Creative Crush : Amber McCue

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Today’s Creative Crush interview is with one of my favorite online ladies, Amber McCue. 

I first talked to Amber last year when a mutual biz friend introduced us, we jumped on a mini mastermind sesh and the rest is history. Since then, I’ve hired her, she’s hired me and the circle of business just keeps going round and round.

Amber has been a vital part of my growth over the last year, thanks in huge part to the awesome person she is. Super caring and always up for a quick chat.

Alright, let’s jump in!

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PS. Amber, along with Alison, will also be a featured guest expert in my upcoming program, CrushWorthy. Get excited!!

1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a lover of business. Even more specifically, I love partnering with people who are doing business to help them be successful. I’m looking at you business owners and CEOs on the rise.

I’m a mother of three girls. I always knew I’d be a mom and I’ve actually been a mom for 15 years, but it took the third baby this fall to really make it real for me. I am a mom.

I didn’t realize it until I moved out East, but apparently mid-westerners have a reputation for working hard and being nice. I fit the bill on hard worker (sometimes teetering workaholic) and I work my darndest to take the high road and do all things the Nice way.

2. When + how did you start your business?

Three Boudoir, my first successful business, started 6 or 7 years ago as a part-time thing. I realized when I was building that business how much I actually loved the business side of things. About 3 years ago I started working with clients on how they could streamline and be more efficient in their business through my program How to Clone Yourself.

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3. What was one role you had in the past that prepared you for what you do now?

Hands down, the six years I spent at a management consulting firm set the stage. It was a large organization and I played in a small niche. It was an entrepreneurial role and I was able to have a lot of impact, I worked with great people who were smart and focused.

4. I’m nosy… what does a “typical” day look like for you? How do you manage your time each week?

Wake up - Hang out with my girls.  Enjoy breakfast and a little time outside.
Nanny arrives - Hand off girls, get ready, and get to work in my office.  Typically with the door locked so they can’t sneak in. ;) I do come out for lunch, water, and bathroom breaks.

Problem solving clients - One of my favorite things to do is serve and support my clients. I love problem solving with them and I spend a good bit of every day engaging with my clients to make sure their businesses are moving forward too.

Create - I also create something most days — Something I am writing, an idea I am working through, a client project I am delivering on, whatever.

Wrap up at 4pm - I’m testing something new this year.  I’m wrapping up my work days at 4pm on Tuesday and Thursday.  There’s something called the Pareto Principal that says you’ll use as much time as you have to get something done. I’m going to see if I can get just as much done in less time.

Then it’s back to family time - Playing at the park or working on a project around the house. After the kids go to sleep, my husband and I might sneak a movie in or we might do a little work or read independently.  We are pretty flexible on how the rest of the night goes down.  Unless it is the weekend – my husband likes to stay up late and I’m not against going to bed early. Even if it is the weekend!

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5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done in your business, so far, that has paid off?

One of my clients instituted a Fearless Friday activity in our program Freshly Implemented. I don’t let my clients face their fears alone so I joined in the Fearless Friday fun. I was on the hunt for a new mentor at the time and had my eye on the author of a book I read. I reached out to him as a part of this Fearless Friday challenge and we are now connected. Boy has it paid off! Just one conversation in and I had so many ah-has.

6. Any failures that you’ve learned from?

Are there ever! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to get out there and test things faster. Implement faster so I can put “it” out there and get a reaction! Even if the reaction is “crickets.” That’s something! If I put something out there, listen to the market reaction, and hear crickets, I now know I need to reset. Without that feedback, it is all a hypothesis.

7. What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

My fears evolve and change as I grow as a person and as a business owner. For a while, I was nervous about sounding like a used car salesman. I love and respect what used car salesman do – I’d actually like to try it myself some day! So it was less about the used car salesman and more about the stereotypes – I didn’t want to come across as sleazy, pushy, or aggressive.

When I turned that statement around and got clarity around what I did and who I serve, everything changed. Instead of my limiting “I am a used car salesman” story, I started telling myself a true story:

I am a small business and entrepreneurial consultant who partners with small business CEOs who are on the rise so that they can build a successful, results oriented, and more profitable business.

Two things happened when I did this:

  1. I owned my role of business partner to CEOs of growing businesses and stepped into a great leadership role for my clients and in my business.
  2. I started focusing on the results of my community.

