Let’s Get to Know Each Other!

Well hey there and thanks for stopping over in my little corner of the internet. It’s so nice to meet you! Chances are if you’re here, you’re probably looking for some branding help. One of the main points I always stress to potential clients is to hire someone who resonates with you. And if that’s not me, that is totally okay! (I hope we can still be friends though!) So I want to take a moment and tell you a bit about myself and why I’m here. 

My name is Michaela. I’m a mom, wife, rom-com lover, fashionista-wanna-be, caffeine fiend graphic designer, and so much more. I first started teaching myself graphic design when I was 16. Within a year, I was selling tumblr themes and images I had coded and designed on my own. I was fortunate enough to attend a high school with different class options, so my senior year I decided to take a class on graphic design. That class made my passion grow even stronger, and I knew I wanted to go to school for graphic design and continue my passion. 

During my senior year, while I thought I was figuring out my entire future, it turned out my future was already decided as I found out I was pregnant. After being talked out of a graphic design major by close family, I opted for a “safe” major - Business Management. After high school, I worked as a marketing manager for a local Realtor while getting my associates degree. 

Fast forward a few years, my high school sweetheart and I got married, had another baby, and found ourselves moving from a small New Hampshire town all the way to Orlando, Florida. I covered so much more of this in my book but I’ll keep it short so this blog post isn’t super long!

I found myself staying home with our two children while my husband attended college and worked full time. I suffered from postpartum depression and I knew I needed to find myself again. I got a few graphic design clients and what started as a hobby quickly turned into the multi-figure business I have today, and I am so grateful for all of my clients - my dream would not be possible without them. 

I’m otherwise pretty boring. I love fashion, though I am still learning how to express myself this way. I’m hoping to turn this blog into more of a fashion blog, but I suppose we will see how well that goes. I hope this helped you get to know me a little better! What’s a fun fact about you? 

 

 

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A Day in the Life of a Work-At-Home-Mom Graphic Designer

So, I think the super long title totally says it all! I have so many people ask me how I get things done with two kids under 5, and what I do during the day. I would be lying if I said it was easy, but it is manageable! So here’s a breakdown of my day. 

7 AM - wake up and breakfast time. I get up at 7 when my husband leaves for work, and the kids are typically just waking up around this time as well. We all eat breakfast, and I do a few chores like laundry or dishes if necessary.  

8 AM - I like to watch the last hour of GMA, because who doesn’t love Michael Strahan?! 

9 AM - I start my prospecting. I prospect for about 3 to 5 hours a day - it doesn’t really stop. I’m always periodically looking on my phone for prospects, but I set aside a full time block in the morning. 

10 AM - my business “officially” opens and I respond to all client messages. I used to do this as soon as I woke up or even at 2 AM, but I quickly learned I was training my clients to think they could message me 24/7 and expect a response immediately. Now I only respond during my business hours, unless it’s an emergency of course. 

11 AM - I start making lunch for my kiddos and get my youngest down for his nap after.  

12:30 PM - I work on projects during my quiet afternoons. Please don’t ask me what I’m going to do when napping stops, because I will have a full blown panick attack.  

3:30 PM - family time

7:30 PM - I work on projects until I’m at a good stopping point for the night - usually I stop around 9:30.  

I truly have a very full day and man, is it crazy. But I love what I do and I love my kids immensely, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  

Must Haves For a An Online Retail Business

After running my boutique for over a year, I definitely have list of some business must haves. So here they are!

1. Postal Scale. This is the exact scale I purchased almost two years ago and I still use it almost daily.

 

2. Polymailers. I'm a sucker for cute packaging so this should be self explanatory.

3. Label Printer. Save yourself the time (and money) at the post office and invest in this bad boy. The price does fluctuate often, so watching it for a little while may help you get the best deal. The cheapest I've seen it is around $157.

4. Clothing Racks. Even though you're online only, you still need sensible storage. Plus, these are great for events! I went with a cheap one at first and it broke after a week - you definitely get what you pay for!

5. Hangers! Velvet hangers totally changed the look of my racks. I wanted them to look nice when I did events, so investing in hangers definitely helped. I also liked how the velvet are more compact compared to the wooden ones. 

6. Camera Tripod. This is a must if you're taking your own product photos!

That's it for this edition! Stay tuned for a Vendor Events Edition coming soon!

