Behind the Scenes: My Website Redesign

My Website Redesign

Website redesign.

Normally that’s a phrase that makes my stomach contract with nausea.

I’ve been putting it off for well over a year. Mainly because I hadn’t connected with the right person for the job. Thankfully, I found her. (YAY Amanda Creek!)

Another reason I’ve been putting it waaaaaay back on the furthest burner of them all is because I despise technical stuff.

Really and truly it’s the part I hate the most (well, second to accounting…ack!) about running an online business.

When I first launched Blacksburg Belle, I did everything myself–the design, setting up the hosting and domain, figuring out the backend of WordPress. That included 23 meltdowns, 19 shots of tequila, and 7 sleepless nights.

After about a year, a website designer contacted me. She was building her portfolio and wanted the chance to redesign Blacksburg Belle. We hit it off and she created my current design.

While I loved it for years, I’ve outgrown it.

Not only that, but website design has changed a ton since 2011. I need a reboot–an updated look.

I’ve known this for about a year and a half, but it’s terrifying to hand over the design reigns to someone you don’t know. There isn’t any trust. Like many of you running your own businesses, trust is huge to me.

I’ve already found myself working with the wrong people in the past. I’ve hired a photographer that wasn’t quite right. I’ve hired a website designer that turned out to be a nightmare. I’ve worked with a makeup artist and hairstylist that did not understand my look at all which ended up with me sobbing for over an hour (ruining the horrid makeup) and having to put off a video team that we were paying thousands of dollars to for a couple of hours and losing that time completely. (Thank you Mayi for hanging in with me during those couple of awful hours. Love you to bits!)

I didn’t want to find myself in that same situation, so even though I’ve wanted to update my website for a while, I’ve waited patiently (most of the time) to find the right person.

I’m sharing this with you, because I want you to know that it’s not always rainbows and big red balloons here at the Blacksburg Belle headquarters.

I struggle just like you–to find the right person to work with, through moments of doubt, to make everything appear as if it comes naturally.

We often blog about the magical moments (and I love those reading about those!) and skip over the rainstorms.

These behind-the-scenes posts give me a chance to talk about all of it: the good, the bad and the nightmares.

When I hired Amanda Creek to redesign my site, I was literally like a five-year-old giddy with excitement. And, don’t get me wrong, I still am!

But, for the past few weeks, I’ve been slogging through the mud to make this redesign the BEST it can possibly be.

I’ve spent waaaaaaay too much time on photo shoots. They took over my life for two weeks. I spent at least 60 hours getting ready, picking out the perfect outfits, taking the photos, figuring out that one of the outfits didn’t flatter me at all, retaking photos, editing the photos, uploading them for Amanda to access, and picking out my favorites. And, I’ve probably spent just as much time on watercolors for my upcoming website–brainstorming, sketching, painting, scanning, and editing.

We started in a direction that didn’t feel quite right so I had to redo all the watercolors I’d already done. (This one was totally on me–not Amanda. And, she’s been great to roll with it.)

Throughout the past month, I’ve also been battling my insurance company. To make a long story short, they don’t want to pay for the only treatment plan any of my doctors have been able to come up with in over five years because it’s very expensive. They’re coming up with every excuse they can think of (short of having me killed) to not pay for it. That’s been really draining. But don’t you worry about me, I’m married to one of the top 100 trial attorneys in the United States (yes…he really did win an award as one of the top 100 trial attorneys in the United States–I’m not just making up crap as a proud wifie even though I’m very much the proud wifie–go hubby go!) and they won’t get away that easy. They better be prepared for war, because we are.

Okay…let’s get back to the happy parts.

Now that I’ve leaped over a bunch of hurdles, I’ve got photos that I’m thrilled with and watercolors that I can’t wait to show you.

The best lesson I can share with you so far is that when something doesn’t feel exactly right, stop right then and adjust. If I said to myself, “Hey self. You’ve already spent hours and hours on these watercolors and editing them in Illustrator and turning them into your new logo. Don’t throw all that away because it doesn’t feel on brand,” then I wouldn’t be happy with the outcome. I know myself too well to know that just because I’ve put in tons of time into something doesn’t mean it gets published.

You would probably be shocked to know how many things I’ve done that have never made it in front of you–blog posts I’ve fired, watercolors I’ve thrown in the trash, photos I’ve deleted, courses I’ve stopped mid-way through production.

When you’re in charge, you can’t get romantic about your projects.

You’ve got learn to be lethal–canning everything that you know in your gut shouldn’t make it in the final edit.

It’s not easy. But, it makes you one heck of a girl boss (yes, I love this term and will continue to use it so #hatersgetlost) when you learn this lesson. It means that the world only sees your best and that is something to be proud of.

Alright…alright…I’ll come down off my inspirational soapbox and show you some behind-the-scenes moments from my website redesign:

First, here are some photos that I adore and am so excited about using:

Website Redesign Photo Shoot

Website Redesign Photo Shoot

Website Redesign Photo Shoot

Website Redesign Photo Shoot

It is taking every ounce of willpower I have not to share more photos. I’ve gotta save something for the website launch but oh my goodness, it’s hard to hold back.

And, this unfortunately, is what happens when you get a little carried away with photo ideas. This will never make it to the final project but I thought you might need a giggle today:

Website Redesign Photo Shoot Fail

Yes, that is silver glitter all over my lips. I must’ve ingested at least a teaspoon of glitter for this shot. Face palm!

But, hey…you never know until you give it a go, right?

Next, here’s one of the watercolors I’ve created specifically for the redesign:

This is it mid-project:

image2

And, here it is almost finished (I haven’t scanned it in and taken off the background yet):

Watercolor for Website Redesign

I hope you love it! I do.

Now, I’ve got to get back to my watercolors if Amanda and I hope to get the website launched anytime soon.

Thanks for all the support you’ve given to me as I’ve shared bits and pieces on Instagram. You have no idea how much motivation it’s given me to get this right. Virtual hugs and kisses!

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Tips for Creating a Successful Sales Funnel

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Creating a successful sales funnel isn’t a piece of chocolate cake.

It takes a good chunk of time and effort. But, if you do it right, it can make a huge difference to your income and business.

If the marketing term ‘sales funnel’ is new to you, check out last week’s blog post where I explain the basics, show you an example of a sales funnel and provide you with a workbook to brainstorm one for your business.

If you’ve already read last week’s blog post, play the video below to get more tips and advice for creating a sales funnel that will help grow your piggy bank:

If you still have questions after watching today’s video, leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Have you created a sales funnel for your business? If so, please share your experience in the comments. What worked? What didn’t? What tips would you give to someone who’s working to create a sales funnel?

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A Sales Funnel Example and Workbook

Sales Funnel Example and Workbook

A sales funnel is not just another marketing term you can ignore.

I know you’d like to, but once you find out how it can help you be less “salesy” in your day-to-day marketing, you might love me for helping you create one for your business.

