Six Things I Wish I'd Known When Starting My Business
[00:00:00] There are so many other ways to really get that word out, whether it's a podcast or being a guest on a podcast or writing blog posts with great SEO that maybe you pin on Pinterest, it's creating this great lifetime cycle of people who can find you more easily and then become closer in on your ecosystem.
[00:00:30] You're listening to Unfold with Kellee Wynne. This is an unpolished imperfect and totally honest podcast. And I'm talking to all the artists, creatives, visionaries and change makers who wanna live a life by design and not by default. If you're ready to have thought provoking eye opening and heart centered conversations that explore the stories that made us who we are and break through the boundaries of expectations, then you are in the right place.
[00:01:02] Hello. Hello everyone. Welcome back to the podcast and welcome to our summer series, The Artist in Business, where I share everything that I've experienced over the last 10 years of being in business, all the ups, all the downs, all my struggles to sell my artwork and start an online business from curating to coaching.
[00:01:23] I've tried it all and some things have been successful and some things have been really challenging. But what's great about this summer series is being able to provide for you a chance to really see the inside of how it works. I can pull back the curtain. I don't have to keep any secrets from you. You can know my troubles and you can know where my successes were.
[00:01:45] And hopefully that's planting a seed in your mind about what's possible for you. Learn from my mistakes so that you don't have to make all the same mistakes that I've made. But the truth of the matter is, is really doing the work is the only way you're gonna know. So hopefully I've inspired you. You're excited about creating something for yourself, because I'm about to make a really big shift.
[00:02:10] I'm giving you a little hint now. The podcast name is gonna change. And my business model's gonna change here moving forward. I've been primarily teaching courses online, but you know that I have a deep desire to be able to support you, to be that lightning rod from wherever the inspiration is coming from and channel it to you so that you can build your own remarkable business. Whether it's online, it's retreats, it's coaching other people creating services that don't even exist yet. Who knows what it is that you're interested in creating for yourself, but whatever that is, I wanna be there to be that catalyst for you.
[00:02:52] And that's why I've been taking this podcast down a very specific route over the last several months, since I've launched it into. Building a business into what success really looks like and where the pitfalls are along the way. So hopefully that's really sparking something in you. That's why I'm here. I feel like I've been chosen for this mission. This is almost as if it's destiny for me, since childhood, that entrepreneurship, leadership, guidance, cheerleading, whatever you wanna call it has been definitely a big motivator in my life and what I feel cold to do for you.
[00:03:33] I wanna see your happiness. I wanna see your success. I wanna see you live life by design and not by default. And for many of you who are listening, what that means is creating something really significant for yourself that you can give to others, whether it be business or artwork or service, whatever it is, I'm here to help guide you in that.
[00:03:56] Today's episode is really important to me because there are so many things that I've gotten right over the years. And there are so many things that I've gotten wrong and some things I just didn't know. I just didn't know a few things that I wanted to impart on you today. So here are six things, six that I wish I had known when I was starting my business. I wish I had even really kind of understood five years ago when I was venturing into teaching online. So let's just get right into it. And I'm gonna be very curious to see which one of these six items resonates with you. And maybe I might be flipping a switch in your mind. About what you need to do next.
[00:04:37] So first and foremost, something that I kind of always knew, but I realized much more in the last couple of years is. You need to build your business on your own ground, on your own soil and not at the whim of any other platform. And I think we're feeling this deep right now to our core, as we're watching our very favorite platform, Instagram shift massively away from what drew us in, in the first place, away from the easy success, it was to reach our customers, to create community, to enjoy the app ourselves. It's shifted so much with the change to video to the changes to just the plain fact that you don't get to see the people in your feed that you wanna see. So what does this mean? I've put all my energy into building my social media platform on Instagram. Yes. I have Facebook. I have Pinterest. I probably have a Twitter account that I don't use, whatever it is. I've created other platforms and places, but I put all my energy into one place and that's Instagram.
