Energy Management, Your Time Management Supplement

As a busy solopreneur, you already know that there will never be enough hours in a day to check off every item on your never-ending to-do list.

No matter how many emails you reply to, no matter how many blog posts you write, no matter how many projects you complete…there will ALWAYS be more to do. And there will never be enough time to get it all done.

You’ve also probably tried every productivity and time management trick in the book: maybe you’ve experimented with the Pomodoro Technique, perhaps you’ve tried tracking your time with a tool like RescueTime or maybe you’ve even downloaded every productivity app in the iTunes store.

But I bet there’s one thing you haven’t tried yet. One thing that might change the way you work forever.

It’s called energy management.

Energy management means maximizing your energy and the times of the day you're most alert and creative to get your most pressing work done. It means prioritizing your day based on when your body and mind work best.

The key here is to experiment; it may take a couple of weeks or even months to truly discover how you can make energy management work for you. You'll need to figure out how you feel doing certain tasks at certain times of day. However, I promise that when you figure out when you work best, you'll be amazed at the quality of work you can produce and how much closer you can get to your goal in the process.

Three Quick Tips For Making Energy Management Work For You

  • Accept that you only have so much energy in a given day. Just like there are only so many hours in the day, we also only have so much energy we can expend each day. Find the zones in your day when you can be most productive, but also recognize that you still will not be able to achieve everything in the span of 24 hours. Life is about give and take; energy management also means knowing when to take a break and knowing that another day, another week or another month are always around the corner.
  • Learn to say no. Saying no is never easy whether it’s to a new project or a social outing. Since I’ve discovered the times that I’m most productive, I have learned to be very strict with my calendar to protect those times. Of course, when it comes to your job or other obligations, sometimes you obviously can’t say no and that’s fine, but the areas you do have control over? Be strict about them.
  • Experiment to discover the times you’re most productive. If you told me four years ago that I’d be an extreme early bird, setting my alarm for 4:45 a.m. each day to get 2-3 hours of work done before heading to my full-time job, I’d tell you that you are seriously crazy. But I experimented and learned that I could actually be pretty productive first thing in the morning. That’s when I tried setting my alarm a little earlier and slowly began to develop it into a habit. Play around with different times of day and note how your body and mind feel. Don’t be afraid to try a time completely out of your comfort zone.

Have you experimented with energy management? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Want more? Read more about energy management and how it has completely revolutionized the way I get work done here.

Your First Workshop: Why You Should Start Small

Have you ever gotten back from a conference or retreat, only to feel so inspired by the other women in the room? The speakers, the networking, the hosts; all perfect. You want to take that experience and replicate it with your own dream clients. An amazing day or two with all your favorite ladies, sharing stories, teaching each other, feeling inspired by YOU and YOUR business -- not to mention, the kickstart to your speaking career!

But often, the idea of planning and selling an event like that is so overwhelming that most people don’t even get started. You can’t find a venue that you like; you’re too nervous to speak; you’re fearful of the potential costs. What if you don’t sell it out?

And just like that, the dream is crushed, stuck under the pile of “woulda, coulda, shoulda” ideas that are just too hard to execute.

Slow down there, boss lady. I totally believe that you CAN host a workshop, retreat, or conference and that you can sell it out (eventually).

But your first step is to start now and to start small, so that your dream can be neatly positioned on the top of the pile instead of crushed under the weight of planning overwhelm, lack of speaking experience, and budget concerns.

The Planning Process

Planning and executing even just a one-day event is hard (and I do it for a living). You’re calling venues, finding a space at the right price point, communicating with your potential clients, writing sales pages, marketing, ordering gift bags, maybe finding sponsors.

Starting small, with a small group of clients, means fewer balls to juggle. You can use a more intimate space, like your home, a local library, or a yoga studio during off-hours. You don’t have to bring in a professional caterer if you don’t want to, and you’re not bothered by sponsors who want you to market the crap out of your event. You can offer a lower price point, as your costs will be lower, and you can practice the more important stuff (like actually teaching and engaging with your attendees).

