So, you've taken the plunge and started your small business! You feel good about your web and social media presence. You feel good about your inventory/product/service. You want to start booking clients...and then that moment inevitably comes SOMEWHERE along the line where you think any one of the following thoughts:
Any of those sound familiar? Cuz Lord knows, it's something I have had to go back and work on many, many times. And tbh I will probably will have those moments throughout my career. BUT, it's helpful to own that about myself, and to set up clear guidelines for times when any of those nagging money thoughts cross the ticker tape of my brain.
I came across that sentence "know your worth, add tax, never discount" when I was researching how much to charge for copywriting. BUT, I feel the sentiment goes way deeper than that. It speaks to not only owning what your business/service/goods are worth, but to owning what you believe YOU are worth.
I think money can actually be incredibly emotional because it shines a light on what we feel we are worth. If you're having any trouble or guilt about charging people, or just plain don't know where to start when setting your rates, here is a method I have found super helpful when helping people set their prices.
First, research your field. You can go on many different sites to do this; I particularly like Glassdoor or indeed for more "corporate" jobs, Thumbtack for physical services like DIY projects/products or assistant help, Etsy for artistic or handmade goods, and Upwork for freelancing rates. Make a list or chart of what other people are charging for the same or similar goods/product/service.
If you are TRULY 100% new to something, you might consider taking a few weeks to build a portfolio/get a few jobs under your belt. This will help give you confidence both in yourself and your product, as well as give you insight into any issues you may have to troubleshoot in future. For me, I found out that time management was going to be a HUGE factor in determining my writing rate; initially, I was only charging clients for an hour or two of my time when it was really taking me 4-6 hours to complete the task. Get honest with yourself on how much time you're *actually* spending before setting an hourly rate or even a fixed price.
Once you have sure-er footing (don't worry- you probably won't ever feel 100% ready, that's totally normal) it's time to set your rate or your pricing FOR REAL.
In its simplest form: YOUR PRICE = YOUR COST + PROFIT MARGIN
DETERMINE YOUR COST: Go back to that chart and/or list you made of the competition's pricing. Then, evaluate your expertise level and determine where you fall on the spectrum. Be sure to remember to include the following things in "your cost":
SET A GOAL PROFIT MARGIN: Once you've determined how much you're going to be spending on your business, it's time to focus on how much you want to be making from your business. It sounds simple, but it's kind of amazing how few people actually do the math to work out how much they need to earn per month in order to hit a yearly financial goal.
Side bar: I find it helpful to break it down in measurements of time; start with what you'd like to make for the year, divide that into 12 months, then into 4 weeks, then into however many hours you're aiming to work per week.
Once you know your profit margin, add your cost. Then you ARRIVE AT YOUR PRICE!
Now, you know your *monetary* worth. But the more important part of this picture is that you know your *TRUE* worth.
Always remember: there is only ONE YOU. Consequently, you bring something completely unique to the table, even if other people do the same job. Be aware of your place in the market, but it's wise to avoid constantly comparing yourself against others' perceived success. You're doing great, and you should be proud that you're going for it.
At the end of the day, you are providing something that someone needs. You have every right to be compensated for meeting that need. YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Helps the medicine go down!
Mary Poppins was right, y'all...it's way easier to get a person to invest in something they need ("medicine"- AKA your product or service), by first giving them something they want ("sugar", baby).
Picture this: It's lunchtime at work and like every other office-bound-human taking a break, you're scrollin' through the 'gram. You come across a picture that catches your eye, so you click on the profile. You dig the photos and you start looking through their feed, but as you do, you notice that EVERY CAPTION IS TRYING TO SELL YOU SOMETHING.
You promptly exit out of that feed- no like or follow for them, and especially no website click!
Question: "But, Kelsey!" you say, "I'm a BUSINESS. How do I do business on Instagram if I'm not SELLING things in my posts?!"
Long(er) Answer: Nobody likes to feel like they're being "sold" something. So how do you avoid that when you're trying to use social media to help increase your business? Well, for starters, there are a couple different kinds of "sugar" that help the medicine go down...
One kind of "sugar" is: FREE STUFF.
Now, by NO means do I want you to give away your best material/products for free! However, a few well-placed, fun freebies present an amazing opportunity for you to a) strut your stuff a bit and give a preview of what you offer, and b) turn an observer into a CLIENT by saying I trust you enough to give you this freebie knowing that if you try it, you're gonna like it.
There are many examples of what a "Freebie" can be! For me, it's this blog (hello, free advice!) and free inspirational phone wallpaper I design, make, and post every Friday on my IG stories.
Some other examples?
Another kind of "sugar" is: YOU.
Remember my very first #TeaTimeWithKelsey post: You Can Only Be Who You Are? Well, it's still true. You are your own magic sauce. And when people feel like they KNOW you, they feel more comfortable BUYING from you.
Let's use an example to illustrate the second type of "sugar" that everyone knows and loves:
GIRL SCOUT COOKIES.
Option 1: You walk by a table of random Girl Scouts selling cookies outside XYZ grocery store. You may pause and think, "Man, that sounds good," but on second thought you don't need the temptation in the house (Real Talk: we all know that if Thin Mints are in the pantry, they will be gone in one sitting). You smile and walk by, maybe even wishing them good luck as you go inside to buy vegetables.
