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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!

Categories
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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Personal

Do You Love the Work You Are Doing?

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If you ask anyone if they’d rather do something they love for work, or not, it’s obvious what the majority would choose. But sadly, the reality is that society and the status quo squish the dreams of hypothetical questions, leading people to choose something other than what they love for work.

Many times, I think they are under the impression that taking any “good” job they can get is the safe bet. I know I was. They think the pros far outweigh the cons. The problem is, they don’t know the pros of doing something they love for work (especially if it means starting a business). These folks think it could make work easier or possibly make them happier, but the whole concept of doing something you love and getting paid for it, to them, seems like an unattainable dream. This is far from the truth.

What you do for work is a BIG deal. It has a huge impact on your quality of life. As human beings, we work almost half of our waking hours. That’s A LOT. A whole culture was built around the American Dream that says you can get anything you want if you work hard enough. So, we work. But so many people find themselves jumping into jobs because of an opportunity that has promise of security, and that “security” suffocates dreams of purpose and fulfillment.

Let me clear something up. I do not believe doing something you love as a job is always rainbows and butterflies. It has hard days. It can have REALLY hard days. It also has freaking amazing days that make any hard day worth it. Worth it for you.

Is your current job worth those hard days? These questions just might help you answer that question.

Do I enjoy this kind of work?
Is this work fulfilling to me?
Is it challenging?
Am I using my gifts and talents?
Does it make me feel alive?

I believe these questions are just as important as the most asked question: How much does it pay? Yes, we all need money to live. But now, more than ever, we are able to not only choose what kind of work we do, but we are able to create the work for ourselves. There’s no excuse for staying at a job you can’t stand doing. You get to decide: Is it worth it?

There is nothing wrong with working a 9-5 at the same company for your entire life. Not everyone has the desire to be an entrepreneur. But for many that can’t answer those questions with a “yes,” creating their own business is the ultimate way to ensure that fulfillment. And that’s why you are here. That’s why Idealust exists. Because creating a successful business and lifestyle around something we love doing is the most liberating and rewarding thing we’ve ever accomplished.

Whether you are still working full or part time and trying starting a business or growing your business, it’s important to your well being and sanity, but also to the quality of your work, that you find ways make sure you can answer those questions with a “yes” every single day.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Stop going through the motions.

Doing the same thing day in and out will burn you out. Do that for long enough, and you probably won’t even have to think about what you are doing. You’ll quickly lose any passion you started with. You’ll get caught up in task without thinking about the purpose of the task. If you’re not a full-time entrepreneur yet, and you’d like to be, use your current work situation to learn as much as you can. Take a step back and try to look at the big picture of the work that you do, why you do it and what you can do differently.

Create challenging work for yourself.

This is a lot easier when you are your own boss, but it’s possible no matter where you work. You can find ways to improve your processes, be more effective and always strive to do your best work. Find ways to use your gifts and talents. If deep down you know you are truly stepping up to the challenges you create, you’ll start to find your work to be much more fulfilling.

Change your attitude.

I don’t mean your attitude about you wanting to be an entrepreneur. That attitude is awesome. I do mean stop moping around and complaining about how much you hate your day job. No one’s making you stay there. I was guilty of this one. Waking up at 5am isn’t usually my thing, and it definitely wasn’t when it was for a random job I didn’t plan on staying at. But it didn’t help to play the victim. Instead, I ditched the complaining and looked to the future of being my own boss, full time, to help me get through those early mornings and 12-hour shifts.

In the end, realize that YOU are the master of your own fate. If you aren’t fufilled with your work, you owe it to yourself to change that, or find (or create) new work.

Categories
Business

Amateur vs Pro: Breaking Barriers

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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.