Top 50 Hot Marketing Tips

If I could wave a magic wand, and you could have anything you wanted to help you build a successful personal chef business, what would it be?

I bet many of you would say that you’d love to learn the secret to marketing your services well so you can attract all the ideal clients you desire whenever needed.

For many personal chefs the day-to-day tasks of planning and preparing food are not the hardest part of what they do for their business. It’s the marketing piece that is often the challenge and the frustration.

So to help you take the guesswork out of what you should do to market your business in a powerful way, let me share with you my top 50 marketing tips below…

Tip 1:   Identify your ideal clients, know where to find them, and create ways to be in front of them

Tip 2:  It’s more important to get business cards than to hand them out – you want to be the one in charge of follow up

Tip 3:  Build relationships with spheres of influence – people who are connected to your ideal clients – so they can refer you

Tip 4:  Ask for referrals / Ask for the business

Tip 5:  Stay in touch with past clients

Tip 6:  Remember that a “no” may not be a “no” forever so stay in touch with anyone who has expressed interest in your services at some point but didn’t hire you

Tip 7:   When communicating about what you do, focus on the value you offer and the benefits of your services NOT the features of your services

Tip 8:   Don’t rely just on your website to get business

Tip 9:   Don’t rely just on social media to get business

Tip 10:  Write a blog and/or send out a regular newsletter

Tip 11:  Offer a free gift on your website to encourage visitors to give you their name and email address so you can easily stay in touch

Tip 12:  Write a column for a local newspaper

Tip 13:  Only spend time on the social media sites where your ideal clients hang out and if they don’t hang out on social media don’t spend the time marketing yourself there

Tip 14:  Get really good at using one social media site (in other words you know how to get business by using your social media site of choice) before using another one

Tip 15:  Give cooking classes and demos

Tip 16:  Always invite people to take a next step with you so you have the opportunity of deepening the relationship

Tip 17:  Offer a free Discovery Session by phone to learn more about your prospects’ needs, share how your services can help, and turn prospects into clients

Tip 18:  Attend networking events where your ideal clients (or your ideal clients’ spheres of influence) hang out weekly – go early and leave late

Tip 19:  Create a client-attracting elevator chat and practice it

Tip 20:  Get comfortable talking about pricing

Tip 21:  Attend health fairs if you are trying to attract clients who care about healthy eating

Tip 22:  Give a talk on a topic related to health, food, cooking, or throwing a fabulous upscale dinner party

Tip 23:  Write an article for a newsletter that gets distributed to your ideal clients

Tip 24:  Start a radio show or get interviewed by a radio host

Tip 25:  Do a cooking demo on TV

Tip 26:  Put your contact information and website link in your email signature

Tip 27:  List your website on all the online directories you can find

Tip 28:  Explore personal chef placement services like Thumbtack (but be sure you don’t lower prices just to get the business)

Tip 29:  Write a cook book

Tip 30:  Create cooking videos

Tip 31:  Wear your chef’s hat and coat when you are out and about

Tip 32:  Put a sign about your business on your car

Tip 33:  Throw a client appreciation party and ask everyone to bring a friend

Tip 34:  Get involved in organizations and associations where your ideal clients hang out

Tip 35:  Increase word-of-mouth by cooking fabulous food and giving phenomenal customer service

Tip 36:  Have a step-by-step plan to lead prospects from being interested in your services to hiring you

Tip 37:  Offer a low-cost, low-risk way for prospects to try out your services

Tip 38:  Become known for something that you do really well

Tip 39:  Find ways to creatively package your services

Tip 40:  Brand yourself and your business

Tip 41:  Don’t spend your money on traditional paid advertising – there are more effective and lower cost ways to get the word out about your services

Tip 42:  Speak to prospects live either by phone or in person instead of relying solely on email

Tip 43:  Be sure everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) you know is clear about what you do, how your services help, and who your ideal clients are

Tip 44:  Create a marketing plan for the year and stick to it

Tip 45:  Start a meet-up group that relates to your business and attracts your ideal clients

Tip 46:  Be helpful – lead a monthly Q&A session via a teleclass to answer questions people have about food, nutrition, cooking and entertaining

Tip 47:  Send thank you, special occasion and “just thinking of you” cards in the mail to your customers and prospects throughout the year

Tip 48:  On your website focus your content on your prospects, their struggles, what they want instead and how your services can help – DON’T focus first on who you are, your credentials, and how your services work

Tip 49:  Use lots of high quality photos of your food on your website and throughout your marketing materials

Tip 50:  Gather testimonials with full names and photos and use throughout your marketing

Which of the above marketing tips are you using or planning on using to market your business?  Are you doing something that is not on the list? Please share!

