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Branding Strategies to Ignite Your Marketing

Lesson 7 of 7

Honeybook Panel


Branding Strategies to Ignite Your Marketing

Lesson 7 of 7

Honeybook Panel


Lesson Info

Honeybook Panel

Welcome, I'm Natalie Franke. I am the co-founder of the Rising Tide Society and head of community here at HoneyBook, and I'm so excited and so honored to be sitting here today with three extraordinary women and moderating a panel where we're gonna be talking about all things entrepreneurship. So as we get started, I want to take a moment and allow each of these amazingly accomplished business owners to share a little bit more about themselves. So we'll start with you, Christina. Thanks, Natalie. Hi, everybody, I'm Christina Scalera. I am an attorney, and I am the only founder of The Contract Shop where we provide contract templates to HoneyBook and other entrepreneurs in different various creative disciplines. Hey there, my name is Ashlyn Carter. I'm a calligrapher and copywriter at Ashlyn Writes where I help creative small business owners sell more with their words. Hello, my name is Dominique Broadway. I'm an award-winning financial planner, personal finance expert, and the fou...

nder of Finances Demystified, and I'm so excited to be here today to talk about all things money! I love it! Well, let's start with something that I think all of our entrepreneurs listening need to know as they continue forward in their business, and that is a simple question. What do you wish you knew when you started your business? So let's actually start here with Dominique, and then if all three of you guys are willing to share a little bit, well, we'll go from there! Yeah, so there's a lot I wish I had known, honestly. I think one of the biggest things or one of my biggest immediate failures in my business was not charging enough. And I had, you know, people say you follow your passion, and the money will come. It's true, but you still have to have structure in place. You still have to make sure that you're charging enough to support the business, yourself, the expenses, and to be able to grow, and so I wish I had, I also started my company in a week, but that's another story, but (laughs) I wish I had took more time to put the financials in place, honestly. And that's another reason I talk so much about that, but figuring out exactly how much to cost, what's the realistic time it's gonna take to service each client and things that need you. So that's something that I feel like I went wrong and just an immediate thing I wish I had put more time and energy into. Amazing. It's funny how you're talking about something that you now teach on. I know. (laughs) I think my thing would be, I remember hearing like niche down, like go lower, and I just remember in that stage of starting your business, you know, where you like listen all the podcasts on the way to your regular job, and you're like, I think I can do this. And I just remember hearing all the time, niche down, niche down, and I just thought, I was like, there's no way, like why would I say no to work? Like, I thought that was the dumbest thing. And then, it was actually you, we were out to lunch in Atlanta one time, and I remember you just continued to kinda harp on me, like, "Ashlyn, what if you just, "you seem to really like launch copywriting. "What if you just focus on this?" And I will say the more that I niche down, the thing that I wish I knew was like truly, at least for what I've seen, the riches are in the niches, and like if you can drill, it's so scary to say no to things, I know it is, but like by doing that, I was really able to kinda like set a name for myself. And yeah, so that's what I wish I knew. Mm, that's good. Mine's definitely a combination of both y'all. I had such a lack of focus, and it was so difficult because, one, you didn't know where that focus was gonna come from or what the right thing to focus on was, but what really changed things for me and where I started to turn my business around from just kind of like, hey, I'm here to like I am here was when I started to focus on one thing, and it wasn't the right thing, I didn't get it right the first time, but just focusing on the one thing helped to give me the skills that I needed to apply to the next thing that I tried and then the next thing, and then each of those things got progressively closer to the right thing. Amen. All three of you mentioned in one way or another failure. You touched on it a little bit, right? Either fear or fear leading you down this path where you're afraid of ultimately failing. So I'm curious, and this is open to anybody, but what role do you think failure plays in success as an entrepreneur? Does it have a role, is it something to be afraid of or embraced? I'd love you guys to share. I think for me, like my favorite quote, and I don't know who came up with it, I kinda say I did now 'cause I think I did, (laughs) but it's don't fear failure, fear regret. So I'm actually driven a lot more by waking up one day and regretting not taking that step. So I understand, in the beginning, I was scared of failure, but I was more scared of not trying, right? And so it's like, okay, I'm gonna wake up at and be like, oh, I wish I had started this thing or I wish I had traveled here, I wish I had. So that actually is what drove me, but failure now is, it's like a really good book from college, it's like the best lessons that I've learned, becoming a woman, becoming a entrepreneur, those things. And so now I look back like, oh, so this failure equaled these lessons, and that's where failure has taken me now, so failure's actually been what I like to call just a really good inexpensive textbook. You got anything? My failure was much more expensive. (all laughing) Mine wasn't cheap, either, but you know what I mean. Yeah, for sure, no, it's funny. Everybody's like, when was the last time you were here in San Francisco? And I was like, well, I don't know, four or five, three, I don't know how many years ago for a yoga teacher training because that's what I was gonna do, I was gonna take a 180 from legal. And if I hadn't done that, it wouldn't have opened up the possibility to connect with people in RTS which led to literally all of this. Right. So it's really interesting because just failing and failing and failing and having every door slam in my face was eventually what led me to the community that I'm super proud and honored to be a part of and just has opened up all the doors for the right thing. And I think that's the difference is like where the doors were shutting in my face before, everything feels effort, not like it's easy, but it's effortless, things are happening, and it's almost like they're meant to happen, whereas with the yoga blogging train I was on, it was like everybody said no, you know, like across the board. Yeah, I feel like us talking about failure can be encouraging 'cause I just remember like hearing when I was starting my business, hearing other entrepreneurs talk about failure, and you kinda have to get in a mindset like it's gonna happen, it's just a matter of when, and it's gonna happen a lot more, and just, I have to tell myself, reframe the way it looks, like it's either, great, that worked well, we can do it again, or like, well, it didn't work, it needs tweaking, it's not, it's just a mindset approach. Done's better than perfect, like you said, you got it out there, if you, there's some quote like if you thought about it, like it was too perfect then you shipped it out too late. Like, go ahead and get it out and play with it and just, you'll bounce back, it'll be fine, but that mindset shift has helped a lot 'cause you'll have failures monthly. Yeah. Sooner than that, probably. Fantastic, I love all of those answers and so much can be taken from all of them. I want us to dive in a little bit specifically for each of you because it's not every day you get three extraordinary women who have expertises in very specific fields on one couch to talk about business, so let's start with you, Dominique. I have a question here from PJ Dunne, so these questions I should say, sourced from the community. There was a lot of interest in just getting some time with you guys. So how do I ever scale my prices and get people to pay them when there are so many people offering to do things cheaper? So good. So that's, yeah, that's a really good question. So I think when it comes, I think, when you think about pricing, there are also confidence, right? And so I think it comes down to confidently selling whatever you're selling, right? So I think what it comes down to is the value that you're providing, right? So yes, there could be one person selling, example, you can go to McDonald's, and we love McDonald's, and get a burger, or you can go to Shake Shack, right? And it's gonna be more expensive if you go to Shake Shack. You're probably gonna have to wait in line a little bit longer, but you're gonna pay more because you like the value, you like the ingredients better, and the overall experience is better, right? And so I think that when you're looking into scaling and you're looking into, and you're like, wow, so and so is charging less, but I'm charging more, remember the value that you're gonna add for your clients, and that is, that should be what you should be portraying