We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends

Are you coffee or espresso? Apply for One Woman Shop membership today!

TL;DR: Even as solopreneurs, we can’t do it alone. The doors to One Woman Shop membership are open until Friday, May 26th at 11:59pm EST!

One Woman Shops:

If you’re on our email list (you rock!) you got this note in your inbox last week. (That said, it might be worth another read!) If you’re not? Keep reading…

We’re nearly halfway through the year (whaaa?) and we have no doubt your to-do list might look like this: overstuffed — with stress levels that just might match.

This is when we remind ourselves that:

a. We can’t do all.the.things, every day.

b. Of what we can do, we can’t do it alone.

We have a few stellar suggestions for taming that out-of-control to-do list and reclaiming your time (point a) — but for the purposes of today’s letter to you, we want to focus on point b.

You might be wondering, what the heck do other people have to do with getting my work done?

Our answer: Everything.

We’re not talking about building a team or outsourcing. Yes, there’s a season for both those things — but one thing that’s always in style is having a strong community behind you.

Specifically, a community of people who get what it’s like to set up onboarding systems for clients, or to design nurture sequences to sell that product, or to build a business budget. A community that also considers putting jeans on “dressing up” — because, hey, they’re not yoga pants — and who has no shame in taking an afternoon nap or waking up to work at 2am because an idea struck.

Solopreneurship is a misleading term — because even as a company of one, we need to know there are other people out there who get it. Who can help us through it. Who have the expertise, insight, and honesty, we might not have at that moment.

That’s what we’re all about at One Woman Shop: Community. A tight-knit group of ladies who quickly become friends as they support each other on this winding road of solopreneurship.

Doors have re-opened to One Woman Shop membership. We’d love to have you join us before they close again on May 26th. All it takes is a brief application so we can both make sure we’re a fit.

After all, the Beatles knew best: In business, as in life, we all get by with a little help from our friends.

To community!

P.S. Here’s what a few of our members have to say about being part of OWS.

You Are Not Alone…(Will You Say Yes?)

Are you coffee or espresso? Apply for One Woman Shop membership today!

One Woman Shops:

We sent this letter out to people who’ve considering One Woman Shop membership, but after re-reading it (and re-reading it) ourselves, we decided it might just be a message all of us solopreneurs can use. Here it is:

We’re about to get real for a second. (Okay, perhaps for a few minutes.)

We just finished reading Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes (talk about a powerhouse woman), and we stopped dead in our tracks when we got to her chapter entitled, Yes to People.

It was this excerpt from Ms. Rhimes, in particular, that made us pause:

“I don’t know if anyone has noticed but I only write about one thing: being alone. The fear of being alone, the desire to not be alone, the attempts we make to find our person, to keep our person, to convince our person to not leave us alone, the joy of being with our person and thus no longer alone, the devastation of being left alone.

The need to hear the words: You are not alone.

The fundamental human need for one human being to hear another human being say to them: You are not alone. You are seen. I am with you. You are not alone.”

Whew. (We told you we were getting real, right?)

Here’s why this matters so much to us:

Because on days when your client is giving you the runaround on that invoice, it can feel like you’re in this alone.

Because on mornings when the alarm’s going off and you just can’t make yourself get out of bed, it can feel like you’re in this alone.

Because on evenings when you’re working late into the night because you got an idea that you just can’t wait to get started on, it can feel like you’re in this alone.

Because when you land that first paying customer for the product you poured your heart and soul into, it can feel like you’re in this alone.

Because when you haven’t showered in three days and your hair is in a greasy knot on top of your head, but oh!, you finished watching the Gilmore Girls revival despite being in the middle of a launch…it can feel like you’re in this alone.

The greatest fear in solopreneurship often isn’t failure. It’s loneliness. It’s why, as leaders of One Woman Shop, we believe in community above all else.

Because no matter the curveballs clients, customers, colleagues, family, friends, random internet strangers, heck — LIFE — throws at you, you need people in your corner to tell you:

You are not alone. You are seen. I am with you. You are not alone.

Because it’s the truth, fellow solopreneur. You’re not alone. You’re seen. We’re with you.

And we’ve got a pretty stellar group of ladies who will tell you the same as a One Woman Shop member.

The doors are closing very soon (on 5/26/17, to be exact), and we don’t want you to miss it. Because it’s time that you had the right people in your corner.

