When People Can’t Afford You

I was at my local Tuesday’s Together meeting and a photographer was talking about how she struggles with pricing because when people say they can’t afford her she feels bad for them and drops her prices. Do you feel the heaviness of this? She feels bad for them because she is compassionate, but then she devalues her work and takes money from her own family by dropping her prices. That doesn’t feel good either.

If you are regularly having people try to haggle you over prices you may be the root of the problem. Having clear prices on your website could repel people that can’t afford you and attract people that can. You can also increase the level of service you provide, your prices and have the work to support that you will attract a different level of clients who have the budget to pay. Another way to avoid these conversations is to send people a pdf that defines your services and prices before talking to them on the phone.

Add your response to this as part of your system. If they can’t work with you then have something to give them instead of a huge discount. You can offer them names of someone who would be a good fit for them. You could direct them to a lower priced digital product, your free content, or a smaller version of your product. This feels much better than just turning someone away and can keep you connected with them for when they can buy your product or services.

Know your numbers. I have a big piece of butcher block paper on my wall with my goals for money, social media, projects and onboarding new clients. It’s my motivator and my accountability partner because my mortgage company is never going to feel sorry for me. This also allows me to know what I can do to seal the deal with clients. Sometimes clients don’t need everything I am offering in a package so I know bases on my numbers what I can offer them. Based on my time and clients for the month I can add a service rather than to lower the price.  Sometimes I just like to throw in something for free because I want to serve them the best that I can and let them know I appreciate them.

How to Chose Your Creative Business Idea

As creatives, we are never good at just one thing. You have probably also heard this referred to as multi-passionate. The great thing about having so many interests is that creativity feeds creativity even when they are different disciplines. I love switching from the structure of web design to the freedom of abstract painting. I love painting and I always get ideas for colors and patterns that I can use in my print and web work.

The only hiccup is that this can make it hard to choose which direction to go in when starting a business. When you are good at web design, illustrations, and sewing, how do you pick? Most people can’t choose and try each one or all at once.

Trying each one is a great way to decide where to put your energy. You may find out you don’t enjoy the business side or can’t make a profit with one of your passions and decide to keep it a hobby. You can dip your toe in and see if it’s a good fit for you before you invest a lot of time and energy.

If you choose to open multiple businesses, choose one to put all of your focus on first. Then, once you have that one business running smoothly and making you an income, take everything you learned and apply it to starting your second business. Jasmine Star and Jenna Kutcher are two examples of people who were really successful as photographers before they launched a second business as coaches and educators. Their strategy works because the businesses are related and they used the success of one to launch the other.

Another option is choosing one idea to be your main source of income and your second (or third, or fourth) passion for becoming a passive source of income.  For example, you could pursue your passion for teaching with an e-course or you could take your hobby of watercolor and sell prints online.

These are some questions to ask yourself when it comes to turning an idea into a business.

1. Is there a market for my product or service? It is much easier to sell people who need and want what you have than convincing people to want and need what you have.

2. Can I make this product or provide this service for a profit? You have to get real with your numbers, especially with products. Figure out how long it takes you to make a product or do the service, plus how much your materials cost. If you have a product and you want to offer wholesale, you will have to account for making a profit after you sell for 50% off.

3. Where do you want this business to go? You want to look into the future and predict if this is a business that could scale. If you sell art prints, could you grow your sales by offering other products? If you offer services, could you grow your biz by offering products?

How to Choose an Email Provider

Having an email list is one of the best tools you can have to grow your business. This list gives you a direct link to speak to customers with whom you have built a relationship, based on their interest in your products or services. You can collect an email list through a variety of providers. In essence, they are all very similar. Knowing how you want to use your list will make a difference when you go to choose a platform that is right for you. Two providers that I have used are Mailchimp and Convert Kit. So, I will use those as examples of what to look for.

