guest interview

Customer Service is Queen with Catherine Hildner

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Today I’m talking about how customer service is queen with Catherine Hildner. We have a great conversation about why customer service is important, what it looks like in our businesses, and how we can set everything up to be really customer focused. Catherine talks about her experience with both good and bad clients and how she has evolved her customer service over time. We also talk about how you create a one-of-a-kind experience without spending a lot of money. I suggest you go check out the Customer Service 101 Hack Sheet she references at the end of the episode – there will be a link to that in the show notes.

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Connect with Catherine:

Catherine Hildner is the creator, designer and heart and soul behind Kitty Meow: A Creative Boutique. At Kitty Meow you can shop beautifully designed paper goodies based on your mood, witty or sweet. Whether you're looking for something witty and even a little rude, or prefer sweet sentiments, she's got you. Catherine is also a wife, mother, anchor-loving philanthropist, and Customer Service Queen.

 

Topics Discussed:

  • The most important parts of having good customer service

  • How you can set up your business to serve your customers well

  • Owning up to your mistakes and celebrating your wins

  • Saying no to potential clients who aren’t a good fit

  • Breaking up with a bad client

  • How you can create a one-of-a-kind experience without spending a lot of money

  • Customer service when you have employees or contractors working for your business

Action Steps:

  1. Create a set of systems and processes for on-boarding customers

  2. Find thoughtful details to include in your customer service

  3. Own up to your mistakes with your customers

Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Client Appreciation with Nadia Anderson

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Today I’m talking about accounting, bookkeeping, and client appreciation with Nadia Anderson. We cover a lot of topics in this show including the differences between accounting, bookkeeping, and financial planning, and the types of systems you should have in place as a business owner for your finances. We also talk about getting ready for tax season with quarterly taxes and deductions and how all of that works. Then we talk about client appreciation and how Nadia has used that to build both of her businesses and really create relationships that are ongoing so that she can continue to work with clients, vendors, and team members that she loves.

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Connect with Nadia:

Nadia Anderson is the owner of Virginia Grace, an event management company that creates stress free celebration memories for its clients. She is a certified public accountant (CPA) and a chartered global management accountant (CGMA) with twenty years’ experience. In her accounting practice she supports creative business owners and nonprofit organizations with her unique blend of creativity and business aptitude and experience. She enjoys sharing information and giving practical advice for entrepreneurs to be successful. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @NadiatheCPA and @vagraceevents.

Topics Discussed:

  • Staying on top of your finances so you aren’t rushing to prepare for tax season

  • The difference between accounting, bookkeeping, and financial planning

  • Building a dream team and who should be on it

  • The types of systems business owners should have in place for bookkeeping and taxes

  • What quarterly taxes are and how they might benefit your business

  • Business deductions including meals and clothing

  • How client appreciation benefits business owners

  • Building referrals through showing appreciation to both clients and vendors

  • How Nadia shows appreciation to her clients before, during, and after working together

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Build your dream team of an accountant, financial advisor, lawyer, insurance agent, and banker

  2. Set aside time every month (or more often) to look at your finances

  3. Consider ways you can show more appreciation to your clients and team members

Creating Your Email Welcome Sequence with Sarah Anderson

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Today I’m talking with Sarah Anderson about creating a welcome sequence for your email list. We go into a lot of detail in this episode about why you need a welcome sequence, what you can include, how you can set it all up, and really making sure that this is another way that you’re serving your audience by giving them as much value as you can.

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Connect with Sarah:

Sarah Anderson is a copywriter and email marketing strategist. She believes that building a relationship with your list is one of the most valuable investments you can make in your marketing. That's why Sarah works with business owners who want emails that nurture subscribers, give tons of value, and convert into sales.

