Business Planning Made Simple

This guest post comes to us from Michelle, a project + operations wrangler for creative businesses, who also writes & teaches about productivity, organization, & systems (that don’t suck) for creatives.  Find her on the web at Bombchelle or on Twitter

The topic of business planning can be really intimidating for creative types-there’s a lot of information to cover, and most of it out there is based from a very “traditional” point of view (brick and mortar businesses, or startups seeking funding), rather than advice intended for the global, team-of-one business model that’s becoming more and more common.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! I’ll help you break it down so that you can have a business plan that works for you & doesn’t make you so overwhelmed you want to cry every time you look at it.

Keep it Lightweight
One piece of advice that flies in the face of traditional business planning advice: do not look too far into the future. Especially for businesses that function online, there are so many things about the landscape changing and shifting, that to bank on any one thing continuing to function the way it currently does forever would be…not a great idea.

Instead, I usually aim for the following:

● A pretty solid plan for the next three months - maybe not down to the last detail, but stopping just shy of that
● A plan for the next six months that’s about 75% solid with some wiggle room for new opportunities
● After that, a plan that’s 40-50% solid with more wiggle room so that you can add or subtract things as you try them out or discover one thing works really well or what have you
● A pie-in-the sky plan for the next 3-5 years (I usually refer to this as my “big vision”)

Just thinking of it this way alone takes a lot of the weight off for many creatives - if you don’t feel like making plans automatically means you’re stifled, then you’re not going to avoid making plans any more.

Have Some Standards!
Okay, maybe not standards, but priorities. Looking at where you want to be in the next 12 months or so, figure out what your top three priorities are. These priorities are going to depend on a lot of different things - how well your business is currently doing, if you’re still working your day job and want to quit, how much of a cushion you have, etc.

For example, the priorities for one person who got laid off before she could transition out of her day job slowly are going to be different from the priorities of someone who has a day job that they don’t mind and that they can go to part time at. Making money quickly is likely to be much higher up on the list of priorities for person #1.

Think about things like what kind of work you want to be doing more or less of, how you want to be spending your work-time, how much you want to be working, and so on.

Know What You’re Currently Doing
Now that you’ve got some priorities and a plan to guide your way and make sure you’re on the right track, you’re going to take an inventory of what you’re working on right now and see where everything falls. Over the course of a day or two, make a list of all of the business related activities you do regularly - whether that’s writing blog posts, using Twitter or Facebook, interviewing people, or what have you.

Once you’ve got your list, divide the things you’re currently doing into two categories:

● Keep doing. This is pretty simple - these are activities you enjoy doing, that support your three priorities.
● Stop doing. I’m going to encourage you to be a little ruthless with this category - there are a lot of things we’re told we should do as business owners that we feel like we have to, even if they don’t actually help us out at all. If a particular marketing method doesn’t work for you, then don’t do it! If you don’t enjoy working with people a particular way, stop it. And if an action doesn’t support your three priorities you’ve already decided on, definitely cut it out.

And then create a third category: start doing. After you decide what you’re going to stop doing & what you want to keep doing, you’ll likely notice there’s some holes - like, oh hey, if part of my big vision is to become a published author, I need to make sure I’m writing on a regular basis.

Once you create a list of things you need to start doing, add them into your life one by one (or all at once, if it won’t overwhelm you!). I’d recommend giving yourself a date to start each activity by so that you can hold yourself accountable, but you might not find it necessary.

Come Back for a Checkup
Now that you’ve gone through this process once, you need to make sure you’re doing some version of it on a regular basis. I know, I know - but the time & effort of spending five or ten minutes once a week, or fifteen minutes once a month, making sure that you’re still on track and that you’re staying true to your priorities will pay off a million times in the long run. Part of the reason that we wind up not achieving our goals is because we don’t do check ins - we just want to make grand decisions and plans and resolutions and then sit back without making sure that we’re actually doing regular, consistent work moving towards them. Check ins aren’t the sexy part of the process, but they’re definitely necessary.

Here’s a few ways to make the process more fun:
● Take yourself out! Go to a coffee shop with a pretty notebook that you use for planning and look over everything. Flirt with the barista and buy yourself a frothy drink and make it a fun event instead of a boring one.
● Treat yourself afterwards. Go out for gelato or something else similarly small but treat-y - positive rewards are a popular motivation technique for a reason!
● Have a buddy. This is a win-win - you both get the extra support & accountability that comes from working with a partner.

