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HOW TO CREATE AN ABOUT US PAGE THAT IS CAPTIVATING

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Your About Us page should be one of your most visited and highest ranked pages. An about us page helps potential clients to connect with your business and distinguish you from your competitors.  A well written, “About Us” page can work wonders for your business. It’s unfortunate that many companies discount how important this page is and as a result, publish generic blocks of text that fail to give potential clients that peek behind the curtains they’re eager to see.

Below is a step by step guide on how to create an effective contact point with your potential clients.

BE PERSONAL

People want to feel a human connection whenever they interact with your business. It’s imperative to use your about us page to open up and give consumers a behind-the-scenes look rather than trying to take on the persona of some large, impersonal corporation.

THROW PHOTOS AND VIDEOS IN THE MIX

Include your picture and videos of your employees if appropriate. These images don’t have to be a formal portrait. They can be pictures taken within your business premises. In fact, those will be far more meaningful. For instance, if you’re in catering, showcase delicious food.  Let’s see your audience see welding metal if you specialize in metal fabrication etc.

FOCUS AND CONSIDER ON YOUR AUDIENCE

As you put together your About Us page, the customer is king, no matter what your industry. Imagine who is most likely to be reading it. Share and highlight the key benefits so visitors can better visualize what they’ll gain. Write to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question that all potential customers have when they’re deciding whether or not to stick around.

INCLUDE A SOCIAL PROOF

To prove what you are, social proof remains the evidence to be seen. It can be a powerful motivator for people who visit your site. You can create sections like “Awards” and “Press.” It’s perfectly appropriate to mention your achievements in the past provided they’re significant and relevant. Have been interviewed on a blog? Add the link to the write-up.

THINK OF THE PRESENT

Don’t neglect your current activity when showcasing your root. The flow must transcend growth and development, from the start to the present. On the other hand, while describing and sharing your latest operations, know your limit. Some information can make you lose your potential customers. Don’t exaggerate when describing your products. Use the ‘About Us’ page to tell readers what you’re offering. This page is the place to include a short and clear summary of your company’s enterprises alongside a list of all of its pros.

PRESENT NUMBERS AND INFOGRAPHICS

Don’t let your readers face the masses of text you’ve created without any refreshment breaks. You can include interesting figures about your company through eye-catching infographics. Furthermore, it’s important to present your information in an easy to read style.  You can adopt Icons; they serve as the scarf that brings out the “eye color” of your text.

ELIMINATE ALL ERRORS OR GRAMMAR MISTAKES

Whenever you write, this is one tip you should follow, but sometimes, after you worked on the ‘About Us’ page for some days in a row, there’s a strong urge just to publish. It’s important to invest time to re-read through your content. You can use available online tools to help you in a time of need such as hiring a copywriter or proofreader on Fiverr.

IN CONCLUSION

The essence of this article is to make your About Us interesting and engaging. Share a little bit about the company, and show the human element of your business. With an About Us page that connects with your visitors, it could spell additional conversions for your business.

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PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT | LAUREN CARNES PHOTOGRAPHY

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LaurenCarnesHeadshot-1-webBusiness Name: Lauren Carnes

Website: https://laurencarnes.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurencarnesphotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurenlcarnes/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenLCarnes

Where are you based out of?
Augusta, GA

Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer?
Full-time

What is your predominant photographic specialization?
Food & Travel, Weddings, & Lifestyle Branding

What camera(s) do you currently shoot with?
Canon 5D Mark iii

How would you define your style?
My style is clean, timeless, & welcoming. With a passion for storytelling, my goal is to capture imagery and memories that are true to life and with a bright joyful vibe.

What motivated you to become a photographer?
I’ve always been the “girl with the camera.” As a child I brought my point & shoot to birthday parties, as a senior in high school I was the editor of the yearbook, and even in college, I documented the highlights of every event. When my husband’s medical school career consumed most of his time, I began looking for a creative outlet. I purchased a used Canon Rebel XS from a friend and immediately dove in, excited to capture friend’s engagement sessions as my wedding gift to them. What began as a hobby quickly turned into a dream of full-time photography while working full time as a public relations practitioner & social media strategist. Upon discovering we’d be moving for my husband’s medical residency training, I figured then seemed as good a time as any to launch a photography business. I knew that I wanted to be able to have a career that could take me anywhere as he pursued his career, and the opportunity to capture memories, experiences, and gatherings for others seemed like the perfect fit!

What is it that you try to convey with your work?
I recently launched a new website, and in doing so came across a list of words I jotted down years ago on a scrap sheet of paper. The list was of what I wanted people to experience through my images (link: https://laurencarnes.com/blog/2018/03/01/launch-day-the-new-lauren-carnes-brand-website/) … while that was 3 years ago, still so much of that resonates today. I want to convey the joy and beauty that we experience in everyday life – the natural way a couple embraces, the freshness of a dish you’ve just cooked for the first time, the inviting cultures near and far, and the classic & inviting branding image that tells the story of the people behind the brand. With shooting such a variety of things, everything comes back to conveying those descriptors, and that guides how and what I shoot!

How do you accomplish that?
Before every shoot, I aim to learn as much about the people, places, and things I’ll be capturing. Not just the basic info, but the stories behind the session… knowing those allows me to capture them in a way that feels true to who THEY are.

What do you do during a session or wedding day to help make your clients feel comfortable?
To me, communication is everything. Pre-shoot, during the session/wedding, and after. With a background in communications, I find that the more we are on the same page and the more I can portray to my clients that I am the expert, the better overall of an experience it is for everyone… and the better photos we capture as a result!

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Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
Oh my goodness, countless photographers! We are surrounded by so many incredibly talented people in this industry, it would be impossible to choose just one. But I will say, I am most inspired not just by the work others create, but who they are as PEOPLE. Beautiful work is one thing, but beautiful hearts & souls just take it to the next level!

What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
I recently shot a wedding at a bucket list destination. Truly, one of the most stunning venues I’ve ever seen. The night before the wedding I had the chance to grab dinner with my amazing friend who second shot with me for about a year and a half prior to that. She also happened to have a wedding in the same city that weekend, which also happened to be the same city where we did our first overnight wedding together. That was the night where I showed her all the behind the scenes of how I edit, what I do for each wedding, etc. It was a really memorable and pivotal weekend for so many reasons in my life. But seeing her there succeeding like crazy in her business, training up her second shooter, and investing in those around her in amazing ways was a true testament to the fact that “A candle never loses its like by lighting another candle.” Ever since I began my career, it was always my goal to invest in, educate, and encourage newer, greener photographers & business owners. Seeing her reaching such great heights & pouring back into others in a city that meant so much to us was truly special.

What is one important lesson you have learned during your career?
Passion projects are some of the best things you can do. Food photography began as a passion project… as a way to show I was able to use a camera when I had no clients. Now, it’s one of my main types of photography, and still, the passion grows every day!

Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
The ivory & grey linen print boxes. Gosh, they are so lovely & the perfect gift for my wedding clients post-wedding day. I love thinking of the couples filling it with their favorite prints over the years long after the wedding day is through.

Lauren Carnes Wedding Photography

How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
People are blown away when they receive the print boxes in the mail full of special memories from their day. Not only are they stunning, but they are the perfect size to slide on a shelf as a keepsake. My clients always rave about them & share on social media with such excitement, spreading the word further about my business and bringing in new referrals and inquiries!

How has packaging elevated your brand?
In the earlier days of my business, I just would tie prints up with string and slide them into an envelope. It didn’t present them well or give them a home long term… I mean, what do you do with a stack of 50 prints and no home to store them? Now, the packaging truly gives the elevated experience that my clients deserve, and it allows them to display my work in their homes!

Is there anything else you are passionate about besides photography?
I’m obsessed with marketing & communications, and absolutely love how storytelling is bolstered not just with photos or just with words, but with both. I have a dual degree in Public Relations & Spanish with a certificate in Personal & Organizational Leadership, so absolutely love having a career where I can capture images as a photographer & help others craft their brand message & digital communications as a communications coach. I feel hugely grateful that I have been able to create a business that lets me combine all of my passions in one and helps bridge the gap between photos and copywriting! And I’m also more than obsessed with all things food & drink – cooking, eating, trying new recipes, traveling & experiencing new cultures & foods. If we’re not working, we’re likely doing that as a couple, with our pup, or with family & friends, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

What type of businesses do you help with coaching?
As a photography & communications coach, I serve creative entrepreneurs looking to uplevel their businesses, hone in on their messaging and brand voice, and connect with their ideal clients. As a photographer, I have a special place in my heart for creatives. I’ve been there, done that, and know all too well what it feels like to try to find your place in this very over-saturated industry. I love being able to apply my knowledge and past experience of working with worldwide brands to each individual, meeting them exactly where they are at in their career. Many of my clients are in a season of transition, pivoting from one element of their business to another or preparing to launch a new website, service, or offering. Others are just ready to take their business to the level they have always dreamed of but hadn’t had the right words or confidence to get there. I take a 30 thousand foot view approach, and then walk through whatever my client’s are struggling with a clear action plan for everything from brand messaging to email marketing to photo styling. (link: https://laurencarnes.com/communications) And the thing I love most about my coaching offerings is that I am able to cater the coaching directly to the individual. No two sessions are exactly alike because no two creatives are alike… and our time together really highlights what makes “you, you!”

What is great about being a multi-passionate entrepreneur?
When I first began this business, I intended to shoot weddings forever. That was going to be my niche. However, I quickly learned that I would never feel truly full if I abandoned my other interests and passions. As humans we have lots of things that fire us up… and for me, it seems like a futile effort to squash those in the name of “niching.” Instead, when I truly finally began embracing all of the passions, I found that it brought even better clients for me. My wedding clients connected with me about the latest recipe I was trying. My food clients appreciated my ability to coordinate with their agencies and draft stories for editorial work. My coaching clients want insight on communications AND imagery, and how they can bring consistency into every element of their brand. I believe that by bridging the gap between imagery and communications, my business is set apart from others, and I have the opportunity to serve a really unique type of client… one that wants a 360 view, and one that loves a good meal. 😉 Because as Julia Child says: “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Plus, being multi-passionate is just a normal element of being HUMAN. Embrace that… it’s way more fun!

5 REASONS WHY SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS FAIL

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In recent time, it’s no secret that many small business owners fail. Success in business is never automatic. It isn’t rigorously based on luck-although a little never hurts. It depends primarily on the owner’s foresight and organization. Even then, of course, there are no guarantees. No small business owner wants to be out of business, yet many of them do. According to the SBA Office of Advocacy, about two-thirds of small business owners with employees survive at least two years, but only 50 percent make it to the five-year mark, and just one-third celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Why do some succeed yet others fail? In reality, some common errors kill many small business owners before they ever get off the ground.

INSUFFICIENT CAPITAL

Starting a business without adequate operating capital is a death-knell. Not only that but many small business owners underestimate the perils of riding the cash flow roller coaster. Improper management of cash flow is what causes a small business owner to lose your business. Protecting your capital before you start your business gives you a good buffer for the ebbs and flow in your business. By getting the right liability insurance before you start the first step for a better cash flow management. It is imperative to ascertain how much money you’ll need before starting a  business; this will help you cover startup costs and to keep the business running for the first year or two. There is need to get ready for unforeseen increases in the costs of things like materials, utilities, and labor. Ensure you keep enough reserve cash to carry you through seasonal slowdowns and the tough times.

LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT FAILURE

Leadership skills and effective management are essential to business-building success, and a lack of either can lead to confusion and reduced productivity. Small business owners struggle as leaders because they don’t have enough experience to make management decisions, supervising staff or the vision to lead their organization. When problems requiring strong leadership occur, they often feel reluctant to take charge and resolve the issues while their business continues to slip toward failure.

FAILURE TO ADVERTISE AND MARKET

There is need to have an advertising plan when the business is good and even when business is bad. Many small businesses fizzle out purely because the owner failed to promote and market. Majority of small business owners have the mentality of “if you build it, they’ll come.” But they forgot it does not work in an age when consumers can choose from a multiplicity of options. There is need to get your message seen and heard. One of the best ways to market your business is with a personal website and social media, though traditional methods of advertising are still useful. By creating your business website using and promoting it on various social media platforms, you put yourself ahead of many of your competitors. Furthermore, there is a need to use various social networks where your customers gather. Also, start an email newsletter and advertise on Google and Facebook — both of which are inexpensive ways to build a presence online.

HIRING THE WRONG PEOPLE

Your business will never prosper if you employ the wrong people — that is, employees who lack the willingness to work hard and who exhibit poor customer-service skills. Hiring good people is yet another time-consuming element of keeping a business afloat, but in the long run, it takes less time, effort, and money than hiring the first people who walk through your door.