when you're selling but also selling with confidence, right? So I think we've all seen people say, yeah, you can, so I'm selling this thing, and if you wanna pay five, yeah, I'll take five, but you know, whatever you wanna give me is fine, right? Versus I say, you know, Natalie, this is $20. It's gonna do X, Y, and Z for you. It's gonna make your whole problem go away. You're gonna buy, you're like, what? You're about to solve all my issues? Give it to me for $20! And so I think that that's where people mess up sometime with pricing, so remember that you're, just make sure you're able to say exactly what value you're providing, how you're gonna solve their problem, and sell with confidence. I love that, I absolutely love that. We have a question from Kate for Christina as well, keepin' it moving. Do I need to retain a lawyer to review my contracts, or will I be okay using a generic one that I've either purchased, or for example, HoneyBook has contracts embedded in the system. So should a creative also, or an entrepreneur also have a lawyer take a look? It depends, because for me, contracts are about the relationship between the two parties. Usually that's two people, but sometimes it can be a company on one side and a company on the other or an individual and company. So for me, it's all about defining what the relationship is and the expectations and boundaries that are present within that relationship. So for example, if you are a wedding photographer and you require certain things on the wedding day in order to create a great experience for your client, those should be in the contract, you should talk about that, not just in the contract but in your consultation, maybe you have a client magazine that accompanies the contract. Anywhere that you can help to define that boundary and that expectation is going to lead to a better result for that client. When the client has a better result, then they are more likely to refer you, your business grows. And so, you know, as far as practically speaking, should you have an attorney review your agreement, I mean, that's a great idea if you can afford it, but the reality is that most people can't. And so that's why we collaborated. I'm an attorney, I wrote the agreement that is now in HoneyBook, included free as part of your membership, there's no extra upsell or anything. So I love that that's there as a resource and a tool for people to lean on because if you're getting started and you don't have anything else to lean on, you don't have the funds for an attorney who can cost 250, 350, 450 an hour, it's really essential for you to at least define that relationship and have a solid boundary or container or whatever you wanna call it around it so that you guys can have a great, just have a really great experience at the end of the day. So do you need an attorney to review your contracts? That's like the gold standard, but no, I don't believe that's what you have to have. I think you know your business better than anybody else, and so for you to look at your contract and incorporate the things that are important to you that you know is gonna be a big part of your client experience, then that's what's more important for me as somebody who regularly looks at and drafts contracts than to have some attorney who has no familiarity with your business, who has no idea what, you know, a floral designer even is. So I think, yeah, it's the gold standard, but it's not necessarily going to be helpful if you're excited about your business and you understand what you want the result to be out of the relationship. That's excellent. Ashlyn, we have a question from Caroline. So Caroline asks, is it really that bad to try and wear the branding or marketing hat just as I get started setting up my business? I'd love to outsource and hire somebody down the road, but up front the cost seems so daunting as a brand-new business owner. When is the right time to hire an expert? Okay, not only do I think is it really not that bad, I think you need to do it. (all laughing) I think you have to wear the hats at first because I, at least, like we have people come to my team and I wanting to out, it's like when they find out there's somebody who can write their website and their content for them, they're like, take it off my plate, I hate this. But the problem is, I don't want people to outsource their words if they're outsourcing the psychology of sales. And a lot of times, entrepreneurs inadvertently are outsourcing the psychology of their sales. They don't know how to explain it. I kinda talked about it in my talk, but why they do, you talked about it as well. And I think to your point about talking about finances, you can charge your worth, like don't worry about being the best, be the only, like how can you position yourself in a way, and those are all things that you need to figure out before you pay somebody because you, even if they figure it out for you, I don't think you're gonna understand it as well. This is, I just think it's so important, like your first website, write that. You know, even investing in logos and website, use templates, there are great templates out there. Use those to get started, and I also say that because there is, I think we all actually have pivoted in our businesses, and I'm so glad I didn't spend thousands and thousands of dollars at the beginning because my goodness, it's like you-- (all laughing) Okay, Christina has. All the time. As an example, I guess. Yeah. You probably did spend, and I just think that-- Yeah. On my first blog because I had no idea that templates even existed. Yeah. So I scrimped and saved to buy a logo and a website from a very, very famous designer at this point, but oh gosh, it was not worth it, yeah. Yeah. Like, hit your stride, get in your, get in the saddle where you know your clientele, you know your target audience, you know your message, and then you can start investing, I think. But stick with it for a while and then begin to invest. Can I add to-- Yeah. I mean, I think that's a great point, and I think that's what, like a lot of people go wrong sometimes when they're starting their business, they're like, I need to empty out my 401k and just throw it all in the business. (Christina laughs) And like you said, nine times, I mean, I've always been in the same line of work. Yeah. I didn't switch from finance to selling shoes or anything, but I've always, you know, I have pivoted. My services have changed, I have a new website launching in two weeks that I'm super excited about which looks nothing like the original site. But also I think when it comes to finances and branding, using your resources. So when I started my company, I wanted to be completely involved because I wanted it to be me, Dominique Broadway, making finance fun! I couldn't do it like any other company that was out there. I had to do it my way, so I wanted the colors to match my favorite colors which was turquoise, so my branding was turquoise, and I wanted to have events that centered around talking about money and brunch and happy hour because that's what me and my friends did. And so that would have been really hard for me to portray, really, to another company. They wouldn't have really got it, and so I went to, I called friends, like who can do this? And I had a friend help me create it. And really, I ended up bartering, honestly. Like, he needed financial help, I needed to do some branding, and he knew me and knew my personality, and it helped. And so I had no startup costs there. So I think sometimes, look at your resources. Yes! And see who's around and who knows you who can help put your personality into your brand before dropping too much money and then changing your mind six months later that you wanted to switch and do something else. Yeah, I think trade is such a good thing when you find, like you're with some people in the same, I remember finding so many in the Rising Tide community in Atlanta, we were kind of on the same page and the same stage of business, like baby businesses, but being able to trade with one another and help each other was really such a gift. Amazing answers! I love that. (all laughing) I've made some of those mistakes myself early on, so I'm nodding in the corner here as you guys were talking. Oh, all too well. These questions are so great. Dominique, I've got another one for you. So as a new business owner focused on expanding and growing, this is from Tamara Manahan. Okay. As a new business owner focused on expanding and growing, I have yet to pay myself. Should reinvesting in my business for growth come before paying myself? So (chuckles) the paying yourself question is always, it's a hard one, right, and it can vary. When I started my business, I didn't have a option to not pay myself, so sometimes when I hear people say, when do I pay myself? I'm like, how are you not paying yourself? Because I've always taken care of myself, and so I didn't, you know, I had to depend on myself. So I was paying myself everything that I was making, I was pretty much paying myself, and then reinvesting when I could. If you're in a situation and you don't have to pay yourself, I would say weigh out the options. So if you are not paying yourself and you say, okay, I have this extra $2,000 that I've made that was complete profit, can I take this $2, and turn it into more money? Example, putting