(Keep in mind that I hate chocolate but love young adult novels when you want to send me a gift when this completely changes your marketing game.)

A sales funnel is a way to collect leads (people who might be interested in buying your products) and turn some of them into customers.

It’s all about getting the right people (aka, the ones who might buy your stuff) onto your email list and getting them to open and read your emails.

If you can do that, you can set up a sales funnel that works for you in the background of things.

Instead of having to work so hard for each individual sale, you’re working hard to get people onto your list (by giving them something for free that they really want) and then your emails do the work for you.

You set up your emails as autorepsonders once and then each person who signs up for your emails gets them.

A sales funnel can work for any type of business from a life coach to a watercolor artist to a candle maker.

It’s easier to show you what a sales funnel might look like then try to explain it further than that, so I’ve created a sales funnel for a jewelry designer.

SAMPLE SALES FUNNEL:

Sales Funnel Examples

Business Overview of Indigo and Silver (which is a made up brand for the purposes of this post):

A minimalist jewelry designer who focuses on creating high-quality pieces that can enhance any outfit. Her pieces are more expensive than a lot of handmade jewelry sold on Etsy but her customers see them as an investment and don’t mind spending more because they only buy a couple new pieces a year. Her customers would rather spend more money on one necklace they love, can wear with most of their outfits and will keep for many years than five trendy necklaces that they might not wear again next year.

Sales Funnel:

Opt-in Freebie: Your Capsule Wardrobe Guide

This guide is a free downloadable PDF that’ll help subscribers design their own capsule wardrobe. Even though this doesn’t revolve around jewelry, it works because it grabs her ideal customer’s attention and she can include her jewelry in it.

1st Email: Free Capsule Wardrobe Guide Inside (sent immediately upon opting in)

In this email, she welcomes new subscribers to her list and provides the link to download the capsule wardrobe guide.

2nd Email: How to Avoid the Top 3 Mistakes When Building a Capsule Wardrobe (sent three days after first email)

In this email, she reminds subscribers to download the guide and goes over the top three mistakes women make when building a capsule wardrobe. One of the mistakes is buying pieces that don’t work with most everything else in the person’s wardrobe. Within that tip, she discusses why it’s better to invest in jewelry that can be worn with most outfits and that lasts for years (aka, her jewelry).

3rd Email: The Truth Revealed: What Retailers Don’t Want You to Know (sent five days after second email)

In this email, the jewelry designer gives subscribers a budget breakdown of someone who buys cheap trendy jewelry versus someone who buys one or two quality pieces per year. It reveals that the person who buys cheap jewelry actually spends more or just as much as the person who buys high-quality jewelry on a yearly basis. The difference is that the person who buys high-quality jewelry keeps her for years and years.

This email reinforces the minimalist mindset which tells subscribers that they’re in the right place.

4th Email: The Story Behind Indigo and Silver (sent one week after third email)

In this email, she talks about why she started Indigo and Silver and the main principles of the brand.

People are more likely to buy from brands that they know, like and trust. This emails helps subscribers get to know the brand better.

At the end of this email, she includes three testimonials she’s received from past customers along with a link to find additional reviews.

5th Email: My Summer Capsule Wardrobe (sent one week after fourth email)

She shares pictures of 10 outfits she can create with her capsule wardrobe for that season, and each season, she switches out the content so that it works for whatever season we’re currently in.

She includes one of her necklaces, a pair of earrings and two bracelets with the outfits to show how her minimalistic jewelry goes with it all.

6th Email: Free Shipping Code for Indigo and Silver Inside (sent one week after fifth email)

Now that subscribers have received a handful of emails and have grown more familiar with the brand, they’re more likely to buy something, especially if given a reason to purchase now. The free shipping code gives them the reason to buy now.

Within the email, she includes three testimonials from past customers.

7th Email: Quiz: Are you an Audrey, Marilyn, Brigitte or Kate? (sent one week after sixth email)

Because people love quizzes and she wanted a fun way to talk about jewelry, she put together a quiz that will tell you whether you’re most like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot or Kate Middleton when it comes to fashion. And, at the end of the quiz, she links to jewelry (including her own pieces) that best matches those personalities.

8th Email: Top 3 Best-Selling Pieces of Indigo and Silver (sent one week after seventh email)

One of the reasons people procrastinate buying is because they don’t know what to choose. If subscribers have gone this long without buying, showing them the top three best-selling pieces might help them choose what to buy.

This helps them focus on three choices as opposed to the thirty-five choices in her online shop.

As you can see from this example sales funnel, it’s not all about selling.

You want to mix helpful, entertaining content that your ideal customer will love with sales copy, testimonials and reasons to buy now.

I’ve created a mini workbook (hip hip hooray for workbooks!) for you that gives you a few more notes on this example sales funnel and will help you to brainstorm ideas for your own sales funnel.

Sales Funnel Workbook

Download your workbook right here.

Have questions? Ask them in the comments below.

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My Paris Geller Inspired Rant (Get Your Kick in the Pants Right Here)

My Paris Geller Inspired Rant

I woke up this morning in a Paris Geller (from Gilmore Girls) kind of mood.

And, I scrapped the blog post I was going to publish in order to film a rant.

Here’s the thing: I’m sick of all the excuses and complaining. I’m over the ‘I can’t ________’ before you even try it.

We’re blessed to live at a time where we can (pretty easily with all things considered) set up our own websites and sell our products and services to people all over the world. And yet, people still find things to complain about: Instagram changed it’s algorithm. Blogging is hard. This tofu tastes like chunky paste. (Is that last one only me?)

You guys…we’ve got it good.

We’ve got the opportunity to literally make our dreams come true with a lot of hard work, a bit of luck and 27,064 cups of coffee.

If you’re feeling sorry for yourself or coming up with excuses on why you can’t start your business or need a push in a positive direction, watch today’s video:

Mentioned in the video:

  1. Last week’s blog post
  2. Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube Channel
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Target Market Basics: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Your Target Market

Raise your hand if you don’t know the definition of target market.

Raise it high. No need for shyness. We’re all friends here and I don’t know about you but target market wasn’t one of the phrases my parents taught me when I was trying to grasp the English language.

If you’re in the midst of starting a business or learning about marketing, it’s important to take a few minutes to learn the basics about what a target market is and how it can impact your business success. I tried to make it easy on you with this 5-minute video:

I hope that clears some things up for you.

Now that you understand the basics, you need to apply it to your business. Here’s a free worksheet you can download to get you started.

I’ve included some creative ways to think about your target market and ideal customer in that worksheet. It’ll get you thinking in new directions.

Still have questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to my best to answer or include them in an upcoming blog post.

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Behind the Scenes of My Survey: What I’m Changing Because of YOU

Behind the Scenes of My Survey

When I sent an email last week, asking you to fill out a short survey I felt like the suspender-wearing nerd asking the cheerleader to prom.

