Category Archives: Green Room

How To Deal With People Who Want to ‘Pick Your Brain’

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Dear Kat
I understand the irony of my emailing you about this, but I need your help! I’m a wedding photographer and my business is going pretty well. I’ve been shooting full time for two years now and I’m really proud of how much I’ve achieved. It’s taken a lot of work, but it’s been worth it!

My problem is, I’m now starting to get a lot of emails or private Facebook messages from friends and strangers asking if they can ‘pick my brain’. Sometimes they fire questions at me, but most of the time they’re asking if we can meet for coffee or if they can come and see how I work at a wedding!

While I’m honoured that people think I’m worthy of asking advice, I can’t help but feel annoyed about it. I’ve worked my BUTT off for the past two years to get to where I am, and these people seem to want me to give them all the answers for free! Don’t they realise there’s no quick answer and that hard work and time is really what it takes? You must get a lot of this too so I was just wondering if you had any advice on how I should deal with it?

When you reach a certain level of success, it’s inevitable that people will start to come out of the woodwork and innocently ask you for advice. Yes, it can be irritating, but the fact that this is happening is actually an amazing opportunity for your own business to grow.

Don’t feel bad about saying no!

First off, you should not feel bad for saying no. I say no to people everyday and I never feel guilty about it! You are only one little person and you can’t help everyone. You shouldn’t ever feel burdened by other people’s problems just because they asked you about them.

“Brain picking” meetings are particularly exhausting because they usually don’t have a specific goal. A lot of the time you’ll be trying to figure out exactly what the other person actually wants from you. To me, there is nothing worse than vaguely asking for advice. Let’s drop the foreplay and get to the point already! Does that sound harsh and mean? Maybe a little, but I’m a busy girl, I ain’t got time for fannying around!

If someone is asking to “pick your brain” then the implication is usually that they don’t really know what they want or need, they’re just hoping that you can give them all the answers. I personally avoid these kinds of meetings like the plague.

However I do think that you should always reply to each and every message you get, even if it is to say that you can’t help them. People will generally appreciate that you’ve taken the time to send them a note back, and it shouldn’t take you very long if you create some templates.

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30 Things to Blog About When You’re Feeling Uninspired

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Blogger’s block happens to the best of us. Instead of staring, blankly at your computer screen, here are 30 things you could write about instead!

1. A recent trip you took

2. A business lesson you learnt

3. Your current obsession

4. Make a mixtape!

5. Share some personal photos

6. Tell a story

7. Free write

8. Answer your reader’s questions

9. Interview someone you admire

10. Create a real life moodboard

11. Share your favourite outfit

12. Run a competition

13. Show us your office!

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How to Get Started in the Wedding Industry

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I got an email last week from a reader who wanted advice on how to get started in the wedding industry. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be part of the wedding biz”, she wrote, “But where do I begin? I am pretty crafty and I just love all aspects of weddings. I must spend most of my waking hours sifting through your website, Etsy and Pinterest. I’ve saved thousands of pictures of bouquets, décor of every theme, you name it. I want so desperately to be a part of it, I just don’t know where to start.”

This is quite a common conundrum for people starting out on their career path. They might have a vague idea about what industry they want to go into (fashion, weddings, music…) but not a clue about where to begin.

As surprising as it might be, we all have to start in the same place – right at the beginning. While you may want to simply wake up one day with a fabulous career, and knowing exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, in reality that just doesn’t happen. What you really need to do is find a way into the industry you want to work in. You might start as someone’s assistant, by doing admin and filing in an office or by selling your homemade treasures on Etsy.

You have to put yourself in a position where you’re exposed to the things that will eventually influence your career path. It’s not going to land on your lap if you’re not out there hustling for it, and you’re certainly not going to get there by sitting on the internet creating elaborate Pinterest boards all day.

The likelihood is that it won’t be all you’ve dreamed of in the beginning. Foot-in-the-door jobs are hard work, unglamorous and probably even a little boring. Your boss might be horrible, your tasks monotonous, the hours long and the pay crappy. But you have to do these jobs before you can work your way up to where you really want to be.

