This list of market building business tips about how to stay on course while you design epic products and services for the world was originally created for my daughter who is a hard-working, bad-ass fashion designer. Like every child ever born, she asks for advice daily and then ignores a lot of it. SO THAT IS WHY THERE IS SO MUCH EMOTION BEHIND THIS POST. All of these tips apply to anyone making anything. They work and they are important and today is a SPECIAL DAY because she is FINALLY heeding more of this advice. Amen.
Sure she’s nervous, as any startup who has achieved a bit of success would be. You might be nervous too – the big question – how do I sustain the success? Especially in the finicky world of Insta-fashion. Here, I humbly give you YOUR GUIDING STRATEGY FOR STAYING & GROWING SUCCESSFULLY.
WAKE UP, DESIGN, REPEAT
Design EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY. Do not let a morning go by without designing. That means you don’t answer emails or texts or schedule meetings unto 1 pm every day. Why? Because the life of your authentic brand depends on you DESIGNING. Designing can mean sketching, shopping vintage, eating something delicious, going to an inspiring store, museum, listening to music – WHATEVER MAKES YOUR CREATIVE MINDFLOW BABY. The only reason you are in business is that you designed epicness in the first place. There is a lot of stuff people can buy out there, they are choosing to drop their bank on yours. KEEP THOSE CUSTOMERS HAPPY.
DEVELOP SYSTEMS FOR REPETITIVE STUFF.
What is a system? A set of rules that a baby monkey can do. They just learn the system (written or video instructions) and they do it.
Develop a system for responding to customers emails including templates for their frequently asked questions.
Develop a system for making sizing 1,000% CLEAR for all customers. Put it on the website.
Develop a system for ordering office stuff – like your favorite drinks, food, printer ink. Yes. make a list for the intern or assistand – where to go, when to reorder, how to pay for it. Make it so YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TELL HIM OR HER WHAT TO DO.
Develop a system for packing items for shipment – include the surprise and delight gift – write it down or video it for the new interns. Then make them watch it. Show them PRECISELY HOW YOU LIKE IT DONE.
If you are complaining that an intern or assistant isn’t doing something the way you like it, it is YOUR FAULT. You didn’t set up the easy-to-learn systems.
TAKE PRE-ORDERS ON ALL NEW DESIGNS
The best rule of business is to MARKET BEFORE YOU MANUFACTURER. This is done by the best, most SUCCESSFUL companies. Create the demand BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY MAKE THE style. How?? Start sharing the backstory of design on your Instagram and Pinterest (YES PINTEREST) accounts. Show your customers the inside scoop. Tease them and then create a link to a page where they can GIVE YOU THEIR MONEY. Let them know they are going to be the FIRST TO HAVE IT. How exciting is that?? And give them a little something special for supporting you in the meantime. Make the “landing page” really JAZZY, sexy & FUN. Show the super special parts of designing, what inspired you. What is a LANDING PAGE? It is a special page on your website that you LINK TO THE BIO in your Instagram account every time you POST about that one design to INSTAGRAM. Don’t wait for the customer to SAVE your post. Make it EASY FOR THEM TO SHOP THE LINE. Stop with this I DON’T WANT TO BE TOO “PUSHY” CRAP. THERE IS PUSHY AND THEN There IS MAKING IT SIMPLE & EASY. DO THE LATTER.
SAVE SOME MONEY FOR GOD’S SAKE
Stop f-ing WASTING YOUR MONEY on stupidly expensive food. That $6.00 matcha drink isn’t good for you. Don’t buy into it. What is good for you is PEACE OF MIND THAT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT ISN’T NEGATIVE. Lack of money is the most stressful thing that can happen to you. You can lose your lover, break a leg, create something stupid that people will laugh at, but if you don’t have dough in the oven, life will SUCK. Make it a habit. Open up a BUSINESS SAVINGS ACCOUNT TOMORROW. Do it after you finish designing. Move $500 over IMMEDIATELY and then add reminders to your calendar to drop $500 in every month. DO THIS NOW. More if you can. Save, save, save. We are going to INVEST that money too, so your money can make baby money. GROW THAT ACCOUNT BABY.
LET THOSE DAMN HATERS HATE
It’s their job. That is what they do. Haters are going to HATE. It’s GREAT to have haters. Why? Because you are actually doing something that get’s noticed. Hater’s don’t hate on something that isn’t getting any attention. Why? BECAUSE HATERS DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT HATE. That is how they get their ATTENTION. MORE MONEY, MORE HATERS. That’s okay. Hell, some brands actually pay to have more HATERS. It’s called Facebook and Instagram ADVERTISING.
CHILL YOUR ROLL. TAKE A BREAK.
Every day make sure you do something ridiculously extravagant and/or luxurious. GO AHEAD WASTE SOME TIME. Whatever that means to you. A pedicure, a bike ride, a hello fresh meal with your partner. This business building thing is NOT A RACE. It is YOUR LIFE and you need to enjoy YOUR LIFE. So make some time every day to do something fun that you enjoy. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. Just do it. Just like you design, you also take time to RELAX every day.
IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY – MY ASS
Anytime you can call out some creep ass KNOCK OFF cheater brand copying your original designs DO IT. Make them feel like what they are GREEDY, UNORIGINAL A-HOLES. That’s right. Call them out. Call them out in public in a CLEVER AND FUN WAY. Like you care but you don’t care. Unless they are HUGE creepy conglomerate – a dinosaur – looking to stay relevant. Then EMAIL CALL & SCREAM at the CEO & Founder and their BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Remember, however, when YOU are INSPIRED by something to REDESIGN IT and make it your VERY OWN. Best thing to do really is KNOCK OFF YOUR OWN DESIGNS and start a second business in the weird ass bowels of eBay. LOL. P.S. Don’t spend too much time on this and try to design something so ahead of the curve that the market has to catch up. One step ahead baby.
MOST PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS ABOUT HOW FAST THE WORLD IS CHANGING
So, don’t listen to MOST anyone, except maybe people like Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil and maybe me because I have made it my business to stay RELEVANT, ahead of the CURVE and on top of my game. I AM FASCINATED WITH CHANGE AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO. NO JOKE. Every business is being disrupted by technology. This includes INSTAGRAM. You have to start emailing & MEETING with your customers and clients. WHY? Because Instagram may become the old people’s party and then how you gonna find them customers? SnapChat?
But doesn’t everyone hate email? Hello, people DON’T CHANGE THEIR EMAILS. Some still hang on to their freaking yahoo and aol accounts. Emails are a tighter connection. Better YET get the cell phones of your VIP customers and take them to DINNER. Just, whatever you do, DON’T BE BORING. Create an email you WISH SOMEONE WOULD SEND YOU.
GROW UP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS OR KEEP ATTRACTING THE YOUNG GUNS
Yeah, your 25-year-old Insta-hottie is going to have a baby and all of a sudden that cropped off the shoulder number isn’t going hide her love handles and/or mother belt. Oh, am I “body shaming”? Read the HATERS note above. This is reality. Have a plan as to how you will keep moving forward with your biggest fans now or the babies coming down the pike.
EVERYONE IS GOING TO WANT A BIG BITE OF YOU. CHOOSE YOUR PACK WISELY
Why? Cause your haute, hot, HOT right now. Yup. Especially the has-beens and the wannabes. Be DISCERNING. Be choosy. Be SUPER SELECTIVE about who you chill with. Why? Because if you hang with the reckless and wild, you will become reckless and wilder. If you chill with the sorry asses, you, in turn, will be a sadder one. EVERY dedicated entrepreneur experiences a bit of FOMO at times. There should be a LONELY HEARTS CLUB MEETUP for those building something big. Get out, dance, laugh and then get back to work. That BULL SHIT ABOUT WORKING HARD & PLAYING HARD is for drunks and trust fund IDIOTS without a purpose. Balance your work and play and stay away from the MDMA. Seriously, it’s not worth the emotional roller coaster ride. Get HIGH ON LIFE.
SELECT WHO YOU WANT TO DO BUSINESS & SCREW THE 15 MINS OF FAME
Stop getting so flattered every time someone wants to COLLAB or PARTNER WITH YOU. You are WORKING YOUR ASS OFF and deserve to be noticed. Say NO to anyone not willing to collaborate with respect or who brings their headaches to the table. You have enough of your own problems to solve. If it’s not a HELL YEAH immediately than it’s a F NO. If you have to THINK about whether you want to sleep with someone, then it’s A F NO and collaborating is a lot like sleeping with someone. Create a list TODAY of the discerning people or businesses you want to align yourself with. SAY NO to anyone else who reaches out. Say it nicely. Always be kind. Kind always works.
You WON’T MISS OUT. Andy Warhol was WRONG and RIDICULOUS about that 15 minutes of FAME. Not true. Most people remain anonymous their whole lives. You may never be famous. Who cares? It’s better to BE GREAT.
KNOW WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU
Stop measuring your success by other people’s stupid ideas of success. SUCCESS IS SIMPLY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Life is short. Everything else is BS.
IT ALWAYS TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK.
Whether it’s sex with an ex or a check-up at the dentist or building your first prototype or sample. So STOP with the anxiousness. IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS. Even Google, the FASTEST growing business in the history of the world took 15 years to become a GIANT. SO SLOW THE HELL DOWN.
Note to reader: I have included examples of digital press kits and timely news angles in this article that you can download. They may be helpful for you as you build out your stories to share with top tier media and influencers.
Examples from the Front Lines of Digital Marketing
One of the reasons I continue working with startups and emerging entrepreneurs is because it keeps my ear to the ground and in touch with the true pain points and biggest challenges that many new brands struggle with when it comes to marketing and promoting their products and services. The obstacles they face become my opportunity to help.
Case Study #1 – The More They Burn, The Better They Learn
Matt Gardner is a physical education teacher and health and wellness professional speaker from Novato, California. Championing kids to be more active and healthy on a daily basis, Matt has created PEbyDesign,, a program to help elementary school teachers get their students moving in the classroom for at least 60 minutes a day (a requirement from most states and the federal government).
I have been helping Matt build his side hustle, working with him on everything from his website user experience to building his own authentic voice while creating his digital press kit and all of his social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Right now I am conducting one-hour consulting calls with Matt and screen sharing video web chats with him to help him build out his social media strategy.
Case Study #2 – The Best Place For a Financial Wellness Check up
The best place to start your financial future and an empowering tool for financial wellness, I have helped R.J. Irving, a former Morgan Stanley advisor launch this SaaS platform to help Millennials understand how much to allocate to their 401K savings, health plans, and rainy day, emergency accounts. I created his digital marketing decks and press kit and scheduled and executed his strategy for Twitter and LinkedIn.
A sample of marketing collateral and digital press releases in a downloadable PDF file here Melius General Presentation-2.
Case Study #3 – Celebrating The Millennial Home Buyers Journey
Hearth & Beam’s creator Kyle Rothschild hired me to write his digital press kit, timely news stories, and social media strategy. Hearth & Beam was created to document and share everything that makes a house a true home.
Hearth & Beam’s downloadable digital press kit here. A writing example of a creator profile Kyle Rothschild, HearthandBeam.com,
An example of FAQ’s for the media and influencers here HearthandBeam.com Media FAQs
My fact sheet writing sample here Hearth and Beam Fact Sheet
And timely and newsworthy story angles here HearthandBeam.com News Stories
Case Study # 3 – Artisanal Gourmet & Organic Condiments
Brown Dog Fancy is the purveyor of artisanal gourmet mustard. Made from organic ingredients and sold online and in stores, I helped the owners of this condiment brand with their marketing collateral, digital press kits and social media strategy for #HowIFancy
Here are examples of a healthy food digital press release that I wrote for Brown Dog Fancy to share their story Brown Dog Fancy Story
Here, timely, news angles and ideas for reporters and influencers Brown Dog Fancy Story Suggestions
Out of all the social media platforms right now, I am finding Instagram to be the most engaging and rewarding. Yesterday I had a group of holistic nutritionists invite me to their Instagram group, yes we are creating our own community, and they have inspired me with the healthiest recipes for plant-based food – delicious meals as healing medicine for the body. If we haven’t connected on Instagram yet, please say hello @MadelineMarieJohnson I’d love to learn more about what you are up to.
Helpful Hashtags & Consistent Content
Two of the strategies that I find work best include using #hashtags within the 100,000 and 800,000 range. For someone like me this includes #healthandwellness which at the time of this post is at 562,451 and #digitalmarketing 951,149.
The second strategy is posting at least four times a day. I am paying attention to Instagram Insights (I have a business page) and find that around 3:00 pm is the golden hour for engagement and likes.
LinkedIn ProFinder Best of Badge
The team at Linkedin emailed me a badge of honor yesterday. According to the marketing team at Linkedin, the Best of 2016 badge signals a best in class ranking on their platform and spotlights the services I provide on ProFinder.
Strategies to Grow Your Business
And, if you are looking for a way to grow your business, than check out my online course, www.ThePRPlaybook.com which is packed with PR strategies to take your personal brand to the next level of success. Comment below and ask me for a code to take the course for free.
In May of this year Instagram officially announced it’s new business tools, making it easier for startups to pay to reach their target audience.
Before you start buying Instagram ads, be sure to watch this quick and super helpful tutorial on how to get your business started on Instagram.
I am in the process of filming a full series on how to grow your fans, followers and customers on Instagram and as soon as it is ready, I will add it to ThePRPlaybook.com
In the meantime, I thought I would share this first lecture with you so you can develop a great profile, bio, content and hashtag strategy.
If you have any questions, please comment on the video on my YouTube channel. I look forward to hearing from you.
Here are a few great Instagram tips to help you build a following from Vincent Dignan, creator of Secret Sauce, a growth hackers guide.
- Find the fans that love you most. They like everything you create. Follow them and start to follow all of their followers and use the hashtags that they are using. Congratulations you have just infiltrated their community, as they begin to tag their friends and followers on your posts.
2.How to use #hashtags
Don’t use the main stream hashtags, they are too popular and your posts will get lost. Instead, use smaller ranking hashtags that are more specific to your market. Use smaller hashtags that fewer people use, but those who do, absolutely love what you are posting about.
3. You will rank for a hashtag on Instagram if you get enough likes in the first 15 minutes. This is what you should always be anchoring towards.
So how do you get traffic from Instagram?
4. Overcome the problem of only viewing Instagram traffic as direct traffic on Google analytics. Direct fans to where you want them to go.
Set up a landing page on your website for Instagram to avoid visits showing up as direct traffic on google analytics.
5. Add a link to where you want them to go – the landing page you created and create an offer – an unbelievable offer on that page.
6. Find hashtags you can trend for, the way @Foundr magazine did and went from 0-110K followers in a month.
7. You can reply to your own Instagram post and add hashtags within 1st 10 mins of posting. This increases your chances of trending for a tag.
8. Two best ways to produce engagement on Instagram -Double tap if you agree and Tag someone who . . .
Follow me on Instagram here.