5 Mindset Shifts That Grew My Business Exponentially

Being your own boss requires about 27-48 different hats on any given day. One minute you’re handling client facing portions of your business, the next you’re trying to keep your Instagram story relevant, and then (if you’re like me, literally this happened) you’re like ‘why is this random number from California calling me?’ only to realize two seconds to late it’s a meeting you forgot to actually write down.

So, yeah, it’s not always sunshine and roses, but that’s okay because most days it’s pretty freaking sweet. Something that made me have a looooot lot lot more of the ‘pretty freaking sweet’ days was looking at my mindset and making some “MAY-JA” changes.

I’m not a guru at this mindset stuff, heck, most days I’m maybe like “one-half woo, on the woo woo scale”, but I notice the second I remind myself to keep a handful of thoughts in the forefront of my brain, things start to materialize in amazing ways. Back in February when I re-launched TheCrownFox under a new business model and service offering, I would write these ideas out every single day to make sure I didn’t let myself get sidetracked. So, if you need a little boost in the ‘what the heck am I doing?!” department, give some of these mindsets a whirl.


I HAVE A DESIRABLE AND SPECIALIZED SKILL SET

Hey! Yes! You do. Even if you think you don’t, trust me you know how to do something that someone doesn’t. It doesn’t make you vain, cocky, narcissistic, or selfish to acknowledge that you’re good at something. When I say “something”, I literally mean “anything.” You don’t need a degree in rocket science, or 25 years experience in corporate America to have a skill set that someone else needs and could use to make their lives better, their jobs easier, or their businesses grow.

"You have a skill or knowledge that can help someone else." (tweet that!)

Shifting your mindset from something like, “but why would anyone pay me to do this?” to something “I have a desirable and specialized skill set” is the first step into seeing real results in your business. For most of 2016 and before I spent time feeling like a bit of a fraud. I was young, I had no business acumen, I saw a lot of other designers that were really impressive, and I thought… “Okay, so clearly no one needs to pay me to do this.” And you know what happened? Very few people actually DID pay me to do this. It wasn’t working. The mindset was all wrong and I would go into meetings or consults with this negative belief that it didn’t really matter anyway, so whatever.

This showcases in a lot of ways – maybe you aren’t being as ‘obviously negative’ as I was being, but maybe you do things like not-actually-ask-for-the-sale, or under-cut-your-prices-drastically-because-you-don’t-think-you’re-worth-it. These seemingly small actions really are your brain saying that you don’t think what you are bringing to the table is WORTH anything and to be honest, it’s hard to make someone give you money when you don’t think you deserve it.

 


I HAVE EXPERIENCES THAT OTHERS CAN (AND WANT) LEARN FROM

Another mindset issue that is very similar is acknowledging that your experiences are unique and could really help someone that is even ONE step behind you in business. So that reason alone is reason to share what you’ve learned.

I used to think that blog posts had to be ‘expertise, expertise, expertise’ and newsletters had to be ‘even more expertise, even more expertise, even more expertise.’ Well, it took a bit of time, but I’ve realized that a) I freaking hate reading content like that and b) a lot of other people do too!

So instead I’ve switched my mentality to one of learning and of journeys. More sharing things like, “here’s what I’ve tried” or “in my experience, this happened” and less of, “my way or the highway and by the way that highway is on fire and there are wild animals chasing you.” (Does anyone else read those sorts of articles or see those sorts of Facebook Lives and just cringe inside? Stop telling me I have to do everything exactly like you did it or my business will totally fail, puh-lease.) But rant aside, know that that sort of content is gross and you can instead feel comfortable and excited about sharing YOUR experience and things YOU LEARNED, even if you’ve been in business for about a week and you’re teaching us something that you think is so-so-so basic, someone is literally Googling that issue right now and you can help them. Take the time and remind yourself of that: you have experiences and knowledge that can help someone.

