If you’ve ever wondered how to actually niche down and COMMUNICATE that niche, Grace breaks it down in a trial conversation her and I have on this episode. She also goes into how she started her marketing agency, Cheers Creative Co. and dropped out of College to pursue her business adventures. An INCREDIBLE episode if you want to learn more about marketing your brand message and also how to formulate a sales page, and more!

Hey Grace! Welcome to the show! Tell us more about yourself.

My name is Grace. I am the founder of Cheers Creative – we do digital marketing! I got my start pretty early on in business, and I know we’ll talk a little bit about my journey probably a little bit later. But I dropped out of college and I knew I was super passionate about business. I knew I was super passionate about marketing. I had a lot of connections to young women who had these ideas and these passions that they wanted to chase after. I kind of naturally began coaching and sharing my little amount of expertise at the time with those people, which just kind of slowly transformed into people saying, “Hey, can you run this channel for me, or Can you do my marketing in this way?” And so from there it just kind of developed. Now we offer full service, social media management. Anything in the marketing realm or consulting realm we handle for creatives and small businesses and startups, and it is an absolute blast. We have a lot of photographers in our client roster, and so we just love that community specifically. It’s been a super fun ride.

Dani (02:20):
I love that you work with photographers because I feel like a lot of us think we know a lot about marketing and then we try to dive into it and we’re like, “wow, we really know nothing.” Nothing’s working the way we wanted to. So that’s where outsourcing I think is a huge bonus. Let’s dive into your journey!

You started a business at 15 years old and then you sold it. Tell us about that?!

Grace (02:50):
So it really was not a glamorous start by any means. I, in high school, was finding myself in this space of “where do I fit, what do I do, what do I love?” And I didn’t really have that thing. I wasn’t super, super smart. I wasn’t super into sports or music or art or anything like that, but I loved being involved. And so I was trying to just kind of see what was out there for me. And my family had just moved to a super small town, and that town did not really have a ton going on. Where we grew up, there was a summer camp and our new town didn’t have anything like that. I was talking to my mom one day and she was like, “why don’t you start a camp here?”

And I was thinking six or seven kids will show up and it’ll be a babysitting job, a glorified babysitting job in the summer, and it’ll be great. It ended up turning into something a whole lot bigger. We are now eight years in. I actually sold it, like you said, a couple years ago, which was very bittersweet, but by the end of the time that I owned it, we had 250 kids coming every summer, and it was just a blast. I loved creating it from the ground up. That really led me into what I’m now doing with Cheers and just stepping into people’s businesses and not only creating captions and posts and things like that, but really diving into the business development side of things. It was a super fun journey. It definitely changed my path a lot and gave me just that spark for business that I now get to bring into my day to day. It was super fun. I love camp, so I forever am very grateful for that little 15 year old me who was like, “let’s do it.”

Dani (04:53):
You had the entrepreneurial spirit even at such a young age, which is so awesome. I think. Are you an Enneagram three? Do you know your Enneagram?

Grace (05:01):
Yep! I’m a three!

Dani (05:03):
I’m a three too! I feel like most entrepreneurs are because we just have that spirit of just going and creating and building from the ground up – which is so fun. It can also be a curse in some ways because I always try and start five projects at once because I’m like, “this would be so cool and that would be so cool.”

Grace (05:26):
I feel like it’s one of those things where you have to just give it a try and you try five things and maybe only one sticks, but you never know until you’re there. So it is such a blessing. I feel like I make more logical decisions as I get older but I still want to jump into new things all the time!

Dani (06:04):
Yeah it’s not a bad spirit to have, and it’s true. You can start multiple things and then whatever sticks – you go for it!

You dropped out of school to pursue entrepreneurship. How did you learn all of these business and marketing strategies that have propelled you forward?

Grace (06:32):
It was kind of funny. I was an entrepreneurship major in college, so I knew I wanted to do my own thing and I loved the college experience. I loved being there, and I liked my classes. I was still kind of in the gen eds and stuff. I think I had taken one marketing class when I left, but I knew. I kind of said, “okay, I know that I’m going to get to the end of this four years and still have so much to learn, so I can either hold out and wait and use all this time and money to pour it into college and then still need some extra support, or I can leave college now and do a little bit more of a purposeful learning path for myself that’s going to really help me be where I need to be.”

And so that’s kind of the route I took. I invested in coaches and courses and programs and all that good stuff, and some of it was awesome, some of it was terrible and kind of just picked things up as I went. Ever since I started my journey, I’m just a huge believer in just going after things and nobody has ever asked me for my resume or things like that. I think as we grow and gain experience, that is what really shows what we are capable of. Not that everybody should drop out of college. I’m not saying that! But there is definitely something to be said about paving your own path and just believing in yourself and not letting yourself be stopped by what looks like a more typical path.

