Mind Your Business

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Before I founded Zelma Rose, I was a psychotherapist.  Well, first a fine artist, then a psychotherapist, and now the crazy businesswoman you see before you today.  While I no longer practice as a psychotherapist, I still love to wax intellectual about all things of the mind and offer psychologically minded business consultation and coaching to small business owners and companies through Lisa Anderson Shaffer Consulting. Just last year, Sarah was working at a non-profit thinking dreaming about becoming a professional photographer.  After meeting by chance at Renegade Craft Fair in July 2010, we started a blog last year named Awfully Grand.  It was an experiment meant to chronicle the beginnings of our businesses, including all the oh so glamorous ups and downs, leaps without looking, and sleepless nights associated with running your own show. We no longer post daily on AG anymore, but our blog and love of all things freelance has grown into a consulting and business boot camp known as Success Squad & Mind Your Business.


Success Squad is a monthly meeting held for Makeshift Society Members to present current business challenges and receive constructive and creative feedback from peers.  We love facilitating this group and are always inspired by the challenges and solutions that members pose. As facilitators, fellow business owners constantly approach us with questions about how we run and maintain our businesses and how we made the jump to completely change our game.  So we thought, why not come up with a class? Mind Your Business is our newest venture and partnership and is designed to help women take their business to the next level. Wherever you are in your business, we want you to feel confident, free to take risks, and make your dream a reality.  In short, we want you to MIND YOUR BUSINESS.

We have lined up an amazing group of speakers: Giselle – owner or the gorgeous store in NoPa called Rare Device, Maggie owner of an employee perks company called WhiskSF, Nicole a business strategist and PR expert that owns her own company, Karrie – video goddess and owner of VideoKard, Stephanie – fashion designer and owner of Honey Cooler Handmade that are going to talk about risk taking, branding, marketing, hiring employees, how to handle a big project and how to make your small business dreams come true!

Mind Your Business Class Promo from Sarah Deragon on Vimeo.

I’m excited to say that Mind Your Business kicks off March 9 & 10 at the Makeshift Society!  We have a great weekend planned full of inspiring speakers and fun activities designed to get you thinking and moving on your business goals for 2013.  We are all about action.  There are a lot of DIY business and marketing opportunities out there that give you questions and no answers.  What???!!  We love answers, direction, and action!  Be prepared to get going, take some risks and elevate your game.  It’s on!!

For more about Mind Your Business go to the class listing on the Makeshift Society website, and don’t forget to join us for our first Mind Your Business Twitter chat Tuesday February 19 at 3pm PST.  We will be using the #mindyourbusiness and moderating from @LisaAShaffer.  Follow along to meet our speakers and get a sense of what you will be in for March 9 & 10! For a taste of our philosophy, you can join Lisa for her Boundaries for Better Business Class on Wednesday February 27 at the Makeshift Society.

Teacher Spotlight: Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

For this teacher spotlight, we are highlighting Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls who has been teaching the Calligraphy in the 21st Century from A-Z class. She has already taught one of the series, which I took and found quit inspiring, and has sell out classes in February, March, and April! Maybelle has been doing calligraphy for many years and has had her work featured in Martha Stewart Magazine and on the Today Show.
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A: How long have you been working with calligraphy?

M: Ten years.

A: What made you want to teach this class?

M: For a few years now people have asked me if I taught classes anywhere.
A good friend of mine mentioned  to Rena that I was teaching calligraphy. She contacted me and soon after I paid a visit.
I loved the clubhouse space and concept behind Makeshift Society. It made a lot of sense to me that I should offer a class like “Calligraphy in the 21st Century” at this time and place in my life.
A: How was your experience teaching at Makeshift?
M: Something very magical happened for me while teaching at Makeshift Society. There is a nice energy happening there.
The clubhouse draws a nice mix of creative people in San Francisco, and I have found that I am so inspired by each and every one the students that are in my classes.
Thank you, Maybelle! Be on the look out for more classes from Maybelle at Makeshift.
-Ashley

 

Weekly Class Wrap-Up February 4-8

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One of our members Susan O’Connor wanted to preview her talk for SXSW next month. It was on videogames, her specialty, and the surreal world of videogame development. She presented it to a few of our members, including Rena. They offered advice and suggestions on Susan’s rough draft of her talk. Through the critiques and working out ideas, Susan found that she perhaps did not want to actually present on the topic as planned. Susan is now preparing an even better presentation!

 

Retail Readiness

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Rena’s class was, in her words, “Awesome!” She talked to a motivated group of makers and manufacturers and even illustrators about getting their line ready for wholesale. One participant flew down from Portland, OR for the day (from Scout Books) and left us a bunch of free samples. Everyone was excited, and one of the participants has a book coming out soon too; we may do a stamp-carving workshop with her.

 

Top Tips for DIY PR

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This panel was led by Genevieve Brazelton, Emma Starks, Katherine Nelson, and moderated by Jordan Kushins.  Each panelist spoke to what their top tip is for those interested in doing their own PR. Topics that were covered included:

Defining your story- find out what makes you different, and who is your ideal client.
Understanding how a reporter works– investigate deadlines, finding out why your pitch relevant right now, don’t pitch everywhere.
The importance of photography- good photos can dictate coverage of your product, have an arsenal of photos for different audiences, and if anything do invest in quality photography.
Building relationships through social media- chose 2-3 social media platforms that fit your brand identity, and stick with what is fun for you. Don’t force yourself to use every platform. Follow influencers and peers, and don’t be afraid to reach out. Interesting connections can be made from commenting on statuses or asking questions.