 


BEING A CREATIVE DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN I’M UNORGANIZED

This one’s a little specific to creatives, but I think you can apply whatever stereotype your industry has and have your own version of this mindset shift. I grew up being extremely Type A. I legit was going to major in MATH. Just math. Not engineering, just straight up I-liked-calculus-way-too-much-and-got-a-5-on-my-AP-and-also-a-nearly-perfect-score-on-the-math-part-of-my-SAT-exam-MATH. Somehow that switched into fine arts when I got to college, despite having taken one art class 2nd semester of senior year of high school (with all freshmen). History aside, something started to switch inside of me and my Type A slowly morphed into something a lot less organized and efficient.

I’m not saying all creative are unorganized, but I am saying that if I get really reflective about myself, I began to think that to be a good creative I wasn’t allowed to be this meticulous, detailed, perfectionist. So I didn’t do that anymore. Fast forward a few years and now I’m a creative for hire and OH MY GOD I better be organized. But it took some legit mindset work and reflective work to a) acknowledge I had a lot of silly pre-conceived notions about what “I had to be” and b) work to getting back to a version of myself that was equal parts creative and organized.

I give you this brief glimpse into my history because I know I’m not alone in thinking we “have to be” certain ways to fit whatever molds we think exist. You can be creative and organized. You can be a good business owner and not wake up at 5am and have a ‘miracle morning’ every morning. You can be a sassy speaker and still appeal to people that are more heart-centered and kind. YOU CAN BE AND DO whatever you want, okay? Seriously.


YOU DON’T HAVE TO STRUGGLE TO HAVE SUCCESS

On a similar idea of pre-conceived notions, you don’t have to have a success story that stats with you at the very bottom. You don’t. You can start in the middle. You can start on top and just move laterally.

This was BY FAR the hardest thing for me to acknowledge in my business and in my life. I can get reaaaaaally intense right now and share way to much personal details, but I’ll just sum it up like this: somewhere I grew this idea deep down that anyone that was truly successful had started from rock bottom.

SO GUESS WHAT I DID? I got real, real, REAL freaking low. And I remember thinking to myself, “well, this is good because NOW I can rise up.”

WHAT?! NO. Just rise up from wherever the heck you are right now. Stop going down. You don’t need rock bottom to be a strong, empowered, successful person. You just need to do the damn thing.

"You don't need to hit rock bottom to start making big changes." (tweet that!)

I mean if you already did it, like, it’s fine – I’m not judging you, because I did it too. But if you’re reading this and way in the back of your mind you know you’re doing it to yourself right now, just stop. Stop spending money on your credit card that you know you don’t have. Stop dating that poisonous person who makes you feel like you can’t run a business. Stop saying you’ll make it someday. Switch your mindset and remind yourself of this: you don’t have to struggle to have success. You can just have it. You can. You can start from exactly where you are at this second, remind yourself that a) you got a desirable skill set and b) you can help others and start doing it.


TO OWN A PROFITABLE BUSINESS, I HAVE TO HAVE A PROFIT

Lastly, and perhaps the most important (I don’t know honestly, I think they all are pretty essential) – stop thinking it’s bad to charge for your skills, your knowledge, and your experiences. The most surefire way to never have a profitable business is to never actually charge for anything.

You cannot pay yourself $3/hr and have a profitable business. You don’t even want to work with the people that think that is acceptable pay! They don’t respect you or your work if they pay you that little.

The next time you’re about to ask for a sale, and you start to feel the doubt creep in, stop and remind yourself that you HAVE to have a profit for your business to work. That’s what a business does. It makes money. You are a business owner and you have to make money to continue making that statement true. You have a desirable skill set, you have unique knowledge and experiences, and you are allowed to profit from that.


I can’t say these shifts will solve all of your business and life woes, but I will say that they will help enable YOU to make the necessary changes and adjustments to grow your business to new heights, too. Take these as they are, or tweak them to better fit your needs, and write them down. Put them everywhere - on your bedside table so you see them in the morning, or on your computer so you can remind yourself before you interact with potential clients. And repeat them so often that you can’t help but believe and know them to be true. That’s what I spent a few months doings (and still time every day doing) and the growth has been amazingly huge for me, so I know it can be for you too.