I’m still not sure why it made me feel a bit silly, but part of the reason I contemplated whether or not to survey my readers was because I know you’re busy. I don’t want to pile on another to-do to your already overwhelming task list.

So, I want to start today’s blog post with a BIG THANK YOU.

I didn’t expect that hundreds of you would fill out the survey. More than half the time when someone asks me to fill out a survey or review a product, I skip right over it, thinking that I don’t have time.

I appreciate you so much if you took a few minutes to answer my survey questions. And, I also appreciate you if you passed over it, thinking that you just didn’t have any extra time that day. I get it.

Whether or not you filled out the survey, I thought you might find the results interesting.

Here are the top 10 most common requests (and how I’m incorporating them into my business):

1. Share more behind-the-scenes type of content.

This wasn’t the most common request from the survey (that’s #2), but I thought I’d start with this one because I wrote this post based on how many of you asked for more behind the scenes type of content.

Some of you said that you loved my ‘Behind the Scenes of CreativeLive’ posts and wished I’d pull back the gauzy curtains and show more of the stuff that goes on behind running my business.

I think I’d bore some of you with my day-to-day life. That’s why I only share that kind of stuff when I think it’s exciting (like the CreativeLive posts), but because many of you requested it, I’m gonna do more of it (while still trying to keep it interesting—I don’t want anyone falling asleep in their Cheerios).

I thought it would be a great start to show the results of last week’s survey.

And, I’m considering uploading a vlog every once in a while (not daily or weekly—maybe more like once a month) to show you what some of my days look like. If that sounds interesting to you, let me know in the comments below and I’ll give it even more consideration.

2. Add a search option so it’s easier to find content on your site already! Come on, lady!

This was overwhelmingly the most requested change in the survey.

The last question on the survey asked if there was anything missing from the Blacksburg Belle website that would be useful.

At least 100 people said that they wished I made it easier to find archived content.

One person wrote: “Add a search option. Seriously. I’m sick of going to Google to search for your older posts.” (I laughed out loud so hard when I read this, so thank you to whoever put this so bluntly. You cracked me up and I’m going to change this so you don’t have to be so frustrated with me.)

And, I hear you. I’m currently working with a website designer to completely refresh Blacksburg Belle (which is part of the reason I sent out that survey) and we’re definitely adding a search option. Hooray!

If I’m being completely transparent, (and isn’t that what a behind the scenes post is all about) I used to have a search option in the navigation bar. The reason I got rid of it is because pages on my website were coming up in the search that I didn’t want people to be able to find (like a thank you page for purchasing one-on-one consulting or an old sales page) and I didn’t know how to include a search option while making those pages unsearchable.

But, don’t you worry. Come the end of the summer you will all be able to search my website to easily find what you’re looking for.

Can I get a high five?!?

3. I miss your videos. Please make more.

After the search option request, this was next in line for the most requested change.

Some of you said that you miss the weekly “Wednesday Wisdom” videos I used to publish.

Some of you said that you found me through CreativeLive and that you wished that I made more videos like that. While I don’t have a camera crew living in my guest room or a flying video camera to use at my disposal, I do want to publish more videos.

I have a few reasons that I stopped making weekly videos: a) I made the process of making videos harder than it needed to be by creating a new background for every video and I couldn’t keep it up any longer b) My health issues got worse and it was harder for me to get myself “video ready,” record and edit and was easier to write my blog posts c) It stopped being fun and I was enjoying writing more.

Now that I’ve had a break from weekly videos, I definitely miss it.

I’m not going to bring back “Wednesday Wisdom” videos but starting in June, I’m going to upload one to two videos per week on my YouTube channel.

Every Monday, I’m going to post a short video (less than five minutes) to get you motivated and inspired for the week. I’m calling it Monday Motivation.

Some weeks, I’m also going to post another video on Thursdays but these are going to vary. One week you might find a writing tip, the next week a vlog, the next week a book chat on a business book and the next week a tutorial.

I’m committing to this until the end of the year and then we’ll see. So, if you’ve missed my videos, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you get notified each time I upload a video.

4. I need help with productivity, goal setting and just getting shizzle done.

The most common area that you wanted help with was getting stuff done.

You want productivity tips, help with time management, figuring out what to prioritize, tips on balancing a full-time job with your business and more that falls into this category.

I combined your request for more help in this area with more videos. That’s why I decided that I’ll post one video a week that has to do with productivity and motivation. I’m keeping those videos short, because if you need help in this area, you probably don’t have time to watch 30-minute videos on how to get more done.

5. If I were to join a membership site, I’d want to join a community—a place to get feedback and ask questions—with a leader who’s actually involved.

If you don’t know already, the next big thing I’m working on is a membership site for creative entrepreneurs.

I want to create a space where you can get support and encourage each other over a long period of time so that your relationships continue to grow, where you can get your personal questions answered and where you can find lots of helpful information that gives you the tools to reach your business goals.

My plan was to include a couple of Q&A calls each month. You’d be able to ask any question and get a personal response. For those of you who’ve ever attended Q&A calls with me, you know that I stay on the call until everything is answered and I give thoughtful answers (that can be quite lengthy if needed).

I’m still going to include a Q&A call each month, but I’m also going to include other types of live calls.

Like feedback calls. A call where you can join me on video to share a business idea and get feedback from the other women on the call.

Maybe chats on specific topics or lesson follow-up calls. After you’ve had a chance to digest a short-ish lesson for the month, we hop on a group call and I answer questions about that specific topic.

Maybe deep dive member calls where I pull one or two members on and we do a sort of one-on-one consulting type of thing but with other members watching and also providing feedback.

I haven’t decided on the specifics yet, but I got so many other ideas from those of you who filled out the survey.

I know the membership site will be better for it so thanks for all the feedback.

6. More worksheets and workbooks please.

Many of you said that you love my CreativeLive workbooks and would love more.

They take a lot of time, but I’m confident that I could add more worksheets to my weekly blog posts and some workbooks into the upcoming membership site. And, even though they take a lot of time, I enjoy creating them. Each time I’ve taught a CreativeLive course, I’ve looked forward to putting the workbook together.

This is something I’ll keep in mind each week. If I think a downloadable worksheet could help, I’ll do my best to include it.

7. I’m still stumped about the whole target market thing.

This was the other topic that many of you requested more information about. One of you said that people talk about the concept of a target market like you’re supposed to already know all about it and what it means.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember learning about what a target market is in elementary school.

I do have some previous blog posts that might help:

And, I’m brainstorming upcoming content to help you get to know your target market better.

If you have specific questions about the topic of target markets or ideal customers, leave them in the comments below and I’ll try my best to work them into upcoming blog posts.

8. I’d love more in-person events.

Many of you said that you’d like to meet with me and other creatives in this community in person. But, within the same sentence or paragraph, many of you said that you’d like these types of events to be inexpensive.

