Categories
Business

10 Industry Leaders Give Their Best Business Advice for Creative Entrepreneurs

It’s sort of a loaded question to ask, but we asked it anyway because we want to give you the best business advice for creative entrepreneurs that we possibly can. Well, as much as possible without you actually being a coaching client or part of our revamped Jetsetter Academy 😉

 

Buuuut, before you get a glimpse into some of our industry’s top dogs’ brilliant brains, I need to give you a WARNING!!! because my goal is to inspire and empower you, not overwhelm you. That said, be on the look out for advice that fits where you’re at in this season of your business. Heck, in your life for that matter. Please, please, please do not walk away thinking you need to do it all or be it all. Be you. Just the best version of yourself. That might mean implementing one or two of these things to start.

 

Rant over. Onto the goods. We asked some of our favorite industry friends one tough question and we’re so grateful they’ve taken the time to share their thoughts and hearts with you! (Don’t worry, Jesse and I didn’t weasel our way out of answering this toughie. You’ll find our two cents at the bottom.)

 

If you had to boil it down to one thing that’s helped you get your business where it is today, what would that thing be?

 

I understand that, as business owners, we want to see RESULTS. But we must separate ourselves from the results themselves. You are not results. You are not defined by a client refusal. You are more than a denied project. You are not the outcome of a flopped launch. You are more than you let yourself believe. When we separate ourselves from the outcome, we free ourselves to believe that the right clients will find us, that new projects will arise, and flops are just valuable business lessons in disguise. When this happens, we are free to believe we are worth far more than our hearts can imagine. So, go on sweet friend, separate yourself from the outcome and enjoy the ride. // Jasmine Star

 

I think the single most important thing that I have ever done in my business overall has been thinking differently. The way we market, the way we create educational products, the way we try to see business is just a little different from the rest of the world and that has served us so well! We stand out in both the photography and education world because we’re not afraid to do things differently! // Katelyn James

 

Running out of money is the number one reason businesses fail. We see too many entrepreneurs who fail not because they can’t make enough, but because they spend too much — or don’t have a specific, purposeful plan for where their money is going each month. That’s why we recommend that everyone read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and live and breathe his principles for managing money. // Amy & Jordan

 

Wise counsel! I meet monthly with a group of fellow CEO’s for Biblical business counsel and to learn alongside each other. It has been the best thing I’ve ever done for our business. I don’t feel alone on the “leadership island” anymore. Surrounding myself with this kind of accountability and support has been a gift! // Lara Casey

 

ONE thing is hard, but a BIG shift for me has been realizing I need to build my business to run when I can’t. Not just like, seeing that as a concept, but like, doing the hard work to make it happen. If I’m the quarterback of my own business, I don’t know when I’ll be out, right? I could get injured tomorrow and be out all season, so how am I constantly thinking of how I can build this to run either when I can’t … or just need a nap. // Ashlyn Carter

 

I realized that I have the power to change. When something wasn’t working, I made the change that I needed. When I realized that I was being “team too much,” I made changes to simplify and streamline in order to get on the other side of busy. You can continue to make excuses and put things off or you can realize that today, this very second, you have the power to change for the better. In your business and your life. // Shunta Grant

 

Focus. Now, I don’t mean the ability to focus on a task and be super productive and get all of your to-do list to done (I’m not the best at that if I’m being totally honest). What I mean is focusing on your business. Focusing on what you’re doing. And that’s it. The ability to put your blinders on, ignore everyone else, and keep your head down is what it took for me to build my business. It ain’t always easy! But, it’s so incredibly worth it. I mean, if it worked for Oprah during the talk show wars of the 90s, it’s gotta work for folks like you and me. You’ve gotta be your version of Oprah. Ignore Phil Donahue (and Sally Jessy…and Ricki Lake…and Jerry Springer). Keep your head down. It makes all the difference. // Tyler McCall

 

Opening up and connecting with women who get it, too! They’re the ones pushing me through hard times, challenging me to reach a dream and cheering me on as I do. My business would be a lonely, isolating place without them (and truthfully I don’t think it would be anywhere near “successful” if I didn’t have them in my life)! // Kat Schmoyer

 

Consistently seeking the wisdom of people who are smarter than us. Whether that’s through coaching, attending a workshop, or simply calling up a friend when I’m stuck on something, having the ability to pull from beyond JUST my own resources and brains has been invaluable. I honestly wouldn’t be in business today if it weren’t for our industry mentors-turned-friends who were there to either cheer me on or help problem-solve in some of the most challenging seasons of business. And what’s been really rewarding is how, now that we’re “veterans” in the industry, I’ve been able to turn around and occasionally offer advice or wisdom back to the folks who have always been there for me! // Abby Grace

 

Having a plan and a vision for where the business is going. Too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day details and miss opportunities that are right in front of us. Making intentional time to work on your business—stepping out and looking at the big picture—can re-ignite creativity and passion and help you build a strategy to move your business forward.

For example, my team meets quarterly to discuss what’s working, what’s not working, challenges, opportunities, and much, much more. Having this dedicated time together where we’re not buried in the to-dos allows us to do things like brainstorm new (or improved) products or put together a marketing plan for the next few months. If we didn’t have this time set aside, we may never have accomplished some of the amazing things we’ve done! // Amber Housley

 

You get two for the price of one here!
Jesse: Consistency. Yes, there will be times of hustle and pushing it, but there needs to be consistency, no matter what season of your business you’re in. When you’re consistent, you’re always making forward progress. Even if they’re just baby steps, you’re heading in the right direction!

