Lisa Robbin Young

Every winning company has its own culture. Simply put, your company culture is the way your company (and the work environment you've created) demonstrates what it values, believes, and holds dear. You can SAY that you value something, but does it bear out in the way your team members respond to customers, each other, and you?

Research shows that improving your company culture can be key to finding top-notch talent.

What's the first impression your corporate culture gives? Does it reel potential clients and team members in or have them consider other options?

Corporate culture is a changing, shifting, and evolving thing - based on who is part of your organization. And if you're not keeping tabs on it, you may find attracting the right talent challenging! Here are five things to consider to improve your corporate culture and give your business the boost it needs. 

  1. Review and talk about your guiding principles

Most team members want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and research reveals that it’s part of human nature. You can factor this into developing your company culture. When people appreciate what you stand for and where you're headed, they are likelier to jump on your company’s bandwagon. So, it's not just about giving those values a once-over yourself at your annual planning retreat. You've got to spread the word!

Tell your team and let the whole world in. Talk about your core principles, your values and what truly matters to you - as a business owner and a company. This step might seem like a climb, but you can trust that the payoff for your company’s culture is worth it. 

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  1. Offer high-quality goods and services

One unhappy customer will likely share their bad experience with at least nine others - and considering social media's impact, probably even more. It's like a chain reaction. If anything goes sideways, be proactive and address it quickly. With the internet at everyone’s fingertips, comparing products is a breeze. How would your products and service services hold up in such instances? When you've got quality offers that your team members believe in, you're making a positive contribution to your company culture.

  1. Put compliance and openness first

Have you wondered why your teams are much happier when they believe in the management? It's called transparency. Spread the culture of transparency by making it crystal clear that you and your team are in this together. Keep your staff in the loop, and you’ll build a culture of transparency. Meanwhile, compliance is about following the rules and ensuring things run smoothly. Your corporate culture - those values and ethics - are like puzzle pieces. They all fit together, shaping how you do business.

Compliance is about staying on top of all the legal requirements for your business to ensure any external audits go well (IRS, for example). Depending on the size of your company, it may be a wise move to integrate compliance software into your business processes or simply outsource the task entirely. This allows you to focus on building the front end of your business, knowing that all compliance matters is being taken care of. For example, a private fund manager struggling to fulfil filing and reporting obligations might try looking for private equity reporting requirements assistance and SAAS tools to help with compliance.

  1. Establish an employee appreciation program

Show some love for your team’s hustle if you want to boost the corporate culture. According to research, when the top hierarchy celebrates hard work, it works like magic. 71% of staff are more likely to hang around. You create an employee recognition program by rolling out a red carpet for your team. Think weekly MVP or the month’s best employee. It's more than just a prize; it's like a high-five for their effort, which goes a long way and boosts employee morale. And here is the good part, when you give props where they’re due, it's like supercharging your company’s culture. But that's not all. You can kick your corporate culture up a notch by helping your crew connect and getting them the right gear and resources. That leads to better performance, tighter work bonds, and guarantees that your top talent sticks around for the long haul. 

  1. Address the problem of mental health

Burnout is on the rise. And if you have remote workers, the odds are even higher. Your big dreams and goals can't overshadow your team’s well-being. Give them space to learn and grow and also to care for themselves - physically, mentally, emotionally. Get toxic people out of the workplace before you poison your company culture. Give your best people the best possible chance for success - and let them know THEIR dreams matter, too. When they know you're in their corner, you'll have a team mate that wants to stick around!

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You’re meeting with a potential client in person for the first time, and you want things to go well. This meeting could be a dealbreaker for them - if they’re impressed by what they see, they’re highly likely to become a happy, loyal client

As a freelancer, you need to do everything in your power to convince them that you are their best choice. Want to make a great first impression? Read on for a few tips!

Do you need a professional setting?

Should you host the meeting in your house? Probably not. Can it be done in a coffee shop? Yes, but it’s not usually ideal. 

Instead, you'll need a professional setting that wows the prospect and gives a positive reflection of your brand. This doesn’t mean you have to rent out a massive office - unless that's what your brand demands. Could you imagine the CEO of a company like Apple holding a meeting with a potential client inside Starbucks?

Consider the brand story of your business and select a location that fits.

