Talk It Out Tuesday: Coffee Chat
The price of anything is the amount of life exchanged for it.
Grab your dark roast + join us as Lauren lays it all out on the table with her top best AND worst business investments she has made to date. From masterminds and mentors to courses and workshops, it is about to get all kinds of vulnerable up in here so that you don't have to!
EPISODE 34 COFFEE CHAT REPLAY
Episode 34 Podcast
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Lauren Dragon-Cook: Good morning everybody. How are we all doing on this beautiful Tuesday? Todays episode we are going to be chatting about all of my best and worst investments I have ever made throughout my entrepreneurial journey. Its going to be good. You are going to get the real, the raw, the no sugar coating. I will be sharing with you all of my investments, the good, the bad, the ugly. What actually helped me, what I probably could’ve don without… there is going to be no sugar coating on this one.
I have been doing this thing, I have been an entrepreneur since 2010. I have not worked for a company, I have not worked for a corporation... I have worked form home since 2010. Obviously it has changed over the course of the last 8 years, but I definitely have invested in a couple of things.
One other thing I want to quickly say before diving into the bad… I have pretty much tried every single software, platform, program, service that is available out there for creatives. Why? Because I am very much the type of person, that I will absolutely listen to you and what you have to say about a service or program, but I am the type of person that has to experience it myself. I am that person. I need to know first hand. With that being said, I am not kidding. I have tried every single email software, almost every single client management software, I have tried all the design software’s. Yeah, you name it I have probably tried it.
I used to have a nickname… “Apps”. It used to be my nickname.
The Bad and the Worst
Let’s dive in.
Number 1: Let’s start easy… if you are in the wedding industry then you are obviously familiar with he Wedding Wire and the Knot. I have had free service s on both. I have paid for Wedding Wire. If that is your sole marketing means… you are doing it wrong. Wedding Wire in the time I was paying for it and optimized my account for all the SEO, I did everything that they say to do to set it up. I didn’t get a single real lead. Not one. I didn’t get a single lead. I did get a fake lead. I know it was a fake lead because in the way that the message read… it was literally one day after I contacted Wedding Wire saying “hey I’ve done everything you’ve said, I’m not getting anything”. They told me it just takes time. Finally I talked with Peter, (love you) and I just said “listen, I’m not trying to say Wedding Wire is terrible, but I have done x, y, and z… I have waited for months and I haven’t gotten a single lead.” Then they let me break the contract. Now this is information I am sharing publicly. Am I supposed to be? I don’t know. But to be completely honest, I am a resource for you.
You can still get all the reviews and awards and recognition, you don’t have to have a paid account in order to do so. It is absolutely a business builder if you are looking for accolades.
Number 2: I’m going to ruffle some feathers but that is okay… Bridal Expos. Bridal Shows. Didn’t matter if it was a $1,000 booth in Boston or a $200 booth in New Hampshire… it never produced sufficient, quality, “yes I want to work with these people because they are my ideal clients”, brides or grooms ever. I’ll tell you why. The people that are going to wedding shows these days… we live in a digital age. Everything is online. When we got married Pinterest didn’t exist. The age, the bride of today is not going to shows in order to find vendors. They have Google and friends for that. Then on the other side, the ones that do go to the shows and expos are solely looking for handouts, for discounts, for the free gifts… for the swag bags. They are going for the free shit.
Here is another thing… last week I saw that someone had left a review from Canada and gave our Podcast one star and the reason being because swearing is so unprofessional. And so what I want to say to that person is you are going to spend your energy and go out of your way to leave a review, a one star review, when you could’ve spent that same amount of energy and unfollowed the group. Don’t spread that negativity. I’m not going to censor myself.
The one thing I have gotten from clients time and time again is them coming back to me and saying “but if don’t do the show someone else will replace me”. Okay, let them replace you because then you don’t have to deal with those budget brides. You are looking for quality. You are not looking for quantity. You know how much of a headache it can be if they are not a good fit for you.
Number 3: Infusionsoft. This will lead me into a couple of other things but, if any of you are looking for an email platform or a way to send out newsletters… Infusionsoft is not it. When I joined I was paying $240 a month. It can be great if you are running a seven figure business and have all kinds of sales funnels and all of that stuff. But if you just need the basic “I need to send out an email to my group”, Infusionsoft is not it.
It is called Confusionsoft for a reason. It is too much of a platform for the majority of people that are listening to this podcast.