 

Becky: Doing the scary, “risky,” hard things not everyone is willing to do. Sometimes that’s putting yourself in front of the camera. Sometimes that’s scrapping something you spent a lot of time and money on. Sometimes that’s trusting your gut and saying yes to a big, fat idea that seems crazy! Sometimes that’s humbling yourself and getting back in the game after a failed attempt. If you’re willing to get uncomfortable and overcome awkward, you’ll stand out from the crowd and gain a lot of confidence along the way. // (Yours truly!), Idealust

 

What stands out to you? What words jumped out at you? What inspires you to take a different approach to how you’re currently doing business? We’d love to hear in the comments below 🙂

 

Categories
Business Personal

How to Know When it is Time to Let Go in Your Business

Before we were ever business coaches for creatives, Jesse and I were wedding photographers.

 

In 2009, we spent hours, probably days worth of time coming up with our business name alone: Limelife Photography (we don’t recommend taking this long to decide on a business name). In 2012, we invested $8,750 in a new website and promo video. That business was our baby. Our everything at the time.

 

As the years went on, we started having conversations about transitioning our entrepreneur journey toward what is now Idealust. (Thinking of making a big move, leap or transition in your business? Read this.) We continued to get wedding photography inquiries even though we updated our website saying we were no longer taking weddings. Even though we weren’t using it, we kept the site up because how could we not?! It was the product of a lot of blood, sweat, tears and dolla bills.

 

Before long, I got an email reminding me it was time to renew our hosting. For years we automatically renewed. Obviously. We needed the site to help market our business. Duh. But now, we weren’t pursuing that business, so…

 

Jesse and I had a conversation that included a lot of these questions…

 

“Do we keep paying for it even though we don’t need it anymore?”
“Should we take the site down?!”
“WHAAAAT?! We can’t take it down, can we?!”
“We put so many hours and so much work and so much money into it!”
“Does it make sense to keep it up just for the sake of keeping it up?”
“Do we need it anymore?”

 

We decided to scrap our shiny $8,750 website. Our photography business promo video (we obviously have a thing for upbeat and quirky promo videos…here’s our Idealust vid) still lives on our free WordPress blog that we will probably have forever. But, the rest of it (the beautiful galleries, the clean and colorful design, the copy), well, it’s gone. Yes, it felt like we were breaking up with or practically burying a part of ourselves, but in the end…

 

That website worked wonders for us at one point, but it was no longer essential for the direction we were headed. It no longer served a purpose. We haven’t needed it or thought about it in the last 4+ years.

 

Recently, we scrapped our free Facebook group for Idealust and have been solely focusing on our private community for our 1:1 clients and those in the Jetsetter Academy. One of the best decisions we’ve made in a while.

 

We’re such big believers in streamlining and simplifying our business that we coach our incredible clients to do the same, when necessary.

 

For example, when we first started working with Stefani of Stefani Jessica Studio, she offered brand strategy, branding design, copywriting and website design. She is capable and talented at all those things but she wasn’t making money from all of those avenues. And, maybe more importantly, she wasn’t excited about the work she was doing in some of those categories!

 

After a few conversations and some nudging from Jesse and me (it’s hard to let go of the things we’ve built), Stefani decided to solely focus on website strategy, design and development (in addition to educating other designers with her in-depth content).

 

Making that one switch, letting go of something that wasn’t working for her business, Stefani has been able to raise her prices, book dream clients and continues to book her highest package over and over again. Oh, and she’s actually enjoying her work 😉 Worth it, wouldn’t you say?

 

I’m not saying you should finish this article and go delete your Facebook group or shut down your site or delete half of your services.

 

I am saying do yourself a favor and take inventory of your tools, resources, revenue streams, systems, services, etc. and do a gut check on what’s working for you and what’s not.

 

A few questions to help you decide if it’s time to let go of something in your business:

  • What are you spending time, money or energy on that no longer serves a purpose for your business?
  • Do you pay for a service, app or system that you don’t use (as much as you’d like to be using and know that’s not going to change)?
  • Do you offer a specific service because someone else offers that service but you really, truly don’t want to be offering that service?
  • Do you offer services or products that aren’t making you money you’d like to be making with them? (Scrapping them isn’t the only option. It takes a lot of work to finetune marketing strategies and sales funnels, so those might be options, too.)
  • Do you have a gut feeling about something you’re doing in your business, like maybe, you already know you shouldn’t continue down that path?
  • Running a successful business takes smart plans and strategies but it also takes flexibility (and these things too). We have to be able to remove ourselves from the work and time and often, the money, we put into our businesses to make clear decisions that benefit the longevity of our businesses.

 
Sometimes, we have to cut our losses. Sometimes, we have to shift or transition. Sometimes, we have to scrap projects, ideas, services, lead magnets, Instagram ads or shiny websites, if those things aren’t serving their purpose.

 

It’s not always easy. But, if it’s the right move, we promise, it’ll be more than worth it.

 

We’d love to hear from you! What’s something that you let go of that’s made your business better and stronger? How did you feel once you finally let _________ go?

