How to Get People (Besides Your Mom) On Your Email List

Wondering how to get people (besides your mom) to sign up for your email list? Learn where to place opt-in forms on your website and how to promote your lead magnet and your email list will grow in no time! This is a must-read for any small business owner who wants to learn about email marketing!

Welcome to week 5 of Email Marketing 101! Just joining us? Catch up below.

If you can relate to having a tiny list that primarily consists of family and friends (that may or may not have been added without their consent), then this week is for you! 

With a few simple tactics, it’s absolutely possible to have a list full of people who are not related to you! In order to make that happen, I’m going to show you where to put email opt-in forms on your website. Once that’s done, we’ll cover how to promote your lead magnet. 

Putting Opt-in Forms On Your Website

Utilize Your Lead Magnet

With every opt-in form, the most important thing is to mention your lead magnet. Avoid using generic text that invites people to sign up for an email list or a newsletter. That’s not going to entice anyone. Instead focus on the helpful freebie they will receive when they sign up.

It’s also important to include a photo or mockup of your lead magnet. Not only does this make it visually more appealing, it also gives people an idea of what they will receive when they sign up.

Below is the mockup I use for my lead magnet. I found the mockup on Pixeden and customized it in Photoshop. If you don't have Photoshop you can always hire a designer to do it for you ;)

Wondering how to get people (besides your mom) to sign up for your email list? Learn where to place opt-in forms on your website and how to promote your lead magnet and your email list will grow in no time! This is a must-read for any small business owner who wants to learn about email marketing!

Opt-in Form Placement

There are five places you should have opt-in forms on your website. Some of these are Squarespace specific, but you can apply most of these principles to any site.Below are all the areas you should put an opt-in form on your website:

  1. Footer – One of the most important places to put your opt-in is in the footer of your website. This ensures that it will be on every single page of your site. With the way SEO works, you never know how someone is going to stumble upon your site, but many times your homepage will not be the way they enter.
  2. Blog Sidebar – Speaking of SEO, if you’re blogging consistently it’s very likely that someone will find your website through a blog post (maybe that's how you ended up here). For this reason, you'll want an opt-in in the sidebar of your blog (see mine to the right). That way it will be one of the first things people see when they come to your site. Unfortunately, many Squarespace templates don’t have the option for sidebars, but if you’re using one that does, be sure to take advantage of it. 
  3. Pop-Up – Opt-in pop-ups are a new feature that Squarespace has recently enabled. You need a business account to take advantage of this feature, but it’s definitely worth it, since pop-ups have one of the highest conversion rates.
  4. Landing Page – This is an important one, so pay attention! You absolutely must create a landing page that promotes your lead magnet. There should not be any navigation on this page. There should only be an image of your lead magnet, a description of it, and a form to opt-in. To do this in Squarespace use a cover page. Here's mine as an example.
  5. Banner – The last place you’ll want to promote your opt-in is in your banner. Technically this won’t be an opt-in form itself. Instead it will mention your lead magnet and click through to your landing page where people can sign up. This is good to have because like the footer, it will appear on every page, but no scrolling is needed to see it. 

Promoting Your Lead Magnet

In order to get some emails on your list, you have to start promoting your freebie. The best way to do this is to utilize social media, of course.

Create Multiple Ads

To do this effectively create some text-based ads to post on a regular basis. The more often you post the better, but at a minimum post once a week. Ideally you want a few different ads, so you can post them frequently while still maintaining variety in your feed. You'll also want some vertical ones for IG Stories and Pinterest.

Below are some ads I created for my own lead magnet. Every time I post them on Instagram I always get an influx of new sign-ups.

Wondering how to get people (besides your mom) to sign up for your email list? Learn where to place opt-in forms on your website and how to promote your lead magnet and your email list will grow in no time! This is a must-read for any small business owner who wants to learn about email marketing!
Wondering how to get people (besides your mom) to sign up for your email list? Learn where to place opt-in forms on your website and how to promote your lead magnet and your email list will grow in no time! This is a must-read for any small business owner who wants to learn about email marketing!
Wondering how to get people (besides your mom) to sign up for your email list? Learn where to place opt-in forms on your website and how to promote your lead magnet and your email list will grow in no time! This is a must-read for any small business owner who wants to learn about email marketing!
Wondering how to get people (besides your mom) to sign up for your email list? Learn where to place opt-in forms on your website and how to promote your lead magnet and your email list will grow in no time! This is a must-read for any small business owner who wants to learn about email marketing!
Wondering how to get people (besides your mom) to sign up for your email list? Learn where to place opt-in forms on your website and how to promote your lead magnet and your email list will grow in no time! This is a must-read for any small business owner who wants to learn about email marketing!
Wondering how to get people (besides your mom) to sign up for your email list? Learn where to place opt-in forms on your website and how to promote your lead magnet and your email list will grow in no time! This is a must-read for any small business owner who wants to learn about email marketing!

