Shop Talk: Favorite Work Spot

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

We all know that your working environment has to be conducive to productivity in order to….well, be productive. One size doesn’t fit all in business- which includes the best spot to get work done. We want to know your favorite work spot- is it a coffee shop, your local coworking space, an office suite, a home office, or maybe even your bed? Do you switch up your location throughout the day and week or stick to the same tried-and-true spot all the time?

Giveaway: 21 Day Business Challenge

If you have any questions about personal branding, you’ll want to get to know Shauna Mackenzie and her business Mark’d. In Shauna’s words, “The concept of Mark’d is built on the notion that generating revenue through your passion is a tasty blend of strategy and personal branding.”

One of her core offerings is the 21 Day Business Challenge and we’re giving you a chance to win a free copy of the ebook (which includes the opportunity to join the 21 Day Business Challenge community!), worth $49.

Remember when we said you’d fit right in with the One Woman Shop community if you’re all about personal development, but at the end of the day, you love to get stuff done? Clearly Shauna fits right in too:

I am all about personal and professional development but my biggest pet peeve is receiving too much fluff and not enough solid, concrete resources and action steps to really develop and flourish. Therefore, be aware that this challenge is exactly that – a challenge. We have a few “warm fuzzies” along the way but you’ll receive the action steps and resources needed to really make a change, blended with a little tough love.

Some of our favorite takeaways from the challenge:

  • How to use stories to grow your “tribe,” also known as faithful brand evangelists
  • The one thing you should add to your marketing materials, blog posts, and correspondences more often
  • An idea for how to spend the first hour of your day
  • A creative way to reframe your strengths and weaknesses
  • How to build rapport with your audience- and how to ruin it
  • How to fail effectively- because you will fail as a One Woman Shop 

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By entering your email address, you agree to receive emails from both One Woman Shop and Mark’d.

Note: we are affiliates of Shauna Mackenzie because we believe in her work. We will receive a commission when you purchase an item with our link.

Out on Their Own: Jessica Remitz

Welcome to Out on Their Own, where brave women share the nitty gritty stories of how they kicked their 9-5 jobs to the curb and began living the One Woman Shop lifestyle. If you want to share your story, email us!

out on their own jessica remitz

Meet Jessica Remitz. She’s a writer, editor and content producer living in Brooklyn with her boyfriend and pound puppy. She co-writes the blog I Love I Need with her sister and is currently contracting with Food Network and freelancing for various lifestyle, health and pet websites. Check out her personal website and don’t hesitate to contact her to swap freelance stories.

So, what prompted you to quit your job? Was it one moment or was it simmering for awhile?

I had wanted to quit my most recent job, in some ways, even before I started it. I had been working on the advertising/sales side of online publishing, first as an assistant, sales planner and ad trafficker and finally as a client services manger, for three and a half years. While I had wonderful co-workers and great, supportive bosses at both companies, I wasn’t happy in advertising and knew my jump from company to company wouldn’t change that. I took the job hoping to move into a more editorial or creative position within a year (I had been told that the company was “all about” moving people internally at my interview) and when it didn’t happen and time continued to tick by without any concrete plans for a future transition, I knew it was time for a change.

What (if anything) did you do to prepare for the transition out of your 9-5?

Over the time I spent in advertising, I tried to make as many professional connections as possible. I never burned bridges and tried not to blame anyone at work for my situation. I knew I wanted to be writing (in any capacity), so I kept in touch with those early connections and stayed persistent (or lightly stalked, whichever) in order to secure my first freelance writing gigs. Those opportunities gave me the confidence and small financial cushion I needed to feel comfortable taking the next step.

Let’s get real: how did you feel the day you quit? Liberated, scared sh*tless, nauseous?

The morning I decided to put in my notice, I was all: “I’m totally quitting today, ain’t nothing gonna hold me down!” but when the time came to actually do it, I was shaking like a leaf. Fortunately, my boss had known it was a long time coming (we had discussed what I may do next when it became clear that I wasn’t getting the help I needed to move into a role that would make me happy) and was very accepting of it. If she saw that my palms were sweating and my voice was cracking, she had the decency not to judge me for it 🙂 I think, in some ways, everyone feels this panic–physically and mentally–when they’re about to do something scary, no matter how prepared they are for it.

Tell us about the days and months following quitting your job- were you overwhelmed with work? Eating Ramen? Networking your butt off?

The two weeks or so felt strange–like an extended vacation that could end any minute. It felt like I would wake up the next day and just go back into work, like any normal day. I was lucky to have some writing work to keep me busy (the same work I used to do at night and on the weekends in my spare time) and spent the rest of my weekdays reconnecting with people, sending pitches and basically telling the world, “I’m available to write for you! Please hire me!” It’s only been four months since my last day working full-time so in a lot of ways, it still doesn’t feel real.