 
 
 

Categories
Business

A New Spin on Networking for Creative Entrepreneurs

We were about a year into Idealust and we had some BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), thank you Jim Collins for this fun acronym. (If you haven’t read it yet, check out Built to Last.)

One of those goals had a lot to do with teaching what we knew, in person. Hanging out with awesome creatives, in person. Speaking at conferences, in person. Having real conversations with, laughing with, sometimes crying with (you know how it goes!), empowering and being inspired by our industry peers, in person.

(I’m so grateful our work has paid off and we’ve been a part of incredible events that we believe in, like Creative at Heart, The Yellow Conference, The Together Experience… AND, probably even more importantly, we’ve built some incredible friendships because of it.)

In order for that to happen, we had to get out there and do some “networking.”

Bleh. Networking. You feel me?!

That word still rubs me the wrong way. All I can think of is corporate 9-5ers congregating on a hotel patio, standing there at belly bar tables in their suits and pencil skirts (I actually really like pencil skirts, don’t get me wrong!), twirling drink straws, reciting their resumés and sliding business cards across the table. It’s like it just doesn’t fit in our industry.

So, early on, Jesse and I decided we needed a new spin on networking for creative entrepreneurs. We needed to think of it differently.

Not ditch it completely. (Introverts! Did you hear me?! Don’t ditch it completely!!)

Networking is a must whether you’re working on booking speaking engagements or hoping to book your calendar full of incredible clients.

Without it, you’re leaving incredible friendships, business opportunities, money, freedom and fulfillment on the table. I’m guessing you’re not okay leaving those things on the table 😉

I’ve done a lot of networking in my 9 years as a creative entrepreneur, and I’ve definitely felt all of these things along the way:


  • Awkward (Like, seriously awkward!!)
  • “Why the heck am I here?!”
  • Not good enough

But now, NOW!, when I network I feel:

  • Empowered
  • Confident
  • Still a tiny bit nervous sometimes, but an excited nervous instead of a “I think I’m going to hide in the bathroom” nervous

I feel these things not because we’re business coaches for creatives and have all the answers (we don’t have all the answers) but because we take a different approach than a lot of other people in the room.

Networking for creative entrepreneurs isn’t about:

  • Handing out as many business cards as possible…
  • Talking about yourself…
  • Bragging…
  • Name dropping…
  • Trying to prove yourself, your business or your worth to anyone…

Yikes. No wonder networking makes so many people nervous. When you look at it like the above list, you’re really putting the pressure on!

So, how do you make all those potentially awkward introductions and conversations feel easy and natural? I’ve found the best way to feel comfortable and confident is to make someone else feel comfortable and confident!

Networking tips for creative entrepreneurs

  • Seek out anyone gravitating toward the corner; make her smile! (This might be a genuine compliment about how you love her bright blue coat or an opening one-liner about how these sort of events sometimes make you want to hide in the bathroom.)
  • Focus on making 1-2 solid connections per event you attend
  • Start real conversations beyond small talk
  • Ask for their business cards and/or Instagram handle. (I usually pull out my phone and follow them on IG right away and go back later to engage more with their recent posts.)
  • Follow up with your new connections right away
  • Not every conversation needs to be about business. In fact, I’ve found the best networking has come from talking to my new friends about things new friends talk about
  • If you do talk about business, find out what they’re excited about! What they’re working on! Is there anything you can do for them? Introduce them to a copywriter if they need a copywriter?
  • Keep your eye out for new people you can refer work to (whether a non-ideal client inquires with you or you’re booked out.)
  • If you’re a planner and need to feel super prepared, see who’s going to the event ahead of time and do a little scouting of attendees you’d like to get to know. Do some engaging on social media before the event so when you meet, you sort of already know each other

Moral of the story: Be a nice person. Forget about business and money and work experience and even yourself for a second. Instead, think about how you can make someone else shine.

When you take this new spin on networking for creative entrepreneurs, it works because you:

  • Build genuine friendships and business partnerships
  • Gain a reputation for being helpful
  • Make people feel comfortable and people don’t remember what you say, they remember how you made them feel
  • Are revealing authenticity and building credibility as someone who’s not just out to get theirs
  • Will stay on people’s minds because of all of the above and therefore, eventually, book more business because of it all. Because, in the end, as Marie Forleo always says, people do business with people they know like and trust.

    [blockquote cite=”Maya Angelou” type=”center”]“I’ve learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”[/blockquote]
Categories
Business

3 mistakes creative entrepreneurs are making when it comes to CTAs

If you get our weekly emails, then you saw the flyer I “designed” (if you can even call it that!) for our brand new photography business nine years ago. Then, you clicked over to this post because you wanted to find out what I was doing wrong with that flyer. (Besides the obvious, not having a designer design it!)

 

That, my friend, was a call to action. I wanted to make sure you knew the rest of the story…the most important part…

 

Understanding where I went wrong, so you don’t have to go wrong in your business, too!

 

My flyer wasn’t the worst of the mistakes I made with that newbie marketing plan. The bigger mistake was that I put a strong call to action in front of people who didn’t even know me. I wasn’t bridging the gap between my world and their world and naturally guiding them to the next step of the customer journey I wanted them to be on.