The focus shifted from “my” business to “your” business.

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8. What 3 pieces of advice would you offer to fellow creative entrepreneurs?

  1. Pick one idea and implemented it now. If you don’t put it out there and get the feedback, you’ll never know!
  2. Focus on what you are good at – Don’t water down your best parts!
  3. Find people to help you do what you aren’t so good at – legal, finance, team building, development, project management. Whatever it is. Let someone else take care of the things that fall outside of your zone of genius.

9. And just for fun — what have you been working on that we should keep an eye out for?

A new round of Freshly Implemented – very fun!! Freshly Implemented is an online mastermind experience that turns the program model on it’s side. Part one-on-one, part training, part mastermind, part gift service — kidding on the gift service. But we do give out Nice Swag to all of our mastermind members every month if they rock their goals! The program is all about growing, streamlining, and getting efficient in your business. It’s highly personal.

We have a video workshop series up at www.freshlyimplemented.com where you can test your CEO mindset, assess where you need to focus in your business to streamline and get efficient, and where you can discover how to get as much done in a day as you do in a week!

Hope you enjoyed that interview. If you want to connect with her, head over to Twitter and say HI!

Creative Crush : Alison Monday

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I’m back with a new Creative Crush interview. Today’s interview is with Alison Monday from tiny blue orange

If you’ve worked with me in the past, chances are you know Alison. She is the go-to-developer on my team. I use her for all of my websites, as well as my clients, so it’s safe to say that I trust her with my business.

Even after working with Alison for over a year on projects, I still learned a ton about her in this interview & I hope you do, too. 

I just love this girl to pieces. Let’s dive in!

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PS. Alison will be a featured interview in my upcoming program, CrushWorthy, so stay tuned for info on how to grab that!

1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a total nerd with a tough looking exterior + a giant heart, especially for animals.

After realizing that fashion design wasn’t for me {mere weeks before my high school graduation}, I learned about this thing called graphic design + decided to give it a try. While working on my degree, I fell in love with website/interactive design + being able to build what I laid out. I haven’t looked back since.

When I’m not building websites for solopreneurs + small businesses, I’m either with my boyfriend and our 2 extra large dogs – Pixel + Brutus, cooking up something hopefully tasty in the kitchen, or throwing weights around at my favorite CrossFit gym – CrossFit Connex.

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2. When + how did you start your business?

I purchased the domain tinyblueorange.com in September of 2007. The idea I had then is very different from what my business is today + I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I officially started full-time self-employment in August of 2012. Almost a year prior to that, I was working a part-time job to have benefits + some steady income. I reached the point where I just got too busy for the time that I had + finally gave my notice. It was one of the most overwhelming days of my life so far, because I was filled with 2 opposite emotions – fear + pure joy.

When I was building up my client base + freelancing, I did almost anything from logos to photos to websites. But as I got more comfortable with being in charge of my business, I started focusing on the projects that I loved, which allowed me to provide more value along with doing an even better job for my clients. It wasn’t long after I started honing in on my niche that my business took off + I found myself with a 6 month waiting list of folks wanting to work with me.

3. What was one role you had in the past that prepared you for what you do now?

While I think that every experience in my life has some sort of benefit to being able to run a business, the role that I always draw inspiration from is when I worked retail in the mall during high school. Without customers, you don’t have a business, which is exactly why I remember my years working in customer service almost daily.

Taking the experience of what worked + what didn’t when keeping customers happy helps me keep my current clients happy. Happy clients are repeat clients but also are more likely to refer you to others.

4. I’m nosy… what does a “typical” day look like for you? How do you manage your time each week?

I think “typical” is a loose term in the entrepreneurial world – which is why I love it!

Lately I’ve been waking up early to do some work in bed. My rule is no email before 10am, so I normally tackle writing, learning or knock out a top priority task so that I feel productive before most folks have started their day.

Then I take a break to walk the pups, eat my breakfast then occasionally do a chore or two around the house. It gives me a chance to reset from the deep dive type work I did earlier.

From there, my day really varies depending on client calls, current project load, etc. But I do only check email twice a day + set 3 “must do” tasks that take priority to everything else. Setting those must do items the night before, or at the beginning of the week, is what keeps me on track as new requests + emails come to my inbox.

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5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done in your business, so far, that has paid off?

