This episode is a hodgepodge of so many topics from SEO to relocating your business to mental health all with one of my favorite photographers, Vanessa Hicks! Her work is beautiful, and she’s someone I love following and learning from online. As the title suggests, we talk about a lot of things in this episode — it was hard for us to pick just ONE thing to focus on!
I feel like I could talk to Vanessa for hours, and funny thing… we actually did talk for an additional 50 minutes after we stopped recording for you guys. She’s just great! So, turn up the volume and enjoy this vulnerable and strategic conversation with Vanessa Hicks.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
I'm sharing some of the questions I asked Vanessa in our interview and some of her answers. Make sure to tune in to the full episode to hear ALL of the juicy things she has to say.
Vanessa and I talk first about her story starting her photography business, with no prior experience and with a lifestyle that required her family to move a lot. (You’ll hear why in the episode!)
If you’re like me, then you might think wedding photography does NOT seem like the career choice when you can’t stay in any one location for more than a few years. The thought of moving after building up a reputation and clientele in an area is a nightmare for most photographers. But, Vanessa has made it work, and she shares about rebuilding her business in a new market in San Diego after recently moving from Hawaii.
What was it like to move your location-based business?
Vanessa shares her story of being a military family and having to uproot her business and relocate several times, each coming with its own set of challenges. In just 6 years of being in business, she has moved 4 times.
Vanessa tells us that in order to be successful relocating your business that relies heavily on location, you have to accept that the hustle looks different. It requires hard work and maybe even free work to not allow your business to get complacent.
When you are relocating your business you have to take it back to the basics, which can easily seem discouraging. BUT it doesn’t have to be because you know so much more now than you did in year one.
Listen to the full episode to hear Vanessa tell us some specific ways to prepare yourself for relocating your business!
We talk all about blogging and SEO! (Which I am a HUGE SEO fan, as you know. So this was especially fun for me.) She drops so many wonderful SEO strategies that you can get started on TODAY.
If you think SEO isn’t important for your business, what she shares will seriously make you reconsider that.
What has your blogging strategy looked like in the last 6 years of being in business?
Vanessa tells us that she really didn’t really have a blogging strategy during the first 2 years of her business. As the time approached for her family to move to Hawaii, she realized that she was going to have to do something a little differently. She couldn’t rely on referrals anymore because Hawaii is a destination location. Most people were going to do their research online!
Blogging and paying attention to good SEO strategies has become the way that she has been driving organic traffic to her website. Vanessa tells us that the only way to have GOOD SEO is to create content. She reminds us that it isn’t enough to just have a beautiful website if no one is coming to see it or booking your services.
[PS if you are looking for a beautiful website, check out EM Shop’s Showit templates here!]
Ready to start blogging? Here's how to get started:
Vanessa says that when you are wanting to be found on Google, you FIRST have to think about what words people are typing in that you want to show up for. These will be the keywords that you are trying to rank for.
Next, use tools like Google Analytics and Ubersuggest to see if these are good keywords to rank for and if people are actually searching for them. Vanessa and I both love Neil Patel and Ubersuggest. Using these tools will help you analyze SEO health with keywords, your website, and competitor’s websites. Using tools like this and doing the SEO work will make all the difference in people finding you online.
Another key is to look at trends that people are searching for and look at all of the questions your clients are asking you. That is the content you want to blog about!
Tune in to the full episode to hear Vanessa talk about some specific types of blog posts that can generate great SEO juice!
**Not a location-based business? You can still blog and create great SEO content! Look at what niche questions you are being asked or think about things that you are the expert on and create content around that.
We also talk about protecting your mental health as a creative entrepreneur, especially during this crazy year 2020 has been. I hope that Vanessa’s advice on this will speak right to your heart as it did to mine!
Vanessa's message on mental health and creative entrepreneurs:
Vanessa says that it is so important to remember that first and foremost, you are not alone. She talks to us about triggers that we need to be aware of like social isolation, especially during a pandemic where you can’t go out much.
Take a step back and breath. You have to remember your WHY. Reminding yourself why you do what you do will help you keep going.
Vanessa talks about another dangerous trigger called impression management or the “fake it ‘till you make it” mentality. Be careful of this way of thinking because while some aspects of it can be good, it might soon start lying to you. This can cause those voices that tell you that you aren't good enough or that you don’t even like what you are doing anyway.
Vanessa encourages us to find someone to talk to, someone who can understand how you feel or who is trained to help you navigate those feelings. Your spouse is not trained to be your counselor. Therapy and asking for help can be one of the most courageous things you do in your life. Vanessa also talks with us about grief and shares a great exercise to allow grieving and still have healthy boundaries. Listen to this episode to try it out.
Remember friend that you are not alone and it is so important to give yourself grace.