The Art of Block Scheduling

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Make Your Day Productive as Hell

 
Make Your Day Productive as Hell
 

Grab your dark roast + join us as we talk about the idea of block scheduling and different ways you can implement it into your business to become a powerhouse of productivity!


Episode 29 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 29 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Links

Wedding Boss Life: Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Instagram

Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


Transcript

 

Lauren Dragon-Cook: How are you guys doing!? Grab your coffee, get comfy… today is going to be super super laid back. We will dive into an area I think a lot of people could use help with.

Let’s get started. I’m going to announce for the first time ever there are some major shifts happening in the back end of my business. When I have a better handle on what that all kind of looks like, I’ll be sure to let you know the details. But all good! All growing! All amazing shifts. I am going to preface that this episode probably will have some profanity in it. That’s how I’m feeling this morning. Feeling like a shit show. So if you have little ones in the room, put some headphones on or watch it later tonight.

Major things are happening, I don’t want to give too much away. But thank you guys. When I have a handle on some of that stuff I will be sure to let you all know. I am getting rid of the stuff in my life and business that no longer lines the fuck up. It just doesn’t line up anymore or make any sense. I finally grew the balls, essentially, and I am cutting that shit out. You are going to see a little bit of a different structure within the group and within the business itself. But all good stuff!

Change is good when we embrace it. It is when we fight it that it become a shit show.

What is Block Scheduling?

Today we are talking about block scheduling. How many of you have heard of it before? How many of you use it regularly? Is it something you have always wanted to try?

Block scheduling for me is something I have been using in my business for probably the last 5 years or so. It has been a major game changer in how productive my days are. You guys that know me well, you know I am all over the place. But when it comes to my business… I’m pretty good because I have a system. It is everything else that is 52 card pick up.

One thing I want to drive home, first and foremost… right away… block scheduling sounds SO RIGID. Right? It sounds like you’re boxed in, literally. It doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t! I would encourage you not to have it be so rigid because the frustrations and the feelings of ‘oh fuck I didn’t do that today, oh man I have so much shit…” No! I want you to stop right there.

Block scheduling is what you make it. So for me, it is a lot looser than what you may see on Pinterest. What you may read in other blog articles. I will tell you how my system looks. The LDC and wedding boss life way of things. Its never mainstream.

Typically what I like to do is I have a running to do list. When I am driving in the car or when my kids are about to kill eachother because they are practicing for the WWE and an idea out of the blue comes to me… I have a running list in an app “Wonder List”. You can do this anywhere. On your notes on your phone, they have all kinds of specific note apps you can download. But I like to use “Wonder List” because I can then have it on my computer and front there I am able to check stuff off that I am able to complete. I really like to cross stuff off or check it off to make it feel I accomplished something that day.

Block Scheduling for Entrepreneurs

Lists, Lists, Lists

I have a running list of stuff. The beginning of each day, I will go onto that list and I will see what needs to get done. This list is EVERYTHING. Everything for the business. It isn’t “oh yeah doctors appointment or go to the dentist…” No. This is… batch content or send an email or check in with those vendors. It is those types of things. I want you to try to keep a separate list for your personal stuff. “Don’t forget to do the laundry… pet medicine”. Keep them separate. 

The way I keep them separate is I go into my calendar and I create a thing, I create an appointment and block off the time because for me and Wedding Boss Life especially, my calendar is connected to my booking calendar. So people can schedule a call with me dependent on where I have time in my day. So if I know I need to get the laundry done and I have 17 loads to do then I need to make time for that. How do you do that? You schedule off the time in your personal calendar.

As far as your day to day stuff goes, this is how my typical day looks. I take a look at my to do list and I have it broken up into sections. It is the “someday” (could be 50 years from now, but someday) this will happen. You know why this is good to have? So often we can beat ourselves up because we have all these fabulous ideas as creatives and our brains are always going and sometimes you just need to get that idea, that thought out! You need to put it somewhere! That way you can have more space and more of a creative outlet for you to think of new ideas.

Having a section “someday” is perfect for me. It is where I do my brain dump. I know I need to write this blog post about… but it doesn’t have to be right now, it doesn’t have to be this month. It is for the down time you have. That is one section.

The other section I have is “the week”. I pull the more important stuff and dump it into the week. I do the week part every Sunday. That is my routine, without even thinking about it anymore. You’re coming off of the weekend and it is helpful to know where your week is headed. I don’t know about you, but I like to have a little bit of direction. Then every single day I pull in three items… I give 100% into everything I do. Now I have found over the last few years that when I overextend myself, when I try to tackle a million and seven things during the course of one day, chances are I am fucking exhausted by the end of the day and maybe I completed one thing. But what I did in the process was I managed to open up six other projects. Am I alone on that? Please tell me I’m not alone on that.

Today is one of those days my friends, I just don’t care. I choose three. If I get those three things done throughout the course of the day… fabulous! I can then work on more if I am feeling up to the challenge. But I know that these are the priorities I need to complete.

What I typically do is I break out my day… morning, early afternoon, later afternoon. I don’t do the whole hour thing. You will see some people do “9-9:30am social media… 10:30am-12:30am emails”. I don’t run it like that because having that hourly rigidi structure is overwhelming for me. I just know I need to get THIS done, before lunch. I need to get this done before I go to pick up my kids.

What I would suggest is kind of mentally know those blocks of time are three to four hours each… ish. Depending on if you have children or if you’re working late that night. Knowing you have a good chunk of time to dedicate what you need to do. 

I always do my hardest crap first. That is the stuff you will put off until the cows come home. If you can get that done… getting that crap that will be in the back of your mind done immediately, then no matter what you are winning for that day. Instead of having the anxiety sitting on top of your shoulder… 

“you gotta do this, gotta do this”.

 Then you won’t do anything well! That’s how I am.

One other thing that I think a lot of people fail to do, is designate specific days for things. I do NOT write blog posts every day. I do NOT schedule client meetings on Fridays. I don’t. Fridays become my self care days. 

Self-Care Days

You have to schedule a day for your own stuff. You have to do stuff that is going to fill you up. You have to refill your bucket and recharge your batteries. You have to feel you have a handle and grasps and balance on life. You can’t do that if you are dedicating every single day to your business. Unless you are married to your business, you are sleeping with your business, procreating with your business... you have to find a balance. Otherwise you are going to burn out faster than a forest fire…

Find a day, even if it is just an afternoon. Maybe that is when you schedule your doctors appointments and dentist appointments, stuff for your kids. It is really helpful to know you have that day. I cannot fully commit myself to working a specific day if I know I have a hair appointment. I just can’t focus. I will sprinkle in the stuff maybe I didn’t get around to for that week, for the days I schedule my appointments too. So maybe I need to do a client check in call. That is something I can do in the car, that is something I can do on my appointment days. I would highly recommend doing that.

One thing I learned way bac in the early days of being an entrepreneur is take those phone calls while you’re driving. You are driving somewhere you need to be, why not get some work done while you’re doing it. 

Set a Timer and Turn Off Notifications

I’d love to hear what has worked well for you, what tips and tricks you have. One thing I have found that works well for me if I only have a little bit of time to do something (maybe its at the end of the day and I have a little bit of time left) one thing I have found that is super helpful is from IKEA. Love IKEA. It is a little clock timer thing. Set a timer for yourself. When that goes off you know you are done. That way you aren’t having to check the clock all the time. You know you are done for the day. You’ll get to it tomorrow.

Timers and shutting off notifications. The do not disturb function is my favorite thing in the whole world. I’ll often get people that send me an email or text late at night and they preface it “I’m sorry its so late”. But hey, I don’t hear it. Do not disturb is my fav! 

I don’t know how people can live in certain Facebook groups. I just don’t know you get stuff accomplished! How do you work? I am so thankful they are always there to answer questions, but how do you deal with all the constant notifications.

There is an app/program called “Station”. Have you ever heard of this? This is a game changer. I started to use it but I haven’t gotten to a place where I’m using it consistently, but when I do use it I feel I am winning at life.

It takes all of your beautiful apps and puts all the ones you use regularly in one place. This way I can be out of everything! I just have what I need open. That way you can’t say “Oh I just need to hop on… blah blah blah”. Station is a beautiful beautiful thing!

Summing It Up

That was today. It was so random and all over the place. Okay. Totally so so random.

Really quickly, I do want to see how all your week’s are going. How are you guys doing? There is a lot of crazy energy at the moment that is happening, so I just want to check in with you guys. 

It started yesterday will just feeling really tired. Tired of dealing with the stuff that drains me. Tired of dealing with

There is a lot of shifting that is happening and it is making people feel like they are crazy. Just in the calls I had yesterday with people, people I’ve never spoken to… one person just burst into tears just knowing that it is okay. It will be okay. There will be clam again, this is not becoming the normal. The reason you’re letting all this shit go is because you’re supposed to let it go. That is why you are feeling these things, because you are energetically letting so much crap go. Everybody is.

Fucking love you! Next week… automation! I am so excited! Next week I will be giving you the quick tips and actionable steps to automate your business. If you are using a client management system, let me know! I want to know how to frame this for next week. If you are not using a management system, let me know that too!

That is it! Love you, love you hard. Hide under the covers, I probably will be later on. Its one of those days. Try to have a fabulous rest of the week if you can. I will chat with you soon and thank you for the feedback. Truly, I mean that more than you know! We will see you next week! Bye!


LDC of WBL
 

I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.


The Reality of Working from Home as a Creative Entrepreneur

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

What It Actually Looks Like to Work From Home

 
 

Grab your dark roast + join us as we disspell the common misconceptions surrounding the elusive idea of working from home. We will cover how to become more productive with your time and how to avoid getting sucked into the household chores during work hours! 


Episode 27 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 27 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.


Links

Wunderlist: App

Manifestation Book: Unleash Your Inner Money Babe - Uplevel Your Money Mindset and Manifest $1000 in 21 Days by Kathrin Zenkina

Wedding Boss Life: YouTubeFacebook Group | Instagram

Looking for more resources? Check out the Resources page!


Show Notes

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning! How are we all doing? I hope you are all doing very well on this lovely Tuesday morning. 

