guest interview

Re-Release | Writing a Book that Serves Your Audience and Your Business with Jodi Brandon

Writing a Book that Serves Your Audience and Your Business

Today I’m talking to Jodi Brandon all about writing a book at serves your business and your business. We got though the process of brainstorming topics for your book, writing that book, getting it published, and even get into some marketing. In addition, we cover the ultimate purpose of your book is and how you can validate your topic before you get started. Jodi also talks about the importance of finding a topic that is going to bring your audience back to your services and how you can serve them well through the topic you choose and the book you write. She also talks a little bit about her own book and how she went through this process herself, as well as the reasons that you should consider self-publishing instead of going with traditional publishing.

Jodi Brandon has more than 20 years' experience in book publishing. After many years working at traditional publishing houses, Jodi and her husband relocated from New York to Philadelphia and she launched her freelance editing business. Jodi's passion these days is working as a book editor and writing/publishing coach for creative entrepreneurs, bloggers, and small business owners who want to level up their business with a book.

Connect with Jodi:

Topics Discussed:

  • How she moved from working in traditional publishing to working one on one with small business owners and creative entrepreneurs

  • Why small business owners should write a book

  • How to find a topic for your book, including validating your idea before you start writing

  • Ways you can reuse the content you’ve already created

  • How she works with clients to help them publish a book

  • The difference between traditional and self- publishing

  • How to launch and market your book

  • How to get book readers back into your business and eventually hire you

Resources Discussed:

Re-Release | Managing Multiple Businesses without Complete Overwhelm with Krista Miller

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Today I’m talking with Krista Miller of Krista Rae all about managing multiple business without complete overwhelm. Even if you aren’t managing multiple businesses right now, this episode is still really relevant because we’re talking about practical steps you can take to avoid overwhelm in your business as you’re adding side projects or just juggling client and business work.

I’m excited about the way Krista runs her business and her willingness to share the systems she uses. She gives great advice on how we can run everything without spending 24/7 on our computer or in our business. She also talks about how you can break your tasks up to get everything done and gives her biggest tip for running multiple businesses without getting overwhelmed.

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Connect with Krista

Krista is a WordPress developer, co-host of the Get Back To Design Podcast, and co-founder of Coded Creative Themes. She specializes in collaborating with passionate designers to craft strategic websites that directly support their clients' goals, while helping them ditch the tech and spend more time doing what they love - design.

Topics Discussed:

  • The businesses Krista runs and how each got started

  • How we can run our business and pursue other projects without working all the time

  • The systems Krista tried and what works best for her

  • Exactly how she organizes her week to allow for client work, business projects, and flexible time

  • How you can break down all your tasks so you can get it all done

  • Her biggest tip for running multiple businesses without getting overwhelmed

Resources Discussed:


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Re-Release | Connecting to Your Clients through Brand Photography with Mallika Malhotra

Connecting to Your Clients through Brand Photography with Mallika Malhotra

Today I’m talking with Mallika Malhotra of Mikifoto + Co all about brand photography – what it is, where you can use it, and how you can get the best images possible whether you’re working with a brand photographer or someone who is going to help you capture your brand story through imagery. We chat about where you can use these images online, the best places to share these image in a way that is really going to connect with your dream clients.

Mallika also has a book coming out that covers all of these topics and more. Check it out at The Brand Photography Playbook.

Mallika Malhotra of Mikifoto + Co is a brand photographer and brand story strategist who works with women entrepreneurs, inspiring them to express themselves, share their stories and unleash their creativity through photography, branding and live workshops. She combines her strategic business sense with her creative photography skills to help her fellow lady bosses stand out and energize their message with confidence. 

Based in northern NJ, Mallika also teaches live workshops on branding, vision boarding and photo styling. When she is not taking photos or building brands, she is at home with her three sons and husband, drinking coffee or red wine and dreaming about their next global adventure.

Connect with Mallika:

Topics Discussed:

  • What brand photography is and how small businesses can use it

  • How you can get photos that will connect with your dream clients

  • Why knowing your brand story and why is so important

  • Telling your business’s story through photography

  • The importance of being true to yourself and not just following trends

  • The questions you should be asking a photographer before you work together

  • How to get comfortable in front of the camera

  • Where you can use your brand photos

  • When you should consider investing in a brand photoshoot

  • How to use stock photography with your branded images

Resources Discussed:

Re-Release | Building a Team that Supports Your Business Mission with Ashley Cox

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Today I am talking with Ashley Cox of sproutHR all about building a team that supports your business mission. We covered some great topics including how to hire for a small business, how to set up the hiring process including creating a really great job description, and how you can create an interview process that will help you find the right person for the job. We also talk a little bit about the difference between contractors and employees and how you might be able to hire an intern for your business.