Places like Bell Works (in the Chicago area) have coworking facilities - a large office area with multiple desks or rooms you can pay for. You may only need to pay for a few hours worth of use, but it gives you a professional setting for the meeting. 

Right away, you look like a freelance that means business. The client feels more confident as you look like you know what you’re doing. Compare this to a meeting in your house and you create a completely different image. 

Arrive well before the client

You never ever want to keep a client waiting. Always be the first one to arrive. This is seen as a power move as well as a respectful one. If the client turns up and sees you sitting down waiting for them, it almost puts them on the back foot. Subconsciously, they feel like they owe you something because they made you wait. 

It’s also a challenge for your brand image if you turn up late - especially if your clients are from an older generation. A client that has to wait is not going to be a happy one. Before you’ve even uttered a word, they’ve got negative thoughts about the meeting. It’s hard, but not impossible to turn them around after this. 

Bring your research

Lastly, no matter what freelance services you provide, you’ll always need to research the potential client before you meet them. This is particularly important if they want you to work on a specific project. They’ll mention what this is before the meeting, so you can do as much research as possible. 

Bring your research to the meeting to showcase what you’ve done. It’s a very proactive way of approaching things. You can provide samples of work to show what you’ll do if you take the project. For example, imagine you’re a graphic designer and the client wants you to reinvent their brand image with new logos, etc. Research everything and come to the meeting with a few logo designs and text samples. It shows them that you know what you’re doing and are extremely professional. 

Follow these tips and you’ll come across as a professional freelancer who knows their stuff and is prompt and reliable. You’re putting good thoughts into the prospect's head, increasing the chances of sealing the deal and creating a strong start to a lasting client relationship. 

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As a business owner, you probably don't want one-time customers. I mean, you probably won't turn them away, either! But, having loyal repeat buyers creates stability in your business. Plus, it helps you build your credibility and establish your reputation in the marketplace.

If you’re feeling a bit stuck when it comes to client retention and customer happiness, here are a few ideas to stimulate customer loyalty.

Travel & Visit Them in Person

Visiting your clients in person and have a conversation with them as often as possible. Catch a plane, hop in your vehicle and travel around to meet with them individually and get to know them better. Be sure you're staying safe out there. You don't want to end up calling a lawyer or a tow truck after a fender bender on your road trip.

Reward & Thank Them

Another way to keep happy and loyal clients is to reward and thank them often. A thank you will go a long way in helping you to make certain that your customers continue to choose to do business with you over the competition. There are many ways to reward your customers such as by offering special promotions or even sneak peeks of what products or services you may soon be rolling out before they go public. It may also help to acknowledge your customer’s birthdays and to send out a holiday card.

Solve Problems Quickly

If you’re going to have a profitable and sustainable business then you must be a good problem solver. Make sure you train your customer service team and that they know how to handle a wide variety of matters that may arise. It’s important that you not only address these complaints but that you find suitable solutions in a timely manner too. You should avoid pushing issues aside for another day or hoping that they will just go away. You’ll have happier customers when you tackle matters head-on and can collect more positive online reviews for your business as well. 

Maintain your premises and equipment

Of course, if you want your customers to want to return to your business, ensure all keep your equipment (and premises) well-maintained. That means anything your customers might interact with - websites, countertops, door handles... all of it! It's a detail often overlooked, especially when all that equipment is shiny and new. For example, if you're an ophthalmologist, maintenance means timely ophthalmic equipment repairs as well as basic computer updates. Prioritizing equipment maintenance demonstrates your commitment to delivering quality service or products, thus safeguarding your business's long-term success.

Be A Good Listener

Your customers are eager to be heard and want to know they have a voice when it comes to how they’re feeling about your company and your products or services. Therefore, make it a point to be a good listener and give them the platform they need to let their thoughts, opinions, and insights be shared. Ask the tough questions and then lend an open ear so you can gather some tips as to what you can be doing better at your company going forward. Use this information you gather as a learning opportunity to fix what might be broken in your business. These are valuable tips and pointers from your customers that you can’t afford to overlook as a business owner.

Being sued can sometimes be the result of a business model mistake tht keeps your business from growing like it should - or make it collapse all together.

If you are at risk of being sued or simply want to ensure your business is protected for the future, here are some tips to follow.