 

***This post contains affiliate links***

Why You Should Take The Leap & Invest In Your Business

I get it. Committing to branding can be a scary thought. I mean, it’s like getting married, right?

Wrong. Committing to branding does not mean you have to stay with the same logo forever. Look at even Fortune 500 companies like Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi. They’ve all updated and revamped, and you can too.  

But you need to take that first step. And I know you’re probably sitting there, thinking, “no, I don’t. My business is fine the way it is. Why do I need a professional logo anyway?” 

Because it is an investment in your business. Is your business attracting the right people? Or are you finding yourself surrounded with people complaining about your prices? If you are hearing “I would never pay that much,” or “No thanks, my friend’s friend Sally can make that for me cheaper,” then you are not attracting the right people. Establishing a brand helps draw in the right crowd that wants to spend their money with you. Stop wasting time with the people that don’t.  

Another reason to establish a good brand: it sets you apart. We live in a world where I can go on Google and search for a shirt and have one million shirts pop up. But if I go to your website and feel like I just jumped on the Hot Mess Express, I’m going to click out of there so fast you want ever know I was there (unless you’re looking at your analytics, which you should be).  

There are thousands of knock off, poor quality, over seas sites all over social media. You don’t want to have sub-par branding that makes people question if you’re one of them.  

I get why you’re hesitant in investing money like this, but it can truly make all the difference.  

What are you waiting for? Let’s chat.

Interview with Hotline Hair Ties Creator, Megan!

Last week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Megan, the genius behind Hotline Hair Ties! Her revolutionary product is taking over boutiques across the country. Here is my interview with her!

How did you get started with Hotline Hair Ties? Tell me about your company.

Well, first off, hi! I’m Megan, the owner of Hotline Hair Ties. I have been a part of the boutique world for nearly five years now. I launched my online boutique in 2014, and have been working on that and watching it grow since! In 2016 we moved into our first storefront, but by mid 2017, I was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder that causes debilitating headaches. I had to get a lumbar puncture to release the pressure off my brain, which knocked me out for a few weeks as I recovered. I had had the dream of owning a storefront, and I wasn’t ready to give it up. I pushed through that Holiday season, but ultimately decided that I needed time to step back and move back to online only. 

During all that time, I was still dealing with the effects of my condition, one of which being that I could no longer wear my hair in a messy bun or up at all. It seems small, but when you’re not able to do something anymore because of the pain it puts you in, you start to realize what small things you took for granted. That is when I came across coil hair ties. They were the small, thin ones that look more like the coil key rings. It was the first time I was able to wear my hair up without being in pain. I knew right then that I needed to take that idea and make it better and make it my own. After countless samples, revisions, name ideas, and branding, Hotline Hair Ties was born! We started with our original sets of hair ties, but now I designed and just released a Hotline Headband! It is the FIRST coil headband to come to market, and I am just so excited to premiere it! It does all the great things the hair ties do, but as a headband that can hold back all your hair or just add a little flare to your style. I have so many more styles I am working on right now, and I can’t wait to launch them!

 

What makes Hotline Hair Ties so revolutionary? 

Hair ties NEEDED a revolution! I’ve been doing some research into the history of hair ties, and they had been the same for far too long. From when they were just rubber bands, had they really evolved enough? Traditional hair ties get terribly tangled, put stress on hair, and don’t hold up. Hotline Hair Ties’ coil design works to keep your hair styled without creasing or tangling your hair, and it really works! 

 

Which hurdles did you personally face when starting your business and how did you overcome them?

I’ll take this question back to when I first started with Paperback Boutique (now Shop Lovelea). I had just graduated with my MA in English, and was trying desperately to get a job. I wasn’t having any luck, and months were going by applying to tons of jobs without securing one. I knew I had to do something to make money, and I had been on Poshmark for a few years thrifting to resell, but it was time to move to that next level and open a boutique. I had never really seen a boutique before. I grew up in an area where we just went to the malls and department stores to shop—I had no idea that people like me could own a store. I started incredibly small. I was only getting new inventory in about once every 3 months. Everything I made was used to pay bills with just a little left over to reinvest. As hard as it was, I didn’t give up. I have been working on this dream for four years, and I am so glad to still be here with my business today! Now that I’ve launched Hotline Hair Ties, I think I have found my true calling. As much as I love my boutique, and still run it more so on the side, I get so much joy from Hotline and the relationships I have created with other boutique owners. Ultimately, I think my experiences as a boutique owner are what have helped me get the success I have had with Hotline. I know what boutique owners need, and I try to help them grow by not just selling them a product, but providing them with all the tools they need to sell it to their customers. 