Learn more here.

Oh! And when it’s one of those three-cups-of-coffee kinds of days, we just want you to know you are definitely not alone. You’ll always have us in your corner.

Member Spotlight: Julienne DesJardins

Julienne DesJardinsWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Julienne DesJardins, a virtual assistant for entrepreneurs ready for major biz growth.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

I offer digital marketing and virtual assistant services to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Most of my clients are women business owners who are passionate about what they do but need support. I usually spend my days doing email marketing and social media management.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

I need to be the CEO I’d want to hire. In practice, that means that I need to investigate everything. I can’t wait for accountants or attorneys or business coaches to prompt me. I need to be clear on things like state and federal guidelines for businesses, and when taxes are due. At the end of the day, the responsibility lies with me. So I’ve focused on being really diligent in my business.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I’m often asked how to get started in business by aspiring virtual assistants, so I compiled all of my best tips into a brand new e-course! Launch Now is organized into eight lessons that share crucial small business info, like: how to price yourself; where to find clients; and what to do about taxes. (My favorite part was adding in audio recordings to each module where I share some biz lessons I’ve learned the hard way.)

And since I’m a lover of a good bargain, how about a discount?! Enter code ows30 to get 30% off the course!

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

I’ve really fallen in love with Twitter, although I was not an early adopter, for sure. (Confession: I’ve created profiles twice that I deleted after only a few days!) I just love how accessible it makes me to other people. Plus, Twitter parties with other entrepreneurs are super fun!

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out disagree with?

There are so many shoulds in business:

  • “You have to build your website on this platform.”
  • “You can’t make it without this tool.”
  • “Your launch will fail without this strategy.”


Those rules can become so exhausting. I’ve tried my best to build my business with a mix of best practices (not shoulds) and other strategies that feel true to me.

For instance, my website is built on Squarespace. Of course, a lot of people would say that you need to be on WordPress. I don’t have a problem with WordPress, but that should was stopping me from launching my business. I finally decided I was more interested in getting started than I was in waiting until I could afford all the “right” things – like the best web designer and hosting service. It was the right decision for me, for sure.

What does community mean to you?

Community is like-minded people with the same goal. I think having a sense of community and connection is crucial to feeling like you belong anywhere, and the business world is no exception. The connection I have with the other One Woman Shop ladies is so important to my business. This community, specifically, gives me a place to go for asking questions, sharing wins and busting through rough days. I definitely feel stronger with them beside me.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Julienne!

solopreneur membership

Member Spotlight: Kerstin Auer

Member Spotlight Kerstin AuerWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Kerstin Auer, a freelancer writer, coach, and creator of the coach-yourself workbooks, tools for better.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Kerstin Auer, I’m a freelance writer and coach, and I create coach-yourself workbooks called tools for better. I believe that being a life coach is not about telling others how to live their life, but rather providing the tools so they can make their life better.

The workbooks I create are for people who are willing to do the work to get to better — and it’s hard work! — and who want to opt into their best self.

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

I love Instagram, because pictures tell a story — and storytelling is one of my favourite things. A close second is Twitter, because it provides a wealth of information and a chance to connect — and seems to be a lot less filled with trolls than Facebook.

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

Badass. No doubt about it! For me, badass means to live a life that’s true to yourself and your values, and to be “all in.”

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

It’s great to be able to access many different opinions and pieces of advice — but in the end, you have to be the biggest cheerleader for your business, and be comfortable with that. It does not matter if other people “get” it, but it really matters that you are wholeheartedly on board with your business.

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

Be prepared and have a solid business plan. There are always unexpected expenses when starting up, and operating costs tend to add up, as well. It always costs more than you think! You might, for example, subscribe to an app that saves you time, or an awesome community like One Woman Shop, and while I think those expenses are essential to grow your business, they are often not budgeted for. Investing in yourself and your business starts on Day 1!

How has running a business changed you?

I have simultaneously become more and less willing to compromise: more willing to compromise on the things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things (and that may be caused by the fear of missing out), and a lot less willing to compromise on the things that matter, like my core values.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Cheesy as it may sound – I can do anything I put my mind to… if I want it badly enough! 😉

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I recently opened my online shop, and I’m adding a new tools for better workbook each month. You can sign up to be notified when a new workbook is available, and receive a sweet freebie!

