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Using Pinterest Ethically, Legally, and *Coolly*

I’ve been privy to a few conversations lately regarding some ‘less than cool’ Pinterest activity. And by ‘less than cool’ I mean… unethical or illegal or just not cool.

Today… I want to invite you all to share with me YOUR thoughts on ‘less than cool’ Pinterest activity. Please leave a comment below… what is NOT cool to do on Pinterest? (I confess. I had to give up my Pinterest addiction years ago in its early phase. I lost 2 much sleep in a 2 day bender.:)I need you to help me out.)

I’ll share some of my thoughts here…

Swapping links for yours (especially if you are swapping with monetized links) - not cool

This happens when someone pins something andpinterest  inserts a link for reference. (The link is to the original blog post and it gives credit to the creator.) Someone repins the pin and substitutes it with a link going to their site – or, worse – a link that has an affiliate code for some sort of financial gain.

That’s not cool.

This is kinda like stealing.

Borrowing’ images from Pinterest without giving credit to the original source - not cool

Pinterest can be amazing at driving traffic to artists’ sites. The flipside is that when stuff gets pinned, it can easily lose the original source information. 1000 pins down the road and this image has now been downloaded onto someone’s computer and revamped for their own purpose.

Pinterest is not a database of free-to-use creative commons artwork. It is illegal to use images or manipulate images found on Pinterest.

That’s not cool.

Always ask permission. (Here’s a cool post that talks more about this.)

Posting Your Work – that’s OK! Just be cool about it.

When Pinterest first began it was taboo to pin your own work. Now, this is a completely acceptable way to share your work. However, keep in mind… like with all social media, if you only talk about yourself, people will get bored. (“I’m so vain.”) Make sure to attribute your work to your business.

What do you think? Are these not cool? What is also not cool? I know I’m barely tapping the surface here and I’d love to get your thoughts!

Pinterest has a great little etiquette page for more thoughts..

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January 8, 2014 - 4:03 pm

Deb - I completely agree. We have this wonderful resource but let’s be sincere and give credit where credit is due. Let’s not take someone else’s work as our own. The entire idea of Pinterist is to admire and reproduce of course, but let’s let that me enough.

Intregity is much more important than claiming a picture for yourself in the long run…

January 8, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Michelle Loretta - It’s a strange medium Deb because we are supposed to copy and paste what we like… so by nature, I think, people get carried away with the copying and pasting… and forget that there are people behind those images. Love what you say about integrity!

January 9, 2014 - 4:37 am

Adriaan - Can’t steps be taken to stop these people? Surely Pinterest terms must be violated, if not they should revisit their terms.

January 9, 2014 - 11:58 am

Michelle Loretta - Yes – Pinterest has terms for this… and they actually do work to shut down people like that. (This is something people need to know – because they could be in risk of being shut down.) I can imagine that, like everything, it likely takes a while for them to learn about perpetrators. They do give people a place to report copyright infringement: http://www.pinterest.com/about/copyright/dmca/ . But, I don’t know if they have a place for them to report people who are just being really sneaky about changing links to monetized/affiliate links.

January 12, 2014 - 3:21 am

elisa | weditorial - wow – very disappointing to hear about the uncool ways pinterest is abused; appreciate the info :)

January 12, 2014 - 8:40 pm

Kathy - Michelle, great article! It’s such a hot topic and so confusing for those of us who aren’t lawyers, ha ha! I interviewed an attorney on the topic last year to get a legal perspective…what an eye opener! http://brideappeal.com/blog/pinterest-copyright-violation-are-you-guilty

Find Us at Alt Summit this Month!


I’m so excited to share that I’ll be at Alt Summit this month in Salt Lake City! Alt is a fantastic conference for creative entrepreneurs and bloggers. I am honored to be a part of this incredible opportunity. (Go check out the other fab speakers… ever heard of a little site called Pinterest? Yeah, they’re speaking there!)

I’ll be sharing knowledge with attendees at “Ask an Accountant”. Come to me with your questions on finances, accounting, taxes, and so on. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tips… and I’ll have some cool little freebies for you to take home and strategize your money matters.

