Business-First Creatives

Colie James

Every creative deserves to turn their craft into a business that brings them joy and profit. Here you'll find a no-BS approach to what it takes to put the business first, prioritizing the systems and strategies that will actually move the needle and ensure your creative business is profitable rather than an expensive side-hustle. Your host is Colie James, a Disney-loving family photographer, and filmmaker turned Workflow and Automations Guru who helps creative service providers automate their sh*t, reclaim their time and get back to living!

The Dish on VIP Days
Sep 1 2022
The Dish on VIP Days
I am 18 months into my VIP Day journey and know with 100% certainty there is no turning back.  While VIP Days are gaining popularity, they are still a novelty.  While several of the guests I have interviewed on the podcast have VIP Days, I haven't yet discussed the nitty gritty details of VIP Days.  With the next Done in a Day Virtual Conference scheduled next week, I felt like this was the perfect time for that discussion.Don't skip this episode because you have no interest in listening to a 20 minute sales pitch, I swear that's not what this is.  I discuss how I created my Dubsado VIP Day, the pricing evolution, the importance of pre-work, and so much more![01:11] What is a VIP Day?[04:28] How do you create one for your business?[07:54] What was my recent epiphany about the structure of my VIP Day?[09:40] Three tips for creating your own VIP Day[14:40] Setting the price for your VIP Day[16:22] How will you support your clients after?If you are VIP Day curious, join us next week for the virtual conference.  You can save $10 off you ticket by clicking below. (aff link)Done in a Day 6-month coaching program (aff link)Some guests I've had on the podcast that offer a VIP DayBritney Jeanine (Episode 002) - Pivot VIP DayMaddie Peschong (Episode 003) - Branding Photography and Strategy VIP DayNadine Nethery (Episode 009) - Strategic Brand IntensiveAshley Kang (Episode 011) - Design My CEO Day---ARE YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.
Pick Your Path with Ashley Hogrebe of Do the Damn Thing
Aug 25 2022
Pick Your Path with Ashley Hogrebe of Do the Damn Thing
I was first introduced to Ashley of Do the Damn Thing through her Airtable bonus inside the Done in a Day program.  I downloaded it, watched like one video, but didn’t have the capacity to add Airtable to my tech stack at that time. Then in March of 2022 we were both presenting at the Done in a Day Virtual Conference and Ashley’s talk was one of my favorites.Now mind you, I YELLED at her through my computer screen the entire time. Her talk was geared towards using Airtable as your CRM, you know to replace Dubsado But at the end of that talk I was like “I have got to work with Ashley”.I tried to hire her for a VIP Day to help me setup Airtable to manage the backend support for my Dubsado clients/students, but she wasn’t taking on any clients.I managed to sneak into her group program right before she closed the WHOLE thing down even though I wanted nothing to do with a group program.  Turns out that was the best decision!Okay, so now that I have talked about how we met, I want to give you a preview of this podcast episode. Because despite the fact that we are both systems strategist, we didn’t about talk that much about systems.  Instead, we honed in on Ashley’s recent decision to pause ALL sales in her business (VIP Days, group program seats, and Airtable templates) in order to niche down to serving business owners with group programs.Despite having a wildly successful year in 2021, she realized being on a call for 6-hours for VIP Days wasn’t going to get her the business she dreamed of.  If you want to hear the rest, grab some headphones.  This is one of my favorite conversations to date!Here are the highlights…[00:56] What is Systems Over Stress?[01:37] What was in your offer suite prior to June 2022?[03:52] What has happened since you niched down your group program?[07:55] Figuring out who you want to serve[10:29] Let’s talk money[11:19] Do your VIP Days have a future?[16:09] How has your customer base changed inside Systems Over Stress?[18:18] Why should someone care about Airtable?[21:39] How I’ve integrated Ashley’s Airtable strategies into my own business[25:51] Ashley’s advice for pivoting your business[28:56] Ashley’s advice for building the business YOU wantLinksAshley’s Instagram: @dothedamnthing_Ashley’s Website: www.do-the-damn-thing.comAshley’s Group Program: Systems Over StressSystems Over Stress is a 6-month program that helps you completely replace your spreadsheets and prepare your systems for your next client influx. Your Group Program Management will be completely automated with Airtable in 30 days.Guest BioHey! I’m Ashley, and my company is called Do The Damn Thing.I am an Airtable & Zapier consultant. I primarily work with feminist and neurodivergent online business owners and help them use Airtable to manage their group offer so they can deliver a low-lift, high-touch (and automated) experience.---ARE YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.