Besides committing to it 100% by quitting my day job, the scariest thing for me has been saying “no” to clients or projects. But each time that I do it, being able to say no gets a little bit easier. I’m also learning to trust my gut even more.

One of the best things someone said to me is that by saying no to someone that isn’t a good fit, I am helping them find someone that is a good fit. The last thing I want to do is let anyone down, so turning folks away when they need help is a huge challenge for me. However, with the ability to make recommendations + send them on their way, I know that I’m giving them the opportunity to find their perfect business match when it isn’t me.

6. Any failures that you’ve learned from?

All of them!

Not once, not twice, but three times I have had my largest client suddenly go from steady income to ZERO. While the reasoning for each occurrence is different, the lesson that I cannot + should not put all of my eggs in one basket is huge. But also, recognizing that when business is good, I cannot assume that I am in the clear from the ups + downs of freelance income. You never know when your biggest client is going to sell their business, hire an in-house web person, or fire you.

Even with a wait list, I find time in my week to promote my services, network with potential clients + schedule calls with folks that have questions or need help. Those times are the reason that my wait list is growing, because I’m putting in the work.

7. What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

Like any recovering perfectionist, I always worry about failure or letting others down. It drives me to do my best, but is a work in progress to overcome.

I’ve been working on overcoming my fear of failure by working on my definition of success, talking to other entrepreneurs about what they do if they feel like they have failed at something + reminding myself that my really high standards are set by me, they are not necessarily my client’s expectations.

8. What 3 pieces of advice would you offer to fellow creative entrepreneurs?

This is easy – and short + sweet -

  • reply to your emails in a timely manner {not always the second the email comes in, but certainly not weeks later}
  • abc2 – always be carrying a business card {I got an amazing client after a short conversation in the Home Depot checkout line}
  • don’t forget the rejuvenation/reset step in the cycle of creativity {going from one project to the next without at least celebrating what you’ve accomplished is no good for anyone, especially you!}

9. And just for fun — what have you been working on that we should keep an eye out for?

Right now my focus is developing amazing sites for zesty ladies. I have a handful of launches planned over the next 4 weeks that I could not be more excited for. Being able to provide them with an amazing experience + build an amazing experience for their site visitors is what I love doing every single day.

Hope you enjoyed that interview. If you want to connect with her, head over to Twitter and say HI!

A massive update (aka I HAD A BABY!)

Well, it’s been a while since I last wrote. I had this whole plan to have a few posts lined up while I was away on maternity leave, and then…

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Meet Logan Genther

Baby Genther decided he wanted to show up for the party 2 weeks early (and thanks to being diagnosed with preeclampsia, he didn’t have much of a choice).

So, the past 5 weeks (yes… 5 weeks old already!!) have been a bit of a whirlwind as we try to figure out this whole parenting thing.

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A few weeks ago, Logan got to meet his great-great-grandma, great-grandma and grandma. 5 generations on my Mom’s side. Pretty cool! I’m so glad we got lots of pictures, because this sort of thing doesn’t happen very often.

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I’m sorta, kinda starting to ease back into work, but I don’t think I could have ever imagined how time-consuming and heart-consuming being a Mom is. Honestly, I don’t feel any sort of rush right now to jump back into work, so I’m listening to my heart and doing what feels right at this moment.

And, at this moment, this is what feels right…

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Major life changes (like having a baby!) can drastically change your perspective on… well, pretty much everything. I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few weeks about the changes I want to make in my business and this blog, and while it’s still not 100% clear, I’m starting to uncover the new direction I want to take. The only thing I know for sure is that I want to spend as much time with my little man as possible, while he’s still young. I’ve been told countless times that this period of his life flies by, and I don’t want to have any regrets on missing important moments.

In other news, I am so flipping excited that it’s already September! I feel like I totally skipped out on summer since I was about 35 pounds heavier and carrying around a watermelon in my belly. I’m not sure where the time went, but once this baby came along it’s been flying by. This month I’m looking forward to apple cider donuts, cooler nights, pumpkin spice lattes, and cuddles with my little man.

Follow me on Instagram if you want to keep tabs on me and my little man.

Stay tuned, because we do have 2 more Creative Crush interviews coming up soon and these are two ladies you definitely want to meet!

Creative Crush : Val Geisler

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Welcome to a new series on the blog. 

I’ve been wanting to do an interview series like this for a while. And the start of maternity leave seemed like a great time to get started.

