03: Choosing the Perfect Marketing Image
Our Big 3 Takeaways
Tells a Focused Story
Is Consistent with Your Brand and Message
Evokes Emotion and Action
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Before you begin choosing images, it is a good idea to do a lot of customer research. The better you understand your customer, the better you will be at choosing images that will attract them.
You also need to consider the story you want to tell, and where and how the image you select will be used; such as social media, website, print ads, or maybe even a billboard.
Once you know the story you want to tell, you should begin to seek out how you can obtain that perfect image. You have many options — you can take your own images, hire a professional photographer, or license images from a stock image provider.
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Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast, with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts, Kim Beer, and Cara Taylor Swift. Welcome to The Business Animal podcast.
Kimberly Beer 0:26
I’m Kim Beer with Be More Business.
Cara Taylor Swift 0:28
And I’m Cara Taylor Swift with Fast Horse Photography.
Kimberly Beer 0:31
And today we want to talk to you about choosing the perfect marketing image for your animal based business. Now, there’s some pretty important reasons why we chose this as a topic for a podcast. And Cara, you want to share yours because you had a really good one a moment ago.
Cara Taylor Swift 0:46
I think the big thing is, is every single day, we’re out in the world. And we’re coming across images that have been selected by companies to share their story to sell a product. I mean, it’s everywhere, you’re probably in your car right now driving down the road, and you’re looking and there’s a billboard, that’s an advertisement. That’s an image that’s a business that’s trying to share their story, I mean, you’re probably within hands reach of an image that’s been selected for branding purposes or for marketing. They’re everywhere. So from the social media we’re looking at to the billboards you drive past to the packaging on your favorite products, we are always surrounded by marketing images. So as animal based business owners in pet or equine, whatever your animal based business is geared towards, how do you select the perfect images to support your animal based business, what type of images are going to best represent your brand, and really align your company to your ideal client. So I’m excited about this topic. I’m actually writing blog posts right now that are geared towards the equine based business owner and trying to give some tools and techniques to them. So this is really a perfect time cam for us to be talking about this.
Kimberly Beer 1:48
Absolutely. Well, this is a subject that is appropriate for just about any time you talk about marketing and business building, because another thing that I’d like for you to do, as you’re looking around and noticing all those images in your life is notice the ones that do and do not fit you as your own consumer, you will notice that as you look around, there are images that you just skip right over because they don’t apply to you or they’re not attractive to you or they don’t elicit some type of feeling in you. And you just move on. Right sometimes I think we do it because there’s so many of them, we do it subconsciously we don’t even register them. And yet, when we see one that evokes that emotion in us, then we’ll connect with it. And then that company gets our business right, as consumers, that’s where it’s important, they get our business. And I think that’s a good place to segue into our big three for this particular episode. So we always have three takeaways that we want to send you away from the episode with really good information about and for this episode, we’re going to talk about number one, how to choose an image that tells a focus story, two, how to choose an image that is consistent with your brand and messaging. And three evokes that emotion and action that get the person who’s viewing the image to purchase what it is that you have to sell. Now point number one Cara and I got kind of a giggle out of when we were coming up with this list because telling a focused story meant one thing to me and something else to her.
Cara Taylor Swift 3:22
Well, yeah, it tells a focus story. I remember sitting with you cam and thinking Well, yeah, cam, of course the image should be in focus. Hello. But then you explained it to me where you were coming from with that. And I was like, okay, yes, we just have a different way of chatting about that.