When I look back at the work I was doing at the beginning, and not only the work I was doing, but the services that I was selling and providing to people are so different than what we’re doing now, and that’s not because, wasn’t good at the beginning or anything, but it’s because industries change and people’s needs change, especially in the social media world.

So I tell people all the time, even if I had a degree in marketing, it wouldn’t really be teaching us all of the trendy things now that weren’t a thing a year ago. Social media and marketing specifically changes so quickly. Having an education is great, but I always tell people we are experts because we are frontline learners doing this stuff every single day. Nobody on my team actually has a marketing degree, but we are in the weeds in the thick of it every single day, learning the trends, learning what the platforms are wanting, seeing what the algorithms are doing, and that’s why we come to know and are able to be really good at what we do.

Dani (09:34):
I completely agree. A couple years ago that in order to do photography, you had to go to school for it. And even with photography – you don’t even need to invest in a course, although we do recommend that. Investing in courses from actual business masters that maybe charge $2,000 – that’s way cheaper than paying for a college tuition.

In retrospect, you can get such a well-rounded quality education without having to really go to college. There’s so many resources out there for you that are just kind of way better and experience, like you were saying, that’s the biggest thing – being in the thick of it, learning as you go. That’s the best experience you’re going to get because you and don’t have to have a degree. If you have results and you’re showing that those results are working, that’s honestly what matters at the end of the day. I’m very passionate about the college topic because I went to school for four years and I’m like, “what a waste of money, dude. I started my life in debt. That was awful.”

Grace (10:55):
Yeah exactly – figure out what you do need and then take that seriously. And that’s kind of what I told myself. I was like, “okay, if I’m not going to be in college, I’m still going to invest in myself and make sure that I can have the tools and resources to do this really well.” College is great – but if it’s not going to get you to where you want to be, then figuring out what will is definitely a helpful thing for sure.

Tell me how Cheers came about and how that kind of started!

Grace (12:35):
Funny enough, I knew I wanted to be in business as I entered college for entrepreneurship, but I did not know really what that looked like at the time. I obviously had camp going, and so I knew I loved that. I loved the marketing piece specifically, and just getting people super excited about something and building it from the ground up. Simultaneously at that same time, I was doing a lot of blogging. I love writing. I talk a lot about faith and mental health and things like that. My goal was – I want to merge these two passions together. I want to do business. I love business, but also I want to bring women together and I want to write, and I want to use my creativity to gather people and that kind of thing.

When I decided to leave school, I had no existing business. I knew I had nothing going on. For a while. I was like, “okay, I’ll just finish my second year and then I’ll go online and finish.” So I had more time to do business, and then I kind of negotiated with myself and I was like, “okay, maybe I’ll just finish this semester.” And then I was there and I was struggling because I wanted to do business, but I had all this school and I was like, “what am I doing?” I tried to fight it for a while and then just realized this isn’t worth it. I don’t have to juggle both. So I left school and literally started from scratch, had absolutely nothing. Camp was kind of a separate entity.

I got a couple VA gigs. Slowly but surely I started getting clients who wanted social media management or marketing support. I was also doing a lot of coaching at the beginning, and it just slowly started to grow. As that happened, I knew I wasn’t making boatloads of money yet, but I knew that in order to keep growing, I would need to invest in a team. I found some girls part-time who were super, super talented and could support cheers as it continued to grow.

I’m definitely very passionate about our team and how we’ve grown. I think people are always like, “oh, hiring is the worst.” I don’t know what those people are talking about. I don’t know if I’ve been lucky or what, but I just have the absolute best team of women who all are just super on board with the mission of Cheers and really understand why we’re doing what we’re doing and have really developed cheers into what it is today.

It’s definitely been a journey. I’ve learned a ton about hiring and team building and scaling, and it definitely hasn’t been all smooth sailing by any means, but we’ve kind of grown from just being social media managers into, we now support brands as their kind of in-house chief marketing officer and operations officers. We handle the crossover between marketing and operations, a lot of project management, but also marketing strategy. We’ve helped people really scale their businesses by giving them a lot of strategy and support from a consulting perspective. We haven’t really seen a lot of other agencies doing this kind of thing. There’s a lot of people doing social media, there’s a lot of people doing consulting, but I think this crossover is something that we have really found that all of us are super passionate about. We’re able to continue growing and becoming better and better at it, which has just been a super fun journey. Very proud of where we are right now and how the journey has progressed.