5 Point Website Audit

Your website is so important to running your business well. It’s the foundation of your business where people purchase, subscribe, contact, and register. It’s like having an employee that works for you 24/7. The success of that employee depends on you. This is a 5 point checklist to get your website in shape.

3 Steps to Better Instagram Post

Here are some tips to increase your reach on Instagram by writing better post.
1. Each photo should work together to make one cohesive story. You can achieve this by having a color story that runs through your photos and keeping the same style to your photos. You could have a bright, fun style with lots of white backgrounds and bright colors. Maybe, you like really warm tones and rich colors. People look at your grid before they decide to follow you. So, you want your grid to visually tell the story that matches your message.

Do You Need a Brand Check Up?

As we grow and change, so does our business. Sometimes change can seem scary, but it’s a totally normal part of expanding your business. How we do what we do and who we do it for may change, but our mission and values stay the same.

When I first started working for myself, most of my portfolio work was really corporate. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it took a little time to replace my work with projects that would attract the kind of clients I wanted. So, when I started out, I branded myself as a general print and web designer. Now, I focus on creative entrepreneurs and providing services for branding, web design, and coaching.

When To Invest in Your Business?

When you are a one-woman show, small business owner,  your funds are limited. So, as you are trying to grow your customer base and stabilize your monthly income, the thought of spending money can be scary.

How do you know how and when to invest in yourself? It’s helpful to know three things. One, when you buy tools to run your business, you will see a return on your investment. Secondly, the investment of those tools can scale as your business grows. Last, but for sure, not least, these are a tax write off, yay!

How to get Customers who are ready to buy

When you think about buying a car, or hiring a repair man is the first thing you think of excitement? Or do you feel that tightening in your gut? Do you try to figure out how to keep your car a little longer and DIY that repair, or head to your nearest dealership with no worries? Everyone has fears when it comes to buying, whether it’s something small, like a cool office supplies, or a big purchase like a new sofa. When we can cross out the list of fears our clients have for buying our services or products we have customers who are ready to buy. So how do we do this?

How To Find Your Voice on Social Media

Many people have a hard time with social media, newsletters and blog post because they can’t define their voice. I have found some similar causes for what’s holding them back. Because really, you use your voice everyday and if that was the problem you would be weird hermit person right?

How to Pick a Web Designer

Designer or Devloper

Websites use languages like html, PHP, and CSS to form the look and function of a site. Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify have their own language on top of this to manipulate the base PHP Html and CSS.

If you think about it like making a beef stew from a recipe you have the main ingredients the beef and vegetable (base code), but you can put the ingredients together in different ways. You can choose buy your meat and vegetables and cut them yourself, or you can buy pre cut frozen vegetables, add canned tomatoes, and stew meat.

How to Pick a Website Platform

It can be really confusing to know what you need when it comes to picking a platform for your website. There are so many options now, even for developers and designers, it can be overwhelming.

What a platform is….

Websites use languages like html, PHP, and CSS to form the look and function of a site. Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, and Shopify have their own language on top of this to manipulate the base PHP, html, and CSS.

It’s like baking a cake with a box of Duncan Hines cake mix. The ingredients to make a cake are all the same, but Duncan Hines has packed them so you can just add your eggs and oil, instead of making it from scratch.

What to say on your website

A website can be beautiful but if your message isn’t clear in telling people what you do and how to hire you, then it isn’t working for you. That’s what a website should do. It’s an employee that works to clients get on board for you 24/7.

There are 4 major sections of content you need to have on your website. Positioning statement  – Your positioning statement says who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. You want to be very specific here.  An example would be, “I am a virtual assistant who supports photographers through scheduling, photo editing, and customer service”.

You can add a tagline to this statement to add some personality or speak to the emotions of your ideal client. For example, Giving Creatives  More Time to do What They Love. This appeals to a need and desire photographers have to spend more time shooting and less time doing the day to day business task.

Using your voice to Attract Your Ideal Client

One of the best parts about being your own boss is that you get to choose your clients. I know we have all had clients in our careers that we couldn’t wait to move past. Part of attracting our ideal client is using our voice: our real voice, the one we use when we talk to friends, because people want to buy from friends.