Kimberly Beer 3:35
So yeah, because focus can be as photographers, we’re always concerned about focus, right, things have to be pinpoint sharp in focus in the image. But there’s also a focus point and an image, there’s also a place where the viewers eye naturally flows to and in an artistic image, or in an image that’s not taken for marketing or commercial purposes, that can be really random. But when we are taking an image for commercial purposes, for sales purposes that we’re going to use in marketing, that focus point needs to be what it is that you’re selling. So if you’re selling horse shampoo, the shampoo container with your logo, and what people are going to be able to recognize when they walk into a store needs to be front and center in the image so that the person who’s going shopping can find that immediately. So it’s really important that your product be right there front and center in focus and telling that focus story. And additionally kind of beyond that does the image tell the story of you and what your consumer should be feeling when they are using your product or having your service as part of their life? So it’s very important to choose your images accordingly. And there are some great key takeaways from this and I know Cara, you work really well with your clients on this. So can you speak to a little bit about what you go over with your clients in setting this up for them and helping them figure out and determine what they want to tell in the story.
Cara Taylor Swift 5:04
Absolutely. I do a lot of work with equine based small businesses here in my local community. And the big thing we talk about is it’s not just about coming out and taking pictures, and then them having pictures, they can share on their social or to update their website, we really do a whole planning session prior to ever picking up the camera and shooting because we really need to make the most of our time and make sure they’re getting everything out of that session that they need. So we talked about things like what are your images need to portray to your clients? Like, what is your message? What do you need to share? What type of images do you think will elicit emotion from your clients? What have you shared in the past that people really have loved and have come back to you and said, I really love that image that you’ve gotten great feedback from, we talk a lot about things like what’s going on in the world today. Kim, you and I are recording this in the Superbowl happened a couple Sundays ago. And I remember sitting with my husband and a lot of the commercials that were coming on, were very much focused on the pandemic and how the companies that were being portrayed, were talking about the pandemic. So thinking about what’s happening in the world makes a lot of sense. Are there special events going on? Are we going through an election period? Are there holidays coming up? And then how do your images need to work within that world to make sense to what’s happening in people’s lives right now, I also encourage people to talk about the characters of their story. So are the business owners and the employees going to be in the pictures? Are they going to be doing work in the pictures? Are you going to have clients in your pictures or people that you hope to be your clients and your pictures. So I think about things like imagery that is inclusive, that shows clients from all walks of life, enjoying the service, or using the product that your animal based business provides. And I want to make sure that people are thinking about things like your client might look very different from you or have very differing abilities. So think about including imagery that represents this, you can work with your photographer to create images that show different cultures, ethnicities, abilities, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, any of those people should be able to see themselves in your product or service.
Kimberly Beer 7:14
Absolutely, absolutely. And you made an interesting point in there about bringing in the cultural influences that are going on in the modern kind of feel. There’s an interesting psychological phenomenon that happens in humans that it’s pretty easy to point out, this is a car thing, right? So you go and you go to shop for a car and you buy a, let’s say, a bright blue car. And you think, well, I’ve never seen a bright blue car on the highway before. And then as soon as you drive the car out of the parking lot of the dealership, all of a sudden there are bright blue cars everywhere you notice what seems familiar, so those commercials in the Superbowl that are kind of playing off the pandemic. That’s what we’re noticing. Right now we’re noticing whether people have masks on or not, we’re noticing how they’re handling, social distancing, and all of those things. So it plays into our familiar recognition. And it’s important that people see people like themselves in your marketing and advertising. Otherwise, it’s not that they judge you and go, Oh, you left me out and excluded me or, or who I am. But more likely, what happens is they don’t ever connect with the image to begin with. And that loses you business big time. So it’s important that you watch for this and that you work with somebody, hopefully that will help you see around the corners where you are blind and being able to tell your own story. And this is where we’re going to give a plug for our professional photographer peeps in that they know how to do this. That’s what we have experience with, that’s where we can excel for you is to help you be able to see those things that maybe you don’t even notice are present or are missing in your imagery.
