Creative Business Ownersh
When you’re new to stationery design, you may not have a lot of work to show. You may not have very many clients (or frankly, any clients). So when these educator jerks are telling you to post a photo on Instagram every day (oh hey, that jerk is me!), it can seem a little daunting.Read More
I have to tell you something tough today: the amount of talent you have doesn’t matter very much. Whenever I have a new client sign up for Business Re-Boot Camp, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at their work. I get the first impressions that I need, and throughout our time together I’ll dig a little deeper, but from the beginning I recognize that it doesn’t matter how talented that person is. It doesn’t even really matter what field that person’s in - I could coach a photographer, a florist, heck, even a taxidermist just as easily as I could coach another stationery designer.Read More
We’re all trying to get more likes on Insta, right? Well, there are a lot of beneficial stats you should be aiming for for different reasons - likes, engagement, comments, website clicks, etc. We’ve got a whole post on why likes aren’t the only thing that matter over here, so check that out first! But if you’re trying to improve all of your overall stats, there are a few photos that will pretty much always do the trick, so that’s what we’re sharing today!Read More
In Australia, Instagram recently did away with being able to see how many people had liked photos on your feed. You could go in and tell how many had liked your photo still, but anyone scrolling by wouldn’t be able to tell if you had 3 likes or 3 million. People freaked!
The algorithm is constantly changing, and just about once a week I see someone complaining that their like count has gone down, and I secretly laugh because here’s the truth: your likes don’t matter. You can forget about them - I sure have.Read More
As you may know by this point, I started out my career in business to business sales, so I’m really passionate about a good ROI calculation. I’m also very passionate about investing in your business, and frankly, investing in general. Click here for our free Retirement Guide for Creatives if you want some proof on that front.
The most important thing about investing in your business is seeing a good ROI - or return on investment. There’s no point in spending money if you’re not going to make some money back, but there’s no way to make money if you don’t spend money in the first place. Think about it - does Jeff Bezos (billionaire CEO of Amazon) bat an eyelid at a $300 expense? A $3,000 expense? Those things probably don’t even get anywhere near his desk. So if you want to think like a billionaire, you have to be willing to invest like a billionaire, and not be scared of spending money!Read More
Okay let’s get things straight from the beginning - nowhere in here will I tell you what to charge for anything! There are so many different factors that go into pricing, and I don’t know all of those factors for you - if you’re looking for actual numbers, there’s my friend Becca’s pricing course for Calligraphers/Letterers and to my friend Victoria’s pricing course for Stationery Designers.
Today, I’m just going to explain 2 theories behind pricing, and pros and cons of each. You probably haven’t thought through your pricing in a while (if ever) so this will give you a basis for how to get started.Read More
There’s one super skill that I have over other business owners. I don’t think I’m the best at marketing, the best at planning, the best artist, painter, salesperson, or time manager. So how have I been able to grow my business so successfully and so quickly? How do I encourage staying power, and maintain upward growth over time? Everyone has that one thing they do well, and mine is this: I am able to be incredibly efficient.Read More
We’ve all got one. That one job that we pretend never happened, because it always makes us cringe. That one job where we made the worst mistake, and things went haywire. They always say that you shouldn’t make the same mistake twice, and I typically don’t, but when it comes to stationery, I’ve found there are still plenty of different mistakes you can make only once. So let me tell you about my most embarrassing and costly mistake so far!
There’s always a first time for every designer, and I see this in my DMs, in my coaching calls, in every Facebook group I’m a part of in this industry:
“My client really wants to use *insert ugly fontname /design element/color scheme here*, and I hate it! What do I do?”
It’s usually followed by “I don’t want to put my business name on something that looks like that…”. Your client has asked for a design decision that you don’t agree with, and you want to find the right balance of making them happy, while still maintaining the quality and overall style of design that you’ve created for your business.Read More
Are you jumping with excitement? I basically can’t stop staring at my new baby - the HP LaserJet M452DW ! It’s my first ever LASER printer, and is already WOW-ing me on the daily (as well as confusing me on the hourly). I have promised y’all some more information, and you know I love to share about new tools for stationery designers, so buckle up, there’s a lot of info coming at ya!Read More
How do you create so much content? This is a popular question lately, as we’ve got our Instagram, Facebook, Resources, YouTube Channel, Email Lists, Pinterest, Stories, Website, Skillshare classes, and of course this blog, with new posts every Monday. You’re right - it’s a LOT, and sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about it. But of course I’ve got a few tips for you today on how to go about creating and scheduling your content!Read More
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
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