Get the right insurance coverage

No matter the size of your business, the right insurance coverage is a hedge of protection around your business. Even small business startup insurance (like E&O for coaches) can help protect you from being sued for a simple mistake by a litigious client or vendor.

Have an attorney at hand

A great attorney, it almost goes without saying, is important to have at the ready in case anything happens.

If someone makes a claim against your business, a legal representative can often mean the difference between a lengthy trial or resolving the matter before it ever gets that far.

You might not understand the laws and regulations when it comes to customer disputes on issues. Therefore, hiring an attorney and having them at hand will guarantee that your business can stay afloat and healthy when at risk of being sued.

Separate your personal life from your business

If you mix business with pleasure and something happens in your marriage, it could hinder the success and health of your business. Your ex-partner could try and sue your company if they are involved in your business. They may even end up owning part or all of it. Contracts matter.

Identify risks and minimize them 

Cyber attacks, failure to use sound contracts and agreements, and assumptions can create other issues in your business that lead to getting sued. If a hacker performs a cyberattack and manages to breach your information, it could leak that information and make your business the star of a class-action lawsuit. Handshake agreements often lead to misunderstandings. Assuming each party is on the same page can cause a lot of consternation when things go off the rails.

Solid contracts, signed agreements, legal support, and the right insurance for your company can go a long way to protecting you and your assets from being the target of a lawsuit. Better to be safe than sorry.

If you're a freelancer, you probably understand the importance of having a strong online presence. Your website is central to being able to market your business and establish yourself as a successful freelancer. Indeed, a well-designed website serves many functions, including:

  • Showcasing your skills
  • Attracting potential clients
  • Standing out from the competition
  • Engaging with your audience

Here, this article will explore not the reasons why you need a website — we can safely assume that you already know them by heart and have probably discovered some new ones too — but the essential elements you need on your website. First of all, let’s tackle the obvious ones: You want a strong SEO-optimized presence as well as clear and obvious contact data. 

We’ll jump straight to the lesser obvious aspects of a freelance business website, and why you need them for growth. 

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Professional-looking intro video

Video content has become increasingly popular due to its engaging nature and ability to convey information effectively. In fact, a video is more likely to engage your audience than a long text. That being said, you want to keep some crucial facts in mind: 

  • Not everyone watches videos with the sound on, so you want to turn on captions
  • People want sweet, short, and informative videos. You are unlikely to retain many viewers past the 1 minute mark. 
  • You want to strike a balance between video content and written content, as both are necessary

A professional crafted video will help showcase your personality, skills, and passion for your work. It is also a great greeting for new visitors. Believe it or not, but there are plenty of inexpensive and high quality Ai video generators that can do the job for you. 

Payment platform

Selling your services or products online has become a logical choice for freelancers. By integrating a payment platform into your website, such as the hosted payment form from PayTrace, you can streamline the process of receiving payments from your clients.

From a freelancing perspective, this not only saves you a lot of time and effort that you don’t spend preparing invoices and chasing payments, but it also offers a seamless and secure payment experience for your customers. This makes it easier for them to hire your services, or purchase your products, and for you to manage the transactional part of your relationship. 

Newsletter sign-up button

Building a loyal audience and maintaining a strong connection with clients is vital for every business. The belief that only established companies can have a newsletter is wrong. For freelancers, the newsletter can be a fantastic tool that allows them to send exclusive content, keep the audience in the loop, and share latest offers and activities. 

Even though newsletters may sound old-fashioned, they still help build loyalty and keep your customers in the loop. Therefore, adding a sign-up button on your website can help you build a group of potential leads. Regular (but not too regular) newsletters can nurture a loyal following, establish a sense of trust and credibility, and ultimately lead to repeat businesses and referrals. 

As a freelancer, your website serves as a powerful marketing tool that can attract clients, establish your brand, and demonstrate your USP. As such, you want to seize the opportunities to make your website work harder for you with the tips shared above.

Some people are born to take on creative roles and others struggle to fit in with the confines of a traditional job. I've said it before and I'll say it until I die - we are ALL creative. But not all creatives are entrepreneurs.

