This is a topic nobody asked for, but we think you’ll like it 😉 We’re sharing the journey of Duo Collective and how we got to where we are today. There are so many random evolutions of a business that people don’t talk about, but we think are important to share. Each business is so different and changes constantly.
This episode might not even be relevant anymore in a few months because we changed something again! But that’s the beauty of business ownership, right? You can change whatever you want, whenever you want. If it no longer feels good, change it!
So let’s chat about the many evolutions of Duo Collective.
We used to do a lot of custom work for clients. We had a PDF investment guide of everything we offered at the time and allowed somewhat a la carte services to clients. It was 35 pages, which is just way too much for clients to digest. Plus, we’d sometimes have to create copies of that guide for each client.
It was way too much work and wasn’t productive. We had several signs that it wasn’t working for us anymore, and it was time to make a change. Thank goodness those days are over!
Now, we have a hidden page on our website for our pricing guide. This is much better for us because we’re driving traffic to our website, and we can each update it independently. It’s a one-stop shop for clients to learn about our services and prices!
Back in the day, we would go back and forth over email to find a time that worked well for everyone to meet. This was fine if we weren’t too busy, but we ran into situations where we’d have multiple inquiries and offer a window to meet, and two people would want the same time. We’d have to go back to one and say, “Oh, sorry. That time is taken. What else works for you?” It’s so inefficient and frustrating for the client, too.
At first, I (Abbey) was very anti-scheduling link. I felt like I couldn’t control my schedule and when people were booking meetings with us. But, come to find out, that wasn’t true at all. Scheduling tools sync with your calendar, so if you don’t want to book a call during a certain time or day, you just block it off on your calendar, and no one can book a call with you during that time.
Moving to a scheduling link inside our CRM (Dubsado) freed up a lot of brain capacity for us. We didn’t have to think about scheduling calls or managing our schedules in our heads. It was all kept nice and organized for us. Plus, it just streamlines the process for us and our clients. Sometimes we don’t exchange any emails between discovery clients before talking to them! It’s all done through our scheduling tool.
Designing Social Graphics
This is something I (Court) really struggled with at first. Not the actual design, but deciding which platform to use: Canva or Illustrator.
There’s a big stigma among designers out there that Canva is for amateurs and Illustrator should reign supreme. We think, “Our designs have to be 100% unique, so Illustrator is the only tool to use.” At first, we were solely using Illustrator. The designs were beautiful, of course, but sharing all those files with clients and they wouldn’t be able to change anything unless they also had Illustrator.
That’s when we made the switch to Canva. It can do almost exactly what you can do in Illustrator. Canva works great for us, too, because Abbey can go into Canva and update the templates Court creates super easily. She probably wouldn’t be able to do that quickly and easily in Illustrator. As a partnership, Canva works the best for us, and we’ve never had a client complain about us using Canva for their graphics!
One of the biggest evolutions of our business was workflows. Workflows come with time in business. We didn’t have any when we first started, and now we have a bunch that works so well for our biz. We worked with Taryn to set up workflows in Dubsado to make our lives much easier. Any CRM is complex, and there’s so much you can leverage in it, but it can be hard and time-consuming to figure out.
So, here are some workflows we utilize in our business!
We have a workflow set up so that when someone schedules a call with us (via the scheduling tool 😉), they get a reminder before the call. We don’t have to remember to send an email with a reminder to the client. Dubsado does that for us. We use this workflow for client inquiries, new clients, and Duo on Air guests. It also sends auto-thank you emails!
Before we started using a scheduling tool, we’d have to download an image, send it to our email on our phone, save it, upload it to Instagram, write the post, and send it. It was so much work and kinda silly to do every day!
Then, we started utilizing Tailwind to schedule Instagram and Pinterest posts. It’s so easy to use, and you can plan months of content in one day. You just write your post, add a graphic, and schedule it to go live at a certain time.
We don’t understand how business owners don’t use a scheduling tool. It saves us so much time, and we can actually be intentional about our content. We aren’t throwing something together because we forgot to post something. It’s all planned and ready to go.
Our welcome sequence is something we get compliments on all the time. Our audience loves how seamless and easy it is to be added to our email list. This is all in our email platform, Flodesk. We send four emails to new subscribers, letting them know what to expect from us. Those emails are:
- Welcome to the list
- Sharing of resources and content we think our audience will love
- How can you work with us
- What to expect moving forward
It just sets expectations up front and gets our audience excited about the content they’re going to receive from us.
Curious about what’s inside our welcome sequence? If you aren’t already on our list you can go ahead and sign up here.
This is one of the first things we changed in our business. We created email templates for everything we do. We use the mentality of “if you are going to do this again, template it.”
We have multiple Word docs in our Drive with email templates for new discovery clients, follow-ups, timelines for different packages clients book, etc. Templates aren’t meant to be impersonal. They lay out the details, explain what we need from them, and don’t let us forget important pieces of information.
Of course, we can edit the template with specifics for each client, but we aren’t wasting time rewriting the same email multiple times. We just copy and paste the template and edit it as needed. It saves us so much time and has reduced mistakes on our end.
Our website has changed dramatically since we first started Duo. We went from a 1-page website to a fully operational site with tons of pages. It’s crazy how far we’ve come! It took a lot of work and a lot of time.
Looking at our website, you might feel impostor syndrome thinking, “I can’t do this much. This is a lot.” And yes, you’re right. We have a ton of content on our website. But this didn’t happen overnight. We had a 1-page website for THREE YEARS. And our business still grew. You don’t need a massive website to be successful. We grew our website over time as our business, priorities, and capacities changed.
You’ll get to a point where you feel like your website isn’t everything you need it to be, and that’s when you can adjust and add more. You DO NOT need to do that right away. Give yourself time to figure out what you want your business to look like, then adjust as needed.
We absolutely LOVE photoshoots. Abbey’s mom (Julie Gray Photography) has done all our brand photoshoots. Our approach has changed a lot since we first started, though. We used to bring basically our whole house to photoshoots. We brought so many unnecessary props, thinking we had to do all these staged cute photos.
We don’t do that anymore because it wasn’t needed! We wouldn’t end up using most of the props we brought anyway. We just stressed ourselves out trying to copy inspirational photos we found on Pinterest. We also noticed people like to see us more than they like to see the cute artsy photos. We are the faces of Duo, and our audience wants to see us! We bet your audience thinks the same thing about you 😊
From the outside, It looks like we have a lot going on. This didn’t happen all at once. If you told us we’d have all these things two years ago, we’d cry because we don’t have “time”… yet time seems to magically appear. We’ve had many evolutions of our business over the years. One step at a time is the key.
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MORE FROM THE DUO
Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective or to inquire about working with our team, head over to www.duocollective.com.
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