 

Instead, I was basically saying, “Hey! I’m Becky! Hire me to take your family photos!”

 

The response I got was a lot of, “Ummm, who are…what…umm, okay???…” looks.

 

Not the response I was going for 😉

 

Unfortunately, a lot of creative entrepreneurs are making that same mistake or a different one when it comes to CTAs. (And that’s bad for biz and for your bank account.)

 

If you’re anything like us, you spend a lot of time and energy taking care of your clients, creating valuable content (blog posts, Instagram posts, videos, etc.) for your audience and nurturing relationships with industry friends and potential clients, too.

 

And, just in case you didn’t know it yet…we’re rooting you on to get your biz where you want it to go (we believe you are wildly capable, you might just need a helping hand)!!!!

 

So, we’re sharing the 3 mistakes creative entrepreneurs are making when it comes to CTAs and how you can steer clear of them so your ideal clients quickly start to know, like and trust you. When you organically guide them down your customer journey, they’re much more likely to end up where you want them to go, which is probably hiring you or buying from you! (This is much better for your biz and for your back account.)

 

First up, just so we’re on the same page…

 

What is a call to action?

A piece of copy, a video message, encouragement, etc. that asks readers or viewers to click, buy, enter an email address, watch, or do something else that intentionally guides them closer to where the content producer or business owner wants them to go.

 

This is you proactively and intentionally looking at every connection point you have with your audience or potential client and deciding where you want them to go next, and giving them an opportunity to keep moving right along!

 

We’ll show you some real life examples in a sec, but first…

 

3 mistakes creative entrepreneurs are making when it comes to CTAs

 

  1. Too much too soon. (Like what I did.)It doesn’t make sense for a guy to ask his date to marry him on the first date. (Unless, you’re on the Bachelor.) It didn’t make sense for me to ask people who didn’t know me to hire me, without bridging the gap with connection. If it’s a potential client’s first time seeing your blog, they might not be ready to inquire with you, but they might happily follow you on Instagram.The general rule we follow: The bigger the CTA, the more connection time you need. CTAs must feel organic if your readers, viewers, fans, followers and potential clients are going to respond positively and without hesitation.

 

  1. Underusing CTAs. (Or, never using them!)I know my “brilliant” marketing idea (handing out flyers in the park to moms) makes you shake your head a bit and think, “Come on, girl! You can do better than that!” Trust me, I agree.But, the opposite side of the coin is that creatives are often too cautious, ignoring or overthinking (and therefore, not giving) CTAs which leaves your audience, well, it leaves them at a dead end as far as your biz (and bank account) are concerned.I get it. You don’t want to be too pushy. You don’t want your peeps to think you’re trying to sell to them. EVER. So, you don’t.But, I have good news for you!! The more you organically and gradually guide potential clients through your customer journey, the less “selling” you’ll have to do. Promise 😉

 

  1. Saying the same things over and over again. (The quickest way to bore your potential clients and, in turn, encourages them to take a hike away from your brand.)Not every CTA is created equally. You can say, “Check out my new post on the blog!” 18 times in a row. But, I guarantee your followers and potential clients will quickly start tuning you out.Instead, think about what makes that project or shoot or client noteworthy! What was exciting, new, different, attention-getting?! Lead with that instead of saying the same old thing. Heck, maybe even get readers’ attention by mixing in a video intro, too!?

 

You’re almost finished reading this article. And once you’re done, I have a CTA for you 😉

 

First: Figure out where you want your audience, readers, potential clients to end up in your customer journey.

 

Second: Take a look at all the connection points I mention below and see where you can step up your game.

 

Where creative entrepreneurs can add CTAs

  • Blog posts
  • Instagram posts
  • Instagram stories
  • Newsletters
  • Emails to inquiries
  • Emails to industry peers
  • In-person consultations
  • Phone consultations
  • Video consultations (I think you get the idea about consultations!)
  • About page on your website
  • Facebook posts
  • Facebook lives
  • YouTube videos
  • When your awesome clients finish working with you

(Side note: I get that this list above might be overwhelming all by itself, without CTAs. We’ve got your back. Click here to get our free Content Creation Kit and then hop back over here to see how you can make that content work for your biz and bank account even more!)

 

Want a quick jumpstart?! Thought you might. Here are a few quick ideas for getting started…

 

A few examples of CTAs for creatives

 

  • Add a link to a value-based blog post to your Instagram bio, instead of just having a link to your homepage on your website.
  • Add a CTA at the bottom of a value-based blog post for a freebie that gets readers to your email list.
  • At the end of a consultation, be brave and ask, “Does this sound like what you’re looking for?”

 

Here’s the deal: If you’re not actively guiding your audience or potential clients from one thing to the next, you’re leaving so much up to chance, hoping your ideal potential clients will actively search out what’s next. And, if you’re anything like us, you’d rather not leave the fate of your business up to chance.

 

(If you are bummed you missed out on seeing my first attempt at designing a flyer for our photography business nine years and you’d love to start getting our emails so you can learn from and laugh with (at?!) us, click here to get a free gift and you’ll automatically get next week’s email, too!)

