Ep.4: Attracting the Right Clients + Knowing Your Worth

THE SHOW NOTES

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In this episode, Kristen explains how knowing your worth as a business owner (and in life!) helps attract the right clients. Each podcast episode serves to provide you, the listener, with both inspiration and insight into being a creative entrepreneur.

The topic of knowing your worth and attracting and managing clients is something that Kristen has experienced first hand. “I literally remember THE DAY that I decided I was done working with assholes. I had to figure out a way to attract better clients,” she says. “It was a turning point that I’ll remember forever. For me, I think it was an all over shift in my business from the mind set I had toward employees and hiring, to the mindset I had with clients. I didn’t know what to google or that this was even a common problem until years later. And I don’t think I could really tell it was working for months after I started.”

She’s come to learn that attracting the right clients and knowing your worth go hand in hand in so many ways. Some, you many not event realize. 

If you’re a freelancer, creative business owner (or any business owner, really), someone working in a creative business…this episode is for you! “If you are a responsible party for any relationship where there is a client and a provider, I think there is a lot of meat in this episode that can help you,” Kristen says.

In just three episodes, we’ve found that you guys like tactics! You like to hear where Kristen has been, what she did in the situations we’ve discussed so far, and for her to tell you what she did, and point you in the right direction so you can adapt and use it in your own life. 

“Remember, I can only teach my experience, especially because I don’t have a PHD, or even a Bachelor’s degree for that matter, in anything! I just know enough to be dangerous and I like to think I’ve been paying enough attention to this entrepreneur thing to learn a little bit along the way. All of these points are what lead me to having some control, not total control, but some in our business and our clients. Which ultimately is still and hopefully always will be our bread and butter,” says Kristen.

Let’s get to it!

What you’ll learn in this episode 

1. Ask yourself, “What’s your most natural way of being and working?”  

This is a rhetorical question, so take a second and think about it! If you can confidently answer that question, you will be one step closer to attracting and landing the right clients. If you don’t the answer to this question, how are you going to attract clients that know and understand that about you? Have a hard look in the mirror, figure this out about yourself and then put it in the center of everything you do in business. For Kristen, this exercise led her to one of the most buzz worthy words of the moment - authenticity. Kristen is a casual person and runs her business in that same way BUT, don’t mistake the rose and think we don’t have our shit together (lack of organization and poor business practices have no place at LCo)!

In the beginning when you’re trying to establish your business identity, it’s hard! But instead of trying to get a strike first try, just try to stay in the bumpers. Write down words and phrases that describe you. Actually putting pen to paper will really help in establishing yourself as a business and brand.

2. What’s your value add prop and why/how are you different than the rest of the market? 

This point might even be more important than #1. There HAS to be something about you that’s different and hopefully the exercises explained above will help you figure that out if you don’t already know. To get you on the right track, LCo, for example, specifically markets our “Organic Desert Living” aesthetic. Our clients know that the service we provide them will be consistent with that aesthetic, and that we work hard to be kickass and honest designers (and friends) for them! This doesn’t work for everyone, but because it goes hand in hand with what Kristen’s most natural way of being/working is, it works!

3. Establish your “non-negotiables”!

Yes, this is another buzz word in business, but it’s important! If you’re a little fuzzy on the concept, non-negotiables are basically “I will not do X for Y,” “I’m not willing to compromise this for that.” Be careful that you don’t have a list of say, 15, because at that point there won’t be anybody across the table from you to negotiate with.

Your list of non-negotiables should probably be a pretty short list, but they need to have some force behind them and you need to be 100% confident in being able to enforce. This concept is more of a checks and balances system for yourself internally.

Kristen’s List of Non-negotiables:

  1. Price

  2. Disrespect

  3. Unrealistic Expectations

4. Figure out how much you need to make.

Work backwards, if you’re a freelancer, single designer, etc. how much do you want to make per year? If you are operating a growing team, how much revenue do you need to derive per year (and count yourself as an employee)? Take that number annually and further breakdown the equation. Let’s say you want/need to make $50,000/year. Divide that by 12 months and that gives you roughly $4100/month. If you want to go even further than that, break it down into weeks. You have to put it in terms that you yourself will understand, either by where your debts fall, or based on your project calendar (if that’s the case, you need to have a rolling understanding of your project calendar so you don’t end up cash poor).

