Posts in Business
Changes for 2019
 

Welcome back! It’s been a while since I released an episode. Sometimes business moves faster than we do and we need a minute to catch up. I try to be as open and honest in my business as I absolutely can and this is one of those episodes.

About 6 months ago, I completely changed directions with my visual brand and I visually re-branded my business. It was a hard decision because after 2 years of having the same brand color and style I felt that was my identity. I realized I had to give myself permission to change. I did and it was the best experience.

For the first time in a long time, I felt my visual brand represented my personal style and also resonated well with who I wanted to attract.

This time, I’m in the midst of changing my content and offerings. Branding + Website Design will always be my basis, my bread and butter, my passion. But somewhere along the way, I started creating content about business, marketing, etc. Stuff I had learned while running a business.

Pretty soon -- I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of content I was responsible for creating each month. The lines of what I taught and what I wanted to be known for had blurred. And I guess, I was losing my own identity.

I decided to take a step back in November and reassess everything. I tried to find not only my strengths we’re but what was I really passionate about.

I can to the conclusion it’s what has always been the cornerstone of Carrylove Designs. Branding and Website Design.

In 2019, I’m scaling back on the content I put out. I am also niching down on topics Carrylove Designs will cover in-depth.

The podcast is something I enjoy doing. But I am going to be launching the podcast under a new name in 2019. When we launched the podcast (more than a year ago) it was something my sister and I did together so I kept it very much separate from Carrylove Designs. Now, I want to fuse Carrylove Designs and this podcast together. I think that can only be done by shedding the Get Back to Business podcast identity.

The new year is going to be filled with so many changes. The opening of a Showit template shop, a redefined podcast, a streamlined message, and condensed content topics. I am not going to lie, change makes me so incredibly scared and anxious.

My fear is people will mistake my changes as uncertainty or that I have no idea what I doing. Which isn’t the case necessarily. I started Carrylove Designs so I could be in charge and be happy at what I was doing. I don't want that to stop now.

I want to thank each and every one of you so much for tuning in week after week. Please find me on Instagram at @carrylovedesigns and reach out. I love hearing from the listeners!

Until Next Time!

 
September Business Review
 

It’s time for me to check-in, tell you what went well and what didn’t go as planned in September.

September Biz Review

I started checking in and recording these episodes last month as a way to keep myself accountable and show up in a different way for my audience.

If you've been around for a while or just tuning in the first time -- thanks for being here. I know there are literally a thousand different podcasts to choose from and I am thankful you are here. If you could, please take a second hit the ‘subscribe button’ then leave a review of the show I would LOVE to hear from you and see who’s tuning in each week.

I’ve been keeping track on analytics and growth in my business for close to a year now but just started recently publishing them live.

I don’t know about you but I love diving into the numbers and data as a true way to see what’s working and what’s not working.

So, some big things that went down in September:

  • I finished my first full month of hosting the Brand Gathering Membership for creatives who feel overwhelmed and stuck in a rut with their business and want to grow their income using brand strategy and social media.

  • I had my highest revenue month EVER in business for the second month in a row.

  • Lastly, I celebrated my birthday by channeling my inner-Sherlock Holmes and participating in a Dinner Detective party.

As much as I absolutely love my 1:1 clients, I want to diversify my income and start replying more so on recurring income through my monthly membership.

Before August 100% of my income was from design clients. This month 2% of my income was made through the Brand Gathering, which may seem small but it’s a HUGE win for me.

To see progress is exciting and makes me want to achieve the transition from 1:1 to recurring even more.

Since this was my first full month hosting the membership, I noticed something I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to running a membership and that’s the churn rate. Churn means the numbers of members that cancel or don’t renew their membership.

The Churn Rate for my first month was 35%. Which in all actuality HORRIBLE, but I am giving myself grace since it’s my first month and I think my messaging needs some finessing. From what I read (because I am experiencing a learning curve too) your monthly churn rate should be less than 5%.

As I said, I think one of the problems was messaging starting out. That’s a hard one to nail from the get-go. I am getting member feedback about what they like best so we can focus on that in marketing. And understanding what they don’t enjoy so we can cut down on fluff and focus on more content that creates results for members.

I’ve found within my brand + website design clients, I really enjoy creating a relationship with those I love working with and creating monthly retainers with them. Nearly 50% of my remaining income comes from retainer clients. For me, it’s easier to plan my income when I know month-to-month what to expect. Plus, I hate the chase for clients.