Utilize Your Landing Page

The next thing you need to do is update your website link on all social media accounts to lead to your email list landing page. If you’re tempted to forego this step, stay with me for a second.

Since there is no navigation on this page you will be forcing people to either sign up for your list or leave your site. It sounds scary because we assume most people will choose to leave, but I can tell you from personal experience that’s not the case.

Looking at the analytics of my site, over 86% of people sign up for my list when they visit my lead magnet landing page. That’s huge and a far better conversion rate than any of the other opt-in’s on my site! As for the 14% that didn’t sign up, they probably weren’t in need of my services to begin with. At the very least give it a try for a few weeks and see what happens! 

If you have an email list, what's your best tip for promoting your lead magnet and getting sign ups? Comment below!

Easily Set Up an Automated Welcome Sequence in Mailchimp

Wondering how to get started with email marketing for your small business? One of the first things you need to do is set up an automated welcome sequence for new subscribers to your list. Click through for an outline of what should be in each of your welcome emails, as well as a video tutorial showing you how to set it up in Mailchimp!

If you're new around here, I've spent the past few weeks covering the basics of starting an email list for your business. You can catch up below. Be sure to start with week one and work your way through all the lessons. Don't think you need an email list? Then week one is especially for you ;)

This week I’m showing you how to create an automated welcome sequence in Mailchimp.

What is a Welcome Sequence?

A welcome sequence is a series of 5-7 emails that are automatically sent out over a period of a week or so, after someone has signed up for your list. As I’ve mentioned before, the rule of 7 says that someone needs to come in contact with your business that many times before trusting you enough to make a purchase or hire you. A welcome sequence allows you to hit those seven interactions really quickly.

Why Do I Need One?

The first reason to setup an automated welcome sequence is to efficiently deliver your lead magnet when people sign up. When I first started my list I was manually sending my freebie to new subscribers, which was not very efficient! Save yourself the hassle and setup an automated delivery as soon as possible.

The next reason is to familiarize people with your business and show them your expertise. You can do this by providing free information and resources that will help them with a problem they have. It’s only after you’ve done this that you should try to sell to them.

What Should Be In It?

Below is an outline you can follow to set up your own welcome sequence. Make sure that each email serves a purpose and provides different content than the others. Feel free to adjust this for your own business as needed.

  1. The Welcome Email - Deliver your lead magnet and briefly introduce yourself. People are only opening this for the freebie, so keep it short, sweet, and to the point. (Timing: Immediately upon subscribing.)
  2. Set Expectations Email – Now that people have received what they came for, take the time to introduce yourself and your business a little more thoroughly. Tell them what to expect from your list, including frequency of emails and topics you’ll cover. (Timing: 1 day after previous email)
  3. Check-in Email – This is an opportunity to encourage people to use the freebie you’ve given them. Give them some tips for using it most effectively and invite them to reply with any questions they have about it. Include the link to download it again, in case they haven’t done so yet. (Timing: 1-2 day after previous email)
  4. Best Resources Email – You know all of those blog posts you’ve spent hours writing? Well they’re going to come in handy! Share your most helpful blog posts and free resources that show off your expertise. (Timing: 1-2 days after previous email)
  5. The Social Media Email - Invite people to follow you on social media to help strengthen your connection with them. Only ask them to follow you on the platforms that you’re active on. (Timing: 2-3 days after previous email)
  6. The Sales Email – It’s finally time to sell! Don’t assume that people know exactly what services/products you offer. Be sure to explicitly state how you can help them solve a problem they have. Direct them to a sales page on your site where they can learn more, and let them know how they can hire you. (Timing: 2-3 days after previous email.)

How Do I Automate It?

Mailchimp makes it really easy to setup an automated welcome sequence. Watch the video below to learn how.

As always, feel free to post your questions in the comments below!