The Best Way to Charge for Your Services

Many personal chefs are unsure how to best charge for their services.  Should they include groceries or shouldn’t they?  Should they get paid in advance or afterwards?  Should they charge a set fee or an hourly rate?

There is a lot to consider and while there is not an absolute right or wrong answer to these questions, I am going to argue the following…

Don’t Charge By the Hour

There are a number of really good reasons why you shouldn’t charge by the hour.  They are…

  • Clients will be more likely to question the time you spend to accomplish your task
  • Clients will never know exactly how much they are going to pay you each time you service them which can make budgeting for your service more difficult
  • You may hesitate to charge for all the hours you worked (this happens a lot!)
  • You aren’t being compensated for the value provided which goes way beyond what you are paid for your time
  • You aren’t being rewarded for doing a good job – as you become more efficient at what you do, you put in fewer hours and make less money and that doesn’t seem right, does it?
  • Charging by the hour makes it impossible for you to accurately bill your client upfront so that you get paid in advance for your services

From what I can tell, the main reason personal chefs charge by the hour is because they are unsure how long a task will take them to complete but figuring out the average hours it takes you to complete a service shouldn’t be that hard to do.  And once you know what that average is, charge something that will compensate you well even if your service takes more than the average amount of time to complete.

Include Grocery Costs

I’ve spoken and helped many personal chefs over the past couple of years and most of them say that the amount owed on their grocery bills doesn’t vary much.  So why charge separately for groceries?  Doing so creates extra administrative work, and you increase the likelihood that you will never get compensated for your food costs especially if a client ends the relationship before paying you for the groceries you purchased.  And this situation does happen.

Some of you may worry that if you do include groceries into your overall pricing that there may come a time when your client wants you to buy lots of costly, high-end, specialty foods.  If that does happen, view it as an exception and ask your client to compensate you a certain percentage more on a one-time basis to cover for the extra cost.

And since organic produce is more expensive than non-organic on a consistent basis, you may want to have a standard (less expensive), all-inclusive price for your non-organic option and a premium (more expensive), all-inclusive price for your organic option.

The client benefit of being charged an all-inclusive price is that they always know exactly how much they owe you week in and week out.  There are no surprises.

Get Paid in Advance

There is no reason you can’t get paid in advance for your service.  It becomes especially easy to do if you include grocery costs and set a regular (not hourly) price for your weekly service.

And consider being paid in advance for more than one cook day.  To give your clients incentive to do so, let them save x% off of your regular price if they pay for a set number of cook days in advance.  By doing so you both win.  Your client pays less for your service and you improve your cash flow.

The other advantage to being paid in advance is you won’t have to spend time chasing after clients to get paid.

Accept Credit Cards Not Checks or Cash

So few personal chefs accept credit cards, and I don’t really get it.  Some of them have said that they don’t accept credit cards because of the extra expense, but you can cover for the extra expense by including it into your all-inclusive pricing.  It’s not that much extra money.  It won’t make the difference between someone hiring you or not hiring you.

In addition, it makes your clients’ ability to pay you easier especially if you set them up so that their credit cards are billed automatically on a monthly basis.  Your clients won’t have to take the time to write checks or go to the bank to get cash.  The payment process will become smooth and automated.  What’s not to like about that?

And keep in mind that checks can bounce and if you wait until your check clears, you won’t be able to start servicing your client as quickly.

As for cash, it is harder to keep track of it unless you keep a cash receipts and payment journal either handwritten or electronically.  That’s a more labor intensive way to track the money you receive than if everything automatically appears on your credit card statement.

So what do you think?  Do you think you should get paid in advance by credit card and charge an all-inclusive price that is not dependent upon the hours you work?  Why or why not?

Delegation Resistance Leads to Business Failure

Many of us hesitate when it comes to delegating aspects of our business and personal lives to others, and there are a variety of reasons why.  Have you ever heard yourself saying…

  • No one else can do the job as good as I can
  • My clients trust me and want to work only with me
  • I can’t spend the money especially when it is something I can do myself
  • It will take too long to hire and train, and I just don’t have the time right now
  • I will lose control regarding the way things are done
  • I am afraid someone else might do the job better than me, and I won’t look as good

Do any of the above reasons for NOT delegating resonate with you and prevent you from delegating?

Well it’s time to put these reasons aside and start looking for ways to delegate going forward.

I know, this may be difficult for some because as business owners especially in the beginning or start-up phase we have the expectation that we have to wear many different hats to keep our businesses moving forward. And that is true to some extent, but you don’t want to stay in that mode for long.

