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Building brand aligned processes

I get two kinds of reactions when I talk about processes. Some entrepreneurs get defensive, telling me that they’re all about relationships. Processes turn people into numbers, and that’s not their style. Other people can talk about all the ways they’ve automated their business, but when I ask them what their customers want, they go silent.

You can have both.  A high tech experience doesn’t have to be separate from a high touch experience.  With brand-aligned processes, you can make the customer experience both efficient and enjoyable.

How do you build a brand-aligned process?

It sounds counter-intuitive, but the best place to start when building a brand-aligned process is with feelings.

Define your core feelings. 
How do you want customers or clients to feel as they interact with your brand? These descriptors will serve as your litmus test as you craft your processes. Some of my favorite core feelings are known, empowered, and valued.

Find your mix of tech and touch. 
In 2018, there is no reason to have a completely analog business. Your company should find the combinations of technology and personal touch that work for you. For one organization, I built a process that used automation to gather the key information needed to set up a  prospective client consultation that converted. It’s part art, part science. So don’t be afraid to experiment.

Get feedback.
How do you know that you’ve built a brand-aligned process? You ask! You can get as formal as a survey, or you can sneak questions into conversation. If the responses touch on the core feelings you outlined then you’re on the right track. If not, rework your mix of tech and touch until the feedback aligns to the feelings you set out to create.

In the coming months, I’ll do a deeper dive into each of the steps of building brand-aligned processes.  Comment with your questions so I can share the information that will best serve you!

This post was first published in Party Favors. Subscribe to be the first to get content from Jubilant

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Are referrals working for you?

I love making connections. Few things in business feel quite as satisfying as being able to point a colleague to a resource or connect them with another colleague who can meet their needs.

I’ve noticed something about the connections I make, it’s always easiest to make an introduction when I know exactly what the other person does.  They might have a broad scope of work, but they distill it into something bite-sized that is easy for me to remember and share. And so I share it.

This realization caused me to stop and think about referrals in my own brand and business.

How easy am I making it for other people to refer business to me?

I started with a simple question: Am I getting referrals? 

For me, the answer was yes. I have strong communities who are more than willing to send business my way when the opportunity arises.

For you the answer might be no. If that’s the case, I’d challenge you to look at your network and identify any gaps. Do you have relationships with business owners with complimentary products or services? Do you follow up with past clients? Do you refer business to other people in your community?

Then I asked a follow up question: What is the experience like when I get a referral?

Honestly, I realized that I had to ask an answer a lot of clarifying questions before I moved forward with my referral. Questions like, “Is [X] something you do?”

I’d built a community who wanted to give me referrals, but I wasn’t making it easy for them clearly understand my work in order to make the best connections.

So I reworked our website and my elevator pitch, narrowing down Jubilant’s work into three key buckets: brand purpose, visual brand platforms, and brand processes. Much simpler to communicate and to digest.

Find the opportunities for improvement in your own referral pipeline, and make tweaks until you feel like you’re getting your dream clients referred to you.

Remember that everything is test and learn. Try introducing your business differently at a networking event to see if that messaging resonates. Test out new copy in some of your prospective client communications. Keep experimenting until you find the formula that works for you.

Before I sign off, I wanted to let you know that we’re opening a free online community for people who want to infuse their brands with purpose and position themselves for success on their own terms. And you’re invited! If you’re interested, you can sign up here

This post was first published in Party Favors. Subscribe to be the first to get content from Jubilant

 

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Here’s how the best brands get better

Raise your hand if you don’t want your brand to move forward. No hitting new milestones. No fresh product offers. Just the status quo forever.

I can’t see you, but I’m picturing hands placed firmly on your desk and more than a few confused looks.

None of us wants our brand to stay the same. However, our actions tell a different story. We amplify the same strategies and expect magnified results.

Does this sound familiar? More Instagram posts. More newsletters each month. No shift in the bottom line.

Essentially, we raise our digital voices louder and louder, drowning out our clients and even our own voice.

What if there was a different way?

Your kindergarten teacher’s advice applies to business. Use your listening ears. 

Pay attention to what your customers and potential customers are saying, even when they aren’t speaking to you.

Listen without judgement. You’ll find inspiration for new products, potential business improvements, and ways to better empathize with your customer.

What does listening look like for your brand? Here are a few quick ideas:

  • Ask new subscribers a question in their confirmation email
  • If you have a Facebook group, look for themes in the organic conversations
  • Read the comments, on Instagram, on your blog posts, on any outlet where people are sharing their opinions
  • Pay attention to what clients say about the experience of working with you

If none of these ideas feel accessible, you may need to create more opportunities for listening in your brand.

Listen well. Then act accordingly. Your customers will think that you’re reading their mind.

What insights have you gotten from listening, or how do you plan to incorporate listening to your brand strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This post was first published in Party Favors. Subscribe to be the first to get content from Jubilant.

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The missing step in your goal setting process

Can I let you in on a New Year’s secret? I don’t always like making goals for myself. Yep. The woman who makes a living helping others define and achieve goals isn’t the biggest fan of doing it herself. Does that surprise you?

I have a very task-oriented mindset, and I can get so focused on taking steps towards my goals that I forget to enjoy the process. So I often pass on goals and instead focus on crafting a vision.

When presented with decisions, I ask myself, “Will this bring me closer to or farther from where I want to go?”

That question is a litmus test that keeps me from chasing after shiny objects all year long.

I tried something new this year that worked for me, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My vision-setting took place on my living room couch under my favorite red blanket. Once I was settled in,  I asked myself three questions:

  • What does my business look like now?
  • What do I want my business to look like next year?
  • What will have to happen for my business to reach its desired future state?

I had a pretty clear picture of what needed to change after walking through those questions. In fact, I completely nerded out and created new processes and systems for my businesses and my personal brand. It was my kind of wild night.

And I even made a worksheet so that you can define your vision for 2018! Get it here.

Need help getting your brand from current to future state? Say hello! We’ll get a complimentary consultation on the books and brainstorm ways to make 2018 a year worth celebrating for your business.

This post was first published in Party Favors. Subscribe to be the first to get content from Jubilant.

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Your Golden Hours Matter

“Your creative work is your baby. If anything you’re its baby”

– Elizabeth Gilbert

I work a day job. I’m out of the door by exactly 5:29 am during the week. It sounds appalling to most folks. I’d be lying if if I said that I wasn’t appalled myself at first, especially in the winter. It’s dark and chilly outside while my bed is oh so cozy.

But I’ve been on this positive thinking kick lately. And as I walked to the train earlier this week, in the zero degree weather, I told myself:

These are your golden hours!

It was this celebratory declaration. I’m at my creative peak in the morning. Words and ideas pour out of me with ease. And I get to be up every single morning to enjoy that extra boost! What a blessing!

For months, my train ride was spent trying to fall back asleep. But now that very same morning commute is a daily creative retreat. I’m better for it.

I know I’ve talked before about scheduling your day around you. As I begin to live it out again, I see that it bears repeating. I challenge you to discover and exploit your golden hours in these next few weeks.

Your time likely isn’t the early morning hours, so take note of when you have energy and when you’re most productive. Then plan your day accordingly.

I know you’ll have stories to share! Send them along by replying to this email or with #creativesworthcelebrating .

Be jubilant,

Taylor

This post was first published in Party Favors. Subscribe to be the first to get content from Jubilant.

 

Entrepreneurs

Owning Your Entrepreneurial Story

“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Writing these posts is one of my favorite parts of the job.It’s no-holds-barred, this-is-where-I’m-at, real talk.

Let me say that the last two weeks have been a doozy. I’ve felt an exhaustion like I haven’t known in a while. I almost skipped out on writing this but I knew that the process would be beneficial to both you and me.

Life right now is like me being the voice inside Google Maps, constantly reminding myself, “You are here.”

When I started Jubilant,  there were a lot of things that I thought I had to be… older, a full-time entrepreneur, a lover of Twitter. All those perceptions of what I should be made it hard for me to get raw with you, some of my favorite people on the internet.

The whole tension made me feel hypocritical. How could I tell clients to own their brand when I was only doing so half-heartedly?

Today’s newsletter represents a change for me. I’m owning my story so that you can own yours.

Allow me to reintroduce myself.

I’m Taylor, the owner of Jubilant, my side hustle. I’m a recent Vanderbilt University graduate who works full-time in a corporate job. Like many of you, my long term (three year) plan is to work for myself.

I want to do a lot more of documenting the ins and outs of having a side hustle and my journey to full-time.

This was part of my story that I needed to own. Your story might be different.

Where are you in life? Are you authentically owning it? Share your thoughts with me by sending me an email at hello@wearejubilant.com.

Be jubilant,

Taylor

This post was first published in Party Favors. Subscribe to be the first to get content from Jubilant.

 

Entrepreneurs

Simplifying Your Social Media Strategy

“Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well”

— Lord Stanhope

Social media is a sneaky little time waster. If you’re like me, you’ll log on to complete a task. Next thing you know, it’s an hour and a half later– and you still didn’t do what you meant to do.

I know that struggle, and I’ve pieced together a social media system that works for me. It’s easy. All you need to do is keep it simple, silly.

social media strategy for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs
Pick two
Pick two social media outlets that you are going to do, and do well. For me, it’s Instagram and Periscope. Focus your allotted social media time on growing these outlets.

This step has one caveat. I think everyone should be on Google+. The SEO value is worth it. I don’t create specialized content for Google+. Instead, I use automation to make sure that content from my other outlets is posted there.

Define your why
I recently met with a small business consultant (Liz Griffin, she’s great y’all), and the most valuable thing I learned was something that I already knew: define your why for your social media outlets.

Too many people waste their energy by posting and creating content that doesn’t matter. Defining your why saves you time and energy.

So think about it: Do you want to encourage people to sign up for your newsletter? Do you want to position yourself as an expert? Are you looking to show off your design aesthetic?

Define what your why is and only use content that meets your end goals.

Batch it up
I develop most of my social media content in big batches. It takes hours to research, create, and schedule the content, but then I’m basically done for two months.

Batch processing frees me up to take advantage of the true purpose of social media–interaction. I’m no longer worried about what to post, so I can spend my time engaging with my audience.

Automate, automate, automate
This one is closely related to batch processing. I use a combination of many services such as Latergram, Buffer, IFTTT, and Zapier to let my social media run itself.

Again, this isn’t a hands off approach. Automation actually helps me stay more engaged. My time on social media is spent interacting instead of juggling the management of multiple outlets.

Maintenance
In my first point, I talked about picking the two social media outlets where you expend most of your energy. Most is the operative word.

I still spend time on other outlets. However, it’s in more of a maintenance capacity.  Take Pinterest: I pin my recent blog posts and re-pin content that I think will be beneficial to others.

In essence, it’s more simplification. I do what is necessary to reap some of the benefits of a given social media outlet, but I don’t stress out about the results. My goals and analysis are tied to my two primary outlets.

This post was first published in Party Favors. Subscribe to be the first to get content from Jubilant.

 

Entrepreneurs

The magic words that will help you grow your…

 

thank you to brand guests

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the words “thank you.” It seems like businesses are really good at saying please. (Please buy this. Please sign up for this. Please share this.) However, they are not as good at saying thank you.

You can easily differentiate your brand by taking the time to say thank you… and meaning it. I thought I’d offer you a few ideas for showing your brand’s guests that they are truly appreciated.

Send a thank you note
I remember being a kid and doing everything I could to avoid having to write thank you notes. Now, it’s something I enjoy doing in both my personal and professional life. There’s nothing like that feeling of getting a handwritten note in the mail, so incorporate it into your brand experience.

Give a discount
Another easy way to say thank you is to offer a discount for return customers. For example, clients who choose to keep meeting with me after completing The Party Starter get a discount on continued sessions. It’s just an easy way for me to say, “Thanks for sticking with me, friend!”

Show them some love
This can mean a lot of things. Give them a shout out on Instagram. Highlight them on your blog. Show them that you are thankful for them through the gift of exposure.

Surprise them with a gift
This is one of my favorites! You can gift a resource that is relevant to the work that you do. You can add a little something-something to their order just because. But a gift doesn’t have to be a physical product. You can give a gift of knowledge. Record a video showing ways that they can improve their brand. Create a personalized tutorial. Unexpected value goes a long way in showing that you appreciate their business.

I’d love to hear your favorite ways to say thank you to your customers.

Be jubilant,

Taylor

P.S. I have a few coaching spots left for July. I’d love to work with you to create a brand worth celebrating!

This post was first published in Party Favors. Subscribe to be the first to get content from Jubilant.

Entrepreneurs

Networking doesn’t have to be a dirty word

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” — Jane Howard

Maybe it’s the introvert in me, but networking feels like a dirty word sometimes. I have to tell random people what I do? Do I have to always be selling my brand?I took some time to reflect on my own hangups with networking, and I came to the conclusion that most of my issues stem from one of three areas. You may be able to relate to one or many of these.

Lack of self-confidence
Jubilant just turned three months old. My client base is small. I’m fairly young in the world of entrepreneurship.It’s hard to shake the voices telling me, “Taylor, you’re not experienced enough. Jubilant isn’t established enough. Don’t put yourself out there.”Maybe you have voices of your own saying similar things. Well, those voices are liars! And little by little, I’m overcoming them.There’s no silver bullet or magic potion, just daily speaking truth to myself until the truth is louder than the voices.

Lack of self-awareness
Social media makes comparison all too easy. I find myself thinking that I need to do XYZ because so-and-so is doing it.But what works for them won’t necessarily work for me. I’m an introvert who thrives in one-on-one and small group situations.Instead of fighting my personality, I build it into my business. My service offerings, my systems, and how I go about building my network all stem from my personality.I encourage you to do a bit of self-reflection. Come up with three ways to leverage your personality and preferences in the way that you network.

Lack of community mindset
The word network immediately brings the image of a fishing net to mind. I think of each little piece being interwoven into a strong net that can catch huge fish.That’s what a network is. It’s not about collecting business cards, followers, or clients. A network is about supporting and being supported.As you emphasize community in your networking, you’ll find the idea of networking more appealing.

Want a few more ways to network? Keep reading.

Connect with Jubilant on Periscope @wearejubilant
Connect with Jubilant on Periscope @wearejubilant
Explore
Jubilant’s Facebook group is still growing. Connect with other entrepreneurs who believe in creating brands worth celebrating.

[fruitful_btn link=”http:/facebook.com/groups/thejubilantentrepreneur”] Join the party! [/fruitful_btn]

Entrepreneurs

Mid-year Goal Setting for the Creative Entrepreneur

Where has 2015 gone? We’re nearly six months in already, which means that there are six months left to achieve our business goals.

I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. One quote in particular stuck with me, and by stuck with me, I mean that I quote it to myself daily.

The days are long, but the years are short.

We can plug away at each day’s to-do list, eat, sleep, and repeat, and lose sight of the “why” behind it all. We forget to challenge ourselves. We forget to celebrate. We forget to savor.

That’s why I’m lovingly reminding you to take a second look at your goals. Ask yourself hard questions. Celebrate your wins lavishly. (This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money, but celebrate yourself the way you would celebrate a loved one who accomplished something amazing.) You may need to scrap your goals and start from scratch. Maybe you just need to tweak your goals.

The important thing is that you do it! Live out  each day in pursuit of your goals so that the cumulative effect is a year that is worth celebrating. It’s tiring, but the results are oh so fulfilling.

I made you a worksheet to get you started on your mid-year goal setting.

THE JUBILANT BRAND PLANNER (1)

 

Be jubilant,

 

Taylor

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