While I love the idea of working with more of you in person (and love every opportunity to do so like past CreativeLive courses and retreats), most in-person events that are high-quality and helpful take a lot of energy and time to put together and cost a good chunk of money to host.

I don’t think in-person event and inexpensive go together.

Because so many of you included something about meeting up with other creative entrepreneurs in person in your survey answers, I came up with an idea that might be helpful to some of you.

Within the membership site, I’m going to include two member directories. One of them is going to be based on niche so that you’ll easily be able to find other members who do similar work as you and you can connect if you want to.

The second directory is going to be based on location, so that if other members are in your area, you could find each other and meet up.

It’s not the perfect answer, but I think it’s a pretty good one.

9. I got so much out of the three detailed marketing plans and want more content like that.

This was the most surprising consistent response that I received.

I wrote a blog post in which I wrote out three detailed marketing plans for different creative businesses. It wasn’t my most shared and most commented on blog post, but it seems to be the one that’s stuck out to readers as being the most helpful.

I’ve already taken this into consideration while planning upcoming blog content. I’m thinking about doing a detailed launch plan, some content calendar examples for different creative businesses, some examples of social media plans for different businesses and more.

If you would like to see a specific example of something, let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to work it in.

10. Thanks for all you do.

The most common response fell into this category.

Many of you thanked me for past CreativeLive courses, the work I put into my blog posts, the encouragement I give you and more.

Those responses filled my heart to overflowing.

I was so inspired by all of the positive messages and support while reading through the responses this past Friday afternoon that I sat down to write this blog post at 5pm on Friday.

Usually, I’m reading or painting with watercolors or working on my Alabama Chanin project when Friday afternoon rolls around. I like to reward myself for working hard during the week. But this week, I was super inspired to work on this blog post instead. THANK YOU for that.

Those were the ten most common responses that I got.

I’ve read every single answer and if you didn’t see something you wanted on this list, don’t worry. All of my upcoming blog posts revolve around what you’ve asked for.

After reading through your responses, I wish I would’ve asked for you to include your names and email addresses, because I wish I could’ve emailed some of you to thank you for what you said or your idea.

Please know that I really appreciate it. You’ve got me buzzing with new inspiration!

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I need your help!

Survey for Blacksburg Belle

Blacksburg Belle has been a successful business for six years because of you.

You read my blog. You take my courses. You buy my book. You tell other people about me.

Thank you for that.

Sometimes I feel like this is one-way conversation, but it shouldn’t be. I spend hours writing blog posts and months creating courses to help you build the businesses of your dreams around the lives you truly want to live. And, I know with your feedback I could be doing an even better job.

I’m in the midst of planning some things (a new website design, a new program, and blog content) and I’d love your feedback before I finalize things.

This survey takes an average of 4 minutes and I’d be very grateful if you could take just a few minutes of your day to fill it out.

I will read every single answer and use them while planning my upcoming content and program. Thanks in advance.

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5 Questions to Answer Before Starting a Business

5 Questions to Answer Before Starting a Business

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone.

It’s not for the person who thinks a 40-hour workweek is a busy week. It’s not for people who can’t stand change. It’s not for people who lack drive and motivation when they’re working for themselves.

And, that’s okay.

We need people who aren’t entrepreneurs in this world.

Before you invest time and money into getting your business off the ground, I recommend that you get really honest with yourself.

Only you know whether or not running a business just sounds cool but isn’t the day-to-day life that you want to live.

It might sound nice to have a respected blog with thousands of readers, but if you don’t love to write or create videos, you probably shouldn’t start a blog. You might like the idea of being the boss but can’t get going in the mornings without deadlines imposed by someone else (and three Red Bulls that erode your stomach lining). You might think an Instagram following of 300,000 sounds like a dream but you don’t want to learn how to take beautiful photos or ever have to sit down and read your camera manual.

Reality is often different than perception. Do you like the reality that comes along with running a business?

Answering the following five questions will help you figure out whether you should go for it or stop before you ever get started.

1. Do you REALLY want it?

About half of the emails I receive from people who want my advice or help with something follow this pattern:

“I really want to do x but y and z are in my way.”

Some examples: I really want to start my own photography business, but I don’t have the money to buy the equipment. I really want to start a blog but I don’t know where to start and I have three young kids so I don’t have a lot of time. I really want to start a life coaching business but I suffer from chronic fatigue and I don’t know if I’ll run myself down.

If you’re in this type of situation where you want to start a business but you’ve got reasons why you don’t think you can, I’m going to tell you something that might hurt your feelings. You’re not special.

We all have reasons why we can’t, but some of us want it bad enough that we overcome those excuses and do the work anyways.

Do you want it that bad? Are you willing to face your excuses head on and build a business despite them?

If you don’t REALLY want it with every fiber of your being, you’ll probably give up when you hit a rough patch and I promise you that you will hit many rough patches.

When you really want it, you’ll keep going when you’re on day sixty-five of your website redesign and you just want to drown in a bucket of mint chocolate chip. Or when you kid is projectile vomiting and it’s launch day. Or when it’s your day to publish a blog post and you’re still staring at a blank screen. If you don’t really want it, that’ll be your last excuse to give up.

2. What are you doing it for?

Please don’t tell me that you’re blogging because you want to become famous or that you’re posting to Instagram because you want 100,000 followers. There are so many people online who are adding to the noise. The main reason they’re tweeting or posting videos on YouTube is because they want more followers.

You’ll get easily lost if that’s what you’re doing this for.

There needs to be so much more to it.

I don’t publish a blog post every Wednesday to get more readers. That’s not the purpose. If it was, I wouldn’t put in nearly as much time and I’d use scammy techniques to get people to click like click bait. The reason I publish weekly blog posts is to help the women who follow my blog build successful businesses around the lives they want to live. I want to help them for free. I want to share my knowledge and expertise with others who are just starting out or struggling to reach their business goals.

Those reasons keep me going when I’ve got a temperature of 102 degrees and still need to edit my blog post before publishing.

So think very carefully about why you want this before you start.

3. Are you ready to work harder than ever before?

There are people out there selling programs like ‘Six Figures in 30 Days’ and other nonsense. I say run in the opposite direction.

There is no magic pill or one strategy that’ll help you make loads of money and keep your dignity.

If you care about how you make money and aren’t willing to scam people, you have to work hard.

Overnight successes aren’t real. That person that seemed like she built her business overnight probably worked for years before that point.

Building a successful business isn’t easy. I won’t lie to you and sell you a fairytale. If you’re not up for the grind and if you don’t have the grit, don’t start a business.

Hustle has become this evil term, but if you’re truly afraid of hustling your buns off to get your business off the ground, you have no business becoming an entrepreneur.

There’s nothing wrong with you if the idea of blogging every week, building an email list, posting to social media every day, connecting with others in your niche and learning to take beautiful product photos sounds like a nightmare. It just means this probably isn’t the path for you.

