Six Years of Sassying!

Six years of Sassying - Phew!   How the time has flown and oh my goodness, how much I have learned! They say the best personal development happens when you run your own business and I'd have to agree. It's a roller-coaster of highs and lows, challenges and moments of absolute joy.  You get it right? The sleepless nights, early mornings, overwhelm, exhilaration, endurance, exhaustion, passion... the list goes on. What drives us to keep going? What inspires us entrepreneurs to get back up every time we fall?  It all started for me about six years ago when I applied for (yet another) job and got it. So I delightfully resigned from the job I had and then about a week later I found out that the new job wasn't going ahead. Oh bugger! Here was a cross-roads and a decision to make and I was terrified and excited all at once. I recognised it as a big kick up the butt to start this business because the idea of it had been floating around me for so long and it wouldn't be ignored any longer. Intuition, gut feeling... whatever you want to call it, I knew it was time. So I took a breath, shut my eyes and jumped... So on the 1st of April 2010 Sassy Branding was born. It is honestly the best thing I've ever done, you see I have a free spirit and being in business has given me the ability to do it my way. I came into the business world at the perfect time because for me it's about energy and connection and relationships. I love the flow of business and that business people are embracing the concepts of integrity, honesty and passion. Marketing is more organic, social media (bless it!!) has changed the way we relate and communicate and it's been the best thing for small business and networking. We're learning and growing all the time. So what is it that inspires us? My business fuels my flame. I can't find one word that sums it all up, it feels like a burning or a desire to make a difference, to be seen and heard and help others do the same. I think I just love connecting with people, finding out people's stories and what drives them and being part of that. Whatever it is, I thank you for being part of my Sassy Branding story so far. Blissings, Jeanne x  

Rinse and Repeat

Communicate your message consistently to connect with your clients authentically and create a thriving business naturally.
I was giving a talk the other night at a Business Brainstorming Meetup and the topic of marketing came up, as it always does. Marketing is intrinsically connected to graphic design and branding and it was interesting to note that most of the business owners in the room were overwhelmed with marketing their business. When we start our own businesses we do it because we're skilled at something and we want to share our skill to help others. What most of us don't realise is just how much time it takes to market and promote, whether that's through networking, advertising, social media, emails or website, it all takes up a tonne of time!  Trends are dictating that visual branding is more and more important, especially online, because everything we send out, post or print is first seen visually, and it's that first impression of your business that's so important. Communicate-your-message-sassybranding.com Social Media, although overwhelming and confusing at times, is a wonderful way to promote and market your business. Firstly it's free (unless you choose paid advertising) and the potential reach is huge. My best piece of advice to you is to be consistent in your graphics and stick closely to your branding. As tempting as it can be to change colours and update logos, it's advisable not to because it causes confusion and people won't remember you if you keep changing the way you look. It's about building trust, being reliable and professional. My role is to guide you and create the graphics that represent your business, but most importantly it's to make sure that everything you post or print is visually consistent and carries the same brand/colour/theme/look throughout. That's how you create a recognisable brand. Consistency is crucial. If you'd like to discuss your branding further or want some help with your graphics, contact me here and let's organise a time!

Three Bs for a Beautiful Brand

Letter BMy sister's a graphic designer, just like me. In fact she inspired me most to start my own small business, she's a wonderful mentor, younger than me, but so much wiser!

Last week she put a post on facebook about a new client who had come to her for a quote for a website - that's fairly normal in our profession - but when she delved deeper (well, not that deep really) it became apparent that this client didn't have a business yet, nor a business name, she didn't have products or clients and wasn't sure what a blog was. She just had an idea. Needless to say this makes a designer's job very difficult. So my sister stated that before a client comes to her for a quote, they need to have the three B's (at least). I agree. Here they are:

A Business - one can't sell or serve without an actual business. This means having a business name, trade marking that name or logo, registering the name, and buying a domain. I didn't say it was quick and easy, but having these things in place before you go getting websites and business cards is important. This is the foundation stuff. There's a lot more to it on an emotional level too, but I'll save that for another day.

A Brief - we designers like to know as much as possible about your business. Not only do we make things look pretty, we also need to know things like who your target market is; including their gender, age and profession, what your product or service is, how you plan to reach your market, what makes you different to everyone else doing a similar thing. A design brief should contain all of that information as well as things like the colours you want to use and why, the style of your business (corporate, spiritual, alternative, healthy etc) and the moods you want to convey through your branding. I know!! We're nosy people us designers, but in the end you'll get a design that's created specifically for your business, not some random generic logo you got online for five bucks that Bob over the road could use.