I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


I Stumbled Across One of The Best Affiliate Programs (And Now You Can Too!)

Ultimate Bundles Affiliate Program reached out last fall to one of my business besties about including a product we had worked on together (Systemize Your Branding). Without much thought, I agreed to put our product in, and thought ‘that was it.’ I figured I’d send an email or two to my list, schedule some tweets, and maybe make a few bucks. Plus I got access to the bundle content for free, so I that was nice.

Well, to my complete excitement and utter amazement – I made more than a few bucks and the content in the bundle was AMAZING. Nearly a year later and I’m still going through it and reaping benefits in this business and in other business ventures.

I have to be honest, I sort of feel like I “hit the jackpot.” See, last year I didn’t really read all the fine print about payouts and what to expect – so randomly money would just show up in my PayPal account and I’d text my friend (also involved in the bundle) and be like “DID YOU JUST GET MONEY!?” and she would respond “YES!”. This happened THREE times since I became an affiliate (off of promoting ONE bundle).

So this year when the time came to be involved, I definitely wanted in. I read the fine print too, so I could understand a little more about how this process worked and, oh man, “hit the jackpot” I did. So, here's your chance to “hit the jackpot” too (and a few reasons you should jump on this bandwagon).

VARIETY OF BUNDLES

I don’t generally write posts promoting affiliate programs. In the past I’ve shared different software or programs (like ConvertKit, SmarterQueue, or BoardBooster) that have helped my business, but I never really set out to make money through affiliate marketing (it’s just a nice perk). And to be honest, I still don’t consider it a ‘main source’ of income, but I’ve had a really good experience working with Ultimate Bundles and I felt the need to share (and yes, I would get a commission if you click and sign up through my link).

You can make money through Ultimate Bundles by sharing their bundles throughout the year with your audience and taking a percentage of the sale (40%, which to me just seems ridiculously high – but hey, I’m not complaining)! You can also be an ‘author’ for a bundle (what I did last year), and make a larger percentage of the sale. The bundle I participated in last year was the Ultimate Blogging Bundle. It had about a kajillion (okay, 63) products in it for $97. YES - under $100. Which clearly means, these things sell with not a lot of work on your part.

But maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “cool, but I don’t have anything that really fits in an ‘ultimate blogging bundle’” well, fret not. These folks have bundles for EVERYTHING! There are parenting-related bundles, fitness related bundles, holiday related bundles, and more.

The cool thing is you can offer one, or all, of them to your audience. Now, my belief with affiliate marketing is it needs to fit your audiences’ needs and not be spammy. So you wouldn’t find me promoting a fitness or health bundle (because hey, Chipotle is life). But it’s nice to have the options and variety (and as an affiliate you get any bundle at the 40% discounted rate). Plus, if more than one bundle does apply to your audience then GO FOR IT and make that money.

"Going to be an affiliate? Make sure you actually use/support/like the thing. Don't be spammy!" (tweet that!)


DUMMY PROOF (SERIOUSLY)

Okay, remember how last year I had no idea what was going on and I still made money? They’re so organized over at Ultimate Bundles, it’s really hard not to be successful as an affiliate for them. I honestly was probably so annoying because I kept slacking on sending over information and signing things (as an author) and they still helped me get my stuff together and make money. They give you scripts, dummy-proof timelines, and ‘hey YOU SHOULD DO THIS NOW’ sort of prompts – which is really fantastic.

I’m no expert on affiliate marketing, but I don’t think you should ever ‘copy/paste’ email content promoting something. Chances are someone else will send the same email and that will just feel icky to someone who is subscribed to both lists. But, what is nice is that there is a general outline and timeline that you can take, and adapt to fit your audience and how you communicate normally, and keep it really authentic and approachable.

