creative entrepreneur

Introducing Process to Profitability

Introducing Process to Profitability | Lemon and the Sea

I'm starting a podcast!

On Process to Profitability, I'll be chatting with creative entrepreneurs and small business owners in every industry about the tools, strategies, and processes that they've used to serve their clients and grow their small businesses.

Since starting my business, Lemon and the Sea, over two years ago, I've discovered the key to building a business that you love and that is profitable is serving your clients and customers really well. 

This is something that I have implemented in my own business and that I've helped my clients set u pin their businesses. Now I'm excited to show you how you can create a business that showcases your heart to serve and still allows you to grow and build a business that fits you and reflects who you are.

Each episode will feature either a guest or will be a solo show with me talking about the processes that I use in my own business. I'm going to encourage to listen and then take what you've learned and apply it to your business in a way that's going to match what you do and the people you serve.

Every one of us is on a unique journey, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from each other. So I'm excited to bring on some amazing guests who can teach you what they have learned over the years and how you can apply that to your own business in a way that works for you.

New episodes will be published every Thursday and I have a great lineup of guests that I'm really excited to share with you.

The show premieres on June 1st and I hope you join me on this journey from process to profitability.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Why Customer Service Always Matters

Why Customer Service Always Matters | Lemon and the Sea

I looked long and hard for a client management software that fit my needs and was within my price range. For two years of my business, I did without because I couldn’t find something that worked with my process. Then I found Dubsado and I fell in love.

Now this post isn’t about Dubsado – although you should check it out – but about why I decided to sign up with them so quickly. Because it wasn’t the normal reasons I choose a service – I had a system that was working for me and my clients – but because when I signed up for an introduction webinar to walk me through setting up my account, it was led by Becca Berg, one of the creators of Dubsado.

And not only did she lead the webinar, but Becca and her husband Jake are also the people you hear from when you ask for help (in their Facebook group or the Help Center). It was the amazing customer service that I received right from the start that sold me – and reminded me how important serving my clients well really is.

Your Clients are the Basis of Your Business

Whether you’re running a service- or product-based business, your clients are the reason you’re in business. They are the ones who see your talent and recognize that they need you to help them. And they’re the ones how will help your business grow – through referrals, reviews, testimonials, and just sharing about you.

But that means that your clients are also the ones who can bring your business down if you aren’t delivering what you promised. (That sounds ominous, but it doesn’t have to scare you.)

Of course, you will never be able to please everyone. We all have customers who won’t be happy no matter what we do, but if you have a solid base of fans, those few negative voices won’t have nearly the impact you’re afraid they will.

Serving Well Comes before Making Money

My clients are important to me – which is why I’m so passionate that serving them well is more important than making a huge profit. (Plus, clients who enjoy working with you will be happy to pay you.)

Yes, there are those who make lots of revenue with not-so-good customer service, but those are usually short-term gains, especially online where there are so many services to choose from. When a business gets a reputation for treating their clients badly, it spreads quickly and can ruin a small business.

The good news is that great customer service will lead to profitability in your business – but it shouldn’t be your main focus.

Balancing Serving Well and Setting Boundaries

Here’s the problem that most small business have when it comes to providing great customer service – we don’t know where (or how) to draw the line between going above and beyond for a client and being taken advantage of.

Good customer services sets boundaries so that you can do your best work and your client knows what to expect. You can start by setting these boundaries early and continue to reinforce them throughout your time with a client so that you can avoid issues down the road. Consider making your boundaries clear in these areas:

  • On your website
  • In your welcome documents
  • In your contract
  • In your emails (signatures are great for this)

Not sure what kinds of boundaries you should be setting with clients? This is a good place to start:

  • Hours of availability
  • Types of communication (don't give out your cell phone number unless you want clients to text you)
  • Number of revisions
  • Non-refundable deposits
  • Consequences for client not following through
  • Consequences for you not following through
  • How and when you get paid
  • Scope of work
  • How to hire you for additional work

You’ll add your own boundaries as you work with clients and find areas in your business that need to be protected. (For more about setting boundaries, check out this episode of the Being Boss podcast.)