 

 

Categories
Business

5 mindset shifts you need to make to grow your creative business

We kick off every client’s coaching program talking about mindset. We can (and do!) teach every powerful marketing strategy in the book, but somewhere along the way of gaining momentum and kicking some business booty, it’s bound to happen…

 

The traction comes to a screaming halt (or dies a slower death, either way, it’s not fun). Panic steals Confidence’s spot and you somehow find yourself feeling paralyzed and desperate.

 

No matter how successful you are in business, no matter how many years you’ve been a wedding photographer or any other kind of creative entrepreneur, there are going to be frustrations, challenges or roadblocks that have the power (if you let them!) to knock you on your butt.

 

That’s why it’s so important to spend time to strengthening your mindset. You can’t have a strong business if you don’t have a strong mindset. If you lack one, you lack the other.

 

Okay, so far I sound pretty discouraging. But sugar-coating doesn’t do anybody any good. You get it! You’ve been there! How the heck do you stay as far away as possible from all that ick!?

 

Well, I’ve got 5 mindset shifts you need to make to grow your creative business. I’ve compiled this list from our own experience as wedding photographers and as business coaches for creatives and from the big mindset moves that have transformed our clients’ businesses over the years.

 

1. Give your day a chance.

It’s just too easy to go from waking up on the right side of the bed, ready to take on the world to comparing, criticizing and shaming yourself. Depending on what’s going on in your personal life or what you’re currently facing with your business, that downward spiral can happen in all of 2 seconds. I know because I’ve been there.

 

Take a look at what triggers you. What sets you off in the wrong direction? What makes you feel badly or unworthy? Is it scrolling Instagram when you wake up? Whatever it is, stop dripping those things into your mind and life. Instead, give your day a chance by implementing a morning routine that strengthens your mindset and manages your weaknesses.

 

When you start your day being proactive instead of reactive, you’re much more likely to make smart decisions, experience gratitude more regularly and be the talented creative entrepreneur that you really are instead of feeling like the ghost of the confident girl you once knew.

 

Not sure where to start? Here’s what my morning routine looks like.

 

2. Stop taking everything personally.

I’m an INFJ on Myers-Briggs, heavy on the F (Feeler), so this is one I’m always working on myself! I’m not saying don’t pour your heart into your business or give it your all…of course, there will be times we take things personally as creative entrepreneurs. These businesses of ours are pretty much members of our families.

 

However, there are going to be opinions, mistakes, challenges and setbacks. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone is going to say “YES!” to what you’re offering. Potential clients that really, seriously say they’re going to book with you…well, they might not. You’re going to get “NO!”s and you’re going to feel like Forrest Gump when nobody wanted to sit next to him on the bus.

 

And all of this is okay. It hurts. It feels like your world is crumbling. But, it doesn’t have to. Stop taking everything personally. If just for a minute, step outside of the situation. Pretend you’re an outsider looking in and ask yourself, “How can this situation be improved?” rather than saying to yourself, “I’m not good enough, I should have never reached out to _________ or quoted that price or, _________ (anything else you say to yourself when something doesn’t go as planned).”

 

This leads us nicely into the next mindset shift for creatives…

 

3. Learn from mistakes and move on.

Yes, you need to take your business seriously. No, you don’t need to beat yourself up over every mistake or wrong turn. Not every setback needs to settle into a scar.

 

Go ahead and give yourself a few minutes to feel the disappointment of the situation. Then, figure out how you’re going to move forward. The coaching clients of ours that see the biggest, most consistent successes in their businesses are the ones who put their big girl pants on and keep dredging forward, even if they think they can’t or don’t want to in that moment.

 

Of course, you don’t want to keep making that same mistake over and over again, so give yourself some space to see how you can do things differently next time. Write out some alternative actions you can take.

 

4. Be flexible.

This one can be a toughie, especially if you’re a type-A planner and/or perfectionist! Yes, having a game plan, a roadmap, clarity, direction (call it what you will!), is vital if you want to bypass years of indecision and heartache with your business. It’s so important that we started a business centered around it 😉

 

Here’s the catch: Entrepreneurship is full of surprises. There are opportunities and people and things hanging out in your future that right now that you have no way of seeing or knowing! Isn’t that rad!? But that also means, as you’re making decisions, trying new marketing strategies, building relationships, etc. you have to leave a little space for the unknowns and be willing to tweak and switch gears, if needed.

 

Your original game plan might not go 100% according to plan. But, if you have an open mind, are flexible and willing to bob and weave along the way all for the sake of the greater good of your clients, potential clients and personal satisfaction with your business, you’ll be so much better off than standing your ground if what you’re standing on is quicksand.

 

5. Get outside of yourself.

My fifth and last mindset shift I believe you need to make to grow your creative business is to get outside of yourself. I mean this in a few different ways. First of all, yes, you are the only one responsible for the success of your business; but no, that doesn’t mean you need to do it on your own. Get an accountability partner; join a mastermind; or better yet, hire a business coach 😉

 

Secondly, I mean that we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. To-do lists, monetary goals, hours logged in, clients booked, and the list goes on. It’s easy to get sucked into the, “Oh, I wish I could meet you for a coffee date, but I have too much to do!” blues. Yes, you probably have a lot to do. No, you don’t need to say “Yes!” to every coffee date; however, getting outside of your head, your lists, your goals…it’ll do you good. Besides, building genuine relationships with industry friends is one of the biggest (and most fun!) ways we’ve grown both of our businesses. But, I’ll get into that another day.

