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Business

3 Easy Ways Creatives Can Turn Inquiries into Clients

One of the most popular questions we get is: Should I put my prices on my website, or not?

After years of trial and error on this topic, having our prices on our photography website, then taking them down in a panic, then putting them back up, then changing our prices, then finally finding a sweet spot and sticking to it, this is what we found worked best for us…

  1. Put starting prices on website.
  2. Add space for those inquiring to include their phone number on contact form.
  3. Call and/or send video email message first, instead of writing an email back.

That’s it. Those are our 3 easy ways creatives can turn inquiries into clients and take care of that nagging question regarding pricing on websites. Sound too good to make that much of a difference?

Keep reading.

Let’s see what this looks like in real life and talk about how you can maximize these 3 easy things…

Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer (stick with me if you’re not in the wedding industry; the principles apply to you, too). There is a couple who’s been eyeing your work ever since briefly meeting you at the bride-to-be’s cousin’s wedding a few months ago. Said couple gets engaged and sends emails inquiring about wedding photography to five photographers they think are super talented.

You are one of those photographers.

Put starting prices on your website…

Said couple allots $3,000 for their wedding photography. Your main package is $3,750. If that’s on your website, said couple might see it and run, even though they enjoyed bumping into you at their cousin’s cake table, because they have four other options.

FIX: You shoot elopements for $2,500. Put this as a starting rate on your website. It opens the door for conversations you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Said couple already likes you. Your goal is to get a consultation with them. Buy them coffee and a chocolate croissant, learn all about them, connect with them, show them your true colors, discover quirky likes and dislikes you have in common, they start to love you, they hire you and you give them the best darn experience as their chosen wedding photographer!

None of that can happen if they count you out because of that $3,750 price tag on your website.

It’s important to note you’re not trying to trick couples into changing their budgets for you. What you’re doing, is creating an opportunity for couples to get to know you and your brand better, which also, a lot of the time, increases their perceived value of what you have to offer.

We do this all the time in everyday life…

I see a shirt at Nordstrom. I think it’s super expensive. But then, I try it on. It feels so soft. I look so good! I buy the shirt because I changed my perceived value of what it can do for me.

Add space for those inquiring to include their phone number on your contact form…

Said couple sees your $2,500 starting rate on your website! “WOO HOO,” they think! She was so awesome and this might work out, after all. They email you, along with those four other wedding photographers, in hopes you’re available for their wedding date. You’re excited! You want to put your best foot forward and stand out from the crowd!

The biggest mistake most creative entrepreneurs make when they get an email inquiry is replying to the potential client with a regular, plain old written email.

Pick up the phone and give them a call instead OR send them a video message response instead of writing back! I know it might feel scary or weird, but I promise if you proceed with excitement for them and confidence in what you do, you will stand out (and, you might just make their day because in this busy world you took the extra time to do something thoughtful and personal!)

Call and/or send video email message first, instead of writing an email back…

When you do this, keep a few things in mind:

  1. Know your purpose for calling/sending video. If your purpose is to simply book a meeting with them, you might say (or leave a voicemail that says), “Hi _______! I just received your email and I wanted to call and say CONGRATS! I’m so excited because I AM available for your wedding date! I’d love to get together with you and your fiancé so we can see if we’re all a good fit! What works best for the two of you?!” Feel free to add more of your personality, a little on-brand touch or anything else that feels authentic to you and the reason you want to chat with this couple.
  2. Smile. Smiling is contagious, even over the phone. Especially when they see your face in a video. Show them you’re friendly and easy to talk to.
  3. Write out a script so you have something to fall back on if you get nervous or lose your place.
  4. PRACTICE!!! Send your mom a video message. Test out your call script with your husband.
  5. Follow up with an email, AFTER you call/leave a message. (If you are sending a video message instead of calling, you can include more details below the video in the same email.)
  6. Calling/sending a video message instead of simply sending a written email might seem terrifying to you! We totally get that. This is a great opportunity for you to get outside of your comfort zone for the sake of BIG things happening in your business.

