Month: November 2018

  • How to Enjoy the Slow Climb to Success

    Success. It seems like it never comes fast enough. While there are those who experience rapid “overnight” success, for the rest of us, it may take a little longer. And that’s not a bad thing! There are so many useful (and meaningful) things you can do along the way that will help you prepare for, and fully embrace, success when you get there.

    Thankfulness Journal

    It seems almost impossible to me now, but at the outset of 2018, I was ready to close my business!  I’d spent three years laying a foundation and pouring my heart + soul into my dream, but I wasn’t seeing the results I’d hoped for. I was emotionally and mentally exhausted, but something inside me told me to keep going. That’s when I decided to focus on the things that were going right in my life, rather than dwelling on everything that was going wrong.

    I purchased a cute (but inexpensive) journal, and every morning I would wake up and write down something I was thankful for. It didn’t matter how small or trivial it was, I just had to express gratitude. Honestly, it was hard at first, but after a few weeks, I’d find numerous things to write about. Something inside me shifted, and I became a more optimistic person, which gave me the energy to keep going in my business. I’m so thankful I did, because a few short months later, our bookings quadrupled! It was exactly what I’d been dreaming of, but I wouldn’t have gotten there if I’d given up.

    Celebrate Every Victory

    When things don’t seem to be going well, it’s time to celebrate every victory. I mean EVERY. Single. One. If a new client books, or you make a sale, do a victory dance– or play your favorite song, eat a special treat, play with your dog, kiss your S.O.– just do something to mark the occasion. Why? It’s important to remember that even though you aren’t where you want to be, you’re on your way! Good things are happening, even if they’re small things. All forward progress is important.

    Keep Learning

    It’s easy to take your foot off the gas when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere. However, it’s during the small or slow times we often learn the most. First of all, we can learn from our mistakes. If something isn’t working, take the time to dig into why it isn’t working so you can fix it. There’s something so liberating about finally improving in an area that’s been difficult.

    Sometimes we stall out in our businesses because we lack a certain skill set or knowledge base. Finding books or courses on those topics might be just the thing you need to get a breakthrough. Again, you want to enjoy the process, so find authors or course creators you enjoy! If reading isn’t your thing, there are some amazing audio books out there– many available through your local library.

    Get Systems in Place

    This might be my favorite tip of all time. Get rock-solid, scalable systems in place while your business is still small. I promise this will help make the journey so much smoother and less stressful as you go forward. Sure, you can stay on top of every email/order/inquiry right now when there are only a handful, but what would you do if you got 100 new leads or sales tomorrow? What systems would you need to have in place? Go through every aspect of your process from beginning to end, and develop a standard for each step. That way when you do experience massive growth, you’re already ready!

  • Does Your Marketing Need a Makeover? (How to Tell & Resources to Help)

    Marketing Woes

    Does the word “Marketing” fill you with dread and tie your stomach in knots? If so, you’re not alone. Marketing woes are common among small business owners, bloggers, and freelancers. Sometimes ensuring your product/service stands out from the crowd feels like a full-time job. It can be frustrating, exhausting, and can make you want to throw in the towel!

    The Test

    But what if you’re not sure your marketing needs a makeover? Here’s a quick test.

    Does any of these sound like you?

    • Is your booking calendar empty? (or too empty for comfort)
    • You have a great product or service, but people have a hard time understanding what you do or sell.
    • You have a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L website, but it’s not converting views into sales.
    • Your revenues aren’t growing.
    • You’re on every social media channel, but not gaining much traction.
    • When people ask you what you do, you don’t have a clear answer.
    • You have high-quality social media posts, but aren’t sure who your target market is.
    Where to start

    If any of those hit close to home, it might be time to give your marketing a closer look.

    I’ve found many fellow entrepreneurs struggle with a certain amount of confusion regarding their target market. As much as we’d like to think our products are perfect for everyone, it’s just not true. Besides, trying to be everything to everyone is a surefire path to burn out.