That’s my basic recipe for fun, un-overwhelming business planning! If you’ve got any questions, hit me up in the comments - I love to answer them (because I am a fantastic nerd). And if you want to learn more about business planning & systems for creatives, sign up for Systems 101, a free four part e-course.

image by chantelle ryter, for sale here

How Do I Write How-Tos + Still Get People To Hire Me?

If you’ve spent any amount of time reading Problogger or Copyblogger or, well, any website that bosses you around about blogging, you know you should be writing advice and how-tos and tutorials on your blog.

There are heaps of reasons that why is a good idea.

* It helps position you as an expert (“I know how to do this and I’ll show you how!”)
* It establishes trust with your readers (“I’m so experienced I can share my knowledge with you!”)
* It builds goodwill with your readers (“I’m sharing useful + valuable information with you because you’re important to me!”)

But. What’s the difference between a great tutorial that gets forwarded around the internet and one that inadvertently teaches your entire readership how to do what you do? And thereby teaches you out of a job?

Good question! Here are two ways to deal with that:

1.  Teach the small, easy, instantly implementable aspects of your field
I can’t teach you how to be an engaging, funny writer in one blog post.  There’s no how-to that will teach fledgling photographers how to capture every beautiful candid moment at a wedding.  But I can tell you five things you should do before you launch your blog.   Sarah can tell you about how to create a style guide for your blog and Alex will tell you about editing beauty shots in Photoshop.

2.  Teach the topics that surround and affect your topic
Let’s say you’re a makeup artist.  You want to be famous for your eyeliner skillz and get hired for photo shoots.  You’re worried that if you create a series of videos teaching people how to do a smoky eye or a beestung lip, they’ll do it themselves and won’t hire you.  So write a series of tutorials about choosing the right makeup for your skin.   Or when to splurge and when to save on beauty products.  You can still teach readers important things about your industry without laying all your proverbial cards on the table.

But before you hoard all that knowledge like a greedy little squirrel, I think it should be said:
Even if you wrote an exhaustive, free ebook that laid out everything you’d learned over the course of your career
Even if you wrote a tutorial for every blessed thing you know how to do

People would probably still hire you to do those things for them.

I know that I could commit to learning HTML and spend months (years?) honing my design eye to redo my own sites.  But honestly?  I’d rather write and consult and pay Kim to code wrangle. I’m pretty sure I could figure out my taxes, but I feel a lot better when Fox Tax does it. People who are serious about their businesses want to bring in an expert to help them. And when you’ve been showing them week after week, month after month, that you know what you’re talking about, you are the one they’re going to want to hire.

Do you write how-tos and tutorials on your blog?  Do you ever worry you’re “giving too much away”?

12 Tricks To Looking Awesome On Video

This guest post comes to us via Share Ross best known as the former bassist for 80’s platinum-selling all female rock band, Vixen. Many years later she went on to become a video editor and producer for clients that included Sony, Geffen, Universal and BMG. Share launched Video Rockstar University to help female entrepreneurs unleash their inner rockstar on camera.

Making videos can be intimidating. Makeup!  Lighting!  That weird accent that you didn’t realize you had!  But after working with tons of clients, I’ve found 12 easy ways to look awesome on video.

1. Smile
Seriously. Smile a lot. It opens us up to what you have to say.

2. If you wanna be a star, you gotta show up
If you wanna make videos, that means you actually need to press record. Go.

3. Make an effort
Spend a little time to look ‘nice’ for the camera. If nothing’s working and some days, let’s face it, it just ain’t, grab some shades and rock ‘em.

4. Be the supporting actor
Your videos have a purpose. No matter if the purpose is selling, promoting, educating or something else, make the videos about your viewers.  Let your message be the star.

5. Dress the part
For most DIY videos all you have to do is wear a well fitted top. Easy, right?

6. Own the pauses
If a pause happens, let it be there. Don’t panic. Just breathe.  “Be the silence.”

7. Rehearse
Practice for your videos! Don’t expect the brilliance to pour forth from you like water from a faucet. Practice your message a few times before you  press record.

8. Be seen
You gotta be lit to be seen. Make sure you’ve got lights in front of you, not behind you. And if possible avoid those nasty overhead fluorescent lights that give you dark circles under your eyes. Unless you’re going for that whole Dracula look. Which is cool, too.