In a perfect world (and once you’ve built a brand that attracts your ideal clients this will happen), dream clients email you and already know they’re going to hire you. But this takes time and relationship equity and trust. If you’re not at this place in your business yet, following these 3 easy steps will help you turn inquiries into clients because you’re taking a regular situation (getting an inquiry) and creating an opportunity for yourself to show personality and thoughtfulness and therefore, stand out.

Trust me, your potential clients will notice.  

Want more help from here, after you get that meeting with your inquiries? Check out our How to Close More Sales to increase your booking rate!

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Business

5 Ways Creative Entrepreneurs Can Get Fast Referrals

More, more, more! Everyone wants more! More clients! More reach! More likes + comments! More followers! More money for more vacations! I get that. I often find myself in that same spot, thinking…

How can we improve our business? How can we refine our processes to influence even more creative entrepreneurs? How can we increase our numbers so we can build that savings account and retirement fund even faster?

I want you to STOP for a second. I want us to stop for a second.

We have everything we need, right now.

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it. But, there are incredible opportunities at our fingertips. Referrals, relationships, inquiries…there, waiting for us!

So, how do experience all the goodness that’s waiting for us? Well, we want to share with you 5 ways creative entrepreneurs can get fast referrals…

  1. Take a look at your inbox…what relationships are sitting in there, waiting to be nurtured? Who can you encourage? What action can you take to help someone who needs it? Who can you send a genuine referral to? Who can you connect with someone else you know?
  2. Take a look at your current clients (whether that’s 2 or 20)…who can you reach out to to show you care? How can you over-deliver on your promises + contract? How can you answer their questions before they have to ask so they feel super taken care of? How can you treat your client more like you’d treat your friend?
  3. Take a look at the networking event you’re going to this month…who’s going to be there that you’ve been wanting to connect with? How can you offer value to someone you look up to? What can you do to make their life easier or better? Who can you start engaging with on social media before your next event?
  4. Take a look at your Instagram comments…who’s been cheering you on? How can you return the favor? Who have you met in the last couple of weeks that you can go encourage on Instagram? How many supportive comments and genuine connections can you make in one day?!
  5. Take a look in the mirror…have you been giving your all to everything you already have? The opportunities? The relationships? The clients? The hours you put in working? Are you scrolling Facebook when you should be working? Are you feeling sluggish and need to go for a run before getting back to work? What do you need to do to function at your best?

More is out there, waiting for you. There are people looking for YOU! And, I know it’s tempting to go and try to find them all at once! I mean, there are so many rad marketing strategies waiting for you, like using Instagram stories, using video for your business in other ways, getting super smart with your social media posts, starting a newsletter, building life-giving relationships with your fellow creative entrepreneurs, giving Facebook ads a whirl…SO MANY awesome ways to show the world who you are and what you stand for and how you can make your ideal client’s life better!!! BUT…

Yes, there’s a BUT…

So often, we jump the gun and go there first. ALL of those strategies will help you grow your creative business, but, we believe it’s vital to take care of what we’ve been given, all along the way, no matter what stage of business you’re in or how much money you make.

We believe the easiest advertising you can do, the fastest way to get referrals, well, it’s at your fingertips. It’s giving your all to everything you’ve been given.

Make the most of it + I guarantee more will come your way!

Categories
Business

My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs

In the last 8 years, Jesse and I have created two businesses. The whole point of this entrepreneur adventure, for us, is to share all we have with the world and hopefully by doing this, we’ve made someone’s life better. Oh, and we definitely dig mid-day bike rides and soaking up sunshine on the coast (which certainly has something to do with us living and loving this gig, too).

Since a quarter of my life has now been spent in entrepreneurship, and I’ve had approximately 97 meltdowns along the way, I figured I’d share with you what I do know. My lessons learned over the years. My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs…

Grace
Take it easy on yourself. No matter what you do or don’t do; no matter if you meet your expectations for yourself or not, give yourself some grace. We are our own worst enemies. Think of the respect, grace and understanding you offer your best friend when times are tough. Are you that kind to yourself? I know I’m not, a lot of the time, because perfectionism wiggles its way into my mind and I can be really hard on myself. But the more intentionally I work on grace, the less disappointed I am. I am happier, freer and actually more productive and successful.

