Are you a new business owner? Entrepreneurship can be downright scary right?!
You may have heard of Kat Schmoyer of Dear Sweetheart Events and the Creative at Heart Conference. At the age of 25 she started her first creative business and in a short span of time she has become an entrepreneur powerhouse who has successfully grown multiple businesses, allowing her to quit her day job and even hire her husband! We've tapped this down-to-earth and hard working lady to share 3 KEY THINGS that she did in her first year of business that allowed her to go full-time so quickly.
Read on to meet Kat and see what she has to say!
Hi y'all!! I'm Kat - owner of Dear Sweetheart Events & founder of Creative at Heart Conference! I started my boss lady journey in 2013 and haven't looked back!! My husband, Matt, recently joined the business and we spend our Saturday's with amazing couples and weekdays working on exciting plans for C@H and coaching boss ladies just like you. I love watching light-bulb moments go off & seeing big dreams become a reality.
We live in 2-stop-light town with our pup, Knox, and spend our down-time watching Friends & Shark Tank. A more things about me? If it comes in pink, I probably own two; I love sappy romance novels on my Kindle & I’m constantly in awe of all Jesus is doing through my business. I hope we get to connect soon, girl!
I'm so excited to be here with y'all today! For a little background: I started Dear Sweetheart Events in October 2013 after years of telling myself “no”. For the first 17 months of my boss lady life, I worked with over 30 couples on their weddings, styled over 20 shoots, launched Creative at Heart Conference AND I worked 40 hours/week. I started my boss lady journey at the ripe age of 25. Like most of you, in the beginning I genuinely had no idea what I was doing!!
Yep, I started my business as a side-hustle & spent 17 months growing the business so I could quit my day-job for my dream job!
It was a wild ride, and sometimes I look back and think “how in the world did all of that happen?!”!
But the truth is, growing your business with the constraints of a 9-5 IS possible!!
There were 3 KEY THINGS I did in my first year of business that allowed me to go full-time in the second year. I can't wait to share them:
1. Get your name out there.
I’m not talking about paying for ads on Facebook or magazines or even a blog sidebar. I’m talking about utilizing the FREE marketing that’s all around you by focusing on your INNER CIRCLE!!! Your inner circle are the followers you ALREADY have on Instagram & Facebook.
I want you to stop worrying about growing that IG following and start cultivating the following you already have. Start talking loudly about your business to your inner circle, so that they become your brand cheerleaders.
Raising your hand and fearlessly sharing about your new business is a scary but essential step. In doing so, your current circle of contacts become your biggest brand cheerleaders and will naturally begin to talk about you and help increase awareness about your business and your brand.
As you begin to pursue connections outside of your inner circle this is the MOST POWERFUL piece of advice I can offer...are you ready?
Reach out to other business women with a SERVANT heart.
We live in a consumer’s world – it’s all about ME. Well, make it about THEM. Reach out with a heart to SERVE, with a genuine desire to HELP and with a passion to walk alongside them not for selfish gain, but truly because you desire to assist. I promise you that by doing that, they will remember you!
2. Build Relationships
Through social media and blogging, I have established a very RELATIONAL brand. My clients know me, and therefore I built a desire for them to not only want a wedding planner, but to want ME and my team as their planner. That’s my goal. I want clients to know who I am, and relate to me on a level that is unlike any other wedding vendor.
Build relationships by showing them bits of your personal life & your personality on social media & your blog!
For those of you who are in the wedding industry: Try building LASTING relationships with vendors through styled shoots! Styled shoots are useful for many reasons, and one of them is the ability to work one-on-one with vendors you want to align your brand with. Styled shoots allow vendors to see you “in action”; like a “live interview” if you will! They will be able to assess your worth ethic through this hands on approach and, hopefully, want to continue working with you on other projects and on wedding day!
Build relationship by immersing yourself into the industry community.
I’ve talked about the monetary value of relationships (building relationships to book more clients), but I also want you to grasp the importance of building relationships because you CANNOT do this alone!
Isolation can be the death of small businesses.
Find women who understand, and cling to them when you’re having a rough day. Building your tribe takes time and dedication, but allow yourself the right to find friends who are walking on this journey, too.
3. Build your portfolio.
We've all heard of the term “fake it ’til you make it” right? At the heart of this statement is the reality that you will need to find a creative way to prove and showcase your value and capability sometimes long before any clients have actually hired you. There's nothing "fake" about the skill, passion and excitement that you bring to the table - you just need to find a way to show it to them!
One of the fastest ways to do this is through styled shoots.
When you’re new (and sometimes even when you’re experienced) you aren’t always working with your ideal client. But you need to have imagery that speaks to your ideal client (especially on the home-page of your website & on your social media channels!). Think about it: if you’re walking in the mall and you pass a new store, are you going to go in if NOTHING in the window display intrigues you? It’s the same for your potential clients!! They won’t stop and look if they aren’t drawn in… YOU have to draw them in!! Styled shoots are often the golden ticket to showcasing your skill and filling your portfolio with gorgeous work and there is nothing "fake" about that!
Let me let you in on a little secret to getting noticed as a new business. The images that you are using on your Instagram and Facebook page are just as important as the ones on your website.
If you are like most of us and are NOT a photographer then you need to find a way to step up your social media game so that potential customers actually make it to your website.
The SC Stockshop was a game changer for me when I was doing #allthethings while trying to build and launch the Creative at Heart Conference.
High quality styled stock photography allows you to look like a serious professional right out of the gate as you are getting your name out there and growing your brand. It enables you to select professional imagery that reflects your brand, attracts your ideal client & immediately sets your website apart!! I began using Shay’s stock imagery early on in my business and it was a game-changer.
Are you in the middle of growing your business while working full time? I would LOVE to hear what in this blog post was the kick-in-pants you needed to hear in your comments!
For more tips from Kat, check out her On The Road to Full Time Course!