Will you be there? Let me know in a comment below.

PS – don’t forget! Kelly is at The Special Event in Nashville this week. Go check out her talk on ‘How to Grow a Team‘ this Thursday morning.

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January 7, 2014 - 10:47 am

Brooke Meyenberg - Awesome (and what perfect timing for next season’s strategies)! Looking forward to attending your session. @littleretreats

January 7, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Misse - So excited for the conference!

SWOT Analysis – The Quick-n-Easy Snapshot of Your Business

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014! This is the time of year when we set goals, make resolutions, and chart out our plans for the upcoming year. In doing so, we examine the past to see what we want to hold onto, what we want to improve upon, and what we want to change.

There’s a cool little tool called a SWOT Analysis that I find very helpful in getting a quick snapshot into a business’s performance.

SWOT it!

A SWOT is an analysis of your business for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. (You can download a free SWOT guide to this from yesteryear here.) I find it helpful to create a SWOT analysis every year (if not every 6 months).

Let’s do one! Quick-n-easy!

wikipedia creative commons

wikipedia creative commons


Identify 5-10 strengths within your business. What are the characteristics, events, achievements that are advantages in your business? These are generally things that you have control over.

Now think of how you can build off those strengths.


Identify 5-10 weaknesses within your business. What are the characteristics, challenges, and soft spots that are harmful to your business? These are generally things that you have control over.

Now think of how you can work with or past these challenges.


What opportunities are there for your business? List 5 things that you can capitalize on for the benefit of your business. Typically, opportunities are external factors that you have little control over. However, you can decide how you want to take advantage of such opportunities.

An example of an opportunity might be: “The destination wedding segment is experiencing huge growth. I will take advantage of this opportunity by marketing my extensive knowledge of Mexican beach cities and booking 3 destination weddings in 2014.”


What threats are there to your business? List 5 things that can be harmful to your business. Threats are external factors that you have little control over. By identifying them you can adjust your business accordingly.

An example of a threat is: “The increasing competition from new wedding pros entering my trade is a threat to my business. I will work around this challenge by introducing innovative services and communicating my differences. This will help me stand out and compete more effectively.”

The big picture

See that little matrix up there? That’s a really helpful little chart that will help you see how the pieces interrelate. Strengths and opportunities are helpful to your business. Weaknesses and threats are harmful. Strengths and weaknesses are within your control… how will you augment your strengths? How will you minimize your weaknesses? Opportunities and threats are out of your control. (Often they are reflections of the economy or the market.) How will you position your business to take advantage of opportunities? How will you work around threats?

So… what do you think? How does your business look?

Want more planning tools? Check out our 2014 Action Plan.

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2014 Action Plan Download

Last year we did this fabulous little series called the Action Plan 2013. It was wildly popular and incredibly helpful for wedding pros to examine their businesses in the past year and plan for the following year. It’s WORLD FAMOUS!;)

2014ActionPlanLogoWe’ve updated the Action Plan for 2014! (HURRAH!)

As always, I want to make this easy-peasy and give you actual TOOLS to use in your business.  Here is the 2014 Action Plan in workbook form:

2014 – Action Plan WORKBOOK ($15)
Add to Cart

You can also purchase a version that has all of the downloads available here:

2014 – Action Plan WORKBOOK WITH DOWNLOADS ($45)

Add to Cart



The 2013 Action Plan is a 34 page book that will help you chart out the upcoming year.  (When you click to purchase, you’ll receive a file emailed to you with the workbook, etc.)  It includes everything to review 2013 and plan for 2014 in a tight little workbook:

  • Identifying Accomplishments

The workbook with downloads includes the workbook PLUS all templates and spreadsheets you need to work thru the plan if you don’t care to put together some of the spreadsheets yourself.  (They are sold separately in our Toolbox for a value of $57, but we are offering the bundle for $45.)

