This is a transcript of episode 43 of the OMGrowth Podcast
Lanie Lamarre 0:00
This is OMGrowth. I’m Lanie Lamarre. And isn’t exactly a state secret that I feel like social media is my Achilles heel. It’s the thing I have to work hardest at. And so when I was introduced to Dolly DeLong, and I started looking at her socials – and I do mean socials, like plural – I was like, “How is this woman managing two different social media presences? And doing beautifully for both?” So I asked her on the podcast to enlighten all of us because this is just kind of amazing. So let’s eavesdrop into that conversation. Dolly DeLong! You approached me about participating in a systems bundle that you were putting together – which I was really excited about, but I already had other engagements – So I couldn’t help but it did creep on you… and you are marketing two completely different businesses to two completely different audiences. And you’re doing a really beautiful job of that. And I wanted to talk to you about that today.
Dolly Delong 0:59
Yeah. Well, thank you so much for having me. Okay, so just a little bit about Dolly DeLong. I’m a Nashville based family and branding photographer. So for Dolly DeLong, photography, and I’ve been a photographer since 2007. But it took me over 10 years to become a full time business like it took me a long time. So 2018 is when I became a full time business, for photography. And when about in 2020 – you know, that year that everybody is like, “let’s not talk about that year” – you’ll see here that another brand within I guess my business entity came out, branched out and that was Dolly DeLong Education. Because I’ve had a lot of creative business owners reach out to me and ask me questions like, “Okay, how are you marketing your business?” because I was working in higher education, and I was doing photography on the side. And it was building traction over time. And, I was automating, and setting up systems and workflows for my photography business. And so it was hitting me so much in 2020… like, “maybe this is something that you need to lean into Dolly.” And I was in 2 masterminds, and both mastermind leaders on two occasions – they didn’t know they told me this, but they were like, “Dolly, you need to lean into this personality trait of yours”, because I love systems. I love workflows. But I still love creativity through photography. So I decided to like, kind of like niche down for both. So I just concentrate on family and branding photography. And then I do systems, workflow, education for creatives. So those are my three things. I’m like, I think I can handle three things.
Lanie Lamarre 2:44
Right. So Oh, my gosh, yeah, I would say the opposite where I’d be like, “I’ve got to make a decision. I can’t handle three things at once.” But good on you for being able to do that. And you’ve been able to do that because of systems.
Dolly Delong 2:56
Yes, exactly. And I was able to run the show on my own last year when I started taking on like a contractor and a VA and outsourcing essentially parts of my business, but up until last year, I was really running the show on my own right and still growing – like not exponentially, I don’t want everybody think like Wow, she’s a bazillionaire – but, like still slow growth, and still getting traction.
Lanie Lamarre 3:29
Here’s the thing, Imma go on a rant here: this thing where people are like “slow growth”… if you go to the bank telling them that “hey, I’m growing 10 to 20% every year” for a loan or for whatever reason that you’re going to the bank for… that is a success metric that is very well respected in of let’s call them “real life” businesses. But in online business world I think all the marketing of the, you know. 10X profits and double what you did last year. That’s not realistic and is not sustainable. It’s such a goofy thing that we’ve all been indoctrinated with, this expectation that that’s how growth happens. But if you’re doing 20% a year, every year – holy heck balls! – everyone is throwing flowers at you, people are popping champagne.
Dolly Delong 4:13
Yeah, that’s amazing. Yeah, I really think like I even get in this boat sometimes of “I’m not going fast enough.” But because I’m comparing myself to this person who’s, like 10 years down the road from me or has has a whole team. And I still get frustrated with myself. I’m like, “I’m not growing fast enough.” But at the end of the day, it’s really good for me when I look at my business… something that I’m going to bring up is that I have to look at my own goals, my own personal goals for my business, and then measure those metrics to see how I can reach those goals for not just for myself, but for my family. Like, why I’m working, why I have these two businesses and stay in my lane like I have this. I know you can see – nobody else could see it – but I have this like little… I call it “my little mini vision board” and it says, “Be intentional and stay in your own lane”. And that’s the thing that I try to do within not just my life, but my business. And when I do that, that slow growth builds over time. Yeah, so it’s been really great seeing that slow growth in the last two years, because I’ve actually, like measured the data, which is really cool.