For people who embrace their creative impulses, it can seem like you were always destined to pursue a different career path from the rest of society. Many people with a natural creative flair find themselves setting their own work agenda. Creative people may find their ideal role as an entrepreneur or freelancer, which allows them to work without the constraints of a traditional nine-to-five setup or to enjoy the flexibility of working to their own schedule. This may sound like the ideal way to work, but it can be challenging to keep your creativity flowing. Others, still, may only choose to pursue their creative endeavors as a hobby.

Many creative people find that they hit a stumbling block from time to time. This may mean that there are periods where they struggle to be productive and find that their creativity seems to have all but disappeared. So, what can be done when this situation strikes? Feeling that your creative juices have stopped flowing can be frustrating and pretty worrying when it is your income source. Take a look at these tips to help you recapture your creativity and regain your productivity:

Get a Change of Scenery

When you feel stuck in a rut, and your creativity has come to a standstill, it is helpful to remove yourself from the situation. Whether you are a writer, an artist, a designer, or have an entirely different creative role, getting a change of scenery can be a big help. 

Moving yourself away from the distractions of your daily life can provide you with the breathing space you need to regain your creativity. This could mean taking a break at a resort near Nashville or taking a trip to the coast. Whether you stay away for one night or a few, you should find that creating this distance is a great help.

Let Go of Perfection

When you use your creativity to generate your income, it is only natural that you want to deliver the best work every time. When your business and reputation depend on your creative abilities, it can be even more challenging when your creativity dries up. While this is never an easy situation, it can be helpful to ease the pressure on yourself. Putting yourself under excessive pressure to be perfect will only cause your creativity to dry up. Instead, it can be helpful to let go of this pressure and to be kinder to yourself. 

Rather than trying to create your best work, it can be helpful to simply focus on creating some work. This means your work does not need to be perfect; you simply need to create something. 

The work you produce may be incomplete, messy, or even nonsensical. However, the important thing is that you got started and produced something. This work then provides you with a foundation to work on, safe in the knowledge that your creativity will soon start to flow again.

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Let's talk about something we all know deep down: there's no one-size-fits-all approach to success in business. It's all about finding YOUR way and embracing your unique creative spirit (within legal boundaries, of course!). But hey, let's be real; carving out your own path can be a bit challenging, especially if you're a Fusion creative like me. No matter where you fall on the creative spectrum, if you're feeling a little lost on your journey to success, I've got you covered!

In this episode, I'm sharing five exercises that will bring clarity to your life and business. Trust me; they're game-changers! Tune in now to discover your path to success and get ready to unleash your creative freedom!

Listen To The Podcast

Download Season 8 Episode 3 | iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify

Podcast Show Notes

In this episode, we are talking about:

  • How your values shape your success
  • Embracing your strengths makes you feel more successful
  • Two strengths assessment tools I use and recommend
  • Why knowing who your Raving Fans are is critical for success
  • How to identify your ideal customer for a more successful business
  • How to ignite a path to your dreams and desires
  • How a SWOT Analysis can help creative entrepreneurs be more successful

Mentioned In This Episode:

Rising Tide Members

Our Rising Tide Community has moved! If you're already a member, you can login and access your free downloads here.

Not a member yet? It's free! When you register for the Rising Tide, you also get email updates, the FREE learning library, and access to episode transcripts, worksheets, and more!

Sponsors & Credits

Special thanks to our Patrons for your continued support.
Theme music: “Big Time” by Ikoliks,

CC0 Licensed Image Courtesy of Pexels

It can be hard to find suppliers when starting a new business. Often times, particularly for product-based businesses, you've got to contend with minimum orders, set-up fees, and prototyping costs. That can be a big hurdle. The suppliers you use contribute directly to how well your business grows. Here are a few places to look:

Attend Trade Shows

Trade shows are one of the best ways to find what you need. There are usually products on display, so you can get up close with the samples and see if they fit what you need. Check the industry perodicals in your niche to find out when there are exhibitions. You should also check for attendance by industry leaders such as LOC Scientific for specialist products, such as lab design. You can often get a list of attendees far in advance when you book. If the people you think you might want to work with aren't there, it's probably not worth attending.

