Hey hi hello, boss ladies and boss gents! I’ve been working from home for 7 years (WHAT) and there are a lot of pros and cons, but the main difference between working in an office and working at home is that you have complete control over your entiiiire life. This is where some of us thrive, but it’s also where some of us crash and burn, so as always, be honest with yourself about what is and is not working to propel you toward your goals. Luckily, we’ve got 9 tips and tricks to help you work from home like a total boss.Read More
Creative Business Ownersh
Today, we’re going to help you answer the dreaded question that you probably get way too often - Can I get a discount?! Whether they’re looking for friends and family, military, or you know, those really nice “we spent too much on our venue but we reeeeally love your work” discounts, we’ll help you fight back that automatic *eyeroll* response and answer professionally and logically, without getting emotional!Read More
We alllll make mistakes when we’re starting out on the entrepreneur journey. If you didn’t make any yet, then you’re probably not taking enough risks - mistakes are just part of the deal, and believe me, I tested and tried out a whole lot of them, just for funsies! Some mistakes are learning experiences, but there are a few mistakes that will cost you dearly down the line, so to save you from making those, I’ve compiled 9 things you should definitely NOT do when you start your business.
This applies at the beginning, but also always. Don’t do shady things like lying to your customers, buying Instagram followers, or basically anything else that you may feel uncomfortable telling your grandma you did!
Look for Loopholes or Shortcuts
In the same vein, try not to avoid things you don’t want to do, even if you feel like you’re getting away with it. Working in cash so you don’t have to report it on your taxes, accepting payments via PayPal Friends + Family to avoid credit card processing fees, and other loopholes like this can come back to bite you in the butt. Accept that things cost money and take time, and do what you can to be above board all the time. This sometimes means taking the harder path, yes - welcome to small business ownership.
Focus Only on Social Media
Speaking of Instagram, a lot of new businesses focus on social media growth only. Remember that your social media following isn’t actually yours - Mark Z. could take that away from you tomorrow, and then where would your business be? Grow your business in multiple ways, use different marketing channels, and include social media as only part of a larger strategy.
Say “Yes” to Every Job
You think all business is good business, but I’m here to tell you that isn’t true! Everyone takes a few crappy jobs while they’re figuring things out, but every job you say yes to means you’re saying no to something else. Take jobs that bring you closer to at least one of your goals - even if that goal is just to put food on the table this month.
Work Only for Clients
I have a lot of new business ladies ask me how to create new work when their paying clients aren’t quite “ideal” yet. The answer is simple - just make it! Someone doesn’t have to be paying you for you to create beautiful work. The more you put out there of your “ideal” work, the more people will ask you to create work like that.
Make Up Pricing
It’s simple - you should always have a solid reason behind your pricing. None of this “it’s what so and so charges” or “I asked a facebook group” - if you don’t know why you’re charging what you’re charging, then you likely aren’t covering the costs that you need to. You may decide to charge less if you’re just starting out - I’m not a fan of this method, actually - but either way, at least have that solid reasoning and understand what area you’re cutting that cost from (hint: it should be your hourly rate, not any material costs). Check out our YouTube video on 2 Common Pricing Strategies for Creatives!
Copy Other People
Well, this should be looped into being shady, but it happens a lot so I made it its own point. Clients often send me other artists’ work as examples, but as much as humanly possible, I try to avoid copying another creative’s work. Not only because it’s illegal, but also because I can’t make something as well as the original person did, so it’s always always always going to turn out worse than something I make on my own.
Provide too Many Options
I used to ask clients what they wanted from me wayyyy too much, and it’s not a smart move. First of all, it’s confusing. The client is hiring you because they don’t know what they want. They don’t know what’s possible, and they don’t know what’s going to turn out best. So asking them for opinions ends up with weird, out of sync expectations on both sides. Provide 1-3 simple options for them, and they (and you) will be much happier.
Let Clients Have All the Say
And lastly, you should not let clients have all the say. It seems counterintuitive, but clients feel like they get a much better experience when you set boundaries with them from the beginning. That way they know what to expect, and they’re taking advantage of the unique skills you have to bring to their project - not trying to dictate the relationship.
So let me know what you think of these 9 Things you shouldn’t do when starting your business - I can’t wait to hear some of the mistakes you’ve made in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to provide some guidance and feedback. If you’re just starting out, of course we have some business resources for you - especially our First 30 Days Workbook which takes you through building a foundation for a long-lasting, goal-oriented business including topics like taxes, contracts, branding, and handling mistakes.
People are ALWAYS asking me what printer I use - I know that if I post anything about printing, I’ll get about 45 messages with questions about it. The truth is, like with a lot of things we talk about, the tool isn’t the key to doing this right. Knowing which printer I use (it’s this one, by the way!) isn’t going to make you create good stationery. It’s not that it’s not a good printer - it totally is - but it’s that printing is a skill and an art form in itself. I actually try to avoid printing in-house whenever I can, and I’ll tell you why!Read More
A few months ago, I went on a little Instagram rant about using stock art in your invitation designs. Turns out, a lot of you had questions or thoughts on the topic, so I wanted to delve into this a little further. There’s a whole section on this in our Invitation Design Guide, of course, but here are the basics of why I absolutely LOVE stock art, and am not ashamed to admit it!Read More
Peace out Girl Scout
Thank u, next
Okay okay, all joking aside, “you’re too expensive” is the WORST thing to hear.
It sucks for a few reasons:Read More
There are so many upsides to there being more creatives out there, because in general, the creative world is still a little backwards. As artists, we’re often not taken seriously, and our value is only apparent if we’re famous or dead, it seems, so the more successful creative businesses there are, the better we do as a whole. However, there is a downside to welcoming new businesses - and that’s competition.
Competition sounds scary to a lot of people - and I hear this often in my Coaching Sessions. “There’s so much competition,” “They always go with someone cheaper,” “This other photographer keeps stealing my clients”, but the truth is that competition can be so much more than that!Read More
Creating your first website is one of the most daunting tasks for new business owners, and I was no exception. I had it on my to-do list for months before I even started to work on it. Once I decided to leave my “day job” and take Design by Laney full time, I knew that the website was the first big task to conquer, so I finally got to work! No matter how annoying and difficult the website process can be, the only part I regret is not starting it sooner - so if you’re hesitating for any reason whatsoever, let me be the one to tell you to stop hesitating, and just do it!Read More
Biting our nails, chewing loudly, talking too much - we’ve all got bad habits. We hope they don’t negatively affect our lives, and for the most part, habits are forgivable, but when it comes to your business, there are plenty of bad habits that might be keeping you down! With over 50% of businesses not making it to their 5th year, we want to avoid any of those negative tendencies we can. So check yourself before you wreck yourself…okay, maybe we’re too old to say that, but you get the picture - here are our 10 Worst Habits for a Small Business Owner!Read More
Today’s my 28th Birthday, and It’s been almost 7 years since I graduated from college, a bubbly, outgoing 21-year-old with dreams of a husband and babies and not really a whole lot else. Like most of us do, I’ve changed, and in some surprising ways. 6 1/2 of those 7 years have been spent working from home. I started at AT&T, where I worked out of my home office and telecommuted in for meetings. At max, there were a few months where I was going into the office 2-3 times per week.
Then I quit to start my own company and moved across the country. Here, I purposely chose not to root Design by Laney in the local wedding industry, anticipating our second move, which is now happening in a few months. In Denver…who knows how things will shake out?Read More
“It’s just a piece of paper.”
“It’ll just get thrown in the trash.”
“Why would I pay that much for a few pieces of paper?”
How many times have we all heard these things? Heck, I used to find myself thinking these things when I first started out - “Wow, that quote is high...do I really think they’ll pay that for invitations?” Well, as my business and countless others have proved, the answer is yes. Very, very yes! But only if you truly understand the value you’re bringing to the table.Read More
I get pitch emails from new companies ALL. THE. TIME. Typically it’s a new wedding marketplace, blog, or resource of some sort that someone is starting, to help “change the wedding industry for good”. Or something like that. I see it all over the place from other wedding vendors too, though, and it’s capital-T The. Worst. Here’s an example I received today, word for word:Read More
I’ll just give you the answer upfront here - no beating around the bush. I’m not planning to answer that client email today, because it’s bad for business.
What, now?Read More
It’s time! We were a little late this year on the goal-setting front, so they’re up for a little revision…but, hey, what isn’t? This year has been incredible - you can see what goals we set for 2018 here. We met about 60% of them, which is right where we typically aim, and we can’t wait to see how many 2019 goals we accomplish! I’m sure the year will bring about some unexpected goals, challenges, and accomplishments, as they always do, so I can’t wait to revisit this list throughout the year and see where the journey takes us.Read More
Happy Anniversary Design by Laney! Yep, that’s right, I’m wishing myself a happy anniversary cause I’m the boss of me and I can do that. I can even buy myself a cookie cake to celebrate if I want (if you want to be the boss of me, all you have to do is buy me cookie cake!).
There are so many little things that you pick up along the way as a business owner, but don’t really have time to sit down and think about, nonetheless time to actually put them into action. This year, as a gift to my future self, I decided to take 2 months to casually (and not-so-casually) work on all those little projects that I kept adding the list and never crossing off.Read More