Option 2: Your neighbor is a Girl Scout. Even though you don't know the family super well, you always say hello and chat a bit whenever you see each other. You know that she plays soccer and her parents told you she made honor roll the last couple of years. She even dog sat for you once. When SHE comes knocking asking if you'd like to buy some cookies, GUESS WHAT? You DO! Because you know her. And you like her. And you want her to do well in her little Girl Scout contest. And also, you definitely want that box of Thin Mints tonight.
Moral of the story? Share authentic bits of who you are on your social media, and people will actually get to "know" you. Don't just talk about your business; pepper posts about your biz with strategically placed posts on small things that let people get a glimpse of who you are. Your adorable dog, for example. Or your love of tea. Or your not-so-secret obsession with Frasier...see where I'm going with this?
So next time you're planning your social media for the week, be sure to add in a healthy dose of "sugar" so you can give people the medicine they didn't even know they needed!
**Need help identifying your "sugar"? Shoot me an email and let's talk about it over tea.***
So stop trying to make *everyone* happy.
At my previous "day job" I worked for an awesome Women's Lifestyle site, and a big part of our job was posting videos to YouTube. While I was there, we were given the opportunity to become YouTube Certified (it's a real thing) and I took online classes, studied like a college kid, took a long-ass test, and became YouTube Certified in Audience Growth.
To be honest, the YT "Modules" were boring AF and I kinda wanted to tear my eyelashes out one by one. But lucky for YOU guys, I kept all my educational materials and distilled the most helpful information from the course into easy-to-digest nuggets of wisdom.
My main takeaway was that all the Audience Growth classes boiled down to the same basic principle:
CREATE *AUTHENTIC* COMMUNITY. Before you roll your eyes and throw up a little bit (I know I did), consider the following:
Question: Who do you actually WANT to connect with your "brand"?
Short Answer: People you'd want to hang out with anyway.
Long(er) answer: It's kind of like online dating...if you fudge in your profile, chances are you're not gonna get dates who are actually compatible with the *real* you. Sure, you can keep up the pretense that you're a magical unicorn who always shaves her legs, only watches tv for the news, and likes the Lakers, but eventually they're gonna see you with no makeup and spikey legs watching 'The Bachelorette' while wearing your Warriors jersey.
The best part about just doing you and not worrying about making *everyone* (and their mother) happy? It makes connecting with your true community
SO. MUCH. EASIER.
Just by being who you *already* are, and creating posts for people you *already* like, you are eliminating most of the "branding" busywork//bullcrap that feels icky and that real, engaged users can smell a mile away.
So, why not stack the deck and make your life (and growing your following) way easier?? Post about stuff you already like, for the people you'd already want to hang/work with. Your life will be a *LOT* simpler, and a *LOT* happier for it!
Want help defining your strategy to reach the right kind of people? Shoot me a note and let's chit chat about it during your own personal tea time!
...You can only be who you are.
A couple weeks ago I was asked a question that sounds like the answer should be super complicated, but in reality is quite simple:
Question: "I'm overwhelmed...Where do I even *start* when creating my 'brand'?!"
Short Answer: "Post about stuff you like anyway."
Long(er) answer: One of the most important elements to creating a successful online presence (and one of the biggest challenges for literally everyone) is to STAY CONSISTENT. And the easiest way to stay consistent is to create content that vibes with *who we are in the first place*.
Being exactly who you are means your content is going to be one, super important word: SUSTAINABLE
Think about it this way... if you're a vegan and you're cooking vegan meals every night, how likely are you to start a business that posts about hamburgers? Not very. Because it would take a LOT of research and work for you to constantly try to come up with new stuff to say about hamburgers. Because you don't eat hamburgers. Because you're a vegan. It would, however, be very easy for you to talk about different salad recipes. And plant-based proteins. And dairy substitutes. Because you're a vegan. Get it?
It sounds cheesy (sorry, vegans), but it's true. You have to figure out who you are, before you can attract the *right* people/clients/customers to your site. And then you have to KEEP COMMUNICATING who you are in a clear, sustainable, effective way. If that sounds daunting, don't worry! It did to me too!...
Which is EXACTLY why I came up with TEA TIME:
To give you the shortcuts I wish I'd had when figuring out how to fit all the different sides of me (Actress! Writer! Feminine Feminist!) into one, consistent package while still staying true to myself.
So where do you start when you're trying to hone in on who you are? Well, there are a lot of questions you can ask that'll help you figure it out. Kinda like those Buzzfeed quizzes that tell you which 90's movie character you are. (Don't lie, you know you've played more than one. And if you're curious, I'm Winifred Sanderson from 'Hocus Pocus'.)
Subscribe to this blog and stay tuned for what some of those questions are!
Or, of course, you can hire me to help you figure it out: HERE.
Tea Time w/ Kelsey Formost
Taking the mystery out of "social media marketing" for, like, normal people without a computer science degree.
These bite-sized tips are very helpful Kelsey, thank you. Your way of not making me feel stupid and sending them with love makes all the difference. Thank you - keep them coming!