Photography: Ellie Gillard Photography
I’m hungry. I’ve been doing the Clean Program Refresh all week (more on this soon!) and whilst I initially moaned about being a little hungrier than usual, as I came to the end of the seven day programme I had a moment of clarity. In a metaphorical way, being hungry is undoubtedly a good thing. Hunger is what forces us to go out and make changes. Hunger is what encourages us to re-evaluate what we’re doing and if we’re on the right path. Hunger makes us long for something better and pushes us to achieve it.
I am hungry for change. To change how I do certain things and act in certain situations. I’m not perfect at this business stuff, but I’m doing my best. Muddling through in the best way I know how… Now please excuse me while I crack open this packet of biscuits to celebrate my amazing moment of clarity.
♥ Why I don’t care about SEO
♥ The joy of accounting (boooo!)
♥ Why being ‘all booked up’ is ruining your business
♥ Did we exist before social media?
“A friend once told me that social media was like being at a party where everyone’s high on cocaine—they’re all talking at the same time and no one’s listening, all while trying to look good and sound smart.” Paul Jarvis
Why is it that one bad review can negate all the great things people say about you? One mean comment, one snarky tweet, one dissatisfied customer? You know this already, but just in case you’ve forgotten it I’m going to remind you again: you can’t please everyone so don’t waste your time trying.
Of course we don’t want to give ourselves permission to ever do a bad job, if you do get a bad review it’s really important to analyse whether the comment is worthwhile paying attention to at all. It is from someone who paid you for a service or someone who’s opinion you value? If so you might want to listen to it, learn from it and make amends if you need to. However if it’s coming from someone who’s just having a big old moan (online most likely!) then I’m sorry but who gives a stuff what they think? You don’t owe these people a response or any justification at all in fact.
Does anybody watch Nashville (shameful admission alert, but I’m totally obsessed)? In a recent episode one of the main characters, singer Juliette Barnes, tried a new ‘sound’ at a concert. The first review she read of her performance was from a music critic in the audience who said awful things about it and her on twitter. Obviously it crushed her and her confidence and she spent hours, days even, reading and re-reading his comments and doubting her new direction completely. However, by spending her time worrying about what this one critic has said, she’d failed to notice the thousands of positive comments on the YouTube upload of the performance – comments from fans who actually part with their hard earned cash to buy her records. At the end of the day it is their opinions that really matter anyway.
I don’t know about you, but I always do my best thinking in the bath. I’m sure it’s something to do with switching off, being away from technology and allowing my mind to wonder. Regardless, as I soaked in the tub one day last week I started to think about business plateaus, or more specifically, what to do about them.
The first few years of running a business are a super exciting. You’re pushing yourself, growing and learning, all while (hopefully!) having a lot of fun as you go. Yes, it’s a scary time but it’s also a super satisfying one. If you’re doing all the right things, you’ll be into a steady flow of getting enquiries, booking clients, then getting too many bookings so putting your prices up a little bit, getting back to a steady flow… and so on and so forth.
But then, and likely around the two or three year mark, something different starts to happen. You, as usual, put your prices up a little bit more to stem the flow (you can only take on so many clients after all and no one wants to work on loads of weddings getting paid a pittance for each one) but the result is different… zilch… nadda… nothing. Suddenly it’s not so easy to get bookings. You ramp up your marketing and you’re still getting enquiries, but after sending out your price list people aren’t immediately coming back to you with the same joyful exuberance about confirming you for their wedding. They’re either trying to haggle or you simply never hear from them again.
Goodness, what a rollercoaster The Blogcademy has been already, and today we’re about to take another upside-down corkscrew followed by a loop the loop because we’re adding even more dates to our 2013 world tour! Your headmistresses are nothing if not diligent, and when we announced the full wack of dates back in March, there were some outcries that we weren’t going down to any of the Southern US states… Well, your wish is our command and so we’ve added an Austin date in August. BRING. IT. ON.
But that’s not all. The Melbourne class sold out so damn speedily, that we’ve decided to add a second date on our way home from Australia. It means we’re pretty much going to be away from home for a whole month (!) but hey, we love ya and we know you’re gonna make it worth our while! Our poor suffering husbands will just have to hold the fort at our respective homes a little while longer I guess…
So the 2013 world tour now looks as follows, click the relevant link below if you’d like to book a space on any of these classes.
New York (limited spaces remaining!)
June 22nd & 23rd
Minneapolis (limited spaces remaining!)
June 29th & 30th
August 17th & 18th
September 7th & 8th
Curtain Road Studios
Brisbane (limited spaces remaining!)
Proudly presented by Tourism & Events Queensland!
November 2nd & 3rd
Bleeding Heart Gallery
Melbourne (SOLD OUT)
November 6th & 7th
November 9th & 10th
Melbourne (second date added!)
November 14th & 15th
Photography: You are my Fave
Yesterday Gareth & I hotfooted it to Brighton for a mini shoot with the inimitable Lisa Devlin for our magazine. Did I mention that I’m working – hard! – on the next issue right now? Oh yes, I am soooo super excited about it because I just know it’s going to be even bigger and better than the last two editions. I’m actually taking the idea in a brand new direction and I’m super duper psyched to see what you all think about it! Onwards and upwards and all that…
In other news, next Tuesday I’m taking part on Cosmopolitan Magazine’s superblogger masterclass. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty darn nervous about it all. I’d love to see some friendly faces there, so if you’re able to get to London next Tuesday evening and you have a spare £30 lying around (honestly, what a bargain!) I’d love to see you. There’s a cocktail reception before it starts too so we can all gather for a drink and steady our nerves together. Now that sure sound like a jolly good plan to me!
Now please excuse me while I try not to have a mini meltdown…
♥ Twelve blogging income streams
♥ How to handle online bullying
♥ Nine signs its time to quit your blog
♥ How to know when it’s time to move on
♥ How to write copy that goes viral
“The best approach is to write for just one person. Make an impact on just one person. Even better, make it so they can’t sleep that night unless they choose to make a difference for just one other person by sharing your message with them” Seth Godin
While there are infinite and varying possibilities as to why your business could fail, there are just three that will all but guarantee it.
1. Your business doesn’t provide something people want
It seems simple – sell something people want to buy – so why do so many businesses flounder at the first hurdle? It’s all very well wanting to come up with ‘the next big thing’ but if there’s no market for it then what’s the point?
In some ways exactly what you’re offering doesn’t matter at this stage. What does matter however is that it either solves a problem, makes people happier or it takes away something negative. For extra bonus points, it might even be able to hit all three! If you don’t believe me, Facebook is a great example. The social network solve a problem by connecting you with people you don’t see every day, makes you happier by entertaining you and removes the negative of having to actually speak to people in real life (come on, you know it’s true!)
You might think your new product or service is genius, but unless it adheres to at least one of these fundamental needs, it’s going to fail. Why? Because your idea is worthless without customers who actually believe in it and would part with their hard earned cash to get it. Is your idea something people actually want? Have you seen a demand from your target market and spoken to people (other than your mother) and had a positive response? The value in your product can not be determined by you, it has to be determined by your customer. You can’t base a business on what you think people want, a successful business must be based on what a customer actually wants (whether they know it yet or not!)
Think about your own business right now. Are you offering something that solves a problem, makes people happier and/or removes something negative? If you’re answering yes but your business is still failing, it might be time to move onto point number two.
2. Your business isn’t reaching the right people
It’s all well and good having the most amazing new idea or product, but if no one knows it exists then who do you expect to actually buy it?