 

Tell me! Which of these mindset shifts do you need to make pronto?! I know there’s at least one! Don’t be shy…leave a comment below and start implementing today if you are serious about growing your creative business.

 

 

Categories
Business

7 high-touch marketing ideas for creatives

High-touch marketing. What the heck is it? Why is it important for creative entrepreneurs to get on board (or, back on board)?

 

In today’s techy world of instant gratification, way too many screens and a super easy way for creative business owners to hide behind the beautiful facade of their brand and website…

 

We’re making a super intentional move this year to really hit that high-touch point marketing. We’re talking being as real, transparent and approachable as possible. And we believe your clients and potential clients want the same from you! So, keep reading…

 

Our goal is for our clients and potential clients to see the real us. In turn, we want to see the real them (you!). So, what exactly does that look like? How does this play out in a marketing plan?

 

It’s a lot easier than you think.

 

 

We like to make things was simple as possible, so let’s start with some of the things you’re already doing and maximize the heck out of them! (As business coaches for creatives, this is something we do all the time with our clients. It’s super rewarding to get an extra mile worth of rad results out of work you’re already doing!) So, let’s take your efforts and turn them up a notch, really spruce them up to person-to-person business.

 

Let’s make a deal, okay? You watch this quick video and tell us which ideas are your favorites! Tell us which high-touch marketing ideas you can get on board with, like right now and even implement today! Okay? Let us know in the comments below so we can keep this conversation going.

 

(You see what I did there? Take your own blog comments, social media comments, emails from fans, potential clients, etc. and keep that conversation going!)

 

Alright, here you go…our 7 high-touch marketing ideas for creatives. But, I think we actually throw in a few extras 😉

 

Categories
Business

14 creative entrepreneur leaders give advice for a successful 2018

As business coaches for creatives, we chat a lot with our clients about what they should be focusing on and when they should be focusing on those things.  But, there isn’t a magic formula that works exactly the same for everyone. There is so much to consider (our clients’ strengths, their experience, their goals, their audience, their lifestyle, what’s working best in the industry, what’s working best in other industries, etc.) when it comes to creating that custom game plan.

 

Maybe you already have your Word of the Year! Maybe you’ve sort of sifted through what you think you should/want to/need to focus on in 2018? Whether you have that tidy roadmap yet or not, we recommend soaking up some free and incredible advice from some of the top leaders and educators in creative spaces.

 

We asked some of our favorite people (some just happen to be friends, too!) leading the creative industries one question in hopes that their answers, all compiled together would give you…

 

  1. Encouragement as you head into 2018
  2. Direction as you’re trying to decide how you want this year to go
  3. Permission to figure out what works best for you and not do it all
  4. Hall pass to skip some of the business mistakes they’ve/we’ve had to overcome
  5. Insight into what industry leaders are up to and seeing if those things spark creativity or clarity for you

And so, we asked these super smart entrepreneurs…

 

If you had to choose one thing creatives should focus on in 2018, what would it be?

 

Focus on what you don’t have to do! I didn’t realize until the last couple of years that if I truly wanted to grow my business, I had to think like a growing business. When I started paying my sister $15/hr to do some work two years ago, I never could have imagined the growth and freedom we would eventually experience! Make sure you create space and margin in your life for your big goals to happen! // Katelyn James

 

 

Don’t let dollar signs blind you from your mission. // Brooke Saxon-Spencer, Belong Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For us, 2018 is all about structured flexibility. We’re going to set ambitious goals in every area of our life, and put a written plan in place to achieve every single one of them, while at the same time giving ourselves enough grace and margin to be flexible as we adapt to our new role as parents. // Amy & Jordan

 

 

Tune out all the noise and focus on your unique assignment here on this earth. // Lara Casey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make time to connect with people you admire, connect with people you can offer advice to, and connect with people who encourage you and support you. Make a list of people you want to connect with in 2018 and make it happen! Say yes when people reach out for advice, and at the same time reach out yourself. // Joanna Waterfall, Yellow Conference

 

 

We need to focus on doing it differently. The more and more the industry grows and the more crowded the space gets, it’s more important now than ever to lean on the creative part of creative entrepreneur. The principles of marketing won’t change. But it’s time for us to master the principles, and then do them differently. How can we elevate our content? How can we give a more high-touch experience? What can we do that shakes things up? // Ashlyn Carter, Ashlyn Writes

 

 

Focus on building relationships and creating video content. // Davey & Krista

 

 

 

 

 

 

My biggest mistake in past years has been rushing into the year with so many to-dos, too many ideas and no sense of direction. 2017 was the first time I took time to plan, look ahead and figure out what worked for my business (not what was working for everyone else’s) and in return, it was my most fun and profitable year in business! There’s something to be said for stepping back, waiting and making intentional moves forward! // Kat Schmoyer, Creative at Heart Conference

 

 

Declutter. The constant jumble of excess stuff leads to such discontentment for me, so focusing on getting rid of what doesn’t matter to make more room for what does matter makes an enormous difference in not just my job satisfaction, but my bottom line as well. // Abby Grace

 

 

 

The phrase echoing in my head for 2018? Do the things you need to do. It may sound simple, but it’s hard work figuring out what those things are, what they aren’t (hello, essentialism!), and cultivating the discipline and accountability required to do them well…. hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and beyond. But hey, the results will be worth it… right? // Jen Olmstead, Tonic Site Shop