Create the Perfect Lead Magnet for Your Email List

All small business owners need an email list! Not sure how to grow yours? You need a lead magnet! Find out what a lead magnet is, why you need one, and how to create it. With the perfect freebie offer you'll have subscribers on your list in no time!

Welcome to week 3 of Email Marketing 101! If you’re just joining us, catch up on weeks 1 and 2 below:

Today we’re talking about lead magnets: what they are, why you need one, and how to create it.

Defining Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is the freebie that subscribers receive upon signing up for your email list. This is the main freebie that you will promote all over your site. If you offer a freebie within a blog post that’s called a content upgrade and is usually a smaller offer than your lead magnet. Since no one needs another email in their inbox, you have to give people a reason to sign up. 

Lead magnets often come in the form of a PDF, but that’s not the only option. Here are some of the many forms a lead magnet can take:

  • PDF guide
  • Email course
  • A discount code
  • Free shipping
  • Free consultation
  • Free product with purchase

Creating Lead Magnets

To create a strong lead magnet identify a common problem your ideal clients have and find a way you can help them solve it. It’s great to get some feedback from your audience. Take a poll on IG stories or put it out on Facebook and see what people need the most help with.

You want to offer something of value, but remember that you’re giving it away for free, so it doesn’t have to be a ten page guide. A 1-2 page checklist is perfectly fine. While this is intended to be helpful to subscribers, a good lead magnet will also show people the value of hiring you. I’ve had lots of people start going through my mini branding guide, just to contact me a few days later because it made them realize how much they need professional help.

Once you’ve decided on the content for your lead magnet, decide what form it will take from the list mentioned above. Here's a more in-depth explanation of each.

PDF’s

These are great for guides and che­cklists. To make one you can hire a designer (I know a girl…), or purchase a template (check out Etsy or Creative Market) and customize it yourself (usually in Photoshop). To deliver your PDF upload it to Dropbox, your website, or Mailchimp and send the link out in an automated email.

Email courses

An email course is perfect for a series or a challenge. It may also be easier to create than a PDF, depending on your skillset. To set it up you will create an automated sequence in Mailchimp (which we’ll cover next week).

Discounts, free shipping, and free products

These are great for product-based businesses. However, for service-based businesses it’s not ideal since services are usually a larger investment than products. It’s better to offer something that doesn't require making a large purchase.

Consultations

This is great when you’re just starting out, but aren’t sustainable long-term. When I first started my list I offered half hour brand reviews. I sent out a link to sign up via Calendly and used Skype for video chats. It allowed me to connect with people one-on-one and provide personalized help. This gained me new clients quickly since the know, like, trust factor was built immediately. If you have the time, I recommend this while your business is small enough to handle it. Once your list gets larger you won’t have the capacity to devote time to each new subscriber.

Lead Magnet Ideas

To get the juices flowing, here are some lead magnet ideas for a few different industries:

  • Dietitian – 5 easy dinner recipes + a shopping list
  • Wedding photographer – a list of recommended local vendors
  • Jewelry designer – free shipping
  • Personal trainer – a week’s worth of workouts
  • Coffee company – free coffee mug with minimum purchase
  • Business coach – guide on how to attract higher paying clients
  • Web designer – free homepage review
  • Fashion brand – guide on how to hone your personal style
  • Copywriter – checklist for writing the perfect bio
  • Cosmetic company – free skincare consultation 

Have an idea for your lead magnet? Need some feedback? Post in the comments and I'll let you know what I think!

2 simple ways to Customize Your Mailchimp Account

Are you using Mailchimp for your email marketing? If so, learn how to create a template for consistent, easy to send emails. Then customize your confirmation to create a professional, on-brand impression. Click through for video tutorials that will help you utilize Mailchimp to effectively grow your list!

If you're not convinced that you need an email list, check out last week's post then meet me back here!

This week in Email Marketing 101 I'm showing you how to make some simple customizations to your Mailchimp account. You can sign up for an account here. A free one will get you started, but to create automated emails for your welcome sequence (which we'll cover soon) you'll need to upgrade your account.

When you create your account it will automatically create a list with your business name. You can use this for your main email list. Eventually you may have multiple lists or segmented lists, but since this is Email Marketing 101, we’re not going to worry about that yet!

