There are thousands of free Facebook groups aimed at artists, makers and craftspeople. And these groups promise things such as:
- Help with business strategy and marketing
- Gaining feedback on your work
- Making new friends and connection
As an artist, maker or craftsperson, these groups are tempting. After all, they’re free, right? What have you got to lose by joining one or two (or ten)?
They’re especially attractive if you’re transitioning from ‘hobbyist’ to business owner and you feel completely overwhelmed with what to do next.
Unfortunately, relying on free Facebook groups isn’t always the best way to grow your creative business. Sometimes, free Facebook groups can even hinder your success.
In this blog post, I’m going to go through the reasons why you shouldn’t rely on free Facebook groups to grow your business and what you should do instead.
Just before I begin, I will say this: this is not an attack on any particular Facebook group or people who run free Facebook groups for creative business owners. This is simply my view on why free Facebook groups aren’t the best way to grow a creative business.
So let’s get started.
1. There’s a lot of ‘advice’ from non-experts
Ever seen someone ask a question in a Facebook group, and three minutes later, they’ve had twenty or so replies? Everyone has a different answer, and every one is 100% sure their answer is correct. And often their advice follows the ‘you should do this because it worked for me’ line.
Now, this isn’t a criticism of those who answer questions in Facebook groups. On the contrary, I have no doubt they’re trying to help and provide an insight into their own experience.
But you do have to consider how valuable this advice is.
For example, if an artist approached me and asked how much they should charge for their work, I would first ask them some questions. Questions about how much they want to earn, how much they can produce, their overheads, etc.
We’d then talk about their target market and what price point is suitable for that particular market.
This is usually what’s missing from a free Facebook group. Often people jump in to answer the question rather than asking the original poster more questions about their business and circumstances.
People also base their advice on their own experiences. So, if they work 40 hours a week, they’ll assume other people do too. If they don’t care about making too much money, they’ll assume other people don’t either.
Finally, they might not have any background, education or experience in business or marketing strategy. Yes, they may have done some elements of this successfully, but that doesn’t make them experts.
You’ll get answers fast in free Facebook groups. But if they’re not the right answers, that’s only going to confuse you further or lead you down the wrong path.
What should you do instead?
I get it. You’ve got questions about how to grow your business. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask questions – you should just be mindful of where you ask them.
You need to find a community, company or person who can answer your questions – an expert who will try to understand your business and give you advice and guidance based on their expertise.
You can do this in various ways:
1. Hiring a business coach
This is where you work with someone 1-2-1 to help grow your creative business. They’ll help you by working through your problems face-to-face or on a video call. And they’ll be experts in business and/or marketing.
The biggest downside to coaches is that they can be pricey, often starting at £400+ per month.
2. Joining a membership community
Joining a business membership community will help you answer all your business questions. That’s because the owner(s) of the membership should have an in-depth understanding of business strategy and marketing.
It’s best to look for memberships aimed at artists, makers and craftspeople; that way, you’ll get more tailored advice.
Business memberships are far more affordable than hiring a business coach. For example, my Makers’ Momentum Club membership costs only £24 per month.
2. You neglect your business in favour of talking to your peers
We’ve all been there. You know you need to crack on with marketing your business, so you sit down to get some stuff done. You open Facebook, and an hour later, you’ve done nothing but engage with your peers in a free Facebook group.
This is not the best use of your time. If you’re spending more time talking to your peers than marketing your business, you’re doing it wrong.
I know that sounds a little stern. I’m not saying that making connections isn’t a good thing, but it won’t lead to a profitable business.
Other artists, jewellery makers, clothes designers, soap makers, textile artists, and so on won’t buy your products (or certainly not enough for you to run a profitable business!).
That’s why you must focus your energy on growing your business and connecting with your customers rather than your peers.
What should you do instead?
Part of the reason why people struggle with tasks such as marketing or business strategy is that it’s difficult to know what to do or where to start. No wonder it’s tempting to talk to your peers about more interesting things.
That’s why you need some structure to follow and a process that will keep you on track and engaged.
You could do this by:
1. Investing in a course
You could invest in a course that will help you achieve a certain goal, such as a business strategy course. These might be affordable but the biggest downside is you can’t usually ask the course creator questions when you’re struggling.
2. Joining a membership community
If you want to join a membership community to help keep you on track and guide you, then look for communities with courses or challenges. For example, in Makers’ Momentum Club, we have over 30 challenges and a 12-month business foundation programme.
This is an affordable solution because you get to follow a set, structured course, and you can also ask questions if you get stuck.
The best thing is, you don’t get distracted by chatting to people in Facebook groups!
3. You can get swept up in the drama
Unfortunately, not everyone who is part of a free Facebook group wants to grow their business. Sometimes, they just want to complain, criticise or even stir up controversy.
This could be anything from arguing what constitutes art to unsolicited feedback on someone else’s work.
You’ll find dominant personalities in Facebook groups, which could put you off posting out of fear of looking silly or asking a stupid question. (By the way, it’s never a stupid question.)
I like to refer to this common phenomenon as ‘shenanigans’. Yep, there’s a whole lot of shenanigans in free Facebook groups.
It’s easy to get swept up in the drama. And yes, I do call it drama because even though they might be interesting discussions to have, they’re not conducted in a proactive and positive way.
They’re damaging because they impact your day and interrupt your work. Getting irritated by what someone said in a Facebook group is not good for business.
What should you do instead?
Imagine finding a community that acts as your best business friend. Someone who will champion you, pick you up when you’re feeling a bit down and give you a kick up the backside when you need it.
That’s what you need from a community – not a bunch of drama.
The best way to find this is by joining a paid community. Because in a paid community, the owners will want every member actively involved, feeling like they can ask anything, and they should guide the conversation to be more positive and proactive.
This is exactly what we do in our Makers’ Momentum Club membership. If you want to take a look at how we operate our community, you can check out the community guidelines here.
Free comes at a cost
Hopefully, by now, you’ll understand why free Facebook groups aren’t the best way to grow your business.
Ultimately, free Facebook groups do come at a cost – and that’s usually your time! You can waste a lot of time in free groups and that’s time that could be spent growing your business.
As I said earlier, you can also follow the wrong advice in free Facebook groups, which can lead to even more wasted time and money.
Finally, when you factor in the price of memberships for artists, makers and craftspeople, the costs are incredibly reasonable for what you get in return. They’re not free, but they certainly won’t break the bank either!
What to know more about Makers’ Momentum Club?
Makers’ Momentum Club helps artists, makers and craftspeople transform their businesses into thriving careers.
You can learn more about it in our blog post: Everything You Need to Know About Makers’ Momentum Club.
Or, if you fancy joining up, just visit this page here.