How do you feel now? Do you wish you transitioned earlier? Do you wish you didn’t go out on your own at all?

In July, I accepted a contract position working for in their office 30 hours/week, so I’m readjusting to life in an office three days a week. I’m thrilled to have this project though, and hope it continues on to more contract or freelance work. I’m still juggling my writing gigs and picking up more when I have the time, and it’s so nice having two weekdays all to myself to focus on the projects I want to. In a lot of ways, I think I’m still transitioning and am curious to see what next year brings, but I’m so glad I made the leap when I did. It was the scariest thing I’ve done, and even though I still feel panicky thinking too far into the future, I’m optimistic that I’ll always look back on 2013 and have no regrets about going out on my own.

Do you have any advice for others considering going out on their own? Words of warning? Caveats?

Yes! I shared these tips on my friend Amanda’s blog, Advice From a Twenty Something, and would love to provide them again here. Even though I still don’t have it all figured out (clearly) I have found that these four things have been crucial to my success.

  1. Be realistic—I knew I wanted to leave my job about six months before I actually did, but giving myself a reasonable amount of time to make the changes I wanted helped me to stay positive even when I felt bad about my situation.
  2. Think about YOU—it was so easy for me to get tripped up about what my coworkers are doing, how much my friends were making and what I thought I should do next. Guess what? None of these things made me happy. To find something I’m good at and actually care about doing has given me the drive to keep networking, writing and e-mailing folks every day.
  3. Say “no”—I don’t regret anything I’ve done professionally, but I do wish I was better about saying no to things that didn’t feel like the right fit or that I did because I felt like I had to. This is something we all need to be stronger about business-wise, and I hope to remember it as I consider future assignments and projects.
  4. Grow what you love—I left my job with the hopes of building a portfolio of work I’m proud of, finding a role that fits my skills and passions and give my little blog the time and effort it deserves with my wonderful sister. Who’s to say if any of these things will make me particularly rich or successful, but I can only hope that everyone gets the chance to grow something they care about.

Questions for Jessica? Ask them in the comments!

Motivation Monday: Book Covers

Join us every Monday morning for Motivation Monday, where we share a helpful “homework” assignment that gives your business a creative boost and gets you thinking (and moving) outside the box each week.

Do you struggle with your business’ branding and the vibe you want your potential clients or customers to feel? Are you unsure of which colors and fonts you should incorporate into your business site? Get inspired by visiting your local bookstore or library and pulling 5-10 books off the shelves that have covers that light you up. And don’t worry, this is the time to judge the book by the cover 😉

Note what your favorite book covers have in common and let these preferences begin to guide your business and personal branding. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you more drawn to simple or busy covers?
  • Do you tend to like modern or vintage covers better?
  • Do you like photos, illustrations, or plain fonts better?
  • Do you tend to like a lot of different colors or just one or two?
  • Along the same lines, do you like bright colors or muted colors best?
  • Is there a mood that all of the covers seem to capture?

Want a handy worksheet to track your branding preferences? Just enter your email address below:

Want this freebie? Just enter your email.

Enter your email address and the download link will be sent to you via email!

Weekly Finds

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds– where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business- and maybe even your life!

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If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen our tweet about what to do if you find that someone put up a similar blog post to one you were mulling over or drafting. Some people said they would publish anyway, while others said they would delete their own post for fear of being seen as a copycat. Needless to say, we were thrilled to see a post on The Uncaged Life that addresses this very topic: Copy Me. Go Ahead. Seriously.

Amen to Lis’ point: Everyone online needs to take a big fat break and remember there’s wars in Syria and shit. We know firsthand how easy it is to get caught up in your solopreneur bubble, but she has a reality check for you.

“So yes, I respond to that text. Yes, we can enter a season of rest. No more accepting projects we aren’t super passionate about. No more racing from one thing to the next. No more on the computer till 3am.  No more cell phones out during dinner dates.” -Jenna of Eat, Live, Run on slowing down in life.

Cordelia wants to know if you’re chaining your elephant. We’ll let her explain the cool metaphor for negative, self-limiting beliefs to you 🙂

And speaking of limiting beliefs, Stephanie Peterson shares the story of how she declared that programming wasn’t her thing– but then learned how to turn her fear into action.

We ask a ton of questions to the people we profile here on the site and we love when our questions really get them thinking. Here, Jess Lively explains her thoughts on whether entrepreneurship is a fad or the way of the future (the comments section is really interesting too).

Curious about all of the different aspects of freelancing? Jessica Lawlor is giving you a chance to ask her any question you want!

What posts did you love this week?

P.S. If you liked this post, tweet it out!