A Budget - You need to know how much money you can commit to your design project because us designers can generally tailor a package to suit or offer payment plans. Lots of people shy away from talking about money but it's important to get that sorted from the start. Then there are no nasty surprises and everyone's happy. I generally give a fixed price quote because that's what I prefer myself. Hourly rates are too varied and it can blow out really fast, so a fixed price is much better for you - often not so good for me, as design work is incredibly time consuming and can go on and on - but them's the breaks.

So, if you're thinking about a website or a logo, answer the above questions first and you'll be off with a flying start. I'm more than happy to have a chat if you want to know more and would love your comments below.

A Taste of Thailand

PatongI’m in Thailand! Yes, another bucket list ‘to do’ has been achieved, and all in a very short time. It’s amazing what you can do in a week, thanks to my wonderful travel agent. So, here I am with hubby, staying in a very nice resort on the western beaches of Phuket. It’s just lovely and such a treat to have a break from work and our daily routine. How blessed we are!

Our main reason for being here is dental work. Hubby needed some major work done and talking with friends lead us to choose Thailand for the dental work, and it really is brilliant, not to mention so much cheaper than at home in Australia. I thought I’d just come along for the trip, I didn’t think I would need any major dental work, just a check up and a clean, but it turns out I need a crown and root canal. Not fun, but we’ll make the most of it while we’re here!

So on our many visits to the dentist we’ve been constantly invited/begged/cajoled to buy from every vendor we pass in the street, and there are so many (as those who’ve been here would know), not to mention the taxi drivers and masseuse girls. I’ve noticed with interest how I react to the different personalities when they’re selling their wares. I don’t like the ones that crowd me, or feel threatening or get loud. I shy away from the pushy massage girls that step in front of us, or the tuk-tuk drivers that want our fare, and the guy that sells DVDs and holds pictures of recent movies in your face so you can’t pass easily.

And it got me thinking about my approach to people as a business, because if you’re like me, I prefer to market my business organically, by word of mouth and through social media, where people have a chance to get to know you a little before deciding to use your services. It’s about trust and connection, not standing at the front of your shop pouncing on every poor soul that wanders past. As a result, I’ve caught myself standing back and watching the taxi drivers, before choosing the quieter more respectful one to drive us back to our resort. I choose the shops I like by observing the owner, if they stand back and give me space, I’ll happily go in. If they stand at the front and hassle me, I walk away. It’s always good to walk in your customer’s shoes for a while. What do you think? How do you like to be treated as a customer?

We’ll be back in Australia in a few days, and boy oh boy, am I looking forward to the cooler weather! Oh, and my biz partner Krishna and I are running our Magnetise Your Brand workshop on the 23rd May, so if you'd like to learn how to market and brand your business in a nice way, without having to yell about it, come along!

'La-Korn' or 'Goodbye' in Aussie

Jeanne x

How to make your website work for you

Write it
Make sure your web text is well written. Writing for the web is a lot different to writing for advertisements or articles. Your text needs to be compelling and engaging to keep your reader reading. It's also a great idea to offer benefits, reminding your reader of the benefits of your services or products, keep it short, sharp and interesting. There's nothing worse that meaningless waffle.

Build it
Once you've got people going to your website, you want to keep them there. Use your website to capture your reader's details. By offering a free e-book or a regular newsletter, a webinar or any number of other freebies, your reader can sign up and then go on to your database. You can now build a list of interested readers who value what you offer and could be potential clients. Treat them like family.

Promote it
Market your site in all possible places. Google loves a website that has lots of visitors. There are a multitude of ways to market and promote your site. Add your web address to your social media sites, put it on your business cards and brochures, write comments on other people's blogs and offer testimonials. Can you think of any others?

Blog it
Blog blog blog! The benefits of blogging are huge. Not only do you keep your web content fresh and new - Google loves fresh content - you can send your blog to your database and connect with those who've subscribed to your site. Blogging helps to promote your business and gives you expert status. Don't know what to blog about? Ask yourself "what are the main problems my clients have?", then blog the answer! Connect your blog with facebook and twitter so it reaches even further.

Maintain it
Commit to spending some time on your website every week. It's as important as doing your bookwork! Keep content fresh, blog regularly and send out newsletters. Adding video and audio is great too. If you've invested your hard-earned cash in your website, you need to make sure it keeps working for you.

Do you have any other tips to offer? Comment below and don't forget to leave your web address 🙂 Have a happy day!
Jeanne


What if facebook disappeared tonight?

I was wondering today, where would we be without Facebook? I don't know about you, but I think I've become quite dependent on it. One of the main reasons I use facebook is to find out about events in my local area. Gone are the days when you waited for an invitation in the mail or had to buy the paper to see what was on. I also keep in touch with friends, family and clients via facebook and it's an excellent referral tool for my business.

