Opportunities

How To Create An Award-Winning Business

Getting the recognition you deserve.

Wedding by    Marcy Blum   , Photography by    Cameron Clark

Wedding by Marcy Blum, Photography by Cameron Clark

Awards are given to the people who enter the award competitions.

This means that the winners may not be the best of the best who currently exist anywhere on the planet. The winners are typically the best of the people who submitted.

If you want to win an award, you have to enter the competition.

If you want to get more press, you have to submit more often.

If you want to be known as innovative, you have to show original ideas consistently.

If you want to be chosen for something, you have to put yourself in a place where people can see you in order to choose you.

The Oscars were invented to both legitimize and market membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – a trade association much like PPA, ILEA, NACE, or WIPA. 

Most awards are marketing, pure and simple. Marketing isn't a dirty word and it certainly shouldn't be an afterthought — it's what sells your art and puts your employees' kids through college.

So if you don't win this time around, don't get the press feature you want, lose a really great wedding to a competitor — revamp your strategy if needed and keep submitting. There will always be more awards and more opportunities, and they will always go to the people who show up to play.


Originally published January 2015

'No' Is A Complete Sentence

Photo by    Cameron Clark

Photo by Cameron Clark

As a professional speaker, I am sometimes involved in conversations that go something like this:

"Hi, we’d like you to speak on creatives charging what they’re worth."
"Okay, my fee is $X."
"Oh, we’re not paying speakers."

Entrepreneurs in every creative field run into similar situations: they are asked to plan a destination wedding for publicity, or produce an event for charity, or to design and provide stationery goods for a conference. At times it makes sense to say yes to working for free

Other times, you need to say no. 

Where we get tripped up – and I see this across cultures – is that we (or the people asking) tend to view saying "no" as us being ungrateful for the opportunity. If we want to thrive, then we cannot allow ourselves to buy into the lie that it is never okay to say no.

  • Saying no does not make you ungrateful.

  • Saying no does not make you disloyal.

  • Saying no does not make you arrogant.

  • Saying no does not mean you are not generous.

  • Saying no does not mean you don't value community.

  • Saying no does not mean you don’t consider it an honor to be asked.

  • Saying no simply means the opportunity doesn’t fit with your priorities in this season of your life and/or career.

You can say no to press opportunities that don’t position your brand in a positive way (ex: reality television shows that make you look crazy and your clients like bride- or groom-zillas).

You can say no to events that cause you to miss a family member’s birthday or milestone celebration.

You can say no to opportunities that don’t help you contribute financially to your family’s goals.

You can say no to projects that will suck the life out of yourself and your team.

"No" is a complete sentence. If you want your business to grow and be better, learn how to remove any shame either yourself or others try to attach to you saying no. 


Originally published March 2017

Meant To Be

"If it’s supposed to happen, it will happen.”

This commonly shared piece of advice is alluring because it’s comforting. Que será, será and all that.

Unfortunately, it’s not true. 

Things in life don’t come together out of thin air. They require action, often on the part of several different people. Opportunities and ideas go un-acted on all the time because of fear or apathy. Worse, people then justify their inaction as noble because of a false interpretation of "letting go."

Pick up the phone.
Make the ask.
Be the first to say hello.
Attend the conference where you know no one.
Do the work even when you think no one is paying attention.

You’ll find a lot more happens when you don’t sit around waiting for something to happen.
 


Originally published February 2012