You get booked 3 months ahead, you rest for a month, then it’s back to hustling for clients. I was tired of that cycle so retainer clients were my way to move away from that chase.

If there is something you hate about the way you run your business, brainstorm a way to change it. That’s the beauty of running your own business -- you can make changes as you go.

Alright, moving on into the analytics. There were a few weird things that took place in September when it comes to my analytics.

  1. My Instagram growth and engagement plummeted for seemingly no reason. Month after month I was seeing 5-6% growth within my Instagram. Keeping with the same scheduler and not really making any big changes I only saw a 1.5% growth in my Instagram. I also noticed it during the month. I was averaging 12 comments per photo and last month I was averaging 8 comments. I am continuing with the same strategy this month and I will compare this month’s to see if it’s a trend or just a fluke for the month.

  2. I blogged 3 times during the month of September and saw a MAJOR decrease in website traffic. Nearly a 50% decrease in visitors. The only thing I can think of is I wasn’t promoting the posts as heavily as normal but that’s something I want to keep an eye on.

Using Meghan Maydel’s new activity tracker inside Airtable, I was able to see exactly how many clients I reached out to this month as well as how many potential clients we were in regular contact with this month. So, during the month of Sept., I reached out and pitched my services to 105 people. We were in regular contact with 224 potential clients. Which lead to 2 new clients and projects booked for the remainder of 2018 and 5 new members inside the Brand Gathering Membership.

This is my first month, using her Ultimate Incredible Marketing Tracker so I am excited to see how October goes. I will link to Meghan Maydel’s Tracker using Airtable in the show notes if you’re interested in that.

Looking forward to October, I am running my first small promotion for TBG, which just wrapped up as I am recording this. I was offering a free 13-day trial to the membership. I will cover those numbers in next month’s biz review.

For October, I am focusing on Facebook and using Live Videos to bring content to my audience.
I am also focusing on creating funnels to my membership using email marketing. I am 3 new funnels running as of Friday and I am excited to see if they bring in any new members to the membership and tweaking those in the remaining months of 2018.


Lastly, I have 2 remaining Brand + Website spots I would like to fill for 2018 before raising my prices next year. So I am testing out Facebook Lead Generation ads using the workshop Samantha Grant did for TBG. If you’re interested in that, you can join the membership for less than $20 by using the promo code PODCAST at thebrandgathering.com

To plan each month and reflect on the prior month, I use Powersheets and they have helped my set and achieve so many goals in the last 6 months of using them. The 2019 collection is being released Oct 24th and I am so excited to get my hands and start planning out 2019!

If we’re not Instagram friends, come find me at Carrylove Designs, say hello and tell me how you’re planning out each month!

 
August Business Review
 

Last month I started a new series where I talk about my business goals, analytics, and overall business strategy. Think about it as my business diary being published. In today's episode, I am sharing with you my wins, challenges, and goals for August and September.

August Business Review

Join The Brand Gathering Monthly Membership at http://thebrandgathering.com/. Use the promo code PODCAST for 25% off your first month.

 
Behind-the-Scenes of Creating a Monthly Membership
 

In this episode because today I am taking you behind-the-scenes of creating a monthly membership. I am going to take you step-by-step and let you in how certain decisions were made. My hope is this will help you navigate how to plan and create new services yourself whether it’s a monthly membership yourself, a group coaching program, new service offering, etc.

Behind-the-Scenes of Creating a Monthly Membership

Today is a huge day here at CLD because my monthly membership is FINALLY here after months of hard work.

Up until this point, I’ve been very open-and-honest about starting a monthly membership (you can listen to about transitioning my business to hear more about that) but I’ve kept the name of the membership a secret. Until now. 

Drum roll please...

The Brand Gathering! I will get more into the specifics of how that name came to be later in this episode because today I am taking you behind-the-scenes of creating a monthly membership. I am going to take you step-by-step and let you in how certain decisions were made. My hope is this will help you navigate how to plan and create new services yourself whether it’s a monthly membership yourself, a group coaching program, new service offering, etc.

Okay -- so let’s dive in -- Currently, I am a member of 3 different memberships. I’ve been a part of 2 more in the past but decided to leave those.

So, this is how the membership came to be....

When I realized I really enjoyed memberships, how low-cost they are and filled with good content and a helpful community I was hooked. I’ve been trying to decide for a while now how to help biz owners who couldn’t afford a 3000+ service. I see a lot of creatives who have so much potential but not the finances. A monthly membership sounded perfect.