Before Rock n Roll Bride I worked in television. For years I did runner and assistant jobs, my first of which earned my a whopping £10,000 a year. However, when I left the industry I was producing three hours of live television a day, managing a team of eight and earning significantly more. I would have never have got there without doing the hard work, shit pay jobs first.

So don’t worry if you don’t fall in love with your career right away. No-one ever loves their entry level job, what matters is that you’re in the right industry.

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Ask Me Anything: Small Business Special!

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I’ve done a few ‘ask me anything’ style posts in the past, but I thought it was high time to do another one. I wanted to keep this one career specific, and so I asked my Facebook fans to hit me with their toughest questions related to running your own small business.

What are the best ways to keep motivated and keep on working when working for yourself? I’m at start up and suffer from a severe case of procrastination! – Kate Love

Pure, unadulterated obsession! I know it sounds like a terrible cliché, but I really can’t not blog, I love it to much! But I hear ya, and sometimes the day to day monotony  of running your own business can be less than glamorous.

First of all, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to have a few days of procrastination now and again. Giving yourself a mental break is good for the soul, and will help your productivity over all, so don’t beat yourself up over it. OBVIOUSLY this should be a rare treat though, so if you’re finding that you’re wasting more time on Pinterest that anything else, something probably needs addressing.

I’m going to force you to ask yourself a tough question now: are you really doing something that lights you up? As I said, I can’t not do what I do. I love it so much, there’s nothing I’d rather be filling my time with. If you’re finding that you’re procrastinating more than you should be, maybe you just haven”t found your ‘thing’ just yet. This is fine, just keep on exploring until you do!

Here’s my biggest practical tip for beating the procrastination monster though. It’s all about breaking your tasks into super manageable chunks. If you’re still struggling after you’ve done that, break them down some more until the task is so small it’s super easy to get it checked off your list. It’s much easier to do, say, 5 minutes of emails, and then have a break, than tell yourself you have to tackle your inbox ALL MORNING. That seems like such a big, boring task that you’ll just keep putting it off.

Not every single job you have to do is going to be completely thrilling so doing this, and rewarding yourself after you’ve completed things (even if it’s just a cup of tea!) is a really great way to encourage yourself to begin. Good luck!

Extra reading: 6 ways to stop procrastination and actually get things done ♥ How to get shit done when you have no time at all

Do you have a schedule that you like to keep to or do you only publish stuff if you think you have the right story? Do you pre-plan? Do you write posts and then publish them later? – Emily Lewis

I have a schedule for myself and for the blog. Both are equally important I think, because as a small business owner, if you tell yourself you can fill your day with anything, you’ll undoubtedly never get anything done! I start working before 9am and do most of my writing in the morning, followed by emails. My afternoons I filled with more admin related tasks that require less brainpower. I usually clock off around 7pm.

In terms of the schedule for the blog, I post twice a day on weekdays and once a day over the weekends. One of the most vital things to growing and maintaining a blog is consistency. So even if you can’t, or don’t want to, blog as often as I do you can still grow your audience. If once a week works for you, that’s perfectly fine, the key is that you are accountable and you do it every week! Otherwise it’s just all too easy to get out of the routine.

The reason that being consistent with your posting schedule is important is because it let’s your readers know when they can come back for updates. Even if they’re not consciously aware of what day or time you post, if they come and visit your site at the same time each day/week/month, they’ll always know there’s going to be new content.

Having a regularly updated blog is the best way to grow your audience. There’s nothing worse than finding a new blog and seeing that it hasn’t been updated for months. You’re probably not going to bother going back.

In terms of pre-planning, I always try and work a couple of days in advance, ideally at least week. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, you’re never going to put out good work if you have to rush it, and waking up in the morning and thinking “crap I need an idea for a blog post NOW”, is never the best way to be creative. Also, writing something and sitting on it for a few days can be really valuable. When you go back and read it with fresh eyes you’ll be able to spot typos easier, and you might figure out better ways of getting your points across. Both are almost impossible to do if you need to bash something out and publish it immediately!

Extra reading: How often should I be blogging?

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Taking Over Europe, One Workshop at a Time!

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In July, my fellow Blogcademy headmistresses and I embarked on one of our most ambitious trips to date: three weeks, three countries, four classes and about 18 hours spent in airports!