Create a Template

To get you started with Mailchimp, I've created some video tutorials to walk you through the basics. There are two videos this week. The first one shows you how to create a template in Mailchimp. This doesn't take long and will make sending emails easier in the long run by providing a consistent, branded template that you can use every time.

Customize Your Confirmation

This second video shows you how to customize your confirmation email. This is what people will see when they confirm their subscription to your list. Rather than using the generic Mailchimp confirmation, we're going to customize it to create a more professional, on-brand impression.

Once you’ve done those two things you’re ready to get some people on your list! In order to make that happen you’ll need an enticing lead magnet, which is what we'll cover next week. Stay tuned!

Have questions about email marketing? Leave them in the comments!

4 Reasons Your Business Needs an Email List

Hey small business owner, are you wondering if your business needs an email list? The answer is yes! It doens't matter if you're service-based or product-based, Either way your business can benefit from email marketing! Read the top four reasons why you need to start building your email list, along with a little proof that it clearly works!

If you’re anything like me, you might be resistant to email marketing because it seems too “salesly” for your business. You don’t think you need to do it and frankly you’re just not interested.

If you can relate, let me share something that will change your mind. The quote below is from the initial inquiry of a client I’m currently working with on her branding, website, and marketing material:

“I'm honestly not that sure how I found your site, but I signed up for your free DIY branding guide, and...I ended up on your mailing list! Clear proof that your digital marketing strategies are working :)” 

Need I say more?

It’s important to mention that I’m two years into building my list and this particular inquiry came after a few months of being really consistent with my weekly emails. Without consistency your email marketing efforts will fall flat, but if you put in the time it will pay off!

So if you’re ready to start building your list, you’re in the right place! Over the next few weeks I will be covering what I call "Email Marketing 101" to include the following:

  • Setting Up Mailchimp
  • Creating a Lead Magnet
  • Setting Up a Welcome Sequence
  • Putting Opt-in’s on Your Website
  • Promoting Your Freebie
  • What To Send To Your List

If you'd like to be the first to receive this content sign up for my list right here and it will come straight to your inbox.

Before We Get Started

Why Email Marketing?

Here are the top reasons you need to start a list:

  1. To stay in touch with visitors to your website. Once they leave your site they may never return. Getting their email on your list is the only way you can ensure that the conversation continues.
  2. To get people to know, like, and trust you (the rule of 7). People are not going to hire you the first time they come in contact with you. The marketing rule of seven says it takes that many times of contact before someone will be ready to buy from you. Getting them on your list and utilizing a welcome sequence helps you hit those seven times really quickly.
  3. To show your expertise. By providing valuable content to your audience on a regular basis they will see that you are knowledgeable and experienced in your field. This will help boost that trust factor.
  4. To serve your audience. Showing your audience that you’re willing to serve them even when you’re not being paid is a great way to build trust. It also creates a reciprocity mindset, making your audience more inclined to buy from you because you have already given them so much.

Questions From You

Is it okay to send shared content to your email list, instead of writing your own content each time?

To answer this, let’s filter it through the purpose of having an email list that I mentioned above. If we want our audience to get to know, like, and trust us the best way we can do that is by writing our own content and showing our expertise.

In that sense, sharing content that isn’t your own is self-defeating. It’s not “wrong” per se (as long as you credit the source), but ultimately it’s not the best way to build the type of audience that is going to serve your business well.

If you don’t have time to write high-quality content it may be better than nothing…BUT you don’t want to rely on that on too often. So it's best to get in the habit of creating and sharing your own content each time.

Have questions about email marketing? Post them in the comments and I'll be sure to answer them in an upcoming post!

Small Business Interview / Liz Riden

In need of a little motivation to continue on the road of entreprenuership? Read this interview from leather designer, Liz Riden, who reminds us that while being a small business owner is a lot of work, the payoff is totally worth it! You'll also have an insider's peek into her design process, where she finds manufacturers, and her favorite business podcast. Click through to read it!

Today we have the privilege of hearing about Liz Frandsen's journey as a small business owner! She designs handbags and small leather goods for women. Liz is based out of her home studio in Lancaster, PA and has been in business for three years. Her business name, Liz Riden, is her maiden name, since it has more of a "designer" ring to it! She currently designs, cuts, and sew ALL of her bags by hand! And they are SO beautiful! 

Why did you decide to start your own business?