 

Topics Discussed:

  • Why you need a welcome sequence for your email list

  • Setting a goal for your welcome sequence

  • The types of emails to include and how often you should be emailing

  • Selling in a welcome sequence without feeling pushy

  • Common objections business owners have to creating welcome sequences

  • Setting up your email list so that everyone gets the right emails at the right time

  • Where subscribers should go after they’ve completed your welcome sequence

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Decide on a goal for your welcome sequence

  2. Start to plan the purpose for each email in the sequence

  3. Schedule a time to write your emails with a deadline

Planning for Maternity Leave with Arianna Taboada

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Today I’m talking about planning for maternity leave with Arianna Taboada. We cover a ton of information specifically for expecting entrepreneurs, but even if you are looking at planning for the future and taking a leave in your business, this is a really helpful episode. We talk about how a baby is going to affect your business and Arianna’s tips for babyproofing while you’re still in the planning stages. She also gives us tips on changes we can make to our website and how we can let our current clients know what our plans are in advance so everyone is prepared for what’s to come. She also talks about building a support network when we find out we’re pregnant and why it’s important to have a transition time to learn the balance between new motherhood and business.

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Connect with Arianna:

Arianna is a maternal health expert, author, and owner of a consulting firm that helps female founders intelligently design maternity leave plans that meet their business model and personal needs.  Prior to her consulting practice, Arianna worked on maternal health issues for over a decade as a health educator, a social worker in a mental health clinic, a reproductive health researcher, and a yoga therapist. She draws from her expertise as a maternal health professional, combined with her experience as a business owner and mother, to provide highly personalized services for service-based entrepreneurs. She is deeply committed to providing on-going, multi-faceted support that meets the professional, physical, mental, social, and emotional needs of entrepreneurs as they babyproof their business and navigate new motherhood. Arianna lives, works, and plays with her family in Berkeley, California.

Topics Discussed:

  • How having a baby affects your business as an entrepreneur

  • Tips for babyproofing your business while you’re pregnant or when you’re thinking about starting a family

  • Changes you can make to your website to help as you plan for maternity leave

  • How to let your current clients know about your leave plans

  • Building a support network for the post-partum period

  • The importance of having a transition time as you get back into business after having a baby

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Review or develop your standard operating procedures for your core business operations.

  2. Conduct a time audit for 2 weeks.

  3. Learn from other entrepreneurs with similar businesses and what they did for maternity leave.

Copyrights and Trademarks with Caroline Fox

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Today I’m talking about copyrights, trademarks, and all things intellectual property with Caroline Fox. We cover a ton of topics, so this is a busy episode but it’s full of great information. We talk about copyrights – what they are, how you can get one, why you need one, and what you can do if someone steals your work. Then we talk about trademarks and why they’re important and how they can benefit you. Caroline gives us some great insight into steps we can take to make sure that our business is set up legally and that we are taking advantage of everything that we can so that our small businesses can really get out there and grow with the protection that we need.

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Connect with Caroline:

Caroline Fox is the principal attorney at my law firm, CJFox Law, and has been named to Virginia's "Legal Elite" list for the past two years. She also founded the Engaged Legal Collective, an educational resource with templates, guides, and workshops for wedding pros. She’s been lucky enough to speak at conferences like Wedding Wire and Destination Wedding Planners Conference, and has  written for Wedding Business Magazine and Rising Tide Society. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with my dog, and is otherwise pretty boring.

 

Topics Discussed:

  • What intellectual property is and why it matters for creative entrepreneurs

  • The difference between copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets

  • What qualifies as a trade secret and how you can protect them

  • When you need a copyright and how to get one

  • The benefits of having your work registered as a copyright

  • Steps you can take if someone steals your work

  • What you should trademark and why working with a lawyer is beneficial

  • The trademark registration process

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Make an evaluation of intellectual property is valuable in your business

  2. Research lawyers in your area to help you if needed

  3. Start putting preemptive steps in place to prevent issues

Finding Your Personal Style with Meghann VanderBaan

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Today I’m talking about find your personal style with Meghann VanderBaan of MVB Style. She shares why having a personal style is beneficial for entrepreneurs, finding your own personal style, and how we can find the right pieces for our wardrobe. We talk about dressing for everyday life and conferences, as well as how we can put together outfits that make us feel confident.