Cara Taylor Swift 9:05
I really love to that when you work with a professional photographer, you know, we talked about the item or the product or the service being in focus. But when you think about the creative ways that you can get there, and you talk about some of like the big commercials that we’ve seen lately, or some of the images that you know that I really have loved that I’ve seen online, I love the image and I’m looking at it and I can look at that image and feel connected to it. And maybe when you first look at it, you’re like I don’t know exactly what they’re selling but you’re drawn into the image and you know, you mentioned the car commercial we were we were watching the Super Bowl way back to the Super Bowl. Again, we were watching the Super Bowl commercials and I’m like this must be a car commercial even though there’s nothing in that commercial that you know there’s not like a solid product right front and center. But the whole feeling and the drive of that commercial put that product in focus. You know and you knew what it was you mean the Jeep commercial. I think maybe Cuz I remember being like, this must be a car commercial, this must be a car commercial. You know, that’s kind of the cool thing about working with professionals in the field. When you’re working on your branding and you’re working on the imagery that you’re using, you really get to step outside of your box, and create something that gives people feels that they need to have in order to let you know those emotions need to come out for your business.
Kimberly Beer 10:20
I love that thought. And then I also from that, too, so people understand you don’t have to have an ad in the Superbowl to make that impact people viewing the grid and your Instagram daily with the images that you put up there, or coming to your Facebook page and going through your newsfeed when they are first interested in your business or seeing that image pop up in their newsfeed or even walking into your retail location and seeing the images placed around in the store. That’s what can evoke that feeling for them. That’s what makes them want to be part of your story.
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So let’s talk about point number two, be consistent with your brand and your messaging. When you are telling a story, you have a very specific person that you want to tell that story to. And that person needs to feel an alignment, when they’re experiencing your marketing from seeing that image all the way through coming to your store through the experience that they have in working with you. And I often assign my clients from a marketing perspective and assignment where I asked them to write their experience with their business. From the consumers point, where did they see the marketing? How did they feel when they saw that first image or when the What did it feel like when they went to the website and to take a fresh look from first impression through completion of sale from their customers perspective of their business to help them understand how their brand and message needs to be consistent, because as business owners, I don’t think we always experienced that in the same way our consumers do. And sometimes we can get a little bit off point or we can fluctuate a lot. And that doesn’t build the trust and confidence that we want to have in our consumer.
Cara Taylor Swift 12:47
I think there’s a couple of technical things to think about in this point too, as well. You know, when I meet with my clients, we get really detailed about kind of all the elements that are going to be in the picture. So we think about things like what is their color scheme in general for their website for their social media marketing, for their branding, and we think about things like what’s going to be in that picture? And are the colors going to work. So if I’m shooting in a barn and their colors for their business are you know, grays and purples and greens, then I might be like, Can we move that red bucket out of the the aisle because that color, we’re not trying to sell the bucket? You know, we need to move that bucket. So we we get really detailed about thinking about things like the color schemes, you know, are you going to wear your branded clothing? And if not, let’s think about the clothing that you’re wearing and how that’s going to not distract in the image, you know. So we go into real big details about you know, the layouts, the locations, the the elements that are in the image, we also talk about things like how are you going to use those images? Are they going to be used in print material? Are you going to be doing a billboard? Are you going to be doing social media posts with them? Do you need a good balance on that image of negative space so that you can add your copy and not having the image so focused in that there’s no room to put words when I first started working with equine based businesses, it was very easy for me to forget and get into focusing on the product. And then I would have clients come back to me and say I’m not sure where to put my logo or my branding material or my words because if I put it here I cover up my face if I put it here I cover up the horse’s face and so you know somebody that’s been doing this a while starts to think about all of those things, and they’re going to create images in a way that allows for multiple versions of that image to allow for copy. Kim, I know you like to talk about “businessality” can you add a little bit to that in terms of this topic?
Kimberly Beer 14:40
Yeah, I can. So everybody’s business has its own “businessality” or personality where you show up with your own unique way of doing things. So we’ve started to connect businessality to The Business Animal of our fun little puns and we hope you guys enjoy those Because we certainly enjoy creating them.
Cara Taylor Swift 15:02
So everyone at home is going, Neigh!!