Thank you for tuning in with me today. It means the world to me that you choose to spend even a half hour, hour of your time with me every week. I feel there are so may options out there and so many things we need to be doing, so it really does mean the world to me. Thank you for that.

Housekeeping

Two quick things before we get started that I want to make mention of. First and foremost I am going to  pull some cards for you guys after this live, it will be a separate live that I’ll do right after this one because there is some crazy shit happening right now as far as shifting and energies and stuff. 

The second piece is I have to tell you what happened yesterday. OH MY GOD. I will be chatting more about that in the live I’ll do right after this episode. Yeah, talk about manifestation! 

Lauren’s Journey Working at Home

Without further ado… I am here to chat with you guys about the struggle and the bliss of what it looks like to work from home. I would love to know if you work full time from home, if you are balancing a full time job and your side hustle, if you do work from home how many years have you been an entrepreneur playing the game? I would love to know. Is this a goal you want to achieve and start working from home? Let me know. 

The realities of working from home as a small business owner

A little back story about my stay from home journey. I have been working form home now for almost a decade. That makes me feel real friggin old! It is true. Since 2009 and it has been one hell of a wild ride. From being engaged and working from home to then being married to then popping out children and juggling that. It has been crazy. I’ve seen the ebbs and flows of what it can look like when you work from home.

I am going to share with you a few little trinkets I have picked up along the way that have really helped me in staying focused while working from home. Some elements that you really just need to give yourself grace with. As creatives, as entrepreneurs, we are out own boss. We are in charge of our business. We are in charge of our own hours. We are in charge of how many hours and work we are doing. 

I think that we all go into the transition, if we do choose to work from home, where we think we have to be hustling 24/7. We have to be friggin pumping out… go go go go go! Working into the wee hours of the morning. I cannot tell you how many all-nighters’ have pulled in the past and then woken up to take care of kids and work the next day.

Often times, its like “holy shit is this worth it!?” I am working more hours working form home than I ever was working for someone else. For me I had that ah-ha moment I think about 3 years ago. That’s when things started to change for me anyway. I felt like this shit was for the birds, I needed to change it. Pinterest was huge, it was great for brides and all of these things… BUT this was also before a whole lot of the articles about “how to work from home and be productive” started to be published from bloggers and creative leaders. Its not like I had this roadmap of how to work from home.

I am going to try to give you what my road map looks like. You can take what you want form this. You can leave the rest. You don’t have to take a damn thing. You know how this works with me. What I would suggest is if something resonates with you then jot it down.

Fighting Structure vs Embracing It

Here we go! One note that I wanted to point out before I did start giving you the tips and the tricks... there has to be a happy medium between fighting structure as a creative (because I don’t know about you but if someone tells me you have to work 9-5 and only have a 20 minute break, I’m gonna be a big old eff you!). I want to be in charge of what it looks like for me to work from home. I do not need it to be dictated by anyone else. So there has to be a happy medium between fighting structure and then on the flip side treating out business like a full on corporation. So this is what I have found works for me.

You have to do what feels best for you. There is no set rule for working from home. Is every single day going to be the same? I can almost guarantee you, absolutely not. It just isn’t.

Lauren’s Roadmap

Some things that have begun to work for me, that I’ve noticed through the years…

  1. Get Up and Get Going: I am not a morning person whatsoever. I would much rather have calls with someone at 11pm than I would at 8am. Just how I operate. BUT I find that I am most productive when I get up and start working in the morning. Now I’m not saying I’ll wake up at 6am, nope that’s not happening. Nope. BUT instead of feeling like a momma bear and stirring from my slumber, I will just get up and get at it. Something that has helped me to do that, I know that in the back of my head when the kids are gone and when the husband is gone I can go back to bed if I want. I know I can. Do I ever? I would say maybe 10% of the time. Very rarely do I actually go back to bed. But it helps to get me up! Get up and get going in the morning, even if you are not a morning person.
  2. Make Yourself Feel Good: (Disclaimer: If you know me at all, you know me I love me some lulu lemon pants. I love my yoga pants and my comfies.) HOWEVER, I feel like I can take on the day no matter what the day decides to throw at me when I make myself feel good. What do I mean by that? I mean get up, take a shower, get dressed, put some makeup on. You don’t have to go to the nines. Make yourself feel good. If you are not a make up person (I am not) I just throw on some mascara, do my brows, and call it a day. Another thing I always do every single morning is I eat breakfast. I have to. If I try to take all the medication I need to in the morning on an empty stomach… girl that shit ain’t gonna be pretty. I have tried to cut out all the boxed stuff, but eat stuff that fuels you and will get you ready for the day.
  3. Schedule time throughout your day to move: Give yourself breaks. If you are like me, I will just work work work work work, then my alarm will go off to get my first kiddo from school and I’m like “shit I haven’t even eaten today”. And then what ends up happening? “Well maybe I’ll eat when I get home”. And then I don’t eat and then I have a glass of wine while I’m cooking dinner for everyone and then I feel like I’m down for the count because I haven’t eaten all day! Some days that is okay right? But not everyday! Schedule time to get up out of your seat. If you have to set an alarm to eat lunch, do it! During that time, throw a load of laundry into the washer. You shouldn’t be basing your work day based off of what has to get done around the house. That is key. If you are looking at your load of dirty laundry or the dishes in your sink, right now during the work day is not the time to be doing that stuff. There are exceptions. Yesterday was a major exception for me. Because I recently just bought “Unleash Your Inner Money Babe”, it is by Manifestation Babe. I just started reading this and the first exercise in this book was to clear out the clutter in your wallet, where you pay your bills, where you store paperwork. So I had to have the excuse and be given a reason to do that. I am not kidding you, it took me almost 4 hours to clear through all of the paperwork that had just created little piles all around my office and kitchen counter and spare junk room. Everywhere! Long story short I ended up throwing away an entire trash bags of papers. FULL! So if you are giving yourself the time and space to clean up your office, that is okay! It is not necessarily doing the dishes or the laundry, right? If you feel you have to get that other stuff done, do it during your breaks. You’re given breaks if you work a 9-5, right?
  4. Setting Boundaries: Set work hours for yourself! This was a very heated debate I had with a group of individuals on The Rising Tide Society recently. One of the business owners said “If I were just not to respond to an email and just let it go, they will hire someone else”. Okay, well do you really just want them as a client anyways if they are just going to pick the first person that responds to them? I don’t know. You have to set boundaries for yourself. If you see an email come in at 6pm at night and your office hours that you have set right from the gate and people know you will be “out of the office”… you don’t respond to the next day. If you use Dubsado you can schedule out an email to go out with your business hours. Go into your email signature and add your office hours. When I was giving too much of myself and always on, I was getting the most burnt out. If you know me even a little bit, you know I’m a people pleaser. That’s just how I am. I want people to be happy all the time. However if it comes at the expense of my own health, sanity, and well being, that is a problem. When I noticed that was happening I had to set up boundaries. And I have to tell you guys, when you say “I’m going to take every Tuesday off and never work a Tuesday those will be my personal days” you’ve already built in time into your schedule to get your hair done and run those errands, get a massage. That way it won’t interfere with the rest of the stuff you have going on. If I schedule an appointment to get my haircut at 9:30am, and the by the time I get back to my desk and I’m able to start working, I’ve got all of maybe 2-3 hours before I have pick up a child or run there or run here. That is not enough time to really dive into a project. For me 2-3 hours I maintenance. That is the quick stuff, responding to emails, creating graphics for the next coffee chat… but it is not enough time for me to sit down and plan out my content strategy. I need to feel like I have enough time and unconstrained. When you put limitations on creativity, what happens? Nothing. For me I have to have an entire day where “this is the day OI will schedule my shit and everything else will fall into place”. 
  5. Boost Blocks of Time: Some people will call it setting a priority list or have one to-do you have to get done. For me, I don’t like to put such rigid constraints and boxing it in like that. For me, again, I am a creative by nature. I would much rather know “Okay I have the morning to get my stuff done and whatever it is you need to actually get done today, but the rest of the afternoon (after lunch) is for you to work on whatever comes to you”. I feel a big thing that comes up for me recently, especially in dreams, is really just going more with the flow or where my creativity takes me. Of where I feel inspired to work. When you continue to try to go, go, go and do, do, do that is masculine energy. Feminine energy is creativity. It is the nurturing and listening and all of that. So what happens if you just go, go, go all the time? You burn out! You have no creativity left. It is tough, but it is a balancing act. I would suggest maybe just for a week try this and see how it goes. I can almost guarantee you, you will be way more productive when you do work on the stuff that has to get done than if you just go like the little engine that could. Listen to yourself! If I am not in the mood and not feeling it, but I continue to push it what happens? For me at least I get zero accomplished. Just listen to yourself, you know when you are going to be productive or not. Now sometimes you can’t always give yourself that grace, but if there isn’t something looming overhead, give yourself that grace. Be kind to yourself.
  6. Have water/snacks at your desk: If you are like me and get so entrenched in what you are doing, bring the whole water pitcher. That way you don’t have to go up and down to refill. Also store snacks. I will always have raw cashews and stuff I can nibble on. That way if I am in the middle of something and I don’t want to break my concentration, I can still eat something.

Did those points resonate with you? Any ah-ha moments? Was it something you just sort of needed to hear today? Sometimes that is all we need. We need to know what we have been thinking or have been doing.

I’d love to hear what your favorite tip or reminder that you just heard was.

I also use an app called “Wunderlist”. I have a running to-do list of stuff I have to get done for the week. And if I get to it… great! If I don’t… that’s okay. That way I can go back and forth between my creative elements and what I really need to get done for the day.

I am going to hop off and come back to pull some cards for you and tell you about my manifestation story. Thank you so much!


LDC of WBL
 

I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.


How to Create a Referral Program for Your Business

The How To's of Setting Up a Referral Program to Keep New Business Flowing In

 
How to Establish a Referral System in Your Business
 

Creating a Referral Program for Your Wedding Business

Referrals Fuel Your Business

Word of mouth from past clients has always been one of the the biggest contributors to the growth of small businesses and yet it is often overlooked as a HIGHLY effective marketing strategy.

Recommendations are truly invaluable to a wedding pro not only because it is much easier to build upon an existing relationship you already have with an existing client than it is to find a new one, but also because you are almost guaranteed you will receive another ideal client similar to the one you currently are working with because they will be referring you to their immediate circle comprised of friends and family!