5. Understand what your largest business actions/drivers actually COST you. This is a HUGE one.

Numbers four and five work hand in hand. Let’s take this down to selling cookies. How are you going to know how much to sell your cookies for when you don’t even know how much each thing is that goes into the cookies! Be that ingredients, labor, whatever, you gotta know this as a business owner. The thing that differentiates a product based company and a service based company in this area, is simply time.

Are you making money? But most importantly, are you covering your costs? If you haven’t done this in your business, do it. It doesn’t have to be fancy with spreadsheets - unless of course you love that - just get this value assessment DONE. Especially in your largest revenue driving tasks.

The other thing this helps with is saying “no.” We’re in a very yes-man culture, but it’s so important to establish boundaries. Especially when it comes to your time and energy. This is what you do for a living! Don’t forget that!

6. Establish a cost break even, a minimum fee (meaning minimum profit) and a reach fee (meaning maximum profit).

Cost = cost + 10%. The 10% will help you with things that are unknown as a buffer.

Minimum fee = cost + minimum profit margin. If you want to run your profit margin at 20%, that would be your minimum cost + 20% in profit margin (not 20% over your cost).

Reach fee = cost + maximum profit margin. This is where you want to be most of the time, although it might not always happen - and that’s okay! This is your best case scenario.

It’s important to understand where your pricing falls within the market and how it relates to your service offering.

7. How to set up your business in a way that attracts the right people. This includes branding, social media and just generally having your shit together. 

Example time! Way back when there was an employee that left on bad terms. After this person had left, a client pulled Kristen aside and said, “Yeah. I never would have given that person a check for $100,000.” Light bulb moment. Protect your brand. Make sure every employee you hire and component of your branding, is an extension of yourself, has like-minded values, and operates to the standard put forth by your brand.

8. (or 10 or 11 if you’re Barbs) Be OK with business that walks.

In attracting the right clients, you have to be okay enforcing your non-negotiables, and being confident that the business you’re turning down is okay and worth it. You have to learn how to say no and you have to be okay with the business that walks. Be charming and kind when they do, but authentically and transparently be accepting of it, knowing that there’s a reason it didn’t work out. For some of the people that walk, some always come back - and that’s why it’s important to be graceful, patient and kind when the answer is initially “no.”

Note, when the answer is “no,” don’t internalize and beat yourself up over it. There are a lot of times where it’s not even something that you, the business owner, did. The first “no” is the hardest, but it gets easier with time.

Links

Ep.3: Influencer Fraud

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THE SHOW NOTES

Episode 3 of THE LifeStyled COMPANY podcast is all about Influencer Fraud. Kristen goes in depth about what it is and why it cost her company $15,000, how to look for it and how you can handle it in a way that's beneficial for both you and your business.

Tune in now to listen to the full story about LCo’s experience with Influencer Fraud. It’s a goodie - and we’re not just saying that!

Influencer Marketing

Social media marketing, and specifically influencer marketing, is a relatively new industry historically, and is growing everyday. Influencer marketing is essentially when a brand partners with an influencer to provide a product or service in exchange for social media promotion at an amount that monetarily matches the level of said product or service provided. There are different tiers of “influencer status,” we’ll call it - you have “Micro-Influencer” (<35,000 followers), “Mid-Level Influencer” (35,000 - 100,000 followers), and then you have the Kardashian’s of the world who are off the charts. As an influencer, whatever tier you fall into usually dictates your rate per post, Instagram story, etc.

There are pros and cons of working with each different tier, but it’s important for brands to not only look at who the influencer is as a person and their unique value proposition, but also at their engagement. If someone has 100,000 followers and a 2% engagement rate, that means that 2,000 of their followers are actually engaging on their posts (liking, commenting, saving). This might seem low, but by market standards it’s actually really high! The more followers you have, the lower your engagement rate will be because Instagram values accounts like that differently than say, your mom who has 200 followers. It’s also harder to engage from a percentage standpoint with more people in the pool.

