day with which I can do a simple marketing task. The only reason I get any marketing done—is because it’s simple. I follow the Marketing Mentor Marketing Plan + eCalendar.

If you’re ready to ditch the lame excuses and get better projects, check out the Weekly Marketing Checklist — it tells you exactly what to do when.

One more: If I market myself, I’ll be perceived as desperate.

But those aren’t the only ones….there is also:

“I’m really bad at selling myself.”

This came up most recently in a conversation with fashion photographer, JC Candanedo, who reached out to thank me for He said, “I’ve always failed at the business side. I didn’t learn this in school. They didn’t teach it. I was doomed from the start because I didn’t know how to do it.”

But there’s a difference between not knowing and actually being bad at something—trying something over and over and just not getting it.

In fact, in my recent podcast with photographer and filmmaker, Michael e. Stern, he also asserted that creatives are bad at business. “That’s why we have to learn!”

“Networking doesn’t work.”

Here’s the reality about networking and marketing yourself:

  • It’s harder than you think it is.
  • It takes longer than you think it will.
  • The results will never be what you expect.
  • But there will be results, but only if you don’t give up first.

One of my mentors recently redefined failure as giving up when reaching for your goal. In other words, as long as you keep trying (and stop making the same mistake over and over — new mistakes are much better than old mistakes) you are succeeding, even if you never reach your goal.

We have to recalibrate our expectations to fit reality: There is much more competition. It is much more difficult to get through to people, even people who want to talk to you! So that means we all have to try harder and not expect it to come easily. It doesn’t!

S5137Ilise Benun’s new Package Pricing Bundle will show you how to take charge of your business. You’ll find new ideas about how to price your creative services, a step-by-step process to create your own packages, and models of how other creative professionals are doing it – and successfully. Get it here.