Let’s think about this for a second: If your friend were to tell you how absolutely incredible/wonderful/helpful/amazeballs a business or service is - would you believe them and want to hire them if they could solve a problem you have? Probably.

How about if that COMPANY were to say to a new bride or groom that they are all of those things (and more)…

S/he would probably think the wedding pro was bat shit crazy and narcissistic and run for the hills. Right?

An Example for the Referral Payout Structure

1 Wedding Referral = $50 cash + some extra goodies

2 Wedding Referrals = $75 cash + some extra goodies

3 Wedding Referrals = $100 cash + some extra goodies

Referral Program

Referral Program

This is an example of what to say on a graphic or card that you send clients.

The Fine Print of the Referral Program

The best part about a referral program is that it is open to anyone, even if someone hasn't been a client of yours. For every referral that someone sends your way that results in a signed contract, the referrer scores at least $50 cash money! Translation: The more you refer, the more $$ (and goodies) someone can get. It’s really that easy.

Thank you for checking out the blog and for sharing our resources with your fellow friendors and colleagues. Most importantly make sure to tell your referrals, to tell us, you sent them!

 
Generate New Business Effortlessly with a Referral Program
 

Tip #1: Someone doesn't have to be a prior client to refer a client. Anyone can receive the referral cash bonus.

Tip #2: Make sure to add this line to your email blurb, card you send, etc. "Most importantly make sure to tell your referrals, to tell us, you sent them!"


Lauren of Wedding Boss Life

I’m Lauren, your wedding business visionary! I educate wedding pros on the behind the scenes of their businesses through practical knowledge and intuitive strategy. I incorporate my intuitive gifts with solid business strategy to maximize my clients' progress and success.

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How to Plan Content That Writes Itself

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

Create Less Content

with Guest Host, Brittany Berger, the Content Marketing Unicorn

 
 

Grab your dark roast + join guest host, Brittany Berger, as she gives you a behind the scenes look at becoming a content marketing unicorn. You'll learn how to go beyond editorial calendars + use a content planning process that saves time, keeps your content focused, and takes the overwhelm out of writing.


Episode 21 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 21 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.



Transcript

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Hello! Happy Tuesday! We are here today with Miss Brittany Berger. She is my favorite Brittany ever. Even more so than Brittney Spears. That is a mic drop and a half!

Brittany Berger: Oh I can’t even say that I’m my favorite Brittney amongst Brittney Spears.

Lauren: I just did! Love you, mean it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Brittany and what she does… she is a fabulous content marketer. Where did you get your start, Brittany?

Plan Content that Writes Itself

Brittany: I just sort of fell into content marketing. I studied PR and journalism. I also loved as a teenager Live Journal and stuff like that. And when I was in college that was when social media and blogging was sort of getting big for businesses and I was like “wait… I know how to do that”. So I just graduated and started my career at a perfect time for content marketing. My first internship as a full time person was content marketing and I have done that ever since. About 8 or 9 years now.

Lauren: That is amazing. That is a really long time to write stuff.

Brittany: It is a lot of writing! When I think about how many blog posts I’ve written over the course of my career, I don’t think I can count that.

Lauren: I don’t think I would even want to attempt that, to be honest.

Brittany: And my crazy old ones are awful!

Lauren: Well you have to start somewhere! Just like with anything else. I’m stoked you are here today because I feel like we have a fabulous group of wedding pros and bloggers and other creatives that could use the help that only someone like yourself, doing what you do can provide. So without further ado…

I have to tell people how we met. Its kind of hilarious. I pretty much stalked her website for a solid week and then I finally have enough courage to write to her and say “ok I’m pretty sure you are my long lost twin just in the way you speak… your Golden Girls references and Beyoncé and pop culture…” It was how it kicked off!

Brittany: I still have it. Its in my folder of favorite emails. We LIVE streamed together at the beginning.

Lauren: It was a match made in heaven. FUN FACT about that email I wrote you… I lost the whole thing, so then I had to re-write it and I’m trying so hard to remember everything I said because I knew it was gold. It was a rough day.

Enough about that. I’m just going to let you take the stage Brittany and run with it. All you girl.

Let’s Get Started

Brittany: So today we are talking about planning content that writes itself because I write all day everyday and that gets difficult even for a writer. I need to make it a really systemized process so on days I am not feeling it at all its easy. I like to say I trust the system more than I trust myself. That way on days where I’m writing something I don’t know a lot about, I can at least say well I know this process works if I just follow the steps I can put something out that isn’t awful.

It is just something I’ve learned to do over the years, based off of some pretty awful posts that turned into better posts over the years. Really I did not know what I was doing when I started because it was all very new and we were figuring things out as we went along. I wasn’t concerned with frameworks or having calls to action or making content matter at all to the business. This system is what kind of got me out of my bad habits and make sure I get everything done perfectly or as perfectly as it can be. Perfection is overrated.

So today we are specifically talking about my version of content outlines. I like to call them content skeletons. They are amazing. They involve two levels of outlines. I love to jot down on my planner, so the more notes the better. BUT I like to say this makes your content write itself because when you don’t feel you are a natural born writer, going straight form your editorial or content strategy straight into a word document and going straight form a title to words on a page, can still be really overwhelming. If you know how long you’ve starred ta a black word doc before starting content, you know that having some middle step to break it down and make things easier could help you.

Get a lot of the writing out of the way before the writing starts. So by the time you go to write down the actual document, you already have the whole structure and layout of the post decided on. You already know what you are talking about. You can then get creative and get loose with things to have fun with it! That way you don’t stare at a blank word doc and try to figure out what to say, how to say it, what order, what examples to use… it breaks it all down into different processes.

I break it down over several different days. So today I am outlining and planning a post I will write tomorrow. It makes the writing process so much more manageable.

Lauren: I know nothing about this so I am ready! Give it to me! What does an outline look like?

Content Skeleton

Brittany: It is three steps. Assuming up to this point you know what you are creating content for. You know you are writing blog posts. You know you are sending weekly emails. This works for any content! Whether its am email, blog post, sales pitch…

First step: Content Skeleton. Narrowing in on your goals. I break that up into three parts: mission statement, description, and CTA (call to action).

  • Mission statement is a summary of what the point of this blog post is. For both you and the reader. For example, the mission statement for this live stream is you are learning how to go beyond editorial planners and use a content planning process that saves time, keeps your content focused, and takes the challenge out of writing. This is for the reader, so as I’m going on and planning everything else, I can keep this end goal in mind. That way I don’t go off on any tangents. Ideally! It keeps me asking “Is this accomplishing the goal?” “Am I being successful in this process?” It creates an end goal for your reader. Focus on the prize.
  • The description and CTA are a little bit more of a focused mission statement. This is more of the goal for YOU. Where does this content fit into my overall business strategy? That might be what are you linking to or promoting in this email? Or what content upgrade are you prompting in this blog post? For example, for this one would be to drive downloads to that content planning worksheet I gave you the link to before. 

By having the goals for the reader, the goals for you, and the place this has in your business it helps you align providing value for your reader with actually doing something that moves your business forward. It is really easy to fall into the trap of proving a lot of free content, but it doesn’t do anything for your business because it isn’t aligned to anything in your business strategy. 

You can define in the content goal, “this promotes this service I offer or this aligns with this content upgrade or sale that I have”. You have to ask yourself, what is this content doing for my business? It forces you to think about something you may not think about before you begin writing. It helps you to keep your content focused and goal orientated. 

Lauren: The thing that popped up for me is the simple fact that you are going to have to put a call to action into your blog post or email anyway. You are going to have to know the link to that thing you are promoting You have to know what the intention is for that post to begin with. You already have to know those things, but if you have it in one central location it will make it that much easier to write.

Brittany: A lot of people don’t think about it early enough. If you don’t you are in a position where you realize “well this doesn’t relate to anything”. It is easier to stray from your goal when it isn’t in front of your face. I am a big fan of having things in front of your face! That’s why I plan on paper. There Is so much power in having a physical reminder you can read.

Lauren: One question I do have before we keep going is… how does this strategy help people as a wedding professional? I know blogging and writing isn’t something the wedding industry thinks of at the forefront. How does it pertain to them?

Your Voice

Brittany: I like to look at content as a new way to communicate with your customers and potential customers. We are all online more and more and not having as many of those face to face interactions. Phone conversations and face to face conversations are moving to online. We are getting to a point in business and business communication where everybody writes. It is part of the job now. You might as well get good at it. Its not even about having perfect grammar, it is about being able to communicate your own ideas clearly to your ideal customers in a way they understand. 

When it comes to editing content (which I’ll talk more about later), I like to say perfection is about clarity not grammar. That is what marketing is about.

Lauren: Case in point, I stalked you for probably a week just reading your content… never having a face to face conversation with you… I just stumbled upon your website sand said “ this is my person. That is the power of having well written content. 

Brittany: It is not grammatically correct, it is a perfect portrayal of who I am and who I am looking for. We are a perfect match. Most people will see the stuff on my website and be unsure.. and that is fine! Content is how we show our fabulous online. It is how we make money. It is how we communicate with our customers. We have to get good at it.

When you write a good email, you close deals.

Lauren: This is true. For a wedding professional, that could look like setting up a consult call. That could be a 30 minute free complimentary whatever with somebody. Maybe you have a better close rate by having a phone call with someone than via email. There are so many different avenues I see wedding pros not taking advantage of when it comes to content. I see the same articles over and over again. Or the same emails going out. I just want people to have a fresh perspective. But it is hard!

Brittany: I think a lot of people don’t write in a voice, they just write word son a page. They aren’t breaking down what they want to say, they are just pushing it all out there and winging it. They don’t have room to showcase their personality or voice. It looks like a lot of the same blog posts. I just did a thread on social media about how yesterday I shared something on my Insta stories that I almost didn’t share because I thought it wasn’t new advice, but it was one of the most helpful things I ever shared based on the number of replies and re-posts.

So when you have your own voice and way of communicating, you can say things that other people have already touched on, but it is original! That is a lesson I keep learning. I was so insecure about that post yesterday.