In college I had the opportunity to work for some pretty big designers in New York City. It was one of the most incredible learning experiences of my life, but also really made me realize how much I would love to create my own brand and product, and ultimately not work for a big corporation. The flexibility was a major draw for me!

What do you wish you had known when you were starting out?

Something that I'm still learning today. That success isn't overnight, and that being a small business owner often means working WAY more than most jobs. But, that the payoff is totally worth it to get to be your own boss and pursue your dream.

In need of a little motivation to continue on the road of entreprenuership? Read this interview from leather designer, Liz Riden, who reminds us that while being a small business owner is a lot of work, the payoff is totally worth it! You'll also have an insider's peek into her design process, where she finds manufacturers, and her favorite business podcast. Click through to read it!

For other product-based business owners, how would you recommend finding a manufacturer?

Finding manufacturing partners that you can trust to create your vision to the right quality is really key to scaling your business. There are several things I recommend.

Maker's Row is a fantastic resource for product based brands to find factories and sources. While it's mostly for fashion, there are many factories that are skilled in many types of products!

Also, when it comes to manufacturing, the industry is still pretty old school. I've found most of my insider sources simply by a Google search and going to the garment district in New York! Always meet with them or set up a call to discuss their work and make sure it's a good fit. Chances are, if they know other great resources they will be willing to share them too!

In need of a little motivation to continue on the road of entreprenuership? Read this interview from leather designer, Liz Riden, who reminds us that while being a small business owner is a lot of work, the payoff is totally worth it! You'll also have an insider's peek into her design process, where she finds manufacturers, and her favorite business podcast. Click through to read it!

What does your process look like from concept to completion?

My design process from concept to completion starts with sketching and pattern making. I am a very hands on designer, so I like to start by drawing my ideas out and drafting a pattern on paper to see how it fits together.

Flat pattern drafting basically involves measuring out the dimensions and pieces in a two dimensional way, and then piecing them together to make the three dimensional final product.

Once the pattern pieces are measured, I cut them out from cheap vinyl material and sew it together. I use vinyl for the first draft because it's cheaper than genuine leather and allows for mistakes to be made. 

Typically, my pattern process takes 2-3 revisions before it's exactly where I want it to be. 

Once the pattern is perfected, I make the sample in real leather to photograph. Currently, all of my bags are made to measure, so I will make one sample and then create orders as they come in!

In need of a little motivation to continue on the road of entreprenuership? Read this interview from leather designer, Liz Riden, who reminds us that while being a small business owner is a lot of work, the payoff is totally worth it! You'll also have an insider's peek into her design process, where she finds manufacturers, and her favorite business podcast. Click through to read it!

What has been the most effective strategy for selling more products?

For my product-based business, Instagram has been an absolute game changer in the way I do sales. I've found that not surprisingly, the more I share my work, the more it generates sales.

In addition, I've started expanding my wholesale division of my brand. I've found that being spread out across the country has grown my customer base quickly and that once customers shop in stores, they connect on Instagram and then that also grows future e-commerce sales.

What has been the best financial investment you've made in your business?

The best investment I've made in my business has been quality equipment. I started off my business with very cheap machinery because it's what I had and could afford.

Now, having the proper equipment allows my workflow to be more efficient, and the quality to be immensely better. Also, having proper leather working equipment has allowed me to do freelance work for other brands and designers who may not have those resources.

In need of a little motivation to continue on the road of entreprenuership? Read this interview from leather designer, Liz Riden, who reminds us that while being a small business owner is a lot of work, the payoff is totally worth it! You'll also have an insider's peek into her design process, where she finds manufacturers, and her favorite business podcast. Click through to read it!

What's your favorite business book, blog, or podcast?

I can't get enough of the podcast How I Built This with Guy Raz. It's so good! It's encouraging to hear about MEGA brands that got started from humble beginnings and all about how they did it. I wouldn't be lying if I said I secretly hope to be on it some day.

How do you rest, recharge, and find inspiration?

As a small business owner and mom, rest is something that's hard to come by! But recharging and inspiration are not. I'm fueled by lots of coffee and good company. I find inspiration in short day trips, art and art history.

Thanks so much for sharing, Liz! To view more of her gorgeous products and make a purchase, head right this way >>

Small Business Interview / Llani Shoes

Starting your own business and needing some advice? Check out this interview with Alana Oates, owner of LLanie Shoes. Find out from an entrepreneur when to launch your brand, the best investment,  reaching out to influencers, and finding inspiration.  "Don't be afraid, don't delay, start now and worry about perfection later." Click through for more  from Alana and a free shipping code!

Today's interview is with Alana Oates, founder of Llani Shoes. She produces the most fun and stylish slippers, flats, and slides that provide the comfort of home from anywhere. Read on to learn about her experience running a small business. AND...if you make it to the bottom there's a little treat for you!

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I launched Llani in 2016, but the decision happened way before that. It was always a nagging idea in the back of my mind. I was working for a large corporate company in San Francisco, but my fiancee was on the east coast in the home we bought before I said yes to the opportunity that took me across the country.

My motivation to get home really propelled me to take the steps to start the brand. I knew I wanted to 'come home' and in doing so, I wanted to work independently.

What do you wish you had known when you were starting out?

I think for a few months when I was sampling shoes and figuring out how and when to launch, I took it all a bit too seriously. I obviously wanted to put my best work into the world and I thought that once I decided on an identity, a logo, a color story, it could never change and it would determine the brand ID forever.

I soon realized, it was better to launch and let the brand evolve it's self. Now, I let my customers choose what they want to see more of. I follow my sales patterns, for sizes I buy into, and I pay attention to the feedback I get on social media to determine my next steps.

Starting your own business and needing some advice? Check out this interview with Alana Oates, owner of LLanie Shoes. Find out from an entrepreneur when to launch your brand, the best investment,  reaching out to influencers, and finding inspiration.  "Don't be afraid, don't delay, start now and worry about perfection later." Click through for more  from Alana and a free shipping code!

For other product-based business owners, how would you recommend finding a manufacturer?

I was lucky that I had a strong background in sourcing from the larger companies I worked for, but I found a lot of my current vendors through Linked-In. Some approached me, some I sought out.

The best thing is to have an idea in mind of want you want. I knew I wanted to work in India. I have always been inspired by the culture, and I love their hand-crafted atheistic.

My collection features a lot of hand beaded work, and it's one of the only places in the world I can get the quality I wanted for the right price. Figure out what area will be best for what you need to produce, and work from there.

llani-shoes-interview-03.jpg

What has been the most effective strategy for selling more products?

I do a lot of influencer outreach. For me, I like to reach out to girls who are also business owners, or creatives. Maybe they don't have the largest followings, but they have a curated feed and great fashion sense, while also having the integrity to showcase smaller brands and tell their story.

These girls are thrilled to get a pair of my shoes, and post a photo in return. Instagram has been a god send for me. I don't know how small businesses launched before social media!

Starting your own business and needing some advice? Check out this interview with Alana Oates, owner of LLanie Shoes. Find out from an entrepreneur when to launch your brand, the best investment,  reaching out to influencers, and finding inspiration.  "Don't be afraid, don't delay, start now and worry about perfection later." Click through for more  from Alana and a free shipping code!

What has been the best financial investment you've made in your business?

My largest investment has directly been into my product. I have really tried to keep all other costs lean. It's the most important piece of what I do, so investing in that first and foremost was the best move.

Just this year I took another big step and partnered with a PR firm in NYC. That was my second biggest investment, but waiting one year to take the step felt like the right timing. I hope it will be a game changer.

What is something you regret or wish you had done differently in your business?

I really can't say I regret anything to date. There are small learns I encounter everyday, like ordered too much of one size and not enough of another. But that can all be channeled into the next season to make that one a success. I'm forced to learn through trial and error.

What's your favorite business book, blog, or podcast?

I love to listen to Girlboss radio, in the mornings while I'm getting ready for my day. Sophia features amazing women who have started their own companies and listing to their journeys really inspires me.

Starting your own business and needing some advice? Check out this interview with Alana Oates, owner of LLanie Shoes. Find out from an entrepreneur when to launch your brand, the best investment,  reaching out to influencers, and finding inspiration.  "Don't be afraid, don't delay, start now and worry about perfection later." Click through for more  from Alana and a free shipping code!

How do you rest, recharge, and find inspiration?

I love to socialize and I gain a ton of energy from doing so. Trying to unplug on weekends is huge for me too. My husband and I often go to the shore on weekends with our dog, getting away from the office and taking a walk on the beach with my family is the best way for me to relax.

Anything else you would like readers to know about you, your business, or being a small business owner in general?

Don't be afraid, don't delay, start now and worry about perfection later.