Because of social media, businesses have the power to get right onto people’s phones without requiring them to pick up a magazine, read a newspaper, listen to the radio or open an email. All of these things now kind of seem archaic, but for so long before the age of social media, they were the only ways for brands to advertise to potential consumers. Now, it’s easy for a brand to partner with an influencer as a means of advertising.

It’s beneficial for brands and influencers to partner together when they have a like aesthetic because it’s likely that each entity’s audience/followers and their interests will also be similar. As a business, you’d be reaching a different but engaged audience that will likely respond well to your whatever it is you do or sell.

Influencer fraud

While there are a lot of quality partnerships, there are just as many that are not so great. When you Google “Influencer Fraud,” there are articles that come up, but no real definition which says two things: the climate of Influencer Fraud is changing everyday, and it’s a relatively new concept in the world of marketing and social media.

Kristen’s defines “Influencer Fraud” as this: When someone manipulates their engagement on a social platform that they use for influence, representing yourself as something that you’re not. When committing influencer fraud, the influencer changes and manipulates their engagement in a way so that the number of likes, comments, and saves boosts real numbers to make it seem like they’re getting way more attention and engagement than they actually are.

You may be thinking, “why is this such a big deal?” It has become a big deal, and will continue to be a big deal, especially in the last two years because influencer marketing, while new-ish, will be around a $10 BILLION industry by the end of 2019. TEN. BILLION WITH A CAPITAL “B.” It is where a huge percentage of companies put a ton of their marketing dollars and if those numbers are being manipulated, it’s really bad in a lot of ways, but most importantly from an ethics standpoint.

So now that you know what Influencer Fraud is by definition, let’s dive into what it is as a verb and what red flags to look for. Many influencers who engage in “fraudulent” activity are either buying followers, likes or comments, which are all run by “bots.” There are a few different types of bots:

  1. Bots completely generated on the computer. These bots are a type of algorithm that “hacks” (for lack of a better term) the Instagram system to “create” followers or likes, but really it’s totally fake and just a manipulation of numbers.

  2. There are also bots that are actually real, live human beings who run multiple accounts. These “bots” will toggle back and forth between their own fake accounts to like and comment on the Instagram users that pay them to do so. Some users even pay these people upwards of $2/like or comment. Yes, they’re getting engagement, but they paid for it and it’s totally inauthentic engagement.

Can you see why this is a HUGE problem for businesses? There are businesses out there throwing their marketing and advertising budget at people that they think have an influence in hopes of a boost in brand awareness and sales, just to be cheated out of that money. Again, not every influencer does this, but there are some out there that do. Be proactive and do your research if you’re going to be tapping into Influencer Marketing!

Do Your research

  1. Check the last 12 posts. Is the like to comment ratio consistent? Are there 3000 likes and 7 comments? That’s not normal. There is no way that if you got 3000 someone’s to double tap or hit the heart button, that only 7 of them are taking to step further to comment.

    If you want to take it a step further and calculate the influencer’s engagement rate on a specific post. Take the number of likes and comments on a particular post, divide that by their total following, then multiple by 100. This will give you their engagement rate as a percentage. If you can do this on at least the last 12 posts, that will give you a good understanding of where their engagement falls as a whole. It’s okay if it’s all over the place! There is no rhyme or reason to the Instagram algorithm.

  2. Audit THIER OWN engagement with their following. Are they responding? If they are, are they only responding to comments that aren’t spammy? What do the comments looks like when they do get comments?

  3. If you’re on the receiving end of influencer marketing, ask for a media kit (aka press kit, one sheet, etc). Their media kit should be 1-2 pages and lightly focus on numbers, but not be overrun with ratios, graphs, etc. You want to know their total following, their engagement rate, and possibly their average follower growth per week. Otherwise, the media kit should tell about the influencer, their interests, etc.

Links

Ep. 2: Using Instagram for Business Successfully

THE SHOW NOTES

In episode 2 of THE LifeStyled COMPANY Podcast, Kristen dives into using Instagram for business and using it successfully. There’s a lot that goes into an Instagram strategy which makes it complex enough. Throw in an ever changing algorithm and things really start to get interesting! With a little consistency and effort though, you can not only beat the algorithm, but WIN at Instagram altogether!

