Q & Cake

Q & Cake #32

March 1, 2022

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In today’s Q & Cake (our own fancy version of Q & A) Elisabeth and Holly tackle several questions from listeners surrounding things like how to pay yourself as an entrepreneur, how to network with wedding planners to generate referrals as a stationer, how to encourage customers to leave public reviews and more! These are questions from fellow artists, calligraphers, designers, stationers, etc. that will hopefully help you in your own biz journey as a creativepreneur!

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Hi ladies! love the podcast! As someone who is slowly making the transition to full-time, I was wondering how you deal with actually paying yourselves. I am assuming that you don’t pay yourselves 100% of your profits for each order. Do you have a set salary you pay yourself or take a certain percentage off, etc… I know to keep my business finances separate, just not sure how I actually get “paid” personally. Thanks so much for taking the time to consider this question!! 

Katya of @anelocalligraphy

[2:37] Holly 

That is a great question. I think everybody struggles with that when they start their business. If you’re Trent trying to transition into full-time like, how do you know that you’re going to make enough money to pay yourself, to quit your full-time job and do your creative side hustle or side business full time.

So like trying to think when I was transitioning to full-time, it wasn’t like a choice. It was something I just had to do. So like, I just kind of like had to take any profit that I made and put that towards bills. And that was for like the first few months. Where I was just kind of like struggling a little bit and like trying to make ends meet.

Luckily I have a wonderful husband who makes way more money than I do so he can pay more bills than I do. But now it’s a little bit easier. Um, now I just kind of pay myself whatever my bills are for the month. That’s just what I pay myself. Okay. That’s just, I think the up that my husband and I have, like, he pays XYZ bills and then I pay like my own personal bills and whatever else I need to pay. Honestly, what I pay myself fluctuates.

[5:00] Elisabeth

I think last year was the first year that I kind of moved to paying myself monthy. 

Um, for a long time, I was just trying to do it by weekly to kind of keep myself on track. I kind of tried to line it up with like what my husband’s check was coming through. I would kind of try to do it on the same day. And then I was like, this just feels like too frequent. I know that sounds silly to say with like money, like you’re like money can never be too frequent when you’re talking about every five minutes, please that’s like somebody to fall from the sky.

But it just made more sense for me to move like a little bigger chunk of money monthly, rather than like dividing it up into smaller subsets or like smaller owner’s draws for myself. So I try to keep the amount relatively similar each month, like knowing that I’ll have. The income to continue to pay myself at that level.

But there’s been months where it has been smaller, you know, like maybe I’d take like $500, but like the month before was like $3000. 

What payment options do you offer your stationery clients and what does this look like on the back end?

I want to be sensitive to the fact that there are many kinds of couples with many kinds of budgeting styles. Some like to throw everything on a dedicated credit card and rack up the reward points and others prefer to debit from a checking account or set up automatic bank draft and know they’re only spending money that they have.

With credit cards and AHC bank transfers in particular – there are two very different processing fees associated with each payment type (2.9% vs. .8%) and I’m struggling to figure out the best way to go about offering multiple options while fairly accounting for the associated fees tied to each method.

If you offer multiple options, do you just consider processing fees the cost of doing business regardless of how a client chooses to go about payment, or have you found a way to account for the differences in cost in the billing process?

Adriane of @homestead.ink

[13:40] Elisabeth 

I’ll start with my first thought, which is that I’m glad that, at least you’re already in the mindset of like transaction fees exist. There’s not much of a way you can go about avoiding them because I get frustrated talking to people sometimes when they’re like, “ I only accept payments via check or cash or whatever.” And I’m like, you’re slowing down your business and like inhibiting yourself to a degree while you’re trying to like, navigate this aspect of transaction fees, which in reality is like never going to go away.

So like every time Cami and I take a credit card payment from one of you guys for like the, a to Z directory, you know, there’s like a fee for member space for that. And there’s a Stripe fee for that. Like the credit card fee. It is kind of one of those like costs of doing business. It counts as an expense.

So, you can feel assured knowing that payment processing fees do count as a business expense. And that is, that portion is a write-off, but it’s very true that you have to be planning for that expenses on the front-end. And I would say because normally the transaction fee that’s highest is about that 3%. I don’t think you tend to have anything higher than that on credit card transactions. 

Hi Elizabeth! I noticed in your IG stories (I promise I am not a creep lol) that you were putting together portfolios to send to wedding planners. I am considering doing the same. Just curious if this strategy helped you to gain more clients and build the planner-to-stationer relationship.

Olivia of @Trout.designs

[23:52] Elisabeth 

So the fun part about this question is from it, it was from early 2020.

I obviously I was still kind of like doing a rotation stuff at that time, and that was. I was doing that a lot in like the two months of 2020 leading up to all the COVID shutdowns. So I’m glad that you saw this on my stories. I just like never answered it because obviously there was like a little bit of like bitterness there.

Yeah. But I will say that I thought. Starting to do that. Like my pivot towards trying to partner with wedding planners was beneficial. Like one of the wedding planners came back to me and was like, I’ve been keeping you in mind. I would love to have you like design this invitation suite. And I was like, well, this is kind of like awkward, like not really. Doing this anymore, but here’s like a good friend of mine who I think would like fit your style.  And then since then that planner has continued to, like, my friend is like that planners, like go-to now. So I know that it worked because like I could have been that person had, I still been in that spot taking more invitations, but. I’m very glad that I was able to like, hand that over to a friend that I trusted.

It just takes longer than you would think. It’s not going to be like, they’re not going to be like a month later. I have the perfect client for you. It’s a lot of. Nurturing and, and walking through different things and following up and staying in town, working, not working all the fun networking things.

Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge! I can’t tell you how much invaluable advice from your podcast has positively impacted my business, and I am so grateful.

Something I really struggle with is collecting reviews from custom wedding invitation clients. They will gush over how much they love their invites in an email to me, but getting someone to post a review on the internet for the world to see is next to impossible. I include links, but it still doesn’t seem to help. Maybe I am not doing it at the right point in time? Any tips on best practices for collecting reviews for custom wedding invitations?

Alexandra of @ladybirdpaperco

[29:40]  Holly 

People are very busy. They’re very busy wedding planning. We, unfortunately, when we send out invitations, come at them, you know, three months out from their wedding.

That’s like, when we’re sending requests for reviews, that’s like, go time for weddings. They are answering a lot of emails. They’re doing. Tastings for their, um, for their caters. They’re probably doing last dress fittings. They’re doing tux fitting. They’re doing all of those last minute things that have been piling up that they’ve been ignoring.

So we’re not really high up on their priority list anymore. And I think that the best way, the next way, at least what I’m going to try to get reviews is to just like hammer them. Like you write a review, I send you a request, like right after I mail your invites, I send another request. Like two weeks later, I send one, like right after you get married.

And then I send one, like two months after you get married, like try to hit them at all of the points. Within like six months of completing their invitations and see what’s the best. And

I am both a creator and a high school art teacher. I have a love for learning and creating, so that is why I am not afraid to ask you to throw out into the part of the world that listens to your podcast: What do you wish you had learned in high school art class? and What are the most valuable things you learned in high school art classes?

Nancy @thecreativeresrouce 

[43:47] Holly

 I feel like if I would taken a high school art class, I would have probably appreciated an exposure to a lot of different mediums. Like I’m not saying like spend an entire, you know, quarter nine weeks on. Like just oil painting and then another one on just water color.

But like, it’d be really cool to learn different painting mediums, different types of ceramics or pottery styles, and like how to, how to like, do all of those things, like so many different, there’s so many different art mediums out there. Like don’t just focus on one for an entire semester or. Nine weeks or whatever, like just kind of say like, what do you, you know, every couple of weeks or something, do something new and see what your students really enjoy.

And, you know, maybe if like one thing isn’t really working out very well, one year you can just kind of like scrap that for the next year and fill it with something else. But I think having variety, like Elizabeth said is like the best, the best part of art class having creative freedom and not feeling like you’re being put in a box. 

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