Getting Down to Business

Women CAN Be Successful Business Owners…

Women can be successful business owners.

This is probably an obvious statement in some ways, but one that I’ve been thinking about a LOT this past week. While we can be successful, I don’t think we often believe in ourselves. We set a lot of limits for ourselves, often unintentionally, having a hard time believing we can’t rise to the top.

Fear stands in our way.

If you think about it, women have really only started to rise in the ranks of business over the past 100 years. Before that, it was predominantly a man’s world. I think that to some extent, that is why we don’t always believe in ourselves.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been checking out the Rich, Hot & Happy B-School. Ok, I’ll admit it, I think the name is a bit cheesy. But what Marie and Laura are teaching is FABULOUS! I’ve already gotten some really great ideas from the free videos they put out there. So after a few days of consideration, I decided within the final hour last week to sign up for RHH B-School myself. I can’t wait for it to start in a few weeks!

They have decided that they wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to sign up, so they opened it back up for ONE DAY ONLY. You can register until midnight tonight, Pacific time. Personally, I think you should definitely check out the videos to see if you’re interested! (And it isn’t women only – men can sign up too!) Check it out!

Want to know more about who is behind this? Marie Forleo is a best-selling author, speaker, online-entrepreneur, Nike Athlete and Master Trainer, fitness personality, and dancer/choreographer, Marie has defied conventional wisdom and achieved phenomenal success across multiple industries. She recently worked with Tony Robbins for his DVD training program, The New Money Masters. Yes, THE Tony Robbins! Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who teaches small businesses how to create their own fame and claim their brand online. She is the creator of the Creating Fame Classroom and Your Backstage Pass to Twitter.

Basically, these women know their stuff!

So often I think wedding photographers and other wedding vendors get so focused on what their competition is doing, they forget to learn outside of the industry. I think that is a really important thing to do — as I witnessed first hand at Entrepreneur Camp Houston this past weekend. Stretch yourself and grow!

Check out Rich, Hot & Happy B-School, and maybe I’ll see you in class there? Don’t forget though – you only have through tonight to sign up!

Getting Down to Business

Less Accounting and Getting Straight with my Money…

Confession: I hate bookkeeping. I’m sure I’m not the only photographer that feels this way. I’ve been keeping track of this credit union stuff relating to taxes & sales tax, and loosely using my own brain to track everything since 2009 along with ShootQ, but I haven’t really BONDED with my business finances, if you know what I mean. My books were sort of a mess so I started to get assistance from a this taxes for freelancers agent.

Financial knows that today’s consumers want to access financial products at their convenience. Visit for more info. That’s why we rejected the very credit for an Internet-only structure. Enjoying all the security any bank creates, the poor credit loans unsecured are driving people crazy,a nd I seriously think that I need the Mobile Security Patrol every time I got to ATM.

Matter of fact, I have had a really bad tendency to think to myself, “Hey, look at that! I’ve got $1000 right now – I can go buy (insert non-essential item here) right now! I’m rich!” only to discover a week later that uh, no, I wasn’t rich, and now I’ve got 3 different things to pay and no money left to do it with, it was time to start doing something with our money, a new strategy which involved using free invoice tools.

This is NOT a good way to run a business. So over the past few weeks, and thanks to guidance by the wonderful Christyna Lewis of BEE Ventures, I’ve been getting over this head-in-sand syndrome and really getting intimate with my money.

It was hard at first, but now I feel SO much better! It is powerful to be in charge of your financial situation! I’ll share more about what I’ve been doing, but to start with, if you don’t have an accounting system in place to really track everything you have going in and out of your business. I’ll share more of what I’m doing with it over the next few weeks so you can get real with your money too! I’m also trying to get advice from a reputable investment company so I know all my options for the future.

(Don’t own a business? Get hooked up with Mint – great for personal finances! Plus it is FREE!)

Getting Down to Business

Read Your Site – What Does it Say About You?

I was looking at the site of an event planner today, someone who had contacted me about working together on weddings. On their site was an “About Us” page. Yay! I could read and learn a bit about her.

Or not. Other than the opening sentence, which was launched with a typo as well, it only included their names and nothing more. That isn’t “About Us” – that is “About our company”.

In the Internet age, people want to know about YOU. And what is really amazing is that while 10 years ago, I used to point out to clients that the awesome thing about the web was that you could make your business seem as large as you wanted, now people want to connect with the people they are working with. All around, you can see huge corporations wanting to act as if they are small mom & pop shops. They want to be personable. They want you to connect with them. To embrace their brand as your own. They want you to be loyal to them and only them.

So go look at your about page. Does it tell your reader about you? Really about you? Is it full of a lot of “we” puff up text where you try to make your business sound like there are many employees when it is really just you? Big brands are envious of the advantage you’ve got. Stop trying to be something that you’re not. Be yourself. Be real. People want to work with people they like – and that “About Us” page? It is the door to them liking you. Give people that chance.

Getting Down to Business

I’m Here, Where are You? (The importance of the Title tag on your site.)

I see it almost every day while reviewing sites & content for Wholly Matrimony. Photographers and other wedding vendors that make it so that you have to dig through their site to figure out where on earth they are located.

I’ve said this before, but stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW and go look at the Title on your website. This is the thing that displays at the top of your browser window. Does it say “Happy Sunshine Photographer” and nothing more? Or better yet “Index” or “Home”?

Yeah. Change that. Go on in there and change it to say something helpful. “Happy Sunshine Wedding Photographer, Orange County, California” Make it easy for someone to figure out where you are at. Trust me, if they can’t find it fast enough they will move on. The Internet is vast & wide.

This is especially important if you have a Flash site without a splash page. Google and the other search engines can’t read your site. So you need to at least tell them where you are.

You get BONUS POINTS for including your city & state somewhere on the site as well – ideally, the footer of every page and on your contact & about page. Even better if you include your phone number too. Who doesn’t want BONUS POINTS???

“But Christine! I want to do destination weddings! I’ll travel anywhere!”

Ok. But your site right now doesn’t even tell people you shoot weddings. Or where you are coming from. So you’re competing with every other photographer that thinks location doesn’t matter. You just threw yourself into a much larger pool. Full of sharks. Get out & save yourself. Even if the visitor to your site lives in another country, they still want to know where you are coming from.

So what does your Title say about you?

Getting Down to Business

Are You Really Breathing?

I was just reading one of the most recent posts on The Art of Non-Conformity, where Chris Guillebeau shares a super insightful quote. It made me stop and think.

“Listen—are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
—Mary Oliver

I don’t know about you, but so often I spend my days rushing from one task to the next to the point that I don’t take time to have a life. Earlier this week I decided I had to get more firm on the “no computer after 9pm” rule, and make myself knit at least an hour a day at a minimum. Sometimes, when you are the boss of you, it is just far too easy to forget that there is anything to your life other than your work. You’re so driven by your passion, the joy that made you launch your own business in the first place, and you were so high on the freedom of life and the fact that you’re the boss and you can dictate exactly what you do … that you forget to actually go and DO things.

My other quote of the day is this:

“The purpose of your life is not to serve your business – but the purpose of your business is to serve your life.”
—Michael Gerber

Hmm… I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

If you could do anything in the world today – any thing at all – what would it be? For all of us that are running our own businesses, didn’t we get into this so we could have the freedom to do exactly that? So, what is holding you back? When are you going to start making those plans? What are you missing out on today that you’ll truly regret tomorrow? What should you be doing today to make sure that you’re actually living the life you deserve?

Are you really breathing? Why not? What can you do to make that change and truly LIVE your life and let your business serve you? I look forward to hearing about what you think in the comments!