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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!

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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!

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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!

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Business

Advice from Daymond John of Shark Tank And Other Successful Entrepreneurs

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“Do this!”

“Try that!”

“Buy from me!”

There’s a lot of information floating around out there about how to be successful. Having created two businesses ourselves and having coached hundreds of creative entrepreneurs, we know the overwhelm that exists and can potentially paralyze you from moving forward and, ultimately, stop you from living the life you’ve imagined for yourself. So, we wanted to bring you some cold, hard advice about being successful.

Over the years, we’ve invested in ourselves BIG TIME by going to conferences, hiring our own business coach and surrounding ourselves with and giving as much value as possible to other successful entrepreneurs. We’ve met and learned from some incredible people along the way. Some of the advice below comes from these people. Some of it comes from other leaders that we admire and know you do/will, too.

We asked Daymond John and a handful of other successful entrepreneurs the same question…

If you only had $1,000 to invest in your business, what would you do with that money?

Here is what they said…

“I would take a very small portion of it and test it. Also, I would try to find how can that money serve me to create a strategic relationship with someone else. Strategic relationships are much more valuable than hard cash.” // Daymond John, Shark Tank

“Creating relationships…gifts, coffee, time with our vendors and couples.” // Krystel Tien, Couture Events

“If I were to have $1,000 to invest in my business right now it would be put right into Facebook ads to acquire new leads and customers and turn that $1,000 into $2,000 (or more). However, if I was just starting out with my business and unsure what to do, I’d invest it in education and training…while investing in training or coaching can be scary, it can be the quickest way for you to get a return on your money and invaluable to get on the right track with your business at the onset and making money quicker than you would otherwise on your own.” // Cole Humphus, Cole’s Classroom

“Education. I would invest that entire chunk back into my business through educational webinars / courses, amazing business books, a mastermind group and/or mentoring sessions. Education is like hitting the fast-forward button in your business because it allows you to learn from the mistakes of others, while strategizing for the future.” // Natalie Franke, The Rising Tide Society

“I think we would have to go with branding and marketing. Representing who you are through your logo and brand is so key to giving your business a jumpstart in the right direction.” // Heather Balliet, Amorology

Invest in yourself.” // Sean McCabe, Hand lettering by Sean Wes

“I would put it towards hosting a high level and high value networking mixer. That money could be spent on appetizers and often times with a food minimum you can get private high class restaurant space on an off night. I would spend my time inviting the right people, so that it became a high value networking meeting for top performers. By adding so much value with a networking event like that to my ideal target audience of influencers this would give me the relational capital to take my business to the next level. With the right relationships you can do anything you put your mind to!” // Nick Unsworth, Life on Fire

“If I only had $1,000 to invest into So Worth Loving, I would put it towards inventory that I know I could get a return in. That way, I could double it.” // Eryn Eddy Erickson, So Worth Loving

“I’d invest in more training for our artisan partners. Education is the greatest investment anyone can make and it’s one that perpetuates and has the power to create real and lasting change. It’s a guarantee return every single time.” // Carly Burson, Tribe Alive

Asana. It’s changed how we work at The Everygirl.” // Alaina Kaczmarski, The Everygirl

“At the risk of sounding self-serving, if I was just starting I would invest in myself by grabbing Speak-to-Sell so that I started off strong knowing how to articulate what I do in words that are meaningful to my ideal client and give them what they need to say yes to themselves and work with me! Yes, I’m biased!! But this is really what I did first and would do again!” // Lisa Sasevich

“TRAVEL! Going to conferences or traveling to connect with my fellow creative colleagues is the best investment I’ve ever made in my business.” // Kathleen Shannon, Being Boss

“I would likely save that money as a little nest egg for the next new hire that we plan to bring on. I learned through trial and error, that the more you try to do everything by yourself, the quicker you burn out and fail. Also the more time you spend on tasks that do not directly support your specific talents, the less time you have to nurture and enhance those special gifts. Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs do not always have to be a jane or jack of all trades. The sooner you can allow yourself to ask for help from others who are actually better at something than you, the better. You will be able to better serve your clients because you have learned to delegate the tasks that do not need your individual attention and having a bit of extra cash on hand certainly makes that transition easier on your bottom line.” // Jessica Howell, Social Studio Shop

“Spend it on your community! Building a business is all about building a network that supports each other through it all. Investing in those that invest in you is never a bad idea.” // Christina Farrow, Aisle Planner

Some underlying themes from the top dogs: Education & coaching; investing in yourself and strategic relationships; and outsourcing and delegating.

We couldn’t agree more.