The Creative Crush Interview series is where I take you behind-the-computer screen of my favorite online entrepreneurs. It also gives me a chance to be nosy and dig deeper into the fears of creative entrepreneurs and how they overcome their biggest challenges. Who doesn’t love to hear more about that?

For the first few interviews, I want to introduce you to people who are very important to my business. They’re either on my team or have had a huge impact in where my business is now.

First up – Val Geisler, my project manager/Client Happiness Specialist. If you’ve recently reached out about starting a new project, you’ve most likely been in touch with Val. She’s my front line — especially while I’m away on maternity leave. She holds down the fort and makes sure that everything is taken care of with current and future clients. She’s pretty dang vital to my biz.

So, let’s get to know her.

Val, take it away!

1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m Val, owner of aspire&grow. I’m in love with my family, really good dark chocolate, and simplifying the back end of online businesses.

2. When + how did you start your business?

In February of 2012 I was fired from my event management job. At the time, aspire&grow was a side gig and I had just one client. At first I was scared out of my mind but now I can tell you it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was fired on a Wednesday and by Friday I had a full client docket – clearly I was meant to do this.

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3. What was one role you had in the past that prepared you for what you do now?

I went to school for Theatre Production and that experience serves me every day. I worked behind the scenes in theatre and opera companies across the country for 6 years and I quickly learned what it was like to get something off the ground and turn it into a real product in a short amount of time. I also got really good at working my connections to land my next gig and I use my “connector” skills every day with my 1 on 1 coaching clients.

4. I’m nosy… what does a “typical” day look like for you? How do you manage your time each week?

Ha! If I HAD a typical day I think I would be bored out of my mind. While every day has a rough outline – check in with clients in the morning via Skype, tackle the projects for the day via Basecamp mid-day, and tend to the daily needs of my own biz in the late afternoon – the schedule really varies based on what’s going on with each of my clients and in my own life. Time management is huge for me as a momma and business owner. I use Basecamp with my clients to stay organized and keep the lines of communication open.

For my own business I use Evernote to organize my emails into tasks and store all of my findings from my research. Since a huge part of my business is recommending the perfect product for task management, social media scheduling, etc., I am constantly researching and trying out new products and programs. I can’t tell you how many free trials of products I’ve done!

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5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done in your business, so far, that has paid off?

Just starting was scary. Knowing that I had a short period of time to fill my client roster and pay the bills was pretty fear inspiring. That said, I’m always moved into action by fear (instead of staying stagnant) so the scary stuff only helps move me forward.

6. Any failures that you’ve learned from?

I’ve worked with some clients that weren’t right for me – and I knew it right away but kept working with them. I thought that it would get better over time and it just didn’t. Now I know my red flags and I refer those peeps to the right person for them. I was always afraid to turn down work thinking that there wouldn’t be any more to come. Now I know that there is plenty of love and work to go around and that if I let go of clients who aren’t right for me, it opens up space for the perfect person to come sailing in!

7. What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

Money. Straight up, I’m always afraid that it will run out, that the IRS is going to send me a bill for giant unpaid taxes I didn’t know about, that the bottom is going to drop out. Even just saying that makes me realize that it’s fairly unfounded (I do a good job of balancing the books and saving for a rainy day) but it’s always been a huge fear since striking out on my own.

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8. What 3 pieces of advice would you offer to fellow creative entrepreneurs?

  1. Just do it. Don’t get stuck in perfection. That goes for everything from your blog posts to your products to starting something new. Get out there and do it and learn along the way!
  2. Ask for support. We are each experts at something really unique and that\’s such a gift. Get involved in a group of business owners (Facebook is full of these groups) and participate. Offer your expertise and ask for help when you need it. We are all here to support each other.
  3. Make time for fun. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of starting and running a business. All of a sudden your laptop is out while you are watching movies with the kids or you’re passing on brunch to spend time in your biz. It’s okay to do this every now and again but be sure to put it all away and have a little fun every now and again. After all, what’s the fun of being on this wild ride if you can’t enjoy the scenery along the way!

9. And just for fun — what have you been working on that we should keep an eye out for?

I just launched a fun and free quiz to help you figure out what kind of support you need in your biz. It’s called Support:Simplified and you can check it out right here.

