Tina Craig started Bag Snob (now Snob Essentials) with twenty dollars. That's right, two-zero bucks. Within a month she and her partner Kelly Cook had 480 dollars in revenue-- a 400% increase.
But it can be really scary to strike out on your own. When those sponsored IG posts aren't coming through yet, or your affiliate links aren't making you dollars quite yet, a paycheck isn't a guarantee.
So we gathered up intel from Create & Cultivate's speakers this past weekend in Dallas, to find out how to double, triple, or just straight up explode your income in 6 months.
Know When to Say No.
Money may not grow on trees, but even if it did, would we truly be better off? In the beginning of a business the fact that anyone is offering you money can be really exciting, but that's also what makes it slightly dangerous. Lynsey Eaton from Tomboy KC says “If a client’s expectations are outrageous, despite a number. Don’t take it. Don’t be afraid to back out.”
If you take on a job that's too big, or you know a client has unreasonable demands, this can actually hurt you in the long run, even if you're getting a quick payoff.
People in marketing and brand industries talk, so if you do a "bad" job, it may hurt your chances of being hired by a different company in the future. It you don't perform, it looks bad on your end, not the client's.
Don't Take Money Just Because It's There.
Fundraising is a big part of any business. As SoulCycle founders told the crowd, “Your own sweat equity can take you pretty far, but what happens when you run out and you need that 15 million dollars.”
But taking money for the sake of having it, doesn’t always make sense. Katherine Power of Who What Wear told the audience, “Fundraising is the most time consuming. We’ve been able to show tremendous growth and profitability, but it will take up at least six months of your life where you do nothing else.”
Deciding however who to take the money from is a whole different strategic game. Power explained: “It is a game of chess where you try to figure out who to take money from. And what people don’t realize is that raising too much capital can also be a problem. The more money you raise the bigger hurtle you’re making for you and your employees to get over."
There are items you are spending money on, that you don't need to be. It's that simple and you know what they are. Maybe you go six months without a mani/pedi or a morning latte. Maybe you vow to stop shopping until you meet goal X. Brunch with friends? Kiss it goodbye for a minute.
There are plenty of social activities that don't require draining your bank account.
Beyond that, look at your business expenses. Are you spending a ton of money on office supplies? Are you spending too much on office rent? Have you put the cart before the horse? Faking it, till you make it is necessary at some points, but if you're not seeing profits, you're not making it.
Know When to Delegate
This is one of the hardest things for most CEOs and founders, but delegating and letting go of the reigns so that your employees can thrive in their job will also free up your time to focus on efforts like... fundraising.
That also means making smart hires. Sakara Life co-founder and Forbes 30 Under 30 Danielle DuBoise said that she doesn't want people who are experts, the ones who come in and already have a plan in their head. "What you want are people that love the challenge of growth.”
Those kind of employees with be happy to work Saturday AMs or answer your emails outside of business hours, and will make it easier for you to feel comfortable handing them control.
There are jobs you keep that suck up a lot of your time, but only make you pennies on the dollar. At a certain point those "trade" jobs or "good for your resume" jobs are no longer worth how much they drag you down. Time is a factor you have to consider.
If you're holding onto a job that's preventing you from focussing your skills and talents in other useful directions, or if you've been underpaid for a job for too long, ask to renegotiate. This not only shows you where you stand in terms of value to the company, but it will also help you drop the career dead weight.
Create a Media Kit
Hilary Sloan of Shopstyle touched on the importance of media kits and reaching out to the right brands.
She told the audience, "You need a media kit to showcase what you do, and what you’re best at. If you don’t have powerful numbers that wow people. you can use screen shots of content that’s wow’d people. Think beyond 'here are my numbers, here are the sales I’ve driven.' Think of things you’ve accomplished— and present them in a beautiful way."
Along those same lines, you should be pitching yourself, not waiting for brands or jobs to come to you. While you might not have the following or engagement to work with a brand like Kate Spade quite yet, there are just as many up-and-coming brands as there are up-and-coming businesses like yours. So do the research and pitch yourself to those companies-- there is money to be made in collaboration.
As for how to do it? Genevieve Ascencio from Factory PR had this to say:
"How do I like to receive a pitch? Creativity is a huge part of it. Maybe I only have 2k followers, but I have these women who are very engaged. I like to see a deck or one-pager. The ones that are most impressive include cool skills that I don’t see on your blog. You would be surprised at what brands are looking for."
Beyond that she said:
“It’s not just about the pitch, it’s about the followup. Stats about the post. We want to see that you’re reposting, liking, commenting, showing a level of enthusiasm that makes a brand feel like it wasn’t just for a dollar."
Caroline of House of Harper follows a three-step method:
- Preparation— Put in the work so you can be impressive, even if you don’t win the pitch that day.
- Know Your Own Strengths— Figure out what differentiates you from your peers
- Stop and Ask What Their Goals Are— Do they want to grow their Pinterest, or social media, or drive sales? Know so that you can tailor your pitch to them.
Know Your Audience
There is a lot more to making money than posting cute selfies and running an Instagram account. This may seem obvious, but intention and attention to detail go a long way when it comes to you income-- in fact, it's one of the only things you have to differentiate yourself initially online.
Jenna Crandall and Lisa Allen from Lunchpails and Lipstick made this great point: "Take each follower as an individual and service each and every follower. Someone with 30k followers can be making more money than someone with a million followers if they have better engagement."
Kendi of Kendi Everyday told the audience that if she wears an outfit, and the affiliate return is not that great or people aren't clicking through, she'll rethink that post, and wear the piece again.
Don’t Take the First Offer
We're going to end this on a piece of sound advice from the lawyer of the bunch who knows a thing or two about taking and making deals.
“What you learn in law school you learn in business, you know what’s a good deal for you. Let “them” worry about them. Let them take care of their deal. No one is going to come to you with their best offer. And if you take that, that’s fine. But they’ve won."
Wise words Lynsey Eaton. Wise.