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Connect with Meghann:

Meghann VanderBaan is not your typical personal stylist who recommends fancy designer outfits. She helps moms and business owners ditch the yoga pants to gain confidence. Through her style guides and coaching programs, she enables women to dress themselves beautifully for the lifestyle they actually have.

 

Topics Discussed:

  • Why it’s important for entrepreneurs to have a personal style

  • The benefits of having a personal style when shopping and planning outfits

  • Tips on cleaning out your closet

  • How to find your personal style

  • Finding clothes that fit and work for your life

  • How to style your clothes to look pulled together

  • The building blocks for creating a pulled together look

  • Dressing for everyday life and conferences or events as an entrepreneur

  • How having a personal style can really increase your confidence

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Clean out your closet and get rid of what isn't working for you

  2. Create a Pinterest board of outfits that you love

  3. Make a list of the pieces that you're missing from your closet that you can purchase for yourself

Understanding Website Policies and the GDPR with Christina Scalera

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Today I’m talking with Christina Scalera about understanding website policies and the GDPR. Christina gives us her insight into the GDPR and what it means for all of us as small business owners, as well as things we can be doing to get our website policies and terms & conditions up to date so that we are on track legally and it’s not something we have to worry about down the road. We talk about newsletters and opt-ins, the cookie banner, and some action steps you can take today to get started on this journey without freaking out about it.

 I loved talking with her about this (and Christina is who I got my GDPR-compliant privacy policy from), so I recommend you check out The Contract Shop and listen to this episode when you have a chance to take notes and figure out what you need to be doing for your own website based on where you’re located and your business.

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Connect with Christina:

Christina Scalera is the attorney and founder behind The Contract Shop, a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, wedding professionals, and coaches. Three years ago, Christina found herself dreaming of pursuing a more creative path, and she started to look for alternatives to her in-house legal job. She explored everything from teaching yoga to becoming a freelance graphic designer to opening an Etsy shop. In the process, she ended up coming full circle by creating a business that brought the benefit of her legal training to help her fellow creatives. When she’s not staring at a computer or awkwardly standing on cafe chairs for the perfect overhead latte photo, you can find her in the woods doing things that are sometimes dangerous but always fun, like riding horses, skiing and reluctantly camping.

Topics Discussed:

  • The difference between a website privacy policy and terms & conditions

  • Why you need a privacy policy

  • The GDPR and who it affects

  • Christina’s take on the GDPR and how she’s implementing it in her business

  • Updates you may need to make to your newsletters and opt-ins

  • What the cookie banner you’re seeing everywhere is and why you need one

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Go to thecontractshop.com/quiz to find out where your business is at legally

  2. Put it in your calendar to listen to this episode again to take notes

  3. Remember that when you say you're bad at something, it's a story you're telling yourself

Getting Raving Testimonials with Kim Wensel

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Today I’m talking about getting raving testimonials with Kim Wensel. We talk about a lot of topics here, including why testimonials are important and how you can ask clients for testimonials. Kim also talks about the types of questions you should be asking and the other information you should consider gathering when you’re asking clients for testimonials. We talk about using the information you’ve gathered to create and effective testimonial and tailoring your request to serve your dream clients. Then we dive into the difference between client feedback, testimonials, and case studies.

This is a great episode if you’re interested in learning more about how you can share testimonials that actually speak to your dream clients.

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Connect with Adrienne:

A true multi-passionate, Kim tried out many career paths before finding her career footing, including: owning a wedding planning business, managing health programs in Nigeria and Kenya, working as a nonprofit communications and research consultant, and serving as an admissions counselor at two universities. While she’s a self-taught entrepreneur, Kim also has Masters degrees in Social Work and Public Health.

She lives outside of Washington DC with her two kids, husband, and the most lovable rescue dog you’ve ever met. When she’s not working on her business, she can be found heading for the mountains, desperately trying to escape city traffic.

