Tag Archives: business

Ask Me Anything: Blogging and Business Special!

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The Blogcademy Online launches this Thursday (eeek!) so to celebrate and get you all warmed up, I thought it would be fun to do another Q&A post. But to throw a cat among the pigeons, I decided to record myself talking through my responses, instead of just writing them!

In the audio I answer the following questions:

♥ What are your biggest turn off’s for a website?
♥ Who do you really admire in business?
♥ What should I do about my friend who’s copied my business idea?
♥ How do I get more interaction on my Facebook page?
♥ How can we get the word out about our new company?
♥ What advice do you have for someone who blogs as a hobby but wants to make it their full time job?
♥ How do you deal with haters or mean-spirited people?
♥ How do I stand out in a crowded market?
♥ I had a leg amputated last year, is there still space for me as a wedding photographer?
♥ How do I do market research for my new company?
♥ How did you start your career and how do you make your money?

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Seven New Year’s Resolutions to Ensure Career Happiness

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A new year is upon us so it’s the perfect time to clear the decks and start to make plans for progressing your business. The “new year, new me” mindset will only get you so far though. You have to set some goals and have some plans, but then you actually have to go out and make them happen too.

It is in no way easy to make radical life (or career) changes, but it certainly can be done. So here are seven resolutions you can make for yourself right now to help you completely dominate the year ahead.

1. Define what you really want

Have you ever sat down and asked yourself what you really want?! Forget the self-deprecating or society-friendly answers here. Stop being embarrassed, and don’t ever think “Well that’s never going to happen so what’s the point?” The first step in getting what you want is asking for it. You have to at least being brave enough to vocalise it.

It’s not uncommon to feel lost when it comes to career happiness. From an early age the education system force-feeds us the idea of what our lives should look like: Do well in school, go to uni, get a job, work your way up, get married, have a family… but what if you don’t want all that? What if you allowed yourself to consider what you really want. What if there was nothing holding you back? Then what would you do?

Look, if I’d told people that my teenage dream for my life was to marry Ronan Keating and be on the cover of a magazine, people would have laughed – or worse. I may not have married Ronan (its OK, I met someone way better!) but now, not only am I only the cover of a magazine, it’s MY magazine!!

Before you can make any plans or changes for 2015, you have to get crystal clear about what you really want out of your life and business. Stop being shy about it, it’s time to get honest, even if it’s just to yourself.

2. Set tangible goals

Let’s not sugar coat it, running your own business is bloody hard. It’s going to take a lot of work to get to where you want to be. So after defining what it is you really want, you next have to make a solid commitment to making it work. I’m not talking about some airy, fairy, “Yeah I’m gonna eat better this year” resolution, you need tangible – and most importantly – measurable goals to help you get there.

For example, instead of saying “This year I want to be more profitable”, set the goal of exactly how much money you want to make. That way, it’s much easier to a) know when you’re on, or off, track b) plot your trojectory to get there and c) find your way back to your pre-tedermind path if you happen to get off course.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others

Oh this is a big one because I KNOW every single one of you struggles with it. The reason I know that for sure is because I do too. Constantly.

But guess what? Comparing yourself to others is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s futile, but worst still, it’s a guaranteed route to self-loathing. Make a promise to yourself to focus on your own stuff. Stop looking sideways at what your competitors are doing. And remember, someone else’s success does not constitute your failure.

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The Blogcademy Online: Your Blog is Your Calling Card, What Does it Say?

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Christmas is a time when most sane people power down, switch off, and eat their weight in delicious food. Well, The Blogcademy headmistresses are clearly not sane, because we took advance of the quieter festive period to create The Blogcademy Online which launches later this month!

On January 29th, we’re making our full in-person class available digitally for the very first time. It’s something people have been asking us for ever since we first starting doing the workshop, and finally, FINALLY, it’s happening! This has been a long time coming so I hope you’re all as excited as we are.

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Shedding Inbox Guilt, Easy Marketing Ideas, The Secret of Making Money Online: The Best Business Advice of the Year!

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The Green Room has been a big part of Rock n Roll Bride for the past couple of years. During 2014 I wrote more of this kind of content than ever and I’ve really enjoyed sharing my journey and musing about running your own small business.

I’m not exactly sure what 2015 will bring for this area of my site though. If I’m being totally honest, I’m feeling quite extremely overwhelmed with the pressure of everything I have on next year. Writing the wedding blog, being the editor of a bi-monthly print magazine, hosting and organising The Blogcademy in-person and full online courses (the latter of which is launching January 29th!!) I kind of feel like something might have to give… and that something might just be the Green Room.

I know so many of my wedding industry readers love it, but I’m only one little person! It won’t disappear completely, but it’s not going to be my main editorial focus going into the new year. I’ve got me a magazine to produce!

But it’s not all bad news! Here are twelve of the most popular business articles from the last 365.

