My friends implored me to discuss this topic. I assume many people to be resourceful, however after a few GIFs and banter in the group chat, this is not the case they present. If you have read my previous blog posts or are preparing for my upcoming book in June, you will hear me state “graduate school does not teach business.” Or at least my grad program did not. No shade thrown. It is postulated if one is going into a field to help people, possession of a caring nature, customer service and the ability to maintain a business is inherent. Wrong. All wrong. Colleagues and prospective clients alike have noted the lack of customer service in my industry. Not returning phone calls. Bait and switches. Double booking. Non-existent websites. The list goes on. Customer service is a must. But, so is marketing. Marketing precedes customer service in many cases. How do you show your audience you care and are worthy of their coins if you will not catch their eye? I hope to show you how to go in your own backyard (as one friend eloquently stated) and assemble eye-catching material. Black businesses are growing exponentially, specifically those owned by women. My great-grandfather was a silversmith, but there was no Tiffany & Co. spoon greeting my gums at my first birthday party. Now that I can afford Tiffany, I still must ensure my budget remains intact.
So here’s a breakdown of the shoot I did for PsycYourMind’s second birthday and the introduction of PoundCake & Private Practice:
- “Talk is Chic & Make Mistakes” stationery—A whopping $1.00 for an 8-pack of Kate Spade colored pop of paper. So technically I spent $0.25 for each card pictured. Thank Michael’s scheming marketing department for those darn baskets near the register. One morning before heading into the office, I was headed to the register, and—well got distracted. Eyes wide. I love color. The pen was a Christmas gift from my business mentor. Every therapist needs a prized writing utensil.
- PoundCake & Cake Platter—Flour, Eggs, Butter, Sugar, Vanilla, Buttercream, Food coloring. Thirty minutes of prep and 30-minutes of bake time. Cake platter thanks to my husband’s orchestration of my birthday party last year. All in the kitchen. Nothing was spent here.
- Journal & Hourglass—Birthday gift from my roomie for life from undergrad. Cover reads “Confessions of a Fashionable Mind.” These are my confessions . . . Hourglass is $5.99 from World Market. Check their small gift section. I tend to keep a few of these on hand to give as thank you gifts when invited to speak.
- Peony Vase—Family and friends know I love the thrift store, especially in the DMV area. I have expensive taste, but I know how to look for quality items second-hand. I don’t need side eye from my bank account, financial advisor or husband for living ABOVE my means just to catch someone’s eye. This vase I stole from my mom—thanks mom! She paid $0.99. Yes ninety-nine cents, not $1.00. Those pennies add up. Don’t be ashamed of purchasing items second-hand. If you have a photoshoot or an event, check the thrift store first. Wash glass in vinegar or lemon juice mixed with dish soap and let air dry. Send clothes to the cleaners and of course pray away the spirits. When finished with these items, donate and recycle for someone else to use. It’s simple. We waste so much in America and would be wise to consider the legacy we’re leaving when it comes to resources. The flowers are from Trader Joe’s affectionately known as TJs by many. Their prices and freshness are indomitable. I paid $15 for the gerberas, calla lilies, and wax flowers. I used the rest of the bouquets in the vases in my office.
- Tuxedo B&W Background—The last twenty inches of a $2.99 roll of wrapping paper taped to my office floor with electrical tape. TJMaxx or Marshall’s. I do a lot of giftwrapping in my other life. I like to play with patterns, texture, and color. Thus, my arsenal must have classics and trending designs. I may have purchased this roll over a year ago? The average roll of wrapping paper is 3 yards. So, this was $.20 worth of paper? Don’t quote me on my math.
Grand Total: $22.68
My intern shot the photos with her personal SLR. Side note to therapists interviewing for interns—ensure they are well-rounded, are willing to learn, can be themselves but are cloaked in professionalism, and reflect your brand with passion. Her internship is paid. I used my office for lighting reasons. I view my office as a perpetual investment. The shoot took about an hour inclusive of other images not pictured here. The wall of windows in my office comes in handy for natural lighting. Initially I was pressed to use color bombs but it rained the day before and day of the shoot. I had a deadline. I had hyped this announcement up for weeks on social media. I had to make a decision, to completely change the styling of the shoot. They will be used. Trust me.
Marketing does not have to cost you an inheritance or capitalized interest on a loan which will take several years to repay. The adage is true. “It takes money to make money.” The adage however does not dictate how much money you have to spend. Quality over quantity. Lean on your resources. Ask a friend. Be willing to support that friend in the future or pay their quoted fee. And, never forget to say ‘thank you’! Be creative. Maintain an open mind. Flexibility, stretch, elasticity. Trust your vision. Have fun. Laugh. Embrace and trust the process. I imagined this was a Kate Spade, Tiffany & Co., Paper Source, ELLE Décor styled shoot. I believed it. It was so.