 

What are some of the most surprising lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Working with a factory and doing manufacturing is HARD work. I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t realize all that would go into it. I’ve been running my boutique for years, so I am familiar with the boutique world; however, I don’t think I understood all the new challenges that come along with manufacturing. 

 

What is your favorite part about what you do?

What I love more than anything is when someone comes to me and tells me how much they love Hotline Hair Ties. When a boutique owner tells me they are flying out her door because the customers can’t get enough, it brings me so much joy. 

 

Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?

Branding is everything. I think it’s important to create a brand around your boutique that speaks to your customer and invites them in. Your customers should be able to look at a photo without seeing your name attached to it and just know that it’s from your store. Creating a brand is definitely a lot of work and takes time to develop, but it is worth it in the long run and it’s what really makes your boutique grow and reach that next level.

 

What inspires you personally?

Seeing the success of the boutiques I work with drives me to grow and keep going. I love joining the VIP groups of the boutiques Hotline Hair Ties are sold in because nothing gives me more motivation than seeing their customers get excited about my products! 

 

Do you have any mentors / people you look towards for inspiration?

Meredith Hedrick Jurica of Makeup Junkie Bags is such an inspiration to me. She has managed to build an amazing and successful brand while still being one of the nicest people I have ever met. I got to chat with her right before the official launch of Hotline Hair Ties, and I told her about my worries and struggles. She was sweet, understanding, and incredibly encouraging. She is one of those people who you can tell cares deeply about the people around her, and above all else, she doesn’t take anything she has for granted. She is constantly giving back and doing things for her retailers, other boutique owners, and her entire community. She is such an inspiration, and I love watching her story.

 

If you could give advice to those who are just starting, what would it be?

Keep your head up during the rough patches. It’s one of the things you know will happen when starting a business, but still, when it happens, you’re hit pretty hard. Being a business owner is a LOT of work, and sometimes it can feel like you’re bogged down and lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep pushing. Sometimes it helps to get away for a minute, a day, a week—whatever you need to reset and find your focus to keep growing. I know what always helps me is to surround myself with other women who are on this same journey. Finding communities of boutique owners that create a space where you can learn from each other, grow in your own businesses, and inspire each other to continue to build your empire. It’s easy to look at all the boutiques out there and feel weighed down by the competition, but when you switch your mindset to start seeing it as a community of business owners who understand all the struggles you are having and have probably been there before, you can find your place in that community to grow alongside all the other boutiques. 

 

How can people find out more about your business?

Our website is www.hotlinehairties.com! You can also follow us on Facebook & Instagram @hotlinehairties. For boutique owners, we have a private Facebook group for our wholesale side of the business where we announce new products, provide marketing content, and keep you updated on what’s going on with Hotline Hair Ties! 

 

BOUTIQUE WEEK: Marketing

 I can’t believe we’re almost through Boutique Week!  I had so much fun sharing my tips with you. Today we’re going to talk about marketing - and I don’t mean your normal marketing. I’m talking about stepping it up a few notches, because I’m super extra. 

If you search on google for “marketing ideas for online boutiques”, the first post of advice is to offer deals on a regular basis. I swear, I can’t make this stuff up. This is awful advice! By doing this, all you do is train your customers to wait for sales and to never pay full price. And that is not what you want! How about some real advice? 

