Categories
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!

Categories
Business

5 Ways Creative Entrepreneurs Can Get Fast Referrals

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

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

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

We have everything we need, right now.

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

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

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

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

Yes, there’s a BUT…

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

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

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

Categories
Business

My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories
Business

How to prevent entrepreneur overwhelm

how-to-prevent-entrepreneur-overwhelm-gallery-1

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!

Categories
Business

How to make Instagram’s new algorithm irrelevant

how to make instagrams algorithm irrelevant_gallery-1

Instagram IS changing. No amount of signatures or petitions is going to change that. We may be able to help shape HOW it changes by providing feedback, but that’s not what we are here to talk about today.

Before we get into how to make these changes work for you, let’s take a minute to talk about what all this fuss is about with Instagram changing its algorithm, as far as we understand it…

Old Instagram

  • News feed is chronological
  • Your posts go to ALL of your followers
  • Posting at different times of day could drastically change your engagement
  • ngagement was only good for social proof and building relationships and community

New Instagram

[list] [list_item]News feed will show you what you will likely be most interested in (just like Facebook does now)[/list_item] [list_item]Your posts might not reach everyone[/list_item] [list_item]Your posts could be shown to followers when they use IG throughout the day, regardless of the time you posted[/list_item] [list_item]Engagement will play a big role in determining which of your followers actually see your posts[/list_item][/list]
[/infobox]

Why are things changing?

On Instagram’s post about the upcoming changes, they said the following:
“…People miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.”

I know I miss a TON of good stuff I’d love to see on Instagram!

But that’s not the only reason things are changing. We saw something similar happen to Facebook Business Pages a few years ago and it took away a TON of free reach with your posts on Facebook. While this new algorithm on Instagram doesn’t look nearly as restrictive as what we saw then, it is the first step towards that. Today, if you want any consistent results with Facebook, you have to pay to promote posts via Facebook Ads. And I’m sure we’ll see something similar come to Instagram pretty soon as well.

Here’s the thing, we all have been loving Instagram for our businesses for so many reasons! We’ve been building our brands, creating relationships, cultivating communities AND booking clients. The SAME thing was happening on Facebook years ago. And we all got fired up when things changed. In fact, we fought the change for as long as we could. Then, while some gave up on Facebook as a business tool, others of us decided to give Facebook Ads a try, and we’ve never looked back!

How to make the algorithm changes irrelevant

It’s super simple. Use Instagram Ads. There has never been a better time to get started either! Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Instagram Ads is relatively inexpensive since not many people are using it yet. On average, it costs us $7.50 to get in front of 1,000 people.
  2. Since not many people are using it yet, the sooner you get in, the better results you can expect.
  3. If you create an ad that encourages engagement, it can help your organic reach a lot!
  4. You don’t have to wait for your following to grow organically for your posts to be seen and Instagram Ads WILL help grow your following (and if you use even more strategically, your list)!
  5. If you use Instagram Ads, you don’t have to stress about the algorithm changing again. We’ve seen (and our clients have seen) some of the best results EVER in paid advertising by using Instagram ads!
  6. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, we have a good idea how this story ends. Organic reach for businesses will eventually be limited, so we can either be early adopters and take advantage of the opportunity, or we can wait and hope for the best. I’m not a big fan of leaving the success of our business up to chance though ????

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m all for using Instagram organically (the free way) for your business. We do it all the time! We just can’t solely rely on it because it will not stay this way forever.

 

[button style=’red’ url=’http://goo.gl/8FQ534′ target=’_blank’ icon=’entypo-forward’ fullwidth=’true’]Yes! I Want to Learn More![/button]
Categories
Business

Rip Off the Band-Aid

no flatlays_gallery-1

You won’t see flat lays in our Instagram gallery.

A couple things to note before we get into this:

  1. In case you’re not familiar with the term flat lay, it’s this…styled photo of items. This could be: things on your desk, coffee + food, flowers, makeup, books, clothing, anything really! I’m sure you’ve seen them! They are typically clean, minimal + beautiful. An aerial view from above of a styled group of items.
  2. I do not dislike flat lays (I actually think they are very pretty!) or the incredibly creative + talented people I know (and don’t know) who curate, photograph and post them on their Instagram accounts. It’s just something I don’t do. It’s not how I think or dream or create.

And that’s okay.

In fact, it’s more than okay.