Lauren: The key piece I want to reference back to is… it is really hard to know how to speak to your audience in a way that will capture them when you don’t know who your audience is. That is one thing we talked about last week and we are talking about again… I want to come up with the challenge to help people nail down who their ideal clients are. I think that is almost half the battle.

Brittany: It’s a lot of trial and error. I feel my ideal customer has shifted several times over the past year as I keep fine tuning. I like to say, especially when you are thinking about who you are writing to… think about you are writing a letter to your most recent customer you loved. How would you talk and communicate with them? Think about that person and finding other people like them. That can also lend a really personal feel to your content too.

I like actually talking out content and saying it out loud and taking note of how I phrase things and then putting it on paper. I like to call it editing out loud.

Lauren: How do you transcribe it?

Brittany: I don’t record a whole blog post as a time. I do know people that do that and I have clients who do that. They will send me the voice notes. That can be a lot of editing time. I write, but if there is ever anything I can’t figure out how I want to say something… I figure it out out loud. I don’t really speak out entire blog posts, but a paragraph or sentence that I can’t figure out… the easiest way to figure out the most natural way to say it is explaining it verbally.

Lauren: That seems so silly because it is so not complicated.

Brittany: If you don’t know what to write... say it. Then write down what you say!

Lauren: Sorry I totally diverted this conversation and put you on a different mission… so please continue!

The Architecture & Brain Dumping

Brittany: The content skeleton is an amazing starting point. You might be able to even just look at that and be totally clear on writing an email or something. If it’s a longer piece of content and you’re still looking at that and thinking writing will still be overwhelming, you can break it down further. I always do that. I like to call it the architecture. It just always seems fancy.

This is laying out the actual structure of the blog post. First, I summarize what I want to do the for intro. Intros can be really hard just starting from scratch. I like to decide ahead of time whether I will start with a story, or if I will ask questions. What approach will I take? 

I then layout what each section or subheading will be. I write a quick description of what that will cover. That is the skeleton of the blog post. That way you can go in and fill in the details once you start writing. That is adding in the meat on top of the skeleton and fleshing it out.

The last step I like to take before starting my rough draft is a brain dump of everything I want to say about the topic. Because I have the skelton there and the structure laid out, I can brain dump in whatever order the ideas come to me and add it into the relevant sections. I can think and let loose, but write it down in a way that has some organization. That way when I look and start writing, all the details are in the right section they need to be. Go on a creative spree! This is where I plan out everything important I will write before I make the complete sentences.

I even plan examples that I will site, jokes, and pop culture references. But I plan out everything I will say so that way when it is time to actually write it is just about the words and I don’t need to do anything thinking anymore. I have the entire architecture of the post finished. The writing process becomes such a tiny thing when you take this extra planning step. Just taking 30 minutes to do a good outline can save you 2 hours of writing.

Lauren: I’m looking at this and thinking of this… it is so freakin’ true! I could go in and look at rough drafts of blog posts I started over a year ago and I’ve never finished, because the task of trying to fill in the gaps seems too daunting. This makes so much sense. It’s a different approach to it.

Brittany: It might be more work upfront, but it is less work overall. The really fun thing about skeletons is once you start looking at that as the first step, when you do get an amazing idea on a creative rush one day, you can then go back to that skeleton months later and the structure and important stuff is already laid out. I can pick up a content skeleton I created ages ago and still understand it enough so I could go back and recreate it. Versus just brain dumping ideas and information and going back to it a day later and forgetting what you were doing. 

Apps and More

Lauren: Where do you store everything? Do you use Google drive? Before meting you I thought I was the app Queen, finder of the new things… NO. You took that torch from me and sprinted a mile down the road. You know all the apps! How do you do this? What apps do you use?

Brittany: I like to keep it classic with Trello. Another app I hear a lot of people are replacing Trello with is Notion. You can use it for regular note taking, but you can also build tables and databases too. It is pretty fancy. Fancier than I personally need. It can be fun to get geeky though! One thing people might like it is more of a drop down layout, one continuous page where you can expand and collapse things, versus having separate files.

Lauren: You use Air Table too, right?

Brittany: I use that as a second set of spreadsheets. I can have it in a different view and form.

Lauren: I love the concept of Air Table. 

Brittany: It is a database tool more powerful than just spreadsheets. It looks like a regular spreadsheet, but its power underneath and the technology driving it is much fancier. It is a whole data base. You can link to other spreadsheets and do easier formulas. You can also change the view. You don’t have to view it as a spread sheet. I change the view so it is a board. It’s less overwhelming for me.

Lauren: Air Table is great for referencing what opt in you used in what blog post.

Brittany: Yes. One thing I use it for content that is very helpful is a list of all previously published stuff. I’m a big fan of repurposing. So it is great at keeping track of all of that.

Lauren: Brittany is how I learned about Alfred. Love my Alfred! I didn’t think it would be something I would get really excited about, but I love it!

Brittany: I love to use Alfred to keep track of commonly used HTML and phrases and links. It’s a great way for me to add snippets and keep all my documentation in one place. 

Summing It Up

So back to the process… by you laying out the goals and the structure… half of the writing is done! You can save up to 2 hours of writing in some cases. It makes the content so much better too.

Lauren: There is an actual flow to it.

Brittany: It is more cohesive, less tangents. I have a workshop that I did and one of the testimonials I received from it was from someone who already had a great process but she added that mission and she stopped going on random tangents in her clients’ blog posts.

Lauren: There is some power behind the structure of this. When people are so scared of writing or blogging then… here you go! Take the anxiety away and use this as your base model. It is brilliant! I don’t know why I haven’t done it.

Brittany: Going straight form your editorial calendar to a blank page is so overwhelming, even to someone who does it all day.

Lauren: It is so simple, but so powerful. I feel it is a game changer for how to break down content.

Brittany: I felt like Beyoncé when I figured this out!

Lauren: How long does it take you, start to finish to write a blog post?

Brittany: A lot of my client blog posts are about 1,000 words and they take me (including the planning process and editing) 4 or 5 hours. That is spread out over the course of a week. This is because I’m writing for pretty enterprising companies and there is some approval processes. For my own brand I write shorter stuff. I mostly do emails and those are usual only 400-500 words each.

Lauren: Thank you so so so much! I feel a lot of people have had their mind blown. It is so simple, but writing content has become this unattainable difficult unicorn. No one knows how to even go about it anymore or they look at it as something they need to add to their list. But the reality is you don’t know how many people are actually looking at your content and then they finally reach out. You have to think of it that way. If you don’t provide content then… you aren’t doing a very good job of marketing yourself. It all ties in.

Any last words of advice for people?

Brittany: Always break it down. If you are ever stuck somewhere, break it down further. Don’t try to accomplish the entire task at once. That has been the solution to most of my problems. Just make ti a smaller problem. If it feels too big, make it smaller.

Lauren: That should be a freakin’ bumper sticker! Yes!

Brittany: I have a workshop that you can watch. It is an on-demand training that walks people through this process. A lot more detail! It also takes it further and helps you writing and editing your rough draft and content. So if you want to start blogging or email consistently, it is great to give you a workbook you can turn to every week.

I am always happy to give free help! Contact me like Lauren did! 

Lauren: You are a breath of fresh air and it is much needed. Thank you so much and we will be chatting again next Tuesday. Next week we will be talking about free marketing ideas. Maybe you haven’t thought about them yourself or you haven’t pursued because you have been caught up in the HOWs. I hope everyone has a fabulous rest of the week and as always reach out if you have any questions!

Q + A

Q: How do you think about topics?

A: I always do chunks of topics at a time. It goes back to cohesiveness. You don’t want a random post that isn’t related to anything else. I pick a goal or a theme. So if I have a launch coming up, I will tie that launch in to each topic. If it is untimed, I might just pick a theme. Right now I am picking topics for productivity and a theme around energy management. That was based around responses I’ve gotten recently, what I’ve been thinking about… its pulled out based on a combination of what people want and what I am interested in.

I like to start with covering basic questions. The 5 W’s. Who, what, when, where, and why. So if you take energy management for example… what is energy management, who should care about it, why should they care… these are all different things I can explore more. Maybe I’m doing something for a month… the first week can be an introduction and explaining what it is. Then as the month goes on you could explore related things. I like to brainstorm content in chunks is because as your mind wanders you tend to spin off and get related ideas and it gets easier to come up with a series.

 


Preparing for the Wedding Season

Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat

The Checklist of Checklists

As the beginning of the season quickly approaches, do you feel like your business is set up for success and you've crossed your T's and dotted your I's? Or do you feel like as soon as you are one or two weddings deep, you are going to be one helluva hot mess? Join us as we run down the areas of your business that need to be in tip-top shape in order to have your most successful wedding season yet! 

 
Get it Right, Get it Tight
 

Episode 15 Coffee Chat Replay


Episode 15 Podcast

Our coffee chats are now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.



Transcript

Lauren Dragon-Cook: Happy freakin’ Tuesday! Today we are going to be diving into preparing your business for the start of the season. This can be applied for anybody in any creative industry, but it especially applies for my wedding creatives. You know probably more than anybody else how exhausting, and taxing and how much of a whirlwind it can be when we are in the middle of the season. Very time consuming! You don’t have time to do much and go on an impromptu lunch date with friends and family. So I have created an outline for you all. I love you all so much that I literally stayed up until about 12:30am last night putting this into place for all of you. So that is how much I love you! I would not typically be doing this for anyone… I love sleep!

Let me dive in here. I created this checklist because once again I hopped on Pinterest and there isn’t really a whole lot that you can use as guides. If you’ve been in business awhile you have certain things you implement regularly or things you don’t even realize you are doing. I wanted to compile a list not only for you all, but for myself because I’ve never sat down and thought about all the stuff that needs to happen to kick off the season. 

How many people have started their season? How many people have a wedding this month or next month? Do you feel like you are set up for success? Do you feel you are going to be one hell of a hot mess?

I broke things down into personal, financial, and business categories. These are tasks that I think will apply to just about everyone and anyone. 

First things first… try your best to not stress. Easier said than done 9 times out of 10. It is really easy to prepare what you need to do in order to feel confident versus entering the season blind. This is the time of year where the collective rumblings of all the wedding vendors start to roll across the country and everyone begins to stir out of our winter hibernation. It can be very exhausting when you are trying to get ready for the season, so one of the first things I want you to keep in mind at all times is to not let yourself be caught off guard. You are always going to think you have more time to prepare. That is the reality of the beast.