So, where would we be without facebook? If you're in business, are you entirely dependent on facebook for connecting with your clients, posting events and marketing your business? If so, and facebook disappeared overnight, what would you do? How would you contact your clients and potential market? Do you have a database of everyone's details so that you can contact them outside of facebook? If not, it might be time to get one together hey?

None of us own facebook, so we really have no control over it or the content we place within it. It could quite easily vanish and there's nothing we can do about it! Scary eh? The smart thing to do is make sure you have other avenues where you can build and develop your online business presence,  for example; a website, a blog, and other social media accounts like Linkedin and Twitter.

So, what would you do if facebook disappeared? How would you feel? I'd  love to know.

Blog Challenge Day # 22 – Promote your business with a free QR Code

QR CodeHave you got yours yet?

This is a QR Code and it’s the new way to promote your website or to share your contact details and promotions.

It’s scanned by an app on your mobile phone and instantly shows your website address and contact details - you can choose which when you register. QR Codes are appearing on billboards, buses, business cards and all sorts of signage and advertisements – even t-shirts!

I've made a little video so you can see how it works...


Go to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ to get yours. It's free!!

Blog Challenge Day # 6 – Marketing with honesty

Facebook Icon6 January 2011

Have you heard the hype about social media of late? Seems it’s the new way to market your business, build relationships and create an online presence. Not to mention keeping in touch with long lost friends, finding relatives who might, one day, leave you their millions and spying on your children.

Last month I took myself off to a facebook workshop – who would’ve thought we’d be educating ourselves to communicate via typing as fast as possible over long distances and mostly to people we’ve never actually met in person! I know, I sound like my grandmother, but really, who would’ve thought?

Anyway, you can ‘poo poo’ facebook and twitter and all the other social media sites as much as you like, but in reality it really is the best way to advertise and connect. Seriously! I love it, I really do! I can’t wait to learn more and then I can help my own clients with their FB profiles.

Since I’ve ventured into facebook and twitter my business profile has been exposed to a lot of people and new clients have found me, some I’ve never met in person. It works, and the part I love most is being able to recommend other people’s businesses. Here’s an example: I designed a flyer for a lady who was referred to me by my brother after I’d done some pro bono work for his fundraising venture, anyway, I posted on FB that I’d designed the flyer for my new client and added a link to her website recommending her beautiful gift hampers. A FB friend of mine saw my comment, followed the link to the gift hampers website and bought a hamper! She was delighted with the service, price and quality and then commented a few days later on FB about how happy she was. That sort of exposure is priceless! And you know what? It’s all based on trust; my friend trusted my recommendation and bought the hamper because she knew me.

Paying it forward is the most important part. Another example: A friend of mine (who I’d never met in person at that point) started up a facebook page that promoted local businesses. She wrote a post about my business, from that I got a phone call resulting in a new client who I’ve since done a lot of work with. It didn’t cost me a cent!

That’s why it’s important to be trust worthy, reliable and authentic. So, if you’re not already tweeting on twitter and posting on facebook, get to it and do it! Be consistent, honest, friendly and professional. Show off a little so people can see what you do, it’s OK to brag - I did just the other day and have had two calls already from people who want facebook Welcome pages designed!

It’s worth it, really. Do it with pride and remember to pay it forward and if you’re going to spy on your kids, don’t write on their wall. Here's a little video with stats - well worth the 3 minutes it takes to watch. Have a happy day!


See you there! www.facebook.com/WitchWords

Showing Face

Here's a sample of the stuff that goes on in my head on a daily basis. Cracked myself up with this one, so thought I'd share the giggles. Enjoy!

Sue: Hello, nice to meet you, I’m Sue

Jenny: Yes, I know

Sue: Have we met before?

Jenny: Yes, we’re friends

Sue: Oh, I’m usually really good with faces but I don’t remember you

Jenny:  We’ve been friends since last December. I know all about you, your son just graduated, you had dinner with some girls last week, your favourite colour is red... we’re good friends.

Sue: How do you know all that when I know nothing about you?

Jenny: Don’t you get my updates?

Sue: Not that I know of

Jenny: So did you like me?

Sue: I don’t even know you, how can I like you?

Jenny: Easy, you just choose to like me. I liked you.

Sue: When did you like me? And why don’t you still like me?

Jenny: I do, I still like you. Did you like me?

Sue: Um, I don’t know if I like you, how can I know that when I don’t know you?

Jenny: But we’re friends

Sue: No we’re not

Jenny: Yes we are

Sue: I don’t understand

Jenny: That’s OK, I still like you


If Jenny had put her face on her Facebook profile instead of that cute photo of her dog, Sue would’ve known who she was!

Jeanne's Tip: If you want to make friends and be liked, show your face! Hope that put a smile on your dial!

Have a happy day and subscribe now to receive your free e-book, news and updates

Jeanne