Well hey, there friend, today we are talking all about scaling your creative business. Now if you’re anything like me and about 99% of all other creative business owners, then Im going to guess that you LOVE your craft and creativity so much so that sometimes, we forget to get strategic on really how to grow and scale our businesses. Well, you’re in luck today, because we are diving straight into all things scaling and growing your business.
While we are talking all things scaling today for your small business, I want to preface this episode by saying that not every business’s goal is to scale. There are certainly people out there that love doing what they do and want to keep it small and manageable. And let me be the first to tell you, that it is totally ok! You don’t have to have it in your business plan to grow to a huge size. If you love what you do and want to keep it at a hobby level and make a little bit of money, do that!! I know there is certainly someone listening to this right now who is juggling being a full-time mama and working on your business or side hustle, ESPECIALLY during a time where your kids might be at home doing virtual school. This might not be the time for you to scale, and I encourage you, that that is perfectly the place you need to be. Don’t stress about scaling, but when you’re ready, come back to this episode.
This is, however, the conversation for you, if you plan to scale and want to take your business to the next level. If you’ve been playing small and it’s time to level up, listen in! If this year has been tough on you, which to be honest, it’s been tough on everyone including us, and you’re just so ready to increase your revenue, sales, team, and more, listen in to today’s episode!!
So let’s just dive right in! In our company, you might know that in 2017 and 2018 we went from doing about 150 events annually to 500 events in 2018! Now, that’s MASSIVE growth and if I knew what I know today, I would’ve set up my business in a different way to scale with way more ease.
I believe the number one reason for scaling your creative business is due to the people you have on your team. Now, I would’ve done it differently before I hired, because I honestly just bootstrapped the hiring process in the beginning. I’ve got a simple system for hiring nowadays, but in the beginning, totally made it up as I went! Before you even get to step one of hiring the right team, make sure you set up your business for success to take on a team.
What do I mean by that? Well, figure out what you want to do as far as pay structures, vacation time, expense reimbursement, and expectations you might have. Unmet expectations typically come from a lack of communication. So defining these before you set out to hire, is super important.
When I hired my first employees, which if you’ve listened to our podcast for a while, you know that is Kaley who’s been with me for three years now! She’s an incredible asset to my team and someone who is necessary to stay on my team. She’s challenged and grown me as her leader and trusted me as I learned how to be the best leader I am today! Before I hired her, I didn’t have anything set up for her position at the time to succeed. All I had was the amount I was going to pay for her. That’s it! Here’s what I have now that I wish I had for her when she started.
The first thing you need before you hire is an employee handbook or if you want to name it something else, call it your team expectations. Inside of that, you’ll need your guidelines for communication both verbally and in writing. This is important because you don’t want that first email sent to a client to have a form of communication that doesn’t align with you or your brand. For example, before I had any expectations, someone on my team started sending emails that had smiley faces in them. While I’m totally here for an emoji moment, email communication with clients isn’t the time or place for them. Let’s keep that to our slack channels or texts with friends. Now, your business might have emojis sent in email communications and that totally works if that aligns with your brand, for me it doesn’t.
Another point you’ll need to decide and write in this document is your time off and holiday schedules. Be clear about which holidays they automatically get off and if they are paid holidays or not. For time off, decide how you want to receive that communication and how far in advance you need to know about their time off. Do they need to get it approved or are they free to take off whenever? All very important things you should decide before your employee asks about because they will ask!
Again, unmet expectations come from a lack of communication.
Set all these processes up before you hire and you’ll feel more confident when those questions get asked because they again, they will! The other thing I would highly recommend having before the first day of your new employee is to have some SOP’s set up and ready. An SOP is a standard operating procedure, and it’s how you do what you do. The step by step process. This will set them up for success, on day one!
Building and curating your audience that is specific to your business is essential to building a brand you need to scale.
There are a few ways to build your audience that you should be doing consistently. We’re going to talk about email list building, showing up consistently, and networking.