Oh, and my mentorship program, Business Booster, is gearing up again and I have some really lovely business owners involved. A group component is coming soon, too. For now, my 1×1 spots are filling up so shoot me a note at val@aspireandgrow.com if you want to jam on all things in the backend of your biz!

Hope you enjoyed that interview. If you want to connect with her, head over to Twitter and say HI!

7 crazy helpful links for creatives on blogging

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We’re back with another link roundup. Today’s focus is all about blogging and how to use your blog to market your business, save you time and make you more money.

 

From the CoSchedule blog: 

You’ve spent hours slaving away on your content. You’ve done everything you can to make sure that it is of high quality. You’ve added images. You’ve promoted it on social media. It’s out there.

Now what? 

We put so much work into our content that it’s a shame to see it relegated to the archives of our blog. This is where repurposing comes in. By repurposing our content for a new site or medium, we give it new life and expose it to more new readers. The big question you’re asking, then, is ‘where are the best places to repurpose my content?

You’re in luck. We have 50+ places that you can use to repurpose your content marketing.

50+ Places To Repurpose Your Content: The Ultimate Guide

 

Ever go back and forth on how often you should be blogging? Jules helps you figure out the best frequency for you and how to adjust when needed.

 

Sarah shares with us why she posts what she posts. It’s an extremely detailed breakdown of the main features and columns she posts on her site, the frequency of them and why she does it.

 

Don’t like to write? The ladies over at Braid Creative share the alternatives to blogging if you hate writing.

 

A look at how the business of blogging has changed over the years for Joy from Oh Joy!. She also has an awesome book on the topic here.

 

Rachel shares her journey to building a blog you love and what’s worked for her. 1st step — start with heart.

 

21 things you can do to start building a massively successful blog from the guys over at Fizzle.

 

Got any other great articles we should know about? Pop it in the comments below so we can check it out!

 

P.S.  I just launched the Creative Biz Kickstart DIY Coaching email series. In week 3, I share the exact editorial calendar I use to plan blog posts, newsletters and social media updates. Check it out if you’re looking for an affordable way to learn the essentials of running a creative biz online.

P.P.S. A post you may have missed: 3 things your blog is missing that could be costing you new clients and sales

 

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3 things your blog is missing that could be costing you new clients and sales

1. Invitation to sign up to your mailing list.

Instead of your generic opt-in box that you use throughout the rest of your site (telling them about your free ebook), remember what they just got done doing at the end of your post… READING.

Make sure the invitation to sign up to your email list reflects this.

Invite them to get more posts like the one they just got done reading, delivered straight to their inbox for free.

Your blog posts are typically the most visited pages on your site, so leaving off an opt-in box here could be costing you opportunities to grow your community.

Here are a few great examples of how single post opt-ins are being used:

 

2. Links to your services/product page as it relates to the topic you’re talking about

Writing a post about 10 unique blog post ideas and have a service where you work 1-on-1 with clients to help them with their editorial calendars and post ideas? They deserve to know that.

Linking to your services within your blog posts is a great way to drop in the “hey, I do this!” without being annoying and pushy.

Even better, see #3 below.

 

3. P.S. blurbs at the bottom of your blog posts.

This is a casual way to keep people on your site and lead them to the next step you want them to take. I’m just starting to test this out and love using it a few different ways.

Here are a few ideas on how you can use your P.S.:

  1. Link to related content on your blog
  2. Link to your services that relate to the topic of the post (see #2 above)
  3. Link to “you may have missed” announcements (from your blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

Bonus: This is also something that is really smart to use in your email newsletter. Most of us are skimmers (as in – we don’t read the entire email), so placing a P.S. at the bottom of the newsletter with the information they need to take action on could seriously increase conversions.

 


 

How many of the above are you already doing? Which one do you need to test out still? Leave me a comment below and let me know!

Got another suggestion? Let me know in the comments below or tweet it out to me.

 

Like this article? Share it!

 

P.S. I’m launching a 4-week email series next week to help get your creative business off the ground. Sign up here to hear when we launch and get a special insider’s discount during launch week.

Already signed up to receive weekly updates? You’re all set. You’ll get the email when we launch. 

5 super helpful links for creatives on email marketing

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I’ve been finding so many awesome articles around the web I want to share with everyone, so I’m going to start a new weekly/maybe bi-weekly column on the blog with a roundup of helpful posts for creative entrepreneurs.