Your “Teachable” Moments

Teaching and speaking in front of people is a skill that takes practice. If you don’t have experience speaking or teaching, you’re going to feel nervous at the beginning of your lesson. From my experience planning, speaking, and coaching my clients, it’s much easier to stand up in front of a group of 5 or 10 peers that it is 50 or 100.

Plus, a more intimate group setting automatically encourages your attendees to feel comfortable sharing as well, taking much of the burden off of you to be the expert, and really allowing you to take notice of WHAT your clients are struggling with.

Until you start getting comfortable presenting yourself, and presenting your knowledge, do yourself a favor and start with a handful of women in an intimate room, where it feels like you’re sharing stories instead of standing up in front of the room, being an expert.

Your Budget

I mentioned this a bit above but I’ll say it in plain terms: your biggest upfront cost is going to be your venue.

And generally, those smaller spaces have smaller price tags. When you can only fit 15 bums in 15 chairs, your expenses are going to be lower, and the skin in the game is going to be less overwhelming and frightening. (Would you rather invest $100 for a venue deposit or $1,000?)

If you can host your event in a free or cheap space (think community centers, yoga studios, a friend’s backyard, daycare spaces even!), you’ll feel much more comfortable launching + selling your workshop because, even if only 3 people show up, you’ve still covered your costs.

Starting Small, Getting Big

Make no mistake: the amount of work you put into your first live event is going to be significant because your learning curve will be high. But if you start small, with a handful of your dream clients, and not as much of an upfront investment, the blueprint that you’ll automatically create around planning, communicating, launching, marketing, and selling out will be the icing on the cake for that BIG conference you’re aiming to host down the road.

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!

How To Ask For The Support You Need

There are few things that strike fear into an entrepreneur. Networking. Taxes. Tech glitches on launch day. And asking for help. After all, we’re in charge of everything – doesn’t that mean we’re supposed to be the expert on everything?

Nope. Not at all – the pressure is off.

It can be tough to fess up when something isn’t your strong suit and humbling to ask for a helping hand, but reaching out for support isn’t a sign of weakness - it’s a sign of strength.

Asking for support will require effort and vulnerability on your part, but before deciding to stick it out on your own, consider the impact of not asking for help: hours spent slogging through trial-and-error; not having energy or time to create new content or connect with potential clients; the added expense of bringing in a pro to save the day after something goes wonky. Or worse - being stuck in the status quo, and not moving your business forward. Facing risks like these, asking for the help you need trumps stubborn independence, every time.

Read on for three steps to getting the support you need to help your business thrive.

1. Clarify

First thing’s first: figure out what you need help with. Get clear on what will move you forward, and what you can’t do yourself. It’s important to fill this list with intentional and strategic activities.

A good place to start is your to-do list. If an item has been making multiple appearances, yet never getting crossed off, it’s a good candidate. Whether it’s fear, skill set or lack of time that’s preventing you from getting it done, that can be overcome. Another good place to find items you need help with is in your future plans. What big, exciting services or products are you bringing into the world? Do a quick brainstorm of all of the moving parts associated with each of them, and circle the ones that aren’t in your sweet spot.

2. Curate

With your list of ‘help me!’ items in hand, begin compiling a resource list of people who have the needed skill sets. Think of it like building your business’ go-to team. Look towards your friends, family, and colleagues (both online and in real life). Start with going through your social media contacts and jotting down which areas of expertise jump out at you. It’s not about delving into profiles and portfolios just in case they’ve got a secret super power you haven’t noticed before. Most of us have a stand out specialty that will be top of mind. Still have something you can’t find a resource for? Tap into your second circle of connections. Know a gal who knows a gal? Ask for an introduction or referral. [Editor’s note: the One Woman Shop directory is a great place to start your search for talented solopreneurs.]

3. Communicate

The final step is to reach out and ask for the support you need. This involves clearly expressing what you need help with, outlining expectations, and aiming for an ‘easy yes’ for the other person. Let’s see how those wrap up into your request.