In perusing through their affiliate portal I’ve found things like a strategy calendar/planner, swipe emails and their success rates, goal planning worksheets, and more. They really do want you to be successful. Plus, they also provide you with things like graphics to include with tweets and your affiliate code already generated and ready to share. Cha-ching!

"Choose an affiliate program that works with and supports you!" (tweet that!)


A REALLY GREAT DEAL

I touched on this earlier, but perhaps the best part about being an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles is what you are sharing is actually a freakin’ GREAT deal. Last year in the ultimate bundle it was 60+ products/courses/ebooks for $97. The product that I co-authored is worth half of that alone and it was just one small piece of the bundle.

When I got my copy of all the content in the bundle I immediately organized it into things that I would never actually need (maybe like 8 products, which was fine, because I still had like FIFTY more for under $100), things I wanted to read/learn immediately, and things that I thought would be helpful down the road. And you know what? Multiple items in my ‘down the road’ pile have been useful as my business grows AND as I started another business.

As far as I can tell, all their bundles are that stacked. They have a few that are available year-round and just as an example this Herbs & Essential Oils bundle is $47 and has over 20 different products in it. To be honest, it’s probably worth it to become an affiliate just to get the discount because these bundles are huge on value (I’m literally buying this gut-health one right now because I didn’t even know it was available before writing this and it’s got some information about Keto diets and my partner has been trying to get me on board with doing that for months now).

In summary, maybe you’re like me and you think “I’m not an affiliate marketer and also it’s too much work to do that and also I don’t have time” and I’m here to tell you that a) you can be an affiliate marketer when there’s a bundle that your audience would love, b) it’s really not that much work, they lay out all the steps for you, and c) I took about twenty minutes total last year to promote the bundle I was an author for and I kid you not got an (unexpected) payout a few weeks ago and was like “WHAT. COOL.” I mean imagine if I had actually approached it in an organized way.

If you’re ready to work with Ultimate Bundles click here to sign up as an affiliate


I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


Posted on July 19, 2017 and filed under Business.

5 Things You Can Do To Start Getting Clients Now

Getting clients as a freelancer (whether new or experienced) can be the biggest challenge we face. I recently polled my Facebook group to see where they felt the most struggle, and lo and behold – getting clients was the most overwhelming response. I’ve created a free* series that will launch next week in the Facebook group all about getting clients – so if you’re interested, click here to learn more.

But today we are going to cover 5 things you can work on right now, this week, in your business to start getting clients AYE-ESS-AYE-PEA my friend.

"Ready to get clients for your freelance business? Click here!" (tweet that!)


SURVEY + STUDY YOUR POTENTIAL DREAM CLIENT

In the series we will dive into a bit about really nailing down your target client, so if you’re stuck there, definitely join us. Otherwise, if you know who this person is… you’ve got to also figure out what is causing them anguish or strife in their lives/business (that you can help with).

First, you could find, or maybe you already know, THE dream person you want to work with. I have a running list of people I’d probably lose a finger or two (non-essential ones, obvi) to work with. Then – turn your creep vibes up – and study what they are currently doing versus what they want to do. Read their Instagram captions or watch their stories. Read their blog posts. Heck, connect in their comments and ask for more information about whatever it seems they might be stuck on, struggling with, or limited by. This takes some sleuthing and some assuming, but figuring out what the struggle they are facing is (so that you can create something to resolve that struggle) will have clients lining up out the door for that service.

An alternative would be to do a poll, maybe within a Facebook group, of people you potentially want to work with. I’d be descriptive in who you want to actually complete the poll – i.e. “designers within their first year of business, I have a few questions for you”. Getting people to do the poll might prove difficult, so it might be helpful to offer some sort of incentive or give away for a lucky, random winner.


BARTER/TRADE TO IMPROVE + GET SEEN

I never, ever recommend working for free but I do see a huge benefit in bartering or trading services for a few reasons:

  • Maybe you really need XYZ to move forward in your business (social media management or new headshots)
  • Maybe you have no testimonials to share of your work/experience/expertise
  • Maybe you have no audience, no way to build an audience right now, etc.