The audience asked a lot of really good questions, and received a nice range of answers/feedback.

Getting Social: A Beginners Guide to Social Media

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Meighan O’Toole loves the internet and she wants you to love it too.  This class covered a variety of topics including: how to post, tweet, and pin correctly. Best practices- the do’s and don’ts of social engagement. Cultivating community and brand evangelism. Publishing platforms, helpful apps and tips. Meighan stressed the basics- decide what social media platforms make sense for you, define your voice, and create a posting strategy. The class learned nifty tricks to make your Facebook posts neat and tidy, how to tag correctly, and hashtag best practices.

The Creative Professional: Personal Image and Your Brand

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Shana Astrachan of Fox & Doll Hair & Makeup (and one of our part-time residents) led a small group in a discussion of how your personal image can affect the branding of your business.  She advised that you can be creative with how you show your branding- if you make jewelry you should wear at least one piece of your own creation. If you are a designer, you can have one of your designs made into an iPhone case or have stickers or labels made for various items that are seen in public. The class was also shown the 10 basic makeup steps that can serve as a starting point for more creative looks.

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Serena & Lily Art Auction

There was a fabulous turn out for the art auction a couple weeks ago. Our members are the best! The ladies at Serena & Lily wanted to personally thank those who came out:

“From all of us at Serena & Lily, we want to THANK YOU for an incredibly successful Art event! The turnout was fantastic, everyone had a wonderful time, and together we raised more than $5000 for Creativity Explored!

Below are pictures from Kate Skogen, who did a great job capturing the event.”

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The Importance of Photography and Your Brand

Are you suffering from a rare combination of headshot shame with a fear of taking pictures? Oh, you know who you are Mr. iPhone-selfie-webcam-lover.

Hi, I am Sarah, owner of Portraits To The People, a photography business that specializes in not-so-corporate headshots and I’m collaborating on this blog post with the fabulous, Nicole Delger, who helps growing businesses with their branding and marketing. Today, we are here to talk to you about the importance of having fabulous photography on your website and we have some examples to show you as well.

Nicole on why you need great photography to help build your brand:

If you are a small business owner, YOU are the face of your business. And because most of us are incredibly Googleable (sorry to the Smiths of the world), it is important to have a stunning photo (or photos) that reflects who you are as a person, your gorgeous products, or your brand.

You might think that the photo your friend took of you at that bar the other night or the self-portrait you took with your iPhone in the mirror will do a great job as the “about me” photo on your website. And it will…. if you’re promoting a hobby. But, I know you’re not a hobby. You’re smart, talented and looking to build your business and make a name for yourself.

Here’s why this is hard: photography that represents your products clearly and effectively isn’t so easy to pull off on your own. But hiring someone can feel like a big investment among the thousands of other things on your plate. But I believe beyond your website, great photography is the next most important aspect of your brand. I know from experience. My client, artist Todd Sanders, works with neon. Neon is gorgeous in person, but incredibly difficult to shoot. And for my own brand, my company is my name.

But it’s not just about a getting a gorgeous photo. Using a great photographer in all aspects of your business creates consistency in your brand, too. Just like your logo, font, and colors help establish your brand, professional and stylized photos of both you and your product can amplify your brand’s presence.

Sold on why you need it?

Here are Sarah’s expert tips on working with photographers, and how you can get the most out of your photography:

The gift of a great eye, fantastic cameras/lenses, and Photoshop prowess are reserved for a select few. So be savvy when hiring a photographer for your business and make sure you look through their portfolio and see consistency in their work.

Once you land on the right person, you can negotiate usage upfront. Images can then be used beyond the website in press materials, on business cards, and for archival purposes. They can also go to work online – on your website, LinkedIn, Facebook business page, as your Twitter profile, added to business cards, or speaking engagements and press. Heck, I have clients send hard copy prints to their moms & grandmothers!

When is the last time you Googled yourself and checked out the images that are linked to your name? You should be among the top results. I make sure to embed metadata in my client’s images, so that when they are posted online, they will immediately appear in Google. If you post your photo on your site and use that link when you post online – both to your blog or on others – you’re lovely new photos will rise to the top of those search results in no time. Cool, huh?

And I will let you in on a secret, a good professional photographer will make sure to really get to know you before meeting up for the shoot. I send an extensive questionnaire to my clients, so that I can fully understand what they need in terms of photography and get a sense of their personal style. I’ve taken photos of individuals, entire offices, jewelry, products, office spaces and lately I’ve been doing a lot of personalized photos that small companies are using for stock photos on their websites.

My clients are small business owners, dancers, musicians, lawyers, owners of a PR companies, non-profit consultants, therapists, massage therapist, start-up founders – the list goes on and on. But the thing that is consistent? When you’re the face of your business, it’s important to step up how your present yourself to potential customers.

So that’s the cure for your headshot-idis. It’s treatable, and we’re here to help.

Sarah + Nicole

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