From London to Berlin to Amsterdam and back again, we hardly had any time to catch our breath. But it was an incredible ride, and I’m so excited to share the behind the scenes sneaks of the workshops with you today.

London

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Our first stop was London, where we kicked off with two sold out classes. Hosted in our favourite venue, Curtain Road Studios (is it bad to have favourites?! Oh well!), we had the place decked out with giant paper flowers, fans and banners supplied by Strange Case Collective. They are a 3D design studio based up in Liverpool.

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We also were joined by the supremely talented Charlotte Thompson, who sat at the back, live sketching our teachings and creating these gorgeous pieces of art! It was so amazing to see her work, and the results have left us with a really unique and fun reminder of the class. The portrait she did of me is now proudly hanging on my office wall. I love it so much!

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How To Sell Your Own Products On Your Blog

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One of the things I learnt pretty early on when I started to monetise this blog, was that having multiple income streams was a good idea. While I continue to earn the bulk of my income from banner advertising and sponsored content, only relying on this every month wouldn’t be that smart. I mean, what if all my advertisers suddenly decided to go elsewhere?

Around mid-2012 I started to brainstorm other ways I could make an income from this site. One of those was selling products. I dabbled with a number of things but the most significant for me have been The Blogcademy, my print magazine and my headpiece collection with Crown and Glory.

If you want to start selling products through your own blog, then here are a few keys things you need to consider.

Bring your readers on the journey with you

The reason the people that read your blog will buy from you over anyone else is because they are invested in YOU. There are a million wedding magazines out there and a squillion brightly coloured headpieces on Etsy, but the reason mine sell is because my readers love the Rock n Roll Bride brand.

In order to capitalise on this fandom (for lack of a better word!), you should bring your readers on the journey with you. Share sneak peeks of the design process and tease the launch on social media. Run exclusive discounts or contests on your blog. Let your readers know, before anyone else, what you’re working on and when they can buy it.

Last week I was shooting the look book for my new collection with Crown and Glory (which is launching on September 15th by the way!) and I made sure I shared a few behind the scenes shots on Instagram. I also snapped some other photos to tease out slowly before the launch (ahem, like in this blog post!) This way, my readers are hopefully already excited about the new collection before it’s even released.

It’s important that you don’t give too much away with your previews though. You don’t want your readers to feel like they’ve already seen everything before you launch! You’ll notice, for example, that I haven’t shared any close up shots of the actual pieces yet. You need to keep some mystery!

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Collaborate with others

There is no way I could sell any of my products without a team behind me. With The Blogcademy I have Gala (co-founder), Shauna (co-founder and designer) and Gareth (developer); with the magazine I have Shauna (designer) and Gareth (packing and shipping); and with the headpieces Sophie and (another!) Gareth of Crown and Glory (designer, making, packing and shipping). It would be impossible for me to do all these things on my own.

If you’re thinking of selling something yourself, collaborating with someone else might be a smart move. Not only can you pool your skills, but also your marketing power. Naomi and Josh of Love Taza just joined forces with Joy of Oh Joy! to launch their app, Pippit, for example.

Have a launch plan

It’s all very well and good spending months working on your product but if you don’t have a launch plan, no-one will ever know about it! Unless you have an enormous Kardashian-sized audience, if you don’t work hard to promote it, no-one else will do it for you. Word of mouth may start to spread down the line, but you need to kick the process off.

Obviously you should share your new products on your own platforms, but that’s rarely enough these days. What else will you do to get the word out?

You could reach out to other bloggers and magazines, do some paid advertising, or run some competitions. Marketing is a slow and steady process, so don’t ever launch a product without some kind of idea on how you’re going market it.

A Beautiful Mess just did this really well with their latest iPhone app, Party Party. First they announced it on their blog. Then, they sent out a care package with some fun props to some of their blogger friends with access to the app so they could try it and share the results on their own platforms. They now continue to write content on their own blog that shares the behind the scenes process of app building, as well as images and gifs made with the app. They’ve also managed to secure some major press features.

If you want to learn more about marketing a blog or product, have a gander at The Blogcademy Home School’s PR and Marketing module!

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