Tune in to learn more about how Instagram has aided in building LCo into the brand it is today, and how to use similar tactics to find success for yourself!

Kristen is a seasoned IG user both for personal and professional reasons. She dedicates this episode entirely to what works for her, so that you can gain some knowledge and inspiration to find what works for you.

Something that sticks out right off the bat is when she says, “Everyone can do it their own way. There is plenty of success to be had by all. Trust me, there are plenty followers out there.” According to Tailwind, Instagram hit 1 billion monthly active users as of June 2018. 1. BILLION. Of that, 121 million are in the United States and 32.6% of those users are between the ages of 25 and 34. These statistics are not only mind boggling, but they also illustrate the sheer volume of people you are working with on the platform.

For Kristen, her success on social media has a lot to do with timing. Her social journey began when Myspace (remember that one?!) was at its peak around age 19. She began working it into her daily life by default because it was easy - everyone was doing it! From there it evolved to Facebook and eventually now, Instagram!

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INSTAGRAM GAME CHANGERS

1. JUST BE SOCIAL AND NORMAL!

If you want people to engage with you, you have to engage with people. Be genuine in your engagement, be consistent and most of all, don’t overthink and just be normal! Don’t play the comparison game. The whole getting totally sidetracked and consumed by what other people are doing prevents you from focusing and growing your own account. Think about what you would actually say if you were texting a friend. Emojis are cute and great, but the Instagram algorithm doesn’t communicate in emojis. Yes, the algorithm changes daily, but the algorithm, and quite frankly people in general, respond better to words! If you’re trying to grow your following and engagement, Kristen recommends liking and commenting on the first 10 accounts that pop up on your feed each time you open the Instagram app, no matter what they are (small biz accounts, long lost friends, doesn’t matter). Leave thoughtful, meaningful likes and comments, and you’ll find yourself starting to build social relationships - that’s really what it’s all about anyways! Plus, it’s really hard to not support people who support you. On another but related note, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is - Kristen will touch more on this during a future episode on influencer fraud.

2. YOU HAVE TO DECIDE IF YOU’RE GOING TO USE INSTAGRAM AS A HOBBY, OR FOR BUSINESS.

If you decide you’re in it for business, make the switch over from a personal account to a business account to take advantage of the special features that come with that type of account. Once you decide, stick to it and really commit!

3. KNOW WHEN TO POST

The insights that are on the business account (another reason to make the switch!) will help you to see what times of day your audience is most active, among other things. Another thing to think about is what industry you’re in and who your audience is. If you’re a food blogger and influencer, it might make sense to post around times when people get hungry (think lunch or dinner time). For Kristen as an influencer in the design space, the best time to post is in the early morning and in the late afternoon/evenings when people might be scrolling for inspiration. Do some research, pay attention to your engagement at different times of day and work posting times into your overall strategy.

4. DON’T OVERTHINK IT, BUT MAKE SURE THERE’S A VARIETY IN THE POSTS ON YOUR FEED

Kristen personally has never planned her content ahead of time using a content planner, or planned multiple posts at once, because she always wants to make sure she’s incorporating things happening real time. While she feels like there are some people who have to have it all planned out, she pulls content from current projects, installs, travel and trips, her outfits, etc. for her daily posts. On really busy days, she will however plan content ahead for that day. This will consist of her post in the morning and evening, and will do some stories in the morning and let the day go from there. Kristen prides herself on answering every DM she receives on Instagram and will make time to do so during the evening after her girls go to bed. In a nutshell, it’s all about figuring out the strategy that works for YOU and managing your time accordingly.

5. IF YOU SELL SOMETHING, DO NOT PREACH IT. TELL A STORY INSTEAD.

What will inspire your audience to connect with your product or service? Figure out the value for your audience, tap into that to not only make sales, but build a genuine online presence and an actively engaged community. If you constantly shove products or services down people’s throats and every post is telling you to buy something, it’s likely your content won’t resonate well with your audience. Part of being social on social media is wanting to leave your audience with that “warm fuzzy feeling” when you post. Yes. You absolutely want to be selling on Instagram, but you may need to tweak your sales technique and package your content in a way that feels authentic to the people who will be on the receiving end. Think about that as your end goal with your content, and sales will come naturally.