USE CODE: SHIPNAH 
For free shipping

Start shopping here!

Don't forget to follow her on Instagram. Thanks so much for sharing, Alana!

Small Business Interview / Krista Rae

Take a sneak peek into the business of a web developer and hear  about the ups and downs of running a small business. If you're an entrepreneur, click through to learn about the most common website mistake small business owners make, some of the best financial investments Krista has made in her business, and her favorite business podcast.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Krista Miller owner of Krista Rae. She offers custom WordPress development and design strategy for brand and web designers and has been in business for two years. Kirsta hails from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. An interesting fact about her business is that she started out offering web design and really quickly realized it was not her thing. So she switched over to offering development instead and hasn't looked back! 

Krista has graciously provided an insightful peek into her business and opened up about what has worked for her and what hasn't. Keep reading to learn about the most common website mistake small business owners make, some of the best financial investments Krista has made in her business, and her favorite business podcast.

Why did you decide to start your own business?

I decided to start my own business almost on accident. In December of 2014 I randomly decided to start a craft blog as I was teaching myself to crochet. I was amazed with all the other blogs out there and for some reason it felt like the thing to do. After a whopping two months of that I got super bored and decided to let it go. Around the same time, I started following John Sonmez who talks a lot about how important it is for developers to have their own online brand. Thanks to a great course he offered, I got my own website up and running where I was talking about being a female in the tech industry.

Through a whole lot of Pinterest searches, I ran across content from people teaching you to make money through your website. Specifically, Mariah Coz had just started teaching people how to make income through courses. I jumped straight on the bandwagon and attempted my first course launch. With two people on the VIP list, it didn't go well, but I learned so much. A few months later, I realized that I could make money in the creative industry with the same skills I used every day at my full-time job and that's where my current website and business was born.

Take a sneak peek into the business of a web developer and hear  about the ups and downs of running a small business. If you're an entrepreneur, click through to learn about the most common website mistake small business owners make, some of the best financial investments Krista has made in her business, and her favorite business podcast.

What do you wish you had known when you were starting out?

When I was first starting out, I did absolutely everything by myself. I was afraid to reach out to people because I didn't think anyone would want to hear from someone who was as new as I was. Since then, I've seen the insane power of making connections and how much it can accelerate growth. If I'd have known that right away, I would have been able to give my business a bit more of a jump start.

What is the most common website mistake you see small business owners make?

The most common website mistake I see small business owners making is not putting any real thought or strategy into their site. They might loosely base it off of what they see other people doing, but they don't think about how those things relate back to *their* personal goals. If someone else is doing web design for coaches and you're selling products, having a website similar to theirs is a sure way to guarantee that it's not nearly as effective as it could be.

Take a sneak peek into the business of a web developer and hear  about the ups and downs of running a small business. If you're an entrepreneur, click through to learn about the most common website mistake small business owners make, some of the best financial investments Krista has made in her business, and her favorite business podcast.

What has been the most effective strategy you've used for gaining new clients?

The biggest thing I've done to get new clients is build relationships and make new connections. Last I checked, about 80% of my clients were coming to me through referrals, which is huge. If someone is looking for a developer in a Facebook group, it doesn't take long for several people to chime in with my name. And sure, I'm good at what I do, but those people wouldn't take the time to refer me or give me a shoutout if we didn't have some kind of personal connection.

What has been the best financial investment you've made in your business?

The best financial investment I've made for my business are the coaches I've worked with. I've now worked with two business strategists and one life and business success coach. While the investments can be a little terrifying, it has paid off for me every time to let someone with a ton of experience get an inside look at my business and point out the areas I could improve. For example, I'm not sure I ever would have realized that I was better at targeting designers as my audience, rather than general business owners, if one of those coaches hadn't looked at what I was offering and pointed it out.

Take a sneak peek into the business of a web developer and hear  about the ups and downs of running a small business. If you're an entrepreneur, click through to learn about the most common website mistake small business owners make, some of the best financial investments Krista has made in her business, and her favorite business podcast.

What has been the biggest game changer in your business?

The biggest game changer in my business, besides the connections and coaches I already mentioned, was a live course I took in October of 2016. The course was Be Booked Out by Halley Gray and it taught me everything I needed to know to really zoom in on my ideal audience, craft services that they would want, and launch them in a way that leaves me booked for months at a time. It was quite the investment, but I wouldn't be where I am today without it.