“Oh I can totally do that next week”.

“I don’t need to do that now, I can do that next month”.

The reality is life happens. Right? Life happens more often than not. You want to really try to create priorities for yourself that are on this checklist that you know you need to take on sooner rather than later. And then let all those other little things that you really want to do but its not going to make or break your business. Don’t worry about them as much!

Personal Category

How to Prepare for the Wedding Season

Shoes: How many people go through their wardrobe from last season and actually take a look at their wedding shoes? Raise your hand! How many people actually at the time to look at their wedding clothes or shoes from last season? I used to struggle with trying to find a real pair of shoes for me. Being a planner, being a photographer, being a florist, being a DJ… we are on our feet up to 16 hours a day. I have gone through the gamut of wedding shoes. I’ve tried Crocs, Danscos, Verx, Naturalizers… teds! I’ve tried switching out shoes mid day… I’ve tried it all!

This is not me pitching this brand. This is just a brand I have found works for me. And that is Teeks. They are the ballet flats that have the blue sole. They are expensive, they are like $200 buck a pop, but they are the only shoe I can wear the entire wedding day without having blisters or cuts or feeling I got hit by a truck the next day. They are the only shoes I can still be walking in at the end of the day. For me they are totally worth the investment.

What I am trying to say is if you don’t have a pair of go-to wedding shoes or your blazer from last season has a hole in it or you lost a lot of weight… go out and set yourself up! Go buy a new blazer, a new pair of black pants… and prepare! The last thing you want to do is be out the day before and having to run around and try to find something that works. Its not necessarily something you want to wear or want to buy but you have to find something that works last minute. How many people have been there?

Schedule Time with Loved Ones: Along the personal thread… schedule dates with your friends and family and significant other. Do date nights and family dinners! Schedule them now! Because we all know as soon as June hits, people are going to ask where you are and if you’re okay! We all know… we love the industry but that is the reality. Make it a point now to spend time with your family and friends. 

YOU Time: Schedule YOU time now. One trick I learned very early on was I actually went ahead and scheduled the very first year I was in the industry a monthly massage. I went ahead and did it in advance. It was probably the best decision. It is something to look forward to. You know that one of the weddings you have coming up is going to be super stressful, but you have already planned that that Tuesday or Wednesday you are going to get a massage. It is nice to have that you time scheduled because you pour yor heart into all of your clients and you forget some love on yourselves. Pour some sugar on me. You could also schedule a mani pedi. Just get one on the books!

Plan Getaways Now: Plan your vacation, your getaways, your weekend trips… NOW. If you have a weekend available and a client says “oh my gosh can you please do a walkthrough that Saturday, I don’t have any other time”. Which is a total lie… because they always have time. And then you say “oh yeah sure, I have nothing scheduled for that day”. Schedule your family trip ahead of time! BOOK IT!

Subscribe and Save: It is my saving grace during wedding season… especially for tampons, dry shampoo, and coffee. I know that shit is coming. No matter what! I know I won’t run out and I am good to go. You can always rely on it coming. You get a discount on it and you know its going to come no matter what.

Home Projects: The last thing for the personal section is to wrap up any home projects now. If you have been planning on staining the deck, painting your office a new color, if you have been talking about replacing your kitchen floor… do that shit now or it is not going to be happening this year.

Financial Category

Next section is financial! And I will be the first one to tell you… I hate this section! Hate it! 

Business License and Taxes: So things that are included in this section are renewing your business license. In New Hampshire you have to renew it once a year and that is by April 1, 2018. Renew your business license, file your taxes. I know some vendors that haven’t filed taxes since 2011, 2012. Don’t get caught with a pink stamp. It could end really badly for you. 

Establish a bookkeeping system and a method to track your receipts and your mileage. Personally I use an app it is automatic! I don’t have to even think about it. It is called Mile Cloud. It will turn itself on and start tracking your mileage as soon as you leave your doorway. It knows your home address and it knows when you’re in your car. It will allow you to later go back in and figure out which miles were for business and which were for personal. I believe I pay $3.00 a month for it. But it is totally worth it! For a bookkeeping system, good for you if you have been able to master that and keep track of all that fun stuff. For me, it is not in my wheelhouse, so I am in the process of hiring out a bookkeeper.

Insurance: Updated your business insurance as needed. Especially for photographers, if you purchase a new camera body or lenses or make any major addons to your company, take note. Do you need to add venue insurance? Do you need to increase your liability?

Savings: Define areas you can cut costs. How many of us are guilty of this… (I am!) do you have a monthly subscription that you forgot you had? Or you have a service you pay for and you don’t even use? Go through on your bank statement or credit card statement, and if you don’t know what a certain transaction is... if you don’t remember what it is for you probably don’t need it.

When the bankroll starts flowing, where is it gonna go? Don’t get me wrong, you should totally indulge every once in a while. You deserve it. But you want to be saving some of it too. You are busting your ass for a reason. The app called Qapital is amazing. I’ve talked about it before, but basically it will round up to the nearest dollar and move that savings into a separate account without any thought. So it is just racking up the money and before you know it, you have a small savings waiting for you.

Business Category

The last a final section is… business. When you think you have to prep for the season these are the items you use that would probably come to mind right off the bat. 

Update your website: You do not want to have a client hop on your website and then they are like “oh okay this service is X amount of dollars” and you say “shit I forgot to update my pricing!” How many people have had that happen? Me included! If you have new offerings or packages or you hired new team members… that should be on your website! Add photos to your site from last year! Keep it fresh. Google looks for new content, so if you are not adding new content regularly then you are not considered an authority figure. Now would be the perfect time to hop on and update anything you need to.

Update your Content Calendar: We all know that thing doesn’t plan itself. If you are like “oh my god I cannot do it”, then check the content planning batch day coffee chat we had. Not only is there a coffee chat from a podcast episode but there is a blog post. The Content Planner is sold out for 2018, but a fellow group member created an almost identical template to the content planner. She is willing to share it with you all, so I will have that link below!

Emergency Kits: This one is for everyone! Photographers, florists, planners… You want to update that emergency kit. Everybody should have one. I’ve seen DJ’s that will have an entire bag of stuff. Photographs you should be carrying around safety pins and batteries and lipstick! Go through your emergency kit and if there is a 6 year old granola bar hanging out in there or is there is something you don’t even remember what it was supposed to be… get rid of it! If you are a planner or photographer and you are trying to figure out what to put in your emergency kit… I have a blog post written about that!

Work Smarter: Your client workflow… find what your process is from the inquiry to the end. Fine tune that. If there are things you have wanted to add, forms you want to send to your clients, now is the time to do that. There are plenty of client flow resources on this website!

Outsourcing: Do yourself the favor and if you are already contemplating about hiring someone to help you in some area of your business (calling, editing, social media, blogging…) do it now! That way you have the mental capacity to help get that set up for when the ball drops. It would be so much more stressful and hard to actually get them going while you yourself are juggling.

Create Templates: Whether you think you have them or not… you do. If you are sending candid emails out to people… if you send out the same automated response to people once a week… if you have a certain set of questions you ask for your timelines… those are all templates. Instead of pulling it from, or having to re-type it all the time… just create a central location for all your templates. Make it easy for yourself to access. This is for especially if you don’t use a tool like Dubsado or Honeybook. If you really don’t have a template and don’t know where to get started, you can find a list of suggestions on my website. If you do decide you want to purchase something use the coupon code “gimmie15” and get 15% off.

Determine what Works: What worked or you last season and what didn’t. We all know what was an epic fail for us last year. Or maybe we tried something new and it was amazing. Now is the time to get real and honest with yourself. Realize your shortcomings or your major wins so you can grow from them this season.

These last two areas are photographer specific!

Clean your gear! Send your camera bodys’ and lens’ to Nikon or Sony or Canon so they can get shined up all sorts of pretty! Now is the time to get them cleaned. The last thing you want to do I wait til the middle of the season.

Back It Up: You want to make sure you are purchasing new externals for yourself. So new backups and hard drives. The rule of thumb for photographers is to back it up, back that up, and back it all up! That can take a lot of storage. So start the season off to make sure you have plenty of space to do that. If you checked out honey.com it will scan the interwebs for the better price on anything. If you have a saved wishlist on Amazon and you connect your honey account and it will notify you anytime there is a major price drop. It is amazing!

Wrapping It All Together

That is your checklist! I will post the link below so you can download it. Share it! Everybody needs a little help in preparing for the season. As always thank you for joining me on this lovely Tuesday.

Q + A

Q: Have you or anyone else used “Trello” for workflow? 

A: I gave Trello a really good try, it just didn’t work for me. Someone had created a free course for Trello and I still was like “nope, it doesn’t do it for me”. But that’s just me personally!

 

Q: You said we need to be updating our content on our website for SEO, how much content should we be updating?

A: The rule of thumb is you want to be consistent with updating your content, but you can’t go on your website and update stuff like your homepage text or your about page or your images all the time. You will run out of stuff to say! It just isn’t the smart way to do that. The easiest way to update content regularly is blogging. It is adding new content consistently. As far as updating content though, I would be adding anytime you have a wedding you have images for… posting that on the website. If you just recently changed your packages, updated it! Consistently add content, because you don’t want to necessarily be changing things up… but if you are ADDING to is you are growing and expanding. Google with recognize that.

 

Q: Are you going to be doing coffee chats during wedding season?

A: Yes. I have had so many people say this is the one thing during the week they look forward to. Especially if they are having an off week. I am totally going to continue. The only change I do want to point out that will be different… there are two weeks. Next week I will be speaking at my local chapter for the Rising High Society. It is a great networking opportunity. Especially if you are in this business by yourself. I will be speaking there from 8:30am-10:30am. I plan to stream it starting at 9:00am and I will totally give a shout out to you all! Hop on! The other date is May 8th. I will be on a plane heading to Florida. Super excited… our first major vacation as a family. I’ve been debating on whether or not to pre-record something and post it for you all… so I’m not entirely sure. You tell me!