Using your real voice is important in building your brand, because you use it  to attract clients, get them on board ,and keep them. Maintaining constant expectations through your voice is key in doing this. I think about it like online dating. Even if these are unchartered waters for you, the fear of having the prospective date not be like their profile in person probably came up. When people view our websites and social media, they are checking our profile. They let us know they are interested by reaching out through email, and the relationship grows with a phone call or meeting. Your customer can date anyone so imagine their fears about working with you if you are really bubbly and outgoing online, but your emails are very stark and you take forever to respond.

Finding your niche

Your niche is that place where you can focus in on a service or product that allows you to rise to the top as an expert and become the go to person in your field. It’s a way for you to be really specific about who you are and what you do. The results of finding your niche are standing out from your competition, working with ideal clients, and being able to charge well for your expertise.

How to Pick a Color Pallet

I hear from so many people that they struggle with finding the perfect color pallet! How can something so fun, be so hard right?  If you are stuck choosing your colors, what’s holding you back is probably a disconnect between your brand message and images or a flat color palette. Let’s talk about what that means, and then I made a worksheet (at the bottom if you want to skip down) that you can download to get your color palette together.

Brand Message – Color evokes emotions from people based on their association between the color and context they attach to it. Some people love nature and may associate rich greens with adventure and national parks. Other people hate camping so this evokes a context of being uncomfortable (bugs, weather, tent sleeping). So what we want to do is make sure their is cohesion in our brand by being clear about our message and using our colors, logo and photo styles to support that.

When Designers Don’t Play Nice

Design communities are a wonderful thing. The world is becoming smaller with online social groups, collaborations, and access to designers work.  But, like on any playground, some kids don’t play nice. I teach my children to take the high road, but I know sometimes it is really hard not to give in to that first emotion of retaliation. For those of you who felt your work was copied or had a client stolen, I hear you. It really sucks.

When Your Client Rejects Your Design

Design is a way of communicating. We learn through our education and practice how to prefect the art of supporting and idea or telling a story through images. There is beautiful moment that feel like magic when inspiration, vision and design come together in perfect harmony. It’s addictive and fulfilling. The only thing that can bring you down from this is high is when the client rejects the deign.

This can be so hard! Take a break and detach your emotions from your work. Think back to the discovery meeting. What were their pain points? What did they tell you was important? Were you really listening, and did your design really convey what they wanted?

Scheduling Apps for Small Businesses

I always tell people to think of their website like an employee that works 24/7. I listen to what issues they are having running their business and what their customers are asking them to see how their site can serve them better. When you are selling your services and closing the deal showing this value to the customer makes them feel excited pay you. It’s a win win. Finding the right software for scheduling and billing can be a huge time saver for small business owners. Think about having to schedule, send appointment reminders, and invoices for over 100 people a month! These are 3 apps for scheduling and collecting payments that I really like to use.

How to Generate Passive Income

Passive income is a way to generate money without expending a lot of energy. It’s a way to maximize your time and income potential. Especially when you are a one person operation and your time is limited. With passive income, you do the work once, and sell multiple times. This allows you to build a business model where you can grow your income without increasing your hours.These are some ways to offer a product or service within the scope of what you are already doing.

Make a Business Plan to Earn More Money

A business plan is simply how you make money. Even if you are already in business, you still need a business plan to meet those money goals. The best way to come up with your business plan is to go back to your brand foundations. This would be your why, your goals, and your values. This will give you guidelines for developing your business plan. For example, I knew how many hours I wanted to work per week based on my value of wanting to spend time with my family. I also knew how much money I wanted to make based on my goals.  My business plan was figuring out how to make these two numbers work. I knew I needed to have passive income as a part of my plan and this began the change in my business model. Think about where you make the most money now, places where you are not making money, and additional products or service you offer to make more money.

Let’s break it down!