I’ve always been a bit of a stickler about having good manners here at home. My kids will back that up, I’m sure. But good manners are also important in your creative business. It makes you look professional and will set you apart from some of your competition.
So what do good manners in business look like? Here are some thoughts.
Be Nice – This applies (or it should) to ever area of your life. My husband used to work with a woman who liked saying (in a singsong voice), “It’s nice to be nice to the nice”. And while that may sound kind of silly, it’s true. I’m sure you can recall times when someone asked you for something that you really weren’t inclined to do but because they asked so nicely you didn’t have the heart to turn them down. This in no way means you have to be a door mat. You can stand up for yourself and still be polite and kind.
Be Grateful – In the creative world it’s easy to look around at what everyone else is doing and feel sad or depressed because you think you don’t measure up. Just remember that there is probably someone out there right now who has the same feelings about YOU. Be grateful for your talents, your trials, the people around you and your opportunities. Be humble and show appreciation to those who are looking up to you right now. You never know when or where you will meet them again. I often told my kids to be kind to their friends’ parents because even though you aren’t there to hang out with the parents you never know when you will be sitting across the desk from one of them in a job interview.
Learn to Give and Take Constructive Criticism- It doesn’t matter how many people are on your mailing list or how many Facebook page fans you have, or how well-known your work is, there is going to be someone out there who doesn’t like something you make. It can make you feel bad and be a challenge to get out from under but it is part of the work. Simply thanking that person for their feedback is enough. You can decide later if you want to accept and learn from the criticism or not. You may also be called upon to give feedback to someone else. In that case be sure to consider how you would want feedback given to you and proceed accordingly.
Practice Good Time Management – It’s good to be busy. Even if you are so busy you feel a little frazzled and are running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Sometimes this can lead to not getting orders out in a timely manner. This will happen on occasion and that is OK but if your customers routinely wait around for you to fill orders or return emails you are really sending the message to them that their business isn’t that important to you. I don’t think that’s the message you want to send. Be sure to refer back to my post The Work/Life Balance and Being Organized and download the Daily Routine spreadsheet to help you manage your time better. Practicing good time management will go a long way toward helping you to stay on top of orders and correspondence and in return make your customers feel like you WANT their business.
Support the Members of Your Tribe – While the creative industry can be very competitive it can also be very supportive. We are all here to build our dream life and/or business and as a friend of mine is fond of saying, “A rising tide lifts all ships”. Meaning that the time and effort you expend to help your tribe members improve their businesses will, in the end, come back around and raise your own ship. Whether you offer to do a short demonstration at a guild meeting to help members better understand a specific challenge or give support to some new members of the tribe, your support and assistance will not go unnoticed. In the end you may find out some information that will help YOU with a difficulty you are having.
Those are my tips for having good manners in your creative business.
Do you have any tips or advice to add? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below.
By: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess
Don’t miss out on any Creative Income updates and sign up for our free weekly newsletter!