[00:05:47] However, one thing that I've done, right. And the one thing that I'm really doubling down on right now is my email list. Cuz it's something that I own. So if you haven't heard this concept before it's. uh, like it's like your good old backup. It's actually, it's more than a backup. What it is is it's building your house on your own soil. You're building your business where you have more control over it, where you have the ability to reach out to your customers. If Instagram disappeared tomorrow, you would still have that list and you'd still have a viable business.
[00:06:22] So though I've been building my business on my own ground for a long time. There a lot of things that I wish I had done sooner, one really spending all my time and energy on building that list from the get go in 2017, I started by offering a color palette as many of you know, for Color Crush Creative. But what I should have been doing is driving more traffic to get on that list. So it grew very slow. Over the last few years, I've done a few things recently. That's helped build the list faster, which is collaborations or events like the Virtual Art Summit. But in order to really build that list, what you need to do is have a list worth being on. If all you're doing is spamming your customers. If the only thing that you're doing is sending out messages about what's for sale, your customers aren't gonna wanna stay on that list. And so one thing that I'm kind of coming full circle from my 2017 experience with Color Crush Creative and creating pallets and art news, that's been really juicy is to come back to that full circle.
[00:07:26] So you can see for all of my art customers for all of the people who are here, following me because they are interested in learning how to make art. My newsletter is now just that one time a week, Friday Color For Your Inbox, and I'm making it more exciting and more interesting and a whole lot less spammy.
[00:07:47] So getting people onto that list is my number one priority now. Building my home on my own ground also includes making sure that my website speaks about who I am. I take advantage of S E O. Do you know what SEO is? That search engine optimization. All the keywords that we use, whether it's on our website, our blog, what captions we put in our social media feed. However, it is that we are showing up online using those keywords helps people find us. So when a Google search happens, you're more likely to come up in that search. So. This is also part of building on your own ground, which means that the part that I own, my domain, my website, my email list, I'm really putting more energy into that versus showing up on Instagram or social media.
[00:08:40] Yes it's a great tool for attracting new people to your list, but there are so many other ways to really get that word out, whether it. A podcast or being a guest on a podcast or writing blog posts with great SEO that maybe you pin on Pinterest, it's creating this great lifetime cycle of people who can find you more easily and then become closer in on your ecosystem.
[00:09:06] Okay. Number two, this falls a lot in line with what I was just talking about, the fact that we don't own social media. And so one thing I wish that I had done is maybe diversify a little bit more. I wish I had understood that platforms like YouTube and Pinterest are search engines. They are not social media the way that we understand social media with a feed like Facebook or Instagram, or even TikTok. What they are is really search engines, the content that you create for YouTube and Pinterest lives on much, much longer than the 10 to 14 hour life cycle, that you might be lucky enough to get off of Instagram.
[00:09:53] And that's why I wish I had understood this concept, but putting my energy into building on a platform like YouTube or Pinterest would have built me a more solid foundation than anything that Instagram can provide, especially as it's changing so much right now, I spent the last eight years putting all my energy into Instagram every day, a new post, new comments, new circles of friends, people that I'm reaching out to new strategies in order to make it work. Look, there's still a viable. Pathway using Instagram. I'm not saying that it's not worth doing. I think it's still a very important tool, but in hindsight now I wish I had started my YouTube channel 10 years when I first started making art, well, doesn't even matter what the subject would've been, just showing how I make art, how I put the art up and galleries to sell it.
[00:10:49] And then all of the things that I've done since then, YouTube, isn't a place that you have to have perfectionism. Many people think that they need some like star worthy YouTube channel in order to get started. But sometimes it's one of those things, just like I said, in the last podcast episode, you just need to get it going. You don't need perfectionism. You just need to get it going. And so I have been working on my YouTube channel a lot more lately by recording this podcast with video so that I, people can find me also on YouTube for those who maybe don't like to listen to a podcast without visuals. And this is better way for them to adapt to my message. Creating YouTube content is really one of my primary goals moving forward. I do. However, wish this was something that I had started a decade ago that I had invested my time as much time as I was putting into Instagram. Even if I put half of that into YouTube, I wish that that was something that I had done, but it's never too late.