UNPROFITABLE BUSINESS MODEL

In most cases, having only a business idea doesn’t produce any result. This is the point where conducting proper market research, and seeking the advice of another professional can be a lifesaver. Also, it’s imperative to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What will it take to bring your business to the targeted customers and at what cost?
  • Is there a customer base for the service or product you want to introduce?
  • Is there an existing revenue model?

IN CONCLUSION

Most business owners don’t know what they don’t know. Get assistance by hiring non-biased professionals who help you realign with your vision, create plans and financial scorecards to monitor your business. Look for someone who can suggest resources to help you and your business grow. Someone who’s been in your shoes and succeeded. Start looking at how having a partner – a business consultant, coach, counselor, strategist, organizer or planner – can help you grow your business.

You may also consider taking an online business course such as the B School by Marie Forleo to help give you the tools you need to succeed in business.

PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT | DEBRA EBY PHOTOGRAPHY

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Business Name: Debra Eby Photography Co.

Website: www.debraeby.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Debra-Eby-Photography-161757607184771

Instagram: @debraeby

Where are you based out of? Ormond Beach, Florida

Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer?
Full Part-Time (which means not 40 hours a week, but as much work as I can handle while also being a wife and mother of 4 littles)

What is your predominant photographic specialization? Wedding Photography

What camera(s) do you currently shoot with? Canon 5D Mark III

How would you define your style?  

Fine Art | Editorial | Romance

What motivated you to become a photographer?
My passion is all about sharing messages through imagery.

Throughout my college studies in Communications, I was most intrigued with interpersonal and visual communications. The idea of connecting with people through visual messages completely resonates with me.

As soon as I began studying photography, I couldn’t stop. An obsession was born. Every night I stayed up late learning to harness light, angles, and aesthetics to create something beautiful.

For me, work has to be meaningful, more than just “clocking in” every day. The technical side of photography is simply a means to a more personal end. My career began with family portraits, but after second shooting my first wedding – I fell in love.

What is it that you try to convey with your work?
My hope is to create a fine art and editorial aesthetic that is customized to each couple.

Capturing the beauty in every little moment – her grace, his charm, her blush, his dimples. From the bridal gown choice to the wedding favors, couples tell a story with their style choices.

How do you accomplish that?
I do my best to unearth their couple identity through the consultation, our online conversations, and the engagement portraits. I have them fill out a couple questionnaire to help me in this discovery process as well. The wedding prep form also gives me a sense of their artistic direction.

Then, on the wedding day, I do my best to filter the details (invitation suite, gown, florals, beauty choices, etc.) to solidify their overall aesthetic. I will then make styling and posing choices based on that feeling.

I picture the day in a magazine spread, or their album, and do my best to style and create a full collection of imagery that embodies their unique brand of love.

What do you do during a session or wedding day to help make your clients feel comfortable?
My clients look best on camera when they trust me. Building this trust can be tricky! I feel this happens by giving couples (and their family and bridal party) as much warm, genuine, and kind communication as possible. I always try to remember how awkward it can feel with a big camera pointed in my direction.

They need to know I have their best interest at heart, and that I’m using flattering angles. They also need to know that I believe they are beautiful and so valued. I do my best to find authentic ways to compliment and encourage, like gushing over her sparkling eyes or affirming when he nails that smolder.

I always begin with action poses that are easy for everyone. For instance, walking while holding hands and looking at each other. Then, we move less and pose a little more as they become more comfortable. I carefully talk them into cozy poses and test their readiness by how quickly they kiss. It’s all about that trust.

Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
So many photographers have been on this journey with me, inspiring me in different ways.

I have my girl bosses that have me fangirl all over their marketing and business acumen. I really resonate with Kaitlin James and her approach to business. She is all about making it personal, authentic, and a rich client experience.

Then, I have those photographers who inspire me to push myself artistically. It may be cliché, but Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina were my original fine art inspiration when I was honing my style. So many try to replicate their work, but they will always be the real deal. Jose knows how to turn a local dune into an exotic desert location. Elizabeth knows how to capture the essence of a woman, her soul. All of this is done with consistency and originality. Incredible.

What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
I still remember the feeling of that first published wedding. It was actually my first wedding, but I didn’t submit it for 6 months because I was way too scared. It was a gorgeously crafted day with a couple who I still adore. When Style Me Pretty picked it up for publication, I totally freaked out.

Since then, I’ve loved seeing my couples featured on blogs and in magazines. I feel like a proud momma, seeing them on display where other brides can find inspiration.

Shooting a wedding in Bermuda in 2017 was pretty amazing too. My bride was incredible and it was an absolute dream experience.

What is one important lesson you have learned during your career?
I have learned to foster growth at every stage in business.

There are always ways to improve systems and the overall experience for our clients. Scheduling time where I step away to analyze the business, apart from emotion. Those weaknesses surface and that is so important. It’s easy to become complacent or frustrated with clients. When that happens, there is usually something I can do better to avoid or minimize future problems.

Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
I looked so long and hard for gorgeous fabric boxes that matched my branding and coordinated with my beautiful album line.

Photographer Supply Co. was the perfect fit!

I’m so grateful that my clients can receive their images in such luxury packaging.

How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
Photographer Supply Co. creates packaging that “wows” my target demographic. I’m not naturally great with packaging and those kinds of details. So, partnering with a company who excels in this area allows my business to shine!

How has packaging elevated your brand?
When clients see attention to detail and that you care about them from start to finish, that matters. They feel valued and will then share that experience with their friends. Word-of-mouth marketing has always been my primary source of referrals. This can only continue as I pour into these couples, creating an unforgettable experience. Photographer Supply Co. partners with me in that effort. I am so grateful!

How To Be Productive Instead Of Busy

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In today’s high-speed, ever-connected times, being “busy” is one of the most valued social currencies. If we’re busy, then surely we must be important, successful, valuable and living full lives. As a business owner, there are periods when you’re frenetically trying to balance a million work-related things at once, but it is neither sustainable nor effective to operate that way. We feel burnt out, at the end of the day, utterly exhausted and unfulfilled in other areas of our lives. To help assuage the pains of being constantly busy, below are ways that will help you to be productive, maximize time and also reduce your stress-induced headaches. These tips will help you live a more balanced, healthy lifestyle while still pumping out the work you need to stay at the top of your game.

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FOCUS ON COMPLETING ONE TASK PER DAY.

When you to do multiple things at once, your brain wastes a lot of time, context switching between tasks. And if you take on too much, you can easily become overwhelmed and lose track of what’s important. Now what’s nice about completing one task per day is that it forces you to prioritize and you won’t be distracted by other tasks. Furthermore, psychologically, this will make you feel good about yourself for finishing one thing instead of having a bunch of partially completed tasks.

DEAL WITH INTERRUPTIONS.

Interruptions differ from minor irritations to major problems.  These series of interruptions make it impossible to stay productive because you constantly have to deal with them. To deal with this, accept the fact that interruptions will happen and focus on your response to these random events. You can identify how you’re often interrupted and take a proactive step that prevents them from reoccurring when you’re engaged in an important task.

LEARN TO SAY NO.

Saying yes to everything puts a huge strain on your time and productivity. People usually say Yes when they should say No. It important to remember this, whenever you say “yes” to a particular request, you’re indirectly saying “no” to something else. Keep this in mind: saying No isn’t rude rather the approach matters.

TACKLE TOUGHER TASKS WHEN YOU’RE MOST ALERT.

A set schedule does not work for everyone. Endeavor to figure out what works best for you and work around that. Often we put aside the harder tasks because we don’t feel confident enough in achieving them. They will never get done that way. If you’re a morning person, get after that dicey project over your first cup of coffee and be done with it. That way it won’t be looming over your head all day, distracting you from other tasks.

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ELIMINATE INEFFICIENCIES.

In most cases, there are many tasks you simply don’t need to do, and it may be possible to minimize others. If you’re in a management position or a business owner, focus on the tasks that can only be done by you and assign the rest to others.

TAKE REGULAR BREAKS.

To keep your energy levels high and your mind fresh, incorporate mini-breaks throughout your day. During your break, do something different than the task at hand to jumpstart your mind. When you approach the work again, your boost in productivity will be more the 15 minutes you spent on break.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Regardless of your situation and the demands on your time, with careful planning and creativity, you can always carve out time for the things that matter most. Use these strategies and start seeing improvement in your productivity.

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