CEO Talk with Ashley Kang
Aug 18 2022
CEO Talk with Ashley Kang
I met Ashley while we were both in the Done in a Day program, working on our VIP Day offers.  Since leaving, we spend every Thursday morning at 10am MT together on a business besties call, intentionally working on our business with a few of our other favorite people.I am going to admit, in the beginning I had NO idea what a CEO Day was or why I would need one. But as I have heard Ashley speak in multiple venues about them, I now believe every business owner needs one. If you are curious about them, listen to our conversation and make a plan to start implementing some CEO Time in your business immediately  😉Here are the highlights…[00:16] About Ashley’s business[01:26] What does it mean to be a CEO of your business?[04:12] What are the CEO tasks creative entrepreneurs are overlooking??[07:21] What is currently moving the needle in your business?[08:46] Best day for CEO tasks[10:29] ClickUp vs Airtable?[13:41] Making time for monthly/quarterly CEO tasks[14:34] How much time do you need for a CEO Day?[18:59] Flexibility in CEO Days[20:51] Time-blocking and day-theming[26:15] Tips for creating your own CEO DayLinksAshley’s IG: @ahkbusinessmanagementAshley's Weekly Email Series: Becoming the CEOAshley’s Website: www.ahkbusinessmanagement.comDone in a Day Conference - September 2022---ARE YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.
Conducting Consistent Customer Research with Nadine Nethery of CAN DO! Content
Aug 2 2022
Conducting Consistent Customer Research with Nadine Nethery of CAN DO! Content
In today’s episode with Nadine of Can Do! Content, we are exploring the idea of conducting consistent customer research to fuel all the messaging in your business.  Basically letting your potential and current clients give you all the words you need to talk about your offer and attract other dream clients for your offers & services.Nadine specifically identifies herself as a strategic copywriter and I adore anyone who puts strategy-first. This conversation fully covers the when, how, and why of customer research with a peek at how Nadine does this in her own business on auto-pilot.Here are the highlights…[00:18] About Nadine’s business[01:13] Entrepreneur or Creative-First?[02:40] What is Voice of Customer Data and why should we care?[03:59] How to collect data from your own customers[08:11] Providing value as a means to collect data[09:42] What if you are a newbie and have very few clients?[15:45] How Nadine is conducting consistent customer research on autopilot[19:37] Making Customer Research a habit[21:44] Making time to review and implement this data[25:09] Nadine’s biggest fuckup in business and how her business changed[27:35] Being consistent in your photography and systems[30:06] Her offers, including the fabulous Audience Success Formula for your DIY peeps Full show notesYou can find out more about Nadine here:Visit her websiteFollow her on InstagramLearn more about her Audience Success Formula---ARE YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.  Blueprint - Dubsado Implementation Course for Photographers: This is a done-with-you group program option, specifically for photographers.  Go through the course at your own pace, implement the strategy and templates provided, but have the ability to ask questions and get 1:1 guided help during the weekly Q&A calls.