9. Allow evolution
It’s only natural to expect your first video to be amazing and to want perfection. But throw that idea out the window. Allow yourself and your on-camera persona to develop over time. Give it room to evolve. You, your videos and your on-camera energy will keep shifting and changing the more you do it. And that’s a good thing.

10. Can we hear you?
If you invest in a lavaliere mic, it will make a huge difference. The Audio-Technica ATR-3350
is about $25 and works with most laptops.

11. Gaze
Get used to gazing with love into the camera lens. Melt us.

12. Finally, be daring. Be adventurous. Be unpredictable
Challenge yourself. Surprise us. The results will be stupendous.  Shoot for passion instead of perfection.

Do you use video for you blog/website/business?  Any tips to share?

vintage video camera in image for sale here 


7 Posts To Read If You Care About Your Business + Blog

Are you looking at this blog post thinking “Well, that’s a cop out, Sarah.  You didn’t even write anything!  You just linked to a bunch of helpful, informative stuff!”

And while that is true, dear reader, there’s a method to my madness.  Link round ups are a great way for me (or you or any business/blogger) to help out their readers/customers and build relationships with the people they’re linking to.

Also: I wanted an excuse to feature that hilarious sheep print.

Is it time to abandon Facebook?
First, the minute you actually depend on Facebook for your business, they will change their terms of service in a way that causes you pain.  Second, “engagement” does not equal “customers.” I see too many coaches in particular who have magnificent engagement on Facebook. They get tons of shares and comments and likes. But that’s not translating into business. That’s not marketing, it’s an annoying hobby.

The art of getting retweets.

How to write emails that get an immediate response.

15 WordPress user errors that make you look silly.

You probably already know that guest posting on other blogs and hosting guest posts is one of the best ways to network and boost traffic.  Here are two great (free!) downloadable worksheets to help get you pointed in the right direction.

Got a product that’s not selling as much as you want?  Here are 8 ways to boost your sales.

It’s totally possible to take great product photos using just a bright seamless background, natural light and free photo editing software.  Yes, really!

Have you read any particularly helpful posts lately?  Leave links in the comments!

image by art california, for sale here.

How To Befriend Bloggers

The story of one toy -

I thought, for a bit, that I should really title this post ‘How To Network With Bloggers’ - because, you know, SEO and what not.  But the word ‘networking’ feels intimidating and overwhelming and slightly gross.  Eating subpar appetizers while someone shoves their business card in my face and shrieks their elevator pitch?  No.  Sharing super useful advice/client referrals/traffic/cream cheese wontons with someone who I connect with, like, AS A HUMAN BEING?  Yes.

Really?  Networking is mostly just making friends.  And if you approach it as such (and think about what you can bring to the table, rather than what you can get from an interaction) you’ll be befriending bloggers left, right, and all over Twitter.

If there are any bloggers you’d like to collaborate with/pitch/take to coffee, here are a few things that you should do before you drop into their inbox.

* Leave productive, smart, helpful comments on their blog
No matter how big and famous they are, bloggers read their comments and if you’re regularly saying awesome things, they’ll start to remember you.  Of course, some blogs and posts engender better commentary - it’s hard to leave a mind-blowing comment on an outfit post.  But personal essays, tutorials, or thought-provoking posts are an opportunity to chime in.

Also:  make sure that the icon that shows up when you leave a comment matches the headshot on your blog and the icon for your Twitter profile, otherwise it’ll be hard for the blogger to recognize you.

* Interact with them on Twitter
Respond to the comments, answer their questions, ask them questions, send them links you think they’d like.  Just the same way you’d do with a friend.

* If you like something they did, link to it
We’ve talked about how oddly successful/useful link round ups can be.  Readers love ‘em,  they’re a great way to share a bit of traffic love with bloggers you like, and if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like writing, they’re a clever way of creating content without writing 500 words.  When you include someone in a link round up, make sure to @mention them on Twitter so they’ll know you’re talking about them.

If you don’t have a blog, tweet links to bloggers’ content or retweet their links.

* Share things you think they’d like
My readers know my painfully, awkwardly well.  Three different people sent me a link to this inflatable cat unicorn headband and two people sent me links to Macklemore’s Thriftshop song.   And I loved it.  And I totally remember who sent me those links.   Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people you like and admire with information that you think they’d find helpful.

* If you’re going to pitch them, triple check that what you’re pitching is a good fit 
Do they host guest posts?  Do they offer giveaways?  What is the monetary value of those giveaways?  Do they review products?  Do they use c/o items in their outfits posts?  It would be a pity to waste your time (and theirs) crafting the perfect pitch email and then sending it to the wrong person or the wrong type of blog.