I also hope it will be a great way to introduce you to people I know, follow and love to pieces.

And, because I’m a super organized person, I wanted to curate a roundup of post related to a specific topic (don’t expect this to happen each time, but it’s definitely happening right now).

 

Today’s theme: Email Marketing

 

Looking for a new opt-in idea to grow your email list? Here’s how CoSchedule grew their email list by 2,000+ subscribers with an autoresponder course.

 

Ready to upgrade to more advanced email marketing software like Infusionsoft? Nathalie breaks down the difference between Infusionsoft and Ontraport.

 

Have you seen those Twitter updates that allow you to add an opt-in box right into a tweet? They’re pretty great, right? Here’s how to use LeadPages to take your Twitter Lead Generation Cards to the next level.

 

An Email Marketing Checklist? Yes, please. See how many of these things you’re doing right (and what things you should be doing if you want to grow your email list). #2 is actually one that I’m experimenting with on this new site design… notice the disappearance of all my opt-in boxes?

 

And: 10 Email Marketing Tactics You’ve Never Tried. I recently added tip #6 to my contact form.

 

Got any other great articles we should know about? Pop it in the comments below so we can check it out!

P.S.  A post you may have missed: 7 Ways to Grow Your Email List

5 podcasts I’m loving right now

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Podcasts are awesome for a few reasons:

  1. Can listen in the background while you’re working
  2. Makes you feel like you have coworkers again (if you work from home)
  3. You learn a ton in a short period of time

 

Podcasts have quickly become one of my favorite things.

 

Here are 5 podcasts I’m loving right now:

1. Lady Business Radio

jesskupfermanJessica is the perfect person to have a podcast (and not surprising at all, teach YOU how to start a successful podcast).

She’s got a very friendly style of interviewing, which tends to lead off topic (in the best of ways), so you’ll actually learn MORE about the person on the other line than you typically would in other podcasts.

She’s had a ton of awesome people on her show, including Pat Flynn, Nathalie Lussier, Erika Napoletano and Alexandra Franzen. I’ve also been interviewed by Jessica on her podcast. Here’s my episode where we chat about what you need before you hire a designer, when to raise your prices and millennials in business.

She also just launched a free eBook that takes a vital nugget from each of her interviews and compiles them into an easy-to-consume format. You can download the eBook here.

2. The Happy Hour Effect

kristenbrownThis is a new find, and a fantastic one. In fact, I listened to every single episode on my way to pick up my Mom last week from the airport (the only way to stay sane during a 1.5 hour traffic backup in downtown Chicago).

Kristen talks about everything from creating a personal brand to pitching the media.

She’s also got a heck of a lot of awesome products that she mentions in the least sleazy way I’ve ever seen done, that can truly help you if you’re looking for more info on a specific subject.

A TON of value and easy to listen to. I have to admit, I’ve already re-listened to a few episodes to make sure I didn’t miss anything the first time around.

3. Marketing Moxie by Maggie Patterson

maggiepattersonMaggie’s podcast is all about quick, actionable advice you can apply right away. Plus, straight-talk vibe of the interviews are right up my alley.

She has a social media series running right now, which is broken down into 1 social media platform for each episode, so you can listen to what you need right now, depending on which platform you’re focused on growing.

 

4. The Lively Show

livelyshowJess has a fresh approach and lineup of interviews that you won’t find anywhere else. I can also rely on her episodes to either introduce me to someone new or allow me to get to know someone that I’ve followed, but never heard interviewed.

I especially loved one of her most recent episodes with Noah Kagan from AppSumo. The conversation is light and super informative.

 

5. Leaders in the Trenches

leaders-in-the-trenchesThis is also a brand new podcast I just found, but have quickly fallen in love with. Like Jess’ podcast, I’m constantly introduced to new people that have so much information and experiences to share with the listeners.

Gene focuses his podcast on topics like connecting with your target market, using your personality in your business and carving a niche that grows your business.

One of my favorite episodes so far is #40 with Ted Hargrave from Marketing for Hippies.

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Hope you find a new podcast you love.

Got a favorite one already?

Leave a comment below and share it with us! I’m always on the look out for new ones.

How to break up with your not-so-ideal clients

how-to-break-up-with-not-so-ideal-clients

We’ve all come across not-so-ideal clients in our business. It’s pretty much inevitable in the beginning.

