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Business

7 ways creative entrepreneurs can use video for business (+ why video marketing is such a powerful tool)

If you are a creative entrepreneur and you aren’t using video as part of your content marketing plan, you are leaving money on the table. You’ve been hearing it for years: Video is good for your business.

 

But, as time marches on and our attention spans dwindle, technology improves and our desire for instant gratification grows, video becomes a key player more and more.

 

When I say video, I’m talking all kinds…the quick fixes like Instagram Stories to well-produced promo videos (the kind you hire the pros to do) and everything in between. We get that it takes time. We get that it might feel scary, at first, to put yourself out there. But, here’s the thing, and you’ve probably experienced this in other areas of your business (or, LIFE, for that matter!)…

 

[pullquote type=”left”]When you’re brave enough and disciplined enough to do the work, the scary, uncomfortable things that few are willing to do, you stand out from the crowd. You not only rise to the top, but, more importantly, you prove to yourself that you can do hard things.[/pullquote]

 

When you’re brave enough and disciplined enough to do the work, the scary, uncomfortable things that few are willing to do, you stand out from the crowd. You not only rise to the top, but, more importantly, you prove to yourself that you can do hard things. And then, you have a growth spurt. Your confidence skyrockets. Your ideal clients see all you’re doing and want to be part of it.

 

So, let’s dig into this a bit. We want to tell you why we believe creative entrepreneurs should be using video for their businesses.  

 

Video is good for your business because it is…

  • Easy to show your personality + passion, which, in turn allows your audience to connect with you! When that happens, your tribe gets stronger. We want your ideal clients to see how fun, cheerful, kind, creative, talented, _________ that you are!
  • Easy to consume + is instant gratification for your audience. They don’t have to put any effort into consuming or reading. Instead, they just watch while you entertain.
  • High touch. Viewers see the real you, really fast.
  • Good for SEO. Google likes video. When you embed a YouTube video on a page, Google likes that, and it makes them more likely to show that specific page.
  • Good for Facebook. Facebook wants to show content that its users want to see. And people are engaging with video more than other kinds of Facebook posts right now, so Facebook gives priority to and pushes video.
  • A great way for you to stand out. A lot of people shy away from it because they think it’s hard or uncomfortable. So, the fact that you do use video helps you rise to the top.
  • Fun! You can get super creative or stick to the basics. It’s a fun outlet to implement creative ideas.

 

Real life examples of how to use video to connect with your (future) clients…

  • Use Screencastify to respond to inquiries and/or clients’ emails. With so much work done over email and so much time at the computer, I know I love seeing more smiling faces! We know our clients do, too. I bet your clients and potential clients will feel the same way.
  • Create super quick + easy Instagram Stories (they don’t have to be perfectly polished) to educate + entertain your viewers. Give them a taste of who you are, what you’re working on and what your business is all about.
  • Take an FAQ you hear all the time, something you’re already educating clients on and turn it into a Facebook Live!
  • Add a video to your thank you pages (for example, for downloading a PDF); for visiting your blog; or for joining your newsletter!
  • Create (or hire someone else to help you create) a promo video for your business! Does having a promo video bring in more inquiries, we can’t be 100% sure of that. Does it help you book more of the inquiries you do get? For us, it absolutely does (and it did for our photography business, too)! We have ours on our about page. Promo videos help set the tone and course of consultations, changing them from being a first meeting, to more like having coffee with friends!
  • Create short videos to answer your clients questions. Incorporate this into your workflow, so you answer before they even have to ask! For our photography business, we created a What to Wear for Your Engagement Session video and all of our clients loved it and said it was super helpful!
  • Ask your happy clients for video testimonials. Nothing you can say about yourself will sell someone better than someone else telling them about what you have done for them. Especially, if the person watching can relate to and connect with the person giving the testimonial. The absolute best time to get video testimonials from clients is when they’re most excited about what you did for them, which is typically right after you do it!

 

“I hate being on camera…help!”

  • Start small! Instagram Stories is a great place to get your toes wet.
  • Practice out loud in the mirror, with friends or your spouse.
  • Talk how you’d talk to a friend.
  • Smile! If you are smiling, your viewers are probably smiling, too 😉
  • Keep the energy high + spirited.
  • Wear something that makes you feel confident + stand out (something fun or colorful)!
  • Oh, and you don’t have to look directly at the camera the whole time!

 

Remember, done is better than perfect! Not every video (especially when you’re using Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Snapchat), has to be perfectly produced and polished. Bring it back to your purpose. The reason you’re doing these videos in the first place is to connect with your tribe, with your (future) clients, and they like to know you’re human too!

 

Using video is just one way to use content to connect with and attract your ideal clients. We are BIG FANS of using video, blog posts, social media, newsletters…the list goes on and on…to connect with the right people and grow our business. If you’re having trouble coming up with all those videos and other content, click here to download our FREE Content Creation Kit!

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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

How to prevent entrepreneur overwhelm

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What we have for you here, is a little roundup checklist of years of experience: How to prevent entrepreneur overwhelm! Yes, you really can prevent it! And, it’s glorious when you do! These are the things we do so that hairy beast of a bad place doesn’t get to us in the first place.

Don’t wait until you feel like you’re going to crack, cave or cry. Be proactive! Start checking these things off the list and we promise your business will run smoother. You’ll feel happier and lighter.

Start a morning routine and stick with it!
☐Set realistic + SPECIFIC goals, that are still challenging.
☐Do ONE THING at a time. Multi-tasking is a myth.
☐Know what you want and be confident in going for it!
☐Get organized! Plan out your weeks.
☐Schedule YOU things (exercise, coffee dates, long lunch breaks) first, every week, every day.
☐Get your work to 90% and then move on. Done is better than perfect. Boycotting perfectionism is not being sloppy.
☐Do not go on social media until after 11am!
☐Read before you go to sleep, instead of scrolling through Instagram.
☐Know your ideal client so you can make fast marketing decisions that are valuable to her! Fast decisions = less time beating yourself up trying to figure it out = less overwhelm.
☐Tidy up your workspace. Shave your legs if you have to 😉
Stop procrastinating!
☐Read Essentialism and implement ASAP.
☐Surround yourself with like-minded people who just get it.

Adios, overwhelm!

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Business Personal

Confessions of a Business Coach

I have shed some tears of frustration about our businesses. I have had ideas that just didn’t work. I have compared myself to other entrepreneurs, so much so, that my husband has had to ban me from social media. WHOA. Oh, the confessions of a business coach!

Have you been there?

If you’re there right now, I just have to say, YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT!

We get it. We’ve been there. And, as business coaches for creative entrepreneurs, we’re here to cheer you right out of that slump and equip you for success.

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Business

[VIDEO] The Morning Routine That Will Change Your Life

Shoot it to me straight: Did you wake up excited, refreshed and ready to rock and roll? Did you hear your alarm and think, “TODAY IS GOING TO BE GOOOOD!” This may seem extreme and unrealistic to you. Maybe you’ve trained your brain to believe you’re not a morning person? Maybe you’re just use to being grumpy in the morning and taking hours to get the happy attitude in gear? Maybe you heard your alarm and automatically picked up your phone and scrolled Facebook to see what everyone else is up to today?

You’ll hear us talk about mindset over and over again because it is so vital to having a successful business (and life). And each morning you wake up, you have another opportunity to set yourself up for big, exciting wins. But it’s up to you to set the stage for this success.

Watch the video to see how we do this and how you can, too! We promise that if you start the habit of this healthy mindset morning routine, YOU WILL SEE RESULTS IN YOUR BUSINESS.

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Business

How to close more sales

Idealust believe you can_gallery-1

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.