Lanie Lamarre 4:15
I have to assume that this is why you’ve been able to, it seems like comfortably manage two businesses at once. Not just manage, but the marketing of it. This is what I wanted to talk to you about: how the hey, do you market? Like, maybe this is just a personal thing? Maybe I’m just treating this like a therapy session, but you know, I’m looking at social media presence and being out there. I find that to be a challenge. Yeah. But if somebody were to be like, “Well, you’ve got to do both them”, my head would explode. So how do you manage to do this?
Dolly Delong 5:59
Yeah, so I actually took a little Post-It note, so that I can be very clear and concise.
Lanie Lamarre 6:05
I love that,by the way – Post It Notes everywhere in my life.
Dolly Delong 6:09
Everywhere! But the first thing is, I am really intentional with my time. And I know that’s like sounds like such a Woo thing to say, but a strategic thing that I’ve discovered two or three years ago, so when my son was born was the year that I went into business full time. So I birthed two babies: my business baby, and then my baby baby. And because of that, I guess, it like motivated me to want to be very strategic with my time. So I was mapping out my hours to see when I could work versus when I needed to pour into, like, family time and taking care of a baby. And because all of us are humans, we say, “well, I don’t have enough time for that, well, I don’t have enough time for this.” And I was falling into that trap all the time. And so I decided, “You know what? I’m going to sit down, map it out.” So that kind of set the stage for me and creating a schedule that worked for me and my family. And so again, being very, very intentional with my time was the first step for me. And then I started batching. So that’s like the second point. And when I say batching, I mean, at the top of every month, I am taking the first four to five days to map out all of my content for the next month.
Lanie Lamarre 7:36
So one week out of four, essentially, you’re dedicating to your entire creation process.
Dolly Delong 7:41
Exactly, exactly. So my pillar content right now is blogging. Let’s use an example of last year. So last year, at the top of every month, I would essentially take day one, write out my four blog posts, like hashing them out. And then the second day, I would create social media captions and images to pair with those blog posts. And the third day, I would map out my email newsletter templates that would correspond with that pillar content. And then the fourth day, I would just like map out either like a Pinterest strategy or a Facebook strategy for myself. And the reason why I’m like mentioning Pinterest and Facebook is because I actually dug into my Google Analytics, which I know you will love that. And I saw where all my traffic was coming in from. So I was really intentional with my social media traffic. I just wasn’t like throwing a spaghetti noodle at the wall and hoping it’ll stick. I know that the majority of my traffic comes from Pinterest, Google Organic because of keywords I’m using for my pillar content. And again, I had to research those keywords to see what I needed to infuse my pillar content. And then I know a lot of my referrals are coming from Facebook because again, remember, I am a family photographer, like that’s one of my hats I wear. So families, a lot of moms and grandmas families are on Facebook right then. And then also Instagram. I know a lot of small business owners find me on Instagram. So I I essentially, like figured out where my traffic was coming from based off of my metrics and data from Google Analytics. And then I just created a mini marketing plan for myself for every month and batching and then essentially essentially had a plan for the next 30 days. So when I hit a wall, when I hit a slump, I could go back to my Trello board where I kept all those ideas for the month and I have a strategy for myself.
Lanie Lamarre 9:51
That’s amazing. Do you do both businesses on like on email day?
Dolly Delong 9:56
It’s both businesses. Yes. Okay. And I try to keep it as simple as possible.
Lanie Lamarre 10:01
Here’s the thing that sort of blows my mind the most about you doing all of this is that you do have to be intentional about meeting your people where they are. And so I would assume that for photographers it, I would have assumed it was more Instagram based. And when you think of things like workflows and whatnot, maybe you’re getting more people from Pinterest from that, like, they’re both so different in terms of how you market yourself as well.
Dolly Delong 10:27
Well, I will also say another big secret, it’s not so such a secret. But another thing that I use within my business are templates, like templates have been the saving grace for me for the past two years. And that is also how I implement a lot of, I guess, streamline my marketing. That is my secret sauce: templates, I love templates. And that way, I don’t have to use a lot of brainpower to think of okay, “what should I say right now?” And then I can just like infuse my pillar content within those within those templates.
Lanie Lamarre 11:01
Yeah, you’re not reinventing the wheel all the time, which is what all systems and workflows and that’s what all of these things are: putting in process maps. I know, it sounds like a pain in the butt. I tell people “but , once you have it, it makes everything a lot easier when you want to make a change, you’re able to quickly identify what’s going to get impacted these sorts of things like that”. And I spoke about at the jump, but the systems bundle that you are putting together with templates and workflows, and all this stuff like that, that makes people’s lives easier. You are running a bundle for this, correct?