Find a Service Focus

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to be the best at every part of customer service (don’t you wish that was possible), so choose what areas of customer service you will focus on (this will depend on how you like to work and who your dream client is).

  • Extras and gifts
  • Working hand-in-hand with clients
  • Education
  • Becoming friends with clients
  • Connecting people

Your service focus is how you’re going to stand out from the crowd and find your dream clients – because they need exactly what it is that you’re going to help them with.

But remember that even if you focus on serving in one area of business, there are still things that must be done well, no matter the client or business. Efficiency, communication, knowledge, leading your clients, and meeting your commitments are the basis of great customer service and are non-negotiables. (You wouldn’t believe the number of clients who tell me that their previous designer took their money and totally disappeared on them.)

As you become known for your customer service, people will want to share your work to their friends. And when difficult times come – when you might fall behind or miss an email – clients are more likely to be understanding because they know it’s out of character.

To-Do for You: Evaluate your current customer service and see what areas you could improve. Then find ways - like automation and templates - to make that as easy as possible.

* If you're interested in trying Dubsado, you can get started for free. Then, if you love it, get 20% off your first month or year using the code lemon (and I get a free month as well)! I wouldn't recommend it, if I didn't love it.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Why You Need a Professional Website for a Word of Mouth Business

Why You Need a Professional Website for a Word of Mouth Business | Lemon and the Sea

Have you ever looked up a restaurant you heard great things about only to find an out-of-date website (or no website at all)? I know that I have. And while I may be more picky than most, I usually choose not to eat at that restaurant. It’s not that I don’t trust the person who referred me, but that I like to check things out for myself.

Recently, a client came to me in need of an updated website. Her business was thriving and she was booking new clients faster than she imagined through word-of-mouth referrals, but she wanted to appear more professional when people searched for her online.

Referrals are great – and my business is built on them – but it’s important that you don’t let a word-of-mouth business tempt you into letting your website remain less than professional. (If you’re just starting out, I totally support your DIY-ing it until you’re ready to invest in working with a designer.) You want your website to support the recommendations you’re receiving.

These are a few reasons why having a professional website is so important:

Have a Home

Your website is the online home of your business. And in an age where everyone is searching online, that home needs to reflect what you do and who you work with.

If you’re currently building your business based only on social media platforms, you really need to create a website as well. While social media is a great way to build community and share your work, it doesn’t belong to you. Facebook can shut your account down at any time, even if you didn’t do anything wrong, or they can decrease your reach so you have to pay for ads to continue growing.

A website is something you own and you can change it as needed to reflect your business. You can also use your social media to direct people to your website where they can more easily get in contact with you so that you can find more of your dream clients.

Build Trust

People judge a business based on it’s website. There’s no way around that, so you need to have a website that looks professional and trustworthy.

Your website should reflect your brand, be authentic to your voice, and provide value to visitors so that they can know and trust you before they even get in touch with you about working together.

Building trust can be done is many ways, including:

  • Creating and sharing content
  • Posting consistently
  • Sharing images of yourself (head shots and at work)
  • Featuring testimonials and projects
  • Making it easy to navigate

The best websites will have all of these things, and you should be checking every few months to make sure they are all up-to-date.

Find Dream Clients

A well-designed website will show your dream clients that you’re the perfect fit for them (and it will turn off those not-so-dreamy clients so you don’t have to).

This is where your portfolio becomes really important – you want show work that you want to be hired for, not just every project you’ve completed. Here are a few tips to help you curate a portfolio that gets you hired:

  • Only share work you loved and want more of
  • Include a testimonial from the client along with a head shot
  • Talk about some of the details of what you did and how that benefited your client
  • Include a link to a blog post with more of the story if applicable

You can also make it really easy for visitors to know who it is you work with by telling them who your dream client is. Making a list of things your dream client loves, believes, and does is a great way to do.

