We’re all looking to take our businesses to the next level, aren’t we? I’m Catherine from Kitty Meow: A Creative Boutique (KMB), a designer of witty and sweet stationery, where you can shop beautifully designed paper goods based on your mood.
The Kitty Meow: A Creative Boutique doors have been open (figuratively) since 2010, and I have made a slew of mistakes along the way. Talk about working harder, and not smarter people. More times than I care to admit I’ve pretty much thrown away time and money frivolously hoping it would stick; but lately I’ve been turning the tides and instead making a lot of smart and strategic moves in my business. Here are 5 Worthy Investments you can and should make in your business. Here’s to hoping you’ll learn from my mistakes and propel your business forward the right way from the start. From the very start.
1. Surround Yourself with Passionate, Go Getters
After a good, ugly cry on my couch one day I signed up for the Creative at Heart Conference. I was working all day and night designing like crazy, turning my wheels, but not really going any where. “Busy” did not equal “business” for this girl. I thought, there had to be people out there going through the same challenges in their business as I was. I’m no special unicorn, right? I can’t be the only one who feels totally alone, locked up in my home office with no real human interaction. I did a quick Google search of “creative conferences”, and quickly ran across Creative at Heart. I must have been living under a rock, because I was so surprised at all the opportunities out there staring at me in the face. Before I could change my mind, I put my money where my heart was. Honest to goodness, it has HANDS DOWN been one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business and MY SPIRIT.
Do you often feel like your friends and family can’t relate to your entrepreneur business struggles? Are you longing to be surrounded be people who “just get you”? Sign up to attend a creative conference like C@H. I promise you won’t regret it! For real. Be ready to be warmly welcomed by a creative community that’s worth its weight in gold! It’s been a personal goal of mine to attend at least one in person event/conference each year. Yes, it’s an investment, but it’s always tons of fun and SO worth it! You can’t put a price on connection. Meeting new people to help on your business journey will absolutely propel your business forward!
2. One on One Coaching
Do you ever feel like there are hundreds of courses out there promising to help take your business to the next level? I’ve taken a handful of them myself. Some are fantastic…some not so much. The more seasoned I become in my business the more I can quickly realize what works and what doesn’t work for my learning style. With juggling two little ladies and my business I don’t have a lot of time to waste anymore. I knew one on one coaching that was specialized and focused solely on me was going to be the most productive use of my time and money. It took me a year to commit to one business coach, but it felt so good when I made this investment. Had I not been busy having babies I might have made it sooner!
How do you know what kind of business coach to pick? Well, it’s important to choose someone who has experience in your industry. Do they have the proven results to back it up? You HAVE to know that hiring a business coach isn’t going to make all your business dreams come true alone. It’s great to talk about new ideas to implement, but YOU have to actually do the work. No matter how awesome your business coach is they aren’t going to do the work for you. I don’t know about you, but when I have hard earned cash on the line that kicks my booty into high gear to ensure I’m getting the most out of my investment. Shout out to my business coach, Bonnie Bakhtiari from B is for Bonnie Design, who was a speaker I met at C@H! While her top notch branding experience definitely reeled me in I was also drawn to her bright and cheery aura. My vibe is a little more rough around the edges, and I so appreciated her personality being different from my own. In my opinion, I learn more from someone that way. She’s helped me define and focus what I want the KMB brand to be all about. It’s been a total delight picking her brain on my biz!
With Bonnie’s coaching help, I was able to define the KMB brand into the concept of shopping paper goods based on your mood. Feeling a little and witty and maybe a little salty? I got just the paper goods for you. Prefer some sweet sentiments instead? I got you too, girlfriend! This moody vibe fit my personality to a T. Sometimes I feel a little saucy, and sometimes I don’t. If you’re anything like me, you want to switch it up!