 

Q: Can you post a calendar for all the awesomeness that is coming up?

A: I have one… if you check out my website I always have future chats listed. Now that I have some more coffee chats finalized I will have posted all the fun stuff through the end of May.


Batch Days

 
Social Media Batch Days - Batch days, hands down, are my saving grace when it comes to blogging, social media, email marketing and my damn sanity just to name a few!   There are only 24 hours in a day. And guess what? Unfortunately, no matter how hard you may try, this will never change. If you can’t add more time to your day (can you imagine how tired and grumpy we would all be?!), the next best solution is to become more efficient with our time and make the most out of our workdays.
 

Batch Days 

You may or may not have heard the term “batching” within your creative niche, but either way, it should be serving as a key component in the behind the scenes of your business. 

Batch days, hands down, are my saving grace when it comes to blogging, social media, email marketing and my damn sanity just to name a few! 

There are only 24 hours in a day. And guess what? Unfortunately, no matter how hard you may try, this will never change. If you can’t add more time to your day (can you imagine how tired and grumpy we would all be?!), the next best solution is to become more efficient with our time and make the most out of our workdays.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I try to multitask like a MoFo, 9 times out of 10 - absolutely nothing gets completed. I’ve just created 102,938 new projects with the hopes of one day finishing at least a handful.

So what does a batch day look like for a CREATIVE BUSINESS OWNER?

I would suggest setting aside 1 day a month for each of the following areas until you become a...

 
 

Master Batcher

(That sounds totally badass btw…)

Social Media Content Creation

Social media is the bane of most of our existences, there is no doubt about that. But I have found a few tried and true ways to make it just a little bit easier to bang out! 

How to plan a batch day like a boss

Come up with a theme for the month and surround your content around that. Start by asking yourself the question: what do I LOVE to talk about with my clients? What am I an expert in? If I had to give an impromptu talk in front of a bunch of ideal clients, what topic would I choose to talk about? 

For a planner, this could look like:

  1. Wedding Themes
  2. Color Palettes
  3. Details
  4. Do’s and Don’ts
  5. Rehearsal Dinners
  6. Budget

Once you have come up with at least 12 areas you love talking about, pat yourself on the back. You just came up with 12 months worth of content themes. Now, grab yourself a calendar or my personal fave, the Content Planner, and at least for the next 3 months, label what each month’s topic is going to be. Focus ALL of your social media posts for the month around this ONE topic. 

So let’s take Wedding Themes for example. It could break down to something like:

  1. How to choose the theme that is right for you
  2. Classic theme elements
  3. Rustic theme elements
  4. Garden theme elements
  5. How to incorporate your theme into the details

Once you have come up with the different aspects of the main theme, those are going to be what you post about. 

You also need to know how many times you plan on posting to each platform each month. The key here is consistency. Start small. Maybe you post 2x/week to your FB page, and 2x/week to Instagram. That means you would need to come up with 16 NEW posts, right?

WRONG!!! 

In an ideal world, yes, come up with 16 brand spanking new social media posts. But who the hell has time for that when we are wearing all the hats and juggling all the things, right?!

That’s why you are only going to create 8 posts and recycle them. 

You will write copy for 8 posts, then you will make sure you post them in alternating order. I would suggest finding 16 new images though - because it is less likely that someone will recognize the same verbiage, but they will probably recognize the same photo.

Let me show you an example of a month's schedule for posting social media content:

  • Post 1 - Instagram 1/1/2018, Facebook 1/17/2018
  • Post 2 - Instagram 1/23/2018, Facebook 1/11/2018
  • Post 3 - Instagram 1/20/2018, Facebook 1/29/2018
  • Post 4 - Instagram 1/9/2018, Facebook 1/4/2018
  • Post 5 - Instagram 1/12/2018, Facebook 1/15/2018
  • Post 6 - Instagram 1/17/2018, Facebook 1/22/2018
  • Post 7 - Instagram 1/22/2018, Facebook 1/28/2018
  • Post 8 - Instagram 1/30/2018, Facebook 1/31/2018

Make sense? The key here is to use the same copy for both posts, but use different images for Instagram and Facebook. 

In that calendar of yours, make sure that you note when and where you are posting for the month. 

Now, open up Dropbox or Google Drive, and create a new folder and title it that month’s theme. Find as many photos as you can that relate to that theme whether they are stock images or professional images from past weddings. OR you can just keep a running folder of any and all images you think you might want to use in the future and pull from that (precisely what I do). 

 
 
Tip #1: Always be sure to tag the person that took the photo if it is someone other than yourself. It is the kind thing to do, but you also may be surprised to find that that person ends up sharing your post as well. 

The reason why I suggest a cloud-based app like Dropbox or Drive is because then if you need to, you can easily post from your phone if need be since you will know exactly which photos you want to use and have easy access to them. 

You could REALLY go to town and do multiple months worth of posts this way. Maybe you do it once every 6 months. How AMAZING would that be to only have to worry about figuring out what the hell to say on social media only twice a year!!!! 


Blogging

I won’t lie, back in the day I would have rather gone to the gynecologist for an annual exam than sit down to write a blog post. Now that I finally have a system in place that works for me, I am proud to say that I would MUCH RATHER blog than go get probed.

Any. Damn. Day.

The secret to my newfound blogging success is two-fold:

  1. I keep a running list of blog post ideas in my biz notebook that I bring with me everywhere
  2. I draft my post ideas as outlines so instead of looking at a blinking cursor, I am able to just fill in the blanks. 

Let’s be totally honest with each other for a second: even if you are the world’s best writer, you don’t always feel in the mood to be creative and write a masterpiece, right? Well, WHEN the mood strikes and you are in that creative zone, USE it to your advantage!! Bang out a couple of posts and then schedule those puppies out in advance! 

In Canva, find a blog template that fits your brand. When you are done writing a blog post, head over there, create a new page, and whip that sucker up within 5 minutes flat. 

Tip #2: Maybe you are better at speaking your ideas than actually typing them out? No problem! Use the voice dictation feature on your computer or phone to turn your words into the blog post of the century! 

Don’t have a type to text feature? Record an audio file and then upload it to Temi - my favorite (and cheap!) audio to text transcription service. 

Tip #3: Check out the blogging hack that is changing the game for hundreds of creatives.

Like with most things, people become paralyzed by the sheer amount of things we as creative business owners are tasked with doing. Once you break the tasks into bite-size pieces, the once daunting thought of blogging isn’t so bad anymore. It is when you remain in the mindset that everything you create has to have the Midas touch that you begin to self-sabotage.

 
Create 6 month's of social media content in 1 day
 

JUST WRITE THE DAMN POST!

People will find more value in what you put out in the world to see than pick it apart because you forgot to add this bullet point or you chose the wrong image. 

So, my little Master Batchers in training, it's time to go be free and to create your little hearts out! 



How to Showcase Client Reviews on Your Website + Social Media

Build Social Proof Using Client Testimonials

 
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Have you ever heard the saying, "The proof is in the pudding?" Yeah, it doesn't make much sense to me either because what exactly is floating in that pudding that resembles proof?!? The only kind of pudding I can think of that has little floaties in it is rice pudding. Man, I love me some rice pudding... I digress. 

Fastest Way to Display Your Experience

Nobody wants to actually take the time to research something, they just want to see the evidence of someone having tried a product or service before they click the "BUY" button. 

Aside from word of mouth referrals, testimonials are one of the fastest ways to powerfully show your audience the experience your clients had after hiring you!

Aside from word of mouth referrals, testimonials are one of the fastest ways to powerfully show your audience the experience your clients had after hiring you!
— https://weddingbosslife.com/blog/showcasing-testimonials

After you've wrapped up a wedding with a client, asking for a testimonial is the BEST way to hear about what they've taken away from your time together, as well as a way to show Return On Investment (ROI) to prospective clients (aka yes, it is absolutely worth hiring ((Insert YOUR own first name here)) because s/he kicks ass!)

When asking for a testimonial, you want the client to talk about what they were struggling with before they began working with you, what you worked on together, what their biggest takeaway was, and ultimately, what problems you solved for them.

You can rewrite it for them so it flows well, just make sure they've reviewed and approved it. 

Questions to Get Your Clients Thinking About What To Say in Their Review

Here are just 3 of the exact questions I would ask my wedding planning clients after the wedding was over:

  • What were you struggling with most before hiring us?
  • What was the #1 reason you chose to hire us above all the others?
  • What was your biggest anxiety about your wedding day? Did it come true? 
 
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You can create a page on your website dedicated to testimonials, as well as sprinkle them like you are making a chocolate fudge sundae on your website AND social media to show future couples the value of working with you and why they need to hire YOU.

Do you sprinkle reviews into your social media? Do you have a dedicated testimonials page on your website?

Click here to see how I've crafted my Testimonials Page. 


The Beginner's Guide to Dubsado: The Best CRM for Wedding Bosses

The Beginner's Guide to Dubsado: The Best CRM for Wedding Bosses

Are you looking for the best business management suite to run your wedding business? Then I've got the perfect tool for you! Learn all about the amazing resource that planners, photographers, and florists are raving about: Dubsado

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmakwanzakah...

Your Business Deserves a Wish List, Too! 

 
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🚨 2018 is 19 days away and the New Year is the ideal time to reset and refresh. It's time to launch a product, build your brand, monetize your blog or all of the above! 

🤷‍♀️ How?

By putting pen to paper, setting goals and divising your exact plan to succeed for 2018 TODAY. Don’t just be a boss - be THE boss! 👑

Below you will find some of my most loved products and tools I used this past year to help my biz soar and helped me slay my business goals!


DUBSADO

From capturing leads on your website, to automatically following up with a questionnaire based on the client's input, or sending them a proposal that will make them eager to select those big ticket packages, we've got you covered. 👌🏻 Score a 15% discount on ANY plan for the lifetime of that plan with the code: weddingbosslife 

TAILWIND

I use this tool for Pinterest Marketing, Scheduling, and Analytics. Schedule posts, get actionable analytics, and monitor your brand with this Pinterest scheduling tool! Get your first month free by clicking the link! 

