Last week, I made my way to The School of Styling in Chapel Hill to speak to other creative entrepreneurs about forming an LLC for their business + setting the tone for an amazing client experience with their legal contracts. It’s such an honor to be a teacher this time around + I still got to soak in so much knowledge from the other brilliant ladies speaking at TSOS.
Every creative business owner needs to attend a workshop, retreat, or conference like this one… you’ll leave with awesome connections + way more motivation (and direction) to work on your own business. Since you couldn’t be at TSOS (you’ll come to the next one, yes?), here’s my kick-in-the-pants list of the four core things your business needs to have:
1. A solid contract (obvs).
EVERYONE needs a contract. I know, I know, it’s an intimidating word, but it’s so essential and not as scary as you think. Let’s call it what it really is, shall we? An agreement is basically a list of expectations between you and your clients or customers. And you don’t need to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to make one for you (hint: there’s far better solutions out there for way cheaper).
2. A strategy to guide you.
I’ve traveled to quite a few conferences over the last two years, which means that I have my going-out-of-town system DOWN. My speech and slides get prepared a few weeks before, I go on a shopping binge (or two, shameless, I know), pack my bags with my newfound faves from Anthro, notify my clients that I’ll be MIA, and let my team work their magic behind the scenes so I don’t have to worry about my biz while I’m gone.
You see where I’m going with this, right?
You don’t want to waste your time being confused or lost before your next journey. That’s the path to forgetting your why and losing sight of who YOU are.
It's important to know where you’re going so you can plan on how to get there… so envision yourself a year, two years, five years from now and get major-laser focused on your mission in business and in life. Once you have clarity on your mission, create goals that align with it so you can take small steps toward your version of success.
3. Consistent, valuable content (aka a marketing strategy).
Does this sound familiar? You let a blog post slip by for a week because you're overloaded but then it turns into two, so you convince yourself that once a month is fine… and before you know it, the whole summer has gone by and you haven't sent a newsletter!
Sticking to a consistent content schedule is one of the toughest things to do when you're suddenly busy with clients and creating new products. But it's vital to your sustainability as a business owner. Have you ever noticed that clients come in waves? Letting your marketing slip when you're busy means you'll likely find yourself with a bunch of contracts ending at the same time (and nobody on your waitlist, yikes!).
I get it, it's hard to be everywhere all the time (please don't look at my Twitter profile). But it's a big fat myth that you need to be active all over the internet. You don't have to be everywhere but you DO have to decide where you will be and be consistent with it. (Hint, consult your strategy from #2.)
4. A product or service to sell.
You can start building an audience through your blog and collecting emails for a newsletter, but if you want to be a BUSINESS... you need to be making money — otherwise you're got one really time consuming, expensive hobby! Once you build a solid relationship with your audience, you need to make sure they know that if they crave more, they can have it with you (for a fee).
What are you implementing to see growth in your business? Is it working? Are you stuck? Let’s shout it out below!