Number 4: This wasn’t necessarily money spent, however it was space in my mind. All of the worlds free opt-ins and downloads and webinars and workbooks… all of the things. Yes they absolutely are there to help you and give you information, however 9 times out of 10 if you do not know the true purpose of a free-bee it is to get someone’s email. Once you are in the email sequence you are going to get sold to. You will feel the product is the solution. Let me tell you… I have no in the last 8 years found by getting some opt-in or some download… I have never found a product at the end of that that changed my business. If you feel like your desktop looks like a murder scene from a horror movie with all of the carnage and opt-ins… if that clutter is starting to weigh on you… delete it. Unsubscribe.
Number 5: All the courses that I purchased over the years and didn’t finish. All the courses I bought and finished and was still left with questions. All of the courses that promised it would teach me how to save the world and rescue all the starving children and it didn’t teach me that. All the courses.
Anyone can create a course. Yes some of the best of the best have courses. However they don’t necessarily have an education degree. They don’t necessarily have the means or qualifications to teach you in a specific way. If you are looking at a course and you are unsure… if you keep going back and forth, chances are you can weigh on the side of “its not going to do a whole lot for you”. If you are feeling this course will be the one, it is solving a specific problem for you… then okay! Maybe it is a winner. From my personal experience, all the courses… there have only been a couple that handout and taught me something of value that I still now practice or do.
If they have a moneyback guarantee that tells you a couple of things. It tells you they truly stand behind their product, they are not out to ghost you, they aren’t out just for a profit, they genuinely want to help.
Courses are not the solution. Am I going to tell you the solution? Well its different for everybody. But there is a solution for you.
Number 6: Facebook ads. Last year alone I spent $1,800 on Facebook ads. Let that sink in. Yes, I did have somebody running my Facebook ads… so on top I was paying someone money to do that. I was probably looking at about $5,000 on Facebook ads. People that you are trying to target can be done in different ways. But since we hear about these ads all the time, we think it will be the end all be all solution. What I will say, I ended up getting maybe 200 subscribers on my email list. I would have to assume maybe 40 of them are still around.
Facebook ads are necessarily the solution for small business owners. It does work for some, but when we are a service based business it can be kind of hard. This is my experience.
Number 7: Last and not least of the worst… which ironically is also one of the best. A Mastermind that I joined last May. When I say high touch, I am talking five figures. More than I have ever spent on a vehicle. I joined. This Mastermind was supposed to teach me the ins and outs of sales funnels and how to do Facebook ads and what it was going to take for me to find my ideal audience. All of these things.
I even went so far as to pull cards for myself. I asked, I contemplated, and meditated. The answer was a resounding yes. Now, I could’ve talked myself out of it, and I almost did. But I joined because the person who ran this Mastermind was incredibly good with advertising.
Long story short, I am now one of over a dozen people that are no longer in it. I don’t think it is offered anymore. This person has since changed directions. It ended badly. When I say badly, I mean I remember having a one on one call with this individual and saying to them (I’m being 100% transparent so take it or leave it), “Listen I don’t even have enough money to buy my children Christmas presents. We haven’t purchased groceries in three weeks and you are still expecting me to pay you X number of dollars when we are a terrible fit and I’m not learning what it was that you had told me I would learn.” The person looked me in the eye and said “yeah, this is business”.
Fast forward a little bit, the day after Christmas… I don’t think I’ve told anybody this story but it needs to be told. The truth of the matter is there are many many many coaches or mastermind groups that I have heard this happening with. Many mentors that we love but don’t know about it because it is behind the scenes. Here is the best part…
The day after Christmas collections started calling me. I would receive a call a day. It lasted for right up until the second week of February. One of the voicemails that I received was speaking to the fact that my father was in the hospital for cardiac issues. This is collections, guys. I don’t know how they found this shit out but they did. The voicemail was more or less a threat. I have saved them all. You cannot do that legally. Calls continued.
It is now behind me. On the flipside… I will Segway into my best investment. I have come to realize, accept, internalize, embrace, and moved on from the fact that that happened and it has also been one of the best investments I have made because I was able to find the silver lining.
The Silver Lining
The silver lining is I was able to meet so many people that I never would’ve been able to. I was able to make connections with so many people that I would’ve never met. And we have lifted each other up. We cam together and banded together. It was a beautiful thing.
Is it why I joined the Masterminds? No. You shouldn’t have to find the silver lining and justify it that way. But it was truly one of the best things I could’ve done because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. That is the one thing so many business owners need. We stay stuck in our comfort zone and expect to grow and have a different outcome even though we are doing the same thing.
It was one of the best things that I could’ve done for myself because it taught me so many things. I don’t do sale funnels or Facebook ads in my business. I don’t do those things because it is not me. It is not my brand or who I am as a person. I am here to serve you, I am not here to sell you.