7 Creative Ways to Use Boomerang to Manage Your Email

We love the email tool Boomerang so much that we pay for the premium version- with hundreds of emails going in and out of our inboxes each week, the free plan just wasn’t cutting it. The two main features of Boomerang are to 1) send emails at a later time and 2) to be reminded if someone hasn’t responded to your email.

Here are some creative ways to utilize these features in creative ways to save yourself time and your sanity.

So that people don’t know how late you’re working: Sometimes you work until 2am- and that’s okay! But maybe you don’t necessarily want to advertise that fact to everyone you’re in touch with via email- so use the “Send Later” feature to make it look like you’re writing emails at a more- ahem- normal time.

To avoid bombarding people: If you’re like us, your mind works in a million directions, constantly coming up with ideas to implement. The downside of this is that it might result in tons of emails to contractors, teammates, or clients. Avoid “email bombardment” by scheduling your emails to send several hours or days apart.

So that clients don’t assume that you’re always available: Even in our fast-moving digital world, many freelancers and solopreneurs choose to only be available to their clients and customers during standard hours, like 9am-5pm. And we commend them for that! But let’s say that you want to work later one evening but don’t want your clients to begin to expect that you’ll always be available at 8pm. Draft your emails, choose the “Send Later” option, and your clients will be none the wiser.

To make sure no outbound email goes unanswered: Let’s say you’re emailing twenty potential clients or reaching out to ten bloggers on behalf of a client. Sure, you could track all these contacts in a Google spreadsheet (which is probably still a good idea!), or you could just mark each email to “boomerang” back to your inbox if it’s unanswered. First emails are very often overlooked or forgotten about, so sending a follow-up can increase your response rate immensely!

To maintain inbox zero: Let’s say you’re about to head out of town for the weekend and don’t love the idea that your full inbox will haunt you all weekend. Go set your emails to boomerang back at a designated time- maybe late Monday morning. Clear out your inbox, reset to inbox zero, and poof- out of sight, out of mind- just in time for a work-free weekend.

To buy yourself some time: We love this Boomerang tip from Alexis Grant. Often times, you’ll send an email, only to have someone immediately reply- now you feel compelled to respond back right away too, right? Instead, set your email response to send in several hours, giving you at least a free few hours before the recipient’s reply lands in your inbox. Note: this shouldn’t be done with time sensitive emails!

To automate your systems: Do you have a weekly or monthly email you send out (we’re talking something simple, not a fancy email marketing email)? Maybe it’s a monthly reminder to your website contributors or your clients- when you have a few extra minutes, take the time to draft several months of emails in advance!

Do you use Boomerang? How do you use it?

A WordPress Theme for Solo Business Owners

If you’re like most solo business owners these days, your website includes both static content (like an about section and testimonials) and dynamic content (like blog posts, videos, tutorials, or interviews).

If you like to showcase both of these kinds of content on your site, then BluChic’s Dorothy WordPress theme might be for you. BluChic describes the theme as “fresh and functional” and we concur. The homepage features a half-page slider, which means you can highlight your latest content while still giving website visitors a clear picture of who you are and what your business does.

wordpress theme for solo business owners

Some of our favorite features of the Dorothy theme:

    • The half-page Featured Slider
    • The prominent social media buttons in the corner with the words “Get Social”
    • The mostly black and white color scheme (which can be changed using CSS)
    • The sleek blog layout with built-in “You might also like” feature that showcases related posts
    • The option to buy an all-in-one bundle, complete with WordPress theme, social media design, newsletter design, and business card design, for $109
    • Responsive design, theme documentation, and Photoshop files (like all BluChic themes)

dorothy theme for solo business owners P.S. Want to see how much editing you can do with a pre-designed theme? We love ProfessionGal’s use of the Dorothy theme!

Disclosure: We are part of BluChic’s affiliate program and may receive a commission on sales bought through the links above. However, we are huge fans of BluChic and use their products all the time (including on this site), so all opinions are our own!

Multipassionate Muse: Stephenie Zamora

Welcome to our Multipassionate Muse interview series, where we chat with self-described multipotentialites. Need a multipassionate crash course? Take a look on our terminology page and take the multipassionate quiz!

Today we’re talking to Stephenie Zamora, a life coach + lifestyle expert who helps unconventional women transcend “the quarter-life crisis” by translating their passions into profitable online businesses. 

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Describe your various passions and projects.

I’m incredibly passionate about personal responsibility, something I believe has the power to completely change our world for the better. I’m also passionate about branding, design, online marketing, writing, mixed media art, spirituality, learning new things, traveling, personal development, and health/wellness. As for projects… I currently focus most of my time on where I coach women in their 20s and 30s through the quarter-life crisis. I help them to rediscover themselves, find their passion, and build a life and business around it. I also have some other projects in the works, including, a nonprofit focused on teaching and inspiring personal responsibility, and a couple other businesses that are in the startup phase.

