Three Ways to Make Your Past Clients Your Biggest Cheerleaders

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I didn’t grow up in America so I never really understood the whole cheerleader thing… well except what the movies told me of course. Correct me if I’m wrong but it’s my assumption that they’re basically squads of popular girls who dance around, wear really high ponytails (do even higher kicks) and who’s main goal in life if to make the football team feel special. Putting our cultural differences aside, I can see the appeal… well, for the footballers at least. I mean who wouldn’t want some gorgeous babes telling them how awesome they were every time they scored a touchdown?

Cheerleaders don’t have to be confined to pep rallies and game days, did you know you have your own little cheer squad just waiting in the wings? Today I’m going to tell you how to get them shaking their pom poms for you and your business.

You past clients are an amazing source of (often untapped) publicity. After all they’ve experienced what you do first hand, and if you’ve done a good job and they love the results, they are more likely than anyone to sing your praises and recommend you to their friends. Apart from obviously delivering a brilliant product there is one thing that will make them love you, and shout about you from the rooftops – fantastic customer service.

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1. Keep it real

Being professional at all times is important, but don’t confuse professionalism with being stuffy or lacking personality. Build a rapport with your clients and get to know them (and let them get to know you!) as people, not just a pay check. Connect over the things you mutually appreciate – art, music, trashy tv shows, clothes, pets – and use this as a strength and to differentiate yourself.

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Business Bites: Instagram All The Things!

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Photography: Hungry Girl Porvida

Yesterday I was in North London shooting an editorial for the brand new edition of the print magazine. It. Was. Amazing. I had such an incredible team, two stunning models and the venue, Belt Craft Studios, was just… WOW. I really had to resist the urge to Instagram everything because there’s nothing worse than too many sneak peeks and when you see the final shots it feels like you’ve already seen it all! But believe me, this baby is going to be good. It’s definitely something you might not expect from me too, I can’t wait to hear what you all think.

Issue 3 can’t come soon enough, especially since we completely sold out of issue 2 recently. Can you believe that!? We’re still currently working to a mid-August deadline so fingers and toes crossed that it all comes together in time please!

So, how has your week been?

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So you want to speak at a conference?
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♥ Three ways to say no to people who want to pick your brain

“If you want people to value your time then you have to put a value on it” – Marie Forelo

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Addicted to the Busy

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Are you always busy? When that group email or Facebook event invite gets sent your way, are you never able to go because you have to work?

Weddings are a weird industry, everyone knows that you work a lot of weekends but then it is also expected that you are contactable first thing Monday morning. If your marketing campaign has been successful and the bookings are healthy, you may well find that suddenly weeks and weeks are stretching in front of you with no proper break. Every wedding you take on has a significant amount of admin and for us photographers, there is that mountain of post production. Throw in a few double or even triple header weekends and that mountain can quickly become Everest.

The business is yours and so it’s quite normal to want to manage every aspect of it. There are also certain things you definitely can’t outsource, but if you look at the situation objectively, do you think you could actually be addicted to being so busy?

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Going into Business with Friends

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I‘ve decided to go into business with three other girls who I met online and have since become great friends with. We all run our own businesses independently but this will be a collaboration between the four of us. I’m really excited about it because we all have different skills and I think we can all bring something different to the table.

I was wondering if you had any advice about going into business with friends (I know you’ve done it with Gala and Shauna with The Blogcademy and you all met online too!) The business idea was actually mine so I guess I’m the driving force behind it but obviously I can’t do it on my own.

My main question is how do we spilt the finances or decide who gets what? Do we split it evenly because that is the fair thing to do, even though each of us will have a different level of involvement and workload? We roughly know where everyone’s strengths lie and even though it will totally be a team effort, it was my idea. Some of the others are more driven towards the networking and exposure that this venture might bring rather than the money but at the same time, I don’t want it to ever become awkward with the potential of someone not pulling their weight because they aren’t getting paid.

On the flip side, if we split everything equally, I’m worried that it wouldn’t really be fair if one person ended up doing a lot more work but only took the same as everyone else. What do you guys do and how would you suggest we work this out so we can take it forward?

There is also bound to be an initial investment involved with the business so how do we go about sorting out who is going to cough up initially? Should it be me as the captain of the ship!? 

We know what we want to achieve we just can’t work out what the fairest way to split the income is and to make sure we don’t fall out in future. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Launching The Blogcademy was a huge and steep learning curve for Gala, Shauna and me but sharing the success together has been the most satisfying thing ever. I mean, what’s the point of having it if you haven’t got someone to share it with?! It’s been far from smooth sailing, but I’m pleased to say that we are yet to have an argument (touch wood!) and our friendships have, if anything, only gotten stronger through working together.