The first thing I did after deciding on creating a monthly membership was decided what the membership would cover. I geek out over marketing, branding, website strategy and systems -- basically everything to do with running a PROFITABLE business. What lights me up is helping others see their potential and make more money doing what they absolutely love.

A lot of business owners I know seem to be overwhelmed by all the things they think they NEED to be doing as a biz owner. They end up getting paralysis and not taking action on anything.

I was like ‘Okay -- I am going to help them take one aspect of their business each month. We will spend a full-month covering that topic, polishing up and mastering that part of their business then next month we will move on to the next.’ The main value of this membership that lead every decision was the fact that I don’t want to add more crap to your to-do list. I want to spend time on things that will actually move the needle in your business.

After deciding that, the next thing I did was create a list of everything I did and didn’t like about the other memberships I have been a part of. For example, I like getting a lot of FaceTime with the membership leader. Obviously, there the expert and I like to ask questions and get personalized advice from them. So, I knew I wanted a membership where I was heavily involved.

I was a part of a membership in the past where they released content throughout the month, jsut whenever. There wasn’t a set schedule. I like when content comes out of a certain date so I can plan, prepare and get excited! The Brand Gathering will have an action plan (I am calling a brand manual) that will be delivered to members on the 1st of every month.

After I wrote down a long list of thing I like and didn’t like. The next thing I did was take it to my people. I created of survery of things I wanted to know and get their opinion on.

What people felt they were struggling with so I was covering content that would be of value to them

What they would be willing to pay for a membership of sorts

What they would be most excited about inside the membership

For example, I really enjoy hot seats, which is basically a coaching session with one person where everyone tunes in and takes the advice and applies it to their own biz. I originally planned to one each month. I found others weren’t as excited about hot seats so I went from planning one of doing one each month to each quarter so I could focus on other things like Mini-courses, which most were excited about.

Alright -- so taking all this information into account, reviewing surveys and talking to people in my community and mentors. I decided what was going to be included in the monthly membership:

  • Monthly action plans (The first Monday of every month, you’ll receive a curated blueprint with actionable, concrete steps to help grow your business, strengthen your brand, and sign more clients.)

  • Monthly mini-trainings (Topic-specific, bite-sized courses will be posted monthly giving members a quick overview on a new piece of tech, a new tactic, or a fun facet of branding and social media to try out every month.)

  • Guest-Expert Trainings (We’re bringing in the best, more influential experts we know to provide exclusive, behind-the-scenes insights on how to create thriving and revenue-generating businesses in way that is easy to understand and implement.)

  • Exclusive FB Community (All members will receive access to our exclusive Brand Gathering Facebook group where they can collaborate, network, and get on-demand help from other creatives. )

  • Office Hours (specific days where they will be a zoom hangout and people can come and go to ask questions specific to their biz)

  • Quarterly Hot Seats (This is where we take a deep dive into your brand identity and overall strategy to help you identify the key areas where you need to focus on in order to get results that matter.)

You may have thought I did this earlier but up until this point, the monthly membership didn’t have a name. My first thought was to call it The Brand-Aid but after researching the domain wasn’t available. So, I went to the drawing board. I wrote down words and started looking up synonyms. Long story short, I landed on The Brand Gathering and it couldn’t be more perfect. I go into further detail about why the name means so much to me in the First Issue of The Brand Manual.

Now, that we officially have a name, The Brand Gathering, we’ve mapped out what the membership includes, who it’s for… it was time to research platforms. How was TBG going to come to life.

Going back to the core value of not putting more crap on your to-do list, I wanted to keep TBG simple. That meant easy-to-navigate and understand what was going on within the membership.

I am loyal to Showit so I really wanted to keep the membership on their platform. So I first looked into Memberpress, Membernouse. Plug-ins for WP. As always when dealing with WP, they seemed overly complicated for both the designer and the user.

I remembered hearing on Amy Porterfield's podcast about Memberspace for SS so I decided to check it out. After options like Gumroad and Podia fell through. I wanted a membership area and those options didn’t allow for what I was imagining in my head.

I wanted the website to have a login and host everything in one place. Memberspace was easy to add, it was easy to design everything in and I could make it easy for members to navigate. It checked all the boxed so I decided to use Memberspace on a SS website.

After that, finally I was ready to start working on the first month’s content. I bought a huge easel sketch pad and started plotting down ideas using information from the surveys I had originally taken.