[00:11:50] YouTube is finding a resurgence again, people are using it more. The algorithm is working for YouTube. If you just know a few tricks, I highly recommend spending some time searching on YouTube to find out the best ways to use YouTube, ironically, that we can do that. And in the same line as YouTube, I really recommend doubling down on Pinterest and learning how Pinterest works because what's happening is it's also an index that Google and any other search engine can use to find content that's relevant to what the person searching is looking for. So whether you are selling artwork or you're teaching courses or you're coaching, or maybe you have a program that you help people with tech, because you're a tech wizard and you're helping artists so that they can build their own website, whatever it is that your expert business is about in this creative world that we are in. Having resources that you can put right onto Pinterest is essential. And then understanding that all those keywords that's also SEO, Search Engine Optimization by putting the right keywords on Pinterest you're creating an opportunity to be found more. Even if what you're doing is just putting the content from your Instagram onto pinterest. There's a possibility that this can be one of the biggest drivers of building your business. So don't miss this opportunity now. It's never too late getting that. The more information you can get out into the world, that search engines can find the more likely you are to grow your business.
[00:13:26] It's really challenging to find anything on Instagram, unless you're in the app and doing a search. And you happen to have used the right words in your post or in your hashtags. It's just, it's nearly impossible to be found on Instagram now, the way you can be found on YouTube or found on Pinterest or your very own blog posts that you're using those keywords in SEO.
[00:13:52] So again, this is number two is I wish I had known to use YouTube a lot sooner. However, it's a lot in alignment with number one, which is more of diversity in the way you're building your business rather than focusing all your energy on just one platform like Instagram.
[00:14:11] Number three, I'm gonna go in for number three here. And this one might be one that's surprising to you, but you can't change what you don't know. And what this means is you need to be tracking your data. I have spreadsheets that I use to keep track every month of all kinds of information in my business, but I didn't start doing this until about a year and a half ago. Can you imagine how much more I could have affected and changed. If I had started this five years ago, when I was doing. My very first Color Crush Creative palettes. Well, it's never too late to start. Again all of these things that I'm giving you, it's never too late to start, but tracking your data, things like the growth of your social media accounts, the growth of your email list, the open rate of your email list, which courses are selling. And what kinds of promotions you've done during the month in order to sell 'em. So you can see an exact correlation, whether you can track the fact that maybe you were on a podcast episode, and then because of that, you had 300 new people show up on your mailing list. So these are the kinds of things that when you start tracking, you can start seeing what's gonna happen.
[00:15:21] And it's especially important if you're launching something. And when I say launch, I just mean. Making an offer, whether it's your artwork or it's a course that you've created or some sort of specialized expert program, when you watch the data and you track the data of that experience of. Putting it out for sale, communicating it, the email sequences, you make, the posts that you make on social and the way that you kind of get that information out to the world.
[00:15:52] And you can say, well, if I had a thousand people on my email list and 20 people bought, then I understand that I have a 2% conversion rate. So that means if I had 10,000 people on, then I would have 200 people purchased at a conversion rate. This is the kind of data that you need to start understanding how to grow your business.
[00:16:14] So keeping track of all the finances, all of the growth of your social media and your email list and how many people are landing on your website and all those kinds of cool things. Month to month to month, you can see the growth, you can track the data, and then you can see where you can improve. This really makes a huge difference in being able to take your business from just chugging along plot, plot, plot to actually roaring to life with full engine power. Okay. So I highly recommend that you start this now. I don't know how you want to do it, whether you need a spreadsheet or you just wanna Google document that you're gonna keep track, or you can do good old fashioned. My very favorite. As a pen and paper and a notebook, I use it still to this day because I retain it better in my head. So however you need to be tracking your data, get started now, even if you just have 10 people on your list and a hundred followers, watch that growth over time, and you're gonna be able to predict better when your best months are gonna be when you have slow months and where the traffic is coming from. Track the data so that you can change the outcome. Okay.