Where did you first hear the term multipotentialite/multipassionista (or similar terms)? Did it immediately resonate with you?

I originally learned about this idea from Barbara Sher’s book, Refuse to Choose. She talks about having more than one interest and uses the term “scanners” to describe people like us. It was a very eye-opening read for me and absolutely resonated with what I was feeling and experiencing at the time.

Looking back, would you say you’ve always been a multipotentialite (were you that kid running multiple businesses from your front yard?!)?

Absolutely! I loved to come up with school and lesson plans for my toys, be artsy and creative, play imaginary games outside, sell lemonade at garage sales, read and do many other things. Over the years I wanted to be many things as well! An artist, writer, fashion designer, teacher, nurse or engineer (like my parents), actress and the first female pitcher on a male baseball team!

What is the biggest challenge of being a multipotentialite?

Knowing how and where to focus your time and energy. With so many passions, projects and ideas, it can be hard to build something that’s sustainable and fulfilling. I’ve found that uncovering your “overarching theme” or the big WHY behind everything that you love helps create some form of focus for us multipassionistas. Behind my why is a belief that personal responsibility has the power to change the world, creation and self expression, and connection with others. I can now see how everything I do and want to create falls under this big why.

What parts of living a multipotentialite lifestyle are the most rewarding?

There’s always something new and exciting to work on or learn! New ideas, new hobbies… we’re not boxed in to a certain lifestyle or mindset. I love my curiosity and that I can take interest in a number of things. For example, my boyfriend is a woodworker and, while I have no interest in becoming one, I’m fascinated by it and excited to build some of my own things. Just because. 🙂

We hear a lot these days about side hustles, solopreneurs, and multipotentialites. Do you think it’s a fad or the way of the future?

I don’t think it’s a fad… it’s definitely the way of the future, but not for everyone. There’s so much possibility and opportunity for creating really unique businesses, offerings and models. I’ve managed to combine many of my passions into one business and am excited about bringing in more mixed media art in the near future. We have the advantage of creating something really unique and unlike anything else out there.

Any words of wisdom/warning for other multipotentialites?

Don’t get down on yourself for the way you are. I highly recommend Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. Uncover what’s at the heart of everything you love. What drives you? Is it connection? Creating? Expression? Knowledge? Use this to create a clear why behind everything that you do and you’ll begin to see how it all plays together. But also, don’t try to force it all into one thing. Some passions are best as hobbies, others are great for building businesses or careers around.

Questions for Stephenie? Leave them in the comments!

P.S. Loved Stephenie’s insights on being multipassionate? Share this interview on Twitter! 

Shop Talk: Outsourcing

Welcome to Shop Talk, where we chat about everything from the business processes and procedures you swear by to how you handle tough situations (like letting go of a client) to what gets you up on Monday morning. Give us a sneak peek into your business and let yourself inspire (and be inspired by!) our community.

You consider yourself a resourceful, intelligent business woman. You know that all answers are just a Google search away. So, do you spend your time finding the answers to your questions (like how to code in CSS or how to use Quickbooks) or do you outsource these parts of your business, knowing that someone else can do it more efficiently?

Call for Responses: One Woman Experiments

We’re all about finding new, better ones of getting things done in business. We are looking for daring women to experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. Aptly named One Woman Experiments, these mini experiments will not only (hopefully) improve your own business, but also inspire other One Woman Shops to test-drive new strategies.

Some topics we’re interested in exploring:

  • Does adopting the email philosophy change your email process for the better?
  • Does using the Pomodoro technique improve your productivity and concentration?
  • What happens when you adopt the ideas from The 4 Hour Workweek?
  • Does working from a coworking space improve your business (productivity, networking, etc)?
  • What happens when you take on a bunch of pro bono clients (does it lead to good business developments)?
  • What happens when you declare email bankruptcy?
  • When happens when you take a week off from social media?
  • What would happen if you sold a product or service using a Pay What It’s Worth model?
  • Your idea!

Interested? Please email us with the experiment you’re interested in conducting. We’ll get back to you with a decision on whether we’d like you to write the piece for the site. If we say yes, here’s what  we’ll need from you:

  • a 150 x 150 px headshot
  • A 3-4 sentence bio in third person
  • 1-2 paragraphs responses to the following:
      • What is your experiment and why?
      • Tell us your methodology (length of experiment, what you’ll measure, etc)
      • How did you feel when you adopted the new practice? Were you more productive/sane/happy? Metrics are great- like “I was able to do x% more in the same amount of time”
      • Any revolutionary/surprising insights?
      • What was the toughest/best part of your experiment? Do you think you’ll stick with it?

P.S. Looking to contribute to One Woman Shop in other ways? Be sure to check out our Call for Responses section!

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