Kimberly Beer 15:04
Neigh, they’re purrrfect. But yeah, we try to show our personalities, we want to show that fun aspect of business where another podcast might be super buttoned down and very technical and to the point around the same subject, it attracts different listeners, it attracts a different consumer attracts a different audience. And that’s cool. For me, I want to work with people who want to laugh, because I have a very dry sense of humor, and it’s going to come up. So if they don’t have a sense of humor about things, we don’t tend to mesh very well. And that doesn’t make for a really good client business owner relationship. And you want to think about that, from your own business perspective. Who is it that you want to attract into your business? And how can you use your business ality to show who you are, it’s like dating, right? You are attracted to people with certain qualities, when you go to date, it’s the same with a business, your consumers are attracted to your business based on a certain set of qualities, and you want those qualities to show through. And that’s why it’s important to portray that in your marketing, whether it’s a color scheme, that’s fun, or whether you’re using puns or whether you use some other type of vehicle in order to communicate to people who you are. And it’s just really important, I have a client that I sometimes work with, she’s not like my client, because she’s very, very talented all on her own at creating her marketing. But her imagery is all around developing this connection with yourself and horses. And it’s just amazing to look at her website, because every image consistently portrays this beautiful ethereal relationship with horses, and you just want to snuggle in there with her and be part of those images. And that’s her personality. And that experience is consistent with that when you go to work with her. So it’s it’s just really important from the perspective of attracting the right customer to make sure that your businessality shows in your work,
Cara Taylor Swift 17:11
I love that I want to also add a couple things. And this is coming from the professional photography side of it, you know, as a business owner, you really have to rely on your photographer a lot of times to think about some of the technical stuff that you might not think about, as a business owner, in another line of work, we’re gonna have a checklist available on our website that goes over some of this information. So get ready for that giveaway, we’re gonna drop that for you guys free, just pull it use it, we’d love for you to have it. But some of the things that people don’t often think about is when you’re using an image to sell a product in a commercial way. Or to sell a service, you have to think about things like model releases, property releases, and when I’m talking about property releases, I’m talking about things like if you’re photographing someone’s animal, you know, do you have a property release from the owner? Where are you shooting? Do you need a release or a permit to shoot in that area. So thinking about that also recognizable things like tattoos, artwork, graffiti, those things in your images, you need releases for that, and I see stuff all the time where there’s people are shooting in front of graffiti on the streets, and you have to really think through all of those things so that you don’t end up in legal trouble down the line. Because in the background of your images, you’ve got elements that you don’t have releases for that stuff’s really important to consider as well. Things like new visible trademarks, company names and logos, I want people to realize that you have to think about all of those elements in the background. And a lot of times as an animal based business owner, you have your own job you have your own work that you’re doing and pulling in somebody that it is their job to sit down and really think about all of the details of that can make a big difference for you.
Kimberly Beer 18:48
Again, this is one of the reasons why you should hire a professional photographer or work with one and working with a professional photographer doesn’t mean that all your images have to come from that professional photographer. It just means that you have that person on your team. And I know my photography, clients will call me and ask me questions. I actually had the Can I take a picture of somebody’s horse? And do I have to have a model release to use that picture on my website? I had that question yesterday.
Cara Taylor Swift 19:14
And you know, stock photography is another great option for people. So you’re looking for images, and maybe you’re not ready to have a photoshoot for your business right now. But you need a few images to get you rolling, maybe to update refreshing up your website gets you some new things for your social media feeds, or you just need a couple pieces to refresh those print products. So you can absolutely find great stock imagery out there. But having an idea of the type of image that you need and the things that you need to be looking for and having the checklist of things that you want to make sure either are or are not part of that image and even all the way down to the color scheme of those images can make a real difference in the waste of money. I mean, licensing images, it runs the gamut of how expensive it can be and how inexpensive it can be depending upon the image. So being smart and knowing what images are going to work for you. can really save you a lot of monetary loss in the end. your equine based business has unique needs.
