Multi-Hat Marketing

Jul 1, 2024 | Marketing

by Monica Davidson

Wearing multiple professional ‘hats’ is the reality of most creative people’s lives. According to the latest Artist as Workers report from Creative Australia, more than 80% of professional creatives are juggling freelancing and employment, in both arts and non-arts jobs, across all manner of professions. It’s sometimes called the ‘slashie’ phenomenon, where an artist can easily be an actor / model / writer / director / designer… the more ‘hats’ we can wear, the more ways we have of making money, and the more likely we are to survive and thrive. 

It can be exhausting, but it makes sense from a commercial point of view, if we think of ourselves that way. All businesses need to sell more than one thing in order to make money. Cafés that just sold coffee will go broke pretty quickly, and creatives that only sell one type of product or service in one narrow field of practice will often do the same.

For some of us, it’s not just an economic decision, but a way of life that makes sense for our other life commitments, wellbeing, and/or neurospiciness. Some of us can’t not do more than one type of creative work. I have moved back and forth between writing, filmmaking, performing and business consultancy for most of my professional life. If I spend too long in any one place, I get antsy. Shifting back and forth has not only broadened my income producing horizons, it’s helped me to live my best life as an artist and an entrepreneur. I’m rocking those multiple hats, and I always will.

A key issue, however, is marketing. It’s great to do more than one thing, if it makes you money (and makes you happy), but it can have a problematic promotional side effect. Too many hats, or too many different types of work, and you can end up looking deranged to an outside observer, funding body, or potential client. You may be perfectly comfortable working as both a graphic designer and an aerial acrobat, but combining those elements into a professional and reliable brand can be tricky.   

Here are a few tips on making the most of your many hats in the marketplace.

Follow the Money

Is making money from your practice a goal for you? If so, which of your multiple skills are generating income? You might enjoy spreading yourself across different activities, but if we’re talking business then we need to understand our capacity and how it relates to revenue. Put simply, if some of your creative activities make more money than others, and income is important right now, focus your marketing attention there. You don’t have to do this forever, especially if it’s not what you truly want to do. It just means you’re choosing this skill to pay your bills while you figure out your next steps.

Remember, business is also about investing time in activities that don’t generate income yet, but might in the future. Creative business development is important, but make sure you’ve applied a marketing eye to your ideas. Have you conducted any market research to see if this is an avenue worth pursuing? Have you double checked that your idea is actually worthwhile? (Watch our webinar about making better decisions here)

Finally, just because you can do multiple things, doesn’t mean you should. Not all of your creative gifts are useful for making money. If there’s no market for it, or it’s purely for pleasure, don’t add it to your creative business. It’s also a good idea to think about your Unicorns and your Workhorses to see where to invest your precious time.

It’s All About the Client

How do your multiple talents look from the clients’ or customers’ point of view? It can be hard to decide where to focus your marketing energy if you’re just thinking about yourself. Empathise with your audience and try to understand how they would perceive you. Are your many talents actually complementary?  

For example, if you’re an actor who can also sing and dance, then marketing your different skills through the same channels (one website, one Facebook page) makes sense, because your potential clients will appreciate you being able to do all three. If you’re an actor who can also take great photos, however, those skills don’t necessarily ‘go together’ for a client.  It’s hard to imagine a producer who would want to hire you for both.

Of course, you can still do both activities – this is not about limiting yourself, but about reducing any possible misconception about flakiness and unprofessionalism. If your skills are complementary, like coffee and muffins in a café, display them together. If you’re selling the arts equivalent of coffee and chainsaws, however, you may need to split out your marketing activities (see below).

If you’re going to keep all your offerings in one promotional place, keep it simple! Providing a complicated description of who you are and what you can do might end up confusing your customers and muddying your marketing. People don’t tend to trust what they don’t understand, so keep your descriptions simple and ensure your clients can understand the services and products you have to offer.

Split It Out

If your skills are complementary then you can easily promote them under one name. If not, you may need to use different names for different business offerings. You can still maintain your entity (for example, as a sole trader, using your own ABN), and use multiple business names to describe your work.

For example, let’s say Jane Smith is a sole trader, using her own name to work as a musician and performer. She also works as a copywriter, and uses the business name Jane WordSmith, which she has registered with the appropriate government agency. She sells her services through two different websites, using two different domain names, and can even split out to offer her services through different social media and marketing channels. Since nobody is likely to want both musician and copywriting services, she won’t have to worry about trying to squish all of her talents together into one ill-fitting place.

However, she can use her musical knowledge to offer her copywriting services to the music industry, and then her non-complementary skill becomes a niche, rather than a distraction.

Multiple names, websites and marketing channels can be complicated, and expensive, but worth it if you can connect to the right clients more easily. If having more than one business profile makes you appear professional and trustworthy, it will be worth the time, cost and effort.

There’s More to Life than Facebook

Increasingly people only think of social media when they think of marketing methods. There are SO many more ways to promote yourself than Facebook and Instagram, so choose the methods that help you tell the best story to your potential clients. If you’ve decided to split out, think about using LinkedIn and networking events for your more business-to-business services and Instagram for your creative work. If you’re struggling to come up with strategies, check out some of the brilliant marketing webinars we’ve hosted over the years to help kickstart your imagination, and visit our Mondo Marketing page for more resources.

Good luck with all those hats, friend!

Would you like to know more about multi-hat marketing? We have a free webinar happening on Thursday 25th July at 6pm. Check it out here.

Would you like some hands-on help with the business, money or marketing aspects of your creative work? Check out our Advisory Services for more real-life information and coaching for your creative business.

Image from RDNE Project/Pexels


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