Honeybook to Dubsado: One Year Later with Mary Otanez
Jul 28 2022
Honeybook to Dubsado: One Year Later with Mary Otanez
A little over a year ago Mary hired me to streamline her business in Dubsado. She was switching from Honeybook to Dubsado, but to be honest, she was barely using that CRM for more than sending out invoices and contracts. So we can safely say this was a brand-new systems setup 😉 A year later I interviewed Mary to ask how the systems were treating her for this week’s podcast episode and if she had made any changes. Here are the highlights…[00:43] About Mary’s business[04:20] How she was underutilizing Honeybook[06:42] Why I began offer systems setups for photographers[07:44] Switching from Honeybook to Dubsado + embracing automation[09:37] Why I started offering Dubsado VIP Days[12:45] What changes Mary made in her system in the last year[17:38] Focusing on what she does best[18:39] Mary’s biggest fuck-up and what she learned from it[22:16] Advice for someone wanting to switch to Dubsado & hire me[25:59] Using Dubsado to spend more time with clients[27:35] Being consistent in your photography and systems[30:25] More time for the things that bring you joyShow Notes YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.  Blueprint - Dubsado Implementation Course for Photographers: This is a done-with-you group program option, specifically for photographers.  Go through the course at your own pace, implement the strategy and templates provided, but have the ability to ask questions and get 1:1 guided help during the weekly Q&A calls.
Expanding into Education with Annemie Tonken
Jul 14 2022
Expanding into Education with Annemie Tonken
I am SOOOOO excited this episode when I had a conversation with Annemie Tonken of This Can't Be That Hard podcast. I've been a guest on her podcast 4 times and every single time I find myself jotting down notes for myself!Here are the highlights of our conversation:[00:51] Business-Owner or Creative First?[03:59] How and why she expanding beyond her photography business[07:15] Collaboration with Pic-Time[08:38] Why she started the This Can't Be That Hard podcast[10:46] When you move past the DIY stage in your business and start building an internal team?[16:51] Advice for your first hire[23:28] What system moves the needle for you in your business (hint: it's podcast related!)[27:40] Tell me about your biggest fuck-up and what it cost you Want to hear more from Annemie?Annemie's PodcastAnnemie's WebsiteAnnemie's InstagramShow notes YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.  Blueprint - Dubsado Implementation Course for Photographers: This is a done-with-you group program option, specifically for photographers.  Go through the course at your own pace, implement the strategy and templates provided, but have the ability to ask questions and get 1:1 guided help during the weekly Q&A calls.
Avoiding Burnout with Sabrina Gebhardt
Jul 7 2022
Avoiding Burnout with Sabrina Gebhardt
My business bestie Sabrina Gebhardt loves talking about outsourcing and automation just as much as I do.  The only thing she loves talking about more is sustainability and avoiding burnout. Okay and planning… I totally forgot to ask her how many planners she owns. It is a lot y’all!There are so many nuggets from this conversation, but the underlying theme for this entire podcast episode is “you are the boss” so build a business that makes you happy.Highlights[01:00] Entrepreneur or Creative-First?[02:03] What system is moving the needle in your business?[03:00] What keeps you from being overwhelmed in your business?[05:45] Trust your intuition[08:24] How did you overcome being overwhelmed early in business?[11:11] What to look for in a mentor[15:17] Advice for new business owners[23:13] What’s the most important boundary in your business?[29:14] What was the biggest fuck-up in your business? [SPOILER: she talks about three]Listen, she will be back on the podcast sooner than later. If you don’t currently follow her, do it now. If you don’t have White Space on your calendar, find time to put some in there (LOL).LinksSabrina’s websiteSabrina’s InstagramSabrina’s Sustainability FreebieGuest BioSabrina is a lifestyle family photographer based in Ft. Worth, Texas. She’s been in business for 11 years and learned quite a few lessons about running a sustainable business and avoiding burnout. Here photography education business is focused on helping other photographers grow businesses they love! A few fun facts: she is addicted to planners and notebooks, vanilla lattes, and is an enneagram 3. Show Notes YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.  Blueprint - Dubsado Implementation Course for Photographers: This is a done-with-you group program option, specifically for photographers.  Go through the course at your own pace, implement the strategy and templates provided, but have the ability to ask questions and get 1:1 guided help during the weekly Q&A calls.