What is something you regret or wish you had done differently in your business?

Something I wish I'd had done a bit differently is being pickier about the people I collaborate with. On a few occasions I've done webinars with people I barely knew or even larger collaborations with people I've been close with that haven't gone well. It's important to hold yourself back from getting over-excited about something and really evaluate whether or not you and that person would make a good team. I've always learned to start with some type of smaller collaboration before diving into something that generates income or is ongoing.

Take a sneak peek into the business of a web developer and hear  about the ups and downs of running a small business. If you're an entrepreneur, click through to learn about the most common website mistake small business owners make, some of the best financial investments Krista has made in her business, and her favorite business podcast.

What's your favorite business book, blog, or podcast?

My favorite business podcast is The Strategy Hour from Think Creative Collective. I love that they don't hold back information and don't waste time chatting about random stuff, while still making it a blast to listen to.

How do you rest, recharge, and find inspiration?

This is something I'm not the greatest at. I'd like to say that I take random days off during the week or go for walks in the middle of the day to free up space and make time to be creative. Buuuut that's not how it is around here. I have gotten pretty good at taking nights and weekends off of work, which helps a lot. Now when I get to Monday I'm usually excited to dive into work, rather than tired from all the extra tasks I checked off over the weekend.

As far as inspiration, I think I'm lucky to be a naturally driven and determined person as well as someone that can easily identify actionable tasks out of goals I want to accomplish. So my form of inspiration comes from thinking of a goal I'm working towards and identifying the steps I need to get there. A more logical and nerdy approach than most probably use ;)

Thanks so much for sharing, Krista! If you'd like to learn more about website strategy this is where you can find her: Website / Podcast / Instagram

Small Business Interview / Savan Photography

If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

It's time for another small business interview! Today I'm chatting with Savan Crutchfield, owner of Savan Photography. She is a fine art film photographer specializing in weddings, lifestyle and editorial for the past four years. Savan is based in Orange County, California and always ready to travel. In her timeless and romantic work, she seeks raw and emotional moments. Aside from a few high school and college film courses, she is self-taught. 

If you're a new business owner, keep reading to learn some helpful tips from someone who's been there. AND take advantage of a special discount that Savan has generously offered to my readers at the end of this post.

How did you get started in your field?

I got my start by taking photos of my first daughter. Through friends and social media, I was referred to my first family session and wedding client.

What do you wish you had known when you were just starting your business?

I'm such a people pleaser and I HATE saying NO, but I wish I knew that earlier in my career I can't always say YES, and can't make everyone happy. It's going to be tough your first year and you have to give yourself a chance to learn and make mistakes along the way.

If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

What has been the most effective strategy for gaining new clients?

Being consistent with my brand and work has been the most important thing. I put out quality work and share on all social media sites daily. For social media, the two most important things are displaying quality work, and writing captions from the heart that your ideal client can relate to. 

If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

What does it mean to be consistent with your brand and work?

This is a lot easier said then done for sure! I think we, as artists, struggle to find the right path for what our work should look like. Trying to be different and creating a brand that is wanted can take time. My suggestion for photographers is to shoot what you love and shoot where you love, and go from there. 

Once you find your niche start building that consistent look and don't stray from it, continue to build and tweak little by little if needed.  Creating a brand and work to be fully proud of is hard as an artist, but like anything success takes time. 

Success comes in time and it does not have to happen over night. One must be prepared to work hard and stay humble.
If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

What has been the best part of running your own business?

The best part is being my own boss and having creative freedom.

What has been the most difficult part of running your own business?

The most difficult part is also being my own boss because it means not having the support of a huge corporation when needed.

What advice would you give to someone else starting a business?

Success comes in time and it does not have to happen over night. One must be prepared to work hard and stay humble.

If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

Anything else you would like readers to know about you, your business, or being a small business owner in general?

In our world of social media it is hard to not compare yourself to others, but comparison is the thief of JOY! Success is very dependent on the person, so as you build your business and brand, make sure to go at your own pace and enjoy the small and big successes along the way!

Thanks so much for sharing and for your generous offer to my readers, Savan!
See more of Savan's gorgeous work and follow her on social media: Website / Instagram / Facebook


Special offer for Letterform readers

Book a session with Savan in 2017 and receive 40 complimentary 4x6 proof prints!
Click here to send her an email and book your session.