3. Make sure your pictures are telling the RIGHT story.
It’s no surprise the creative world is a visual one. How you present yourself visually is crucial. For the longest time I was reaching for that dreamy, high end client, and charging high end prices without even realizing that how I was presenting myself wasn’t exactly high end, visually. My website was nice, but if I’m being totally honest, it was generic and not authentic to what I envisioned the KMB brand to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great stock photo. However, I love them even better if you can’t initially tell it’s a stock photo. My site was filled with sad looking, generic photos, and my invitation and greeting card designs lacked any real cohesion.
Bonnie recommended Bethanne Arthur Photography for some new product photos of my invitations and greeting cards. I hammered away for a couple weeks gathering props, spray painting figurines, and most importantly figuring out which designs I wanted photographed. I shipped everything out to Bethanne, and the rest is history. To say I was blown away is a complete understatement!! Bethanne nailed the sweet, moody, and luxe vibe I was dreaming up in my head. Tears swell in my eyes every time I look at those photos because they make me feel like I’m FINALLY putting out to the world who I feel in my heart I was all along.
Ok…so now my product photos are on point, but what about the pics of me that create a personal connection?
The head shots I had done at C@H conference, taken by Hope Taylor Photography, served me well for a VERY long time. Having complimentary head shots included in the C@H ticket price was a huge value, and I love those photos to this day. However, two kiddos later, it was time for a change. I hired local Seattle photographer, Danielle Motif Photography to take some new portraits. Danielle captured the essence of who I am at this stage in my life beautifully.
In an instant, a potential client will make a judgement on your business based on the photos you put in front of them. Are your photos and graphics REALLY doing your business justice? Be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to make the investment to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward visually.
4. Get your Website in Check
I’m a designer…so it’s a given that my website “should” be on point. However, I’m a print designer, not a web designer. A change I longed to make for a while was having a website that truly spoke to my brand. Having it done by a professional was also a non-negotiable for me. Bonnie suggested Rachel Green of Intentionally Designed, and it has proven to be one of the best investments I’ve made in my business.
Rachel did a fantastic job of separating the KMB shop into witty and sweet designs, so you can peruse paper goods based on your mood. My vision for the site was BIG, and Rachel went above and beyond to knock it out of the park. Her customer service has been top notch, and I’ve been so grateful for her guidance through this huge investment. Setting up an e-commerce site with hundreds of items is no easy feat. Having a professional, like Rachel, set up all my items, variations, adding fancy features, and opt-ins that connect to my ConvertKit account has been a huge relief and weight off my shoulders. I’m so proud of the new Kitty Meow: A Creative Boutique site, and would love to hear your thoughts too!
Does your site give you all the feels? If not, what are you waiting for?! This is another opportunity to put your best foot forward visually. Don’t get so caught up doing for others that you don’t make the time to do for yourself. Spend time working on your business, not just IN IT!
5. Be More Than Just a Pretty Face…Please
Having a beautiful website and gorgeous photos are all great, but what does it really mean if you don’t have the WORDS and content to back it up? I recently signed up for Ashlyn Carter’s Copywriting for Creatives Course and it’s been a total eye opener. Honing in on my brand voice, and creating an About page that is more about my ideal client and less about me are only a few of the amazing takeaways of this course. Pretty pics and fancy websites will catch the eye of your ideal client, but it’s the copy that’s going to keep them around longer. The copy is what’ll bring in the cha-ching.
Does your copy speak to the heart your ideal client? Are you telling a story that resonates with your tribe? If not, get in there and do some serious soul searching, sister! Copy is everything from the headlines of your website, your company newsletter, to the caption of your latest Instagram photo. It all matters if you want to take your biz to the next level. And remember…if you’re trying to speak to EVERYONE, you’ll reach NO ONE.
I hope you found these 5 Worthy Investments to Take Your Creative Biz to the Next Level helpful. If you’re interested in how these 5 investments worked for my business I’d encourage you to check out my new site! And if you’re inspired enough by any of these ideas I’d love to hear from you so I can cheer you along. Leave a comment below letting me know if any of these 5 worthy investments rang true with you!