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Shed inbox guilt! 8 email templates for wedding suppliers

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50 easy marketing ideas for wedding professionals

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How to land your dream job

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How to get started in the wedding industry

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My Top Five Books To Help You Dominate With Your Online Business

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Madeline Kate Photography

I’m not a bookworm by any stretch of the imagination. You’re much more likely to find me with my head in a laptop that the latest bestseller. So when it comes to recommending business books, believe me when I say these really are the best of the best. Most books (business or otherwise) lose my attention after the first few chapters, but these five paperbacks are all amazing. You should definitely check them out!

WordPress For Beginners by Reeta Krishna

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If the technical jargon of setting up your WordPress blog or website makes you break out in a cold sweat, then you need this book! In fact I love it so much, we gave a copy to every student that came to The Blogcademy workshop this year! This paperback is a complete guide to WordPress that lays out in detail the exact steps needed to build a full-fledged website.

The book is divided into three sections – the essentials (from picking a domain name to web hosting and getting started), optimisation (SEO, back-end necessities and security) and design (adding graphics, changing the look of your site and fonts) – which break everything down into easy bite-sized steps.

Be Awesome at Online Business by Paul Jarvis

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I am a huge fan of Paul Jarvis’ no bullshit writing style, hence why I’m recommending not one, but TWO of his awesome self-published books in this line up.

If you have any online business (which basically means any business these days) then you simply have to read this one. It teaches you how to create and foster an engaged audience, and drive sales for your products or services. There are no get-rich-quick schemes or shady conversion tactics here, just proven advice about what it takes to build a sustainable and honest business.

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How to Make a Good First Impression Online

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They say that first impressions count, and no more-so is this apparent than online. While in person, we might put someone’s slightly chaotic nature down to being nervous, or actually find it quite charming and endearing, online we are used to everything being a bit more polished. If your online presence is a mess, people are much less forgiving.

Your website

When it comes to hooking new visitors in, the design and usability of your website are the most important things. Your design doesn’t have to be complicated or over the top, in fact I think it should be the opposite! A recognisable brand and visual consistency (with your colours and fonts) and a lot of white space is a great place to start.

How easy your website is to navigate is crucial too. Allegedly you have just 2.5 seconds to grab a new visitor’s attention. If they don’t like what they see, or don’t know what to do to get them to where they want to be, they are very likely to simply close the window. Make sure your navigation is crystal clear and your content easy to access.

A fun little test that we talk about at The Blogcademy is ‘the mum test’. Show your website to your mum (or someone else not in your industry) and see if they’re able to navigate easily to certain areas of your site. If your layout isn’t obvious, or there’s something there that doesn’t quite work, you’ll quickly be able to find out about it. It’s impossible to do this ourselves, as we look at our own websites everyday and know them like the back of our hands. Other people do not!

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Beating the Winter Business Blues

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It’s mid- November. If you’ve been in business a while, you’ll already know that this is the time of year where everything in the wedding industry slows down to a glacial pace. Brides and grooms tend to put their wedding planning to one side in favour of all things festive. The enquiries dry up, and that metaphorical tumble weed seems to blow past your website more often than you might be used to.

If you’re not expecting it, it can be a little disconcerting, but it’s all very normal and come January you’ll be overrun with enquiries as it’s when everything ramps up again x 1000! Not only are there lots of Christmas engagements, but those couples getting married in 2015 will wake up on January 1st thinking “Oh crap, we’re getting married this year, we better get serious with the wedding planning!”

Rather that sitting around, eagerly waiting for the January rush to hit, this is the perfect time of year for you to get your business is in the best possible shape.

Start a passion project

I recently wrote about the benefits of personal projects, and this time of year is the ideal time to do something about it. Organise a shoot, put on an event, and just have some fun!

Get those accounts in order

Groaaan! Boring, I know, but why not get a head start on next year’s taxes by cracking on with them now?

Give your home or office an (Autumn) clean

Spring cleaning is overrated. I am ALL about the Autumn clean. We’ve been de-cluttering our house massively over the past few weeks and it’s so blissful. Anything that isn’t beautiful or useful is being chucked (goodbye ugly DVDs that we never watch! Hello, white walls and new carpet!)

Out with the old in with the new, that’s what I say. A nice home and work environment makes everything a million times better.

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Do I Really Have To Blog?

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As a small business owner, utilising visually driven social media platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook is undoubtedly important. However over the past year or so I’ve started to notice a massive decline in the one thing that started it all; blogging. While I used to love reading my favourite business owners’ blogs, these days more and more of them appear to be neglected. They have been abandoned for the bright lights and instant gratitude of social media.

Blogging is a powerful tool for promoting new work, sharing inspiration, letting people into the behind the scenes action, and posting your opinions. It’s the best way to share who you really are with the world and build a loyal following. But blogging hard. It takes forward planning and lots of work, hence the mass exodus.