SILHOUETTE CAMEO

If you are anything like me, I was always wondering how people made all the adorbs custom little Etsy products (think quotes on wine glasses, custom wedding bags, etc.) The Silhouette CAMEO® is the ultimate DIY machine. Featuring a small blade to cut over 100 materials, including paper, cardstock, vinyl, and fabric.

BLUE YETI MICROPHONE

This thing is worth it's weight in gold! You don't realize how terrible you sound on podcasts, FB lives, YouTube, etc. until you buy one of these bad Larry's. It is a great microphone to make voice over, podcasts, interviews, and so on.

ADJUSTABLE MICROPHONE ARM

When I was creating the SEO Survival Guide Course, I noticed that the damn Yeti microphone always seemed to be right in my way when I was trying to do a demo on the computer screen. This $10 little diddy solved that First World problem.

TRIPOD

Perfect for recording tutorials or YouTube videos, this lightweight tripod with adjustable-height legs and rubber feet will be sure to keep your camera steady. 

CELL PHONE TRIPOD MOUNT

Want to record video with your phone? This mount screws right onto your tripod.

CHIC OFFICE PILLOW

Your office deserves a little TLC, too!

 
 

LAPTOP COOLER

Is it just me or does your laptop sound like it is getting ready to launch off a NASA pad from time to time? This little gizmo prevents your laptop from self-combusting in front of your eyes! 

TIME TO FILL UP THAT BOOKSTAND!

Even if they start collecting dust, every lady boss needs a few of these on her shelf for when the mood strikes!

ECHO DOT

I won't lie. I totally boycotted getting one of these things until it went on sale for $30. You can thank me later... 

VALHALLA COFFEE

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Calling all Vikings fans!! This coffee is the REAL DEAL! I promise you won't be disappointed - I've created many converters from good ol' Folgers onto this stuff and let me tell you, there's no turning back! ...Ragnar I'll meet you in Valhalla!! 

WD 4TB ULTRA PORTABLE EXTERNAL

If you are a thinking of getting more into the video creating scene this upcoming year, trust me when I say you are going to need an external to store your videos. This little gem set me back about $100 but is a powerhouse! 

SHARPIE PEN, FINE POINT BLACK

Don't judge me. But yes, I only use this kind of pen. That's it. No BICs here! 

WHITE + GOLD MARBLE MACBOOK CASE

I receive the question all the time, "Where did you get that amazing case!?" Amazon, duh! 

HYDRO FLASK 40 OZ VACUUM INSULATED STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLE

Before you start thinking I'm some kind of water bottle snob when you see the price tag, let me just tell you this thing should be in the same class as unicorns because it is THAT magical! Quick story: between my husband and sons, every single water bottle we owned was missing a cap or looked like a dog chewed it. I did a little research because I was SICK AND FRIGGEN TIRED of putting a bottle to my lips expecting a refreshing blast of icy cold water to hit my lips only to end up guzzling lukewarm bathwater because the bottle couldn't keep anything cold! Enter the Hydro Flask. I have worked weddings in the blazing hot summer sun outside all day long and this thing manages to still have ICE cubes in it when I am ready to pack up and head home after working 12 hours. Magic? No. Hydro Flask? Yes.

THE DIVA RING'S LESS EXPENSIVE SISTER FRIEND

It should come as no surprise that in order to make good videos, you need good lighting. This little setup is close to HALF the price of the Diva Ring, and having seen both in action, can tell you it works just as well! Save yourself a penny, or 12,000...

What I'm Currently Coveting For My Business...

SONY ALPHA A6000 MIRRORLESS DIGITAL CAMERA 24.3MP SLR CAMERA WITH 3.0-INCH LDC

This would make all my video making dreams come true. 

APPLE AIRPODS KNOCKOFFS

If I can get the generic version of anything, you better believe I will save myself the money instead of having to have the name brand! 

Like what you see? Click here for more!


3 Baby Steps to Getting Started With Systems

 
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Let’s have a chat, my wonderful wedding boss!

2018 is coming at us like a spider monkey. Are you ready? Hmmm... didn't think so. Because you’re ready for a change that’s been a long time comin’, it’s exciting and is gonna change your biz, and I want to stick my nose in it and help. 💁🏻

So yay, we’re talking about your soon-to-be systems!

Over the past few months, you’ve taken a look around at the chaos piling up around you, and have had MORE THAN ONE “look at your life, look at your choices” moment...

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The signs are ALL there that your business systems freaking suck.

You have post-its and random pieces of paper thrown all over your office. You know you have plans today but your Google Calendar is suspiciously blank, and there are three things you actively know you’re forgetting about right now.

On behalf of your clients, your team, and literally everyone else you work with, let me just say “Hell yes!” Pop the champagne!

What is it they say about admitting you have a problem? 🤔

Soooo you’re ready to peace out with the disorganized life and get your shit together. And the secret to that is snazzy systems.

Let’s rewind.

Business Systems 101

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I have a crazy amazing introduction to systems that’s worth reading before you go revamping your own, but here’s the gist:

  • Your systems are all the guidelines, rules, and processes that you go through to do your job. The...I know this word sucks…“structure.”
  • They’re soooo essential to successful businesses, and even though you’re a heart-driven creative, you’re also a boss.
  • Quick rundown of the benefits? Sure! They set a foundation for each new client, they keep things consistent across your biz, they help you delegate things easier, and they make you look professional AF.

Who doesn’t want all that?

But here’s the thing.

When you get started, you won’t go straight from “hot mess express” to “totally together” in one afternoon.

Nope, it’s more of a process, so feel free to start small.

Want to dip your toe into the whole “being organized” thing? Here’s what you do.

1. Start writing shit down

The first thing you can do to start de-stressing your biz ASAP is writing shit down. Anything in your head that you’re supposed to remember, get it on paper, into an app, whatever works for you.

But for the love of chocolate, do not trust yourself to remember everything you have going on!

Start doing this sooner rather than later, because you can’t organize your business systems if they only exist in your own brain. It’s time to start putting all those brilliant plans, ideas, calendars, and lists in your head somewhere they can be used.

Have a phone call later today? Write it down.

Need to remember to send an email? Write it down.

Can’t remember the steps for scheduling your social media posts and you forget how to use the friggin app every single time? Write it down.

I don’t even care where you put it! (We’ll get to that later.)

Just find a notebook or open up a new email and start writing notes to yourself. This will start to document your systems for you and let you see how they currently are before starting to clean it all up.

2. Keep it all in one place

System Upgrade

Once you’ve made a habit of writing shit down to make sure it actually happens, you’re ready for an upgrade...

Writing down everything going on in your biz, even if it’s digital, starts to get crazy and cluttered. And the annoying thing is, the better your business is doing, the more stuff you have to shovel through.

Blerghhh, it’s time to start organizing!

Keeping everything in one place creates one big ole hub for everything in your business. Even if it’s huge and not set up all fancy, at least you know everything is there.

Make it a special notebook, a Trello board, or use my FAVORITE TOOL EVER, Dubsado. (We’ll talk about that more in a hot sec.) Then make sure to set aside time *at least* once a week to update everything.

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3. Simplify and streamline

Look at you! Things all documented and organized like a systems queen.

But now you’re spending time writing things down, organizing it, making sure it’s all updated.

Let’s be real...no matter how much you love that stuff or how often you drink a glass of wine while you do it, it can get to be a pain in the ass.

It’s like you’re getting punished for having your shit together! 😂

That’s when it’s time to put streamlining and automation to work. You can use apps and tools and all the fun tech stuff to do the organizing for you. Spend more time with your family, your brides, or your wine while tools like Dubsado run your biz for you. 🙌

Take to-do lists.

You’ve got to-do lists out the wazoo.

Each step of a wedding has its own checklist, pretty much.

Instead of writing them out every time, Dubsado manages to-do workflows and can even complete some of the basic tasks - like sending emails, contracts, and invoices - for you. Yassss. Your own little assistant.

And that’s all it takes.

Start small. Write down things you can’t remember and keep track of them. As you start slaying at that, build up and up until soon, your biz will be a smooth-running creative machine. 😎

Like what you see? Click here for more!

4 Signs Your Wedding Business Systems May Suck

Yasss! You’re creative heart has decided you want your wedding biz full of organized systems out the wazoo.

Welcome to the dark side, we have color coding. 🤓

But let me tell you something, and realizing this will be game-changing for getting your shit together: systems are like reputations... you have one whether you want to talk about it or not.

The difference is whether you control it.

No matter what, you have a reputation. 

You can ask to be “excluded from this narrative” a la 2016 Taylor Swift, or you can take control of that mofo, a la Taylor Swift right now. 💁🏻 (#micdrop)

The same is true with your systems. Obviously, if you already have a business, you have your way of doing things, so you have the foundations for some systems.

They’re just proooobably a hot mess.

Sure, there’s a chance you’re more organized than you’d realized. But let’s be real. 🙄  

I’m guessing you’ve got some work to do - hell, even I’ve got some work to do, and I’m a badass at this. 😎

So how do you know that you may need to get your systems together? Here are a few signs the struggle is too real...


1. You have more than one “oh shit!” moment a week

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You know that feeling. The moment of panic followed by slight nausea and a healthy side of scrambling. 🤢

Because it’s 2pm and you just a remembered an email you promised you’d send yesterday. Or it’s Wednesday morning and you notice you left something at a wedding over the weekend.

Or you realize Thursday afternoon that the deadline you thought was next week was actually tomorrow...so much for watching Scandal. 😂

If you’re having these “oh shit!” moments on the reg, it’s time to step your systems up so you can keep track of what’s going on in your biz.


2. Your inbox is so crowded you just actively avoid it

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Oh, those 3,643 unread emails taunting you every morning, noon, and night. At this point, you’ve pretty much accepted that they’ll just ALWAYS be there until the day you or your business dies.

At which point, those unread emails will STILL find a way to haunt you. 👻

So instead of actually trying to get a good email system together, you just avoid email as much as possible. You’ll just scan through the first page of messages once or twice a day, looking for anything important.

I mean, you’re pretty sure you saw all the important stuff… 🤔

This kind of stuff does not end well for your business. Do I need to spell out how that ends up? Because I will.


3. You’ve missed out on a job because it took you too long to respond

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I told you I’d spell it out. When your business and inbox is utter chaos, there’s a good chance that at least once, someone’s contacted you to hire you and you didn’t notice it soon enough. 😬

Maybe it took you 3 weeks to see the email among your 500 others and by the time you replied, the couple had found another wedding photographer.