If you’re thinking, “yas gurl!” then consider finding someone that can help you with one or all of those reasons that in exchange you can help with your services.

Testimonials and word of mouth referrals are such an asset when it comes to getting clients. If you’re starting from square one you can get both of those things from delivering awesome experiences to people without necessarily asking them to fork over money (but definitely get something in the exchange – ideally something you really need to help your business grow. Do NOT work for just “exposure” and run away from anyone that tries to tell you that you should do free work for them for “exposure”.) I would trade for things like a website, good headshots, copywriting, etc. if you’re just starting out. In my experience, I’ve traded for business coaching (and saw big returns because of it).

An even better alternative and what I did was trade, but still charged money just at a discounted rate. So they get my ‘super special friends and family rate’ (just kidding, I don’t have that, my friends and family still have to pay (ha!)), and I get whatever it is I need. Of course I over delivered and you should too, always, and in return got a great testimonial, lots of referrals, etc. More on that in the series next week, though.

Side note on that, I think it’s totally fine to be up front with what you are hoping to gain from the relationship. Better that they know you are hoping for a stellar testimonial, then get to the end of working together and they want you to sign some sort of NDA where no one can know you worked together.


ANALYZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA (+ STOP WASTING TIME)

Asking anyone that has reached out to you for work or that you’ve worked with how they found you can be hugely beneficial. If no one is ever connecting with you via Twitter, I think it’s safe to abandon Twitter.

I’m not a huge analytics junkie, but I do look at what sends the most traffic to which page on my site. Pinterest sends a lot of traffic to my site and I want a lot of people end up on my services page – so I should use Pinterest to get people to my services page, right? Right!

If you’re super devoted to a social media platform but not necessarily seeing results from it, take the time to shift how you are using it. Maybe you love Instagram, but instead of showing cool pictures of your succulents and latte art exclusively, you could incorporate some call-to-actions about working together, or some ‘exclusive special bonuses’ only for your Instagram tribe, etc.

Social media is 100% about being social, I totally agree – but I also don’t want you to waste time in things that have little to no ROI in your business. So make social media work for you, as well as be something you enjoy doing and connecting over.

"Your social media should be social, but also have a return on investment!" (tweet that!)


MAKE IT CLEAR YOU ARE AVAILABLE FOR HIRE

Do people even know you’re available to hire for whatever it is that you do? Do you advertise that on your social media, in your newsletter, etc.? I don’t have a fancy statistic, but I will say that in my experience a lot of us (especially women) tend to be intimidated by sales or promoting ourselves.

I get it - sales scare me too sometimes. I used to schedule video consult calls and then pretend my video wasn’t working because I’d be so nervous to look someone in the (virtual) eye while trying to get them to pay me. But with this point I’m not even talking about actual sales, I’m just talking about making it clear what you do – that you are available for hire – and that you are good at what you do.

Schedule some tweets that you are taking on clients. Throw in your newsletter how many spots you have available next month. Let people know you are open for business. Better yet, share with people you know in person! I’m the guiltiest of not sharing what I do with people ‘in person’ but the minute I do, I get so much interest/people wanting to work together. Get yourself out there!


REACH OUT, FOLLOW UP, AND FOLLOW UP AGAIN

I know how awkward and hard pitching people can be, but if you know in your heart there is someone that you could really help and would be a great asset to them and their business – I say go for it. Be polite, be humble, be kind, and all that, but be honest: I could help you with XYZ, which would ultimately allow you to do XYZ.

If that’s just impossible and you’re shaking your head right now, then find other ways to connect. Watch their stories on Instagram, and respond when they prompt you to. Comment on blog posts. Retweet, etc. Be a part of their business and on their radar, so that if and when the opportunity arises for you to talk about working together, they already know who you are and know that you care about and support their business.

