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S2 E26 Why I Hate Goals and What You Should Try Instead of Goal Setting

S2 E25 How AI Can Help Your Creative Business Grow with Lauren deVane

S2 E24 Life’s Initiations and Transitions and How They Help You Serve Your Clients

S2 E5 Affiliate Marketing and Referrals: How to Use Them in Your Creative Business

Remember the days of hanging flyers in coffee shops to promote your business? Using phone books?! Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for marketing your creative business. But sometimes, it’s not what serves you. Maybe you feel disconnected from it, or it doesn’t match your energy. But that’s okay! There are so many other ways to spread the word about your work and bring in new clients — no social media necessary.

In this episode, Diana shares ways to grow your business and make a mark in the creative market outside of Instagram. Things like affiliate marketing, referrals, collectives and good old word of mouth. It’s possible to go no social media, even in today’s world. Just remember that you can use it if you want to!

Grab a pen and tune into this episode to take some serious notes on marketing your business YOUR way and diversifying the ways you bring in clients outside of social media.

👂 Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:

  • Understand the power of affiliate marketing and building a referral network to get your work out there — no social media required!

  • Digging deep to understand WHY you don’t feel resonance with showing up on Instagram. Is there a block there?

  • Doing business in a way that feels good to you versus plugging yourself into a marketing blueprint that doesn’t work for you.

📘 Resources

🎧 Episode Highlights

[01:06] Embracing Femininity in Business

  • Diana discusses her recent business retreat and how it has enhanced her understanding of feminine power in business.

[01:41] “Just being in person is so freakin’ different than the Zoom Room. There's a lot of power in the Zoom Room. I love running my programs from Zoom because it's worldwide. But man, in real life stuff is just unbeatable.” -Diana

  • The retreat emphasized the importance of receptivity—a traditionally feminine trait—in thriving as an entrepreneur.

  • There’s great value in receiving and learning.

[05:00] A World With No Social Media

  • There was a time when there was no Instagram, no Facebook, no social media at all. How did people market themselves?

[08:18] “We don't even think about putting up a flier or putting up a billboard for ourselves. But what if we did? What if we got creative in that way?” -Diana

  • She encourages expanding one's social media ecosystem beyond Instagram for stability and resilience.

  • It’s not about removing social media entirely. It’s about understanding the many options we have available to us for entering the creative market — or any market.

[09:07] Exploring Affiliate Marketing

  • Diana introduces the idea of affiliate marketing as an alternative income source.

  • She discusses setting up conversations with frequent collaborators and brands for possible affiliate marketing partnerships.

  • There are people you interact with daily who are so expansive to your business and your dream. Who are they? Are you that kind of person to someone else?

[16:27] Engaging Organically with the World

  • Diana encourages creative entrepreneurs to step out of their online comfort zones.

[16:47] “I'm not saying quit social media – it is such a freaking amazing free marketing tool – start to really dig into why? Why do I not want to feel seen?” -Diana

  • She suggests innovative ways businesses can be seen and promoted without relying heavily on social media or the internet.

  • You can go no social media if that’s what serves you.

  • Remember: social media is a powerful tool, but it’s not the only tool!

😍 Enjoyed this Podcast on Entering the Creative Market?

We’re so used to assuming that social media is the only way to enter the creative market. But remember: there was a time when there was no social media! The critical thing is to choose what serves you best.

Pollen is a podcast for Creative Entrepreneurs—just like you! If you enjoyed this episode of Pollen Podcast, subscribe and help us spread the word by sharing it! Your dream life is there for you to take — and you can help others find lives they can love too.

Leave a review and share it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐If you enjoyed tuning in to this podcast, we'd appreciate it if you wrote us a review. You can also share it to help other creative entrepreneurs and freelancers find their place in the creative market — or any market of their choosing.

Have any questions or want to leave a suggestion? Come say hi on the 'gram, @dianadaviscreative! You can also subscribe to my newsletter for travel updates, learn about special projects, and get tips and tricks for the creative entrepreneur life!

Connect with me on Linkedin: Diana Davis Creative.

Thanks for listening! Stay tuned to my website for more episode updates and other exciting programs and resources.


Diana Davis: My big thing is getting creative about your creative career, not making it look like everyone else's, not just being a blueprint or a cookie cutter situation. How do you want it to feel? How do you want it to look?