Think of that old saying…

“If So-and-So jumped off a bridge, would you?!” And we’re all like, “Duh! Of course not!”

But then we translate that to…

“If So-and-So (who happens to have 77K followers on Instagram) posts flat lays, does that mean you should to?!” And we’re all like, “Hmm. Not sure. Maybe?”

The answer is…
If you want to!
If it works for you!
If it works for your audience!
If it’s worth your time + efforts!
If it will get you where you want to go!

Once in a blue moon, you’ll see something sort of like a flat lay in our Instagram gallery. It’s not who we are, so we pour our energy elsewhere.

Now, this might seem suuuuuuper trivial. Like, who cares if we post a certain type of image on Instagram. But, it brings up such a vital topic, one we chat about regularly with our clients…

Just because successful So-and-So uses/writes/shoots/edits/says/acts/dresses/does anything a certain way (and it’s working really well for them), that doesn’t mean it’ll work well for you, or is you, for that matter. It’s less about the actual thing they’re doing that’s bringing success and more about how they’re tapping into their true, authentic self + brand…that’s what’s working for them.

This online world of comparison is getting out of hand. I see so many creatives trying so hard to be someone they’re not. And, I get it! It’s rough seeing her succeed when you’re trying hard and nothing is happening the way you want it to. But, I think that’s the problem…

Sometimes, we try too hard. We need to slough off the excess. The facade. The characteristics + decisions we’ve adopted + made because they worked for someone else. We need to say, “Forget flat lays! (And everything they represent in this example!)”

Get back to the core of your business. Get back to your talents. Your creative genius zone. Not hers.

Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to get back to (or,  get to for the first time ever!) that space that is your very own, so you can make darn well sure that everything you’re putting out in the world (social media posts, emails, images, etc.) feels like and lines up with who you are + the essence of YOUR brand.

1. What are your strengths and are you making the most of them?
2. What do your clients + friends love about you?
3. What makes you different from others in your industry?

These are just 3 of the 16 questions we prompt you to work through in the first of four sections of our Brandmap. There are 4 key steps to creating a stand-out (and true to you!) brand in this noisy world. Being authentic (and ditching flat lays, if you want!) is the first piece of the puzzle.

TK finish…Brandmap button….

As you begin to gain confidence in your brand, you’ll find what works best for you. From there, you’ll create a masterpiece. A beautiful, successful business. A beautiful, honest life…

Categories
Business

Strategy: Making better decisions for your health & business

gallery_idealust limelife photography photographers for creative entrepreneurs_open road seattle-1

As an entrepreneur, developing and implementing strategy is the difference between having a struggling business, versus running a thriving, successful one. In terms of health, well, it’s very much the same.

But first, let’s define the word “strategy” before we dive into how to make better decisions for your health and business.

According to the good ol’ Merriam-Webster dictionary, strategy is defined as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.” Furthermore, it is also “the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal.” Strategy is one of my favorite words of all time. Why? Because it’s how I run my life and my business; I’m always coming up with new strategies to help me achieve my goals and develop skills that otherwise make my life and business flow. I actually have my own personal definition for strategy: constant and never-ending improvement.

What’s the goal of strategy? Well, in a few words, the ultimate goal in your health and business should always be to up performance, create ease and reach new heights of success and happiness. Without strategy, things can get pretty chaotic and you’re just not able to serve anyone well, much less yourself.

“The role of the starving artist, the broken healer or the dead broke creative is a thing of the past, or at least should be. There are more than enough clients for you and there’s more than enough wealth in the world to support you in creating a booming business and vibrant health.”
We’ve been immeasurably blessed, as millennials (which I’m assuming you are), to create thriving businesses online, or in our small communities because of technology. The role of the starving artist, the broken healer or the dead broke creative is a thing of the past, or at least should be. There are more than enough clients for you and there’s more than enough wealth in the world to support you in creating a booming business and vibrant health. But, you have to realize that when you don’t have bulletproof strategies, you’re capped on how much you can achieve, and thus limited on whom you can serve. And if you’re here on this site, I know your intention is to do what you love, serve others while following your passion, and create freedom in a life you’ve designed by hand. If you’re not already actively pursuing it, at least that’s the ultimate goal, right? We owe it to everyone else to be killer strategists so we can be of service to the world. We owe it to ourselves to get really smart with our strategies so we can be vibrantly healthy, perform well and kick small-business ass. Can I get a HUZZAH?