Ones that seems to suck all of our energy, hold small mistakes over our head and question everything we do.

These clients are not only energy-sucks, but also time and money sucks. They take time away from your best clients, they consume your thoughts and they’re typically low revenue-generators.

Maybe they haggle you on pricing or hire you for things you don’t necessarily want or like to do.

Either way, they’re like leaches.

And you’ll get to a point where you realize without them, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on your best clients… The ones who pay you premium prices, who value your expertise and who trust your decisions. You want more of those clients.

So, in order to make room for more of your best clients, you ultimately need to break up with your not-so-ideal (let’s shorten that to NSI, shall we?) clients.

And there is a classy way of doing this that doesn’t make you look like an ungrateful biatch.

 

Here are three graceful ways:

1. Eliminate services that don’t make you any money. 

Which, ironically (or not), are probably the services that your NSI clients hire you for. Simply send an email to the clients who hire you for this service and let them know about the decision you’ve come to.

It could be something as simple as this:

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Hey there (client name),

Hope you’re having an awesome afternoon. I just wanted to pop in to share some recent updates to my business that may affect our working relationship.

After much pondering, help + brainstorming, I’ve decided to stop offering ___________ (insert the service you’re no longer offering). Turns out, it’s totally out of my zone of genius, and I like to spend all of my time servicing clients in my sweet spot, as I know you do, as well.

I won’t leave you hanging though, we’ll finish up our current project together first.

If you’d like to continue working together, I am turning my focus to ___________ (insert service that you’re focusing on now). If you’re interested, please let me know.

xo {insert your name}

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The key here is to not lower your prices for these NSI clients. In fact, you may even want to make those prices for the services you are focused on a tad bit higher for them. Which leads to the next point…

 

2. Raise your prices.

There’s a funny thing that happens when you charge premium prices.

First, the NSI clients run for the doors because they’re looking for the cheap option.

And second, your clients tend to trust your expertise more and treat you better.

So not only do you eliminate the bad eggs, but you’re also drawing in more higher-paying clients. #winning

 

3. Send a “it’s me, not you” email explaining your decision to no longer work with them. 

The reason? Because you can no longer complete work for them at the level you hold standard in your biz because of x, y and z reason.

Then, offer them alternative solutions that will work better for them, like someone else that might be a better fit for them.

 

Tell me: have you had to break up with any NSI clients? How did you do it, how did you feel afterwards and what has happened because of the breakup?

I love a juicy breakup story. Tweet to me or leave a comment. I’m dying to hear it.

 

2 Ways to Combine Your Passions into 1 Business

2-ways-to-combine-your-passions-into-1-business

You: have a few things you LOVE to do, but aren’t sure how they all fit together.

I: specialize in helping creative entrepreneurs find their sweet spot + build a business doing what they love.

I can understand how lonely, confusing + downright awful it feels when you continuously shift from one idea to the next, without ever landing on that one “thing” that people start to associate you with.

I’ve totally been there & I want to help you move past that horrible feeling.

 

Here are 2 ways to go about combining your passions into 1 business:

1. Combine 2 or more things to create a specific niche

This does NOT mean to offer both of your passions as services at the same time, under 1 business.

This means to choose 1 thing that you love to do, that people will happily pay you for and use the other interest to carve your niche.

It’s important to be focused in your business, or you will appear to be all over the place. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to drop your other passions in order to focus on one.

Here are a few examples:

Say you’re a photographer who also loves yoga. Instead of offering photography services and yoga services under 1 business, you could focus on becoming known for your yoga photography.

You’re a designer who also loves business coaching. You could create a coaching business that focuses on working with other designers.

We don’t need any more generic business coaches out there in the world. It’s time to get specific and niche down. Use your experience from another business or passion you have to create a place in the online world where you can thrive and become the go-to-expert for.

 

2. Use one of your skills to support the other

If you know the importance of focusing on one thing at a time, but have a hard time leaving your other passions behind — this is a great route for you.

Let’s say that you’re a designer who wants to shift to health coaching. You can use those design skills to give your health coaching business the edge up by looking like a pro right out of the gate.

Or, if you’re a social media marketer who wants to shift to interior design, you can use those social media skills + experience to get your name out there quicker than others are able to.

 

The key is to, no matter how you choose to combine your passions into 1 business, make sure that your business is focused and clear about what you do and who you do it for.