Welcome to Pollen, the ultimate podcast for creative entrepreneurs. My mission: to empower you to make more money doing what you love, work with dream clients, and turn your creative gifts into a thriving business without the burnout. I'm your host, Diana Davis, business coach, Gemini, manifesting Generator, matcha snob, and full time nomad.

Here's the deal. I went from creating a six figure photography business to helping amazing creative souls like you build your own empires. So I've been there. I get it. Whether you're an artist, designer, writer, yogi, or anything in between, this podcast is your treasure trove of inspiration. So grab your favorite notebook, maybe a matcha, and let's embark on this incredible adventure together.

Hi, Pollen. Where in the world is Diana Davis? I am in Los Angeles right now. I actually just completed a business mastermind retreat that I attended, and I learned so freaking much. I cannot even begin to express how important it is to get in real life in rooms where people are like minded, where people are expansive, where people are having conversations that make you grow and hit your edges. And just being in person is so freaking different than the Zoom Room.

There's a lot of power in the Zoom Room. I love running my programs from Zoom because it's worldwide, but man, in real life, stuff is just unbeatable. So we are really planning to blow out our retreats next year.

We are already building a waitlist for Ecuador in February of 2024. So if you want to get on that waitlist and be the first to know about other retreats that we're going to be having, we're thinking about doing three total get on the waitlist in the show notes and DM me at Diana Davis Creative if you have recommendations or requests for places we hold retreats. So that's what's happening over here in my world.

I also have a friend, a romantic friend, visiting me from New York, which is really expansive as well. And I'm learning so much in that I know you all love to hear the little dating tidbits, but a big one is really just learning how to receive. I'm realizing I'm not very good at that sometimes, so I'm really learning a lot about receiving and being in my feminine, which I used to just kind of stick a finger down my throat and be like, to that the feminine, the masculine.

But I really get it now. I'm like oh, wow. That's really a thing to let someone be in their masculine, even if it's a friend or a coach, and just be able to receive and flow. Have that riverbed so you can flow as a river, as the feminine. So that's what's happening over here. Lots of personal expansion.

But today I want to talk about what if Instagram didn't exist? What did we do before all this social media stuff, before the Internet people had thriving businesses, before the Internet existed. So how do we get back to that so we can create a really solid base and use the Internet and social media as like a cherry on top if we want to, and if we decide to.

With that, I want to talk a little bit about affiliate marketing as well. Go back and listen to season two, episode two with my good friend Jamie Ratermann.

We are talking about is Instagram even relevant anymore? And how to expand your social media ecosystem to other fields so that you are really spread out and stable. Think about it as like legs on a chair. If you have four legs on a chair, you know it's going to be stable. If you have one, it's really hard to balance and sit in that chair and relax into it, right? So definitely go back to that episode and listen to how to expand your social media ecosystem, how to tap into all of that.

But what we're going to talk about today is really, what if we didn't have any of that? And I talk about this with my clients a lot because first of all, I have a lot of clients that end up being really anxious about getting on Instagram at all. We work through all of that. A lot of the results that happen through Camp Clarity are getting way more confident on social, feeling like you can show up without overthinking it, feeling aligned, feeling excited even to show up.

But there's also people who just don't love it, and it's a very visceral reaction even if they've tried all the things. So I talk about with my clients a lot. What if we went back to the era where we were literally posting a flier to a telephone pole? Like, you know, you can picture it stapling this flier to a telephone pole, tacking it on the cork board in the coffee shop.

What does that look like? And I want to tell a quick story that I thought was so cool. One time I was in a lift coming back from Columbia from a retreat, and I got in this lift, and the driver asked me where I had been. I kind of started chatting with him. We were actually from similar small towns in eastern Colorado, which was already a small world moment. And he started to tell me how he was also a creative entrepreneur, but very uniquely so, not like a business coach or even a photographer.

He started to tell me how he built this business out of his pilot's license and started to spread people's ashes over the Rocky Mountains. And that was his whole niche. Now, I've got to say, this is probably the most creative, unique, creative entrepreneurship career I have ever heard of, right? Like, what a niche. And he started to tell me his business had to be smart in ways that mine no longer had to.


So I don't have to think about people finding me, really? I'm on social media. I'm all over the board. I have a good network, all of the things. But when you're starting a business without the Internet, you have to think about stuff like, where are you going to appear in the phone book? What does that look like? How are you going to be seen in the classifieds? Where do you advertise? Do you put yourself on a billboard? Do you again post literally a flier on the corkboard of a coffee shop? How do we build our marketing? How do we build our affiliate system?

So he had said he named his business starting with the word “aviation” so it would show up first in the phone book and he would be seen. And it just kind of made me think, wow, there's so many ways we can be seen as businesses without social media, without the Internet, that we are kind of losing a little bit. Right. As personal brands, as creative entrepreneurs, we don't even think about putting up a flier or putting up a billboard for ourselves.

But what if we did? What if we got creative in that way? Where are we seeing other brands advertised in the real world that's not just on Instagram that we could also tap into? So with that, my big thing is getting creative about your creative career, not making it look like everyone else's, not just being a blueprint or a cookie cutter situation. How do you want it to feel? How do you want it to look?

I really suggest Instagram. It's a fucking great tool. But if it's literally giving you so much anxiety you can't do anything else with your day, then let's get creative and do something else.

So with that, I want to dig into affiliate marketing a little bit more of like a referral network. It could be an affiliate marketing situation. It could be a collective, I like to call it. But I want to make sure you're tapping into this because it's huge whether you're using Instagram or not. So I want you to think of the five people or brands that you tend to shout from the rooftops. I know they're there. Right? You tend to tell everyone you talk to about said brand or person.

One of mine — and I'll list them in the show notes for you is my accountant — Candace, New Way Accounting. I am an affiliate for her, but how I became an affiliate for her by the way, we do have an episode with her in the last season. It's incredible. Definitely check it out. How I became an affiliate with her. Was shouting her name from the rooftops already. I'm obsessed with her. She's literally changed my life.

I talk about it to almost every entrepreneur I meet. I'm sending intro emails to her all the fucking time. I probably referred 20 people to her before I ever became an affiliate. So those people that you're already shouting from the rooftops, can you have some conversations about getting a kickback for that? Or creating a partnership or a cross pollination situation where you are shouting their names from the rooftop as the number one go to and they're shouting your name from the rooftop as well. So I just sent her a very simple email.

Hey, Candace, you know I love shouting your name from the rooftops. I adore you, you've changed my life. I tell everyone about you. What do you think about us developing some sort of affiliate agreement so that every time I refer someone to you, you pay me a kickback and you are always going to be my number one? It'll give me more incentive to keep shouting you from the rooftops and for me to tell everyone about you. Right, so she's one of them.

Another thing that I freaking love, that isn't a person but a product is Flodesk. It's my email marketing platform. I love it because I'm a creative and I want emails that look good. I personally do not like MailChimp, I do not like certain email platforms just for myself. I tend to get on them. They're really hard to make things beautiful. I'm a creative, I want things to look really good and they just don't. And their user interface isn't great, it's not easy to use.

So I love Flodesk because it's really easy for me to get in there, get inspired, and if I'm not inspired, I'm not going to do shit. I'm not going to lie to you. I have to be inspired to do the work. I have to love my environment, which even means my email marketing platform. And they're women founded and they're like a little startup, like a little big startup at this point. I love flodesk. We'll drop that below as well.

Another one I shout off is HoneyBook for creatives. It's like the contracts and the brochure and the proposal, the payment systems, all of it in one. It's a beautiful, amazing, super turbo program for creatives.

We can drop all of these, but my point is, if you're shouting stuff from the rooftops, get a kickback from it, have some conversations, make sure you have that affiliate code, make sure you're putting that resource doc together for your clients so they can use it as well. And don't lose people's trust, right? You want to make sure that you're only referring things that you actually use and actually love and actually would recommend organically anyway.

But then on the other side of that, going back to the brochure on the telephone pole, how do we get our services and products out in front of more people? Yeah, it's really nice to get a kickback from people we are shouting from the rooftops, but who is shouting us from the rooftops? And like I said, we might have an agreement with, say, Candace, my accountant, where she's shouting me from the rooftops and I'm also shouting her.

But what else? Can we build some sort of affiliate marketing system? Can we build a referral network that is totally organic and word of mouth that's not reliant on social media shares? Can we lean into the verbal like, trust someone saying, “Oh, my god. I worked with Diana Davis Creative. I took Camp Clarity. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

And they are directly emailing me and introring to that person, for example. But that might take me not just waiting around for someone to refer someone to me. It might take actual initiative to go out and say, hey, I know you loved Camp Clarity. Would you be an affiliate for me? I want to have you as part of my network that officially has me as number one suggestion to your people. You have a similar audience as me, but you do different things, and I want to make sure your audience knows about me. So I want to give you a special kickback for referring people to me. Here's some assets. Here's a percentage that's higher than my normal, just 10%. How can we make this work as a partnership?

