Passion Squared Go To Tools Header

My Tools for Creating Awesome

You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow. Unknown

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

So many tools, so many ways to create awesome. I am asked often what my preferred tools and platforms are. And some change quite often, some stay the same. But before I get into the actual tools, here is what you need to know…

No matter what tools you have, they are meaningless without choosing to create, choosing to be consistent, choosing to engage, choosing to create value, choosing to commit, choosing to find the courage to do stuff that matters. And with that, here are just some of the tools I use for creating awesome every day at Passion Squared…

WordPress (I recommend Squarespace for my clients)
Professional Web Designer + Programmer (You can’t afford NOT to!)

Audacity (audio blog)


Social Platforms + Communities
YouTube (video hosting)

WHY these? Because my community and clients engage there. How do you learn where your clients engage? Ask.

Professional Designer (always start here!) (blog graphics, Facebook covers, and so much more! (words on graphics in my own brand font, WIN!)
WordSwag (quote graphics, words over pictures)
PicStitch (lots of graphics in one graphic)
Afterlight (framing graphics)
iPhone #duh

QuickTime Player (for shooting #QandAwesome)
iMovie (for editing #QandAwesome)
Flipagram (graphics set to music)
PicPlayPost (graphics + video)
iPhone (Instavids, Zen snoring, stuff like that!)

Webinars + A School Workshops
Go-To Webinar

Client One On One Sessions + Client Team Meetings
Go-To Meeting

Proof Reading + Copyrighting
Spell check (try it some time!)
#teamawesome at Passion Squared

Keeping My Mind Right
Energy Healing
Serving Others

Again, tools matter, but what matters more than tools is commitment, consistency, courage and choice.

Want to learn how to create more awesome in your career, life + biz? If you are a creative small biz owner, check out A School for Owners. If you are in school or recently graduated, check out A School for New Professionals. In A School, you get a ton of love, support + brain food, all in a safe, sacred space.

Love + Awesomeness-


I Am An Artist Too header

I Am An Artist Too

Value is more expensive than price.  -Toba Beta


Working in a creative industry such as beauty, there is an ongoing dialogue that never seems to end about not working for “free”, of value, of price, and with that, I continue to see so much misunderstanding of both value and price.

And while I have written on this topic often, here is my latest take on understanding value, price and worth. Because it’s not about getting paid, this is about delivering insane value. There is a BIG difference. Revenue is the result of a job well done.

In our hyper connected and social world, we have an opportunity to do a ton of important and valuable stuff, “for free”. We can write blogs, create videos, share tips, send newsletters with lots of cool info, answer questions on social platforms, do LIVE chats, etc. All super awesome, highly valuable stuff, we do for “free” aka not getting paid.

If we are just starting out, and nobody knows who the heck we are or what value we bring to the table, there are several strategic decisions we can make about working for “free”. Remember, these are strategic decisions and also an investment in building relationships, community, value and potentially a ton of traffic, online and off. Just think, every time you post a blog, hair tip, step by step or formula, that is working for “free”.

If people keep asking you to work for free or discount your prices, instead of getting mad at the people, you may want to consider the following…

1. You are connecting with the wrong people. And this means your marketing plan is off or you simply don’t yet understand or have not clearly defined your target market.
2. You have not effectively communicated your value.
3. You have not set healthy boundaries, people will push, it’s your job to push back, with love of course.
4. You are not comfortable with having courageous conversations.
5. You do not see your worth.
6. Your work is not as awesome as you think it is.

If you set your price, and people won’t pay it, all of the above statements may be true, plus one very important thing; you could be overpriced. I know, a little blow to the ego, but its possible. Pricing is both an art and a science. As I shared here and here and here, if you care to learn more, for “free”.

Lastly, for an industry that screams about not working for free, at least 1 time per day, usually more, those same people ask me to work for free. And the awesome news is, I do have a ton of content available to those people, which is free*.

This weekly blog, The Weekly Dose of Awesome newsletter, my #QandAwesome show, Awesome A Day morning text messages & Wednesday Wisdom LIVE Chats, my daily posts on social platforms, all of it, is 100% available to anyone who chooses to consume it.
*If I was to charge for all of those things I choose to do to create value for my community, it would be thousands of dollars each month. Yes, thousands!

What I sell is experience, knowledge, context + results. I create stuff of value. I am an artist. Just like you. So when you call, text or email me and want to pick my brain about your brand strategy, ideas, team challenges, social platforms, website, problem client, or whatever, you are asking me to work for free. Hmmmmm.