    It’s important to clarify who you’re trying to reach and why. It’s digging into the “why” that (usually) brings a lot of insight into what your potential clients are thinking, feeling, and needing. This can lead to new product ideas, and a deeper sense of empathy and connection with your clients.

    Once you know who you’re talking to, it’s important to know what to say. Having a simple, clear, effective answer to “What do you do/sell?” is a must.

    Resources to help

    For clarifying your message, the best place to start is “Building a Storybrand” by Donald Miller. This easy read takes you through an entire framework for making your messaging more concise and easier-to-understand.

    To cut through the marketing clutter, reading basically anything by Gary Vaynerchuk or Seth Godin would be helpful. “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne is another great resource for developing a strategy for setting yourself apart.

  • Infusing Your Style Into Your Business

    Here we are, four years into running my business. It has been the most challenging, exciting, fun, and exhausting thing I’ve ever done. This journey has stretched me in ways I could never have imagined, and I’ve learned so much along the way.

    One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that it’s vital, as a creative entrepreneur, to infuse your style into your business. I mean, it is your business after all.

    It was a real struggle for me at first. I think my problem was twofold:

    • I saw what everyone else was doing and felt I needed to be like them.
    • I was afraid people wouldn’t resonate with what I was putting out there.

    I hid behind my less-than-real self/imagery and put out some pretty bland stuff. It was easier to be rejected for something I didn’t really care about than to actually put myself out there. The results? Frustration. Lackluster sales. Dissatisfaction.

    It was terrible. Just terrible.

    Then, I learned an important lesson that changed everything (thanks B-School)– You need to be you in your business. It’s so simple, but it makes all the difference in the world!

    The Re-Brand

    I’ve talked about my company’s re-brand in previous posts, but I can’t stress enough how it completely transformed my business! Bookings tripled, profits shot up, but more importantly, I was revitalized. I got my energy and spirit back. I’m more excited than ever to be doing what I’m doing. It was more than just a name change, it was a total shift in how we think about and do business.

    I sat down with my teammate, Kala, and we began to define why + how we do what we do. We got crystal clear about the types of events we’d love to plan, and the types of customers we dream of working with.

    My Style

    In my personal life, I’m obsessed with things like recycling, minimalism, flowers, and all things natural. It only made sense to incorporate those elements into the business. Our new business name reflected it, and we even planned an entire photo shoot around it.

    We chose The Farmhouse at Grassroots Farm as our venue. The owner, Miki, is incredible. I love how she gives vintage furniture new life as her ceremony seating and uses wash cloths, rather than paper towels, in the wash rooms. There are earth-friendly details galore at Grassroots, so it was easy for us to come up with the elements for this shoot. Bamboo plates, seed paper invitations, vegan cookies, natural linen napkins, and a greenery backdrop installation… I was in heaven!

    We do what we can at our events to infuse eco-friendly elements, and our clients and other vendors have responded very warmly! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay. We’re attracting the right clients for us.

    Embracing You

    Like I said, I used to be terrified that people wouldn’t like what I stood for. But trying to be everything to everyone was a mess. By actually embracing what we love, people have responded so positively! We’ve booked the most incredible brides and grooms over the past few months. They’re exactly what I dreamed of when I started this business.

    Here are some things to thing about to help you embrace you:

    • What is it that makes you, you?
    • What sets you apart from other businesses?
    • What parts of yourself can you incorporate into your messaging + branding?
    • Who are your dream clients?
    • How can you uniquely serve those dream clients?
    • If you weren’t afraid of what other people thought, what would you embrace in your business?
    • How can being you benefit your clients?

    It’s incredible how getting real and embracing the real you can boost your confidence. Start small, but start. Ask the tough questions. Get vulnerable. Get real. Don’t let fear hold you back any longer.

    • Photography: Water and Grace Photography
    • Venue: The Farmhouse at Grassroots Farm
    • Rentals: Grassroots Vintage Rentals
    • Invitations: The Letterbox Shop
    • Bouquet: Blue Daisy Flowers and Gifts
    • Dress: Bella Rose Edmond
    • Ties: Two Guys Bow Ties