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Kerstin!

solopreneur membership

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Joy Ycasiano-Dejos, The MommyProofing Coach

member spotlightWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Joy Ycasiano-Dejos, woman, wife, mom, friend, & the MommyProofing Coach.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Coach Joy Dejos and I’m The MommyProofing Coach. I’m in the business of supporting mamas in kicking Mommy Guilt, Mommy Shame, and Mommy Judgment to the curb, so they can start saying YES to themselves more often, without feeling bad about it!

I serve driven, passionate, ambitious moms who may have strayed off the path because they are just so exhausted trying to balance the complexities of motherhood. They know they want to do more; they just need the support to get going!

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out disagree with?

I flat out don’t accept that just because you’re passionate about your dreams, it will happen. The Law of Attraction is powerful, but success doesn’t materialize at the end of that sentence. You need to work hard, create structures, get stellar help, and put in the hours to make that vision into reality.

What’s one thing people might not know just from reading your website and following you on social media?

I’m a tropical island girl, hailing from the Philippines! 🙂 I love to travel; I love fashion; I love art!

Tell us a funny story about something related to your business.

Not so much a story, but the funny looks – I get them all the time when I say I’m the “MommyProofing Coach”… instant reaction is always: “Mommy what???” Yes ladies! Mamas need to proof themselves from the dangers of motherhood!

If you could do just one piece of your business forever, what would it be?

Definitely the actual coaching aspect! What many people don’t realize about solopreneurs is that we do so much “other” work – marketing, selling, branding, back-end tech stuff. I would love to just coach moms all day long without having to do all of the other stuff!

What does community mean to you?

Community means support, celebration, inspiration, motivation, challenge, openness, service. Community is FAMILY.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Cheesy as it may sound – I can do anything I put my mind to… if I want it badly enough! 😉

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

“I love my kids, but sometimes, I just want to escape… I catch myself thinking: what about me???” If you’ve had these thoughts once (or many times over!), it’s okay. It’s time we reconnect with YOU – because when you give YOU a chance, you allow yourself to be a happier woman and that means being a happier, better mom too! This September, I’m launching MommyChoosing: Saying Yes to Your Self and Your Life, a shared group coaching experience for Moms. I hope you’ll join!

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Joy!

solopreneur membership

It’s One Woman Shop’s Anniversary: Help Us Pay It Forward!

One Woman Shop idea anniversary

Call it our anniversary; call it our birthday — whatever you name it, it’s a celebration! You see, two years ago on this day, the idea of One Woman Shop popped into Cristina’s head — and thus the beginning of this resource hub and community. Though the site itself didn’t launch until two months later, this day shall forever go down as the biziversary! (Cue the bubbly + pass the chocolate!)

Since that day, One Woman Shop has grown (more on that shortly), and in the process, we have been incredibly grateful to work with a plethora of women starting, growing, and rocking their solo businesses. To celebrate that gratitude, we thought — what better than to pay it forward? But, we need your help. Here’s what we’ve got in store:

And for our members, here’s what we’ve got planned:

  • We’re encouraging members to contribute to the One Woman Shop Kiva lending team — by re-investing profits from their solo businesses into Kiva, they can help carry the mission of One Woman Shop forward. (Want to join our lending team, too? Everyone’s welcome!)
  • We’re asking members to support each other through a Rainy Day Circle — each participant writes something supportive about each other participant and, in turn, receives kind words from all others. The end result? A bustling Rainy Day File!
  • We’re facilitating a skill swap exchange — each member can both offer an hour of their time to another member, as well as claim an hour of another member’s time to help propel their business forward.

The fun doesn’t end there! A big part of our goal in seeing One Woman Shop grow is to continue paying it forward. We’ve got some big things coming in the next few months (hint: a killer solopreneur bundle!) where we’ll see our Kiva team expand even more.

