2 Huge Reasons Why the MVP is your MVP

The minimally viable product (MVP) is anything that contains enough features to satisfy the very first customers and offer feedback and data for future development. This is a term taken from my design experience, as I've spent a ton of time with startups and developing & launching new products. An MVP is a generally recommended strategy for many young businesspeople who are just starting to dip their toes into their new venture. As a creative, influencer, photographer, etc., you will have to learn how to produce a lean, sustainable business that will fulfill your goals. Part of this, is taking the first X amount of time (months, years, etc) to learn how costly your business will be.

If you're a blogger, what sort of tools will you need to create your business? A website, internet access, perhaps tools to talk about in your posts (like beauty products, food, etc). This can be done fairly inexpensively but could become pricy when you're expanding into marketing, outreach, photography, etc. But what do you need at the very basis, at the very core, the skeleton? Internet access, a hosting site for your blog, and a laptop. 

Now let's say you're a photographer. Things are becoming more expensive. The tools you need for an MVP suddenly became : a camera, editing materials, subjects, a space to shoot, backdrops, printing, etc. Can you use a phone for let's say, Instagram social media photos? Sure! But if you want to build a business as a photographer, you'll need something, anything to get started. You don't need to purchase the $3,000 camera because not only might you not have the funds yet, the purchase can put you out of performing other tasks that can benefit your business. So instead of going out and looking for shoots and clients, you might have to pick up extra hours to pay for the camera, therefore deeming the tool useless and seldom touched. What is your MVP here? An affordable camera, some editing software, memory disks, insurance, a laptop. 

This long intro is to say that for every profession, the MVP looks different. But no matter what you're working to build, figure out ways to make it cheap. Be frugal at every way. Can you pick up the skills you need instead of paying someone to do the work? (Let's say you're a social media strategist. Can you learn basic photography to help you cover the cost of a photog?). Can you borrow instead of buy? Can you hold off on large purchases knowing that your business might change? 

So what are the benefits of an MVP?

Help you understand your analytics / traffic

An MVP is not only helpful when it comes to finances, but also time. When starting out my blog, I didn't want to put too much pressure on the "cleanliness" of the look. It was a work in progress, and it was going to be messy. As a result of putting out unfinished blog posts 

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So these are the statistics for the last 31 days, which by the way, would be super cool per Squarespace to allow this to be "since day of blog creation" but I digress. So it seems to me that all of the traffic flows into the two posts that I have direct messaged lifestyle bloggers on Instagram about. Then, naturally, the people go to my home page to check out what this blog is about. And then we get interesting understanding that the next step for the visitors is to click the "Influencers" page, followed by "Creative Content" page. This gives me a ton of information through simple data collection. I now know to ramp up the Influencers page a little more, and to offer folks more insights on how to become influencers, how to make money with Instagram, and how to start working with companies!  I should add that many of my pages are still blank as I am writing this, and that doesn't worry me because those topics will get filled out. The people going on my blog right now are the very very first waves of visitors so it's alright if the bow is not quite on top. 

Gives you the ability to pivot, penalty free.

When business owners are excited about new opportunities, we tend to start creating business plans, opening credit cards, ordering new email, etc. All of these things cost money and boy do they add up fast. Sometimes business owners think that we are in-authentic or amateur if we don't have all of the things that a professional should have -a studio, an LLC, superior tools, etc. But often times, the impressions people get are of your work, not all the other little things. 

During a time I was pitching collaborations, I reached out to hundreds of companies from two emails, a professional one and a personal 'gmail' one. Guess which one was not assumed to be spammy? Guess which one got the most responses? The personal one. With the professional email, companies thought I was about to sell them something (per B2B) and never even looked at my email. With a gmail, they assumed I was a concerned customer, trying to get some help. Be confident in your work and your product, not all the other stuff that makes you look like a pro.

Spend as little money in the beginning as you can. Before you hire a blog writer for your blog, make sure you have enough income to cover all of your expenses and see whether the extra expense fits your long-term strategy. What happens when you hire a person to do work that might ultimately be useless once you decide to go to a different direction? Let's say one month you're planning to write about "Travel" and next month you focus on "Finances". If you outsourced any blog posts to be written about travel, these posts now become useless, and you are both out of money, and out of content. 

Allows you to put other projects in motion

We creatives are a perfectionist bunch. And while it’s wonderful to have such obsession and attention to our work, it can also be damaging because then we put ourselves into a bubble. Instead of producing a couple pieces of work and putting it out into the world because Celine edit it away and reflect on our work hoping that it will be up to your standards. But the truth is of the standard always changes, and moves according with what you’re learning, and the skills they were developing. So instead of putting any sort of pressure on yourself of that kind, put out some work, and come back to it later if you feel like you have grown. But if you put out some work, it will give you not only chance to move forward to new blog posts/videos/works of art but also to new opportunities. Let’s say you’re building a blog on travel and you put out a couple of very solid posts. While you have very little content, the content you do have should be nice and well-produced enough to where you can approach hotels, clothing companies, restaurants and the like to say “Here is who I am and here is my work”. What you’ve done is set a standard. Is this the best work you’ll ever produce ? No. But you’ve got to begin. “I was thinking about 30,,000 followers before companies would reach it to me.”

 

Khrystyna OrosComment