How Maddie Peschong is using Dubsado in a totally new way
Jun 23 2022
How Maddie Peschong is using Dubsado in a totally new way
I am very excited to share a conversation with one of my clients today. Maddie Peschong is a fabulous brand photographer based in Sioux Falls, SD and has been a Dubsado user since 2017. She was using automated workflows in a very minimal way and recently hired me to update her proposals and fully streamline + automate her workflows in a Dubado VIP Implementation Day. Here are the highlights...[00:43] About Maddie's business[03:33] Her CRM experience prior to Dubsado[05:42] Automation before working with Colie[07:22] Creating high-end proposals for a high-end service[09:31] Tweaking the system on her own[13:17] Creating a workflow for each phase of your customer journey[17:32] Using Dubsado in a totally new way[20:43] Utilizing videos in Dubsado[22:06] Gathering reviews + testimonials from clients[24:04] Maddie's biggest fuck-up and what she learned from it[29:09] Importance of pre-work for your VIP Day[35:52] Maddie's overall experience working with me LinksColie's episode on Maddie's podcast - Taking it Personally (think of it as part 1 of this conversation)Maddie's websiteMaddie's InstagramShow Notes YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.  Blueprint - Dubsado Implementation Course for Photographers: This is a done-with-you group program option, specifically for photographers.  Go through the course at your own pace, implement the strategy and templates provided, but have the ability to ask questions and get 1:1 guided help during the weekly Q&A calls.
Pivoting in Your Business with Britney Jeanine
Jun 16 2022
Pivoting in Your Business with Britney Jeanine
My first guest interview on the podcast was with, my very own business coach, Britney Jeanine. We covered a number of topics from bring profitable to creating a social media content strategy that works for YOU.  Here are a few of the highlights…[01:18] When did your business become profitable?[04:58] My VIP Day experience with Britney[07:56] What is the most important number to know in your business?[13:01] What was the biggest fuck-up in your business and what did you learn from it?[15:57] What is the content formula?[21:42] What is currently working in your business and where will you be focusing for the next 12 months? LINKSBritney’s websiteBritney’s Instagram post about Revenue SurplusBritney’s Instagram post about Beyonce’s feetColie’s Instagram post about streamlining the Tech Stack in your businessBritney's BioBritney “Jeanine” Canidate is the owner and founder of Pivot to Launch, a business coaching firm based in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. Serving as the head Pivot Coach, Britney believes that every entrepreneur should build a business they are most passionate about—even if it means slapping fear in the face and pivoting accordingly. Wife, mom of 2, and a business owner for over fourteen years, Britney has established herself as an industry leading business and brand strategist, and has supported clients across a multitude of industries. From corporate executives, high-ranking government officials, and thousands of creative entrepreneurs, Britney has intently positioned her expertise in order to build a business focused on care, commitment, and authenticity. Known for her spunky-tough-love approach, creativity, strategic mind and attention to detail, Britney is a proud graduate of Georgetown University where she received her Masters in Public Relations & Corporate Communications, and a Florida State Seminole with a background in Finance & Marketing.​Doing business her way, you can often find Britney working with small business owners who are ready to break the rules, pivot in community, and launch a business they can love again. So if you’re ready to build it better… in the words of Britney— “let’s get this work! YOU READY TO CREATE CONSISTENT SYSTEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS?Dubsado VIP Experience: This is a fully done-for-you offer for creative entrepreneurs and service providers, which includes full strategy and implementation to provide each and every one of your clients with an amazing + consistent experience.  Blueprint - Dubsado Implementation Course for Photographers: This is a done-with-you group program option, specifically for photographers.  Go through the course at your own pace, implement the strategy and templates provided, but have the ability to ask questions and get 1:1 guided help during the weekly Q&A calls.