6. PAY ATTENTION TO THE LEVEL OF YOUR CONTENT FROM A VISUAL STANDPOINT

Instagram is a visual platform based on a feed and a single photo + caption at a time. It’s also important to note that as a whole, Instagram is a very pretty place. If you don’t up your game when it comes to your visuals, how will you stand out and make any impact? Kristen mentions that luckily, the interior design industry is very aesthetically pleasing by default. While the design team will post before and after photos, if you pay attention you’ll notice that the before photos are never posted on the feed because it would throw off all of the curated and high level photography used. Not every image needs to be high res or professionally photographed, but there’s no reason to put out unedited content given the amount of resources we have readily available in the palms of our hands (ie; Lightroom, Lightroom presets, VSCO, etc). Kristen doesn’t use the same preset or filter for every type of photo. She’ll use one for photos of interior projects, another for travel, another for her girls, etc. Play around with the editing software that is most comfortable for you to use and make tweaks based on the needs of the photo. For example, lighting will be different based on your location - how will you need to add or take away exposure? You should also make sure the coloring of your photos all correspond well in your grid - don’t know what we’re talking about when we say “grid”? Click here to read and learn more. Don’t get lazy and put out half-assed content that’s not to the level you need to be sharing just because you feel like you need to post. In Kristen’s mind, she would rather just not post than put something out that’s not up to par. Don’t take two steps forward just to take 10 steps back. Try to be consistent and don’t be lazy.

7. USE HASHTAGS

Kristen read somewhere that hashtags don’t mean anything anymore and from her personal experience, that is totally false. Hashtags are still one of the best ways for you and your content to be discoverable on Instagram to new people. Best part? They’re FREE. Kristen has gotten partnerships, collaborations, new followers and regrams, all from using hashtags. Here’s what works for her:

  • Use 25-30 hashtags per post. She has about 10 blocks of hashtags that she’ll rotate based on the subject matter of her content. If you use the same hashtag block for every single post, it’s only going to show your post in the exact same place every time. Be more strategic than that so your post will be seen in more places.

  • Choose hashtags that have more than 25,000 posts, but less than 1,000,000. Hashtags are an indexing system and it will be easy for your content to become swallowed up if you use hashtags with upwards toward 1,000,000 posts.

  • Have you researched your hashtags? Actually click on them to see what the posts are that have also used that hashtag. Is it content that you want to be associated with?

8. FOR GOD SAKE RESPOND

Kristen responds to every direct message that she gets. She can’t always give the answers that people want, she still responds. Not only is this beneficial to you personally because it humanizes your brand, Instagram wants you to respond! Instagram looks for accounts that engage in conversation (“two-sided relationships”) when serving content to your followers. Genuinely try to respond with at least four words and punctuation, not just emojis.

9. MAKE SURE YOU’RE CREATING ORIGINAL CONTENT

Like with most things in life, content creation is a balance. It’s okay to regurgitate and repost (WITH proper credits!!) other people’s content, but not without also weaving in your own. Don’t let creating original content be daunting - it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be your own! Think about the purpose of your account. If the purpose of your account is solely sharing inspiration and other people’s content, great! If it’s not, you need to also be posting your own projects and creating your own stuff.

10. ALWAYS BE BRANDED

Make sure you’re YOU! Make sure you sound like you, look like you and are representative of your brand! “When people think of design, I want them to think of me. The same is true in my visual presence on Instagram. When people see my content, I want them to think of me and know it’s mine,” says Kristen. Before posting anything, ask yourself, “Is this me?”, “Is this my brand?” If you have to think about it for longer than 10 seconds, you probably shouldn’t be posting it. Be consistent. Be catchy. Be original.

Links


Ep. 1: The Backstory + 5 Biz Tips for Startups

It's the moment you've all been waiting for! The LCo Podcast is happening people! In this first episode, we meet Kristen Forgione, Creator + Principal Designer (and now podcast host!) of THE LifeStyled COMPANY Design Firm and Retail Shop. Kristen started this podcast from a place of, “how can I help?” and as a way to better connect with all of you! 

After 10 years in career fields from finance to hospitality, it was her stint in Los Angeles fashion school, that reignited her childhood passion for all things color + design. Now calling Arizona home, LCo has lead the west coast design market for the last six years, with clients nationwide, a design studio, retail shop and a team of desert loving designers and support staff. 

In this first episode, Kristen dives right in giving listeners a behind the scenes look into her journey so far, the “death of the moment,” five biz tips for startups and SO much more!  Listening on the go? No worries! We took notes for you. Let’s get to it!

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THE BACKSTORY

LCo was established in 2012 after a wild ride that took Kristen from Arizona to California and back again. With talent and timing on her side, Kristen grew a one woman side hustle into a multi-million dollar company in just six years.

Kristen was born in San Diego, and grew up loving and excelling in all things creative. When it came time for college, there wasn’t a school in AZ that offered a design program other than architecture at the time. After a brief conversation with her parents and discussing potentially going to school to study dance (a lifelong hobby she had), Kristen’s dad suggested studying business instead and before ya know it, Kristen enrolled in Arizona State University for a business degree! Kristen ended up staying for two years doing more boozing and bartending than studying, and eventually dropped out (she wouldn’t change a thing because it’s part of her story and why she’s where she is now). Her boyfriend at the time was from the Los Angeles area, wanted to move back to California and Kristen saw an opportunity knocking. She packed her bags, moved with him to LA and finally got the chance to pursue a degree in fashion. She enrolled in fashion school at SMC and instantly fell in love. “Fashion school for me was everything I wanted my college experience to be, but never had,” says Kristen. Not only was she excelling in school, but she was also taking advantage of the LA lifestyle and put her bartending skills back to work doing bottle service at a swanky LA club. Time passed by and Kristen began missing her family and home in Arizona, and it started to become obvious that her time in LA, as amazing as it was, was coming to a close. This beautiful year of her life reignited her passion and confidence that she would definitely be involved in a creative career in her lifetime.

She finished one semester of fashion school, was back at home and back at square one at age 23 trying to figure out how to make something out of all of her creative skills and experience thus far. With the support of her parents and best friends, Kristen picked herself up and jumped back into life in Arizona. One of Kristen’s friends worked in events at a high end resort in town, and was looking for someone to take over her job as she moved on to a new opportunity. With Kristen’s arsenal of experience in the service industry, she landed the job and soon took over as the lobby bar event coordinator. This opportunity not only launched her career BUT she also met her husband, Vince. They went on a pseudo date, talked at a neighborhood dive bar until 2 AM and it’s safe to say, the rest is history. They moved in together within two weeks, were engaged within two months and headed back to California (this time Orange County) when Vince got a promotion with their company, and really started their lives together. Kristen and Vince got married within a year and then got pregnant six months after that with their first daughter, Harper Rose.

After a year years in California, life brought them back to Arizona and Kristen went back to her corporate job, this time doing both weddings and events. This opportunity gave her the chance to create, further develop her skills and establish herself as a young professional. Kristen and Vince would be back in Arizona for a short two years before THE LifeStyled COMPANY was born. In 2011, Kristen started an Etsy shop selling printables, and around the same time, Kristen and Vince bought their first house, which prompted her to also start a blog, called THE LifeStyled COMPANY. The blog was intended to be a way for her to document and share their renovation, DIY projects and designing on a budget. At the time, Pinterest was brand new and Instagram didn’t yet exist, so Facebook was THE THING and only way to be social on the internet. Kristen would get regular inquiries from friends, family and strangers asking if she could style their home, so in an effort to see if she could really make a career out of her passion, she decided to host a contest on Facebook where she would give away free styling sessions.

Kristen put out the contest on Facebook, got 20 entries and was blown away at how many people were interested! She picked three winners, got each project professionally photographed (which was huge!), got great feedback and continued to write. Kristen always had an idea of what she wanted her future to be, and things were coming together! It was about six months from the very first blog post and the time that Kristen quit her corporate job to jump into THE LifeStyled COMPANY full-time. While that may sound really fast and sunshine and rainbows, it was really working two full-time jobs, which most people tend to do when starting their own business.