* Avoid doing any of these annoying things
Just like in real life, sometimes friendship is about Not Being Annoying.  I promise I’ll pay you that money I owe you, I won’t share that secret with So-and-so, and I won’t have four drinks when I promised to be the designated driver.

Here are some things you should avoid doing:
- Misspelling their name
- Sending them a template email
- Asking them about anything you could google
- Asking them to locate a post they wrote
- Writing an email that is more than two paragraphs long

I’d love to hear from you, bloggers!  How do you like to be treated?  How do you network and befriend other bloggers?  Small businesses, tell us about your interactions with bloggers!

photo by  // cc

3 Creative Ways To Use Videos For Your Small Business

This guest post comes to us via Monica McCarthy, actress and founder of Show & Tell Stories Productions, a boutique production company helping small businesses, entrepreneurs, coaches, and creatives share their stories on camera.

These days I spend little time trying to convince my fellow entrepreneurs that their business could greatly benefit from some video TLC to share their story on their websites. That’s because most people know they want to create more videos.

Sharing your story on camera allows customers to quickly connect with your message and get a more in depth perspective of your service or product.

Therefore, the question I hear most (aside from “What kind of camera should I use?”) is “What kind of videos should I be making?”

The world is your cinematic oyster of course, but for brevity’s sake, lets take a look at three ways to use videos you might not have considered:

1. As a welcome to your newsletter subscribers
What better way to make people feel welcome into your community than addressing them face to face? You can upload the video to your website or Vimeo or YouTube. Or there’s a video hosting business called Wistia that makes the viewing process easier and provides all the data you need to see
who is watching and for how long. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on the list!

2. Promoting products
Instead of that plain ol’ text Amazon Affiliate link, why don’t you offer a quick book review first? If you have sponsors on your blog, what about a video shout out mentioning why they’re awesome? Videos are terrific tools to promote product giveaways on your site as well since the audience gets to see with the prize in hand. Ooh, exciting!

3. Make-overs
If your business offers tangible products, consider showing a before and after. If it’s service based, ask a willing client to let you walk through the process with them. Even if your business doesn’t involve face -o-face interactions (like with copywriters or graphic designers, for example), you can do an interview and use services like Screen Flow to walk through a before and after sales page.

However you choose to incorporate videos into your business story, the most important thing to remember (aside from keeping the videos short!) is that your audience is tuningin to either be informed or entertained (or both).

Of course, videos require planning and practice, but everything worth creating does!

I’d love to hear from you! What questions do you have about creating video content?

adorable video camera necklace by bRainbowshop, for sale here


How To Get People To Notice You On The Internet

Oh, but the internet is crowded with interesting blogs, cool products, and one million people trying to tell you about one million things.  How’s a fledgling blogger or company supposed to gain any traction in a market that already feels totally saturated?

Well, pretty much the same way that anybody ever accomplishes anything: with a plan + lots of hard work.

Here’s a basic break down of how to get people to notice you on the internet.

1.  Create helpful, engaging, beautiful, well-written content
Dur.  Write tutorials that your readers will find useful and forward to their friends.  Take gorgeous photos.  Create content that resonates and connects with your readers and their lives.  (I realize that this is sort of easier said than done - I’ll tell you more about this in future posts!)

2.  Post that awesome content consistently and promote it multiple times on social media
Remember why it’s so important to post consistently?  The more awesome content you put on the internet, the more likely it is that people will notice you.  And remember that because of the way Twitter works, you can tweet links to your posts multiple times without annoying anybody!

3.  Interact with your peers
Assemble Twitter lists and Google Reader folders of the people in your field you’d like to collaborate with.  Chat with them on Twitter, link to awesome things they’ve done, leave comments on their posts, and then email them with collaboration/guest post/let’s-get-coffee ideas!

4.  Pitch your stuff
It’s unlikely that Apartment Therapy and Designsponge are going stumble upon your website of their own volition - pitch them!  The same goes for websites you’d like to guest post for. Pitching can be a bit intimidating, but the worst that’s going to happen is that they’ll ignore your email - pretty painless, right?

5.  Engage your community
The people who read your blog, buy your products, and link to your content are your most valuable resource.  Make sure they know it!  Ask them questions, reply to their comments, give them freebies and discounts.

6.  Don’t be afraid to do something totally different
Sometimes your biggest successes will come from ‘un-monetizeable’ ideas or things you’ve never seen done. Prior to Danielle LaPorte’s Burning Question series, I’d never seen bloggers ask their readers a question and then link to reader responses within their own blog. Storychord is a monthly short story that you read while listening to a hand-picked soundtrack. My own True Story series is sort of an internet anomaly that brings me zero dollars but lots of traffic.

Is this a lot of work?  Yes.  Will these things help you make more sales + gain more readers + network with the best of ‘em?  Also, yes!

Do you have any tips to share?  How do you get noticed on the internet?

vintage glasses for sale here

That Jacked Up Social Media Presence Is Hurting Your Business (And How To Fix It)

This guest post comes to us via the lovely and talents Bobbi of Ready To Blog. She creates gorgeous, super affordable custom blog designs and websites for clever people.  Follow along on Twitter or Facebook

Having confusing or slightly obscure internet handle was pretty much a right of passage for anyone who can remember the times when dial-up was king and AOL used to send you CDs packed with ‘1,000 FREE HOURS, FREE!’

But, with the rise of social media and the proliferation of personal and social brands, it has become necessary for people to be able to find you quickly and in a way that makes sense. Before, using an acronym of all of the sports you used to play followed by a string of numbers as your Twitter handle–I actually did this at one point–might have been fine, but now doing so will rightfully earn you a few side-eyes.

A common, and damaging, mistake that many companies and brands are making on social media has to do with both consistency and clarity. How many times have you seen this: On Twitter, your favorite store has a handle of @marysteacups. Awesome! You scoot over to Facebook so give them a ‘like’, but you find it almost impossible to locate their page. It’s not No sign of Mary’s Teacups when you do a search. When you finally (finally) locate the page, you find a messy URL with an indecipherable string of numbers tacked on to the end. It’s annoying, and it’s totally unnecessary to force your customers to chase you around the internet just to give you some love!

If you’re running social media for a company or for yourself, it’s crucial that you make the best case for yourself online, and that starts with getting your social media property in check. Why?

You’ll look more professional
Once you decide on a name, stick with it, and hoover up all the real-estate you can get your hands on. If you are your brand and you’re going with @firstname_lastname on Twitter, go with the same on Instagram. If you can snag (or something close), do it! There’s no reason to leave your potential customers or fans playing a guessing game to find you. Make it easy and make it obvious. (To set a vanity Facebook URL for a fan page, log in to your account and navigate here:

You’ll encourage people to engage with and share your content
It’s much easier to write, “Find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest at @brandname!” than it is to list three different handles. While it might not always be possible to get your desired usernames, you should get as close as possible and keep an eye on the handles you want in case they become available. When your handles reflect your brand in a concise and clear way, your viewers will have an incentive to not only check you out on your different platforms, but to engage with you on them as well.

You’ll protect your brand
You might not be Twitter-famous yet, but why risk having handles that can be closely associated with your brand snagged by someone who has nothing to do with your business? Having control of your name on different platforms means that you get to determine what’s done with the real estate. Even if that’s nothing, it’s important for you to control the content and messaging through as many of the channels at your disposal as possible.

So, how can you get your social media in order?

Start with your domain
If you’re currently blogging on a free platform like Blogger or, make the $10 investment and get yourself a custom dot com. If you’re feeling particularly thorough, look into securing the .net, .org, or other similar secondary domains as well! This is the first step to putting your best foot forward online and to avoid co-branding yourself with a third-party.

Bring your handles in line
If you currently Tweet from @firstname_lastname and Instagram from @highschoolnickname, start changing your handles to match your brand and each other! Whether that means that both are @firstname_lastname or @companyname is up to you, but make a choice and stick with it. It’s scary, I know! But the sooner you do it the better, and since you can switch your handles without losing your fans and followers, you’ll be glad you made the switch in the long run. Note: If you already have a following and don’t want anyone else to use your old username, swoop in behind yourself and secure your old handles with a new account. While it seems a bit strange to hold on to a handle that you’ll rarely use, you’ll want to have control over your old account to 1) prevent anyone else from pretending to be you and 2) direct any fans that may not check in with you regularly to your new handles.

That’s it!

An investment of 20 minutes is all it takes to get your house in order and begin to project a streamlined and professional front online.

How can you make your online presence more cohesive?  What mistakes have you made along the way?