Honestly, I’ve been so excited about TBG and how it’ll help biz owns this whole process took about 3-4 months.

The last thing I did was decide how to launch and promote it. I decided on a one-week real big push. I planned ahead of time so this podcast episode, emails to my list, social media posts, YouTube videos, IGTV videos all are promoting TBG.

I created good, better, best goals which I am revealing in a new Monthly Biz Review blog series I am launching tomorrow (link in show notes)

My goal is to have 30 members before Sept. 1 so anyone who signs up before Sept 1st gets $10 off their first month of membership. Making it just $10 to join. You can use the code ‘Podcast’ to get receive $10 off. Go to thebrandgathering.com to enter the promo code.

Hopefully, this behind-the-scenes look will help you launch your new service in a more streamlined process. I hope to see you inside TBG! Until next time!


 
Transitioning From a 1:1 to a 1:Many Business Model
 

I am in the middle of a business transition from taking on 1-on-1 design clients to launching a monthly membership. I am taking you behind the scenes into why I am making this transition, what the process looks like, and what to come inside the monthly membership.

Transitioning From a 1:1 to a 1:Many Business Model

Join me as a give you a peek behind the curtain into what it's really like transitioning your business.

 
How My Business Has Transitioned Over The Past 6 Months
 

Over the past six months, my business has exploded. I am sharing with you my journey over the six months and how I grew and expanded my business to earning over $6,000 per month. 

I am also sharing the weird place my business is currently in and how I plan to continue to grow and expand Carrylove Designs.

How My Business Has Transitioned Over The Past 6 Months

Listen in as I share with you the actionable steps you can take to start finding growth within your business. 

 
Ep20: Our First Solo Episode and Our Thoughts on What Makes a Business Successful

Today, we are doing something we haven't done since we initially launched the podcast -- a solo episode with just us. We're discussing our individual views on what we think makes us successful in business and what our listeners can take away to help them grow. We are also covering what makes businesses stand out from the crowd, make a lasting impression and land more clients.

Ep20: Our First Solo Episode and Our Thoughts on What Makes a Business Successful

Season 1 will be coming to a close the end of May. Look for Season 2 at the start of August! Until then, please leave us a review so we can reach more listeners.

Ep19: Her Journey to Growing a Business

Today on the podcast we are joined by Judith Soule. Photographer, Educator and Margarita Lover – just a few of the words Judith would use to describe herself. Since starting the business in 2009, Judith has made it her mission to not only take amazing images for her clients but also to educate and inspire other photographers through teaching. With a little bit of a potty mouth, Judith strives to be joyful in whatever she is doing – whether mentoring other creatives in one on one lessons or clicking the shutter on her Canon camera.

Ep19: Her Journey to Growing a Business

Today she is taking us behind-the-scenes of how she's spent a decade growing her photography business, pivoting and adding new services. Judith is an open book when it comes to the strategy she used to get fresh eyes on her business without paying for advertising. Listen in on her journey to growing a profitable business in the midst of life. 

Connect with Judith

Website

Facebook

Instagram

 

Ep16: Knowing When It's Time to Pivot
 

In today's episode, we are joined by Kellie Daab. Kellie Daab, Wedding Business Architect, and founder at iDo Collective is a wedding industry thought leader, author, and business strategist. Producing over 300 weddings in her career, Kellie now helps event industry professionals create brands they love, strategies that work, and processes they love! Her local and national speaking resume includes organizations like ABC, Catersource, NACE, Wedding Business Workshops, Book More Brides, Aisle Planner and more.

Ep16: Knowing When It's Time to Pivot with Kellie Daab

We're uncovering it's time to pivot by taking you through Kellie's journey and how she went from being a Virtual Assistant to a Wedding Business Architect. If you're feeling a nudge to go in a different direction Kellie walks you through how to make the transitions smoothly and bring your audience along for the ride.

Connect with Kellie:

Facebook Page

Instagram

Facebook Group

Wedding Industry Education Instagram

 

 
Ep11: Calligrapher Turned Attorney for Creatives
 

Paige Hulse is an adviser and counselor to creatives. She helps navigate the legalities of entrepreneurship. Before she was an Attorney for Creatives, she was did calligraphy. In this episode, we're chatting about how she successful pivoted her business. You'll see what crazy events led her to the decision, what she did before taking the plunge, and what her advice to you as someone who's been there.

Calligrapher Turned Attorney for Creatives