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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

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Business

Transitioning from part time to full time

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Let’s talk about that uncomfortable time in-between wanting to do your craft full-time and not knowing if quitting your 8-5 is realistic. I completely understand what that feels like. On Instagram it seems like everyone in your industry is living the life with their mid-day beach breaks, daily coffee house outings and constant flow of vacations thanks to destination clients. On Twitter, it seems like they’re booked out through 2015 with the raddest projects on planet earth. All the while, you’re still stuck in cubicle hell. While some of those things may be true, I urge you to start your transition into full-time self-employment by dropping the comparisons between your real life and someone else’s on-line life. Things aren’t always as they seem and you’re not quitting your job just to copy someone else.

So. For those of you who desperately want to be self-employed, I ask you these questions:

1. What’s your plan? What product or service will you sell to pay the bills?
If you’ve been building momentum already, how can you take some risks while you have stable income to say no to clients who aren’t the right fit and go after the ones you’d prefer to build your business with moving forward? The goal here is to make a significant change that will lead you to the life you want, not simply make a lateral move from your current job to an equally awful experience only this time from the comfort of your home. Without a solid plan in place for how this business is going to help create the lifestyle you crave, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.

2. If you’re developing a product or service it’s going to take some time. How long will you give yourself to develop it to a point where it’s ready to launch?
If you’re still working an 8-5, a hard deadline for getting everything put together is a good way to get yourself on track for leaving your existing job and it’ll help you allocate your extra time appropriately. If you need time to develop your plan/product/brand and quitting your job is required to fully dive in, I would highly suggest making the realistic timeline for the development process and moving to step 3.

3. Take the timeline you’ve created in step 2 and make a plan for saving enough money to cover your bills for the development period BEFORE you quit your job.
There’s nothing worse than getting a few months in and realizing you’re already compromising values and goals because you need to pay bills that you could have covered if you would have saved more money while you had steady income.

4. If you have a spouse, are they 3,000% on board with this transition?
Not sure more needs to be said about this.

If you don’t have an answer to one or more of these questions, I wouldn’t suggest the leap quite yet. If you’re solid on all these points, you’ve gotta ask yourself, “What’s REALLY holding me back?” Chances are, the fears you have are a little exaggerated when the worst thing that will happen is a bruised ego and/or a brief financial drought. For some, the worst thing that could happen is having to sell their home and moving into a small apartment. WORST CASE. As badly as that would suck, there are a lot of people who wouldn’t mind that scenario if it mean moving one step closer to their dream. If the realistic worst case scenario seems manageable and you have a plan set in place, I ask you again, “What’s REALLY holding you back?”

Get a plan in place, start saving, define your start date of self-employment and take control of the life you want. Oh, and don’t compare your real life with someone else’s on-line life. That’s a sure fire way to get you off track in a hurry…especially in the early days of a transition this big!

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Business

Mind Your Own Business

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Do you ever find yourself comparing your business to another business? Or comparing how much you charge to how much they charge? Ever wish your business could just plain be more like that one? Then I have some bad news. Your business can’t be like their business. And you don’t want it to be.

Trying to be a BETTER business turned into trying to be more like someone else’s business.
In 2009, Becky and I blindly started a business. Having no experience in entrepreneurship, we began devouring information from anyone and anywhere. We were trying new things and testing the waters as business owners. Learning how this new industry worked. And as we started learning more about the industry and the other businesses in it, it became harder and harder to not compare our business to the others. Trying to be a BETTER business turned into trying to be more like someone else’s business.

We started using these unhealthy comparisons as a guide. We let them decide our next move. We were so focused on trying to do what the competition was ALREADY doing that we couldn’t think outside the box that we let them put us in. We assumed that because they were doing it, it must be working for their business and that it would work for ours.

Our new business was doing alright. We grew here and there and learned some good lessons along the way. But if we would have stayed on that track, we would have always just been mediocre. Always looking to do what everyone else was doing, which would ultimately have lead to ALWAYS playing catch up and never getting ahead.

When I say it like that, it sounds like a no brainer. Of course we don’t want that for our business. As creatives, we didn’t start a business for it to be just like another business. We started a business because we wanted to create. To build something that allows us to do what we love and make money doing it.

This can be a difficult thing to remember, everyday. We hear about what is helping this or that business grow. We see it on social media. We hear about it over coffee with them. Hell, we pay people to tell us about it at a workshop.

Stand up for your business. Let it be its own. Make it be its own.
So what’s the key? It’s simple. Stand up for your business. Let it be its own. Make it be its own. Sure, take an idea a colleague gave you. Absolutely, read a ton of books. Go to workshops. Sit down with another entrepreneur to pick their brain. And use what you learn. But whatever it is, make damn sure it fits into YOUR business and how YOU want to run it.

What’s even better than that? Figure out, on your own, new ways to grow. Brainstorm regularly. Come up with a plan. If it fails, tweak it. Try again. Failed again. Try again. Failed again. Scrap it. Make a new plan. It worked? Make it better. You get the idea. Eventually, you’ll find something that works for your business and no one will be able to do it quite like you.