Hell, if your inbox is a mess, you probably don’t even know this is happening.

You may be thinking, “oh, this has never happened to me,” with some side-eye for good measure 👀, while there are half a dozen unread inquiries in your Gmail archive right now.


4. It would take longer than 2 minutes to pull together everything you’re working on

If I asked you to list out every current and upcoming wedding or project on your plate, could you do it?

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I get that a busy boss can have too much exciting shit going on to remember it all at once - but THAT’S WHY systems are so important! You should be able to find and figure out everything you’re working on easily - in 2 minutes or less. 👏

You should have a CRM or project management tool...hell, a snack-stained piece of scrap paper that lives in the corner of your desk even works…just *something* that shows you everything you’ve got goin’ on, all in one place.

Consider this step 1 of you intervention. You don’t need to work this way. Your systems spirit guide is here to teach you. 💁🏻

 

Systems 101: Time to Get Your Biz-Shiz Together

I know, I know, “You’re a creative, dagnabbit!”

You need chaos to create, your brain has #allthethings going on, you like it that way, and eff anyone who can’t deal with it.

And you know what? I get that attitude, I’ve felt it myself. 🙋🏻

Let me fill you in on a little secret though. That whole “but I’m a creative!” shit does NOT fly in the wedding industry. 🙇🏻‍♀️

Weddings are days with a thousand and a half moving parts, and ya know, just happens to be one of the most important days of the couple’s life.

No pressure to get everything perfect or anything…

Plus, sorry (not sorry), but you’re not just a creative, you’re also a businesswoman. 👩🏻‍💻

An entrepreneur. A badass boss.

Like it or not, you need business systems to get your shit together so you actually come off like the badass professional you are.

And I know that as creatives, the business ish tends to have us running for the wine. FAST. Which is why I’m here to be your systems spirit guide. 💁🏻

Today we’re just dipping our toes in the water - grab a glass of pinot and learn all about what business systems are and why you need them. 🍷

WTF are Systems?

Basically, systems are the key to keeping your biz shiz together. 🙌🏻

Your systems are all the guidelines, rules, and processes that you go through to do your job. I know, those words...guidelines, processes...they’re gross. But you need them.

Otherwise, you’re starting from scratch with each new client. Doing extra work, taking more time than needed, and generally making your own life and your clients’ lives harder.

But when you’ve decided on systems, written ‘em down and made ‘em real, you have a “formula” or directions to start with each time. And not vague IKEA-like directions, shit that’s actually helpful.

So let’s say a couple wants to hire you as their wedding photographer.

Here’s what that looks like without knowing your systems: 👎🏻

They contact you. It sits in your inbox until you remember to reply to it. You write them a new email letting them know the first steps to getting started with you. You write another email right after because you left out the most important detail.

More back and forth and disorganization, with you doing things as you go, until they decide to hire someone else for your special day.

But when you know your systems, it’s more like: 👏🏻

They contact you. You have a canned or automated email with everything they need to know next, that you can easily send off in 15 seconds. You DON’T forget anything important. They easily set up a conference call. On the consult, you have set questions and things to talk about, and can lay what happens every step of the way.

They’re BLOWN AWAY because you’re SO freaking organized, throw some money at your face to book their spot, and are consistently amazed by how professional you are right up until they tie the knot, and after.

And at the end of the day, all it takes to set up systems is *knowing your shit.* Knowing the who, what, when, where, and how of every situation. All things you already know, systems just make it “official” so you don’t have to do the thinking and work every time.

Gotta love not having to think, right?!

But that’s not the only reason you wanna check your systems before you wreck your systems…

Why You Want Systems All Up in Your Creative Biz!

Listen. There are endless reasons to get your business shit together. And all roads lead back to more clients, happier clients, more money, and less stress. But if you need to get more specific than that, happy to lay it out:

  • Systems set a foundation for each new client - you’re not starting things from scratch. You have set steps to go through, canned emails to use, document templates to rely on, and lots of fun stuff to decrease the amount of work per wedding.

  • They keep things consistent - when you’re following a set system and following directions, you’re way less likely to forget something or mess a step up.

  • Delegating gets easier - as your grow your biz, you’ll be able to automate and outsource a lot of the boring biz shit so you can focus on creative fun and your brides and grooms.

  • You look professional AF - just being real here. Being super organized and having smooth systems impresses clients.

Ready to come over to the dark side yet? Things are all alphabetized and color coded, it’s all kinds of pretty and just pure amaaaazingness!

For more about how to get your systems together and start looking like the pro you are, stay tuned for more on the blog. If you’re ready to get starting building fancy AF systems now, I can help.

-----> Download your FREE Tools Cheatsheet to start working smarter! <-----

 
 

My Best Kept Blogging Secret That Eliminates HOURS a Week From My Workflow

For all my little blogging babies, it is time to grow up!

Does the thought of blogging make you want to just Netflix and chill the rest of the day? I was the same way before I figured out this ingenious way of making the client do 90% of the blogging work for me. That's right. THE CLIENT IS DOING THE LEGWORK FOR YOU!

We have all heard the importance of blogging regularly and consistently for SEO and showing up in search results, yada yada yada... That is great, grand, wonderful and all, BUT WHO THE HELL HAS TIME FOR THAT! I'm sorry, but I know I don't! 

It used to be the bane of my existence. Truly. The thought of having to be all kinds of eloquent with my words and witty while showing off my bride and grooms' engagement sessions or wedding days was friggen exhausting. Let alone the time it actually would take to PUBLISH a post. That shit takes way too much of my time. 

Everybody in the creative industry is always saying you need to, "Work smarter, not harder." Yeah, that is great and all but most days it is a struggle to even stay on task for more than 15 minutes, let alone be smart about the way I work. Am I right!?

Then I had an epiphany. I spent the rest of my workday making sure I would never have to consciously think about blogging ever ever EVER AGAIN!

So it is time for me to finally let you in on a GINORMOUS secret on how you, too, can get back those hours and do better things like watch a marathon of the Golden Girls on Hulu and not shower for a day or two. 

Are you ready?!

You need to implement blogging questionnaires into your client workflow! 

If you are a wedding photographer, you typically get 2 blog posts per client assuming you do engagement photos for them, right? Instead of trying to find out all the crazy little details like how the couple met or when they first kissed or when they first rolled around in the sheets together, send them a form to fill out asking all the questions you would normally need to know. Then, you have all the information you need to draft up your post! Hell, the majority of the time I will format my posts to be like a Q+A series so all I have to do on my end is LITERALLY copy and paste their answers and throw a handful of photos into the mix. What would have taken you possibly hours to write and put on your wordsmith hat to be a creative little author just took you all of maybe 20 minutes, 10 minutes if you have all their photos set and ready to go in a folder on your desktop. That's right. 10 MINUTES FOR A BLOG POST!!!!!! 

BOOM! Cue the damn confetti for DAYS!

DOWNLOAD MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR AUTOMATING AND STREAMLINING YOUR CREATIVE BUSINES

Take a minute if you need to sit down because I know your mind was probably just officially blown. Now don't be too hard on yourself that you didn't think of this yourself before. We all have dumb days, weeks and even years. No but really, at least you know it now! 

 
 

Want to know the best part of this all?? You can legitimately not even have to click a button or think about sending a questionnaire to your next client as long as you have a CRM program like my all-time fave, Dubsado. You can set up a workflow to run that will automatically email your client a questionnaire on whatever date you choose. Now if THAT isn't all kinds of rainbows and unicorns, I don't know what is!! 

 
 

If you are thinking to yourself, well shit, that's a great idea but I don't have half a brain cell left with the start of the season and can't possibly think about putting one more thing on my to-do -- THINK AGAIN! Girl (or boy), I've gotchu. You can swipe the exact forms I use from The Shop



10 Tools Every Wedding Creative Needs on Their Desktop

 
 

Have you ever felt like there just isn't enough time in the day for the number of things you need to do in and for your business? 

Want to know the secret to at least looking like you have your shit together? 

We all get caught up in the hustle, but what we tend to forget is that we don't need to focus all of our precious time and energy on EVERY individual task in our businesses.

Instead, we need to streamline as much of our business as possible.

I've created a list of some of the same tools I use to automate my own business below:


*All links with an * next to them are affiliate links. Rest assured, I only recommend products that we love ourselves and that we think you’ll love too!

Dubsado

Instead of using separate tools for invoicing, forms and contracts, Dubsado allows you to do it all from one system. Send reminders, questionnaires and everything else... all from one place. All on autopilot. ALL THE CONFETTI!

Annette’s Contract Templates*

Need an ironclad contract made by a professional lawyer? Annette Stepanian, Attorney At Law, has incredible contract templates available for all creatives.  

Color Story

ColorStory

This is the program I use to edit my photos for social media. Instead of filtering your photos to look all the same, A Color Story focuses on creating fresh, colorful photos with professional editing tools and techniques. 

Infusionsoft*

This is the tool I use to send weekly newsletters, create sales funnels and create email courses. It’s a little pricier than other newsletter tools but it’s well worth the price. Infusionsoft helps you to capture more leads, improve conversion rates, master e-commerce, manage your sales process, and saves you more time. 

Clickfunnels

If you are looking to build your marketing funnels, there is no comparison to Clickfunnels. An absolute necessity if you plan on making passive income through evergreen programs. 

Thinkific*

Thinkific is the all-in-one platform for independent experts and entrepreneurs to create, market and sell online courses. 

Fluid

You can create an app out of any website so that you aren’t tempted to start surfing the inter web in your browser!

Dark Sky

A favorite amongst photographers, this app tells you exactly when the rain will start or stop, right where you're standing.

MySpeed

This app allows you to watch video as much as five times faster. Watch instructional or training videos faster without the “chipmunk voice effect.” Power through training material in 1/2 or even 1/5 of the time.

Waze

Search for locations, view real-time traffic updates and get turn-by-turn directions using the fastest possible route, based on Waze's real-time map data.

In a hurry and want to download the PDF to look at later?

Click the image below!

 
 

To view my ongoing updated list of resources, visit my Favorite Resource page.