When I sat down in January to start my Decade in Review, guided by the force that is Marie Forleo, I already new I wanted big change in 2020. After taking time to write down and revisit personal and professional accomplishments for the last 10 years, I am proud and ready to kick some booty in my next decade. I know what it’s like to look at a day, a month, a year and feel like nothing moved forward. Look back at 10 years though, and you will impress yourself!
In 2020 I am reimagining my business and how best to serve as a writer and photographer.
My roots are in Oregon. I’ve always known it was a privilege to grow up surrounded by beautiful spaces and by people that care deeply about protecting them. My vision is to move my professional and personal projects in a direction that supports kindness to our planet as a philanthropist, influencer, and change maker.
Each baby step we take toward a new vision is important. For now, I am setting my intentions and learning a little something every day. I am also committed to taking action. I plan to trust my instincts and avoid spinning my wheels in research mode. Self-designing my new logo was a perfect way for me to get things moving. Once I had it finished, I waited maybe five minutes to update my website and social media. I was so excited.
A quick story on the new logo.
Over 16 years ago, my husband and I bought a little piece of land in Sherwood, Oregon. It was almost entirely pasture. Except for “The Big Tree.” While I’ve planted nearly 100 trees on our land since then, that glorious fir tree dominates the landscape. The Big Tree has held my kids’ rope swing, served as the backdrop for family photos, cradled kittens in its branches, and created a home for countless creatures. When people talk about having a “view” in this area they often mean Mt. Hood. I had that view as a child, but it had a big tree just like ours slicing through the middle of it. Nobody ever cut it down. I was always pretty proud of that. Sometimes the big tree isn’t blocking the view, it is the view.
In 2020, it’s time to see a bigger picture. I plan to find the forest through the trees.
Showing off your best self in a photo that is engaging and authentic is often the reassurance an employer or client needs to move forward and connect. It is important that images are of the highest quality and natural. This is not a glamor shot. Be yourself. Wear the makeup, hair and clothes you would “in real life.” A professional photographer will then work to pose you comfortably and put that twinkle in your eyes.
I personally prefer outdoor sessions for headshots. Being at a park (or an open window in a pinch) instantly creates a relaxed vibe that leads to natural smiles. Throwing in extra studio equipment and flashes can create perfect lighting but also distraction and strained expressions. It’s enough pressure to look into that big lens and remember there is an actual person behind it waiting for eye contact and a smile!
This series of headshots was created for the fabulous and NEWLY ANNOUNCED Firenze Wealth Management team. There was a constant buzz of conversation behind the camera. It was obvious to me and anyone walking by that this was a team that enjoyed working together and was excited about where they were headed. Now each team member has a selection of quality images to introduce them to clients and make that first impression count. Each image sends a clear message of professionalism and approachability.
An added bonus? By shooting as a team with a consistent set of backgrounds and editing, the company now has a set of headshots that look good together in marketing materials and on its new website.
What does your current headshot say about you?
Find out more about Angie Windheim Communications LLC and how it could help your small business or nonprofit through professional copywriting and photography.
Nonprofits and small businesses are problem solvers that deliver a unique vision of how to serve.
Today’s buyers, investors and sponsors are rarely impulsive. They research, read reviews, talk to friends and colleagues. They choose to support services and products that come from authentic and well-intentioned sources.
Communicating your organization’s message, expertise and personality is critical in modern marketing. While quick exchanges on social media and a well-tuned website can get audience attention, you must do more to serve and develop a long-term relationship. You already know that you share an interest with your audience. Now it’s time to create relevant content that shows you understand, that you get it, that you are here to serve.
Often organizations have a lot to share but sometimes lack the communication skills. Copywriters can help craft the content. If you are struggling with ideas, a skilled copywriter can become the investigative reporter you need and develop an editorial calendar for you.
Almost always, there will be more ideas developed than can be covered in a single article or blog post. If you are hosting an event or show or series of classes, consider publishing a newspaper or “show daily.” It may seem like a huge undertaking, but if you have the right help, it’s an amazing chance to put all that you do and represent into a very digestible, entertaining vehicle. It is a chance to go beyond the simple where-what-when event details and get to the “why.”
In the C.M. Russell Museum’s The Russell Review daily newspaper, each of four issues covered not just “what’s happening today” but how support for these events carries on throughout the year. Educational programming and stewarding the legacy of Charlie Russell, the art and soul of the American West, is the underlying reason people come to Great Falls every March. Attendees appreciate that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view and buy significant historic and contemporary Western art also helps preserve Russell’s West for our next generations.
Contact Angie Windheim, Angie Windheim Communications LLC, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Small business owners are prone to a yearly philosophical check in – or let’s be real – a yearly panic attack. As the owner of a portrait photography business with one employee (yes, that’s me), I get it. I have found myself each February with a deeply furrowed brow, fully engrossed in small business blogs, tutorials, webinars, and more. I wonder, how do I grow this business? Do I want to grow? Am I really offering what people want? What’s my plan? These fundamental questions flood my brain until I am frozen and unable to get anything done.
So, if like me, you start watching the online business gurus with ginormous social media followings. Maybe you become one of their followers. The gurus wag their fingers from their perfectly crafted Instagrams and say that what you need is….an email list. Wait? What? That’s it? Spam customers? Nobody wants that. It smells of telemarketing which is why we love that “block caller” feature on our phones.
Thankfully the gurus actually advocate something very different from spam. Phew! The gurus want you as a small business owner to succeed by “servicing” clients through thriving email lists. And they actually have amazing ideas on just how to do that. Ideas like: free downloads, ebooks, educational webinars or podcasts, online quizzes and games, consistent and authentic content, exclusive offers for subscribers, and more.
You may be thinking “Wow! Those are great ideas!!” You may also be thinking that those ides could literally take Every. Waking. Moment. You. Have. In. Life. Who exactly would be left to run the business and do the work? Who creates the products and services that actually make money? This is when it feels appropriate to cover your eyes with your hands and fantasize about how it might just be easier to work for someone else.
I realize that I have set up quite a problem. Thank goodness, it’s not a problem without a solution.
Once you recognize you are only borrowing space on social media and that email lists are a way to create a community of subscribers that is truly yours to keep, there is no going back. It is absolutely worth the time to make it happen…but you may need help. That’s okay! Sit down and figure out your strengths and capabilities beyond the business you have created. Then sit down and figure out what your weaknesses are. If you are not already a photographer-copywriter-email-platform whiz, then it’s time to consider investing in a local professional.
There are people who actually love and “get” social media and how it can help build your email lists. There are people who can write a newsletter or white paper or even just an action-driven subscriber landing page. They know about email campaigns and can wordsmith to reflect your authentic voice and image. There are people who are able to create the content that fits your vision and that is an investment that should ultimately pay for itself.
As a photographer, I have been privileged to help entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits with fresh headshots and images to fill websites and newsletters with content that is intentionally crafted and enticing. No more lackluster Instagram grids! As a copywriter, I have written impactful e-newsletters, thank you letters, annual reports, website content, guest articles for local publications, press releases, and more. I can evaluate where you are now with your online presence to craft the ideal strategy that uses email lists to reach the right audience and inspire them to take action.
I am a firm believer in the power of email lists for just about every business that I can imagine. But, it’s okay as a small business owner or non-profit to say “I ain’t got time for that” and hand it over to a professional. I do what I love, so that my clients can get back to doing what they love.
Angie Windheim is the owner, copywriter and photographer for Angie Windheim Communications LLC