It’s only been ten or so months since we launched the business but the amount we’ve learnt has been astounding! In fact I could talk about it all for days as there are so many things to consider. However I don’t want to overwhelm you, so instead, here are the four biggest lessons we’ve learnt along the way… and yes, how to deal with the finances is a big one!

Have a contract

This sounds all official and scary but it doesn’t have to be. In fact we didn’t even think about this until the night before our first class when we were sharing horror stories about mutual acquaintances that had fallen out when they went into business together! So we scribbled something down on a piece of paper and all signed it. I think it basically said “I won’t screw my friends over, steal all the money or try to sue for half the business if I decide to leave…” It probably wasn’t the most watertight contract but if the worst did happen in those early days it would have given the business (and us as individuals) some kind of protection.

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Business Bites: Being Weird Together

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Photography: via Martha Stewart

Being friends with other bloggers is totally awesome. I was reminded of this just yesterday when I had a lunch date with the gorgeous Emily of Fashion Foie Gras, who I met at the Cosmopolitan Superbloggers Masterclass. It’s the same as when I hang out with Gala and Shauna (19 sleeps and counting!) because we don’t have to worry about feeling weird wanting to photograph our outfits or document our hang-out, talking through the benefits of twitter vs facebook or discussing the latest internet drama. To us this is all totally normal behaviour!

Being a blogger can be quite an isolating career path if you let it. If you work for yourself (especially if you’re at home on your own) I can’t encourage you enough to get yourself out there, make friends with your peers and all be weird together.

Have a fabulous weekend guys.

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Is making money from blogging passive income?
Oversharing, how much is too much on social media?
How to set up your own online shop
♥ Stop hiding and make it happen!
♥ If you one read (and watch) one this thing week let it be Marie Forleo interviewing Sally Hogshead about how to be fascinating. I had so many lightbulb moments watching it!

“You don’t have to change who you are to become your most successful. In fact it’s the opposite, you need to become more of who you are ” Sally Hogshead

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The Ins and Outs of Sponsored Blog Posts

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I‘ve been blogging for just over a year, I have a nice niche following, consistent stats and I make a decent amount of money each month from banner ads.

I’ve always said I wouldn’t do sponsored posts because I only ever wanted to write about things that I really believed in but I’m now starting to see that might have been a bit naive. However I’m totally lost and confused and every time I start to think about doing them I get really worried that I might be end up doing it wrong or something. How is best to manage it and how do I know what to charge?

Does having sponsored posts forfeit my right to write about things I like when I’m not getting paid? For example, how do I justify charging someone for a post when I might write about another company just because I want people to know about them? I would obviously only write about things I thought were good but it still feels confusing. 

I’m also really worried about putting off or upsetting my readers. Is there a knack to writing sponsored posts that people still enjoy? I’ve read some really bad ones where it all sounds really fake. How do you keep your sponsored posts interesting for your readers while still getting the message across?

And finally where do I draw the line? I’ve built great relationships with a lot of companies and often if people want to be featured I’ll get them to write up useful and informative copy so it’s still interesting for my readers but how do I know when something is in sponsored post territory and when it’s not? 

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Love them or loathe them sponsored posts have fast become a big part of blogging life. If you’ve worked your little blogger butt off and built a site that readers flock to regularly, soon enough brands, PRs and small businesses will start to approach you wanting a piece of the pie. If you have an engaged and loyal audience (this is key – bigger isn’t always better) they’ll see your blog as the perfect platform to promote their product or service.

When should a post be sponsored?

OK so first things first, how do you justify charging someone for post when you write about others for free? I’m not going to lie, this is a tricky one. You, and only you, can decide when charging for a post is right for your specific blog but you must do so before you start accepting any payments or it can all get very confusing very quickly.

As a general rule I’d probably say that if a company is approaching you for coverage then you are well within your rights to explain to them that there is a fee involved. However it is still your prerogative to occasionally write about things you’ve found or experienced that you really loved and think your readers will enjoy or benefit from. It is your blog after all and holding back on publishing things that you know will be popular just because you’re not getting paid is only going to hamper the success of your site.

You are right though, you do need to draw a line. I feel that if someone is coming to you for coverage they clearly value what you have to offer and therefore it needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship (i.e you have to get something out of the collaboration too). Again, only you can decide what that might be. Does an engaging guest post benefit you? Would you accept a sample or gift? Or do you only want cold, hard cash?

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