Dolly Delong 11:32
Yeah, it is called the Systems and Workflow Magic Bundle. And if you guys are like “why magic?” Well, one, it’s because I love Harry Potter. Any time I can make a Harry Potter reference, I will do so like, check. And then I’m sure anybody who has experienced that “aha moment” of putting together their first workflow or automating just one aspect of their business… It feels magical, like, it literally feels like you are a wizard.
Lanie Lamarre 12:06
I often use the term auto magic because it is auto magical. It just happens auto-magically.
Dolly Delong 12:13
But I just this has been in my brain for a while now, I’ve always wanted to create some sort of resource library for creative business owners who just want to go from scattered to streamline and want to take the frustration and the like all the F bombs out of their business. And know that they too can do it.
Lanie Lamarre 12:37
That is such a great tagline, too: take the F Bombs out of your business.
Dolly Delong 12:41
Exactly and see, you can take baby steps. You may not have a whole team, but you can take little small baby steps towards automating your business. And I obviously cannot be like all the answers to everyone. So I know I need a team of resources to offer to my audience and anybody who’s wanting to get this resource bundle. So it took a lot of planning. And thankfully, I had Kate Doster to help me out with this incredible bundle.
Lanie Lamarre 13:12
Oh, that’s so funny. But that’s the connection between us. I was I had no idea you two were connected.
Dolly Delong 13:18
Yeah, it’s mostly because she did the Back to Business bundle, and you were in it.
Lanie Lamarre 13:23
Dolly Delong 13:24
And that’s how I met you. Know, you. And I’m like, wow, I really like these women a lot. And so I just followed both of your journeys, I need to do something with systems and introduce this to more creative business owners, and let them know this is achievable. You can do this in your business and take baby steps.
Lanie Lamarre 13:47
So when is this rolling out? It is going to be January 24 through 28th, 2022. And it’s only one week and essentially all the contributors are going to be contributing something that systems and workflow related from an aspect of their business. So I know I have a Trello expert and a Click Up expert, and so they will be giving free resources on how to use this within your own creative business. And essentially, these are not lead magnets from their from their business. These are shop items. Yeah, these are when you say free resources, they’re offering it for free. But these are paid offers that you’re getting for free. So I will put a link to be able to join the bundle or sign up for the bundle in the show notes. If people want to follow your many endeavors, where can they do so?
Dolly Delong 14:45
Yeah, definitely. You can follow me if you want systems and dubsado advice and you can follow me at Dolly DeLong Education. And then if you want to follow along on my photography adventures for family and branding, then I’m at Dolly DeLong Photo. If you just want to see my hot mess life with my toddler, and just like just like laugh at me, then yes, follow me either way, because I post my son everywhere because he’s crazy cute and crazy in general. So yeah.
Lanie Lamarre 15:14
It’s also on-brand for you as a family photographer. So it’s just using the resources you have.
Dolly Delong 15:18
Yeah, exactly, exactly. I am now more patient with kids who throw fits at their sessions.
Lanie Lamarre 15:27
It has been great chatting, check out the Systems Bundle that just makes your life easier – paid resources for free, no brainer!
But let’s recap a few key takeaways from this conversation with Dolly DeLong.
- First of all, she started by telling us that it took her 10 years to become a full time business. This is not something you see people bragging about on sales pages, but it is pretty typical. And it’s definitely more common than those overnight six and seven figure success – slow and steady growth wins the race.
- Another thing that wins the race is systems before hiring, you don’t necessarily need a team to be efficient. In fact, by getting those templates and those workflows in place, it makes it so much easier for you to grow a team when you’re ready to do that.
- I also liked how Dolly talked about how she was fitting in her values and what drives her in her business: performance metrics aren’t your only goalposts and the reasons you’re building this brand and what you’re building it around matters as well and should be accounted for.
- And here’s the big one: intention. Be intentional with the time that you’re spending, with the audience you’re reaching, with meeting them where they are and knowing what they like.
- And you don’t really have to complicate things: you can establish just a pillar piece of content, whether that’s written or video or audio. But when you have that pillar piece of content, it makes it really easy for you to start batching your content around that to help you avoid burnout, help you stay creative and you can have these focused bite-sized sessions where you can get a lot done… or if you’re like Dolly, you can get it done for two businesses, two totally separate brands. Oh my gosh, I’m still really impressed by that. But she is a great example as to how you can simplify those processes.
Now let’s simplify the process of you and I keeping in touch so be sure to subscribe to the podcast and we will talk soon. Bye