Last year I made a major breakthrough in my career.
For the past seven years I have worked 7 days a week, sometimes clocking in 95 hour work weeks. It was brutal but a necessary evil in trying to create my dream career. Last year I made the best business decision to date, I hired an assistant! What was I doing before I found Andrew? How did I get everything done and still walk a straight line? Hiring Andrew was the first time I felt like a true legitimate CEO. Even though I have been blessed with a growing business and now employ 22 hard working women (and 3 men), it wasn’t until Andrew took his position that I felt like I made it. When I introduce Andrew I feel accomplished because the term assistant makes me sound professional. Bill Gates has an assistant, and Oprah Winfrey has an assistant, I like putting myself in their category. Truth is that an assistant didn’t change a thing about me or my status, besides lightening my workload, but it gave me the confidence to walk the walk and talk the talk. I’m still the same old Heather, with an organized (messy) desk, old Cheerios under my keyboard (from my 2 year old), and piles of unopened mail.
If you want to be a professional you need to put yourself in the mind frame of a professional. The first person to believe the hype needs to be YOU! Believe it, think it, make it happen. One way to do that is to invent your own manager/ assistant/ agent. Typically birthday mom’s don’t want to go through an agent to hire a face painter for their birthday, but they will be impressed if Jennie your assistant answers the phone and checks your schedule. You are Jennie, you are not you, when booking an event.
- Jennie can say no to a free job or a discount.
- Jennie knows how to spell out the services you will be providing during your booking.
- Jennie creates the illusion that you are so busy and big, that you need an assistant or agent.
Agents and large booking companies like dealing with other professionals. They sometimes see us artists as flaky and dramatic. They feel a level of comfort when they are working with someone that appears organized and thorough.
One time I got myself in a pickle while I was booking a birthday party. After I went over my spiel about how many kids I can paint etc… The mother asked me if I could do better on the price. I told her that I could not offer a discount on my rate but if she needed someone in her price range I could recommend someone else. The mother was so upset and proceeded to fight with me about lowering my price and how I needed to give her a break because she was a single mother. She kept asking me why I couldn’t lower my prices. If Jennie had answered my phone then there would have been no fighting or debating. Point blank, if you want to book Heather, her rates are $150 for the first hour and $100 each additional.
Another way to walk the walk is to answer your phones and emails. I make it a habit to answer all emails and calls within 24 hours. In most cases the early bird gets the worm, and failing to answer emails can cost you big. On average I receive 100-450 emails daily! Not including my YouTube, Faceboo, and other social media. So I start the morning prioritizing emails. I created blanket answers that I can use to respond to catalog request and shipping quotes, and then I work my way through. Waiting on someone to answer your email is like waiting to get asked to the prom by your crush. Business is business and grabbing the business by the horns will usually seal the deal.
No matter your business goals, conducting business as a professional will pave the road to future possibilities. Spend 15 minutes each day setting goals, verbalizing your vision, and speaking affirmations into existence. Everyday that you invest in walking the professional road, you will be one step closer to making things happen.
Don’t forget to share your stories and ideas with us, I’m a firm believer that we stand to learn the most from each other.
Happy painting my friends!