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How to use branding to attract your ideal client

 

 

Picture your ideal client…the one who doesn’t question your pricing, pays your deposit no questions asked, and sings the praises of your work. We could all use more clients like that, right? But sometimes booking these clients feels like booking a unicorn. The good news is that they DO exist, you just need to find a way to reach them.

 

Say your ideal client stumbles across your website or Facebook page. Do they see a business they connect with? Beyond just your portfolio, is the design of your website, your logo, and the colors you’re using speaking to your ideal client? A compelling brand identity is crucial to getting more business from those unicorns.

 

Today, I’m sharing three steps to up your branding game and attract your ideal client!

 

First off, let’s define what “brand identity” means. A brand identity encompasses all of the visuals associated with your business: your logo, website, colors, fonts, patterns, and imagery. You can attract your ideal client by making sure your brand identity is as on point as you are. Here’s how...

 

Step 1: Determine your target market

As a newborn photographer, you are most likely targeting moms. But the more specific you can be about what type of mom, the more you will connect with your ideal client. In the United States, moms are generally 25-35 years old. Now, determine her style, what income bracket she’s in, and where she lives. Knowing exactly who you’re trying to reach will help focus your efforts on attracting the right type of client. It can even help to write a bio for her so you can actually picture her as you’re developing your brand identity. Ask yourself regularly whether she would be attracted to the design decisions you’re making.

 

Step 2: Develop a brand style guide

Developing a brand style guide is so helpful for creating consistency throughout all your marketing platforms from your website to your social media pages to your printed materials. A brand style guide is a document that defines your brand and sets rules for design application. By setting design rules, you are limiting your brand to one specific style. While that may sound like a negative thing, defining your design aesthetic and sticking to it will create consistency in your brand. That aesthetic should be well thought through, taking into account your vision for your business and your target market. For this reason, I highly suggest hiring a professional graphic designer who specializes in branding to create your style guide for you. If you create a set of design rules that don’t align with your vision and don’t reach your target market, a style guide might actually hurt you more than it would help.

 

A brand style guide should include the following:

  • Vision statement and target audience

  • Logo use and guidelines

  • Color palette

  • Typography

  • Photography style

For a more in-depth style guide, you can include things like communication standards (tone of voice, capitalization and grammar standards, etc.), social media standards (what profile image you use across all of your platforms, how often you post, what are things you do or don’t post about, etc.). Defining all of these elements will make sure you are always connecting with your target market.

 

Step 3: Implement your brand identity across all of your marketing channels

Consistency is key for building a recognizable brand. If your business cards look different than your website, you might confuse and deter a potential client. So once you’ve established your brand identity, it’s a matter of implementing it across all your marketing platforms. I suggesting blocking out a week in your schedule to devote to implementing your brand identity once it’s established. You can even promote your “brand reveal” to excite your tribe and launch your new, fresh look all at once.

 

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and create a brand that represents you as a professional and connects with your ideal client, then developing a brand identity is your next step. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me (danica@humbledesign.studio). Go get those unicorns!

 

 

Danica’s Bio:

I'M DANICA FINNEGAN, THE OWNER AND GRAPHIC DESIGNER BEHIND HUMBLE DESIGN STUDIO.

 

I love helping small businesses and non-profit organizations reach their goals through professional graphic design services including branding, print and website design. With an MBA in graphic design and five years of experience, I combine advanced design strategy with a passion for making our clients feel understood and valued.


We are fresh out of tax season yet barely a quarter into the current tax year. This is a great time to take a look at your business and make sure you understand your tax situation and all the pieces that create it. I often compare taxes to painting a room. No one really likes doing it, but they love the end result! The success is truly in the prep work and planning. I have compiled a list of items that I find many of my new freelance clients have struggled with  to share with you.