Ashley has so much to share and we covered a lot of it today, so I’m really excited for this episode.

Ashley Cox is The HR Partner for Creatives at sproutHR, where she helps you hire, train, and lead your thriving team, all with confidence and heart. She loves to make the scary and overwhelming parts of hiring and leading a team simple, actionable and fun, so you can feel more at ease in your business and get the help you need!

Connect with Ashley:

Topics Discussed:

  • How Ashley moved from corporate HR to running her own business helping creative entrepreneurs

  • How she found a place where she could use her corporate experience and build a business she loves

  • How to create processes and systems to help your business grow

  • The importance of writing your processes down

  • How to create a job description that helps you hire the right person

  • Why you need to outline the interview process before you start accepting applications

  • The things you need to include in a job description

  • How to make sure that the person you’re hiring has the skills needed for the job

  • Why you should hire slowly to avoid hiring the wrong person

  • The difference between a contractor and employee

  • Why you can’t hire an unpaid intern

  • The importance of creating a culture for your business

Resources Discussed:

 

Re-Release | Creating Contracts that Protect You and Your Client with Autumn Witt Boyd

Creating Contracts that Protect Your and Your Client with Autumn Witt Boyd

Today I’m talking with lawyer Autumn Witt Boyd all about creating contracts that protect you and your clients. Autumn and I had worked together on a contract for my own business and so I was excited to bring her on to talk about her process and some tips for creating contracts that protect you and your business while still making sure that your clients get the best deal possible. The goal of your contract is that you can both be confident that you would be protected if something were to happen and how that makes it so much easier to work while knowing you have a contract to back you up.

Autumn Witt Boyd is an experienced lawyer who helps high-achieving and ambitious business owners reach their big goals, faster and smarter. Autumn guides creative entrepreneurs with big dreams as they grow from one-person-shows to bigger deals and collaborations. She has special expertise in copyright and trademark issues.

Autumn also hosts the Legal Road Map podcast, which teaches business owners how to protect their rights and stay out of legal hot water. She lives in Chattanooga, TN with her husband Dave, twin boys Sam and Tyson, and daughter Vivian.

Connect with Autumn:

Topics Discussed:

  • Why a contract is the most important legal protection for your business

  • Why your contract should protect both you and your client

  • Your first contract should be a client agreement

  • How you can create a basic contract yourself starting out and why you should

  • The most important things to have in your contract with a client

  • Why your contracts should be strict upfront to allow you room to make decisions based on circumstances in the future

  • What to do if someone wants you to sign their contract

  • How to create a contract that protects you and your client

  • Use your previous experience to create a contract that serves your business based on the issues you’ve had in the past

  • How to communicate the benefits of a contract to your clients

  • Why a contract gives you freedom to do your best work

  • Other contracts you may need in your business

  • The steps to take if you need to enforce a contract

Resources Discussed:

Re-Release | Starting Your Own Mastermind with Nevica Vazquez

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Today I'm talking with Nevica Vazquez all about starting your own mastermind and how her mastermind helped her take her business to the next level. She gives a lot of great tips and really practical information that you can use when you want to start your own mastermind instead of waiting to be invited to someone else's.

You will learn exactly how to start a mastermind that will fit your business and the vision you have and help you put together a group of people who will help you uplevel your business, support you, and give you honest feedback.

We also talk about the best method for hosting a mastermind and how you can keep it on track instead of worrying that everything is going to fall apart because there is no focus.

Nevica Vazquez is a Business Strategist to digital bosses who want to scale their online biz. The bosses she works with are past the beginner stage of their business and ready to assess and strategize their plan for new growth. Together, her and her clients create the online biz + marketing plan they need to get to the next level of their business. In addition to serving her clients, every week Nevica hosts the Digital Boss Roundtable a roundtable webinar show where experienced biz owners meet to have productive conversations on up-leveling their digital businesses.

Connect with Nevica:

TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • How Nevica got started in business

  • How your dream client evolves over time

  • What a mastermind is

  • How being a part of a mastermind can benefit your business

  • How to find mastermind members who are a good fit

  • How to structure your mastermind

  • How to keep your mastermind on track

  • Why you need to have rules going in and how to enforce them

  • Why you don't have to be the leader of your mastermind

RESOURCES DISCUSSED:

Re-Release | Using Customer Feedback in Product Design with Ashley Staum

+05 Using Customer Feedback in Product Design with Ashley Staum

Today Ashley and I chatted all about using customer feedback in product design, but this episode is so relevant to people in the service-based industry as well.

Ashley and I actually met in person at a VIP Intensive back in February of 2017, so I was so excited to bring her on the show to talk about how she grew her company and how she uses customer feedback to help her design better products while still maintaining the vision she has for her business.

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Ashley Staum is owner of She Plans, a little planner company that sells planners, notebooks and printable planners. She is a self-taught designer with a degree in Marketing and an MBA from Virginia Tech. Her products are created with simplicity in mind, in both design and functionality, to allow you to create the space to let life happen - because life doesn't happen on the page. As the daughter of a Navy man, Ashley lived in six homes as a child and is on her sixth home since getting married in 2004. She currently lives just north of Houston, Texas along with her husband and four young girls. 

Connect with Ashley:

Topics Discussed:

  • How Ashley got started designing planners for herself and turned it into a business

  • Why she still creates printables along with her line of bound planners

  • Her transition from Etsy to having her own brand

  • Why Ashley loves getting customer feedback and how it’s improved her business

  • The four ways she receives feedback and how she uses it to make changes in her business

  • How Ashley avoids the temptation to stray for her signature style

  • Why she thinks of her customers as part of her business

  • Why sometimes less is more in product design

  • Why she doesn’t feel like other planner companies are competition

  • How starting small and not looking at the competition is beneficial

  • Her upcoming Fall launch

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Re-Release | Getting Started with Wholesale with Carolyn Keating

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Today I’m talking with Carolyn Keating of Wholesale 4 Creatives all about getting started with wholesale. Carolyn has a 10 year background in wholesale for other businesses and she has translated that into helping small creative businesses get into retail stores and get their products seen by bigger businesses.

Today we’re covering a lot of information that is mostly aimed at product-based business, but there are some great tips for cultivating relationships and figuring out pricing information if you’re a service-based business.

Some of the topics we cover are what wholesale is and why it’s beneficial, how you can price your products for profitability in the wholesale space, and how you can connect with people in stores and build relationships so you can be seen and stay top of mind whenever they are placingnew orders. We also cover a few of the ways that customer service changes when you are working in the wholesale space.

Carolyn Keating is the owner of Wholesale for Creatives, a resource for product based businesses looking to develop their wholesale and retail strategy. Prior to launching her business, Carolyn spent a decade in sales with a NYC-based women's accessories company where she developed and sold products to retail chains throughout the country. Her mission is to educate small businesses about the industry’s best practices so they can successfully compete in the marketplace and avoid making costly mistakes. 

Connect with Carolyn:

Topics Discussed:

  • What wholesale is and how it can benefit your business

  • Balancing wholesale products and selling on your own platform

  • Pricing for profit in the wholesale space

  • How to reach out to stores when you’re ready to start selling your products wholesale

  • Creating and building relationships with local businesses and buyers

  • How pitching a store is similar to pitching a blog post or podcast

  • The steps that happen when you’re products have been accepted into a store

  • How customer service changes when selling to a buyer instead of direct to the customer

  • The importance of dealing with issues quickly and well

  • How to stay top-of-mind (in a good way)

  • What you need to have in place before considering wholesale

  • The importance of having multiple products and manufacturers you trust

  • Why you need to evaluate if wholesale is right for you and do it yourself before you hire a team

Resources Discussed:

 

Running a Business as a Side-Hustle with Shannon Mattern

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Today I’m talking about running a business as a side-hustle with Shannon Mattern. We chat about a lot of topics, including how she got started with her business and the transition she made to running it full time. We also talk about how you can run your business as a side-hustle in a way that benefits your business and the difference between that and running a full-time business. Shannon shares about creating a strategic plan when you’re running a side-hustle and some tips for balancing a full-time job, running a business, and self-care, as well as how you can transition to a full-time gig and the things that you need to do to prepare.