I also love the idea, especially in the creative world, of a collective, right? This could be that you are a brand photographer and you also have someone in your collective that's a web designer and someone in your collective that is a copywriter and someone that is the graphics person for branding, someone that's a videographer.

And you all work together. You're in this collective that anytime you have a photography client come in and need copy or a website or video, you automatically go and give it to this collective and really support each other. There doesn't even have to be a kickback the kickback or money wise, there doesn't have to be a kickback. The kickback can just be that you know you're referring this person and you know they're referring you always.

And it makes sense because a lot of times when you do hire a photographer, you also need these other things that could also work in a wedding situation where you're a wedding planner and you have your little collective of the photographer, the cake person, the caterer, the wedding band, all of the above, right?

And you're referring everyone to each other, especially if you know you love to work with that group, especially if you jive. That can be a really good way to build this.

So what I want you to think about in your business is, first of all, what is my relationship with social media? How am I feeling about showing up if you're not feeling great about it? Which I would say 60% of us don't.

As creative entrepreneurs, probably even higher, then it might be time to dig into that. I'm not saying quit social media.

It is such a freaking amazing free marketing tool. Start to really dig into why? Why do I not want to feel seen? Is it because someone made fun of my nose in middle school? Like, what's the deal, right? Dig into those things. Because if you're just bypassing them, that's not doing yourself any favors.

But if you've really given social media a go and it's just really not your thing and you also don't want to outsource it, we want to maybe just use it as a portfolio page where people can land, see our stuff, but then we have a CTA in our bio that just says, like, email me instead. I'm really not very active on Instagram, which I've had clients do before. You should definitely still have an Instagram and at least a portfolio there.

Then how do we go back to getting creative about getting clients still? If they're not finding us through social media, how do we go back to the days of putting our business in the phone book under A, for example, right? And even if you are using social media and you love it and you're showing up and you're creating content, what are other ways that you can get your business out there in the world organically, without paid ads, without funneling a bunch of money to Facebook, how can we get in front of more people?

Is it cross pollination, getting on people's podcasts, doing guest coaching, or guest speaking for another creator who has a similar audience with your ideal clients? What does that look like? How do we get in front of new audiences without it having to be digital or at least on social media? And how do we get out there organically into the world and get creative about our business?

And then I want you to think of, like I said, the top five people. Just start paying attention to yourself. Who are you just bragging about? Who do you say to everybody you meet that they should work with? Is it a coach? Is it a creator that they should follow? Is it a brand you love to wear? Is it your hair products? I don't know.

Even if it doesn't have to do with your brand, you could still affiliate for them if you're talking about it anyway and people are going and buying that thing, see if you can get an affiliate code, see if you can have a conversation. So think of those top five people or brands or things or experiences that you just can't stop talking about and then maybe analyze that a little bit.

Does that give you a little evidence of maybe where you could go with your brand? Maybe we are talking way more about personal products like hair products and makeup and clothing and fashion, but we're a real estate agent.

Could that be a little piece of your brand that you're not tapping into? Could you have I think it's like it, to know it or whatever. Right? Obviously, I'm not a fashion person where you have a, like, to know it on real estate agent outfits, like how to rock that showing or what I wear on my days off or whatever that looks like.

Could you tap into that, pay attention to what you talk about and what you're passionate about, and see if that's, like, another branch that you could explore as a creative outlet and an income stream in your business and be smart about it, and then build yourself a collective. Build yourself a little team.

Not saying everyone's hired under one roof by any means. You're all running your own businesses, but that can really support each other. How can you funnel each other's clients into each other's businesses?

So think about those things. I would love you to post about it. Let me know. DM me. Let me hold you accountable, and I want to hear what creative ways you have come up with to do business differently.

I've been calling myself the Business Rebel, the No Bullshit Coach. I am here to do business differently. I don't like to be told what to do. I don't believe we have a blueprint we should follow. We're creatives, and we should be creative about our businesses. So let's look outside ourselves and invent something new instead of just fitting the mold of the person who came before you.

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