Check Local Directories

If you're a local business, you may rely on local support. And it helps to give something back by supporting other local businesses. Business-specific trade directories are a great way to find local suppliers. And the best thing about these is that they are very easy to find compared to using a search engine. A directory is often niche-specific, so you typically don't get convoluted results. Additionally, there is no ranking system or algorithm, so all are listed regardless.

Find Suppliers with Google

Of course, Google and other search engines can be a great way to find suppliers. And they are also free, unlike some directory services. Any business worth using will have an online presence with at least a website. However, because of the way search engine algorithms work, it can be hard to find what you need. So, you must use keywords correctly when looking for a local supplier. And don't forget to read reviews and testimonials carefully before using a company.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is a very powerful thing in business. Most people will trust what others say about a service. So, much so that a survey of 40,000 consumers found that 80% use a business based on what others say. And today, social media is also a powerful tool for this. Most businesses and suppliers will have a social media account. So look at what others are saying. You can even use specific hashtags such as #LocalSupplier to find a supplier you need.

Check Industry Reports

The web is full of data. And there are some sites that offer a quick snapshot of a specific business. So you can check these when looking for a supplier. Sites such as Clutch also rank local businesses and suppliers according to certain metrics. Or you can use industry-specific ranking sites. For example, Lumanity can help you find solutions for medical and healthcare supplies. These sites often only recommend and support the very best in your chosen industry.

Do your homework!

There are a variety of ways to find the suppliers to get your business growing. Attending trade shows is great for networking; Google can give you quick results, and you can also use industry-specific reports. Above all, however, make sure that the people you're doing business with are a good fit for the mission, values, and purpose of your business. There's nothing worse than enlisting the support of a vendor who turns out to be problematic to your business or the world at large. Do your due diligence and build something you're really proud of!


Ready to break free from the ordinary and tap into your magical potential?

In the latest episode of the Creative Freedom Show, we're diving deep into the world of Undervalued Unicorns - those extraordinary creatives who are making waves but still flying under the radar.

Does that sound like you? Then you might be an Undervalued Unicorn. Tune in to the podcast and learn how to EMBRACE your inner Unicorn and STOP being Undervalued.

Listen To The Podcast

Download Season 8 Episode 2 | iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify

Podcast Show Notes

In this episode, we are talking about:

  • What IS an Undervalued Unicorn?
  • What makes a Unicorn Undervalued?
  • Signs you might be an Undervalued Unicorn
  • Lizzo was an Undervalued Unicorn, too!
  • How to embrace your inner Unicorn and STOP being undervalued

Mentioned In This Episode:

Rising Tide Members

Our Rising Tide Community has moved! If you're already a member, you can login and access your free downloads here.

Not a member yet? It's free! When you register for the Rising Tide, you also get email updates, the FREE learning library, and access to episode transcripts, worksheets, and more!

Sponsors & Credits

Special thanks to our Patrons for your continued support.
Theme music: “Big Time” by Ikoliks,


Woo to the hoo! It is Season 8, my friend! We are kicking off the season with the most frustrating and yet important topic I could ever share with you:

Business models.

I know. I know. You’d probably prefer to talk about anything else. But let me remind you that, whether you like it or not, you’ve already got a business model if you’re bringing in any income from your business.

The question, though, is whether or not it’s working for you.

So, is it? Working for you, I mean? Stay with me, and I’ll show you how to fix the top 6 business model mistakes I see with Creative Entrepreneurs.

Listen To The Podcast

Download Season 8 Episode 1 | iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify

Podcast Show Notes

In this episode, we are talking about:

  • It doesn’t matter how much money you’re making if it feels awful making it.
  • You don’t know your business model
  • Even Gary Vee isn’t Gary Vee
  • Two kinds of “resonance” for your best (and worst) customers
  • It takes time to understand who your Raving Fans really are
  • The fastest way to develop a loyal fan base
  • You sell more than just “stuff” to your Raving Fans!
  • Different delivery methods come with different expectations

Mentioned In This Episode:

Rising Tide Members

Our Rising Tide Community has moved! If you're already a member, you can login and access your free downloads here.

Not a member yet? It's free! When you register for the Rising Tide, you also get email updates, the FREE learning library, and access to episode transcripts, worksheets, and more!

Sponsors & Credits

Special thanks to our Patrons for your continued support.
Theme music: “Big Time” by Ikoliks,