So how do you coincide marketing AND operations with a client?

Grace (17:19):
We have some clients who come to us for a one-time project. Let’s say that’s a client who has this idea for a really big course that they want to build out. We are not only creating the copy and the design and all of the marketing assets for it, but we’re also creating a timeline and helping them script the course and things like that. We’re helping create the deliverables and develop the product.

And then for clients who work with us on an ongoing basis, we do biweekly reports. We talk with our clients pretty frequently. We’ll come on a meeting and we’ll share with them how projects are progressing, things that we need from them. We’re not only doing the marketing things, but being that liaison of what needs done. For some of our clients, we will actually talk to their other contractors and work through the projects. It’s fun to be just in all of it.

Dani (18:48):
But I love that because it also gives you the insight on the actual product to when you are marketing it so that you do know everything about it and the passion behind it and all of that stuff, which is important. And so I love that, and I love this idea.

When it comes to photographers, do you mostly work with educators creating a course? How would you go about helping a wedding photographer who’s just trying to book more weddings?

Grace (19:17):
I definitely have clients on both sides of things, and it’s just a difference in what their product is or what they’re selling. I love working with service providers. That’s definitely the first niche I ever had. For wedding photographers, it’s easy to get frustrated in the marketing realm because we just look everywhere on social, and all we see are hundreds of other people who feel like they’re selling the exact same thing. It’s a really good challenge to say, “okay, I think we can market really well when we are really passionate about our product.”

We’ve all had experiences where we are talking to someone who’s really passionate about what they’re selling, and then it’s so much easier to buy the product or to be interested in it. When we do the same thing, especially as a service provider who is selling a high ticket item, we have to be so convinced that what we are doing is worthwhile. Sometimes bury that because we feel uncomfortable about marketing and sales. We have to get over the oversaturated market syndrome or whatever, where we feel like everybody else is doing the same thing. Especially for wedding photographers. I always like to point out, you don’t need 500 clients. You don’t need every single follower to book a wedding with you. You just need 20 or 30 or however many you do per year to get by and do really well.

I always ask people first, how do you want to be known? What way do you want to stand out? And I think once you identify that and get confident in that, you can figure out from there what your marketing strategy needs to be based on your goals.

Can we do a trial on if I was you client for some practice?

Grace (22:15):
Yeah! So what are you really passionate about with your wedding or elopement clients? What are you really excited about in your business?

Dani (22:26):
Okay. I’m very excited about showing people the world or showing them three specific places that I focus on, Utah, Yosemite, and Hawaii. To anyone who’s never been there before, I love being their guide and showing them all of the possibilities of where we could go and how beautiful the land is.

Grace (23:02):
That’s great! What I tell people is “we need to bring that into your marketing so that people know what they’re getting and they know why they should book with you or would have the best adventure ever in booking with you.” So then I would ask you, in what ways are you currently marketing that? Or maybe not. And then how can we from there, make that a more integral part of your marketing strategy?

Dani (23:50):
My target is people who aren’t as familiar with Yosemite or aren’t as familiar with Hawaii. I get a lot of east coasters who are coming to Hawaii, and I’m like, “great, I’ll show you.” So as far as the marketing goes, it would probably be messaged towards someone who doesn’t know the possibility of eloping in Hawaii or Yosemite, or isn’t well educated on what that entails.

Grace (24:26):
Yes! So in your marketing, let’s share fun facts about these places. Or why are these three places, the places that you have chosen, why do you want your couples to experience these things? What are your favorite parts of them? What made you fall in love with these places? What were your reactions when you first went? All of those kinds of things I feel like become a really good starting point for creating this excitement for them and then getting them excited about wanting to go there.

People want to be able to envision themselves as your client!

People want to be able to envision themselves as a client of yours or as a customer of yours. You’re giving other people that vision of like, “oh, that could be us!” We have to give a lot of those things to our marketing to get people in the door and get people to become clients.

Dani (26:27):
The best way to do that is to show examples of this is what their day looked like, this is how I guided them. And oh, look, specifically, they’re from “Missouri and they came to Hawaii”, and yeah, anyone else who’s in Missouri watching that’s going to relate to it. So that makes a lot of sense, and I think that’s brilliant!

Let’s dive into sales pages. What’s your best advice for sales pages?

Don’t pull up other photogs for inspiration!