 

Here are 5 Things every freelancer should understand:


1.     Your Entity

Whether you are moonlighting, part timing, freelancing or going all in with a  full time gig. If you provide goods or services in exchange for currency you are in fact, operating a business. There is a handful of ways to structure your business. They each have different requirements, rules and tax implications. It is important to know your business entity and what it means. A vast majority of freelancers are sole proprietors or Limited Liability Companies (LLC’s) Many do not realize that they are both taxed the same way. This means that your net profit (Income - Expenses = Net Profit) carries to your 1040 tax form and you are responsible to pay self-employment taxes on it regardless of how much money you actually took out of your business. If you are a partnership you need to make a sure you have a proper partnership agreement in place. If you are considering forming an S-Corp for the tax benefits we should setup a call. There are points when converting to an S-Corporation makes more sense for your business. For the sake of the majority the rest of this is written for those operating as Sole Proprietor, LLC or Partnerships.


2.    Self Employment Tax

You are required to pay self-employment tax on your net profit. Self employment tax is made up of the Social Security and Medicare however since you are self employed you now get to pay both Employee and Employer portion. The self-employment tax rate is 15.3%. (12.4% social security & 2.9% for Medicare. For those who make over a certain threshold there is another tax call Additional Medicare Tax which is .9%. You need to be aware of how much you are projected to owe so that you can make the proper estimated tax payments


3.    Estimated Taxes

If your net income is over $1000.00 for the year you are required to pay quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid penalties.  This means calculating your net income each quarter and then calculated the self employment taxes above. You may also need to make state estimated tax payments. If these payments are not made you will owe the full amount at tax time with penalties for not paying timely each quarter.



4.    What To Track

Income

The revenue piece is easy you need to track ALL the money you receive in exchange for your services.  


Expenses

Expenses are a little trickier but really anything that you purchase in order to do business is an expenses here is a list of most of the basic freelance expenses you should be tracking:

  • Expenses

  • Advertising & Marketing

  • Charitable Donations

  • Education (Seminars, Webinars, & Classes)

  • Equipment

  • Event Fees (conferences, Expos, Wedding shows etc.. )

  • Home Office Deduction (your mortgage interest, rent, utilities check it HERE)

  • Insurance

  • Interest (on loans or business credit cards)

  • Internet Service

  • Legal & Professional Services(Accountant, Attorney, etc…)

  • Mileage (to and from client meetings, jobs, buying supplies, checking your post office box, making bank deposit)

  • Office Supplies

  • Post Office Box

  • Props

  • Software (all of it photo editing, QuickBooks you name it)

  • Studio Rent

  • Sub Contracted help (Second Shooter, assistant)

  • Subscriptions and dues (Bridal magazines, photography etc)

  • Taxes

  • Telephone

  • Travel Expenses (if you travel overnight for a shoot or show)

  • Website


5. How to track it

You know you need to track ALL income and ALL expenses. The easiest way to do this is to log it as you go.  A spreadsheet would suffice but I recommend QuickBooks Online to all freelancers. QuickBooks will download transaction directly from you bank  you just categorize into the right accounts and Viola! You can even take pictures of receipts with your phone enter the expenses that easily. When tax time comes you just print up the profit and loss and you are good to go. (your Accountant will love you) But even better than this is the fact that you can use QuickBooks yourself as a tool to build your business. If setup properly you can see what type of sessions are bringing in the most revenue and where you spending your money. You can invoice and accept payments electronically right in QuickBooks and with the phone app you can take deposits at expos or on site. Everything is stored in the cloud so you never have to worry about backing up and you can access from anywhere at anytime from any device. You can dive in and really see what QuickBooks does HERE


BONUS: Know when to wave the white flag

Now that I have shown you the important pieces that compile your tax situation. It is crucial that you also know when to call in a professional. Many freelancers tend to start out wearing all of the hats. You need to realize your time value of money. You should spend your time where it makes sense in your business. If you are spending hours trying to learn QuickBooks or understand taxes that is time you could be working on gaining new clients and increasing your revenue. As you grow it important to have a pro in your corner to handle all of these details and help guide you while you focus on what servicing your clients. I urge you to setup a FREE 20 minute assessment call HERE if you are ready to break up with your bookkeeping and focus on your business.


Sources:


IRS Estimated Taxes

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p505.pdf


Self Employment Taxes

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/self-employment-tax-social-security-and-medicare-taxes


Publication and Forms for the Self-Employed

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/publications-and-forms-for-the-self-employed

Sales Tax


Written by Tiffany Bastain

www.bastianaccounting.com 

https://www.facebook.com/BastianAccounting 

 

 

 

Imagine knowing exactly what your website’s visitors think when they land on one of your pages for the first time. Now imagine knowing that for FREE.

 

Sound impossible? Think again. This is exactly the service that Peek offers. Peek is an online tool that enables you to go behind the screens of real people as they navigate your site or app for five minutes. You even get a video recording of the result. Amazing, right? It is one thing to ask for the opinion of your family and friends as they peruse your website - they will always be a little biased and not want to hurt your feelings. It is totally different when you get a fresh, unbiased view from a complete stranger. It’s pure honesty at its best.

 

 

 

How To Know If Your Website Is Easy To Navigate With This FREE Tool

 

One of the first things we need to figure out when we create a website ourselves is its purpose. That is the reason why you created your own website in the first place, and all of your efforts should be united to make that happen. When visitors stumble upon your website, are they supposed to subscribe to your e-mail list, book one of your services or establish you as an expert in your field? Have you added something that distracts them from doing that or, even worse, makes them want to leave? How do they perceive you and your brand? As much as we can add elements to direct them in that particular manner, there is no way to know for sure what our visitors actually think and do until we test it. That is where Peek comes in.

 

So how does Peek work, exactly?

 

It’s fast, easy, and 100% dummy proof. On their homepage, select from the drop down menu whether you want the tool to test your website (or blog for that matter - it does not discriminate), mobile site or mobile app. Then just paste your website’s URL in the designated area (where it says ‘My Website URL’), click start, and fill out your personal information (first name, last name, company name, company size, work e-mail address, work phone number, job title, and country, as shown in the screenshot below).

 

How To Know If Your Website Is Easy To Navigate With This FREE Tool 

Once you click ‘get my test!’ the tool will send your website to a regular, everyday user to test its capabilities, functionalities and ease of navigation. As this user moves about your website for five minutes, they will say their thoughts and observations out loud, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. They are provided with prompts and questions from Peek itself to make sure they address all the necessary parts. In just a few hours (in my case, it specified under 24, but I got the result in just a couple of hours), you will get an e-mail with their insights recorded on video. The standard setting is having this video public, but you can edit the privacy settings from public to private, as I did below, so that no one else sees the results.

 

How To Know If Your Website Is Easy To Navigate With This FREE Tool

Once I received my recording (I submitted a Sales Page for my free 5-day e-mail course), I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the visitor knew exactly what my intention was: to get people to sign up for the e-mail course and thus join my e-mail list. She even was stimulated herself to sign up. This means that the copy on the page is emotional enough to trigger action, even if the person was not thinking that she needed that kind of advice or service - another plus. On the other hand, she criticized my one, 

long scrolling page, mentioning that I should break it down into various pages, to make the website’s navigation easier.

 

When you analyze the results you receive, you have to think about your purpose as well, not just what the visitor mentions. My site’s visitor had no idea that what I submitted was a Sales Page for one of my offerings, rather than a website for my company. Therefore, adding more pages would detract from my number one goal, while the one, long scrolling page was included on purpose to provide more and more reasons to join my course as you scroll down the page. If I had followed her advice, I may have improved navigation for my visitors, but I would ultimately have a lower opt-in rate.

 

As you can see, by using Peek, you will know if there are any issues with your website, visualize what they are exactly, and understand how to fix them. Maybe a redesign is in order, or maybe everything is working just fine. Never again will you have to wonder what is going on in your visitors’ minds. Peek allows you to get into their head without actually doing so, which is a dream come true for marketers and business owners alike.

 

Pro tip: you can use this tool on any website, not only on one that you own. This means that you can submit your competitor’s website to Peek, and see where they are excelling and where they are not. This is particularly vital when you are just starting out, and are in the researching phase, gathering inspiration from numerous sources to create your own website. You can submit various websites to Peek to ultimately figure out what your pages should be, where each section should go, and what kind of copy to add so that it maximizes conversions. You can then mix and match what works to create a dazzling website of your own.


Here is an action item for you: figure out your site’s purpose (be it to have people subscribe to your e-mail list, book one of your services or establish you as an expert in your field), and submit your site to Peek to see if that purpose is being addressed correctly. Once you have received your results, come back here and let us know how it went. Maybe you will inspire others in their website creation process, or even be enlightened in your own.

 

Author Bio:

Marina Lotaif is an entrepreneur and the founder of Yes To Tech (http://www.yestotech.com). She created her company’s website from scratch without technical knowledge or hiring a professional designer. Grab her free 5-day e-mail course (https://mlotaif.leadpages.co/free-course-create-your-own-website/) that teaches you the first steps you need to take to get your site online, easily, quickly, and without going 1000 directions at once.

 

 

Avery was just over 6 lbs at birth and soooo tiny during her newborn session.  The quote "and although she be but little she is fierce" comes to mind when I think of miss Avery.   She was so sweet during her session and slept wonderfully, letting me pose her.

 

I met Avery's parents a couple of months prior during a maternity session - I love spending some time with the parents ahead of their newborn sessions.  It really helps to get to know one another and feel comfortable by the time the newborn session comes around.

 

Along with Avery, mom and dad brought big brother Andrew who was absolutely amazing with his new baby sister.  He was gentle and such a ham!  At just over 9 years old, he was already so smitten with baby Avery.

 

- Catherine King

 

 

 

 

 

About the photographer:

A little about me:  I am Kat of Catherine King Photography, a CT newborn photographer located on the shoreline.  I am a wife and a mother to two active girls (as well as a mom to a very rowdy Yorkie and recently an even more energetic Boxer pup).  I love shoes, wine, and gorgeous sunsets beachside. 

 

My Madison, CT in-home studio is set up with studio lighting - I use an Alien Bee 400 with a 60 inch Octagon Softbox. I have a Canon D Mark iii and my go-to lenses for newborn sessions are my Canon 50 1.2, Sigma 35 1.4, and Sigma 105 2.8.  Although I do occasionally fall back to my Canon 24-70 2.8 for some larger families. 

 

Website: http://catherine-king-photography.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CatherineKingPhotography/ 

Each month we like to reward our members with exclusive discounts to our favorite vendors! This month we are featuring Just Hatched Designs and Photography Props! Hayley has so kindly provided all NBP members with an 18% off discount off most items (excluding super sale bundles) just for being an NBP member! If you would like to receive the coupon code, please log in to your NBP account at www.newbornphotography.com
Offer Expires 04/31/2017.


Photo credit: Pebbles and Polka Dots Photography 

The story about the birth of this company is short and sweet: I am a creative pisces who loves crafting and designing. I had twins in January and while at their newborn session, one of my best friends suggested I make headbands and other photography props and sell them - this way I could stay home with my children and contribute to the family! I will one day go back to teaching, which is my first calling :) I jumped in with both feet, started designing at all hours of the morning while the twins were awake and wanting to be held!! I had a logo designed and with some help from some friends and family I launched in March 2013!
Just Hatched Designs "hatched" on March 2nd, 2013 shortly after the birth of my twins in January!! Our shop specializes in newborn tiebacks and layering sets, vintage inspired bonnets, baby headbands, knitted blankets, wraps, headscarves, and upcycled sets. We have various inspired designs that draw from the beautiful natural surroundings of British Columbia, Canada. We aim to provide props all many different price points and offer mega savings sales throughout the year so every photographer can have beautifully handcrafted items in the collection! 

I want to take a moment to thank my three children, Logan, Mila, and Liam whose births directed me back to my creativity, my mother, who, during her sweet time on earth, helped me with my children, shipping and packaging, and continually inspired designs. Life and this business will never be the same without her presence, but, Pamela Mary, Mom, none of this would have been realized without your support, love, and belief in me as a designer, teacher, daughter, friend, woman
-Hayley Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Just Hatched Designs: