In today’s Q & Cake (our own fancy version of Q & A) Elisabeth and Cami discuss several questions from listeners about deciding if you should hire a business coach and how much you should invest in your biz when starting out. They’re dishing out their best copywriting tips. Plus, they’re digging into questions about wedding invitations that involve: ensuring that guests receive their invitations via the USPS and offering a digital file service for clients who want to DIY the printing process. These are questions from fellow artists, calligraphers, designers, stationers, etc. that will hopefully help you in your own biz journey as a creativepreneur!
Have you ever had a business coach? And would you recommend one? – Samantha of @theletteringgrove
So I had decided a couple years back. Oh my gosh, I guess it was the beginning of 2019 right Cami that I was going to have a business coach.
But I went way outside my industry. I was like, I don’t want anyone in the creative industry. I want somebody with an outside perspective so I can get their thoughts no mistake, like, I needed somebody like in the industry enough to understand what I was doing and what I was offering because she just came from a totally different background, she was seriously the sweetest woman in the world. Like She’s so nice, really, really loved her a lot. But I think both of us kind of knew that it wasn’t working. So when I brought it up, like halfway through our sessions, or so I was like, I’m so sorry. Like, honestly, this is on me, because I thought this is what I wanted. I thought I wanted somebody outside the industry, but it’s not the right fit. And then I did not find anyone else after that.
And I have not had a business coach. So I can’t say I’d recommend one. I am a little wary of business coaches. I think we might have talked about this on something before but I am a little bit wary of business coaches, just because I’m like, Who are you to tell me what to do unless you are like someone else in this industry who is like growing a business exactly like what I want to be And then I can learn from what you’ve done versus just being like, get out there and sell your stuff and you know, like, like a mindset coach or something like that. But that’s not something that appeals to me personally.
What advice do you have for copywriting? I have to write all the time for my business, from website copy to Instagram captions, and often find it very difficult to know where to start. – Sophie @sophiekaplan
I feel like the strategy is different based on like your website versus Instagram, like Instagram is more like telling a story. And then website copy is so much more like refining, refining or finding until it’s perfect and like constantly tweaking that. And so honestly, the best place to start is literally just start and I mean, like taking a Google doc and like, what I do for copyright is I just start writing like phrases that I know I want to say like they don’t even like make sense at that point in time, but they’ll be like, Oh, I know, I want to say something about how like, my business is sweet tea and a champagne glass. So I got to figure out where I want to put that or something. So I’ll just write out random phrases, and then just start to like, piece them together like a puzzle until it starts to make sense.
Or like for Instagram, maybe I just get like one like smidgen iota of an idea and I will instantly write it in my notes. So I’ll remember it later on, on my iPhone and then can just like go back and build up upon that because it is difficult to like stay inspired with copywriting And I feel like maybe I’m not the best person to ask this because I am more of like a creative copywriter and I’m like all over the map.
So, if you’re looking for something that’s more templated there are templates out there for like about pages like, “Hi. I’m so and so. These are the three things I love or whatever and I, you know I serve this type of client.” Those types of templates could be good starting points.
And then another good tip I would say is just like talking out loud like recording yourself just talking on your phone like about your business or about yourself or about a product and then just like copying that word for words, you actually get your brand voice in the way that sounds really natural to you and not just like really stiff.
Do you have any advice (design wise or postal process) to ensure the guests receive their invitations. (ie: asking the post office to hand cancel the invitations, using non-machinable stamps, adding an exterior envelope for wax seals, etc…) Thank you for all of the advice, it is greatly appreciated. – Sarah of @stationerymovementweddings
Well, Sara, sadly, there really is like, additional steps you can take to ensure it like it’s basically just like once it goes out in the mail, like it’s up to the USPS. Like in terms of any additional insurance you could do, the only thing I can think of is like adding extra postage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean like it’s gonna get there and like not chopped up like we were literally just talking about this. But that is like the only extra step you could do is like adding extra postage, and getting a hand cancel, but even then, like it might go through a machine. So the short answer is no.
You just really can do your best. And that is 100% why we have the USPS mailing agreement because things are going to go wrong like it’s not like that they might like there’s gonna be some point in your life as a stationer something’s gonna go around with USPS. Like it’s just how it is and it really sucks but you know, when you’re mailing out 100 invitations there’s gonna be a small percentage that won’t be delivered and something’s gonna happen.
Yeah, yep, definitely check out the USPS mailing agreement that is on our website, it will definitely give you peace of mind and it just helps realign your client’s expectations too of what could possibly happen when things go through. So you can do the hand canceling and all that good stuff all day. But at the end of the day, there’s no like true way to 100% protect every invitation’s arrival.
and I guess if you Also wanted some extra peace of mind maybe like having a few extras on hand just like so you feel good about it like I have extras they always make me feel like safe. I don’t know why, like on the go if something goes wrong, I do have some extras like, I don’t know. So if you need that peace of mind to me, that’s something else you could think of that’s like something you can proactively do, you know, because sometimes just even if you feel like you’re being proactive, it helps.
How much should I invest in my business to start off financially? – Anne of @annecallahandesigns
I feel like $1000 was like the perfect amount because basically, I was like, Alright, I’m going to like, open another bank account, and I’m going to put my thousand dollars in there. And I’m going to use that to kind of like buy a couple things and I need to get started. And then once I have more than $1,000 in my bank account, I know I’m making money that was like basically my logic at the time. So like, that’s what I did is like I gave myself that much. But I think like with our industry, you could probably start off with less if you needed to.
Yeah, I’m like, trying to think what I mean, I obviously was not like, I’m gonna take $1,000 like, I was not organized like that. I was just like, Okay, I’m gonna go buy some prints of my work, which I probably spent like 100 bucks, maybe. And then I was like, I should have a website. And I think I already had a website. So I just turned it into an art website. So whatever that was a month. And that’s really all I did, y’all. I don’t think I set aside any other particular money. Like now I’m thinking about it. And like, in a way that would be like, this is the amount you should use.
And I also think like, what your business is, and like, if you’re like, starting into wedding invitations, like, I feel like there’s a very, like, low overhead to get started financially with that, you know, versus if you’re like, trying to start into products, which there’s going to be higher overhead if you like, have to actually buy stuff to, like, invest in to start selling. So yeah, I think you could definitely get away with like, $500, maybe even less than that, if you really wanted to, you know, we’re just like, this is gonna be what I start my business with. Like, I’m definitely a big proponent of like, having a debt free business, like there’s no reason to, like, you know, go buy a shop and like buy all the fanciest printer equipment and like, use up a ton of money. When you’re just starting out like this is an industry it’s really kind of nice that you don’t need a ton of money to get started with.
My biz partner Rachelle and I look forward to your podcast every week. Thanks for bringing helpful tips into the open in such a relatable, fun way! We share one thing in common with you two: we also live in two different states…Indiana and Washington. Navigating the world of state laws and taxes and banking is difficult enough without adding the burden of two different sets of rules. Can you share your top 3 pieces of advice for other business owners who might be trudging through the same unique obstacles? Thanks! – Kelly of @joleepaperie
I actually recommend getting an LLC set up right away and choosing which state the LLC is going to be in because that’s going to make your life a lot easier. Yeah. Because then things for the business will be dictated by those laws
of one state of just one state. So you’re just like our business is based here and one of the partners lives there. So Biz Birthday Bash is technically based like by paperwork based In Florida, yeah, we only have to follow those state laws. And then for the LLC, like Elisabeth has, like, when she gets her paychecks, like has to follow like Georgia tax stuff.
So the other second piece of advice is that depending on what type of business you have, and what that looks like, if you end up running payroll, then you will follow the respective laws in each state is like an employee who lives in that state. Basically what Cami was saying.
And then my third tip would be like to get a bank account dedicated specifically to your business together, where you both have access to it and you’ll probably have to get together to do that.
Yep. Yeah, we definitely did that in Florida. So Cami and I have our official business bank account. And obviously either of us can log into it online whenever we need to.
Do you ever offer a digital file service to clients so they can print the invitations themselves? I have had a few requests for this but I am reluctant to do it as I am passionate about the print and paper quality of my work. Any tips on how to decline these requests without seeming like a control freak? – Emma of @bobbinandbeau.designs
Ah, no. Okay, we do not do this and this has become a big discussion. This and like physical RSVP cards have become a really big discussion in the stationery industry. Because there’s a lot of people asking for things like this.
And Emma if this is not what you want to do, just stand up for yourself and say it’s not what you want to do. And you can say it in a really, really nice way too. You can just explain to them, like, Oh, my packages include the design and the print. And I’m sorry, I don’t have an option for digital files. Like it’s as simple as that I really. Just be like I’m really passionate about the print paper quality of my work. So I just prefer to handle that. And it’s it makes it easy for you as the client like something like that is how I would word it.
And I will say that I did actually do the digital file service for a recent client because she was a very good client and I wanted to have our business for the invitations and she really wanted us to not digital save the date. So I did a digital artwork thing for that.
Yes, but she did not print it. herself. Yeah, so it’s a different situation. So like I would handle this on a case by case basis.
Yeah if they’re trying to print themselves then yeah, I would not do that, like, the digital file was different. Yeah, that’s just a hard No, because it’s like, obviously like the design has to be good. But the final product really does rely on what the papers like and I’m not to let anybody else have control over that but me.