4. Are you willing to look silly?

Most people will admit that they’re willing to fail. But, often they mean without others seeing it.

They don’t want their friends from high school to know that they’re latest product line completely flopped. They don’t want their family to know that they had to pick up a part-time job because they’re business isn’t profitable yet.

And, they certainly don’t want to do anything that their friends, coworkers and family might make fun of.

That’s why they don’t go all in when filming videos for their websites. That’s why they don’t talk to their spouses about attending a business conference titled Rich, Happy and Hot Live. That’s why they don’t tell anyone about their blogs.

If you’re serious about building a successful business, there are going to be times that you embarrass yourself.

You might blank out in the middle of a speech at a conference live streaming to thousands of people. You might say something you wish you could take back at a networking event. You might blush when a friend from college says that she read your blog and wonders how you can possibly make money from that.

Taking risks often means risking embarrassment. You can’t build a business worth having without either of those things. So, are you willing to look silly to reach your dreams?

5. Can you adapt?

This is the question that lots of people don’t think about until it’s too late. Something that will help you out more than most anything else in building a business is adapting.

The entrepreneur who refused to leave MySpace to join Facebook because hundreds of people were following her on MySpace is currently regretting it. Taxicab drivers who put down Uber are probably wishing they could have a do over. That shop owner who wouldn’t move from sending out physical mailers to email marketing is cursing herself for it now.

Things are constantly changing and if you fight change every step of the way, you’re going to find your business crumbling around you.

You have to move with what works and what your market wants.

You can’t refuse to have a business Facebook page when all of your customers are on Facebook and want to follow you there. You can’t build a website that isn’t mobile-friendly when everyone is glued to their phones. You can’t denounce email marketing when email is the one thing that pretty much every single person checks every single day, multiple times a day.

If you’re not willing to adapt, you shouldn’t become an entrepreneur. You’re just setting yourself up for frustration and heartbreak.

I know this post is a bit harsh, but it’s necessary.

If you’ve honestly thought about all of these things, then you’ll have a much better idea of whether you should start a business or spend your life doing something else.

Neither is the right answer. It depends on what you want out of life and how you want to fill your days.

If you’ve realized that running a business is your dream, welcome to the club! If you’re meant for this type of life, all the hard work is absolutely worth it.

Comments { 17 }

5 Questions to Ask Before Saying Yes to Anything

5

Two weeks ago I published a blog post on why saying no is important and how to say no in practically any situation.

I even snuck in one of my favorite Gilmore Girls quotes. (If you can find it, you officially become one of my favorite people.)

In the comments section of that post, Katie from Art Spreads Joy asked if I could write a follow-up post on figuring out when to say no, especially when you come up with a bunch of amazing ideas but you don’t have time to do all of them.

I’ve got ya back, Katie!

And, I absolutely know the feeling when you want to do all the things, but you have to choose because you also have to feed your dog and sometimes eat and sleep.

My simple yet effective way of figuring out what to say no to is to answer the following five questions. If you answer ‘no’ to any of these, you should probably say no to the opportunity or creative idea, at least for now. You can always scribble it down in an ideas notebook to keep for later.

Question 1: Is it a pop the champagne, sprinkle the confetti kind of yes?

This is the simplest way to rule out anything, especially when you’re almost booked to capacity and can only take on one or two more things before going into complete panic mode.

Is this the kind of yes that makes you want to pop the champagne and sprinkle confetti? You know what I mean. The kind of yes that makes you squeal a little. The kind of yes that you can’t wait to tell your best biz friend about. The kind of yes that makes you want to dance around your living room while blasting ‘Bust a Move’ by Young MC.

If it’s not that kind of yes, it’s probably not worth your time. You became a girl boss for a reason, right? Top of that list is that you get to make all the decisions. (Okay, top of that list is wearing fuzzy slippers to work but making all the decisions is next.)

When I start thinking about saying yes to something because I’ve got that ‘well-I-could-maybe-fit-this-in’ guilt because I care about the person asking or I’ve got a little extra time, I remind myself that one of the best perks of running my own business is filling my time with stuff that makes me feel great.

Whether it’s a ‘meh’ business idea that you think will be really profitable or an interview request that just doesn’t feel quite right, it’s better to say no so that you have time for the good stuff.

Question 2: Have I already committed to similar projects/opportunities/ideas?

You have a brilliant idea (light bulb moment!) for a new checklist for your email opt-in that you know your ideal customer will love but you haven’t even finished the last checklist that you wanted to use as an email opt-in freebie. Write down the idea and leave it for later.

As creatives, this kind of situation happens a lot. Look a squirrel! And, you’re off working on something else, leaving the last thing half-finished.

If you want to run a successful business, you have to finish projects and ideas. Make a rule with yourself that goes something like this: I can’t start another ______________ until I finish this _______________. And, stick with it.

Same thing for business opportunities. How many guest posts can you write each month? How many interviews do you feel comfortable accepting? How many speaking engagements can you fit into each quarter?

Be honest with yourself. Then when someone asks to interview you and you’re already booked, you can just let them know that you don’t have any openings right now.

Question 3: Will this help me achieve my current business goals?

As a creative entrepreneur, you’re probably inundated with ideas. One really good way to decide which ones to act on is to give it the ‘current business goals’ test.

Will this idea help you reach your business goals?

I’m usually working towards two to three business goals. For example, my biz goals list might look like this: redesign new website, get new program ready for launch and promote CL courses.

If those three things were my current business goals and I came up with a really great idea to gain new Instagram followers, I wouldn’t act on it right now. I’d write it down and give it time in the future if I switch my business goals (and want to work on growing my Instagram following) or have more time (look Ma….a business miracle!)

This also applies to opportunities. If one of your goals is to grow your email list from 200 to 1,000 and you get an interview opportunity that will get you in front of hundreds of your ideal customers, take it, knowing that if they love your interview they’ll probably sign up to receive your emails.

Question 4: Will my future self want to rewind to this moment to give my present self a high-five for saying yes?

I try to think about how I’m going to feel in the future if I say yes to something.

Will I resent having another interview scheduled next week or will I be excited for it? Will I be inspired by another watercolor challenge or will I feel pressure to create when I don’t really feel like it? Will I be glad that I took the time to have lunch with that colleague or will I wish I had spent it with my husband?

We can’t predict the future but we can think about how we’ll feel when it comes time to actually do the thing that we’re saying yes to in this moment. And, that might give you a bit more clarity.

Question 5: Can I realistically take on another project/interview/speaking engagement/creative idea this month?

This is the bottom line. Do you have the time?

I want to be clear that time is all about prioritizing. You can make time for anything that’s important enough. (Just ask my college self who was working 40 hours a week, taking a full load of classes and student teaching but still made time to drive from Virginia to Alabama to visit my boyfriend—now husband—once or twice a month.)

But, only you really know whether adding another to-do to your task list will turn you into the Hulk.

Will you feel even more overwhelmed and stressed, wishing you had said no? Business should be fun—not filled with hair-pulling tantrums. Leave that to toddlers and Donald Trump.

I hope these five questions help you determine what you should say yes to and what you should pass on.

I know it’s hard to pass on creative ideas that you’re excited about, but passing for now doesn’t mean passing forever.

Comments { 15 }

3 Detailed Examples of Four-Week Marketing Plans for Creative Businesses

3 Detailed Examples of Four-Week Marketing Plans

Are you in that awkward place where you know what marketing techniques you should be doing (like blogging, social media and interviews) but you’re not quite sure how to put it all together?

You get the individual pieces, but you’re uncertain on what the day-to-day implementation looks like.

And, when you go to promote your business, you end up trying random things without much success. Or, you give up before you really get started because you’re overwhelmed by all the things you’re supposed to be doing.

That’s why I took three different types of creative businesses—a jewelry designer, an Illustrator expert/teacher, and a family photographer—and planned out their marketing for one month in detail.

Before you read through their marketing plans, there’s one very important point I want you to keep mind:

Before I picked the individual marketing strategies for these entrepreneurs, I got clear on their main marketing goals for the month. If you plot your marketing without precise goals in mind, you might as well skip it altogether. It’s kinda like eating melting ice-cream with a fork. You’ll just end up frustrated.

Alright…let’s jump in:

Four-Week Marketing Plan for a Jewelry Designer

This jewelry designer specializes in metalsmithing. She sells her jewelry on her own website and on Etsy. She also has four wholesale accounts established and has really enjoyed working on expanding that part of her business. She’s still living month to month without any substantial savings and would like to increase her consistent income.

Her top two marketing priorities for the month are to: 1) get her jewelry into at least two more boutiques to grow her wholesale business and 2) prepare for the launch of her new jewelry line next month which includes 15 new pieces.

Week One

Sunday:

  • Write draft of this week’s blog post: 10 Reasons to Buy Handmade Jewelry Over Mass Produced

Monday:

  • Edit draft of this week’s blog post: 10 Reasons to Buy Handmade Jewelry Over Mass Produced
  • Take a photo (or pick a photo from collection) for this week’s blog post
  • Pin 10 new things on Pinterest, including two of my own items

Tuesday:

  • Publish blog post: 10 Reasons to Buy Handmade Jewelry Over Mass Produced
  • Email blog post to newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
  • Schedule additional tweets and Facebook posts to promote blog post throughout the next six months

Wednesday:

  • Finalize and send in pitch to Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine
  • Brainstorm 10 new boutiques to reach out to for wholesale opportunities
  • 10-minute Periscope: Let’s Chat About Buying Handmade vs. Mass Produced

Thursday:

  • Pick 5 of the 10 boutiques from yesterday to reach out to regarding wholesale opportunities
  • Research to see if any of those boutiques have special requirements for pitches
  • Pin 10 new things on Pinterest, including two of my own items

Friday:

  • Tweet a reminder to read this week’s blog post: 10 Reasons to Buy Handmade Jewelry Over Mass Produced
  • Begin taking product photos for new jewelry line
  • Share sneak peek of upcoming new jewelry line on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Saturday:

  • Get wholesale pitches ready to send, finalize them and send them
  • Post a picture of my workspace on Instagram

Week Two

Sunday:

  • Write draft of this week’s blog post: Audrey Necklace Styled Five Ways: Casual, Dressy, Office-Appropriate, Date Night and Brunch
  • Pin 10 new things on Pinterest, including two of my own items

Monday:

  • Edit draft of this week’s blog post: Audrey Necklace Styled Five Ways: Casual, Dressy, Office-Appropriate, Date Night and Brunch
  • Take photos of each outfit for this week’s blog post
  • Finish taking product photos for new jewelry line

Tuesday:

  • Publish blog post: Audrey Necklace Styled Five Ways: Casual, Dressy, Office-Appropriate, Date Night and Brunch
  • Email blog post to newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
  • Schedule additional tweets and Facebook posts to promote blog post throughout the next six months

Wednesday:

  • Write product descriptions for 5 of the new pieces of my upcoming jewelry line
  • Share sneak peek of upcoming jewelry line on Facebook

Thursday:

  • Write product descriptions for the last 5 new pieces of my upcoming jewelry line
  • Send out a free shipping coupon to email list that lasts for 48 hours
  • Pin 10 new things on Pinterest, including two of my own items

Friday:

  • Write product descriptions for 5 more of the new pieces of my upcoming jewelry line
  • Tweet a reminder to read this week’s blog post: Audrey Necklace Styled Five Ways: Casual, Dressy, Office-Appropriate, Date Night and Brunch

Saturday:

  • Edit product descriptions for new jewelry line
  • Post favorite outfit from the week (that includes at least one piece of my jewelry) on Instagram and Facebook

Week Three

Sunday:

  • Write draft of this week’s blog post: Sneak Peek of My Upcoming Spring Collection
  • Finish editing product descriptions for new jewelry line
  • Send product descriptions to copyeditor to look over and give feedback

Monday:

  • Edit draft of this week’s blog post: Sneak Peek of My Upcoming Spring Collection
  • Pick photos from this month’s photo shoot for this week’s blog post
  • Pin 10 new things on Pinterest, including two of my own items

Tuesday:

  • Publish blog post: Sneak Peek of My Upcoming Spring Collection
  • Email blog post to newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
  • Schedule additional tweets and Facebook posts to promote blog post throughout the next six months

Wednesday:

  • Post sketches that were the inspiration behind my upcoming launch on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
  • 15-minute Periscope: Some Funny Stories from My Upcoming Spring Collection

Thursday:

  • Follow-up with the 5 new boutiques regarding wholesale from week one (sending in anything else they’ve asked for)
  • Share sneak peek of upcoming jewelry line on Instagram and Twitter

Friday:

  • Tweet a reminder to read this week’s blog post: Sneak Peek of My Upcoming Spring Collection
  • Post favorite outfit from the week (that includes at least one piece of my jewelry) on Instagram and Facebook

Saturday:

  • Post more sketches that were the inspiration behind my upcoming launch on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
  • Pin 10 new things on Pinterest, including two of my own items

Week Four

Sunday:

  • Write draft of this week’s blog post: 10 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts

Monday:

  • Edit draft of this week’s blog post: 10 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts
  • Take a photo (or pick a photo from collection) for this week’s blog post

Tuesday:

  • Publish blog post: 10 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts
  • Email blog post to newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
  • Schedule additional tweets and Facebook posts to promote blog post throughout the next six months

Wednesday:

  • Make changes to product descriptions based on copyeditor’s notes
  • Pin 10 new things on Pinterest, including two of my own items

Thursday:

  • Finalize product descriptions

Friday:

  • Tweet a reminder to read this week’s blog post: 10 Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts
  • Pin 10 new things on Pinterest, including two of my own items

Saturday:

  • 10-minute Periscope: Let’s Talk Mother’s Day Gifts
  • Post favorite outfit from the week (that includes at least one piece of my jewelry) on Instagram and Facebook

Four-Week Marketing Plan for an Illustrator Expert and Teacher

This illustrator expert makes most of her income from teaching Illustrator workshops and classes. She has a course on Skillshare and two courses on her own website. She’d like to partner with companies like CreativeLive and Atly to offer more courses on different platforms. She used to create a lot of custom illustrations but she now likes to fill about 25% of her time with creating custom illustrations for brands and 75% of her time teaching Illustrator.

Her top two marketing priorities for the month are to: 1) grow her email list by 500 new subscribers 2) get in front of other bloggers’ audiences through guest posts.

Week One

Sunday:

  • Pick three bloggers to pitch guest posts to and look up any pitch requirements they have on their websites
  • Post reminder about tomorrow’s webinar (that requires email opt-in to access) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Boost the Facebook post

Monday:

  • Write draft of this week’s blog post: Why I Use Illustrator over Photoshop When Creating Blog Graphics
  • Email reminder for today’s webinar to the list of people who have signed up to attend
  • Host webinar (that viewers have to opt-in to get access to) on how to create seamless repeat patterns in Illustrator

Tuesday:

  • First round of edits for this week’s blog post: Why I Use Illustrator over Photoshop When Creating Blog Graphics
  • Write guest post pitches, finalize and send
  • Post a quick Illustrator tip on Facebook for Quick Tip Tuesdays
  • Send email following up from yesterday’s webinar to all who attended, reminding them that they can sign up for my Surface Pattern Design Course at 30% off for 24 more hours

Wednesday:

  • Second round of edits for this week’s blog post: Why I Use Illustrator over Photoshop When Creating Blog Graphics
  • Create visual for this week’s blog post
  • 15-minute Periscope: Illustrator versus Photoshop
  • Tweet about email list, giving reasons why followers should join it

Thursday:

  • Finalize and publish this week’s blog post: Why I Use Illustrator over Photoshop When Creating Blog Graphics
  • Email blog post to newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest
  • Add tweets for this week’s blog post to my Edgar library

Friday:

  • Tweet reminder to check out this week’s blog post: Why I Use Illustrator over Photoshop When Creating Blog Graphics

Saturday:

  • Day off

Week Two

Sunday:

  • Create downloadable PDF of favorite Illustrator Shortcuts
  • Post latest pattern created in Illustrator on Instagram and Facebook

Monday:

  • Write draft of this week’s blog post: My Favorite Illustrator Shortcuts + A FREE Downloadable PDF

Tuesday:

  • First round of edits for this week’s blog post: My Favorite Illustrator Shortcuts + A FREE Downloadable PDF
  • Check in with bloggers who I pitched guests posts to if they haven’t responded
  • Post a quick Illustrator tip on Facebook for Quick Tip Tuesdays

Wednesday:

  • Second round of edits for this week’s blog post: My Favorite Illustrator Shortcuts + A FREE Downloadable PDF
  • Create visual for this week’s blog post
  • Write draft of upcoming guest post on XYZ blog: How to Create Professional Blog Graphics in Illustrator

Thursday:

  • Finalize and publish this week’s blog post that includes an opt-in to receive the free downloadable PDF: My Favorite Illustrator Shortcuts + A FREE Downloadable PDF
  • Email blog post to newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest
  • Boost Facebook post
  • Add tweets for this week’s blog post to my Edgar library

Friday:

  • First round of edits for guest post: How to Create Professional Blog Graphics in Illustrator
  • Create landing page (featuring an opt-in for email list) to welcome new readers from XYZ blog when guest post is published
  • 10-minute Periscope: A Free Downloadable PDF for Illustrator Shortcuts (chat about the free PDF and where they can opt-in to get it)
  • Add a pop-up opt-in to home page for the shortcuts PDF

Saturday:

  • Second round of edits for guest post: How to Create Professional Blog Graphics in Illustrator
  • Edit landing page (featuring an opt-in for email list) to welcome new readers from XYZ blog when guest post is published

Week Three

Sunday:

  • Finalize and send in guest post: How to Create Professional Blog Graphics in Illustrator
  • Finalize and publish landing page (featuring opt-in for email list) to welcome new readers from XYZ blog when guest post is published

Monday:

  • Film video for this week’s blog post: An Intro to the Pen Tool in Illustrator
  • Tweet about email list, giving reasons why followers should join it

Tuesday:

  • Edit video for this week’s blog post: An Intro to the Pen Tool in Illustrator
  • Post an illustration from my collection on Instagram and Facebook
  • 15-minute Periscope: 5 Custom Illustrations I’ve Created for Well-Known Brands
  • Post a quick Illustrator tip on Facebook for Quick Tip Tuesdays

Wednesday:

  • Write intro and any other copy for this week’s blog post: An Intro to the Pen Tool in Illustrator
  • Create visual for this week’s blog post

Thursday:

  • Finalize and publish this week’s blog post: An Intro to the Pen Tool in Illustrator
  • Email blog post to newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest
  • Add tweets for this week’s blog post to my Edgar library

Friday:

  • Post latest pattern made in Illustrator on Instagram and Facebook

Saturday:

  • Feature a student from my Illustrator for Bloggers Course on Facebook showing examples of how she’s used the course to improve her blog graphics

Week Four

Sunday:

  • Brainstorm at least 5 more blogs that accept guest posts

Monday:

  • Write draft of this week’s blog post: 10 Techniques You’ll Learn in My Illustrator for Bloggers Course

Tuesday:

  • First round of edits for this week’s blog post: 10 Techniques You’ll Learn in My Illustrator for Bloggers Course
  • Post a quick Illustrator tip on Facebook for Quick Tip Tuesdays

Wednesday:

  • Second round of edits for this week’s blog post: 10 Techniques You’ll Learn in My Illustrator for Bloggers Course
  • Create visual for this week’s blog post
  • Post latest custom illustration on Instagram and Facebook

Thursday:

  • Finalize and publish this week’s blog post: 10 Techniques You’ll Learn in My Illustrator for Bloggers Course
  • Email blog post to newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest
  • Add tweets for this week’s blog post to my Edgar library
  • 10-minute Periscope: Who’s Right for My Illustrator for Bloggers Course on Skillshare

Friday:

  • Email my newsletter list intro to guest post on XYZ blog and link to where they can read it
  • Share guest post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest
  • Schedule tweets and Facebook posts to promote guest post over the next six months
  • Email blogger from XYZ to thank her for having me as a guest poster on her blog, letting her know that I’d be up for other guest posting opportunities in the future

Saturday:

  • 10-minute Periscope: My Guest Post on XYZ Blog
  • Share a personal photo from the week on Instagram and Facebook

Four-Week Marketing Plan for a Family Photographer

This photographer specializes in working with families with young children. Because she has three kids under the age of five, she’s great at knowing exactly how to engage kiddos during a shoot. She works in the Richmond, VA area but will travel up to two hours if the price is right. She moved to Virginia from North Carolina about one year ago so she’s still establishing her client base in the Richmond area.