  1. Birthday club! Who doesn’t love a shout out on their birthday?! You can make this super simple by just sending out an email with a coupon code each month for that month’s birthdays.  But if you’re extra like me, that’s just not gonna cut it. You can send super fun birthday postcards with coupon codes to make sure your business is right up in your customers’ faces, plus it adds an awesome personal touch that big box retailers just don’t do. 
  2. Style guides. There are a lot of people out there who love fashion, but have no idea how to put outfits together. This is what makes your job as a boutique owner so fun! Take on the role of a stylist and create some really quick, simple style guides to add value to your business and peak the interest of your customers. Create them seasonally, for special occasions, and for holidays to keep content and inventory fresh. 
  3. Let your customers “behind the scenes”. You would be surprised at how many people secretly wonder what it’s like to be a boutique owner - so give them a little look! Show them around your office, go live while packaging orders, and make a vlog showing off a full day in your shoes as a business owner. You’d be surprised at how many people are truly interested. 
  4. Upsell. Do you have the perfect top to match the skirt she just bought? Show it off! Don’t be afraid to help people match outfits. This goes hand in hand with tip #2, only in real-time. You can even add things like this to your online store so it will recommend items automatically.  

There are are so many options when it comes to marketing, but it all comes down to consistency. If you’re not all up in people’s faces all the time, you’re missing out on potential sales and customer loyalty. 

Be sure to stick around for the last day of boutique week (insert sad face here) tomorrow! I’ll be talking all about social media and how to target the right people. You know, the ones that don’t complain about your prices? Don’t miss it!

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Staying Organized (Plus Free Planner!)

Happy Wednesday! We're halfway through Boutique Week!

If you're anything like me, you have to be at least semi-organized at all times. If my desk or to-do list is a mess, I completely lose my mind and I end up getting nothing done. Over the last year, I've finally found my groove as far as productivity goes and I would love to share some tips with you guys!

  1. Keep your desk clean. You would be amazed at how having a clean, organized work space can change how productive you are throughout the day. Keeping a clear workspace can help you keep a clear head.
  2. Use a planner. I need a planner for every day. I have to plan out each hour - that's just my personality! I created a daily planning sheet for myself so I could organize my thoughts, and you can download it here for free!
  3. Minimize your to-do list. Each day on my daily planning sheet, I write out my master to-do list. Then I pick the three most important things, and write them in a separate column. This makes organizing my day so much easier. I can see what I absolutely need to prioritize, but I can also look at my master list. Conquering a small list keeps you motivated. 
  4. Keep reminders handy. Because I don't always have my paper to-do list handy, I downloaded an app on my iPhone called Any.do which helps me so much! Every morning it sends me a push notification letting me know how many tasks I have for that day. If I don't get something done, it just gets pushed to the next day. I have found so much peace of mind just with this app!
  5. Take it one day at a time. Some days you are going to feel super overwhelmed. Being an entrepreneur is hard work! Take it easy on yourself and remember, you're only one person. Make sure to take care of yourself sometimes, too.

Thank you for taking some time out of your day to read this, and I hope you found some great tips!

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Pricing Effectively in a Competitive Market

If you're a boutique owner, especially online only, you've probably second guessed your pricing once or twice. After all, a lot of boutiques tend to carry the same items - and with the millions of China knock-off sites, it's harder than ever to price inventory. Most online stores follow a simple strategy: cost x 2.5 = price. Of course the cost and markup varies on the store, though.

My best advice to every business owner is to stay in your own lane. You can't spend your energy wondering what Sally is doing down the street. Use your energy on something productive for your business. What works for someone else may not work for you. Success is different for all of us. With that in mind, there are a few reasons why pricing for the same item may be different between different businesses:

  1. Shipping costs - this is very true in the boutique world. Let's say two businesses order the same pack of tops from the same vendor located in California. Boutique A is located in Arizona and Boutique B is located in Maine. The shipping cost for Boutique B to get those tops is much higher than Boutique A pays because of the distance - and you should always calculate shipping prices into the cost of each item. 
  2. Volume - If Boutique A is placing a large order, they'll most likely get some kind of discount for doing so. If Boutique B placed a small order, they won't receive the discount, which changes the cost of each item.
  3. Overhead - if Boutique A has a storefront, they are going to have more overhead than Boutique B who is a small, online-only store. The costs of running a storefront are much higher than the costs of running a business out of a small home office.

Let's be honest, you're never going to know exactly how much someone paid for a pack of tops. You can guess based on what you paid, but there are so many factors. 

The prices of your items don't really matter! If you have a top priced at $3 more than Sally down the road, who cares? If you're running your business the right way and keeping your customers happy, nothing else matters.

Happy Tuesday! Be sure to stick around for tomorrow's Boutique Week focus: Don't Put Your Eggs in the Facebook Basket.