 

 

Go after what makes you feel alive and take big risks to cross dreams off your list! Get off the sidelines and into the game! // Carrie Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s focus on focus! Give your best time only to what moves the needle in your business (and real life!) and forget the rest. Routinely asking this question from Gary Keller (author of The One Thing) has revolutionized my approach to work… “What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” // Callie Lindsey

 

 

 

Celebrating and sharing what makes you you! You have something so special to offer, just by being who you are. Your unique approach to your business and client experience matters… so what can you do in 2018 to let your light shine? // Andra Barkey & Kelly Zugay, With Grace and Gold

 

 

 

 

Part a) What do you want to be known for? It’s a big question. But, what good is it to build a business around something that doesn’t include the answer to that question! Part b) Have a plan. A roadmap. We’re talking marketing. We’re talking strategy. We’re talking business moves that feel like the perfect representation of you and business moves that feel uncomfortable (maybe it’s using more video!?) that not many others are willing to do.  // Becky & Jesse Morquecho (Yours truly!), Idealust

 

What stands out to you? What lines up with how you want your year to go? What words jumped out at you? What inspired you to take a different approach to 2018? We’d love to hear in the comments below 🙂

 

 

 

Categories
Business

How implementing a morning routine transforms our business + marriage

I have a tendency to want to be seen and rewarded for my efforts. I struggle with comparison and thinking I need recognition. When I’m busy striving for greatness, I forget where my worth comes from. (Whoa! No easing into this post!) Theses tendencies come out when I’m not implementing a morning routine.

Jesse has a tendency to work too much. He struggles with FOMO and that jeopardizes boundaries we’ve set for our life. We both have a tendency to want to be right. We have strong personalities and sometimes lack patience and grace.

YIKES! We’re a mess. True story.

And, it gets soooo much messier when we let these things fester and dictate our days and rule our life. When left to their own devices, these flaws have the potential to wreak havoc in our business and marriage. We’ve been there and done that and have no desire to go back.

That’s why we have a morning routine. That’s why, even though for years Jesse was a self-proclaimed night owl, he decided to read The Miracle Morning and give it a whirl. Guys, my husband used to lay in bed until 9:30am, now he wakes up before 6am!

But, it’s not about being a morning person. It’s about how being a morning person, how taking charge of your mindset before the sun comes up and filling every ounce of your being with truth instead of lies, it’s about how that sets you up for gratefully and peacefully watching the beautiful sunset at the day’s end.

“By implementing a morning routine, you’re choosing to set the tone for your day. You’re making a decision about how you will respond, think, speak, act, work, love, etc. You are no longer reacting to the world but intentionally living out who you want to be as an entrepreneur, a spouse, a friend.”

We all know that being an entrepreneur can be a tough gig. Same goes for being married. (If you’re reading this and you’re not married, no biggie, this totally applies to having any kind of relationship with another human being!)

A couple years ago, I made a quick video talking about the morning routine that will change your life. But, today, I want to share with you how having a morning routine transforms our business + marriage and, if you’re up for the challenge, how we know it can transform your business, marriage, ___________ (whatever you’d like to improve), too.

This is what our life (business + marriage included!) looks like…

When we don’t start the day with our morning routine:

  • We are quick to argue, because we both feel entitled to being right.
  • We feel like ships passing in the night…like roommates who work in the same house.
  • We are impatient with each other and easily irritable because we’re busy with our own projects.
  • We are easily distracted and our productivity suffers.
  • We feel rushed to accomplish tasks and stressed out that there’s so much to do.
  • We feel disconnected and overwhelmed.
  • We complain, feel jealous and are easily angered.
  • We lack purpose and clarity.
  • We are quick to react and judge.

When we do start the day with our morning routine:

  • We feel closer to Jesus, like we are seeking him and his will for our life.
  • We are on the same page with each other.
  • We support each other.
  • We are more focused and determined.
  • We persevere more easily and react less emotionally.
  • We are confident in our business decisions.
  • We mind our own business, paying attention to our next move, not everyone else’s.
  • We feel inspired in our work.
  • We feel inspired to do nice things for each other.
  • We listen to each other.
  • We make things happen quickly and smoothly with our business.

The difference is night and day. It’s like, “Duh! Do your morning routine, guys!”

Curious what these morning routines look like? We got most of this from the book The Miracle Morning

This is what our morning routines look like…

Jesse’s morning routine:

  • 5 minutes of prayer/meditation
  • 5 minutes of affirmations/visualization (includes reading his monthly goals)
  • 20 minutes of reading (usually a business book or the Bible)
  • 15 minutes of journaling (writing out thoughts and little pieces that could someday be compiled into a more substantial piece)

My morning routine:

  • 5 minutes of prayer/meditation
  • 5 minutes of affirmations/visualization (includes reading my monthly goals)
  • 20 minutes of reading (currently reading + LOVING Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst)
  • One hour of writing (working on my book)

Our morning routine, together:

  • Make + eat breakfast. Jesse usually makes the eggs. I usually “make” the coffee (aka: Pulling the handle down on the Keurig and adding lots of creamer to the mug.)
  • Read the Bible + pray together.
  • Talk about what we’re grateful for.
  • Exercise (usually later in the day as a work break)

Do we do all of this every single day? Nope. Is it glaringly obvious when we skip our morning routines? Yep! More than anything, for us, our morning routine is a guideline for helping us be the best we can be for our clients, for our audience, for each other, for our families, for our friends, for everything we do.