 

Topics Discussed:

  • Why testimonials are important for businesses

  • How we can ask our clients for testimonials

  • The types of questions we should be asking in our testimonial request

  • Other information you should consider asking for

  • Using the information you’ve gathered to craft an effective testimonial

  • Tailoring your request to serve your dream clients

  • The difference between client feedback, testimonials, and case studies

  • Where you should use testimonials

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Start listing the questions, challenges, and desires your dream clients has about your work are coming to you with

  2. Put together a list of questions to pull from when you ask for a testimonial

  3. Ask – build asking for testimonials into your process

Showcasing Your Personality in Business with Eric & Jamie Gay

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Today I’m talking with Eric & Jamie Gay about showcasing your personality in business. This is a really fun episode and it’s the first time that we’ve had a married couple on the show, so I’m excited for you to learn from them. We talk about why it’s important for your potential clients to get to know your personality before hiring you and how they came to that decision in their business based on the vendors they hired for their own wedding. We also talk about where you can show your personality to your clients so that they know that you’re going to be a great fit for them and you know you’re finding the right people. I also ask Eric & Jamie a little bit about what it’s like working with your spouse and how they balance the responsibilities of running a business together.

Even if you are not a photographer, I encourage you to listen to this episode. There are some great takeaways for anyone in a service-based business who is serving clients one-on-one and wants to make sure that they are infusing their personality in their business.

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Connect with Adrienne:

Eric & Jamie Gay make up an award-winning husband-and-wife wedding photography team serving incredible couples throughout the southeast and beyond. Living by the motto, “Classic is Always Current," Eric & Jamie Photography capture timeless, joyful wedding imagery to celebrate and preserve the love of the wedding day. Their work can be found in publications like The Knot, BRIDES, Southern Bride, YAHOO! and Style Me Pretty. Recently named Best Wedding Photographer in their hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Eric & Jamie photograph over 40 weddings per year, manage two associate photographers and their weddings, and run an in-demand, high-end photography business.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why it’s important to showcase your personality with potential clients before they hire you

  • How our interactions with other businesses and vendors affect how we run our own business

  • Why clients are drawn to your personality before your work

  • Ways to showcase your personality online

  • Using automations to balance professional and personal communication

  • Working with your spouse

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Showcase special moments with your clients on social media

  2. Infuse your personality in little ways like your Instagram bio

  3. Use your picture on your website

Marriage and Entrepreneurship with Adrienne Rolon

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Today I’m talking about marriage and entrepreneurship with Adrienne Rolon. This was such a fun topic to cover because so many of us, as we run our businesses, are trying to figure out how to involve our spouses and make sure that our marriages are still an important part of our lives. Today we talk about why marriage as an entrepreneur is different than when you both work standard jobs and how we can get our spouses excited and ready to support your business. We then talk about the types of business conversations you should be having with your spouse and how you can find a role for your spouse in your business to support you and to make them a part of what you’re doing. Adrienne also talks about how having children affected their marriage and their business and the changes they had to make as those life changes came along, as well as a few tips for making sure that you are cultivating a marriage and a business that you love.

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Connect with Adrienne:

Adrienne is the wedding planner, designer, floral artist, and marriage encourager behind Heart's Content Events & Design! She is so passionate about her craft, and takes joy in planning and designing stunning, heartfelt, and joy-filled wedding days, so couples can sit back, relax, actively prepare for their marriage, and spend intentional time with those who matter most. She is married to her college sweetheart, Josh, who teams up with her to counsel and encourage creative business owners to become better stewards of their marriages while fostering the growth of thriving businesses. They are blessed to be parents to their fun-loving son, James, their joyful daughter, Nora, and rambunctious but kind Frenchie, Nina.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why marriage as an entrepreneur can be different than when you work a standard job

  • Making time for your spouse when working on your business

  • How you can get your spouse excited and ready to support your business

  • The types of business conversations you should be having regularly with your spouse

  • Making it easy for your spouse to be supportive by giving them a role in your business

  • How having children can affect your marriage and business

  • Why it’s important to spend time away from your business

Resources Discussed: