A Little Savvy Summary & A Little Announcement!

by Whitney on October 8, 2012

I had the most wonderful week last week, at the Savvy Photographer’s Workshop on the Waterfront. Not only was Alys Beach the most beautiful place on earth, but the people who attended were beautiful as well. You know that old saying that everything happens for a reason? That was last week. Last week, the Savvy Workshop happened for a reason.

I can’t really even begin to put it all into words. The trip started off in a downpour, and the whole first morning we were there, the deluge continued. We didn’t even feel like braving the weather to cross the street to the little boutique coffee shop. That left me and Jamie Schultz sitting on sofas in the most beautiful room you’ve ever seen, talking about how we’ve both grown over the past years in our adventures as entrepreneurs and mommas. Jamie is an amazing kindred spirit, and was a huge encouragement to all the attendees. Such wisdom! Be sure to check out her blog all about healthy eating at This Lunch Rox (I’ve already talked to my husband and we’re making some dietary changes soon, based on Jamie’s recommendations.) As I composed this post, I thought to myself, I never would have had that morning to talk to Jamie if the weather had been beautiful. But everything happens for a reason, right?

The first evening, we kicked off talking about one of my favorite subjects: WHY. I talked about finding purpose. The following day, I went a bit further and outlined some exercises on how to identify an ideal client: the WHO that keeps us all in business. As I read through my ideal client description, Jamie turned to me and said, “Well, what are you selling? Because I’m going to buy it!”

Everyone had a little laugh, but it left me out in the open with the huge question that has been hanging over my head for a while now. What am I selling? And how do I turn that sale into actual revenue?

Most people assume that I sell stationery to brick and mortar retail stores, but as the economy has lagged, the traditional wholesale model that I participated in over the years has evolved drastically, as has the product that we became so used to selling on a yearly cycle. It’s left me struggling for over a year now–something that I’ve hinted at here on the blog, but have yet to tell the whole story of. The struggle has left me with a few more wrinkles, but I firmly believe in turning experiences into gained knowledge, so I’ve worked hard at keeping a positive mindset.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. After we talked about ideal clients, Nicole, from Melanie Sikma Photography, approached me. Nicole is Melanie’s business manager (so smart for Melanie to bring her team to this workshop!), and Nicole was maximizing every moment there. She asked me to sit and talk with her about their brand.

So I did. And I loved it. We talked about the WHY behind the Melanie Sikma brand as a family, baby, and child photographer, and we talked about Nicole’s role, and we talked about their client experience, and the packaging, and how that all tied together and what it communicated to their clients. She probably took ten pages of notes and left with a ton of ideas.

The next day, one of my roomies, Betsy Mullinax, asked me to do the same thing. The conversation was different, but it was focused on Betsy’s needs as a wedding photographer. Betsy left the conversation with the same thing: tons of ideas, and an action plan on what to do next. Later that night she came to me and said, “We all think you need to do brand critiques.”

So I thought about it all the way home. I felt like I was Cinderella, trying on the glass slipper for size, and it had fit. Seeing the look’s on Nicole’s and Betsy’s faces, and seeing that I’d been able to give them hope, and something they could DO that would help them move forward, that would help them step into greatness–that was an incredible feeling. That, I want to do again.

So on that note, I made the decision to offer a completely new service: Authenticate Brand Critique.

Authenticate Brand Critiques are a mini-audit of your existing identity, purpose, and an analysis of how all your brand elements come together. Brand Critiques are perfect for kicking off a new brand, especially if you’re on a budget, or helpful for an existing brand that just needs a fresh spin or some insight into next steps.

What you get:

  • A worksheet booklet, mailed to you. I believe in paper, and the art of physically writing things down. You can scan and email or fax me the docs when you are done. I’ll familiarize myself with your answers before we talk. Also, I’ll review existing collateral material during the call if you want to send it to me before the call.
  • A two hour phone call during which I’ll review your brand strategy, client process, and analyze how your messaging is communicated across all channels.
  • I’ll summarize the call with a email outlining suggested next steps and any ideas or suggestions that may come to mind after we finish our call.
  • With your permission, I may recap the consult session here on the blog, which will hopefully provide added exposure for your growing brand and business.

What Authenticate Brand Critiques are not:

  • Authenticate Brand Critiques are not a complete branding process. They’ll help you kick-start your brand, or refine an existing brand.
  • It is not a brainstorming session. However, you will walk away with a ton of ideas, and I may include more in follow-up.
  • It is not a scattered Q and A session. We will systematically walk through your brand and client experience from beginning to end. I’ll ask you a LOT of questions.
  • It is not an in depth journey to help you uncover your purpose. I will ask you questions in relation to your purpose, however, that may be helpful to you in the journey to uncover yours.
  • It is not me going through your collateral and brand materials, picking them apart. A brand is so much more than a logo. For entrepreneurs who do their own graphic design, I can offer some minor design suggestions to take your style to a more professional level. I can critique materials, if desired.

Who is this for? Anyone who wants to refine their brand, themselves, and move to the next level. Anyone who wants to Authenticate.

Most calls will get to a point where we have covered enough, but not everything. You will walk away with PLENTY to work on, and that might mean that you want to schedule another session for three months down the road.

This will include considerable thought and prep time for myself, both before and after the call, so I’ll only be able to book one call per week. If this is something you are interested in, BOOK NOW.

The pricing for this little beauty of a service? $400, which is a steal of a deal, if I do say so myself. And in the essence of practicing what I preach, the pricing may be adjusted depending on demand. Half is due up front as a non-refundable deposit. The remaining 50% will be due before the call. This package does not include design work or extensive follow up. I’ll check in via email a couple of weeks later to see how you are doing, but additional phone calls are billed at an hourly rate.

And in honor of launching this new little venture, for the first three who book, I’ll be offering a 25% discount! So, contact me to BOOK TODAY!

Ya’ll, I thought long and hard about posting this. It makes me feel like I’m “selling” something. I hate that feeling–you know the one I am talking about? The whole, does-this-make-me-look-like-a-used-car-salesman feeling? But as I thought about WHY I wanted to help other creative entrepreneurs with their brands, and I thought about the look on Nicole’s and Betsy’s faces after we got done talking, I knew I had to bring that passion to the world. I truly, madly, deeply, want to help other creative entrepreneurs be all that they can be, and I want my kids to see me passionate about helping them be all that they can be.

So, if you need a little brand boost, let me know. :)


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