Speaking of growth, we want to take a minute to highlight the last year of One Woman Shop happenings (an annual review of sorts, a la member Jess Lawlor). Here’s what we’re celebrating:

  • Forming an official partnership: we share all of the details in this post (including how we’ve never met in person!), but suffice it to say that forming an official partnership between us (Cristina + Sara) was the single biggest factor that contributed to our growth over the past year. Love your solo business but want to dabble in creative collaborations? Check out the recap from our #OWSchat about partnerships and collaborations!
  • Transitioning from pay-what-it’s-worth to tiered membership: taking away our pay-what-it’s-worth membership option was a tough choice, but it was ultimately for the best. We detail the reasoning behind our changes in membership here, but in summary: we decided on the current prices to keep it affordable for you and sustainable for us as we build out truly valuable membership offerings. Also, we got to use fun names for the different tiers that cater to our love of caffeine: Coffee and Espresso.
  • Hitting the 50-member mark: it’s certainly not all about numbers, but 50 members was a fun milestone to reach. We love seeing how engaged and supportive our members are of each other and have been incredibly happy to see some awesome member collaborations come to life.
  • Shipping: With the help of some epic Jam Sessions (more on that below), wine, popcorn, and chocolate, we managed to ship several big projects, like our 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs List, our e-course on solopreneur finances created in collaboration with Carrie Smith, our first-ever behind-the-scenes Instagram challenge, and our Building Your Online Community e-course. Each launch makes us even more excited for the next! (Spoiler alert: we’ve got an epic bundle launch coming soon!)
  • Working with Espresso-level members: While we enjoy working with all of our members equally (seriously, as OWS “moms”, we don’t pick favorites!), we have had so much fun kicking off individual coaching and facilitating the accountability group for Espresso-level members. We’ve seen an amazing support system be built in the accountability group, and following her first coaching session, one member gushed, “I can already tell this will be one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business!” Needless to say, we blush. A lot.
  • Instituting legendary Jam Sessions: While we’ve learned quite a bit this year, this one’s for certain: when in doubt, schedule a Jam Session. Starting as a monthly, half-day check-in for us in February, we now regularly schedule Jam Sessions to, quite simply, get shit done. And that we do.
  • Hosting events + collaborating with fellow solopreneurs: Our calendar fills up fast — with our monthly #OWSchat, One Woman Shop Chats With… Live, and member events like Dreaded Task Night and Rise + Shine Coworking — but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We thrive on interacting with our members as well as the larger One Woman Shop community, and are so grateful for the amazing guests we’ve had for #OWSchat and OWS Chats With… Live. Giving a direct line to fellow solopreneurs for our One Woman Shops to learn from has been fantastic — and we always end up incredibly inspired, as well!
  • Instagram: Yup, this deserves its own mention. While we will always love Twitter for networking and have a special place in our hearts for Facebook Groups, our love of Instagram has especially grown over the last year. The Instagram Baton has exploded with solo business owners giving us a behind-the-scenes of their days, and our first Instagram challenge proved to be an awesome 12-day stint. Sara’s thanking her lucky stars each and every day that Cristina became a convert.

We seriously have so much to celebrate. When we look back at the year, it’s so much fun to think about the Zumba breaks during Jam Sessions, the virtual freak outs over Mashable mentions, and the rough look of our faces at midnight when we’re putting the final touches on a project ready to ship the next morning.

But we know all of this wouldn’t be possible without our amazing community — you. So thank you, One Woman Shops, for being here — and know that we will continue to pay our gratitude forward as time goes on.

Cheers!

This Monday: #BYOCommunity Twitter Power Hour!

Here at One Woman Shop, the energy is palpable (even though we’re running this show 5,100 miles apart from each other)!

You see, we are just three days away from launching our Building Your Online Community e-course. We can’t wait to get this baby in the hands of One Woman Shops everywhere so they can get to work building and strengthening the online communities that will boost their solo business.

To celebrate the launch — and connect with you in one of our favorite ways — we’re hosting a live #BYOCommunity Power Hour at 9pm EST on Monday, June 15th in the Twitter-sphere.

We’re taking questions beforehand (email us!) and will fill in extra time with live questions during the chat! Join in by following the #BYOCommunity hashtag on Twitter (we recommend TweetChat for first-timers!).

Can’t wait to chat soon!

In the meantime? Head on over to the Building Your Online Community landing page to sign up for an email when it goes live on Monday.

Building Your Online Community

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Brittany Stoess

Brittany Stoess

Welcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Brittany Stoess, graphic designer and store owner at Adventure & the Wild.

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

My name is Brittany Stoess. I run Adventure & the Wild, a graphic design and lettering service. My focus is on nonprofits, small businesses, and individuals who are taking risks and creating real change in the community around them. I offer several brand identity packages (logo, blog/website design, print materials, etc.) as well as custom work for individuals and special events. I also run a shop where I sell art prints of my designs!