Let’s talk email marketing first! Now let me start this by saying if you’re distracted, come back to me. I don’t want you to leave this episode without knowing at least this! You should be consistently building your email list no matter what. I talk about this all the time that you need to have an email list because the followers on your social media pages are not truly yours! If Facebook and Instagram were to change their algorithms tomorrow, which is likely because they change frequently, then there is a chance your followers might not even see your content you’re working so hard to post! Social media is important for consistency which we will talk about in a moment, but building your email list is even more important than curating a pretty feed.
The ways to build your list are simple and effective. The first way to grow your list is having a subscribe button on each page of your website. That’s called a Call To Action. At the bottom or as a pop-up, or in the middle of your page, have an opt-in for them to keep up to date on your business or offers or whatever it is that you’ll be creating for them. Most email marketing platforms will have the ability to have code that goes on your site to make that happen. Our favorite email marketing platform is Flodesk! It’s a smart and beautiful email service that makes our business look really good! They have awesome analytics to track opens, clicks, and whos looking at your emails. They also have great templates and workflows to ensure you stay consistent! As a flodesk user, you can get flodesk for only $19 per month. Go to rendereducate.co/flodesk.
Alright now that we’re talking consistency, showing up consistently is the second-highest priority when it comes to building your audience. This goes for social media, client follow-ups, email marketing, and any other form of communication that you have in your business. Your audience that you’re building wants to hear from you and doing that on a normal basis is important. Now, this does NOT have to be a daily thing, it can certainly be a once a week or once a month task. That is up to you and how fast you want to scale but also depends on your schedule and the capacity you might have to be consistent. We’ve chosen in our business to be consistent with content once a week at a minimum with this podcast. That means when we produce an episode, we are also creating a blog post that relates to the topic of this podcast episode, social media feed and story, and our weekly email. Choose the best format and level of consistency that works for you and then commit to that! Commit to doing the once a week or once a month or however often you want to produce and publish content. Now your content can just be an image and a well thought out caption, or it could be a big production of content, that’s totally up to you! We love using Planoly for this content and scheduling it out ahead of time and you can get 50% off your first month if you want to try it out! It’s only $9 monthly which is a steal when it comes to the stress of consistently posting content. Go to rendereducate.co/planoly to grab your 50% coupon and see why we love planoly so much!
The final way to build your audience is to start networking. Meeting people in your industry and outside of your industry is one of the biggest catalysts for growth. People want to buy from people so establishing relationships with people who will refer you, that’s the number one place I’d spend your time. I sit on the board of NACE which is an association in the events industry, National Association of Catering and Events, and since becoming a member of the association, I’ve seen my business grow like wildfire. I’ve also made some lifelong friends from NACE as well! In episode 26, I sat down with Nate Nelson whos a good friend of mine in NACE to talk all about networking, so check that out! In the world of a global pandemic, networking can be tough, however, most are meeting still either in person or online.
If you’re in the rental world, increase your quantities by double or triple. Artist? Add more variety to your offerings. If you are a musician, can you produce a holiday album or as a painter perhaps a line of printables? Shop owner? Increase your quantities and options. If you only provide clothing in your shop, can you expand by adding in home decor?
Growing your offerings by just a little bit will give you the availability to cast a wider net into the people you serve. Then with those offerings, show what goes with it to increase the average order your clients and customers buy from you. Let’s take a rental item for rental pros. Let’s say you’ve got a sofa. How can you pair that item with a few different ways to show it in different styles? Pair it with some chairs and a rug, show it with a coffee table and pillows, and throw in the works. Renters might not rent the whole package, however, they can see that product used a few different ways and will encourage your client to book more than just the sofa. What about the boutique owner? Let’s take that one new blouse you just received came in. Can you pair it with a jewelry set and a pair of nice jeans to show off? Not only will it inspire your customers to pair that top with what they already have, but they might like it with the jewelry you picked out too and increase that order! You’re the expert, so show them what they need to order and buy from you!
So to quickly recap, Step one to scaling your creative business is to hire the right team to scale to a new level. Step two was to grow your audience through email marketing, consistency in your postings, and networking to wider audiences. The final step was to diversify your income and clientele!
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