it into ads which will be scalable or putting into getting a vending booth at a wedding conference or something like that. If you feel like that's not something that you can do right now, you're like, hey, I really need to pay this bill, then pay yourself! Don't beat yourself up, because we didn't start these businesses to not make money, right? Even non-profits make money. So I would say kinda weigh out the pros and the cons, but if you're in a situation where, like I said, you don't necessarily have to pay yourself, look and see how you can make more money. But if you do have to pay yourself, pay yourself! Like, you're making this money, it's okay, but don't put your business into a hole where you're paying yourself and you're not able to invest back in it, if that's a good answer. But I really like the Profit First. I think it's a great book which really helps entrepreneurs give you specific breakdowns of how you can start to pay yourself. But like I said, if you're a entrepreneur like myself, like there was nobody else paying the bills so I had to pay myself, and I didn't really a option. So hopefully that kinda answers her question. Excellent. So as somebody who's worked with you, actually breaking it down from like a very clear spot and not a panicked, oh my gosh, I need to pay these bills spot, working and creating that, I don't wanna, can we call it a budget? Yeah, yeah. Is that a bad word? (laughs) But you know, creating that ahead of time and saying this is what we're going to allot to this, to this, to this, and like here's the overflow where we can kind of fill in the gaps as need be, that was super helpful. Yeah, thank you. So I think you talked about that during your talk as well. Yeah, yeah, and I think that's, and I always talk about the budget. People hate the word budget, and a budget, it's not like, people are like, oh, no, I hate budgeting, it's not fun. Yeah, okay, budgeting's not the sexiest thing in the world, but all it is is telling your money where you want it to go, and I think like that's what we did with Christina, okay, this needs to go here, this needs to go there, this needs to go here, and then you have this. We're just allocating, so it's like you tell your money where you want it to go so you're not like, oh, no, where'd my money go? 'Cause that's what most people are like, oh, my God, my money is just going away, it's floating. Like, it's really not, like, you're spending it, that's where it is. But you know, we need to get better control of it so we can tell each dollar where to go. That's all you need to do. My financial coach and helper calls it a spending plan. Yeah, yeah! The budget. And so that makes me feel a little better. Yeah, don't say budget, it's a bad word. A spending plan! Just tell your money where you want it to go. You control the money, don't let the money control you, you know? And worst case, just rebrand the word budget into spending plan! (panelists laughing) And then we're ready to go! Excellent, excellent answers. Christina, here we go. So I have a question here from Alison Jefferies from Maryland, Alison I know you! (panelist laugh) Is there any legal recourse you can take if you discover that someone has copied your work if you don't have a copyright? So I wanna almost expand this as well. I know she's a designer, product maker, but let's talk about that. What can you do if someone copies you, and is there a way to protect yourself? Yeah, absolutely. So the thing about copyrights is that they're fixed as soon as you create something. So as a photographer, as soon as you take that snap, even before you hand it off to the client, there's a copyright that's created in that image. Now, whether in your contract that belongs to the client immediately or you is a different story, but copyrights are really interesting because you don't have to register them. They're one of the really unique forms of intellectual property in the U.S. and Canada and related jurisdictions, where most of our watchers probably are, and with a registration, you are afforded a lot more flexibility when it comes to collecting money. (laughs) So the clients that I've had where we have registrations on, usually it's photos that have been screen-shotted and stolen, we get a lot of money when that happens and someone has taken a screenshot of their photo and used it on a different website or something. So even the ones that haven't registered their copyrights, it's still possible to collect money on, it's just much harder because of the way that copyright laws are structured in the country. So if somebody has genuinely taken a screenshot or copy and pasted something from you and you know you own it, it's not a client's work, then there's a lot of legal recourse and possibly money that's at stake that could be coming into your pocket. So I would encourage anybody that has been copied to contact an attorney. Copyright is a really interesting form of IP law where it's very, very fact based, and an attorney won't necessarily be able to tell you, yes, this is considered infringement or no, it's not unless it's like an exact copy, but they will be able to tell you whether they can take it and then possibly what the odds of you getting and kind of, I guess, either getting the work taken down so that you can continue to sell on Etsy or your design or, you know, someone's impersonating you as a photographer, which happens a lot. They can tell you what the result is going to be likely, and then they will also be able to tell you about how much money they could look at collecting on your behalf and then paying you. So even if you don't have a registration for your intellectual property, which for this audience, we're talking most about copyrights, some trademarks, patents, I think that's a little off the table here, but even if you don't have a registration, there are still common law rights, so I would encourage them to reach out to an attorney if is has been an exact copy. And if it's not an exact copy, that's gonna be a lot harder for an attorney to deal with on your behalf, but it's still possible, so maybe looking for attorneys that offer free consultations to help you through that situation and just seeing if they wanna take it. If they do, there's probably a decent payout (laughs) or help for you that's available. I have a followup question to that. Okay. So when do you know if it's time actually register-- Okay. For a copyright or a trademark of some sort? Like, what is that point at which you're ready to actually put pen to paper and file? Really good question. Yeah, so for copyrights, for photographers, I personally I really like it when photographers register the images that they own, that the client doesn't own again, or designers, that they register the designs or the photographs that are being pinned a lot or re-shared or re-grammed, those are likely to be taken and misappropriated on large news sites, places where you really should be paid for your work, but they're just taking it off of Instagram as if Instagram were a stock photo site. That's not cool with me (laughs). I don't think it's cool with the designer or the photographer, and so if that's the case where you're seeing a lot of viral potential for a piece of art, a design, a photograph, those are the ones that I try to encourage my clients and friends to register with the Copyright Office. And the Copyright Office, like registering a copyright is very easy and cheap comparatively to any other kind of IP in the country. So I think it's like a no-brainer for copyrights if you have a viral piece of content. As far as trademarks go, that's something I think people need to do as soon as they can afford it, and in my presentation, I talked about this. It's typically about $2,000 to get a decent attorney to look at your stuff and then register it. So if you're paying less than that, it might go fine, but if you encounter any kind of problems later, they're probably also not the attorney that's gonna be able to help you. They're more like, I don't know what you'd call it, like a big-box service for trademarks. But yeah, if it's an important piece of, component of your brand and your business cannot survive without it, it's a good idea to have that looked at early so that you know that you're not creating all this branding material or a logo or investing just lots of money creating this brand that actually could be infringing somebody else's mark or problematic later on where you just, you have to redo all that work and spend a lot more money to fix it, maybe get a cease and desist letter in the process. So trademarks, as early as possible, but you know, not everybody can afford an attorney. Right. So doing Google searches in quotes is really helpful, trying that out with different phrases, like testing the waters with different versions of the name that you're trying on, Facebook searches, and then finally searching the U.S. PTO database, the trademark electronic search system. I've spent way too much time on that database searching. (panelists laugh) You know? With, you should have seen some of the names we almost named the Rising Tide Society back in the day until we realized, well, there are about three different places where that could be infringement, so we have to pick a different name. Yeah. So that, no, I think that's incredible, incredible advice. Ashlyn, all