Boundaries
There are two ways I’ve learned to use boundaries to my advantage. The first is probably the most obvious: establish boundaries for work/life balance. Shut the office door at night. Put fun, social, personal things on the calendar first each week, so you don’t run yourself into the ground. Create office hours. STICK TO THE OFFICE HOURS.

The second way is this: Guard your heart. Not everyone is going to understand, be interested in or possibly even support your ideas and decisions in entrepreneurship. That’s okay. Keep those relationships about something else. Don’t pour out your heart about your business dreams to these people if you know their response will disappoint you. There are so many people who DO get it (umm, hello, we’re right HERE!!!).

Strategy
The fastest way to get to where you want to be is by having a strategy. This comes in all shapes and sizes, for all sorts of things like networking, how you spend your time working on your business and in your business, social media advertising, marketing . . . you name it, you need to have a strategy for it!

Ask yourself: What is my purpose? What can I do with this partnership, Instagram post or conference I’m going to that will better my business and take me to the next level? How can I make this a win-win situation for everyone involved? If strategy isn’t your strength (yet), write one of these questions on a Post-it and put it on your computer as a reminder to guide your business in that direction.

Persistence
Those who make it to the top of the mountain have had plenty of crummy days in the valley. But the reason they “made it”? Persistence. You will doubt your dreams. You will want to give up, for good. Don’t do that! Instead, cry it out. Do some yoga. Just breathe, and maybe get yourself a brownie, too. And then, tweak your plan and try again. Repeat after me:

“Fear, pride, comparison, naysayers, self-doubt and failure will not stop me from living to my fullest potential.”

Use those challenges and setbacks to grow and position yourself as a leader whose ways are tried and true.

Gratitude
Gratitude is a cure-all. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy and experience true joy. And it’s the absolute BEST way to start your day. Even in the crappiest of situations, there’s something to be grateful for. Nothing is too little to go unnoticed either! Wake up each day and set the tone for all that’s to come. Make it a new habit to inject gratitude into your day.

Soon, this new habit will shape your new sunshiny perspective. This is HUGE when you’re a business owner because there will always be ups and downs. The more successful you become, the more potential there is for complicated challenges. Gratitude is one vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to a solid mindset.

No matter what situation I’m in or challenge I’m facing, one of these words is usually the answer. Try them out. Let me know what words have taught you the most and help you be and do everything you’ve dreamed up for your business!

Categories
Business

7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Breeze Through Setbacks

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We all do it. No matter how far we’ve come or how successful we are, we all do it every now and then. We FREAK OUT!!! PANIC!!! We feel like life is over because of a setback or failure that feels like a dagger through the heart. The intensity of how much we feel these setbacks is valid, considering the amount of effort and soul we pour into our work and businesses.

But I’m here to tell you that failing is fabulous! Because guess what, you’re likely in this place because you put yourself out there, tried something new and got outside of your comfort zone and that, no matter what the outcome, deserves something so much greater than what we have the tendency to reward ourselves with. And even though you feel like throwing in the towel, you have an opportunity to take this setback and turn the bus around!

So, when you’re in freak out mode because something didn’t go as well as you’d hoped and you’re panicking about the state of your business and the state of your perseverance, here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can breeze through setbacks and get back to your go-getting, confident, money-making self in no time.

1. Get it all out.
I’m a firm believer in purging yourself of all limiting beliefs, negativity, self-doubt, fear, disappointment, frustrations, etc. as soon as possible. Vent. Cry. Be upset. But give yourself a time limit for all of this, because you have some really important steps to take next. Whatever you do, don’t stop here.

