The 3 Best Investments I've Made For My Creative Biz
Part of being a successful entrepreneur means that you'll need to consistently be investing in your business if you plan on seeing a return. Let's be real, as much as we sometimes want to DIY all day—we do need help and can't do it all. When it comes to making that actual investment in your biz, if you're like me, you Google stalk the crap out of a product or service and read a million different reviews to make sure it's legit and going to be worth the $$$. So, in an effort to save you the neurotic search engine frenzy, I figured I'd help you skip that part with some of my tried & true resources that have helped me uplevel my business in the past year.
Besides obvious materialistic investments such as design programs or my iPad Pro (seriously in love with those and might marry them) there have been a few standout investments I've made that were real game changers for my business.
Styled Stock Photography
This was one of my first major investments that I made for my business. I knew that I wasn't a professional photographer and my iPhone photos just weren't going to cut it. I also knew that I wanted photos for my website that were unique and reflective of my personality & brand. I'd been purchasing stock photos via Etsy & Creative Market for a while and quickly learned the Photography styles I liked most - clean, modern, & feminine. I contacted one of my favorite stock photo suppliers and asked if she was available to do custom stock photography. I was over the moon when she said yes and even more excited to be on the other side of purchasing from a creative. My custom photos were truly a game changer for my website. I'm notorious for switching up my web design every few months but one thing that has stayed constant in my designs is my custom photography. For those times that I need pretty photos on a whim, I also have a monthly subscription to another stock photography resource. Trust me when I say, this has been worth every penny and saved me a ton vs. buying individual stock images as I need them.
Here are a few of my faves for styled stock photography:
Bloom & Flourish - My brand photographer, Zipporah. Tell her I said hi if you end up working with her!
Her Creative Studio - My styled stock photo resource that saves my butt & sanity thanks to my subscription.
Charuk Studios - A highly recommended friend that does amazing work, Jessica offers custom & stock photography.
One of my favorite quotes that's always stuck with me states that "you can never be overdressed or overeducated." I also think a life well-lived is one where you're constantly learning and engaging your brain with new concepts & ideas every single day of your existence. Investing in courses, mentors, and even just investing your time into a free webinar can help you take your biz to heights you might have not dreamed up on your own. Personally, I've invested a ton of time into free webinars—the opportunity to listen to other creatives & professionals that I look up to has never felt wasted. As far as monetary investments in education & mentors, the best one I've made hands-down is with Meg Summerfield at Square Design Guild. As a web designer, I figured I would choose one platform to master, and be a boss at it too. Learning from Meg initially taught me that 1. I was not yet as much of a boss as I thought I was, and 2. How to elevate my Squarespace client experience so I can become the boss that I've always envisioned. So, if there's a course you've had your eye on or a mentor you're dying to work with—I recommend taking that chance to invest in education you truly believe in.
here are a couple of my favorite educational resources:
Square Design Guild - where I learned how to rock Squarespace, I highly recommend for anyone who wants to learn how take their Squarespace designs beyond the template.
Goal Digger blog & podcast by Jenna Kutcher - free(!) resource for all tips on managing an entrepreneurial lifestyle. This is serious gold, my friends and only requires an investment of time.
While I pride myself on my variety of skills, law & order do not fall under my scope in any way, shape, or form. I'm pretty sure a lot of creatives can relate to that sentiment—so thank goodness there are people out there willing to show us the way (or better yet, just do it for us.) When I started out, I knew I needed a contract to protect myself & my clients and to also set expectations for my projects—I just had no idea where to start or how to make it legit enough to stand up in court if needed. As if a sign from the heavens above, a ray of sunshine that is Nesha Woolery & Annette Stepanian came into my life. Nesha & Annette happened to be collaborating on free webinar (and I love me a free webinar) all about how to have an ironclad contract. Like most webinars, it ended with a sales pitch promoting Annette Stepanian's amazing templates. Well, I bit and I am so glad I did. Your contract needs to be solid, clear-cut, and drafted or reviewed by someone who actually knows how to hold their own in a court of law. What better way to attain this than with a contract template written by an actual lawyer?
Here are a couple resources for contract templates to consider:
Annette Stepanian - Where I purchased my contract. Annette specializes in legal solutions for creatives.
An extra bonus to investing in your biz? You can use the expenses as a write-off come tax season—#entrepreneurwin.