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Kimberly Beer 20:51
So let’s move from that point over to what I think is both your and my favorite of all of the Big Three today, and that is evokes emotion and action. I think from my perspective, when I’m choosing images for my clients, or when I’m taking images as their photographer, or when I’m choosing images for my own business, I want to make sure that they really connect with people that the person who is viewing that image goes, I want to step into that, or Wow, look at that connection that person has with their horse. Look at that connection they have with their dog, look at that connection that they have with the animals that they’re caring for on their farm. Look at the story and the feeling that tells and how that consumer would want to step into that position or really pulls on their heartstrings to get them to go off that’s just so adorable or Wow, look at that, that’s beautiful. So whatever your brand or messages, that action that you want people to have, you want it to come from inside of them to be a feeling not just as cognitive recognition of Oh, that’s a cool photo with a dark shampoo container in it.
Cara Taylor Swift 22:04
Yeah, the image really needs to be tied to the next step for the client. I mean, it needs to be the thing that pushes them to make the next step. Because really, that’s what this is all about. we’re choosing images to help move our business forward, we’re choosing images that we hope will bring in sales that we hope will bring in bookings, we are running a business and we need to ultimately make money, absolutely write images that will encourage clients to take that next step to pick up the phone to call you or send you a message is really what it’s all about.
Kimberly Beer 22:34
It is it is and I think sometimes in our marketing, which is sort of really strange, I think we forget we are in this for that, that the ultimate goal is to get somebody to purchase something. And what we want to do is choose images and choose words and entire marketing vehicles. In order to facilitate that with joy and ease for our consumer, it should feel easy, it should feel connected. And it should naturally lead from one step to the next. And you’re exactly right. In that image, you want to evoke that next step for the customer. That’s a beautiful way of putting that your image should also have a call to action and the call to action about purchasing or finding it on a store shelf somewhere or signing up for the service, it should have an obvious result for the client. So get them into motivation to get that particular item or to hire you for that particular service. How do you go about showing that in your images care? getting folks to take the next step, getting a call to action, you know, getting customers to get off their high knees and make a purchase?
Cara Taylor Swift 23:47
Oh, that’s such a good question. So when I meet with my clients, I actually sit with them. And we do this whole planning session in advance. And so I will sit down with them and actually ask them to tell me about their business. Like Tell me what kind of promotions you’ve got going on. Tell me what you do every day. What are you wanting to show your clients doing? So we actually sit down and plan like, I feel like by the time we shoot their session, I really understand their business, their mission kind of their next steps and where they’re going. So we really work hard to tell that story. And sometimes that’s not a single image. Sometimes it’s a series of images that we put together so that the client is getting to know are the ideal clients, those consumers out there in the world that my client, the business owner is trying to attract is really learning about that business and becoming kind of familiar with it. So it gives them a way to it’s like kind of like developing a trust, if that makes sense. Like you’ve got the story. It’s laid out in images and they’re able to learn about that business and experience that business and become kind of emotionally invested in it to some extent.
Kimberly Beer 24:49
So what you’re telling me is you naturally build a call to action into the set of images that you would take over a shoot or multiple photoshoots that get the consumer from interest to action, you portray that for them, you show them exactly the way that it should be. And the end result is only part of that conversation, there’s a whole middle piece that takes place, which to me is the call to action. So that’s exactly, that’s exactly how I would do it to is just to really understand our business from start to finish what our consumer goes through, and then hopefully inspire them to come back.
Cara Taylor Swift 25:29
Well, and then on the animal based business owner side of it, they have a library of images, that is their visual content that can go with any message that they need to share. So when they want to talk about their product, or their service, or a part of their vision, they have a whole library of images that they can pull from.