I pay for all my professional services. Why? I respect the businesses & artists who provide them. My haircuts, colors, waxing, facials, nails, graphic designer, web programmer, accountant, #teamawesome at Passion Squared. And I pay with joy, love + gratitude for having fellow artists and humans in my life that know way more than I do about their area of focus & experience.

So next time you text, call or email me asking for help, be prepared to get an invoice…created and sent with love, gratitude and respect. And in turn, I will always pay for my haircut.

Love + Awesomeness-


Your Content Is Your Marketing.header

Your Content Is Your Marketing

“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go.”  Seth Godin

Your Content Is Your Marketing

About every other day, I get asked “Nina, where do I find content for my social pages?” And my answer is always the same, what is your brand story, promise, purpose and objective. When you know this, then, and only then, will you begin to find inspiration to create or curate (share other peoples) content.

This past week, I was inundated with posts on Facebook and Instagram about the hair transformations of Kim Kardashian and Jared Leto. Now let me get something very clear, this has nothing to do with whether I am a fan of either of them. But for those that follow me, you know I am obsessed with one of them. #teamjared

What I witnessed were so many hairdressers and trade publications I love bashing their hair (and hairdressers) and even posting a message to clients to NOT come (pictured above) into the salon and ask for a certain color. OMG, are you kidding me? I am confident most had no idea the impact these posts were having on their brand. Thus, my intense need to write this post.

Now, onto my point. Your content is your marketing. It is your story. Your brand. Your promise. And if you are using your Facebook and Instagram pages to help grow your business, then why in the world would you post anything that tells clients NOT to come in to see you or ask for a certain look?

Each day I work with passionate humans looking to learn how to engage authentically and effectively on social platforms to help grow their business.

In my lifetime, I have NEVER seen anything like the empowering opportunities the social web gives to creative small businesses. It is astounding. If used properly, of course.

The beauty of our world is that we are free to believe, share and post anything we want. All I am asking is that you understand the effects of your posts and are clear on your objectives for the platforms you choose to engage on.

Remember, your content is your marketing. Every post, share, comment, like (even what you are liking and commenting on other peoples pages)… Each moment is telling your brand story to your current and future clients.

What does your content say about your marketing? It matters.

Love + Awesomeness-


PS: A big shout out to @jasonbacke of @tedgibsonbeauty for being an awesome model of content that supports his brand. Well done!

How You Get Paid Is Irrelevant

How You Get Paid Is Irrelevant

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Walt Disney

In the world of professional salons, it has always baffled me how there is so much focus on how people get paid. Commission, salary, commission plus salary, team based, self-employed, independent, 1099, ugh, the list goes on and on…

And to be clear, this is not a debate on booth rental or commission salons, which is the better model or who is right or wrong, that is not a debate I choose to engage in, this is about what really matters to clients.

To me, it does not matter how you get paid, or what business model you choose to create, lead, manage, or work in.

Here is what matters…

Can you deliver an awesome experience consistently? The key word here is consistently? If you promise me a 5 minute scalp massage, trust, I know when you decided 3 minutes would be ok this time, guess what, its not ok.

#iamtheclient #ouch
Are you available when I want to get my hair done? Remember, I am the client, so my availability is more important than yours.

#myterms #notyours
Can I book with you 24/7?

Do you have a website? Can I find your story online?

How are your YELP reviews? Are there several, posted consistently over time?

Can I find you on Instagram or Facebook? If I can’t, I don’t think you exist.

Do you pre-book my next appointment as a convenience to me?

Do I get a text or email reminder of my appointment?

Do you make my days brighter, my hair awesome and most importantly my heart fuller?

Are you loving and kind? Authentically, kind and loving. To yourself, and those around you?

#omg #fail
Do you support & cheer on the people around you? Opposed to having a nasty attitude and talking shit about those around you and many times in front of me?

Is your space clean? I mean really clean? Or could your salon end up in a Buzzfeed list on grossest salons?

#youareresponsibleforthernergyyoubring #thankyou #sage
Is your energy clean? If it’s not, take care of that shit before you get to the salon.

Are you passionate about learning and trying new things?

Are you really, really listening to me? Sometimes I think you aren’t. I said I loved that product you used on me, but you never offered it to me to take home.

#purpose #givemeareason
Do you know your why, and more importantly, do I know your why?

Is the value you deliver more than the price you charge? It better be. Because if its not, I will look for a less expensive option.

#wordofmouth #referrals
You see, if you do all these things, consistently, over time, you can create an awesome business + life. Because when you do all those things, consistently, I get excited. And when I get excited, I tell my friends.

Let’s stay focused on what matters, just like Mr. Disney did. #waltwisdom

Love + Awesomeness-
Nina, a salon client