And why? If you don’t start delegating at some point all of the following will start to happen…

  • Your business will stay small, and you won’t be able to break through your income cap
  • You will feel overworked and stressed out which can lead to losing passion for what you do
  • You will have little time to market to keep your pipeline full of potential clients so you can break the feast or famine business cycle
  • Your productivity won’t improve because some of the tasks you are doing aren’t the ones best done by you

And what happens when you aren’t making enough money, you feel overworked, you struggle to get clients, and you lose your passion for what you do? You are way more likely to close your business and do something else. That’s why delegation is so important.

So let’s get your delegation ideas flowing by taking a look at the many ways you can delegate below:

  • Hire a bookkeeper and/or accountant
  • Hire a web designer instead of doing your website yourself and get the added benefit of having a professional-looking, search engine optimized and client attracting website that brings in more business
  • Automate whenever possible – set up a way for clients to book their cook days online, take credit cards and charge your clients automatically on a monthly basis, use a food store delivery service, set up an auto responder email series so when you add someone to your list a series of relevant and useful information automatically goes out to your new list members over time on a schedule
  • Get help in the kitchen with the simpler tasks like cleaning dishes, cutting up ingredients, labeling and storing food
  • Train a team of personal chefs to go into people’s homes to cook
  • Hire someone to mow the lawn, clean the house, do the laundry so you have more time to work on your business or to take some much needed time off
  • Make sure everyone in your family contributes equally to getting the family chores done
  • Hire someone who is an expert at the strategies used to get business via social media and let them do at least some aspect of the work
  • Hire a virtual assistant – you can use them for just the number of hours you need per week

If you start getting comfortable with delegating, you are going to be way more productive as a company, you will get more clients, earn more income, and you will have a lot more fun doing what you do.

What other ways can you think of to delegate? Please share your thoughts below.

How to Sell Yourself without Feeling Pushy

One of the biggest barriers to success for personal chefs or anyone else who is responsible for growing a business for that matter is the fear that they will come across pushy and obnoxious when selling themselves and their products and services.

Common concerns that I hear about selling in my coaching business follow…

  • I hate when someone is aggressively selling something to me, and I don’t want to become one of those people
  • I don’t want to turn people off or annoy them!
  • I feel like a sleazy salesperson when I try to sell my products and services

And because of this fear, many personal chefs tend to shy away from talking about themselves, their businesses and what they are selling.

Instead, many prefer to take a passive approach to getting business. They wait and hope for the phone to ring. They wait and hope for someone to find their website and reach out to them. They wait and hope that someone will see their flier and call. They wait and hope for the business cards they handed out to bring business their way. They wait and hope for referrals and other opportunities to arise.

Taking a passive approach to growing your business is the kiss of death. You might as well close up shop and do something else with your time.

So what you need to do is find a way to sell without feeling like that aggressive salesperson. And here’s how you do just that…

  • Focus on being the solution to the problem your ideal clients are trying to resolve because people want to hear about solutions to their problems. If you can help, they’ll listen, and they won’t feel as if you are being pushy. Instead, they will feel as if you are being of service.
  • Recognize that your products or services aren’t necessarily right for everyone so don’t try to sell your products or services to people who aren’t your ideal clients. If you do, they will feel as if you are that obnoxious salesperson because they don’t want what you have to offer.
  • Know who your ideal clients are, what they struggle with and what they want instead. Listen to the words they use to describe their situation and then use those exact same words when you talk about your products and services. When you talk their language, they will feel as if you get them, and if they think you get them, they’ll not feel put upon.
  • Ask questions first before selling anything. You want to be curious about the other person. Learn something about them. Be an active listener. You want to find out first if they are someone who would have an interest in what you offer. Don’t lead a conversation by talking about yourself and your business. Care about the person in front of you first.
  • Get permission to talk about what you are selling. Once you sense that the person you are talking to could benefit from what you offer, ask if she would be interested in learning more. When you ask for permission you are being respectful, and you won’t come across as if you are pushing your products or services down your prospect’s throat.

Which of these tips resonate with you? Do you have any other tips to share to help make the sales process a better one for people who are uncomfortable selling but who need to sell?

Would you like private support to help you attract more clients so you can keep your calendar fully booked?  Find out more by scheduling a Client Attraction Phone Consult with me here.

Common Fears to Overcome if You Want to Succeed in Business

Fear will usually rear its head the moment you decide to step outside of your comfort zone.  And to be successful building a thriving business or accomplishing anything noteworthy in life for that matter you must at times step outside of your comfort zone and feel the fear that is sure to arise.

And when that fear arises, you must embrace it and move forward despite it.

However, what often happens is the fear people feel paralyzes them, and if you let fear paralyze you, you will never achieve your true potential, and your business will never succeed to the fullest extent possible.

I have seen fear cripple many personal chef clients I have coached.  They become so scared they end up not taking the necessary high pay-off actions they must take to be successful.  As a result, their businesses fail.  They say they want to succeed more than anything, but they aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals.