The overall goal of your website is to get your dream clients to hire you and to turn others away for you so you don't have to say no.

Share Important Information

We all have information that we would like our clients (or other vendors) to know before they work with us and it can be exhausting to share that each and every time someone asks.

You can use your website (especially your blog) to education clients about the most important information, answer your frequently asked questions, and let people get to know who you are before they hire you.

By sharing this information freely and openly, you let visitors know that you’re an expert in your industry and that you provide even more value if they hire you.

Move to the Future

You can grow and expand a website as your business grows and changes.

They are easy to update (especially compared to paper documents), help you reach more potentials clients, and can help you build an audience over time so that you always have people supporting you.

While you may not know what services you want to offer in the future, a professional website will be able to expand with you so that you aren’t limited by the platform.

To-Do For You: If you don't already have a website, look into Squarespace. It makes it really easy to DIY a website until you're ready to invest in a working with a designer.

If you have a website, but you think it needs some improvements so that you can get hired by your dream clients, book a FREE website assessment with me. During this 20 minute assessment we'll

  • Review your website together
  • Talk about ways you can tweak your website to attract your dream clients
  • Come up with three simple updates you can make today

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


What I Do In My Time Off and Other FAQ's

What I Do In My Time Off and Other FAQ's

How did Lemon and the Sea get it's name?

Long story short, God gave me this name very early in my business (like, before my business was even a real thing) and I've stuck with it ever since. For more details, check out this post all about the story behind the name and how Lemon and the Sea got it's start.

Who do you work with?

We love working with creative women with a heart to serve. It doesn't matter is you are in a "creative" industry as long as you're willing to think about the box and push past what's "normal." We've worked with wedding professionals, interior designers, authors, bloggers, accountants, dance instructors, and even an agronomist and we've loved them all! If you have a passion for serving others well and want to build a business that supports the life you want to live, we're on-board for that!

WHAT IS BRANDING, EXACTLY?

Your brand is you, especially if you’re running a one person business. It’s what you’re about: your values, your message, and your approach. Branding is how you present yourself to the world: through email, social media, blogging, and anything else you do. Design takes all of that and makes it visual. This can include your logo, your color palette, your website, or your print documents. Your design should match your brand, not the other way around. This is why I take so much time to get to know you and your business before I jump into creating.

WHY DO YOU ONLY DESIGN WEBSITES ON SQUARESPACE?

I love Squarespace! I want to make things as easy as possible for you as your business grows and you need to update your website. Squarespace makes updates and changes super easy. I can set all of the visuals in place and you don’t have to worry about a new page or blog post not matching the rest of your site. It’s easy to use and works really well because you never have to worry about plug-ins or updates. Squarespace also has a great customer service if you ever have questions.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

I’ve been creating and designing since I was old enough to hold craft supplies. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to combine my love of creating with my passion for organization and helping others. I attended Clemson University and studied Architecture, where I learned a lot about design in general. My favorite part of every project was playing around with concepts and figuring how to mesh beautiful design with practical experience for each different client. After graduating, I took a job working for a family run business where I handled everything from everyday administrative tasks to updating and photographing products for their online store. I was able to design for every aspect of business from email marketing graphics to real estate advertisements, from product photography to website additions. When the time came to relocate for my husband’s career, I was excited to have the opportunity to take everything I’d learned and the projects I’d done to build a business that allowed me to design for people who are just as passionate about what they do as I am about my own work.

Do you have kids?

Okay, maybe this one is mostly from people I meet in person, but I do get asked this a lot since my husband and I have been married for 4+ years now. The answer? No, we don't have kids, but we do have a goofy little dog named Gambit who hangs out in the office with me every day. Check him on Instagram at #gambittheweshi.

What are your business values?

We believe in serving well. We believe that we’re all at our best when we’re serving others with our talents and skills. That’s why we focus on creating processes that make communication easy and work efficient.

We believe in meaningful projects. What we do matters. That’s why we choose projects that we can execute well and that speak to our mission and vision. And you should too.