Grace (27:48):
Number one, do not pull up five other photographers websites while you’re doing it. It’s really easy to go off of what other people are doing. No wonder we feel stuck in this rabbit hole of oversaturation because everybody’s just doing the same thing. There’s no one perfect way to do things. And anybody who says, “this is the one formula for this” – that’s just a lie. Dive into that one thing. What are you really passionate about? How do you stand out and let that be the core of what you’re doing. Maybe it’s location, maybe it’s a certain piece of your client experience. Let that be kind of the guiding force. If we’re trying to market to everybody, we end up marketing to nobody.

Pointing people to a product

Also – having something that explains your client experience or having something that explains the locations that you’re tied to or the certain services that you provide. Another big thing in marketing is we always have to have our next location in mind. Marketing is truly just pointing people to the next place, whether it’s on Instagram, we’re pointing people over to a blog, or we’re on Pinterest and we’re pointing people to a freebie or whatever it is. We’re pointing people to a product. Where do you want people to go from there? So if you are on your homepage and you’re wanting people to look into your pricing guide – being really specific about those things and having a cohesive client journey so people aren’t just bopping all around with no end in sight.

Mapping things out

Mapping that out can give you a lot of clarity. Asking yourself, “okay, if I was a client coming here for the very first time, would I know where the heck to go?” Would I know what my next step is? Sometimes that’s a really helpful practice because everything is really seamless and makes sense on paper, but on our website, it might not be as clear. So you trialing that out or having a friend or family member to go through that and just make sure that everything is cohesive and seamless, is really helpful.

Dani (32:17):
I’ve actually had my mom do that for me, and I’m like, mom, does this make sense? Does this seem clear to you? And she’s given me great advice. So yeah, those are all amazing tips. Uniqueness is probably the biggest one for me. That’s the biggest trick. There’s a couple of educators that I’ve studied pretty well, and I see how they do it. And the main difference between me investing in something is the uniqueness of their approach to their sales page.

Are there any other tips that you want to share for photographers who are struggling with their marketing journey?

Grace (33:57):
First and foremost, I would say cut yourself some slack in keeping up with all the things. It’s really easy to say, “okay, I need to be blogging, I need to be on Pinterest. I need to be on Instagram and creating an email list and all of these things.” Figure out what’s working, and then keep doing more of that. If you are someone who absolutely hates filming reels, don’t force yourself to start posting on TikTok. If reels and tiktok aren’t really generating revenue for you, then why try that? I think there’s something to be said about testing the waters with new things when you have the bandwidth, absolutely. But I am a big believer of just leaning into what is working and continuing to grow in that and getting really good at that.

As photographers, people are hiring you not only for the photos that they’re seeing, but how they’re seeing you show up and how you’re going to be able to make their wedding day or their elopement day better. So figuring out how you can get comfortable in sharing that, I think is super, super crucial. I feel like that’s where a lot of untapped potential is.

Also in the photography realm. We feel like, “oh, people don’t need to hear about us” but they do. If you feel like you don’t have these crazy stories or whatever – show testimonials, talk about your wedding days with your couples, talk about little things that you do to enhance the experience. Keep things fresh. It just keeps it fun!

If you could go back in time five years ago and tell yourself anything, what would you tell yourself?

Grace (40:04):
Oh, that’s so good. I’m going to give a little backstory to it. When I left school, I was like, “I have to make this work. I have to make this work. I got to build this business.” And I think I really, really heavily started putting my identity into my success as a business owner. And I just had this immense amount of pressure on myself to reach these certain goals and whatnot. After a year and a half or so, I had kind of sat back and reflected and I had reached the goals that I set out to reach, and I had made it in all these different ways, but I didn’t feel satisfied in that I kind of had this new set of standards for myself.

I think it’s really easy to never be satisfied with where we’re at, which in a way I think is beautiful because I love being ambitious and driven and passionate about what I’m doing – but sometimes we can lose sight of the good that we are already doing, and then we let it kind of not be enough. I’ve really challenged myself now to say, “if I want this next thing, why do I actually want that? And do I actually want that?” Just being really intentional about where I set my goals and where I am placing my identity has been a huge game changer. And I feel like if I knew that five years ago, I would’ve probably had a lot more peaceful of a journey.

Dani (42:03):
Honestly, same. I’m reaching for the next thing, but it’s also just look at where you are now, how far you’ve come already, and stop. I think identity is a big part of that too. Don’t identify totally as a photographer or a marketing agency. Your happiness shouldn’t come from the success of your business, if that makes sense. And I feel like a lot of us fall into that!

This has been great Grace! Where can people find you and connect with you?!

Cheers Creative Co Instagram!

Cheers Creative Studio Instagram

Grace’s Instagram

Cheers Creative Co Website



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