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

Instagram! My business is very visual, so Instagram is a perfect platform to showcase my work as well as my life, which has led me to several client opportunities. Plus, it makes me appreciate how insanely talented + creative people are! I am constantly inspired by the content I see in the Instagram community.

If you had to describe yourself or your business in one word, what would it be?

Adventurous. My business name is no accident 😉 Here’s the thing: I believe that everyone is living out their own adventure. Whether that is in business, a nonprofit, or a personal venture, we are all doing hard things. We’re taking risks, creating change, and exploring new territory. We’re all figuring this out as we go.

Adventure & the Wild is a design service, absolutely. That’s what I do. But more than that, I want it to be a place you can find encouragement and support for whatever adventure you’re on. I don’t want to just provide a one-time service; I want to develop a long-lasting relationship and work with you to create something incredible. You are doing amazing things; I’m here to provide the visuals to express that.

What is the #1 lesson you’ve learned since being in business on your own?

Doing the work takes time. I know that seems mind-numbingly obvious, but recognizing and accepting that has made all the difference for me. Design can be really, really tedious work. I tend to underestimate how long things will take to complete, so when what I assume will take 30 minutes ends up taking 2 hours, I start feeling very down on myself and overwhelmed, which in turn makes me want to shut down completely. When I finally realized that no, I’m not totally incompetent — that it’s normal to take this much time — it was like a breath of fresh air.

How has running a business changed you?

Starting a business is intimidating. It forces you to stretch yourself and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve learned to take a lot more risks. Pushing myself to go for it, even when I’m not feeling particularly brave, has made me much more confident. Instead of being overwhelmed by fear, I am now more likely to acknowledge the fear, and then keep pushing past it and doing the scary things anyway.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

I recently revamped my brand identity packages, and am super excited about them! I love working with businesses/individuals to create a visual brand that accurately conveys their mission + who they are. I have several options + price points to choose from, so if your brand needs a little refreshing, let’s chat! Find out more info at adventureandthewild.com/services.

Also! I launched a print shop last month, and am offering OWS readers a 10% discount through the end of May! Use code OWS10 at checkout.

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Brittany!

One Woman Shop Membership: 8 Months Later

Just eight months ago, we introduced One Woman Shop membership for solopreneurs who wanted to upgrade their One Woman Shop experience. Solopreneurs looking for a little more as they embark upon the journey that is building a solo business.

During these months, we welcomed members from all over the world, and have proudly watched membership expand into a community of tight-knit solopreneurs there to offer advice, support, and a celebratory dance when others need it.

But, like any great product or service, constant iteration makes it more valuable. That’s why we’re releasing upgraded membership options today to help you take your solo business to the next level. You see, we’ve been taking copious notes and learning a few (okay, many!) lessons from our members over the last eight months that’ve helped us improve and upgrade membership to what it is today. Members speak; we listen. Here’s what we heard:

Real-time interaction is crucial when we need it most.

Things come up – you land that client; you have a question about invoicing; you aren’t sure about the way you’re positioning your services. You need a group you can turn to on the drop of a dime. That’s why we transitioned our forum to a private Facebook Group (that we lovingly refer to as the FaceGroup) at the end of 2014. It’s now a community of consistent interaction, where Cristina and Sara provide prompts and members regularly start their own conversations.

We need how-tos and resources focused on where we’re struggling in our business.

As part of membership, you gain access to each and every e-course One Woman Shop releases – it starts with the Productivity e-course, and the roster keeps growing. When we heard members struggling with finance for their solo business, we teamed up with Carrie Smith of Careful Cents to build and release Solopreneur Finance: Managing Money on Your Own Terms. When we learned that members were actively trying to build their online communities, we immediately took to the drawing board and begin crafting a community building e-course. And that’s just the start!

We’re looking for partnership opportunities to help us expand our audience.

Whether you’re just starting out and only talking to your mom, or your audience has expanded quite nicely in your years as a solopreneur, we all hit a wall where we feel growth is limited. We get it. That’s why we’ve devised two- and six-month partnership packages for members, to put you in front of our audience. But it doesn’t end there. Members get first crack at guest posting opportunities, the option to be featured in our Member Spotlight series, and the chance to sponsor our growing #OWSchat Twitter party that happens the first Wednesday of each month.

We’d love more face-time opportunities with fellow solopreneurs.

Our members are a talented bunch, spanning a wide variety of skillsets and passions. That’s what makes the collaborations, meet-ups, and connections within the group so powerful. So we look to connect our members as often as possible — and when we heard a call for more face-time opportunities, we answered. Starting this month, aside from the recorded Hangouts with experts that only members receive, we’ll also be hosting members-only, on-air events like the 100 Social Media Posts Hangout, Forever Task Night, and more.

Members speak; we listen — and answer.

The benefits of membership don’t end there. Check out our membership page for all the details, and know that with each day, we’re behind the scenes building membership out to be something that truly helps our members kick ass in their solo businesses. (In fact, see what some of our members have to say about it here!)

Remember: going it alone doesn’t have to be lonely. Make One Woman Shop your safety net; your go-to community; the place to know that we’re all in this together.

Are you ready?

We’re actively reviewing applications for membership. Pop on over to our membership page to learn more + apply today. We can’t wait to welcome you to our VIP group of One Woman Shops!

Note: If you’ve considered membership before, you’ll see that we’ve moved from a pay-what-it’s-worth pricing method to two structured tiers, Coffee + Espresso. We decided on the prices you’ll see now to keep it affordable for you and sustainable for us as we build out truly valuable membership offerings. Questions? Happy to answer!

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Robin Reetz

One Woman Shop Member Robin ReetzWelcome to our One Woman Shop Member Spotlight series, where we highlight what’s going on in the businesses and lives of One Woman Shop members. Interested in joining this ambitious group of go-getters? Apply today!

Today’s Spotlight is on Robin Reetz, digital journalist and copywriter at Second Floor Flat.
 

Tell us about yourself and your business – what do you do + who do you serve?

I’m Robin Reetz – a freelance writer, content manager, social media manager, copywriter – the list goes on! I’m a content gal with a background in magazines and women’s media, and I have a particular interest in indie designers and makers. I come from a fashion background and once owned a small jewelry business, so I love finding new designers and supporting them in any way possible.

Are there any things commonly accepted as truths in the business world that you flat out disagree with?

This isn’t really a truth that I’d like to debunk but instead something that I very strongly believe in, which is to be nice and to be fair. The best jobs and professional relationships I’ve had are ones that are friendly. While I’m definitely not advocating that we turn all of our business relationships into personal ones, I do believe that playing nice with colleagues, clients, and partners usually leads to positive, long-lasting relationships. There is a line and it’s important not to cross it, but in my experience, being as nice and civil as appropriate in the workplace can take you a long way.

What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

Instagram, always and forever. Aside from the fact that it’s just plain fun, I love how easy it is to be open and share visual pieces of your life on Instagram. I’ve made genuine friends from my Instagram community, which is something I couldn’t see happening as easily on other social platforms. The only issue is avoiding what I call Insta-envy and not letting your feed rule your life. Instagram can be completely habit forming in a very bad way.

If you could do just one piece of your business forever, what would it be?

This answer feels narcissistic but here it goes – if I could do one piece of my business forever it would be writing personal narrative pieces. Technically that’s more part of my brand building rather than my business, but over the past 6-7 months I’ve begun writing personal pieces on my blog and found it’s helped me tremendously, personally and professionally. Aside from helping me develop my writing style and find my voice and style, I’ve also learned to express myself in ways I hadn’t before and have built a community. If anyone wants to pay me to express my feelings on a regular basis, well, you know where to find me! (A few favorites of mine: The Move, The Good Girl Syndrome, Losing Your Cool.)

What’s your one piece of advice for new solo business owners?

If you aren’t extremely disciplined and motivated by the work that you’re doing, don’t go out on your own. Whether you’re starting out as a freelancer or starting your own business, without those key qualities the work just won’t happen at the level it needs to. Not everyone has these qualities, so it’s important to know yourself, your work habits, and the atmosphere you work in before your start on any type of solo project.

Give us a shameless plug for your latest project/product/freebie!

As I mentioned above I’m very proud of my blog, Second Floor Flat, which I started when I was an expat in London. I’m in the process of moving back to the States and am continuing to use the blog as a platform to express my experiences and draw attention to some of my favorite independent designers. Follow me there, and let me know what you think!

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us, Robin!

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