Here are some business and health strategies you can implement today:

· Enlist support. Whether it’s a part-time VA, a housekeeper, someone to prepare healthy home-cooked meals or a dog-walker, the more you can delegate, the more time you’ll have to actually DO the work you’re doing. If you’re feeling guilty about hiring a personal assistant, realize that not only are you providing a job for someone else, but you’re utilizing the most brilliant strategy of all: work smarter, not harder. Not financially stable in your business yet? Start with hiring someone for just 1-5 hours a week (depending on your budget) and get ready for a mind-blowing, freeing feeling when you have more mental space available to create, coach, photograph, serve, etc. Sounds to me like a formula for more clients + more money in the bank = more money to spend at Whole Foods. I’ll never forget the feeling of hiring someone to help me in business for the first time. It was, in one word, EMPOWERING.

· Break up with perfection. Get cozy with persistence. What in the world are you doing trying to be perfect, anyway? I hate to burst your bubble, but perfection doesn’t exist. If you’re looking for all the answers, you will never find them. I know this doesn’t go over well with the type-A personality, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you won’t know what you’re doing sometimes, and that failure is imminent. Napoleon Hill says, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Stay persistent with improving yourself, your health and your business.

· Realize the improbability of balance. As an entrepreneur, there probably won’t be much balance on most days. Some days you’ll work straight through lunch time, and other days will be as lovely as a warm California day. Be armed with healthy snacks for when you can’t get away from your desk, drink Bulletproof coffee (hint: you’ll be so satiated you won’t need as many meals), go with the flow, be open to what new projects come your way, be resilient with disappointments, stay on top of your game with wide eyes and a clear mind, no matter what challenges occur.

· Take care of yourself. Make time for fun and for you. This ought to be a non-negotiable for all of us. Get a massage, spend time with your favorite people, take a painting class, get outdoors and leave your phone at home. Whatever gets you into high vibes. Don’t work yourself to the bone and then expect to have lots to give come Monday.

What strategies are you excited to implement in your health and business? Share in the comments below!

Categories
Business

Amateur vs Pro: Breaking Barriers

amateur-vs-professional-idealust

We’ve all been there. At some networking event, a meetup for creative entrepreneurs or just some Facebook group, and we find ourselves feeling out of place. The room is full of amazingly talented people. They’ve been in the industry for years. They are the professionals that teach the other professionals. We look up to them. And we find ourselves feeling intimidated and a little lost. Why? Maybe we’re new to this. Maybe we are just testing out this whole entrepreneur thing. Maybe we feel like total amateurs.

Trying to achieve the elusive professional status may make you feel really important, but if it doesn’t help you live your life the way you want to live it or help your business grow, it’s only getting in the way. Let’s chuck this idea altogether. It’s not a tryout. It’s not like there is some switch the professional police flips and BAM, you get a certificate in the mail saying, “Congratulations! You’ve made it! You’re a Pro!”

In the wedding and portrait photography world, words like faux-tographer and mom-ographer are thrown around about those considered to be amateurs. These amateurs might have less experience or be self-taught. Some aspects of their business may be underdeveloped. Maybe they aren’t even getting paid! Who cares? Everyone has to start somewhere.

All that really matters is how you conduct yourself and your business. Being a pro means you pour your heart and soul into your business. It means you’re always learning. It means you’re always trying something new. If you fail, you try again. You keep what works and improve what doesn’t, both on the business side of things AND the creative.

So let’s all stop wondering if we are this or that. You get to make that choice. ACT like a professional, or don’t. Here’s the perfect place to start.

Be confident.
This could singlehandedly change your business. I can be pretty shy, so this hasn’t been something that comes naturally to me. Meeting with prospective clients can be intimidating! I’m a total woo (Don’t know what that is? Read Strengths Finders!), so in the first year of business, I was always worried about whether or not potential clients would like me or if I was going to say the things they wanted to hear. I found myself stumbling over my words, trying to guess what they wanted and sometimes even changing a service we offered right on the spot! I’m sure that looked desperate. Fear, the unknown and inexperience are the biggest roadblocks to being confident. The good news? It gets easier. Learn all you can. Go into every meeting, job, event or conference insanely prepared. Practice having conversations about what you do, how you do it and what makes you the best person for your clients. Sounds cheesy. But it works. Do these things often and you’ll find yourself looking and feeling confident.