Number 1: I should’ve done this sooner, but one of the best things I’ve done was to hire a copywriter. A copywriter for emails, for my about page, for my home page, for my services page. It is really hard to A) look at what it is you do from an objective stand point. I could not for the life of me explain what I actually did on my website. How do I explain all of this? It is something that isn’t really done. The closest terminology I have found to explain what I do is a “psychic business coach” and even then that is a terrible label and I don’t put that on myself.
So I had to hire a copywriter and find someone that sounded like me and would be no question that I wrote it. It was an investment depending on what I had them do. However, if you can relive that weight… fuck yeah it is worth it!
Hiring a copywriter… it was tough. But the sooner you become clear on who you are serving and what you are offering… the sooner those clients will walk through the door. But if people don’t know what it is you do… they aren’t going to hire you. You have to remember two things when you are thinking about copy and whatever… I mean this in the sincerest way. People are dumb. Meaning you have to explain it to the in the simple form possible. And no body is going to be as proud of you as your momma. Meaning they don’t really care about you, they want to know what you can do for them.
Until you can internalize that, you can’t really grow or reach your ideal client.
Number 2: Hands down… in-person workshops that fuel my soul. Whether that is growing my own intuition and learning how to connect with my own inner knowing to connecting and learning business with other creative business owners to retreats where you just relax and learn a couple things. In-person workshops have hands down been some of the best. I have never regretted spending money of them. You are always going to learn something and get what you put in to it in return. If you go into it thinking open minded and you are just there to recharge… that is what you will get, But if you go into it thinking… I just need some money… that is all you will think about and you won’t be open to hearing the information or experience people are trying to offer.
Number 3: Dubsado. It has been the best investment I could’ve ever made ever for my business. Why? The heart and soul the brain of running my business on auto piolet. I talk about automation, strategies, and workflows… but in reality it all happens because of Dubsado. It literally cut my work time I would say at least by 30% with my wedding planning business.
If you are paying whatever a month, $25 a month to work 30% less… is worth it. If you are on the fence with signing up, I do have a coupon code that gives you 15% off the life of your subscription. Not just 20% off for one month. If you are looking to sign up, the code is WEDDINGBOSSLIFE.
Number 4: Tailwind. Its about $100 a year. If you want to get a coupon code for that, go to my website and find resources and you’ll find the link and you’ll get the coupon code directly applied. It is a Pinterest software. You schedule your “pins” to be going out at the optimal times and your audience then sees it. The beautiful thing about Pinterest is it looks like you’re constantly pinning. You don’t want to do 60 new pins all at once because if your audience isn’t on at 9am… guess what they won’t see those pins. Pinterest is the second largest search engine aside from Google. If you are looking to drive people to your website organically… Tailwind is an incredible way to do it.
Pinterest for me is the second biggest source of traffic to my website. Meaning people find me through Google and Pinterest. Those are my two biggest platforms.
When you do pin from Tailwind, make sure you are doing it form your actual URL. You don’t want to be behind the scenes on your website pinning stuff. People won’t be able to access it.
Number 5: Attending WPTI. This one is for my photographer friends. Going to that conference, if you are part of the video or photo realm, opened my eyes to so much more. It allowed me to meet those insta-famous people and see the actual person behind the mask. It was such a game changing experience for me and changed the complete path for the business I was working for. It was so innovative.
Number 6: Last but not least, I wanted to give this a bit more of a highlight. All of the intuitive workshops I have attended, they have always proven to be one of my biggest sources of growth for my own business. If you have a hobby, if you have something you just want to learn more about… do the workshop. The very first one I ever attended was back in 2013 and now I have incorporated it into my business. You never know where your path is truly going to lead you. If you had told me that I would’ve been teaching people how to tap into their own gift and strategize their business… I would’ve thought you were crazy.
Wrapping It Up
You are all helping to create something that doesn’t exist and change the course of business for everybody. The solution of your business looks different for everybody. No coach, your mastermind, no workshop is going to be that one solution for you. The solution lies within you. When you start to learn how to tap into your own intuition, you will get the answers you need, and the divine guidance from your own guide. You could pay $3,000 for a coach to tell you or you can find that answer for yourself. Its about learning how to tap into that so you can skyrocket and grow.
That’s what I mean when I say you are helping to create this path that doesn’t exist because I have this feeling that I was put here to completely change the game. Courses aren’t the answer. Webinars aren’t the answer. It is already inside of you. It’s a matter of learning how to work with those things… then you will get all the answers you need.
The first question you should ask yourself when you are looking to start investing in something… is what is going to make me money. Where am I going to be able to regain my cost? You have to figure out a way that works for you.
Keep the conversation going. This is amazing. We will be touching base again in October! How are we almost into October?
Our next Coffee Chat is going to be on October 2, 2018. I hope this was helpful and it was informative. As always you can always reach out with questions. Love you guys so much, have a fabulous rest of the week!
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.