7 (More) Posts To Read If You Take Your Blog Seriously

We’ve talked about it before - link round ups are a great way to network with your peers, share valuable content with your readers, and put together a blog post for the day after Christmas when you know everybody’s too bloated and tired to read anything real.

Yup.  Social media marketing explained in 61 words.

Want to make the images on your blog more ‘pin-able’?  Five tricks for making engaging images.

If you couldn’t attend the Problogger event (because, um, it was in Australia) here are The Best 9 Things one blogger learned there.

“Hell, no.  I can’t fall off my hustle” - lessons for creatives from the world’s biggest rappers.

8 Skills You Need When Running Your Own Business
No one is going to do anything for you or tell you off if you don’t do the things you know you have to. But your business will suffer. You have to push yourself, yourself. You have to be your own nightmare boss, your own deadline setter, your own bank manager breathing down your neck.

I find links for my round ups the old fashioned way (by reading the internet.)  If that’s not your jam, you can use Prismatic to create a newsfeed that’s topic-specific.  Perfect if you’re a bike shop and need cycling links or a vet who needs animal health links!

Sooooo helpful!  The Anatomy of a Blog-to-Brand Deal.

Add any links you’ve found particularly helpful in the comments!

image by Alex Hartman, for sale here

Getting Your Customers To Gossip About You!

This guest post comes to us via Maria Ross, chief brand strategist and creator of Red Slice, a digital elixir of stories and strategies to boost your business, your brand, and your brain.

“Did you hear about So-and-so?  They just launched a new line and it sold out in a day.  Yes, really!  And if anybody deserves it it’s her.  I love her stuff.  Did you know it’s all made in America?  Truth.  Also: her dresses make me look capital h HOT. “

Obviously, you want your customers talking about you + your products.  And it would be great if they were saying exactly The Right Things.  While you can’t control the words that come out of your clients’ mouths,  you can make it much more likely that they’re saying good things if you create a  customer script.

Oh, you didn’t know they needed one?

If brand is all about reputation, than nothing beats it when that reputation spreads organically through word of mouth. You can’t be all places at once, so it pays to turn your customers into your own private evangelist army.

Many big  brands revel in the fact that customers love them so much, those fans will generate content on their own accord – without pay – that promotes the company. Virgin America enjoys YouTube videos created by their happy passengers. Local businesses love seeing hundreds of stellar Yelp reviews from fans.

But you also want those messages to highlight the right things for your brand. Meaning, you have to give your customers a script – or the main talking points – so that the messages they spread are aligned with the ones you want out in the world. Do you want people to talk about your low prices or your artisan craftsmanship? Do you want the first thing they talk about to be your generous return policy or your quirky and fun email newsletter?

What do you want to be known for? What is most important? One way to ensure customers know the script is to ensure that YOU do.

1) Know your benefits
I work with clients to build brand strategies and messaging platforms. Messaging platforms are internal tools designed to keep all your marketing on script for the three main messages you want to communicate about your brand. Make sure you’re crystal clear in your communications about your top three benefits, rather than rattling off a laundry list no one can possibly remember.

2) Know your differentiators
Make sure people understand why you’re different - and more importantly - better than your competition. Call out the competition if you’re strong where they’re weak. Connect the dots for people - don’t just assume they’ll figure it out for themselves. You know your business intimately and may think something is common knowledge, but people might not know you offer a free trial or donate 10% of your proceeds to the ASPCA. Choose your key differentiators wisely and try to map them to your mission or benefits when you can.

3) Know your brand voice
How does your company “talk?” Are you formal and elegant? Are you sassy and slangy? Whatever voice you choose, ensure that it’s authentic, attracts your target audience, and that you use it consistently. If they are not sure what to make of you, they won’t be able to describe you well to others.

Think about a conversation between a customer and a friend. What do you want them to say about you? What do you want the headline to be? Craft your messaging to ensure your top benefits are conveyed everywhere - your website, presentations, social media, ads. This way, you’re arming your customers with the right script to share with others.

In order to control the external message as much as you can, you need to clarify the message internally first. Don’t just hope your customers will say the right things. Craft your messaging platform based on your brand and your authentic strengths and then bang the drum around those main messages over and over again. Pretty soon, your customers will know the script by heart.

Maria’s just unveiled a killer Indie Brand Bootcamp that helps you create an irresistible brand so you attract more of the right people with less wasted effort.  Use code YESPLEASE for an additional $50 off.

photo (without text on top) by coolio-claire