right, let's see. Oh, this is a good one because I actually wanna know the answer to this. So Kate asks, what is the biggest mistake that you see entrepreneurs making with their brand voice, she specifies brand voice, I'm gonna say brand or voice, on social media? Oh, okay, I'm gonna say just like copying others. Just, it's like, and I can use Jenna Kutcher for an example 'cause she's a dear friend and client, but I do feel like, she's like spawned it. For like our creative bubble, a lot of people look at that voice and start to emulate it. And I understand that, especially like when you're starting, goodness, you just copy them, and that is like kind of a creative habit. Jeff Goins talks about it in the, what is it-- Real Artists Don't Starve. Boom. So good, such a good book, everybody should read it. Put it on your book list. But he talks about how like we learn our crafts and our trades by copying masters, so I don't, I understand it, but I do think that we just have to be careful to add to the body of work out there and not put stuff out there that is like a little too close like what somebody else says. So a good practical way to get around that, I tell my students, start a copy bank I call it, like a swipe file, like start your own documentation in your business of, I talked about it a little bit in my talk, but words that sound like you, phrases that you hear, maybe you're listening to a podcast or a sermon or you just, you're reading a book and you found like a great quip or a phrase, like bucket that, keep on hand a batch of phrases, phraseology that you can then use, and I think that will help you kinda get out of the, like swoon-worthy, it was a word I feel like in the creative bubble and the wedding industry that like everybody was using, you know. So like get kinda, just train your brain to use your own resources, but yeah, that's probably the biggest thing that I see. Dominique, I have a question from Jen Larson. She asks, should I start saving for retirement at the same I'm able to start making profit in my business? As an entrepreneur who doesn't have a 401k or anything like that set up from a day job, starting from scratch, how do I set myself up for success in retirement? And you touched a little bit about this in your talk. Yeah. But love for you to dive in a little bit more. Yeah, so I think if you can afford to start saving for retirement, of course, why not start? The sooner you start saving, the better, obviously. It's proven mathematically that if you start saving earlier, you actually technically will have to save less than if you start saving later. And it's a huge, like a huge difference versus if you start let's say saving at 24, versus starting at, you know, let's say you could start saving, you know, $300 a month at 25, but if you start at age 40, it's like 2,000 a month, like, it's crazy. So the sooner you can start saving, the better. But I always tell people to make sure before you start saving for retirement that you have a good emergency fund in place, because there's no point in saving for age if you can't get through next month, right? (laughs) There's no point, so I always say make sure you have your emergency fund in place, you don't have tons of debt and things of that nature before you start putting money for later on in life. And if you are ready to start saving for retirement, you can start somewhere as simple as doing like a Roth IRA where anything that you put into the Roth, you can take out completely penalty-free so that if you do have an emergency, you could take that out without having any penalties. But if you're a little bit further along, you can do something like a SEP IRA, which allows you to contribute tons more, and you can go to any of your favorite banks or investment firms and start these things. And like I said, you don't have to start investing with hundreds of thousands or tens or even thousands of dollars, but something as simple as putting 100 bucks away or $50 a week or 20 bucks, just something and then increasing it over time is really a good place to start. That advice is incredible. Thank you. Again, I'm so glad you're here sharing that. Thank you. (laughs) All of you guys and that CreativeLive and HoneyBook are bringing this to the forefront because I wish someone had said that to me-- Yeah. When I started my business, and I'm glad they did a couple years in, but I can only imagine if I had just even understood what is a SEP-- Yeah, yeah. What is a Roth IRA? I mean, those words were foreign concepts, so I'm just, a little moment of like fist bumping-- Yeah, yes. Because this is fantastic knowledge, fantastic knowledge. Christina, so we have another question about trademarks, but we kinda touched on that, so I'm gonna keep moving here. We have a question from a maker. She asks, I make custom products, and I am asked all the time if I can incorporate elements that I'm pretty sure are trademarked by other brands into my designs. How do I handle this ethically as a business owner respecting trademarks when there are so many who are willing to infringe just to secure a sale? Mm, that's good. That is good. Yeah, so there's a couple ways to look at this. One is that the end user owns the intellectual property, whatever it is that's created, and I don't agree with that. I love trademarks, I love being an IP holder and protecting those who have IPs, so I don't necessarily agree that you should just do it and put it out there and say, well, it's your problem now because I've assigned all of this to you. But at the same time, it is, it's hard because, I had a girl call me, actually from the RTS Atlanta chapter, and she was asking about a Chanel thing, a Chanel logo on cupcakes or something and it was for 10 people in a party, and she's like, "Can I do this?" And you know, I don't give out legal advice to this giant audience, it's impossible, but generally speaking, if somebody is approaching you like that, which happens obviously a lot, I think the appropriate thing to do is have a conversation and gently inform them about what intellectual property is and why trademarks exist, and it could be something as simple as this is owned by XYZ company, it's actually their property just like they would own, you know, a building or a car or a backpack or a laptop, and so for us to use that on the design that you're requesting or cupcake or whatever it is that you're, stationery, it's actually like stealing that and taking that laptop when they needed it to use their business. So even though intellectual property isn't property that you hold in your hands, that's why it's called intellectual, it's still property of somebody else. And if you are really concerned and you still want to do that, there are licensing agencies and authorities where you can approach them, and it's getting easier and easier, especially with music, music used to be impossible, and now it is so much easier to license certain songs for projects. But for stationery and design, it is possible to license certain trademarks if it's a client that's interested in doing that, and so presenting them with information because they're probably just either misinformed or not informed about what intellectual property is, presenting them with that information and then presenting them with the option of, well, we can try to do this, but it's gonna be XYZ more, probably a lot more at this point. It will get easier as the years go on, things are getting easier and easier to license, but just showing them what is possible for them or what isn't is probably the best way to approach that situation, and just-- That's a really good question, actually. Okay. 'Cause now I'm thinking, you know how you're scrolling through Instagram and you see all these yummy cakes? Like you said, they could be Chanel-- Yeah. Or Doc McStuffins, or you know, and I'm like, I never thought about that, like, that's totally like stealing. But I mean, I guess, would a baker just be like, 'cause example, like you said, if someone's like, hey, I want 10 cupcakes with Doc McStuffins on it or MAC lip gloss or whatever, which I've seen on people's IG, could they get in trouble for that? But if you're only making a dozen cupcakes, is it like, eh, it's just a dozen cupcakes. So the standard for trademark infringement and copyright infringement are different. For copyright infringement, it's access and similarity, substantial similarity. So there could be a copyright problem if it's a logo because certain parts or aspects of logos could be considered protected under copyright law. It could also be trademark infringement. So for trademark infringement, there's a lot of factors at play, but some of those factors include is this likely to, the biggest factor is will the consumer, like will the end person watching this on Instagram think that this is a cake made by Chanel, or is this somebody that is going to understand the difference. So it depends on the level of sophistication of the end person who's using this or possibly consuming it. With trademarks, it's difficult because people are so, big companies are very knee-jerk reaction, like easy, they're very interested in making sure that any kind of use of their trademarks is licensed and available, and even though that's not, like trademark law didn't start off in a place where that was the standard, but now that it's just so much easier for the companies to protect themselves, they are much more likely to go after people that are using their logos and things like that on social media because it's so easy to confuse where that cake or where that stationery or something is coming from or for people to think that this big company has licensed their logo to this little stationery designer, and the company doesn't wanna be associated with stationery for whatever reason. So it's definitely shifted away from trademark law as protection for consumers, and it's shifting more into trademark law as protection for the big companies that own the intellectual property. 