Happy Friday, friends! I’ve been enjoying a few days of showing my family around Washington, DC and am heading into a weekend of being Savannah’s second photographer! Next week, I’ll be off to enjoy the beach with my family and grandparents, and honestly, taking a little time off right now in my favorite place with my favorite people sounds like something that will feel REALLY good!
I’m bringing you a classic Friday Chatter post today & I’m SO excited about that! Not only am I sharing a product with you that I absolutely LOVE, but I’m also sharing with a little twist. Before we get started, I need you to know that this is in no way sponsored and that I’m not getting money. This post contains no affiliate links… I just really love this product SO much! Shall we dive in?!
If you know me, you know that I am a big planner person. I have been using a paper and pen planner for YEARS and literally don’t know how I would get through the week without my planner keeping me on-task. I love to-do lists and checking off boxes when I accomplish a task. Blocking off time to get things done keeps me productive, and it is SO great to pencil things in for the week (or for well in the future!). For years, I had been very loyal to one specific brand and type of planner… I loved it, but I realized that I needed a little something new! I’m not going to mention the old in this post because I really did LOVE my planner from them! Now, there isn’t a HUGE difference between what I was using before and what I’m using now, but there was just enough of a difference to encourage me to make a switch!
I decided on the Daily Simplified Planner in Happy Stripe! I’ll be using the academic calendar version. (Just a little heads up… the academic year planners are currently on sale!!!) I was SO happy about the switch that I made and was SO excited to receive my planner. I was even MORE excited to open it up and use it!! It has been open by my side for the last week +, and I have absolutely been loving it!
When I find something that I love, I’m not likely to make a switch to another product! I’ve purchased two 40 oz. Hydro Flasks because I love them so much… I used the same duvet cover for seven years (up until very recently!)… I’ve had the same style and brand of phone case for about 5 years now… I’ve been using the same editing software since 2012… You get the point! When I find something that I love, it takes a lot for me to make a change! SO…. when I DID decide to change the planner that I was using, it felt like a big deal to me!
I started to look at the reasons WHY I made the change, and I realized that there was actually a HUGE lesson on business tucked in with my reasoning. So… that’s what I’m sharing with you today! Why did I make the switch, and what did I learn? You’re about to find out!
The design worked better for the season I’m in
My previous planner was a binder style and used to have to lay flat… I loved it while I was working full time and from home, as it was super durable and easy to shuttle between desks. Now a little background: my desk is a tiny corner desk that sits in my bedroom! I have just enough space for a laptop, a spiral-bound notebook, some desk storage like papers and pens & a little bit of elbow room. After a year or so of keeping my old planner open on the floor next to me, I realized that it would be just a little more efficient and motivating to have a planner that I could keep open next to me, so I decided to make a change! My new planner is a spiral-bound, meaning I can fold it cover to cover and display one page at a time. It sounds silly, but this slight change was a huge motivating factor in switching planners!
What does this have anything to do with business?! Well… how many times has someone told you no?! How many times has that “no” been something that you didn’t quite understand?! Price too high? Geographical area not quite right? Requesting a package or service that you don’t offer? Maybe it was something totally out of left field! And honestly? It could come down to something as silly as needing to keep their to-do list in a small space next to them as they work! You never know what season a client or potential client is in unless they tell you!
This point taught me that your business yes’s and no’s should not be taken personally, even though so many of us small business owners do. All too often, consumers are making decisions based on things that are TOTALLY out of a business owner’s control. A client’s needs can change at the drop of a hat and the change could be something as random as desk space square footage. The yes or no that they give to your business could be based on something that isn’t even something you could control. Collect the data and take note of the yes’s and no’s and their why’s for sure, but don’t take things so personally. They do not define your worth.
Approach changes that you plan to make to your business, packages, and offerings with a level head and a rational heart.
I love having access to one full year at a time
With my previous planner, I purchased pages in quarterly incremental refill packages… at the time, I thought that I loved this way of planning! I tracked events and meetings well into the future using Google Calendar (and still do!!), and put quarterly dates on paper as I got new pages! But… I didn’t realize just how much I would love having access to writing down dates months to a year in advance! It feels SO good to write wedding dates in calendars that will be happening next summer, and already, I have my blog calendar written out through the end of the year (meaning I’ll be able to brainstorm and prepare ahead… I know I sound crazy!). It wasn’t until I saw other creative entrepreneurs using a similar system to this that I realized it could be good to try this myself!