And, when we’re operating as close to 100% as humanly possible, in all these categories, we know that’s when we are living out who God has created us to be. That’s when we become increasingly aware of all he is and is doing in our lives.

It’s easy to let our icky tendencies take over. It’s easy to make excuses and say, “Ah, well, that’s just me.” It takes effort and discipline to wake up every morning and choose to be the best you. But, life, business, marriage, all of it, is so much more rewarding when you do.

Do you have a morning routine? Can you tell a difference in the days you implement it and when you don’t? Let us know in the comments below if you’re ready to give a morning routine a whirl and/or if it’s time to dust it off and bring it back to life and serve it up strong with your morning coffee.

Categories
Business

7 Things We Stand For

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Maybe you’ve been around for a while and you have a good idea of what we’re all about. Or, maybe you’re new to Idealust, new to us, and you’re thinking to yourself…

“Hmm. Becky + Jesse seem alright, but I’m just not quite sure yet.” That’s cool! We get it! There are LOTS of posts darting around out there in cyber space! But here’s the thing, we don’t want to be another random business that emails you about business coaching for creatives. We want to know what’s going on in your world (so we know how to best help you!) and we also want to be super transparent about who we are.

Sooooo…

In case you aren’t sure if you know what we’re all about or what we stand for, we figured we’d come right out and tell you 🙂

  1. We believe morning routines + date nights are sacred.
  2. We believe in getting outside of our comfort zones, in all areas of our life. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) that feels awkward and uncomfortable. But, that’s the point. We know firsthand that’s where all the good stuff happens. What does this actually look like? Good question…
    • Going to CrossFit when we aren’t thrilled about the work out.
    • Getting in the same room with and building relationships with those who we admire.
    • Being frustrated that something isn’t working (even though we’ve tried a handful of times) in our business and not giving up. Tweaking our efforts and trying, YET AGAIN.
    • Adopting a baby!
  3. We believe that we discover our best ideas after soaking up copious amounts of sunshine and riding our beach cruisers or playing in the waves or hiking up mountains or taking road trips. Fresh air is, quite literally, one of our business partners. 😉
  4. We believe in doing what we were designed to do…and I don’t mean only with Idealust, I mean making the most out of absolutely everything we’ve been given (opportunities, skills, passions, etc.) and that’s why we feel so ALIVE!
  5. We believe we all have the freedom + capability to create the lives we want for ourselves.
  6. We believe that kindness + gratitude are key ingredients to being a successful entrepreneur.
  7. We believe that not everyone was created to be an entrepreneur, but those who are, well, it’s undeniable. Those dreams + ideas don’t fade away. You can’t sweep them under the rug. We believe there’s only one way to see if they’ll make it, and that’s to offer those dreams a chance. And we want to help you. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we started Idealust 🙂

I feel like maybe we can be friends now?

Categories
Business

How to close more sales

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Scenario: You have a meeting with a prospective client tomorrow. You NEED this client to book with you. You’re freaking out inside but trying to pull it together on the outside.

What do you do?

The answer is simple. Believe you can do it. Don’t just say the words but actually believe 100% that you’re going to ROCK that meeting. Our minds are powerful tools. They can make or break us. Think about it…

Let’s say, you go into the meeting feeling desperate, unsure of yourself and you can’t stop thinking about how you NEED to book this person, or you better start looking for a real job. Close your eyes and imagine that feeling. Your body tenses up. Your brows furrow into fear. A smile is far from the scene. You have to fake a friendly face. Your voice is a little shaky. Your timid demeanor is obvious. We all know that dogs smell fear. Guess what; so do people.

Okay, shake off that scene. I mean, for good. There’s no reason you need to go back to that place. Ever. Let’s create a better, more confident image you’re going to use from here on out. First, take money out of the equation. I know, I know…you NEED this money. That’s part of the problem. You’re so focused on the money. Ditch that for second. Instead, think about why you started your business in the first place. Think about what fires you up! Think about your passion and talent and what you have to offer the world; what you have to offer this prospective client. Feel that excitement in your veins?! Let that positivity shine through. Lead with it in your conversations. Use it to stand tall and confident. Think about your passion and talent and what you have to offer the world; what you have to offer this prospective client. Feel that excitement in your veins?! Let that positivity shine through.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” – Simon Sinek

Dig deep. What is it that you believe? Lead with that.

Early in our photography business, we’d walk into meetings with prospective clients feeling desperate and uncertain. Of course, we didn’t want to come off that way; but I’m positive we did in a lot of cases. As the months and years went on and we booked more clients, enough for both Jesse and me to be full-time entrepreneurs, our client meetings actually became fun. We changed our mindset from selling to sharing our passion and excitement. Our conversations went from rigid to fluid. And our booking rate skyrocketed.

We know the same can be true for you. But YOU have to believe you can do it. The best way for you to get to that place is to practice, visualize it happening and lead the conversation with your passion and what you believe. What WE believe is that your next meeting with a prospective client is going to go better than any meeting you’ve ever had before.