I get it. You’re busy. And while updating a blog is a slog, social media is so fun and easy in comparison. But here’s the thing, if you’re willing to put the work in, a blog will bring you many more rewards than even the largest following on Instagram.

being famous on instagram is like being rich in monopoly

♥ Writing helpful articles for your ideal client will build those fans who are much more likely to go on and book your services or buy your products. This simply can’t be done with a tweet.

♥ With your blog, you make the rules. You own the domain and you can share whatever you want, whenever you want. You don’t have to adhere to anyone else’s guidelines or parameters.

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From Zero to Hero: Two Simple Attitude Adjustments That Will Take Your Business To The Next Level

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There are two major realisations that I’d consider to be the key factors that took my blog and my business from ‘just another anonymous wedding blog’ to what it is today. And they might surprise you. They’re nothing to do with content, or SEO, or social media…

1. Working with others should be encouraged

While going it alone, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, is something I’d actively encourage each of you to do, there is something to be said for working with others to bring the best out of yourself. The results can be staggering.

Pretty much every amazing opportunity that I’ve had through my blog is because of someone I’ve known online but then met offline (and then decided to work together on something). The Blogcademy is a prime example of this.

It would never have happened if Gala, Shauna and I hadn’t met up in person in Vegas in 2012. Although they both knew each other ‘in real life’, and I’d met Gala before, it wasn’t until we came together as a trio that the idea was formed. None of us could have done it by ourselves. We all have very different skills and strengths and we needed to put them together to be able to pull it off.

Working with others is so much more powerful than trying to do everything yourself. The wedding industry can be fiercely competitive if you let it, but with the right attitude, it is an infinite pool of amazing talent, just waiting to be tapped into and shared.

2. Spend time on your passion projects

After getting out and meeting other people, my next biggest piece of advice for you if you want to take your business to the next level, would be to invest the time in passion projects. Do things “just for fun” that showcase your talents, stretch you as an artist and keep things fresh and interesting. You never know what path these things might lead you down.

These are the things that will make you stand out in a highly competitive market, and will ultimately attract the right clients for you and your business. But they’re also the things that could end up forking your career in a way you could never have imagined.

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On Self Worth

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Photo from Deutscher Hochzeitskongress, aka the German Wedding Congress, that I spoke at in Cologne this weekend! Yes, that was a HUGE audience – 200 people in fact. NO PRESSURE RIGHT?

I’ve had a crazy month. It’s my own fault though. I booked in too many things, over-commited myself too much, and I’ve been run-ragged because of it. Today’s post is short and sweet, partly because of that, but mostly because the message I wanted to pass on to you this week is simple.

I had an epic moment of self-realisation recently: I place a disproportionate amount of self worth on being busy. By that I mean when I’m busy, over-committed and in-demand, I feel better about myself than when I’m not. I’m shit at being bored and I’m useless at doing nothing.

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A Rock n Roll Blogiversary & Five Little Lessons for Aspiring Bloggers

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I don’t remember the exact date I started blogging. My first site got deleted in a moment of technical clumsiness sometime late in 2008, so my earliest posts are no longer on the internet. I’m actually rather pleased that my initial foray into writing about weddings is gone forever though because, man, that shit was embarrassingly bad! I do know that it was sometime during October 2007 that I registered my domain, which makes Rock n Roll Bride SEVEN years old this month and a relative dinosaur in the wedding blogging world!

While looking back is hilarious and mortifying in equal measure, it’s also a wonderful time capsule and a reminder of how far I’ve come. The (lack of) writing skill, the questionable photo choices, the terrible formatting and attempts at ‘branding’. But it’s all part of what got me to where I am today. Not having a clue, bumbling through, excitedly posting things at all hours of the day and night because I was just so damn enthusiastic about weddings!

While condensing everything I’ve discovered about blogging into one article would be impossible, here are five little lessons that I hope will inspire aspiring bloggers.

1. You have to be yourself

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. That overly quoted line by Oscar Wilde is a cliché for a reason. As with everything in life, you have to be yourself when it comes to blogging. Forget about trying to be the next whoever, be loud and proud and focus on being you!

People will love you for it. OK so some people might not, but screw them! Trying to be something you’re not is bloody exhausting, it’s much more fun to be unashamedly weird. Plus, the people who think like you do will powerfully connect with your blog because it speaks to them specifically. It’s much easier to write about things you genuinely like, and for people that feel the same way you do. Never try to be all things to all people, its a recipe for disaster.

2. Focus on your readers

Last week I was named Best Alternative Wedding Blog at the Wedding Blog Awards in London. In my unrehearsed, champagne-fuelled speech, I thanked the industry for embracing me, but most of all I wanted to have a massive gush about my readers. “Without them”, I said, “I’d be working in McDonalds”.

Without readers you don’t have a blog at all, so they should be your top priority. When you start to write something, always ask yourself if your readers will get something out of it. Is it helpful or entertaining (preferably both), or is it just something that’s promoting you?

If your content helps people they won’t be able to stop themselves coming back for more.

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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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