Instead they feel the fear and cower and do whatever they can NOT to put themselves into situations that will illicit fear.  And it is precisely these situations that are the ones absolutely necessary for success.

So for those of you who want to break free of the often paralyzing effect of fear, I’ve outlined below 4 common fears I have witnessed in my coaching practice along with suggestions you can take to garner the courage you need to move forward despite your fear.

Fear of Selling
Many people, especially heart-centered entrepreneurs or business owners who have no background in sales or marketing, hate selling because it makes them feel very uncomfortable and pushy. They fear that their efforts to sell will push prospects away and that these prospects will be annoyed at them for asking for the business.

Solution:  Change your perception of selling.  Think of any communication you have with a prospect as a chance for you to be of service to that individual.  You are there to help him solve his problems and improve his life.  You are offering him an opportunity.  You are not selling.

One other important point.  Don’t start conversations by immediately pushing your products or services.  You will become that obnoxious salesperson if you do.

Instead, start by asking questions and listening.  Once you have a sense of the person’s problem or situation and what he wants instead, and you believe your products and services can help, by all means say something about what you do.

Fear of Rejection
People sometimes hesitate to follow up on warm leads, make cold calls, ask for the sale or network because they fear rejection.  When a prospect or other important contact says “no”, they take it personally and become a lot more hesitant to reach out to anyone else.

Solution:  Try not to attach yourself to the outcome of any particular interaction you have with a prospect.  Your job is to simply help your prospect decide if she should work with you (or buy from you) or not.

Uncover her problem, understand her desired outcome, and clearly explain how your products or services can take her from where she is to where she wants to be.  Focus on the benefits and value of what you offer first instead of the features, and then accept the outcome.

Remember, your goal is to be of service.  Trust that your prospect knows how to make the best decision for herself no matter what that decision is.   And if the decision is “no”, bless her, review what you did well and what you could improve and then move on quickly to your next lead or contact.

Fear of Failure
No one wants to fail and because of this, many will avoid any opportunity or situation that they believe could end in failure.  Instead they stick to doing things that they deem safe and that seem to carry little risk.  They keep themselves in what they think is a protective bubble.

The thing is you can’t avoid failure even when you think you are playing it safe.  By playing it safe you are depriving yourself of new experiences, personal growth, and a chance to reach your full potential as a human being.  And when you do this, you are failing.  You are failing yourself and the lives of those who would have benefited from you taking a risk that actually does end up in success.

When you run your own business there is no way to avoid sticking your neck out and doing things that are necessary to succeed but are scary to you.  Without the courage to feel the fear and do it anyway, you have no chance to build the business and the life you desire.  Your fear will come true – you will fail.  And this is just the thing you didn’t want to happen.

Solution:  Recognize that failure is necessary for success to happen by reminding yourself of the successes you have experienced in the past.  How did you become successful then?  Did you hit any road bumps or set backs along the way?  You probably did.  And what did you learn from those set backs?  How did this learning move you closer to the successful outcome you desired?

Failure helps you to see what doesn’t work so you can better see what will work.  That’s that beauty of failing.  Sometimes you have to just jump in not completely prepared, not knowing if you will sink or swim so you can figure out what’s needed to achieve the success you so desire.

One more thought…

When you hesitate to move forward because you are fearful of failure ask yourself if you know for sure that you will fail.  If you can’t say a definitive “yes”, then why not assume you will succeed?  It may be just as possible as failing.   In other words, why not shift your mindset to focus on what is possible instead of what is not possible?

Fear of Success
Yes, you may think this is an odd fear.  Success is what everyone is striving for, isn’t it?  Well not always.  Sometimes people fear becoming too successful, and as a result they may self sabotage their efforts to succeed.

While there are many reasons why people fear success. One common reason is that they fear they won’t be able to handle the increased workload.  How will they get it all done and not disappoint?  How will they maintain work life balance?

Solution:  Having too many people wanting to buy from you or work with you is a good thing.  Rejoice in it.  It gives you options.   Don’t you want options?

If you are okay not growing your business, you don’t have to sell more or take on new clients if you don’t want to.  It’s your choice.  It’s your business.  On the other hand, if you do want to grow your business, you can.

And if the idea of growing your business frightens you because you think you won’t be able to handle it, figure out what you can do so you can handle it.  Come up with and put in place a doable business growth action plan.  You will feel a whole lot better taking on more business if you know exactly how you plan to handle it.

Have you ever experienced any of the above fears?  If yes, what did you do to overcome your fear so you could move forward?  Have you experienced other fears not mentioned?   If yes, which ones and what if anything helped you move through it so you didn’t stay stuck?