2. Focus on what you already have.
This is a great time for gratitude. Think about how far you have already come! Think about all the people who have worked with you and raved about you, your products or services. Go ahead, read all your incredible reviews. Also, take inventory of your current clients’ satisfaction level. Is there anything you can do to improve their experience? Go do that.

3. Shift your mindset.
A big part of why that setback sent you reeling is likely because you haven’t been strengthening your mindset enough as you should be. Have you been sticking to your morning routine? Check out The Miracle Morning. Page through Think & Grow Rich. Get off social media for a few days; no need to compare yourself to others in this fragile state. Instead, work on getting your confidence back ASAP.

4. Create a game plan.
Think back to what got you through your last setback. What worked for you? Do those things! What didn’t? Don’t do those things! If you’ve veered from your strengths, get back to them! Do what you’re good at and confident in to gain traction and momentum.

5. Add value for others.
It’s so easy to be self-absorbed when things aren’t going our way. When all you can think about is how you wish you could just catch a break, go be that break for someone else. Get outside of yourself and see what you can do to help someone else succeed. I promise this will make you feel better AND by providing value for others, down the road, they will provide value for you.

6. Seek advice from the wise.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. A lot of times, the answer to your problem is simple and just requires you to do a little tweaking. Get advice from your coach, mentor or other successful entrepreneurs in your life. Learn from their challenges, setbacks, and failures. Model after their perseverance and strategies.

7. Trust in the process.
You’ve likely been here before. I have. I have been in that place numerous times over my 7 years as an entrepreneur, and you know what, it always works itself out. So, trust in the process. Know that you will have another chance to accomplish what you hoped to do the first time around. Use this setback to make version 2.0 that much better! And then, get back to work.

You got this!

Categories
Business

Know Your Ideal Client! (Why You are Hearing this Again & Again)

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If you want to have a successful business, you MUST know your ideal client. You might be thinking, “I know, I know, I’ve heard this all before!” We won’t back down until all the #gutsygogetters we know have this figured out and have their messaging plastered across every social media platform and every piece of their real estate on the World Wide Web.

Who is your ideal client?

We spend so much time talking about this and making sure our clients are super specific with their ideal clients because business gets so much easier once you have this figured out! We are relentless for a reason. We are huge advocates for smarter work that makes our life easier. Can we all agree that’s what we’re going for here, on this entrepreneur adventure?! Knowing specifically who your ideal client is is the cornerstone for countless decisions you’ll have to make down the road.

Let me ask this: Do you want more clients? Do you want to take your business to the next level? Do you want people flocking to you? Do you want to be known in your industry as an expert? Do you want to have an endless supply of content to choose from for your social media posts and your newsletters? Do you want to know how to get in front of the right people with your Instagram and Facebook ads?

YES???

Rad. Keep reading!

A lot of people first come to us and say, “But, I’m nervous! What if I get so specific that I don’t reach anyone!” We understand your concern. But, after hashing all this out, those we’ve coached move forward with a very detailed picture in their mind of their ideal client, and lo and behold, their DREAM CLIENTS start blowing up their inboxes! Because, once they figure out who this person is, they start speaking their language and providing value intentionally and specifically for them (via social media, lead magnets, ads, newsletter content, etc.), potential ideal clients who were once just floating around, out in the world, see this and realize this person is an expert in this category! Then, they want more! Eventually, they want to hire this person!

The same can happen for you. Let’s get started.

Think about who you want to work with, in an ideal world. This is your time to dream. If you haven’t worked with someone like this yet, that’s okay. If you’ve worked with this person before, start pulling attributes and descriptors from those past clients. Keep in mind that you’re coming up with ONE single person!! Not a group of people. ONE person.

It allows you to speak directly to people that will really resonate with what you have to say and what you believe in and will repel those you don’t want to work with anyway!

Gender?
How old is this person?
Is she/he in a relationship?
Does she/he have kids?
Where does she/he shop for clothes?
What kind of style does she/he have?
Where does she/he shop for groceries?
What does she/he do for fun?
What does she/he do for work?
What kind of colors does she/he like?
Is she/he outdoorsy or more urban?
Who does she/he follow onInstagram?