'Cause it seems like people aren't, I guess I'm just thinking about cakes 'cause I'm like, wow, I never thought about that, but it seems like people aren't turning 'em down, 'cause I mean people are getting these themed cakes all the time, but I guess they could technically get sued. But if you eat the cake, there's no evidence, I guess, right? (all laughing) Well I just love-- I didn't hear that. I love when you talk about this stuff, 'cause I was telling Christina this morning, legal stuff is the kind of things that I thought would come in time and business maturity. Right. And I was like two months into my business, this was the first time, and I was like, oh my gosh, why is this happening? This is supposed to happen to the big girls, and like here, so I just, I think that legal information is so, you're gonna need it sooner than you think in your business. I remember the first legal letter I ever got, and I probably had been around for a year and a half, it was a blog, and a intern had used a image, I guess it was a Getty image, and put it on the site, and of course that was just, that was her job. You know, I'd write the blog post, she'd find the image for it, right. I remember getting a letter and like, ah! So nervous, I'm like, oh my gosh, what am I gonna do? And I'm like, well, you know, it's fine. I was like, no, then, my intern, 'cause I didn't do it, but I'm not putting it on her, but you know what I mean. And I remember flipping the letter over, and it's like, Frequently Asked Questions. Yes, your intern may have done it. And I was like, oh my goodness. Yeah, yeah. They thought of everything. It was hilarious, we worked it out. I didn't have to pay anything, but you're right, and that's why you really do need some like protection. Yes, yes. 'Cause it's not just the big people they're going after, it's the little people they're going after, but I'm also not easily scared. So I did meet a lot of people, it's like, oh, my God, I just gave them money. And I was like, I didn't. (laughs) You know what I mean? And I was able to work it out, but you do have to protect yourself and realize that you're in business and you're subject to be, get sued. Yep, yep. One last thing. I think it speaks to the creative thread in our community, and so when people are asking me questions like that, I get a little concerned because I really hope that people create their own works and create things that speak to them and aren't just a reflection of somebody else's brand and what they're building, like you were talking about. Amen, amen. Yeah, yeah, like, yeah, I could go a whole nother level with that one. Yeah. That's amazing, so many good little tidbits in that. It's fantastic. Ashlyn, okay, so this is one, again, I love these questions for you because every time I read it, I'm like, I need to know that too, so help me out. But this is a big one, 'cause I hear this a lot. It's the question of, what if my market is too saturated? There's no way I can stand out among all of the other incredible people doing exactly what I do. I love it. What advice to you give to somebody that feels like there's just already enough of whatever they do out there? Yeah. How do they stand out? Okay, poll of us who thinks they are in a saturated market with what they do. Just wondering. I don't. You don't? I can prove it. Okay, (laughs) I feel like, to me, I feel like everybody feels like their market is saturated and like kind of, it's 2018, and there's an internet. Like, every market is saturated. So honestly, I think it's just a good thing if your market is saturated because it shows that there's a lot of customer interest in what it is that you do, and where there are a lot of customers, there are a lot of people who have different needs. Like there's gonna be more people that are shopping around, price shopping, comparison shopping, wanting to find the best thing, so honestly, it's a good thing if you look at like basic supply-demand economics. So what then our goal, I like to flip that around, as the marketers of our business, as the CEOs, it goes back to what Dominique and I talked about, you gotta figure out then what's different about you. That's what I tell all my students, we spend so much time, I call it your only-ness factor, but it's your unique selling proposition, your unique value proposition. What do you do differently? Is it your, maybe it's your story that you lace into what you do and people love that about you. Maybe it's your process. Maybe it is where you source things from. But there's gotta be something about you that's different in the saturation, so it's okay to go into it. I'll say it's also okay to not go into a saturated market. I remember when I first realized I wanted to be a copywriter for creative entrepreneurs, I would hop in the Rising Tide Facebook group 'cause I was, you know, I was like, what are people asking about copywriting? I'd search copywriting, uh, crickets. Like, no one cared or even knew that word. Well now you search it, there's like a whole bunch of people that pop up. So I don't think it is a problem either to go into a non-saturated market if that's what listeners or viewers are thinking about. You are probably gonna have to educate a market on what the thing is that you do, so that's gonna take a little bit of time, but I think either way is fine. Don't pick one or the other for your business idea just because saturation or non-saturation. Both are a good thing and can be done really well. But I think also too that comes back to confidence. Like, you can't be a un-confident entrepreneur. And even like, you know, I don't necessarily think I'm in a, I don't think I'm in a saturated market at my level. I will say I think there's some saturation happening of people trying to get into personal finance-- Yeah. Who are just starting out. But I think I took the time, key word time, I didn't wake up and say, hey, I wanna be this top person. It took years, and I have tons of people who reach out to me all the time, like, Dominique, I wanna do what you do. How can I do it? And I just tell 'em you can't do what I do 'cause I'm Dominique, I am me, you can't be me, but what makes you different, right? And so if you could figure out what makes you different, then you can get to the top at your thing, but you're not gonna be me! 'Cause God me the way I am. And so in that aspect, I don't think that there's, I think all markets are saturated. I mean, no one's out here re-creating the wheel, I mean to be honest, right? Yeah, yeah. But you really have to, you really have to, you really have to realize what makes you different, you really do, and I don't even like the word saturated because there's so many people that need whatever you're doing. Yeah! But they need to get it from you. You, yes, that's so true. They need to get it from you. There's some people that wanna work with me, there's some people that wanna work with friends of mine in the personal finance space. And you know what we do? We collaborate! And we put our brains together, and we make things better. And so I think that, don't think about the saturation sometimes, think about collaborating. Yes. Two are better than one. Me and my other finance friends, we'll work together. We'll do an event, we'll put on content together, and we make it better and we reach our respective audiences, and there's some people who connect more with me and my story-- Yes! There's some people who connect more with this person and their story, so you have to, you gotta figure out what makes you unique and like go for it. Like, you can't, I mean, that's just fear, it's fear. Like, uh-uh, we're not doin' that. It's not goin' work, fear and entrepreneurship don't go together, they don't. I love that you said story, 'cause the whole time you were talking, I was like, story. Yeah! Like, this is why it's important to share your story. It is! Because somebody's gonna connect with yours. I'm the copywriter for some people, I'm not for others. I'm a calligrapher for someone women, not the others. So whatever it is, share it because somebody out there will pick it up as a breadcrumb. I'm hearing some common threads. The idea of confidence. Yeah. I'm hearing a lot about like a mindset of abundance, this idea that there's enough for it to go around. (speech overlapping) And all of that for me, and you guys know this, community over competition, and that mantra and that idea, it's successful and it works when it's rooted in this mindset-- Yes. This collaborative mindset where there is enough to go around. Yes! And we can confidently step forward and say, this is who I am, this is what I contribute to this ecosystem, this world, Yes. This economy, as an entrepreneur, I love it, I love it, and I hope, I hope everyone is just soaking this in because I know I am, for sure. All right, let's keep it rolling here. So Dominique, I feel like it can be really overwhelming, this is a question here from Jennifer, I feel like it can be really overwhelming with all the different types of IRAs and insurance plans. So what I would love to hear is just some simple advice, straightforward strategies on retirement savings. Like, where should somebody start if they've never saved a dollar? Okay, so if you've never saved a dollar for retirement. Yes. Hopefully you've saved for your emergency fund, we talked about that. But if you have not saved a dollar at all for retirement, I think if you're eligible financially, meaning you're not, so income limit is not higher than the required amount, start with a Roth IRA. I think it is the great, it's the best place to start, and I say a Roth IRA 'cause like I mentioned earlier, anything that you put into the Roth IRA, you can take out completely penalty-free, so if you put $2,000 in today and God forbid something goes wrong and you like need four new tires and a roof on your house next week and you need to take all of it out, there's not penalties whatsoever. But if you put $2,000 into this account today and the stock market blows up and all of a sudden it grows to $3,000, now you have a $1,000 profit, right? So let's say if you say, hey, I wanna take this whole $3,000 out and me and my boo are movin' to Australia, right? You only have to pay a 10% penalty on the earnings, so that's just the $1,000. So I think that that is one of the most simplest, easiest retirement accounts, it's a great starter account, you're not locked in until age 59 1/2, which is pretty far for most of us. So I think that's a great place, but what you wanna do, like I said, where there's a income limit, you just wanna confirm, check with the IRS or contact your investment broker and say, hey, what's the new, 'cause it changes every year, what's the new income limit? So there is a income limit and what they call your AGI, your adjusted gross income, so you go to page two of your 1040 and see what your adjusted gross income is. If it is over that certain limit, you're not eligible to contribute. And so I think for a individual, it changes every year, it's around $130,000 AGI. If your AGI is less than that, start with a Roth, max that out at 5,500 a year, and once you start makin' more money, if you're a entrepreneur, possibly move onto a SEP IRA or maybe even a solo 401k based on your specific needs, but that's where I would start for retirement. And then really quickly on insurance, you can't build wealth without insurance because there's no point in takin' the time to create these awesome businesses and put all this work in, and you're not protecting it, right? So we like to, I like to say the umbrella. You're protecting yourself from the storm, and so you wanna protect everything that you've built, so you need to have insurances on your business if that's errors and omissions, which is something I have on my business which I had starting out as a stockbroker 'cause we're placin' trades, and if somethin' goes wrong, we gotta cover ourselves. But also having insurance on your life, and this is another place that people do not take the time to put into. So insurance on your business, insurance on your life, but also insurance on your ability to work which is disability, right? And so people don't think about that, especially a lot of people that say, even like in the Rising Tide community, creative entrepreneurs, most, 95% of them have to physically go and do that job, they have to physically go and do the video, they have to physically go and take the pictures, they have to physically do the calligraphy, they have to physically make the flowers. And what if you wake up one morning and you can't? Your arm's not working, your leg's not working, you can't go do hair, you can't go do makeup. You wanna have insurance in place that can cover you for that time. Right. So you wanna make sure that you're protecting everything that you're building by having these necessary insurances. So I always say, bare minimum, try to get disability insurance and also make sure you're getting some sort of life insurance, even if it's a 30-year term policy, which means that it lasts for 30 years of time, at 20 bucks a month for $100,000 death benefit. Get something to protect what you're building. Amazing. I am going to record all of that, obviously we have here-- (Dominique laughs) and just play it on loop-- Okay. Whenever somebody says they're starting a business. Yeah. I think that's all incredible. Yeah, good, thank you. I wanna ask very, very specifically with Christina, let's talk electronic contracts. So when I first started in my business, I had good old-fashioned paper contracts. I'd fill it out, you know, with the information for the couple, send it to them, well, I'd scan it back in those days, they would fill it in. Were they mailing it? Then they, well they would! They would fill it in and then they would actually mail it back to me. Thank God for HoneyBook, the process has changed a little bit since then, now we've got electronic contracts, but one question that we get a lot, we see it in the Rising Tide group, we see it in different forums, are electronic contracts valid, are they the same as a good old-fashioned pen-and-paper contract? Well, if you're buying a house, I'd say no. (laughs) So for large, very permanent-type real estate deals especially, they need to be recorded, and they are not considered valid at this time. However, the legal system is moving almost exclusively online to the point where there have been several federal judges and instances where they've been pretty, without using any bad words, mad (laughs) that people aren't filing electronically even if it's an option to do either/or. So with that being said, you know, it's definitely moving more towards electronic. My eye starting twitching when you said what you were doing. (all laughing) Because I can't stand, as a client and as a contract attorney, I just cannot stand paper contracts. Right. My insurance companies, they all want me to take like photos or faxes, I don't even know where I would find a fax machine, and it's just, it drives me crazy because it's a horrible experience for your client. It lets them know that you don't care about their time because they cannot just pull it up on their phone and conveniently read it wherever they have their phone or their computer or whatever they want to access your contract. So now they're less likely to read it, which is the most important part of a contract, to me, and they're not signing it and getting it back to you. They're going with somebody else who is easier to work with. And then finally, I think electronic documents are way more secure because you can track it back to the person's IP address, you can track it back to exactly the date and time and location that it was signed, so for me to see somebody's signature that could be forged and faxed in by anybody, I'm kind of dubious, and the legal system is now is very dubious about physical copies of documents, which sounds kind of funny, right? Like, for those of you who are still out there filing your contracts away in a filing cabinet, you can stop and you can use-- People do that? Yes. You can use a tool like HoneyBook-- Yes. Where it records exactly who signed it, at what time, what date, and for me, it's much more secure. There's no possibility of somebody hacking the fax line or intercepting the mail or whatever kinda crazy scenario that really isn't so crazy in today's world could happen because they're just logging into a secure portal and signing and reading it over and over again and accessing it anytime they want, which is the best part because like I said, it's really important, and you guys were laughing at me yesterday, I was actually reading a contract, (laughs) and it is, it's important to read contracts. And so if it makes it easier for your client to work with you and to read, that's more important to me than making sure that you have a physical copy in a filing cabinet somewhere that you forget about or you know, God forbid that something happens to your house and you can't access it anymore. So anyway, yeah, I think electronic is definitely the way to go, I mean unless there's some outstanding circumstance where you're buying a house or it's some kind of will or trust. Those still are not considered valid if there isn't like a notary present. When I sold my house recently, we signed most things online, but I did have to go into the house to sign the final closing documents before I-- Probably to record it. Yeah, before I flew back because there was certain documents that had to be in written, but most were actually the sales agreement, everything like online. I was like, wow, this is so easy. Yeah. And that's the key, the ease of it, I think the client experience side, we all know it's like you need it now for client experience, but I love hearing too just the security side, too, and the ease for that client to reference that contract. And I mean, I'm on board, finally. I mean, it, let's be honest, (panelists laughing) it took me a while, but after I lugged around the binder of contracts long enough, I was excited to go to the electronic version. Life literally got lighter, right? Life got lighter. (laughs) My whole life got lighter the minute I could put down the really heavy binder. Oh gosh, Ashlyn, okay, this is such a good question! When do I start an email list? This is a sort of-- Oh, okay. And do I need to do that? And I'm gonna add an extra little-- Bring it on. Conversation here, 'cause Tuesdays Together a couple months ago, someone was chatting and saying, do I really need an email list if I've got social media platforms like Instagram and that's where most of my following is? I know, I see Christina 'cause that's just how I felt. I was like (gasps), so we're gonna talk about it! When should somebody start an email list, and is there value in the world where most people just spend time on social? Okay, you got your eye twitch, I get my heart palpitations. This is one of my emoji heart-eyeing I love talking about. 'Cause I got to do email marketing before it was like cool I feel like in agency days, so I love talking about it this capacity. Okay, the first thing is it's so important not to build your business on borrowed land. Like, you really need to build your business where you can own the assets. We don't own Instagram, we don't own Facebook. Like, it's just, don't build your business there. Own as much as you can even if you, I think a lot of like B2B creatives who want to have freebies out and that kind of thing understand a little bit more, and I think it's those people who are B2C, people servicing brides, couples, they don't quite see the correlation yet, but I just, I would urge you to start thinking that way because there's gonna be a time when the marketing flips again. It's gonna always flip, we're gonna see this. So go ahead and start before you're soon. I have a few different thoughts on this. The first is, like we were saying earlier, done's better than perfect, like, start your email list. I remember it was like in those days when I was podcast-listening and driving to my corporate job, all of them were saying, start an email list, and so I started one so soon in my business terribly. Like I asked, I had some random survey out, and the people that, and then like I got them in email for like six months, but you know what? I started. So start somewhere, you're not gonna have, I obviously as a copywriter, I'm a big fan of welcome sequences leading into long-term nurture funnels leading into a launch pitch and you know, like tripwire, but you don't have to have all that, you're not going to right away. Just start, be able to commit to yourself that you're gonna send out regular content. If all you can do is monthly at first, that is okay. Just stick with that, but get, it's more of a like personal experiment I think. Get yourself in a habit of this is what it feels like to create regular content on an email platform because you are going to have to depend on that in time as you grow your business. As far as tools, and I'll include a link in the resource packet, but there's a lot of great email list-building tools out there. I'm a hometown girl, and MailChimp is great. I do actually recommend a tool called ConvertKit, though. That's what I use. Yeah, you use it, too, that's right, to build up to, I think it can even work for a list of under 10,000. You're, at first you're gonna hit that 100, and it's gonna feel so good. And then you're gonna hit that 1,000, like you can do this. It's gonna take some time, but as you work past the 10,000, we can talk about other options, but use a tool that you feel comfortable with and just start, like just start. That's the most important thing, I think. I have a followup to that. So a lot of times when we talk about email lists, and you nailed it here when you said people think B2B. Yes. So that would be, for example, all of us in this room educate other entrepreneurs, it's something that we do, but let's say you're B2C, let's say you are a calligrapher servicing couples or a wedding photographer servicing couples. Yes. What kind of content could you share via like an email list? Okay. Like, what would be the benefit of that? So good, and yeah, that, actually we talked about this before I think. I'm so jealous of B2C. They have it so easy. (laughs) Say more. And they do not believe me. Yeah, but say, I love when you talk about this. Explain why you think that. I mean, you do literally send out weekly emails for a year and then copy and paste those into an automation, and when they sign up, it sends. Yeah. So now every new person who is now a bride and they weren't six months ago, they're getting into your automation, and you don't have to do anything and you're communicating with them for a year. I think Amy & Jordan do this. Yeah. It's brilliant! Yeah, it's yeah, I think there's a lot of great options out there. If you can't figure out what to say, ask them. Just use the survey questions that are included. Like go through and just start to figure out what can, what do they wanna know, are they, do they have no idea what to wear to their engagement session, do they have no idea how to, do I need to make a shot list, can I trust my photographer? Like, I didn't know that as a bride. There's so much content. You are in your zone of genius, and you forget what you know. So just ask, and like figuring out that content. Like Christina said, if you service a group, you know, if you service moms-to-be or brides who are in a stage of life for a little while, that's awesome 'cause you get to create content that can live and live on and live on. And even if you're not, if you create hand-lettering products and you sell those, maybe, I also, I mentioned it in my talk, but get ideas from companies outside of the creative bubble. So get on email newsletters for brands that you like. Start to look at how they market, and just get ideas from that. But oh, yeah, I agree with you. I think the B2C space, there's some great opportunity there to just have fun and send people some happies. I think another thing that, an area I've been, for I feel like for the past year is text messaging, too. So you don't just limit, so remember back in the day you wanted to get people's what's it called, mailing, I can't recall, your address, mailing address, right? Who does that anymore? Who mails anymore, right? So you get your mailing address-- That's so true. And then it moved to email address, but I'm really focusing on capturing text messages as well because that's another great place. The open rates are so much higher than emails. And then also, too, I've been using a tool like ManyChat so that I can get into people's Facebook DMs, now we're DM-ing people. And so you wanna hit them as many places as possible, but if you can use a tool that will capture their email in addition to their phone number, that's great because sometimes phone, I mean emails get caught up in spam. Text messages come through, and you see the text message open rates, and you could even send them a link to a blog post, you know, send them a link to a email that you sent out, send them a link for a coupon code, or just send them a text, say, hey, you know, it's Wedding Monday, and you know, I don't know, whatever, just whatever you want to text, but people actually really enjoy that as well. So I would say, you know, like they said, this is all borrowed territory, and you know, when people start freaking out when Facebook changes something, they're like, oh, my gosh! You shouldn't be doing that if you already own the access to, the ability to access your community, you're not gonna freak out, so. And like, social media, they're seeing what, like 6% of our audience is even seeing our posts anyway? Yeah, now you gotta pay for people to see anything! Yeah, like don't worry about like, and you said ManyChat, like bots as tools, emails as tools. It's because you need to get in front of your people so they see you and they remember what you do, and so-- And they see you frequently. Yeah, and they're not seeing you as much has you think they are on your social media account. Yeah. So be sure that you're looking at other avenues. Amazing. I have a question for all three of you guys. There's gonna be somebody watching this who is fighting the comparison battle right now. Yep. I have a feeling there are a lot of people who are either starting a business or in a season of business where maybe they're pivoting, and this is gonna be a resource that's going to set them up for success, but we all know underneath all of that, the psychology of imposter syndrome, and you add in the fuel of social media and watching what everyone else is doing. I just wanna hear from the three of you, how do you combat that? Have you experienced comparison? Yeah! How do you deal with it? (panelists laughing) Which minute are you talking about? Oh, no, we don't do that! Like, today, or? I'd just love some advice! And honestly, maybe even just some vulnerability on, because people look up to all three of you, I know I do, and I'd love to hear if this is something you've dealt with. I know I've dealt with it, I mean, I don't know, if someone has it, I mean like, I'd be surprised, but you know, they say comparison is the thief of joy, and it's true. Imposter syndrome is real, but that whole comparison thing, I mean, what I realized is we're comparing ourselves to someone else's highlight reel. And I remember, you know, when I thought about