We believe in authentic design. Design should be a reflection of who you are, not what’s trendy or normal in your industry. We aren’t afraid to think outside the box.

We believe in family time. You know that idea that you have to hustle all the time? We believed it too for a while. Then we learned that we’re at our best when we can invest in the people who matter most - our friends and family. So we take time to make them a priority - and you should too.

We believe that growth is important. We love continually learning in growing, both in business and personally. We’re always testing out new systems and making investments in our future.

What do you do in your time off?

What time off? Just kidding! I've learned the hard way that it's important to make time for myself and my family if I want this business to be sustainable.

When I'm not working, I love cooking dinner with my husband, binge-watching Netflix, hanging out with local creatives and my church life group, and spending time exploring Virginia. I'm a big reader, so I always have a book by my bed and I'm all about DIY projects for my house.

My favorite shows include Criminal Minds, Veronica Mars, Firefly, and Gilmore Girls. My most watched movie is probably Legally Blonde (my sister and I watched it everyday for an entire week once), and my favorite (non-business) podcasts are Myths and Legends, Crime Writers On, Casefile, Generation Why, Invisibilia, and These are Their Stories.

Want to know more about me? I'm always sharing behind-the-scenes stuff on Instagram.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


The World Needs Your Story

The World Needs Your Story | Lemon and the Sea: Your story is so important to your personal brand s because it share the bigger message behind your why and connects with your audience.

Remember when you had to give presentations in school to practice your "public speaking skills?" You would get docked points for saying "um" too much (which my sister has pointed out that I do), you were graded on making eye contact, and you had to keep up with your time so it wasn't too long or too short.

For many of us, both speaking and listening was a nightmare because everything was so robotic and formulaic. Looking back on it now, the torture of giving and listening to speeches wasn't because the information was boring, but because there was no story behind it.

Story is a driving force.

The best speakers share stories to engage their audience and connect the dots of their message with the real world. If you've ever listened to a really good sermon, you know the pastor will combine personal stories and his Biblical teaching.

Without those stories, you would just be listening to a list of dos and don'ts. (And you'd probably be trying hard not to fall asleep.)

Story is a driving force for any message - whether it's for a presentation, a teaching moment with your kiddos, or a business. People want to know that you've been there, that you understand, and that you aren't just spouting facts with no real purpose behind them.

You have something unique to share, even if you don't think you do.

Your story - how you got to where you are now - is unique. It may not feel like it (I mean, there are a surprising number of graphic designers who started out in architecture), but even if the basic building blocks of your story are similar to others you've heard, you have something no one else does - your perspective.

It's like when psychologists have a group of people all watch a video of the same car accident. The facts of the accident may all be the same, but each person saw it a little differently (which is why eyewitness testimony isn't very reliable, but that's a whole other topic).

So even if you're in a crowded market like design or photography, your story gives you a unique viewpoint on what you do and why you do it.

Your Story Informs your why

We talk about finding your "why" a lot as creative entrepreneurs, but it isn't always as easy as following a formula.

Your "why" isn't some vague reason that you pull out on the home page of your website - it's part of your story. For example, my "why" is to help other women build businesses they love and that let's them focus on their families. I didn't come to this because it seems nice, but because I've worked for businesses that I don't believe in, done jobs that take me away from my family, and I've decided to build my own business in a way that's different.

I believe that God has brought you to this place and time for a reason. It may not be clear yet what that is, but He's developing your story so you can share it with others.

Someone needs your story

It can feel like you're shouting into a crowd when you're trying to reach your dream clients and share your message and that turns many of us off of even trying.

But I promise you (and I can do that because I've seen it) that someone out there is watching and listening to your story. You may not be aware of them, they may never reach out to you, but they need to hear your story.

Maybe they are a few steps behind you and want to learn. Maybe they're going through something similar to your experiences and just need the encouragement that this too shall pass. Or maybe they're at the very beginning of a new path and they're struggling to find their own voice.

No matter what, even if you're sharing your story with only one person, it's worth it. Because it does make a difference.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.