Do that enough and you’ll start to notice you don’t care so much about what anyone else is doing. And after you spend some time doing that, you’ll be the one people are asking to coffee.

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Business

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

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The War of Art is one GIANT quote we should all burn deep into our brains and hearts. Whoa, that’s intense. But I’m totally serious. I underlined and starred something on every freaking page. Pressfield is one talented guy. And he’s real, just as vulnerable as the rest of us. “The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident, the real one is scared to death,” says Pressfield. It’s nice to know even the top dogs don’t feel like they have it figured out.

Read my notes below but don’t think twice about not spending the $7 to get your own copy off of Amazon. This book is for artists, dreamers, creatives, entrepreneurs, those hoping for great inspiration, those wondering how to overcome self-doubt and how to beat procrastination, those going through the world with a fine-tooth comb, eager for the next idea, the next step of success. It’s out there, yes, but Pressfield would argue so much more of what you’re looking for is inside yourself.

A few of my favorite pieces of advice and inspiration for entrepreneurs:

1. Resistance is a bitch, a way worse character than the Big, Bad Wolf. It lies to you, sneaks up on you and will devour you, if you let it. Resistance takes on many forms of procrastination: Facebook, flat tires, crying babies, happy hour, etc. It can be overcome, but it ain’t easy. “The enemy is a very good teacher.” – the Dalai Lama

2. Fear is good for us. It means we care. It means we’re invested and headed in the right direction. “The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul,” Pressfield says. Oh, and no matter how great you become, how much experience you have or how many followers you have on social media, fear doesn’t go away. And that’s not only okay but actually a good thing.

3. Resistance and fear might knock you on your butt, but you’ll know it’s worth the grit and failure and risk of ditching your amateur status and becoming pro when you’re creating and executing the ideas and life you see in your mind. “It is a commonplace among artists and children at play that they’re not aware of time or solitude while they’re chasing their vision. The hours fly. The sculptress and the tree-climbing tyke both look up blinking when Mom calls, ‘Suppertime!'” Pursue your calling. What’s the point of your life if you don’t?

4. If you make the jump as a full-time creative entrepreneur, you might be miserable at times. Push through anyway. “The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell…He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.” I laughed so hard when I read this. It sounds so ridiculous but it’s so true, at times. Stick with it. It’s worth it.

5. “We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause,” Pressfield says. Naturally, we want praise and recognition for our efforts, talent and brilliant creativity. And sometimes if no one notices how great we are, or notices but doesn’t acknowledge it, we feel unworthy. It is lame of us to feel this way, but super common. Next time that happens, remember this.

The Art of War is a super quick read. But take your time. Keep it handy for when you think being a creative entrepreneur is too hard, too lonely or makes you too poor. Let your favorite Pressfield quotes give you a good old-fashioned kick in the pants and then get back to it. Do more of what you love.

“It may be that the human race is not ready for freedom. The air of liberty may be too rarefied for us to breathe…The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find a master to govern over them.”

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We Don’t Need More Time

gallery_idealust limelife photography photographers for creative entrepreneurs_clock more time-1

As a culture, I feel like we complain about not having enough time. “If there were 27 hours in the day, I’d be such a bad ass.”

Let me tell you what happens when I get more time…I’m completely worthless to society.

“And suddenly, all I want to do is go outside, have coffee dates with my girlfriends, zone out and maybe take a nap.”

For some reason, space in my schedule leaves me grappling for momentum. How is it that I have no freaking clue where to start? That ongoing list of things I would do if only I had more time? GONE. It’s nowhere to be found. And suddenly, all I want to do is go outside, have coffee dates with my girlfriends, zone out and maybe take a nap. Correction, I DEFINITELY want to take a nap. I just need to figure out where this napping will occur. Outside? Inside? At a park? On my couch? These are now the biggest decisions I have to make, a far cry from the other days when I’m making lists for what I’ll do if a day like this ever decides to appear.

Are we fooling ourselves that time is the answer to our problems?

There will be days when work seems to be at a stand-still. Often, these days don’t come with a warning (if they did, I feel I’d be more prepared to use the time wisely). When this happens, it’s okay to take the day to veg out. Yes, it would be awesome to have a plan and use it to grow your business or do something super responsible and productive. But sometimes you need to give yourself a break and take the opportunity to go play outside, clear your brain and catch up on some shut-eye. If you work from home, everyone thinks that’s what you do all day anyway so you won’t be disappointing anyone. Am I right?

Tips I’m learning: try and incorporate some down time in the everyday hustle and bustle. Block it out in your calendar if you have to. It’ll help you get better use of those dead days and help you manage your time to task ratio much more effectively.

I’m thinking I don’t need more time, I need less busyness. And more naps. I think we all need more naps.