[00:17:25] Number four. Systems could have saved me. And what do I mean by this? This means that instead of doing everything on a whim, I'm actually making a concerted effort to create systems in my business. I'm not really great at this because most artists love to be able to be fly by the seat of their pants, kind of people. I get it. I'm a lot like you don't pin me down. Don't make me have a strict schedule, but I'm not actually saying that you have to adhere to a really strict schedule in order to be successful. What I'm actually saying is document the systems that you use and how you process your business so that you have systems in place that other people can support you.
[00:18:09] That, you know, when you're stuck exactly how to accomplish something. Here's an example when I'm creating an art course, this is how I do it. I start by concept. Then I record material, et cetera, editing. Then I know this is how I build a sales page. And then this is my launch sequence. This is how I do a live conversion event in order to get the amount of customers I want on my list in order to sell the course. So that was a real rough draft. But if I'm recording this process and I keep it tracked and say something like Trello or Asana or a Google doc, and I also use video to record some of the things that I'm doing online, what I'm doing is creating systems for my business.
[00:18:52] That are repeatable that someone else can also take over later so that you're not doing everything forever, recording how you do what you do, whether it's how you post on social media or how you sell your artwork, the order and operations in which you need to list it online. Keeping track of that data makes it easier and a whole lot less overwhelming later when you are either repeating the process for yourself. Or you're hiring someone to help you do what it is that you do. Things start happening faster and with a lot less stress and a lot less confusion. If you're documenting the systems that you use and the processes that you go through in order to build your business. So there you go. That's number four, start documenting your systems as well.
[00:19:40] So in number three, I was telling you document the data. Now I'm saying document these systems have an exact. If this, then this, if I have new photos that I just took, I edit the photos. I label the photo with what the photo's about, and then I put it into upload it to a specific folder and I categorize it exactly like this. And if you know that you have this exact system, you can repeat the system over and over and you'll stay organized and it'll be so much easier as your business grows and scales. When your business is getting huge, you could be like me and have all of your content in five different places. Google drive Dropbox, Simplero, on social media, uh, on my phone, on my desktop, like it's everywhere. It's a chaos. In Canva even I have stuff everywhere. And instead of having a regular routine documented where I know exactly the process I need to go through in order to keep it organized and where to find what and how to do whatever it is that needs to be done.
[00:20:46] I'm kind of a hot mess when it comes to systems, but the good news is, is that I'm straightening it all out. We do have a project management platform that we use and Google drive, in order to start documenting exactly what, and that's what I've spent this entire year doing is getting that shit organized. I can't move forward. I can't build the business as big as I want if I don't get organized and create systems. So that's a big piece of advice that I want to give to you, which really honestly leads right into number five.
[00:21:19] Stop waiting so long to hire the help that you need. When you hire help, you can actually make more money. I know, there I said it, hiring help means you could actually make more money. How is this possible? Cuz don't you need to spend money to hire help. Well, here's the thing. If you are no longer exhausting yourself doing the tedious work. You have more energy to do what's most important to build your business, whether that's forward facing to show up on social media or video, if that's to plan and go bigger with the ideas and concepts that you have so that you're not answering every email, so that you're not doing every little admin project so that you don't have to worry about all the tedious little stuff.
[00:22:06] Hiring yourself your very first virtual assistant is game changer. And when I say hire somebody, who's a virtual assistant, I don't mean your art friends. I mean, someone who actually is trained to do this. I hired my first official virtual assistant two years ago, and I don't think that I'd be able to run my business without her. So big, huge shout out to Lisa. Who is really my right hand lady now. I would consider her chief operating officer to tell you the truth. I would love for you to kind of shift the way you think about hiring help and getting professionals to come in and do the things that you're not great at. Maybe it's tech, maybe it's the amount of time and energy it takes to post on social media or answer questions in your own Facebook group.