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BOUTIQUE WEEK: Standing Out Online

Hey ladies! Welcome to our first ever Boutique Week! I am so excited to be launching this segment.

The retail industry has changed drastically in the last few years. The Huffington Post said it well: ".... no industry has been more directly impacted by new technologies than retail." People no longer feel the difference between shopping online and in-store. Traditional retailers are feeling the wrath -  Toys R Us is closing down all 735 stores, Foot Locker is closing 110 stores, Best Buy is closing 250 stores, even Michael Kors will be closing between 100 and 125 retail locations this year. The industry is changing, and boutiques have a leg-up when it comes to these changes. 

It has never been more important to make your business stand out online. Whether it's your social media pages, your website, or the shopping experience you give customers. Being an online retailer these days is like being on the 800th floor of a mall. So how can you be sure to stand out online?

  1. Branding - Your logo and correlating marketing materials will be the first impression customers get of your business. It's important that it is professional and well put together. I highly recommend hiring an experienced graphic designer if you are not sure what you're doing. Blurry, unprofessional branding can greatly effect the integrity of your brand. It can change a person's opinion of your business before they even place an order with you - especially in an e-commerce world where there are tons of fake websites waiting to take people's money. 
  2. Website - The usability and feel of your website can drive customers away. It's important to be sure your site is user-friendly and appealing. The web-hosting company you use can also have an impact on this. Some hosting companies load slower and don't rank well when it comes to SEO.
  3. SEO - This stands for Search Engine Optimization, and controls where your business comes up in a web search. If you don't have good SEO, you may not come up at all (or on the 100th page) when someone searches relevant keywords to your business. 
  4. Driving traffic - Boutiques all have different methods for driving traffic to their sites. For example, NanaMacs has mastered the Facebook Live feature for their business. With tons of views and engaging content with their models, their Facebook Lives are wildly popular among viewers. Other methods are fashion blogs, engaging Instagram accounts, and fun Youtube channels (bonus tip: Google owns Youtube - guess what's coming up in Google searches first?).

Utilizing these tips if you haven't already can help your business greatly. I have seen first hand how branding and a website can effect a business's credibility. SEO and driving traffic comes after.

How will you be implementing these tips into your business? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Come back tomorrow for Pricing Effectively in a Competitive Market!

Is Shipping Cutting Into Your Profit?

Ah, shipping. The greatest business mystery of all time, or so it seems. If you’ve ever went to ship an item to a customer and was astounded at the cost, then this blog post is for you.  

First, let’s talk about pricing. Retail vs commercial is essential, and as a business owner you have every right to commercial prices. You will not get the cheapest price at the window in your local post office, or even on the USPS website. You’ll need to use some kind of shipping platform.

There are numerous, but my preferred platform is Shipping Easy. It’s perfect for somebody who’s just starting out, since it’s free for under 50 packages a month. This will give you the commercial pricing rate with USPS, and it will also allow you to ship from home so you don’t have to deal with the long line at the post office. You will also need a postal scale. The one that I personally use was $16.99 from Amazon - the link to every product mentioned in this post can be found at the bottom of this blog post. When you’re ready to ship an item, simply pack everything up in your polymailer and place it on your scale. You are always going to want to round up to the nearest ounce, otherwise you will run the risk of USPS either refusing your item or charging your customer the overage.

 To understand how to ship the cheapest way possible, you first need to know about the different ways to ship items. For anything under a pound, be sure to always ship first class. This will keep the cost to under six dollars. To ship first class, the most economical way to do so is by using polymailers for your items. I also got mine from Amazon and I recommend the medium size which is 10” x 13” . Keep in mind, first class packages do not come with insurance like priority mail.

 Now you may need to ship something that is over a pound. This is where it can get a little tricky. Most people will recommend the USPS flat rate priority mail padded envelope.  While this is a great way to ship, it may not be the most cost efficient every single time. The problem with these mailers is that they do not hold a lot. Let’s say for instance you need to ship a pair of shoes to a customer. This mailer will not work as it’s not big enough. This means you’ll need to use a box, which are typically more expensive to ship.

This is where you will need to literally weigh your options. USPS has a few different options in this case.