These are just some ideas to get your brain going in the right direction! Feel free to add more. For example, if you’re a florist and you LOVE working with clients having woodsy weddings, you could get more specific about the type of style of this person (bohemian, hippie, earthy, etc.) Again, all of these words and descriptions are going to help you speak your ideal client’s language in everything you do from here on out! So, take the time to list out adjectives for your ideal client!

Think of all these things as a way of narrowing your niche. It allows you to speak directly to people that will really resonate with what you have to say and what you believe in and will repel those you don’t want to work with anyway! We encourage you to only show (on your website, social media, etc.) the work you want to do more of. Everything you’re putting out in the world must be a representation of the kind of clients and work you desire more of.

Once you have all those things nailed down (and don’t worry, these can change slightly over time), make sure everyone who comes in contact with you knows these three things: 1. Who you are, 2. What you do, and 3. Who you do it for.

We like to think of it as an Instagram profile pitch. It shouldn’t be any longer than that bio in your Instagram account, but should effectively communicate those three things. Update your website and blog. Update your social media platforms. Update your email signature. Update it ALL.

Now, the last piece of the puzzle is the most important piece!! As you’re making marketing decisions, ask yourself this question: Would my ideal client find this valuable, inspiring, entertaining, motivating or educational? All of your marketing decisions just got a heck of a lot easier 😉

Do you see why knowing who your ideal client is is so crucial to taking your business to the next level?! Carve out the time to work on this. Do the work and you’ll reap the rewards, in abundance.

Categories
Business

What Do You Want to be Known For?

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If you could be truly excellent at only one thing, what would it be?

That’s a pretty intense question.

For all you Parks & Rec fans…”Am I right, Justin?”

In the sea of books that sits on our coffee table, I picked Essentialism, one I’ve been wanting to get to for a while. For me, in a time of big ideas, big moves, big decisions and big excitement in our life and business, it’s now more important than ever for me to stick to my guns. I like to help where I’m needed. I love to be part of all movements and ideas that support and encourage people to maximize their efforts and lives. I have a tendency to say YES! because I really do want to be part of all the rad things going on in this crazy creative entrepreneur world!

But guess what? If I say YES! to everything that comes my way, I’m letting other people’s agendas set the course and game plan for my time. If I say YES! to all that’s around me, I have to say NO! to the ideas and passions within me. Not sure about you, but I want to get those ideas and passions out in the world! I want to give them room to breathe, grow and manifest into the greatness I know there’s potential for them to be! And, in order for that to happen, I need to cut through all the noise and figure out what’s essential to me. What’s essential to our business. What’s essential in our life?

In this busy season of holiday parties, consumerism and high-demands, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed because you are also trying to make your dreams come true, and that takes time and effort and strategy. We encourage you to take some time to focus on these things, so you don’t get sucked up into the abyss…

What do you want to be known for?
What are you deeply passionate about?
What are your strengths and how do you enjoy using them?
What do you stand for?

Answer those questions. Prioritize all tasks that help you live a life and run a business that clearly represent who you are and what you’re working to achieve! Say NO! to the rest.

“We aren’t looking for a plethora of good things to do. We are looking for the one where we can make our absolutely highest point of contribution.” – Greg McKeown

Categories
Adventure

[VIDEO] How to Tell Old Clients About New Services

Every week, in our private Idealust Facebook group, we’re getting into really great conversations and helping folks, just like YOU, crush fears and move forward in their businesses. We’ve been handing out advice on how to grow email lists, how to get over perfection and make faster decisions, how to market on Instagram, how to get in the right mindset for success, just to name a few.

Last week, we got a really great question from Katie (Yay! A big, ol’ SHOUT OUT to Katie)! And we thought we’d answer it here, so everyone can benefit!

We’d love to hear YOUR questions and be able to help you make mega progress with your creative business! Head on over to Facebook and join our private group for Gutsy Go-Getters, so you can join the party!!

CLICK HERE TO REQUEST ACCESS