[00:22:55] Hire help of people who know how to support you. So that you can do better at the things that only you can do. Only you can make the art only you can teach the art, only you can show up for your customers and coach them and support them. So knowing this that's the reason why the last advice I gave you, which was to document your systems is so important because with that documentation, it's easier to hire someone. It's a lot more fluid to be able to have someone come in and help work with you when you know how you do things. Because a lot of us will sit here and say, wait a minute, it's gonna take so much time to train someone to do things the way I do it. And yes, that can be true. But in the long run once. They learn it, your hands off.
[00:23:43] And it makes a huge difference in the energy that you have to expend, the capacity in which you can serve. And honestly, the growth in which you can grow your business. And on that same note, I would say the other thing that I've invested money in, in getting help has been a coach. And I know that there's a lot of talk these days that everybody needs a coach, but there are ways in which you can hire support. And get help from people without having to spend a lot of money. So it really depends on what your scale of comfort level is and investing in somebody to support you.
[00:24:15] I love being a coach for other people, because I have seen huge transformation by hiring a coach for myself. And I notice that the people who invest in that kind of knowledge, that kind of support and that kind of feedback and advice tend to grow faster. So whether that's finding a community of like-minded people who are doing what you're doing. And there is a general group consensus of support to give you advice back or live Q and A from the host, that's a very viable option for creating a space for yourself to get the kind of support that you need. If hiring someone one on one or group coaching doesn't really work for you. So yes, I would say number five is absolutely essential for you to really consider hiring the right help to help you build your business.
[00:25:12] That doesn't mean you need to hire everyone. You don't need to fi hire professional videography team. You don't need to hire a copywriter necessarily. You don't have to hire somebody to do all your. Launch management. Those are all things that are extra that are maybe not completely necessary, unless you're really not good at that. And you wanna invest in that, but the most important thing is just real virtual assistance. Somebody who can help you with the admin and the day to day processes so that the pile on your plate isn't so big.
[00:25:44] And number six last but not least. This one thing would have changed things far sooner for me if I had made this massive shift earlier in my art business and that's this right here, Money Mindset. Understanding that the growth of your business and the amount of income that you make compounds over time, and that the way you view it and the way you think about your business and the way you think about money will either propel you forward to make plenty of it and be successful, or it will hold you back. Because you will be putting the wrong energy out into this world.
[00:26:24] If you are afraid that you're taking from others, if you don't see yourself in service of your customer, you're gonna have a hard time making that sale. You're gonna have a hard time putting yourself out there day after day and saying, Hey, I have this. Artwork, it's valuable. It's going to brighten up your life by being in your home. And I know that you can spend all that money on going out to eat every week. So I also understand that there's plenty of money to fill your light and life with beauty. So when you shift the way you think about this, when you start realizing that people want what you have, you are in service, that energy exchange of money, it's all it is, is energy.
[00:27:05] And people will choose how they wanna spend that money. And if you are offering something that could be transformative for their life, you are doing something remarkable and that when you make that kind of money, you can continue to affect change. You can continue to create programs that are incredibly valuable. Like I do with the Virtual Art Summit, where people can get real high quality art education for free if they choose by coming in and choosing the pay, what you can option. But at the same time, those who wanna keep it, I have an option for them to purchase. To keep the Virtual Arts Summit and then they have that value for life.
[00:27:45] So either way it's a win-win situation. And my business grows and I can do things like provide scholarships and art supplies to artists, 20 different scholarships that I gave away. Plus six prizes. And each of those packages were, were worth anywhere from $100 to $300. Now, I'm not saying all of this so that I can just pat myself on the back and say, Hey, look at me I'm okay. It's all right. If I make money, but no, that's not really what I'm saying. What I'm saying is. I am proud of it. I am honored that I can make the kind of money that I make, that I can create this kind of amazing energy and that I can continue to give back to this world, whether it's to my children or my husband or it's to enriching other people's lives by hiring them. Maybe it's just because now I can provide more income to somebody to mow my lawn or hiring more people to help me in my business. This energy exchange just continues to grow. It's an amazing thing. It's not pie it's not limited. There's not a finite amount of money. Money is abundant. Our businesses can be abundant.
