It’s Girl Scout cookie time! I was running errands today and noticed a group of girl scouts sitting outside the local bank who looked bored, tired, and slightly embarrassed in their “cookie” sales role. A dedicated Mom was standing nearby trying to provide encouragement. There was a large brown box full of thin mints and trefoils and the goal was to sell all the cookies before they went home. People walked by and might have guessed they were selling cookies (it happens every year), but without a proactive effort by the girls, no one was really paying attention—hence their lingering supply of unsold cookies. After buying a few boxes of cookies I gave them a little pep talk about engaging with people and communicating how wonderful their cookies were. I also tried to get them excited about the outcome, i.e. sell all the cookies and you get to go home. They seemed mildly entertained by my enthusiasm, and as I drove away I waved in encouragement.
This scenario reminds me of the problems we face as adult creative entrepreneurs trying to sell our photographs, art, or other creations, without the Girl Scout legacy or an advocate to help us out. To sell anything, you need to call attention to your product and engage with your potential clients—find out what they want, offer ways to solve their problems and answer their questions. Now that internet connections are faster, and social networking websites have gone mainstream, why not take advantage of the many ways you can market your work online, and connect with potential clients for FREE? Start a blog, a newsletter, open up a Facebook account, upload videos on YouTube – put it out there! Otherwise, people are not going to know about your fabulous product or service, and you aren’t going to be selling any cookies.