Option 1: Flat Rate service. When this was announced, it seemed great. However, the commercial rate for a medium box is $12.85 and a large box is $17.65. That is extremely expensive, especially when the boxes aren’t that big. These are really only cost efficient for super heavy items - so if you ever want to mail a few concrete blocks, this is the route for you. They can be ordered free on the USPS website and delivered right to your door.

Option 2:  Your own box. Sometimes this is the cheapest, which is why I say you need to weigh your options. When you’re not using Flat Rate, the price varies based on three things: weight, size, and distance. This will still ship via priority mail, just be sure to enter the dimensions and weight of the box properly when creating your label.

Option 3: USPS Regional Rate. These boxes are great in a lot of cases, and in my experience have been cheaper than using my own box. There is Regional A and Regional B. They vary slightly in size, but neither are that big. 

Always price everything out.  

Now you may be asking how you can print labels from home and not ever go to the post office. That is a great question. Once you input all of the info into Shipping Easy (or whichever platform you have decided on), you can print your labels out with a regular desktop printer. I have the HP Deskjet 3755. You can print on regular paper and tape them directly to the package, or you can print on shipping labels that are adhesive. I use the shipping labels I purchased on Amazon rather than taping regular paper to the package. Then I simply schedule a pickup on the USPS website, and my local post office picks up my packages for free during my regular mail delivery.

At the end of the day, opening a package should be a great experience for your customer - after all, it is their first impression of your business (next to branding, of course!).

I hope this has helped you! Please feel free to put any other questions you may have in the comments. 

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*We make a little $ from these links - so shop away!

What’s In A (Business) Name?

 "What's in a name?" said Shakespeare, as you may already know, a lot, one might say! Especially if you just created your own business and you are planning to choose a name; the right name will be your business passport to instant curiosity, which could be read as prospective business returns in the long run. The idea behind choosing an 'ideal name' for your business is to let your potential client knows that you are a 'name to reckon with' and you can’t achieve this without catching their attention.

So, if you’re starting a new business, you have to keep in mind that your business name can make or break your company. Develop a name that conveys value, uniqueness and the expertise of the product or service that your business offers. Depending on how direct or indirect you want to be, is up to you.

Five tips for naming your business:

1.    Your business name is short and powerful

Have you ever thought of how short most successful global brands names are? Take for example Apple, Google, Pepsi, Tesla, and Adidas. All these names pack a powerful punch and at the same time short in length. So where you’re planning to pick a brand name with the same brilliance and excitement, keep the name to fewer than 12 characters.

2.    Winning company names have bold texture and clarity

You will know a great brand when you hear or see it, as their names just keep rolling off your tongue. This is also what you should consider when creating yours; the name should be clear and easy to pronounce that a 2-year-old will be able to pronounce it. The easier the name is to communicate, the easier it will be for your customers to remember.

3.    The name should be expandable and integrated

Avoid picking names that are limited to a product type or in geographic. For example, you choose a name like "Chattanooga Make up Service,” firstly the name is too long and cumbersome. Secondly you will be limiting your business to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

4.    Avoid names with numbers, and other non-alphabetic characters

Generally speaking, you will only be confusing your customers when your business name includes numbers and hyphens. Try to stick with alphabetic characters. But, make sure you pay close attention to clear communication if you decide to use a non-alphabetic character like &, %, @, #.

5.    Make sure the domain name is available

With the rate at which the commerce business is growing nowadays, your business means the.com domain extension. So you need to choose a brand name that has matching .com domain availability. For most businesses, a great name is of little use unless you have the exact-match domain.

Choosing the correct name may well be your mascot to the world of business, which is why one needs to give enough thought to the process of choosing one! Your choice of name should harbour on a perfect blend of practicality aligned with the need to be eye-catching and different enough.

Staying Productive While Working From Home

I won’t lie, finding your rhythm when working from home is tough. Add two kids and a puppy into the mix, and it just turns into total chaos. It took me a while to find what really worked for me but once I finally it did, it felt like the rest just fell into place. 

One of the biggest struggles of working from home is the amount of distractions. I would constantly find myself thinking about the dishes or laundry that needed to be done, or the carpet that needed to be vacuumed. It finally dawned on me that it was time for work. If I worked outside the home, it wouldn’t be getting done anyways. Take all of those distractions and shove them into a little mental box for later. 