Kimberly Beer 25:46
Absolutely also not only just tell that story, but to be able to retell it because here’s another thing that I think is an important qualification to all this as people are going, Oh my gosh, this is a ton of work. This is a lot to think about a lot to try to put into my life and into my business. And the truth is, is that if you work with somebody, or you start to build up that library of images, you can go back and pull from it at any point in time when you need an image. And guess what people have to see your images between seven and 10, even sometimes up to 13 to 20 times before they really start to register. So don’t feel bad about reusing images over and over again, as a matter of fact, I have some of my clients who have iconic images that their consumers expect to see in their marketing, and they recognize the animals in them or the situation and go wow, I just love that image. And I love seeing it,
Cara Taylor Swift 26:42
I would just add on a side note to that. Sometimes it’s nice to work on a quarterly basis with a photographer. So when I’m creating a library, sometimes I’ll sit down and we will actually plan out quarterly shoots so that we can really focus on what’s happening in the world at that time, or create images around seasons. So if you’ve got you know whether that changes here in Florida, we don’t have a ton of change, we have tree changes, and we have love bugs, and we have pollen, and we have all of that. But
Kimberly Beer 27:09
I love the love bugs.
The love bugs. My Florida people right now are saying the love bugs No! they’re coming. But thinking about like setting something up so that you’ve got a constant influx of new images going into your library so that you’ve always got that new visual content that you can use when you need to and as your business changes, and as an animal based business owner, you may have new products and services and things that are coming into your business that you want to highlight and show so that gives you an opportunity to do that as well.
And you guys can tell both of our dogs have barked during this episode. So we hope you enjoy the dog barking experience. We we are truly animal based business consumers as animal based business owners.
Cara Taylor Swift 27:56
I do the very best I can to keep them away while we’re recording but they really are my office mates and sometimes they have their own opinions about
Kimberly Beer 28:03
and who was that that makes that noise
Cara Taylor Swift 28:06
Kimberly Beer 28:07
Cara Taylor Swift 28:08
the hound mix that’s laying outside my office door right now and he’s whimpering because he wants to be in on my feet right now. So keeping them warm.
Kimberly Beer 28:17
Well, Serena, my cat has made her appearance I don’t think you’ll be able to hear her. And if you do hear barking on my particular microphone that is Maru and Maru is enjoying the warmth of the basement today because it is like negative zero outside and Missouri today. So so it’s it’s fun to have their input on our episode today.
Cara Taylor Swift 28:39
Well, I think on that note, we are probably ready to wrap things up. The dogs are telling us it’s time to cut off the mics and give them treats. So let’s go ahead and just real quick run over our big three one more time. Do you want to do that for us?
Kimberly Beer 28:52
Sure, I would love to. So the big three takeaways that we want you to walk away from this episode with are when you go to choose a marketing image for your business you want to look at the image to tell a focus story. So how is your product or service placed in that image? Or how is that going to resonate with your customer and the story that they can connect to you also need to look at number two, which is being consistent with your brand and your message. So is it on point if you’re fun is the image fun? If you are very highly professional is the image professional does that feel consistent for your business ality and for who your consumer is that you want to come into your business? And finally, point number three evokes emotion and action so gets people to connect with that image on a heart level through their feeling or through their fields as Kara would call it and then also gets them to take the next step to work with you. So those are the the big three from this episode on choosing the perfect marketing image for your animal based business. I do want to remind you that in the show notes Kara is providing us with a checklist so that we can go through all of those really detailed and important points that we need to know in order to make our marketing images good. And also keep us on the right side of all of the legality of this and help us plan through all of those things that we need to think about me as a very non detailed person highly appreciates, things like that,
Cara Taylor Swift 30:26
hey, who doesn’t love a good checklist? right? Especially if you’re going to be sitting down, you’re looking for images, you want to find the right image. So this will be a little checklist, you can just kind of check through and make sure that it checks all the boxes for you before you put it to work for your business.
Kimberly Beer 30:38
That’s it. We all want to check all the boxes even I enjoy a good checklist. So All right, you guys go out there and make it the best possible week you can for your business and make sure that you catch us next week for our next episode. We’ll see you then.
Thanks for listening to this episode of The Business Animal. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. And if you learned something today, leave us a review. To learn more, find us at The Business animal.com we’d love to hear from you. Until next time, keep your business well trained with The Business Animal
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