that, I started sharing more about behind the scenes. It's like, yes, I had a great day, but you know, my stepfather passed away today, and this happened, and this happened, and it's like yes, it seemed great, but in-between these great things happening, I had a lot of really, really crappy things that happened. And I remember one time I went to Dominican Republic like last year, and I was posting the good things that happened, and it was funny 'cause I got back from the trip, and I said, man, that trip kinda sucked! I mean, there was a lotta good things, but what I didn't post is that one day I woke up and I had hives all over my body. And then we went and had to switch hotels because I got sick at that hotel, went and stayed at a Airbnb, we wake up and apparently there was an explosion of bees that happened in the living room, and I didn't post any of that! Now, mind you, I still have hives, I take medicine, I can't wake up because the Benadryl's too strong. Anyway, I booked a one-way flight 'cause I do that sometime, I can't fly back, my mom's like, "Why would you book a one-way flight?" And I'm itching, I have hives, but from the outside, I had really, like four really awesome pictures from the Dominican Republic. Before the hives. Before the hives! And then the pictures stopped, but I was like, if I did this, imagine how everyone else is, and it started reminding me, I have to show the good and the bad. And so I started showing more of the bad, like yes, I woke up, and I don't look great and I don't have makeup on, and this is how life is gonna start, and it's not gonna end that way. And I just had, that reminded me that if I'm going through this, other people are going through this. I know I even really appreciated even you sharing, you know, your battle that you went through, and I was like, wow, Natalie was going through all this and building all this? And it just really shows, like, we have to stop comparing ourselves, and so those little things that I've done is a lot of times I won't get on social media probably for the first couple hours of the day. I do not do that because-- It's not good. What will happen is, I immediately, like I would sometimes wake up, used to be I wake up, roll over, check my phone, you know, check Instagram, check Facebook, check email, and I'd get stuck on Instagram, and I'm like, what? She got engaged, she had a baby, she hit a million dollars, she made $20,000 yesterday, and da-da-da-da, and I'm like, oh, my goodness! I'm already behind! First of all, I woke up late, and now everybody else is already winning! And I had to stop that. And so I try not to look at social media 'til midday, so even if my posts are going out automatically and people are liking and commenting, I'm not lookin' at it because it can really mess up my day. So I had to start doing that, yeah. Oh, that's so good, I did have a lot of thoughts. (all laughing) Yeah, I have definitely felt imposter syndrome. As far as like some practical ways that I've gotten through that over the years, I think one was starting to hire coaches who can tell me my, okay, so back to, okay, I'll back up even further. So this morning, did y'all hear the trumpeter outside of our room? Yeah, yeah. Okay, you did? That was yesterday! Yeah, was that yesterday? There was a guy-- Oh, the tuba? The tuba, yeah, okay, so there's this man outside, like only in San Fran. Yeah. (all laughing) Okay, he was like practicing, but it just reminded me, recently I was reading, like you've gotta practice in public to get good at whatever it is. Like, ya gotta play loud, you're gonna have to. So I think like some of the imposter syndrome sometimes comes from you're gonna have to put yourself out there to get found, and so you're doing the right thing, you're putting yourself out there, that's a good thing. But to bring it back to what I was saying with coaches, that investing in my business and having other people that I consider to be experts look at my stuff and like, where I'm kinda like, oh, here it is, what do you think, gave me such confidence and was worth the money and the investment. So that's like one practical thing. Totally agree with you on social media, I think it's The Tech-Wise Family, in that book they talk about take off one hour a day, one day a week, one week a year from social media. I unfollow a lot. I don't follow people usually who do what I do. They're doing beautiful work, but I can't see it because my heart. That's what you do. Yeah, so I think just yeah, protecting yourself and spending, yeah, your inspiration's not gonna come from the internet anyway, so like don't look there for it. Yeah, I feel like the Instagram and Facebook algorithm is scientifically calculated to find the people that are going to drive you crazy. (laughs) I love that. Everybody's doing so much more better than you, like, make it easy for you. Yeah, no, I mean this is something, I was like walking into this room, I'm comparing myself to Kent and you, and I'm just like, oh, my gosh, I'm so behind! But I think the other part is then I sit down here, and I'm just so grateful for being here and having this opportunity, and that's what really pulls me out of those funks is I'm like, oh, but I didn't do this and I didn't do that and I didn't, and I'm like, wait a second. I'm 30, I'm healthy, I have great friends, like there's just the things that are really helpful that I'm grateful for, even if it's just like this cup of coffee is not cold, or (laughs) whatever it is, if you can cultivate that, which I always thought was super cheesy, and I never wanted to do it, but if you can just sit there and think about things that you're grateful for, even if it's the fact that-- And write down three every morning. Yeah, that you're like breathing, like that's enough. So it's not anything life-changing, but if you can just put yourself in a different mindset, whether it's gratitude or prayer or like whatever it is that's gonna shift-- Yeah. I mean, what's the neurology, the neuroscience behind this, there has to be something that's changing the brainwaves. Yeah, it does! It does, gratitude actually impacts levels of dopamine and serotonin in the same way, you know, some SSRIs do. Yeah, it's a real, we talk about it like a fluffy concept, (panelists laughing) but it's a deeply-- Drops mic, yeah. Impactful process. Good job, Natalie. And then surrounding yourself by people that support you. Yes, really. I mean, the whole time we've been in San Francisco, we've all been, we didn't put each other down. We're like, oh, maybe don't wear this, don't wear that, but it's like we've only been uplifting and supporting each other, and that's what it's all about, surrounding yourself by people that care about you and your passion, and they can see where you're headed. And I would say like kind of to that, like paying for the conferences, paying for the retreats, like going to community events like those are a great way to get out of your funk in your head and like just realize the community around you. And yeah. I like that. Yeah, we need it. Well, I am grateful that I've been surrounded by this amazing community today. Thank you! And gotten to learn so much from every single one of you. I cannot wait to re-watch, I got the privilege of getting to see behind the scenes of each of your classes, but I can't wait to re-watch it, and I can't wait for all of you to also see their amazing classes. And as we sort of come to an end in our conversation here, we just wanna take a second to thank every single one of you for being here-- Thank you for having us. And sharing your knowledge. Yeah, thank you. And thank you so much, obviously to HoneyBook and CreativeLive, two powerhouses in the creative economy coming together to bring incredible knowledge and education right to you at your computer screen and your device wherever you're watching this. So we can't wait to see more from all of you, and thank you guys so much for tuning in.

Class Description

Brought to you in partnership with

Creatives love to think about the visuals in their brand experience but often forget an equally important piece: Brand Voice. Branding expert Ashlyn Carter shows you how to think of your brand holistically to effectively market your business to the right audience. As a former publicist for clients like Delta Air Lines and Princess Cruises, Ashlyn now works with heavy-hitting creative industry entrepreneurs like Jenna Kutcher, Melyssa Griffin and Katelyn James.

This class will teach you how to:

  • Develop your brand voice to establish trust and authority
  • Brand effectively without feeling too pushy
  • Identify and target your audience with messaging they actually want

By the end of this class, you’ll be able to develop an impactful brand and set yourself apart in an oversaturated and competitive market.

Ready to start using beautifully branded online brochures and proposals? Click here to start your free 7-day HoneyBook trial.

By RSVPing to this class, you agree to have your email shared with Honeybook.



Awesome class!! Super great info, Ashlyn is a great presenter!


What a great class and Ashlyn really knows her stuff! Thank you for this super helpful information!

Marta Oliehoek-Samitowska

Very helpful and informative! Ashlyn does a really great job! So much ethusiasm, lots of good advice and so many simple but handy tips!