A great way to help put yourself in work mode is to have a space solely dedicated for work. When I first started working from home, I kept my desk in my bedroom. I quickly realized why this wouldn’t work for a couple different reasons. Reason #1, it was too close to my bed. Often I would decide to sit on my bed and work, which turned into laying on my bed and workng, which turned into not working at all. Reason #2, it was very inconvenient considering the two kids and the puppy. I couldn’t watch them from my bedroom, and trying to keep them occupied in the room didn’t work either. Once I moved my desk into the living room, it was much easier to work while watching the kids with no bed calling my name. 

Even though I work from home, I still get ready in the morning. Even if I’m just throwing on some comfy clothes and putting on a little bit of makeup, it helps to put me into the “work mode”. 

The #1 thing that keeps me organized though, is having a daily schedule. I created a daily planner that works for me, and is by the hour. It helps a ton to have everything clearly written down so I know exactly what I have to do and when I have to do it. 

I hope these tips help you find your work-at-Home rhythm!  

 

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Pre-Made vs Custom Designer - What's the difference?

As a custom designer, I get asked all the time about the differences between my services and services on websites such as Etsy and Fiverr. It's hard to differentiate all of the differences, since they're both platforms with many online stores. I have fixed many Etsy and Fiverr logos for many different reasons. It's often one of the following reasons: poor resolution, lack of usable files, popularity, and copyright.  

Poor Resolution

This has been the case with mostly Fiverr. To use your logo on all social media channels, your website, in ads, and to create marketing materials, you need a high resolution image. If it has low resolution, it will look blurry and pixelated - which in turn makes you appear unprofessional to many potential customers.

Lack of Usable Files

I have experienced this with both Etsy and Fiverr. When you pay me for your logo design, I guarantee quality by sending you three different file types: JPEG, PNG, and EPS. JPEG files are great if you just want to throw a picture on your Instagram and set your profile pictures for your business pages. PNG files are great for watermarking content as they have a transparent background. What a lot of Etsy and Fiverr logos are missing, however, is EPS files. These files make it possible for you to resize as well as print your logo without any blurriness or pixelation. Always ask if this file type is included when purchasing. 

Popularity

This is the number one reason why I suggest having your logo custom designed. When you purchase a ready-made logo (which is usually the case on sites like Etsy and Fiverr), you run the risk of having a million other businesses with the exact same logo. Sellers will resell this logo as long as they want and all they do is change the name of the business. Talk about your business not standing out, right?

Copyright

This is hugely important. When sellers resell the same logo to millions of different businesses just like yours, you don't own the copyright to that logo design. This is why it is so cheap to get these logos. There's no work involved and they don't give you the rights to their design. This could potentially be an issue for trademarking down the road, although that issue would be best taken up with a lawyer as I spend my time designing and not in the court room. 

I hope you gained some insight on the differences between custom logo design and pre-made logos. See you guys at the next blog post!

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Taking a Holiday Hiatus - Can I Do It?

It's the holiday season, the online shopping hustle is over, and now all you wanna do it lay back on the couch binge watching Hallmark movies. But you're left wondering, "Can my business survive if I take some time off?". Well, the answer totally depend on you and your business. Think reasonably, but also remember that family comes first. Would it kill your business to take the week of Christmas off? Probably not! Holiday order deadlines are long gone and it's time to relax with your family. Being a hustler is a great quality! Just remember to take time for important things too. So if you're sitting here thinking "Heck yes, girl! Let's take this hiatus and retreat into the covers!", keep on reading and we'll talk about how to take a little Holiday Fluff Vacay.

1. Let your customers know! Don't leave them hanging. Lot's of small businesses take breaks during the holidays. A simple "Hey, we're taking a Christmas break and will not be fulfilling orders between December 23 and December 27" will suffice. You could even spice it up with a graphic from the Boutique Portal if you wanna get all festive.

2. Try to stay active on your pages and groups! You may not be fulfilling orders, but disappearing from your pages and groups for days (even hours) can kill your engagement. With algorithms changing constantly, it's important to stay on top of your game. Try a scheduling app so you're not tied to your phone, like Buffer or Post Cron.

3. Follow through and give yourself a break! We hustle all fall gearing up for the holiday rush. It's finally over, now follow through with your Hallmark binge and take a much needed break. 

Happy Holidays & Hallmark Binge Season!

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