[00:28:57] The amount of goodness that we can receive from creating a business is abundant. Once you flip that switch in your head. Once I was able to flip that switch in my head, which took me years, by the way, years. Then I can see the growth of my business and the potential in how I can reach other people and create for them in order for them to have the experience for them to have the transformation.
[00:29:23] And in exchange, I'm creating wealth for myself and for my family. It is the most amazing, beautiful thing. How did I get here? Well, it took a lot of work. It took listening to the money experts, people like Denise Duffield Thomas or Rachel Rodgers who have both written amazing books on understanding your money mindset and where all these triggers come from from your childhood, where the guilt of having had debt or paid for things that maybe you couldn't have afford in the past.
[00:29:50] That you're gonna shift your mindset that says, no, I'm not gonna cut back on my daily latte so that I can save myself $1,400 a year. What I'm actually gonna do is enjoy my coffee and I'm gonna make $14,000. I'm going to take my family on a nice vacation. I'm just gonna make more money in order to do the things that serve me and my people, the best that serve my customers the best once my mind shifted on this.
[00:30:19] And there was no guilt left in being able to be abundant. Everything changed for me, everything. And is continuing to shift and change, as you may well know, one of my big goals before I turn 50, is to make a million dollars in one year. And it seems so crazy and absurd that an artist could ask for that.
[00:30:41] But it's not crazy and absurd to me anymore. Because that mindset shift, that change and understanding that the more I build my business, the more it compounds, the more I've got exponential growth, practically the things become more and more possible is just putting all of these little pieces together.
[00:31:01] And then boom, click that knowledge comes into your mind that motivation, that desire. Everything changes at that point. So yes, I'm going on a rant and a rampage about money mindset. But honestly, if I had understood this sooner, I wouldn't have spent a, a good eight years struggling with making no money because I would've understood the value of it.
[00:31:26] And my, the value of my own worth. And that it is absolutely the most remarkable thing that you can do, building a business, an entrepreneurship, something that can change other people's lives as well as your. I'm just super passionate about it. What can I say?
[00:31:43] This is my calling and that's why I'm here. And that's why I am working towards making a big, radical shift in my business that you're gonna see happen over the next couple of weeks and months. And new offers will be coming your way because I wanna help you make a difference in your business. I can give you this advise right here on the podcast and I'm glad to do it. I hope it's making a difference. I hope that it's shifting how you look at making a business for yourself as an artist that doesn't have to be the traditional things that we've been told, but it's actually possible to build something remarkable because you are made remarkable and you have something to offer and give as well.
[00:32:27] If that's enough motivation for you today, I'm gonna ask one big, huge favor. Can you please share this podcast? Can you please tell people about it? I wanna get the word out there. I want more people listening. If you could share it on your Instagram, if you could share it in your newsletter, if you could just tell a friend who loves art and who wants to build a business, who's struggling right now because their mindset isn't there and they don't understand systems and they haven't been building their business on their own ground. If you have friends like that, if you know people like that, that are still like plotting along saying why, why have I tried everything under the sun for the last 10 years? And I'm still not making it as an artist, send them my way, tell them to download the free PDF 100 Ways to Make Money as an Artist Without Selling your Art. I came up with a hundred crazy ideas that might be just so genius that. Change the way you do business forever. Just go to my website, Kelleewynnestudios.com/100 and download that PDF and then tell everyone about it. Tell everyone about the podcast. Just pay attention, tune in because new exciting stuff is coming your way.
[00:33:36] Thank you so much for joining me on this podcast. Once again, it means the world to me. I love and adore you. I couldn't be doing what I'm doing without you. It's a reason why I get up feeling so excited and motivated every single day to be able to share with you my passion, my belief, that we are all made remarkable and that we should be living our life by design and not by default.
[00:34:00] Okay. Have a fabulous day.
If you'd like to listen to or learn more about the podcast visit https://www.maderemarkable.com/blog for our show notes and links to the main players.