Never be good enough.
If you are the best at something right now, but you aren’t working to get better, you won’t be the best for long. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Things are always changing. Take social media, for example. Not only are new platforms always coming out, but the ones you already use are constantly changing. This concept can be a little daunting at times, but it’s something that I have come to love about being an entrepreneur. We also can get so caught up in the business side of things that we forget to continue growing as artists or in our creative field. Schedule time to practice and make sure to make time for the things that keep you inspired!

Do what you love.
No matter what kind of business you are building, it takes serious work. I couldn’t imagine trying to build something if I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing. It can be exhausting and draining, so without the passion to motivate you to push through, you could potentially find yourself in a pretty bad place. If there’s an aspect about running your business that you just can’t stand, or feel your time is better spent doing something else, then find someone else to do it! Outsource. Hire employees. Bring on an intern. Chances are they will do it better and more efficiently than you. You’d be amazed at how much brain power you’ll free up. It’s liberating.

Be consistent all the time.
What you do in your personal life and say on your personal social media platforms will affect your professional life. As an entrepreneur, people will not view you as “business you” and “personal you.” In my experience, I’ve come to believe people do the exact opposite. They will connect almost anything they’ve seen, experienced or heard about you to your business. (Side note: Use this to your advantage! This is SUCH an opportunity to make a connection to your audience and ideal clients.) YOU get to decide what kind of light people view your business in. Do this with consistency in your interactions with clients, others in your industry, on social media, when you are out for drinks with friends, on vacation or working at a coffee shop. You get the idea. The bottom line: there is nothing more unprofessional than seeing someone’s business life and personal life not match up. Chances are, people will remember what you don’t want them to. So, only give them the good stuff.

Categories
Business

Why Creative Entrepreneurs Should Hire an Accountant

gallery_idealust limelife photography receipts-1

I worked hard to put the initials C.P.A. after my name but in my heart, I relate to all designers, photographers and lifestyle bloggers. I could have stayed in a firm and crunched numbers all day, but I used every free minute to figure out a way to get closer to my own creative bliss. Working with passionate creatives is the perfect mix in my world of spreadsheets and numbers. And I can help you (maintain your sanity) and your business (stay organized and follow financial rules).

As a creative, it can be incredibly daunting dealing with the money side of things. Let me paint a different picture for you. I’m talking game-changer status different picture.

You are juggling all you can handle, just staying on top of your business and now you’re being told you have to add spreadsheets and tax law to the mix? Accountants, CPA’s in particular, are required to keep up with Federal and State tax laws by taking continuing education courses every year. It is a good thing to have someone who does know these things on your side.

Your accountant can help hold you accountable and keep your financial records up-to-date. It is tough to make ourselves keep up with the mundane tasks like bookkeeping. Bleh! One way to stay on top of things is to set up quarterly bookkeeping reviews with an accountant. I’m talking peace of mind, people. It’s worth it. As a bonus, you will be able to see where your income is throughout the year and respond quickly, when needed.

Accountants can help determine what you’ll need to pay for estimated taxes. This takes a heavy weight off your shoulders as the end of the year approaches. We can also can help you understand the financial ramifications of choosing to be a sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and S-Corporation, as well as walk you through the steps. We can also help you determine if a 1099 or W-2 needs to be sent to the IRS and your state. Heck, we’ll even prepare these for you.

If you’re not sure where to begin with a bookkeeping system, that’s the perfect reason to make an appointment with an accountant. You may be really comfortable with a spreadsheet, but if you’re not into formulas and hand-entering everything, your accountant can recommend programs that automatically pull in transactions so you just have to categorize them. Check out Freshbooks or Wave. It is really important to have a good system in place. Something you’re comfortable with and something you’ll stick to the whole year.

Bottom line: hiring a good accountant WILL benefit your business. It will reduce stress and leave you with much more time to spend on your craft and generating income! Don’t let your finances run you; find an accountant and let them run the numbers.

7 reasons why creative entrepreneurs should hire an accountant:

1. She is educated in Federal and State tax laws.
2. She will keep your financial records up to date.
3. She can review your bookkeeping quarterly.
4. She can determine what you’ll pay for estimated taxes.
5. She’ll explain what it means to be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC and S-Corp.
6. She’ll advise you on Freshbooks, Wave and other at-home accounting systems.
7. She’ll free you of stress, so you can get back to work.

Categories
Personal

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.