Her top two marketing priorities for the month are to: 1) book three new families for family shoots 2) grow her Facebook following by 100 because she gets almost 40% of her clients from Facebook.

Week One

Sunday:

  • Post favorite photo from latest session on Instagram and Facebook
  • Boost Facebook post, targeting moms in the Richmond, VA area

Monday:

  • Publish a testimonial on Facebook along with the best shot from that family’s shoot
  • Boost the Facebook post, targeting families/moms in the Richmond, VA area
  • Write rough draft of this week’s blog post: Top 5 Free Places in Richmond Virginia to Take Your Kids on the Weekend

Tuesday:

  • First round of edits on this week’s blog post: Top 5 Free Places in Richmond Virginia to Take Your Kids on the Weekend
  • Host a caption contest on Instagram

Wednesday:

  • Second round of edits on this week’s blog post: Top 5 Free Places in Richmond Virginia to Take Your Kids on the Weekend

Thursday:

  • Finalize and publish this week’s blog post: Top 5 Free Places in Richmond Virginia to Take Your Kids on the Weekend
  • Email intro to blog post to email newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram and Facebook
  • Boost post on Facebook, targeting families/moms in Richmond, VA
  • Schedule two more Facebook posts to go out over the next six months to promote this week’s blog post

Friday:

  • Have lunch with a respected newborn photographer in the area for networking purposes
  • Post favorite personal photo from the week on Instagram and Facebook with a short story explaining the photo

Saturday:

  • 5-minute Facebook Live video: Behind-the-Scenes of the Smith’s Family Session
  • Send hand-written thank you notes to all families who I had photoshoots with in the last 30 days

Week Two

Sunday:

  • Post photo from collection on Instagram

Monday:

  • Write rough draft of this week’s blog post: What NOT to Wear for a Family Photo Shoot
  • 5-minute Facebook Live video: At the Children’s Museum with My Kids in Richmond, VA
  • Post how many sessions I have available for the next six months on Facebook along with a link to book a session

Tuesday:

  • Publish a testimonial on Instagram along with the best shot from that family’s shoo, making the testimonial the caption
  • First round of edits for this week’s blog post: What NOT to Wear for a Family Photo Shoot

Wednesday:

  • Second round of edits for this week’s blog post: What NOT to Wear for a Family Photo Shoot
  • 20-minute phone interview for local magazine feature

Thursday:

  • Finalize and publish this week’s blog post: What NOT to Wear for a Family Photo Shoot
  • Email intro to blog post to email newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram and Facebook
  • Boost Facebook post
  • Schedule two more Facebook posts to go out over the next six months to promote this week’s blog post

Friday:

  • Post favorite personal photo from the week on Instagram and Facebook with a short story explaining the photo
  • 10-minute Live Facebook: Let’s Chat About What NOT to Wear for a Family Photo Shoot

Saturday:

  • Day off

Week Three

Sunday:

  • Post favorite photo from latest session on Instagram and Facebook
  • Boost Facebook post, targeting moms in the Richmond, VA area

Monday:

  • Write rough draft of this week’s blog post: Why You Shouldn’t Skip Yearly Family Photo Sessions
  • Email last five families to encourage them to pass on my information to other moms who might be interested in family shoots—drop off additional business cards if needed

Tuesday:

  • First round of edits on this week’s blog post: Why You Shouldn’t Skip Yearly Family Photo Sessions
  • Publish a testimonial on Facebook along with the best shot from the shoot
  • Boost the Facebook post, targeting families/moms in the Richmond, VA area

Wednesday:

  • Second round of edits on this week’s blog post: Why You Shouldn’t Skip Yearly Family Photo Sessions

Thursday:

  • Finalize and publish this week’s blog post: Why You Shouldn’t Skip Yearly Family Photo Sessions
  • Email intro to blog post to email newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram and Facebook
  • Schedule two more Facebook posts to go out over the next six months to promote this week’s blog post

Friday:

  • Email Smith’s family for quick follow-up survey and testimonial
  • Post favorite personal photo from the week on Instagram and Facebook with a short story explaining the photo

Saturday:

  • 10-minute Live Facebook video: Why You Shouldn’t Skip Yearly Family Photo Sessions

Week Four

Sunday:

  • Post photo from collection on Instagram

Monday:

  • Write rough draft of this week’s blog post: My Top Three Favorite Spots for Family Photo Shoots in Richmond, VA

Tuesday:

  • First round of edits on this week’s blog post: My Top Three Favorite Spots for Family Photo Shoots in Richmond, VA

Wednesday:

  • Second round of edits on this week’s blog post: My Top Three Favorite Spots for Family Photo Shoots in Richmond, VA

Thursday:

  • Publish a testimonial on Instagram along with the best shot from that family’s shoot, making the testimonial the caption
  • Finalize and publish this week’s blog post: My Top Three Favorite Spots for Family Family Photo Shoots in Richmond, VA
  • Email intro to blog post to email newsletter list
  • Share blog post on Instagram and Facebook
  • Schedule two more Facebook posts to go out over the next six months to promote this week’s blog post

Friday:

  • Post favorite personal photo from the week on Instagram and Facebook with a short story explaining the photo

Saturday:

  • 5-minute Facebook Live video: Behind-the-Scenes of the Robertson’s Family Session
  • Post how many sessions I have available for the next six months on Facebook along with a link to book a session

There you have it!

I hope that this gives you some insight into what your marketing plan might look like.

I showed you three different marketing plans with different goals, because I don’t want you to get stuck on the ‘what.’ Instead when you’re planning how you’re going to promote your business, start with what you want to achieve and then work backwards.

It’s much easier to figure out what you should do once you’re clear on what you want to accomplish.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed after reading this blog post and want more help with compiling your custom marketing plan, you should check out my CreativeLive course, Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing.

In that course I cover everything from getting clear on your target market to taking beautiful product photos to writing copy that sells to email marketing and sales funnels. It’s the most comprehensive marketing course for creative entrepreneurs out there.

Review of Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing:

“I’ve taken quite a few online marketing courses for my blog and have read countless “how-to’s” as well. So I wouldn’t say I’m a beginner when it comes to knowing what to do. I almost didn’t watch this one but since I love April and her advice I figured “why not”. Well, I’m so glad I did! This is probably the most comprehensive how-to market your blog course I’ve seen. Better than and with tons more content than some of the $2000 ones I’ve taken from well-known marketing experts. I really like how she takes an idea and really expands upon it – example upon example, especially using audience members to show unique situations. Instead of just theory it shows how to put everything into practice. I highly highly recommend!” –DM Evans

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