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DO YOU GIVE GOOD BRAND?

See what I did there? If you got it, then you are my kind of peep and I want to work with you to create a brand that will knock the socks of your customers and keep them coming back for more! You are a strong, creative take-names kind of entrepreneur...let’s kick it up a notch together. I dare you to dump business as usual!

Web Hotness: Product Photography

I love to highlight small creative businesses that are doing the right things when it comes to their website or branding. This week, it's all about kick ass product photography! 

I can't say enough about how IMPORTANT it is to have awesome photos when you are selling online. It not only helps to sell your product since that's the only way people have to look at them but it also helps you to look professional...like you really care about your business. 

Catshy Crafts's shop on Etsy does an awesome job of not only showing off her products but keeping to her brand through her photography. 



See how everything has the same feel even though each product is different? That makes me smile! 



She shows a bunch of really great up close shots but also has some of different collections together as well as one of how it would look on a wall. Showing your products in use is crazy important...it helps people envision them being used in their own homes. 



I also love that she includes a shot of her packaging in each listing. People love some pretty packaging! Showing it off helps to not only solidify her brand but gives her customers a sneak peek at what they will be getting in the mail. 

She totally gets an A in my book! Check out her shop because there are some really cute items there...I have my eye on this one, oh and this one, and this one too

Do you know someone who you think has web hotness and is doing small business the right way? Shoot me an email, I would love to feature them! 

Chive On!
 

Find and Mentor and Stalk the Shit Out of Them

When starting your business, it is crazy important to find people that can support you. What is better than someone who has been there, done the struggle thing and came out successful?

We all have people we look up to or more like wish we could be as cool or successful as they are. As I said in my previous post, it's not fair to compare yourself to others BUT what you can do is try and find someone who you admire and stalk the shit out of them. Ok not really stalk them like restraining order kind but get to know them, start a conversation, follow what they are up to. Social media is awesome for this sort of thing. It gives you a chance to start a conversation that most of the time wouldn't happen in real life. At least not for me. I was one of those girls cowering in the corner wishing the hot guy would ask me to dance but he never did kind of introvert. Social media gave me an opportunity to get out of the corner - because nobody puts Baby in the corner - and mingle without my anxiety going all Carrie on everyone. 

I found people that I could look up to, that had more knowledge than me and were willing to share it via their blog, social media, website, etc. THIS is where you learn the most about small business...from those people who have been there.

Don't envy those that have more than you...learn from them instead.

My personal struggle has been with writing. I never felt like I could be comfortable writing in my own voice. I thought potential clients would run away screaming if I was more straight up let's kick some ass instead of cupcakes, sparkles and sunshine all the time. Then I came across Ash and The Middle Finger Project. My whole world changed. She was someone I could relate to and had all of this awesome writing advice that made total sense to me...I had found my mentor! So what did I do? Yep, I stalked the shit out of her! I dug in and read everything I could...saving almost every single post to my feed reader. I followed her on Twitter and FB and joined into discussions or posts she did that I found interesting - which was pretty much everything

She gave me the bump I needed to get out there and rebrand my business with ME in it. This is what inspiration and finding the right mentor can do! Even though, we aren't like real friends I consider her to be a huge part of my new brand because she gave me the courage and advice to do it without even realizing it. That to me is super cool and I hope that I can do that for someone one day. 

So get out there and stalk the shit out of someone you admire...you never know, it could change your whole business for the better! 

Chive On! 

PS - If anyone wants to stalk me I am totally ok with that! ;) 

I fell into the internet and almost drowned

It all happened so innocently. I was curled up in our big comfy chair reading blog feeds and it started coming out of the wood work like those stupid little effing ants we can't get rid of in our house. It was like a plague of marketing zombies, everywhere I looked in my feeds someone was telling me how awesome this "Not A School" was and that I should sign up through their super awesome affiliate link. Oh and if I did, then they would give me something REALLY cool too. I follow a lot of business coaching-type blogs. Even though I am not into the whole coaching thing, they have some great articles and I am all about learning new things or different perspectives on the same ole.

I had heard of "Not A School" before...a few years ago I actually thought of signing up but the investment scared the shit out of me so I let that idea go REAL fast. Now either because it was really late or that time of the month I decided to check it out again.

It went a little something like this in my head.

"Wow look at all these successful people!"
"Damn I want a 7 figure income!"
"If I just paid the 2000+ bucks I could be that cool!"

BAM....there it was, it got me!

It made me feel like I was inferior. I wasn't good enough for my business to make it grow. Not only that but I started looking at other coaching programs...I was lost in a sea of coaching.

Suddenly everywhere I turned everyone and their momma who has owned a business for more than a second is now launching coaching programs. Did I miss the memo somehow? 

This is where my exhaustion took hold, I felt myself starting to drown and I literally said out loud "Ok what the fuck, seriously....no thank you!"

I shut the browser, put my computer on sleep and sat there for what seemed like forever...probably a minute - I mean don't all good stories have that little teaser in them.