The downloads include:

  • Sage Wedding Pros – Tracking the ROI on your Ads and Other Promotional Activities ($10)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Financial Review – Excel Spreadsheet – $5 (Profit & Loss Report SPREADSHEET)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Pricing TEST & Sales Plan (how many weddings to make as a sales quota) ($10)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Promotional Plan & Goal Sheet – $10
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Accounting 101 ($2)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Expense Budget
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Expense Budget for start-ups (if applicable)
  • Sage Wedding Pros – Cash Flow Plan ($5)

Have a fantastic holiday season and a prosperous and healthy 2014!

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Holiday Gifting to Clients and Colleagues

GiftsThis time of year, the thought of providing a gift to your clients or colleagues can be daunting…but it doesn’t have to be.  Think of it as a mini-promotional opportunity to remind people how much you appreciate them and value them.  Instead of spending marketing dollars with a magazine, doing a photo shoot that was going to cost you $500…consider doing something more non-traditional and think of holiday gifts as marketing dollars.  Here are a few examples of gifts you can consider giving:

* Mug with hot chocolate (if you have time you can brand your mugs with your logo, but you could also just find a mug in your company’s colors)

* $5-10 gift card to Starbucks or another local coffee shop – if it’s for a colleague tell them you’d love to get together and talk shop in the New Year

* Candy/cookies/anything edible - just search Etsy and you could spend hours finding great ideas to ship as gifts – The Caramel Jar is one that I’ve enjoyed receiving gifts from

* Bottle of champagne to ring in the New Year

* Amazon Local/Groupon/Living Social - one of my clients just gifted me tickets to a flight museum from Amazon Local so that I can take my family, as they knew my son loves airplanes (how thoughtful is this? And, something like this isn’t going to break your bank as these deals can be between $5-20 depending on the activity or product)

* Return address stamps – this is especially awesome for newlyweds as they have likely moved into a new home.  I personally love Amber Housley’s collection in her Etsy Shop, Sweet Tea & Lemonade.

How Much to Spend?

A lot of people ask me what I think is an appropriate rule of thumb for the dollar amount you should spend on a gift – I personally think that if you’re thanking your best clients, top colleagues who have referred you this year, etc. you could spend up to $50-100 (not that you need to, but this is a recommended maximum).  However, anymore than that is sometimes uncomfortable for the receiver of the gift.

Who Should You Provide Gifts To?

When thinking about your recipient list, think about the following factors:

1.  Who are the clients who you know could potentially refer you again, or could provide you with repeat business (ie – maybe they were one of your top clients this year and have a family business so you could potentially work with them again for their holiday party)?

2.  Who were your highest revenue generating clients?  Not that it’s all about how much your clients spent with you, but typically if you’re a Wedding Planner, Photographer, etc. and your clients spent $7500 on your largest package that likely means you worked with them a ton…and that relationship is there where they would value a gift (potentially moreso than a client you didn’t get to know as well)

3.  What wedding professionals referred you business this year?  These people are sending you DOLLARS and they should definitely feel like you’re taking good care of them.

4.  What wedding professionals do you WANT to work with next year?  By getting in front of them with a small gift you’re reminding them you exist and it puts you top of mind if they have clients that ask for referrals (especially this time of year during busy engagement season).

IMPORTANT: Narrow down your list, and don’t feel like you have to send gifts to 100 people…be very strategic about who you provide a gift to, based on the above questions.

What are some things you have gifted your clients or colleagues?  Would love to hear how you’re spreading the holiday cheer this year!

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December 12, 2013 - 4:35 pm

Diana - I usually go through my clients of the past year and send out small packages of customized candies, cocoas, or coffees in a small box. I usually send them to people who spent a significant amount of money on invitations, spent a lot of time working with me or have referred me to others.
The packages themselves usually cost around $5.00 plus another $2.00 in postage; I try to keep it small b/c I can send anywhere from $20-30 packages.

This year I’m sending out custom note card sets for the newlyweds along with some candy.

I usually get positive feedback from my customers when they receive them.

December 20, 2013 - 11:43 am

Shadiah - I love this post! We just went through our own customer gifting challenge, and ended up giving away hand-made jars of honey, which goes with our company name, HoneyBook :). It actually turned out to be more expensive and time-costly than expected by doing it ourselves, but I’m sure our customers will be delighted by the personal touch — so it was worth it.

-Shadiah at HoneyBook

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