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Connect with Shannon:

Shannon Mattern shows side hustlers, bloggers, entrepreneurs and freelancers how build a website, grow an audience via online marketing and turn their expertise into income.  You can think of Shannon as your WordPress BFF! Through her signature course, the 5 Day Website Challenge, she has empowered over 6,600 people to DIY their website with WordPress. Shannon’s mission is to empower those who want the freedom, flexibility and financial independence that an online business can provide by removing the tech barriers holding them back! In January of 2018, Shannon transitioned from side-hustler to self-employed. She shares her journey, strategies and tactics via her podcast, Pep Talks for Side Hustlers at www.peptalksforsidehustlers.com/itunes (or wherever you listen to podcasts).

Topics Discussed:

  • How running a business as a side-hustle is difference from doing it full-time

  • The benefits of a side-hustle

  • Talking to clients about your side-hustle and setting boundaries

  • Creating a strategic plan for growing your business

  • Tips for self-care while working a full-time job and running a side-hustle

  • How you can prepare to transition your side-hustle to full time

  • Shannon’s words of encouragement to side-hustlers who can’t leave their day job

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Figuring out your magic number - what do you want to make a month/a year from your business

  2. If you don't love your day job, journal your 10 likes and 10 gratitude’s  about your job every morning

  3. Figure out how you can be more creative with your schedule to have time to grow your business

Partnering with an OBM with Brooke Jackson

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Today I’m talking about partnering with an OBM or team with Brooke Jackson. Brooke starts by explaining what an Online Business Manager does and how they work with business owners. We discuss the types of tasks an OBM can do and what they won’t do in your business. We then talk about building a team, with or without an OBM to help, including choosing the right people to hire, on-boarding new team members, and managing your team.

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Connect with Brooke:

Brooke Jackson is an Online Business Manager (OBM) for female entrepreneurs who are ready to take their business to the next level. She genuinely helps female online-business owners by taking over almost all of their current operations, business systems, team leading, planning & timelines, launches, and project management. Brooke has a passion and love for animals, worldly cultures, and online business.

 

Topics Discussed:

  • What an OBM does and how she can work with a business owner

  • The main types of tasks that an OBM can do for a business

  • How to partner with an OBM

  • What an OBM won’t do in your business

  • Tips for business owners who need to build a team, but can’t afford an OBM

  • Choosing the right type of person to hire first in your business

  • On-boarding new team members

  • Managing your team, whether or not you have an OBM to help

  • When you should start thinking about hiring an OBM for your business

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Start breaking down everything you do in your business and organize into daily, bi-daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly.

  2. Start documenting those processes! Break out anywhere you want to record them and write out the steps you take to perform actions along with guidelines & loom videos if needed

  3. Start assessing yourself as a leader. Get to know yourself and your working style.

Managing Entrepreneurial Anxiety with Wendy Breakstone

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Today I’m talking about managing entrepreneurial anxiety with Wendy Breakstone. We have a great conversation for you to listen in on today talking about why entrepreneurs tend to struggle with anxiety, how we can set and achieve goals in our businesses, and some recommendations for future planning. Wendy also talks about systems that we need to set up in our businesses that are fairly simple to help you get started and feel confident when you’re showing up in your business and for your clients.

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Connect with Wendy:

Wendy Breakstone is a Business Success Coach with more than 18 years of experience working with entrepreneurs and small businesses on their marketing, online presence, and foundational business systems. She got her own entrepreneurial start helping independent retail owners take control of their bookkeeping and business systems and soon transitioned to helping clients build and integrate ecommerce into their marketing and brand strategy. Today Wendy follows her passion for coaching entrepreneurs that struggle with business anxiety, overwhelm and frustration. She helps them take control and feel more confident by creating simple systems and strategies for long-term success. Wendy believes that when you simplify, success follows.

Topics Discussed:

  • Some reasons why entrepreneurs tend to struggle with anxiety

  • How to set and achieve goals when anxiety gets in the way

  • Wendy’s recommendations for choosing what to focus on when planning for the future

  • The systems you should set up to help your business grow without getting overwhelmed

  • Why the world needs you to show up in your business, even you’re worried

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. When setting big goals, do Wendy’s visualization experience

  2. Set a single daily action

  3. Write a list of to-do’s for the day each morning

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