I realized that I had been surfing around for nearly 2 hours and in the end it was a total waste of my time. The only person that truly knows my business and what I am trying to accomplish or how big I want to grow is ME. The kicker to all of this is, I am pretty successful...I made 6 figures last year and the year before! Not trying to brag, just want to make a point. I am happy with the size of my business. But I got caught up in all of the hype of it all. It made me feel like I wasn't good enough and that's just not cool. 

My point to this post is not to let others make you doubt yourself! You are not on the same path as anyone else so it's not fair to compare yourself to their successes. Besides, on the internet you tend to only see the shiny pretty stuff and all of the obstacles and hardship is tucked away neatly behind the curtain. No one gets to where they are without some serious hard work and a few failures along the way...even if they do shell out a fortune for some "Not A School".

HAVE YOU EVER FOUND YOURSELF IN DOUBT WITH YOUR BUSINESS? I'D LOVE TO KNOW HOW YOU GOT THROUGH IT!

So what is my super secret way to get over writers block?

So what is my super secret writers block get over and kick ass thing? Sit down, grab a cup of whatever makes you comfy - if there is vodka in it, I won't judge - and I will tell ya. It's a meditation of sorts well not like to Ohm kind where you sit all cross-legged with your eyes closed.

Before you start the actual brainstorming-type writing stuff you need ideas right? Some people will tell you to write about what you had for dinner, what your latest project was, what your favorite color is right this second....BLAH those are BORING! The point of writing for most people at least, is for other's to read it...enjoy it and then go share it with people.

A NOTE - That's officially called Content Marketing...I know it sounds all super slick and salesman-type sleezy. I wish there was a better way to say it...like Cupcake Marketing...mmm it always comes back to cupcakes.

Ok, so instead of the BORING stuff...think of the last week and use the following prompts to start the ideas flowing. 

  • - What made you laugh your ass off.
  • - What pissed you off.
  • - What inspired you.
  • - What made you cry.
  • - What made you grateful to just be alive. 

Now, once you have your prompt to start, these are my 3 super secret weapons to get those idea out and onto paper...make sure you have pencil and paper handy because well, it's kind of important! 

Take a shower
Yep, stinky...get in the shower, go about your routine...we all have one don't we? As you are shampooing your hair think about one of the prompts above. Don't try hard, don't force it. Just let it kinda settle in and think...just let your mind wander around to different things until things start to flow.

Blow dry your hair
Yep, again just let you mind wander to one of the prompts and see what comes of it. Keep your normal routine and make sure you lock the door, especially if you have little ones that like to visit you while you are in the bathroom. Why do kid's do that anyway? Seriously, I'm on the toilet people! The point of this is to be alone with yourself and your thoughts.

Take a nap
This one always works for me because I am not a head-hit-the-pillow kinda sleeper, it takes me awhile for my brain the wind down so I use that to my advantage. Take that brain! Think about a prompt...flush out all of the different ideas. Again, don't force it. Laying with your eyes squinted thinking to yourself "think, think, think" isn't going to work. You have to relax and just settle with your own thoughts.

Remember that pencil and paper? Use it to write down the ideas as they come. Don't try and make sense of grammar, sentence structure or spelling...just get the thoughts out. This is your first draft and you can make changes later.

I tend to use my ipad and the first drafts are hilarious because I have to pretty much decider everything so it makes any sense. But the beginning components are all there which is what counts. You can amp it up, flush it out and make it pretty for your final draft, just let the thoughts flow on to paper. 

Now this part is gonna throw ya off a little. I want you to take a break. Yep, after your first draft let it settle for at least a few hours. Sometimes even a whole day helps. Once you go back and read it you will have fresh eyes, new ideas and ways to put things...this is when it's time for your final draft!

I'm gonna go all cliche here and say use images to convey your story but it's scientifically proven that people pay more attention when there are pictures involved...yes we are all 2 year olds wanting picture books.

The point is not lost on me that I didn't add any photos to to this post. I was gonna take a pic of myself in the shower all zen with my thoughts but that is not only inappropriate but it may scare the shit out of you so I decided against it. You're welcome. :)

WRITING IS ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS FOR ME - DO YOU HAVE ANY SUPER SECRET WEAPONS THAT WORKS FOR YOU? 

I help creative entrepreneurs find their brand sanity online by screwing business as usual & learning to blaze your own path!

While I dig glitter during crafty time, you won’t find any cumbaya fluffy shit here. I get to the core of what your business is all about and we form a brand plan together to stomp your competitors and take over the world...or succeed with lots of cash, it’s totally up to you!

WANT TO STALK ME OR JUST GET TO KNOW ME BETTER?

I’m kind of a freak for social media 

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Moxie Pear is nothing but awesome! Lisa has helped us transform our entire brand and we couldn't be happier! She is always quick to respond with the most innovative and fabulous ideas! We won't ever go anywhere else!

- Marisa Robards
risaroo.com

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