Word was catching on and after Kristen had a couple tv segments, her and Vince really sat down and figured out what they could cut out so she could leave her corporate job once and for all. They saved $20,000 before she quit after 1 year of lean expenses, not adding additional money to their savings or 401k, and no travel. Kristen gave her corporate job a month’s notice and hit the ground running. When it comes to leaving a job, she advises to leave on the VERY best of terms. Kristen was open enough with her company on her goals and intentions so that if in a year the entrepreneurial route didn’t work out, she could go back. “Life is hopefully very long,” Kristen says, “but it’s a small world and you never want to burn any bridges or leave in a sour way.”

Kristen didn’t take any time off during her transition, and didn’t allow herself the flexibility that many people think comes with being an entrepreneur. With new gigs come new titles, and Kristen was adamant about calling herself an interior stylist at the time, not a designer. The reason? She hadn’t actually designed anything yet - she was taking what was already made and rearranging it in a way that was visually appealing. She was specific about that title because she was self taught, a two-time college dropout, didn’t want to be offensive to those who had letters after their names and felt it was important for her to earn her stripes. Right at first, Kristen was still working from home doing events, weddings and parties. THE LifeStyled COMPANY name made perfect sense because Kristen was styling all aspects of your life and when she started, she was offering services in all of those areas too. Fast forward a year of doing the hustle, she started to realize that she couldn’t keep changing her hat that many times a day and eventually retired from weddings to dive head first into doing interiors full time. Things began snowballing and after two years of working from home, Kristen moved into her first office space and hired her first employee after realizing the intern route wasn’t the way to go (more on that later).

Needless to say, Kristen knows a thing or two about starting a business! As more and more episodes get released, you’ll begin to learn even more about all that it took for her to build LCo into the successful and noteworthy company it is today!

5 BIZ TIPS FOR STARTUPS

  1. IDENTIFY YOUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE EARLY

    As an entrepreneur, Kristen says that if she would have listened to everyone and more than just a few trusted people, she doesn’t know if she’d be in the same spot today. It takes a lot of guts, confidence and come to Jesus conversations with yourself AND your circle of influence to start a business. Everyone has an opinion - decide who in your world matters and whose opinion you’re willing to take with you into the next phase of your business journey.

  2. THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE IN TWO PHASES: THE NOW FUTURE (NOW) + THE FUTURE, FUTURE (2-5 YEARS), AND BE WILLING TO PIVOT ALWAYS

    To Kristen, success came because she was never so committed to what she wanted personally that she couldn’t see what else was happening right in front of her. 98% of business owners hold on for too long., and when you hold on too long you lose the ability to make decisions. Leave your peripherals open enough that you are committed enough to keep going, jump in and be wise, but not so committed that you miss everything else that’s happening and you can’t pivot. It’s important to remember that pivoting is different than abandoning ship. A major pivot point in business for Kristen came when she stopped thinking about herself and started serving others. This changed things for her employees and changed everything for her as a boss, business owner, entrepreneur and member of community.

  3. PUT THE TASKS AND ACTIONS THAT ARE REVENUE DRIVING FOR YOUR BUSINESS AT THE TOP OF YOUR DAILY LIST

    Something that worked for Kristen is following the 70/30 rule. Spend 70% of your time doing the revenue driving and most rewarding tasks, and 30% doing everything else. Because she did this, it allowed her to get out of the minutia of the everyday and get more clients, do better projects and frankly, do cooler sh*t. Following this rule will allow you to operate and see what you should and should not be dedicating your time to.

  4. KEEP YOUR EXPENSES LOW FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN

    Can you design your own business cards and website? Do it. Do your research and find different cost options for things like printing, etc. Try to keep as many things in house as you can and DO NOT fall victim to business subscriptions that many people think are necessities. Do things the old fashioned way using excel spreadsheets, and don’t buy things that you don’t need yet.

  5. BRING YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF INTO YOUR BUSINESS IN A PROFESSIONAL WAY AS EARLY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE, AND THEN TALK ABOUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

    Go as deep as you can to identify and figure out two things: who your authentic self is AND why you’re different. Why is your business different? How does your service offering and experience for your clients differ from others in your industry? Is your aesthetic different? Is your location different? TALK ABOUT IT. Find your tribe. Find the people that are speaking the same language as you. This will also help distinguish your unique value proposition without even trying.

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