This month marks 6 years since I left my 9-5 and dove head first into building LISH Creative full-time. To celebrate, I am sharing 6 things I have learned over the last 6 years!
Prioritize finding great people
As great as you are, it’s impossible to do everything yourself! Maybe you’re not ready to jump into hiring employees full-time (and that’s totally ok!), but it’s important to remember that people are essential in helping you scale.
You can find great talent through recommendations, social media, job boards, etc. For freelancers (think editors and retouchers), I like to start them off with a small project so that I can get a better idea of their skill level, speed, and turnaround time.
Finding great people applies to niche needs, too! I now have a great local baker I work with to make props for all of my dessert shoots, a piñata maker I work with on Etsy and even a fall leaf supplier I recruited for our Bath & Body Works shoot!
Service your clients well
You want your clients to think that you are AMAZING to work with. Be communicative, be flexible, and make their job easier. A repeat client is the best client and they’re more likely to refer you if they know that you’re great to work with! I know when I am looking for a referral for something, I ask around! Word of mouth marketing has brought us some of our favorite clients over the last 6 years.
This work may look like it’s all about having fun and being your own boss, but believe me when I tell you that, at the end of the day, this is a client service business through and through. Even if you’re ready to throw your laptop through the wall when you get another round of feedback, it’s important to gather yourself, take a breath, and find a way to solve their problem.
You never know who a client could refer you to. Certain team members may also may switch companies and hire you again at their new company!
Refine your process
If there’s ever a miscommunication with clients (which there will be some over a 6-year span!), I try to take that experience and tweak our process to avoid that happening next time.
A great example of this is with our shot lists. I used to just write “pink” as the background color on a shot list, and now we get more specific by including a swatch of the background or even the exact Pantone color that we will match the background to in post-production, so there are no misunderstandings about background colors. As your business grows and more people are involved, communication is key!
Take breaks when you can
Unless you have a lot of ongoing retainer clients (which is a great way to make more $$), you’ll learn that your workload isn’t always consistent. Some months, like the months leading up to the holidays, may be jam-packed with client work and other months, like December or during the summer, may be slower moving as people are taking time off work. This may also vary from year to year (yes, I’m talking about you, 2020!), but I try not to worry about slow times.
Take a break, rest, or work on things that you don’t normally have the chance to work on, like batching social content or creating for a personal project. Some of the content and projects that I’ve produced in a slow time have created incredible opportunities in my business.
My TikTok presence is a prime example of this! I have received an influx of inquiries for new clients, sold more courses, increased the amount of work I receive from current clients, and brought new opportunities for brand partnerships — all from spending time learning the ins and outs of TikTok and Reels. What may have seemed like a “slow time” actually took my business to the next level!
Invest in marketing and brand-building
Once your business is up and running and you’re ready to take things up a notch, you’ll never regret investing in opportunities to expand your brand. Whether it’s updating your business with a new website, scheduling a brand photoshoot, or hiring a social media manager and virtual assistant like I did, seeking out the expert advice and help from others has changed everything for my business.
As a business owner, at some point there will be too many plates to keep spinning if you want to scale your business. Hiring help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of growth!
Listen and adapt to client needs
When I first launched my business, I offered a ton of services, but over time, I’ve adapted and evolved those services to fill the greatest needs for my clients. With the rise of TikTok and the announcement that Instagram will prioritize video, it’s become abundantly clear that my clients need video!
For example, in the past, we did about 80% still photos and 20% videos, whereas this year, it’s looking like the opposite! To keep up, I invested in new gear specifically tailored to video content (monitor, new continuous lighting, new camera). I also hired an incredible video editor and motion graphics specialist on retainer to help us bring these projects to life for our clients.
The best is yet to come
I know that the last six years have been a whirlwind for me, but I’m so grateful I made the decision to take that leap. It’s been wonderful and stressful and all the things — but I know that the best is yet to come!
We can’t wait to see what is in store for us here at LISH this next year! If you want to work with us in 2022, now’s the time to let us know! Contact us today to let us know what you’re looking for. We can’t wait to dream with you!