As a wedding photographer, I tend to live life in seasons where I am incredibly busy… and other seasons where I am prepping for the busy times. This new way of prep and planning has made and will make upcoming prep times SO much more effective, as I can look ahead to see what I’ll need to be prepping to make my busier season a little easier.
My point here? Oftentimes your ideal client doesn’t really know what they need until they SEE what they need! I was really stuck in my way of planning quarterly until I saw what life could look like if I did things just a little differently. It may take a little extra work, but SHOWING your client how their life could be enhanced by whatever service or product you are offering is more valuable than anything you could do. A few suggestions on how to do this? (Specific to my photography friends!!) Share testimonials from previous clients… show how clients print and display their images… blog your work and share what the session or wedding was like… answer frequently asked questions on your blog to ease worries… share your behind the scenes.
It feels special to buy a product that is consistently released and celebrated
This point may sound trivial, but I LOVE buying a product that I know is well-loved and celebrated, yes, but I love even more when the brand behind the product is consistent! This may not be everyone’s story, but even before I bought a Simplified Planner, I was interested in their planner cover reveals and launch days! I loved seeing the pretty new designs and loved seeing everyone’s excitement… yes, I know that may be a little weird. The dates for everything that they do is released well in advance (and so are shipping dates!). You have the ability to have access to your yearly planner well before it even begins which I absolutely love. With my old planner, that wasn’t quite the case. I was never quite sure when my new filler pages would be released which made this avid pre-planner very anxious.
This specific bullet isn’t made to point fingers at who is doing something right and who could improve, but it is to point out two different styles of consumers and the key to striking consistency within your brand for whoever you are choosing to serve. I LOVE a good celebration and want the product or service that I’m purchasing to feel fun, vibrant and new. I also really like to know when I’ll be able to get my hands on something! (And like to know well in advance!) In the case with the planner pages that I used previously, I am sure there are plenty of people out there that are just fine with buying their pages a or two before they need them (and that it isn’t even on their radar to be buying a 2019 starter package in November of 2018…).
With all that being said, here is my encouragement to you: identify your ideal target client and then create consistent systems within your business that cater well to their needs. For my wedding photography friends: create consistent workflows that your clients can come to expect… answer emails within a specific timeframe or put up an auto-responder… deliver galleries before your delivery due-date… under promise, over deliver & serve your heart out. It doesn’t hurt to celebrate your clients every chance you get either… maybe it’s just me, but I love a good party!
Bonus: connection to a human is SO key!
At the end of the day, when I was trying to decide what planner was going to sit next to me for a full year, what really made me take the plunge was how much I love Simplified as a business! I admire Emily Ley as a business owner, mom, and entrepreneur. I love that she shares about her team and her life through her business channels. I love how she shares her story and how she shares how her product fits into her story. I love seeing other people that also use Simplified Planners and how they use them to organize and simplify their lives. Their approach to personal marketing is truly so welcoming. Basically, I just LOVED everything they had to offer from the product to the people!
Personal marketing & sharing my life in a genuine way is something that I chose to do within my business well before I even realized that I was doing it! To be totally candid, I share about my life because I love to share about things that I love or have going on while seeing how this connects me to others. I also really appreciate having an online journal to look back on year after year, both on Instagram and on my blog! I have always known the value of sharing your life with your business, but to see that it was a huge contributing factor in a purchase that I made, really reinforced the fact that it isn’t totally insane if I share about my Instant Pot adventures or Bachelor franchise binge sessions.
Personal marketing is for some people and it isn’t for others. However, I will encourage you to take a look to see if it is something that could fit well for you within your business! Let’s go back to the point before: identify who your ideal clients are (and what you are comfortable with as a business owner!) and go from there. As a consumer, experiencing personal marketing within a brand was something that helped coach me press the “purchase” button in my cart! You never know what kind of impact it could have on YOUR business!
Now that we’ve made it through… I need to know: Do I need the Simplified Sticker Book?! I think I might!! (They are ADORABLE!)
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