When someone contacts you about working together, and you respond, and hear crickets – follow up again! So many times I hear, “oh my gosh! Yes! Sorry XYZ happened and I forgot to respond” and then I get a client from it. Don’t be obnoxious or anything, but give it a week of no response and just ask if they had any other questions or would like to set up a call. It’s polite, and normal. I give you permission to follow up!

Ready for more? Join us next week* in the Let’s Get Clients series going on over in The Fox Den! I hope to see you there

* please note: the series was held July 10-13th and is complete. You can access the content by clicking here!


I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


The Top 4 Reasons You Need To Look Good Launching

The last few weeks we’ve been talking about incorporating visuals into your launch, but I’ve yet to actually cover with you the difference between a launch with and without any attention to visual elements. Of course, as a designer, I think you should feature as much aesthetically pleasing and purposeful visuals as you can in your business – but what does it really bring to your launch?


STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

Everyone is launching something – a new course, a new challenge in their Facebook groups, a new product line, etc. Us online business owners are constantly chasing ‘the next big thing’ and want to launch something that can benefit our audience and our pocket books as quickly and as often as possible. Maybe it’s shiny object syndrome or maybe it’s the ‘throw it at the wall’ mentality, but either way – there is nearly always some sort of launch related email in my inbox and I hardly subscribe to anyone’s list.

So, how do you combat that? There are many answers here – but a huge way to stand out is visually. In the same way that you probably prefer Target to Walmart since it’s just nicer looking/feeling, you can push people to prefer your course/challenge/program to someone else’s.

Things like fantastic sales page graphics, a beautiful or easy to digest opt-in/freebie, or fantastic ads on whatever social media channel you prefer are all ways to really draw people in and stand out from the crowd.

"Here's how to stand out from the crowd in your next launch!" (tweet that!)


SHOWCASE AUTHORITY + PROFESSIONALISM

Similar to the last point, having a cohesive and stand out visual approach to your launch will also help seal the deal in promoting your authority and professionalism. This can be key for first time/new to you buyers that aren’t exactly sure you’re the one to teach them. Showcasing that you are legitimate, committed, take your business seriously, and high end can push them in a positive direction (towards the check-out-now button).

This comes up day in and day out in your ‘real’ life – think about the landscaper who stops by with a random t-shirt on and seems to pull a price out of thin air versus the landscaper with a shirt with his/her business name on it, a professional quote that details his/her contact info, and a business card? You end up going with the one that says, “I take this seriously and am a professional” every time.


ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS + IDEAS

Something that has come up a few times with clients is that seeing their ideas/content laid out visually helps them to brainstorm better, gather more ideas, and plan out content in new, more helpful ways. This stood out as a huge compliment to me and also made me realize that in the same way you might be a visual learner, you could benefit from visually seeing your work.

When a designer comes in and interprets your goals, mission, value, idea, etc. you get exposed to it as someone else may see or understand whatever it is you’re launching. Now this might all seem a little ‘woo woo’ and weird, but it’s good to let outside eyes see things and even better to let them ‘play it back to you’ and give you a chance to see it fresh.

You might find that your content is great, but you could focus on certain areas more. You might find that you are shoving too much content into one day/section/module and need to break it up more. You may find that you have enough information for multiple worksheets or programs, instead of one giant one. Who knows!

"Having someone interpret your content visually can open up tons of doors!" (tweet that!)


EASIER TO SHARE + PROMOTE

Perhaps the biggest asset to looking good while launching is that you’ll actually have things to share with people on social media, within emails, on a thank you page, etc. People respond to visuals far more than just text on social media – so incorporate some call-to-action graphics that get people excited.

In my line of work I’ve created more social media graphics than anything – first you need things like ads to promote (if you’re going that route), but you also need ‘teaser’ graphics to get people excited, mockups of what’s included, call to actions to buy now, count down graphics, etc. Without those things you’re missing out on a key part of marketing whatever it is you’re launching!

Now that you know you need to look good while launching later this year, why don’t you hop over here and determine if I can help you with that! Limited time and spots are available!


I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!