  • Get Specific: Asking for ‘help with your website’ is far too broad. Narrow it down to the specific action item you need help with. “Can you please help me come up with a great headline for my sales page?” is much better.
  • Outline Expectations: What kind of support do you need? A quick email? Phone call? A done-for-you tweak? Spell out how you’d like to receive help, and what your timeline is. “I have a few ideas, and would appreciate your thoughts via email or Skype. My launch is scheduled for 4 weeks from now.”
  • Easy Yes: Your chances of receiving help are greater when you bring down the barriers to someone saying yes. Consider their schedule, how long helping you will take, and the strength of your connection to them when asking for support. “I know you’ve got a full week, but am hoping that you’d have 15 minutes to hop on the line and help me through this. I’ve attached the ideas I’ve come up with, and your input and perspective would be very much appreciated.”

Shifting your mindset is key in taking these three steps. It requires understanding that admitting blind spots and asking for help makes you a stronger business woman, capable of tackling – with the help of your go-to team - whatever life or business throws your way.

Support is a Two-Way Street

Now that you’ve unlocked the keys to asking for support, be open to offering assistance, or stepping up when someone has the courage to ask you for help. The impact of helping others will be more valuable than you can imagine. As solopreneurs, contributing to the success of others is just as important as making sure our own needs are met. After all, we may be one woman shops…but we’re certainly not in it alone.

Naomi: A WordPress Theme for Online Entrepreneurs

For food bloggers, bakers, or foodie solopreneurs, BluChic's Naomi WordPress theme could be the key ingredient for your brand. With multiple layout options and featured locations for your photos, Naomi is an yummy choice for your website.

Not only for food lovers, Naomi provides a feminine look to any online store. Wedding gifts, handmade jewelry, customized stationery or other boutique items will fit well with this chic WordPress theme. Offer up a fun, easy shopping experience for your customers!

Naomi Pastry and Cupcake WordPress BluChic Theme

A few of our favorite features:

  • Large slider on the homepage to feature your delicious creations
  • Put your social media icons in the footer and in a widget
  • The custom header logo to streamline your brand
  • Responsive design for desktop, mobile and tablet
  • And multiple layouts to get the look and feel you want (see below)

BluChic Naomi WordPress Theme Layout Options

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!

Weekly Finds

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we members of the community scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we they think will help your business—and maybe even your life! This week’s curator: illustrator Laura Palmer.

Dear Austin Kleon, I'm a fan girl. There’s a whole bunch of advice in this list for any entreprenuer who wants to get smarter (and stronger) in the new year.

In 2015, I resolve to be centered. This article from Rachel Gillett on Fast Company is all about holding to those resolutions and how to keep, not kick, a habit.

Who knew the guy who knows how to “Party Hard” would give such rad advice on following your heart. Andrew W.K. nails it with this poetic response to the question I wrestle with all the time: “How do I just stop worrying and go for it?” [My favorite part: "The true duty of the mind is to serve the heart, not interfere with it. The mind's intelligence is best used in carrying out the desires of the heart -- directing the heart's loving and creative power out into the physical world.” Perfectly said, Mr. W.K.]

With all the noise on the internet and all the distractions in life, as a one woman shop it can be easy to get lost in it. Kate Arends directs us to David Foster Wallace and his “This is Water” speech as she tells us to “Find peace in imperfect places.”

This quote continues to inspire me. Sometimes when it’s just you, #girlboss-ing your way through the day, it’s easy to try too hard. Aldous Huxley reminds me to “go lightly.”

This might not be easy for me to admit, but I do have “the time.” I’m busy you guys, but this Yoganonymous article by Meredith Cameron reminds me to be honest about my time, what I value and how to two are related.

Amy Turn Sharp (a talented poet) wrote a poem every single day in 2012. To me, this is a feat of incredible strength. This year she’s doing a similar project with the help of others: 365 poets. If you need a reminder that daily projects can happen with determination and stick-to-it-iveness (like I often do), Amy is a great inspiration.

Time Management #OWSchat Recap

Missed the January #OWSchat on time management? Catch up here and mark your calendar for our next Twitter chat, which will kick off at 9pm EST on Wednesday, February 4. Carrie Smith of Careful Cents will be joining us to chat about finances & taxes!

The Challenges of Being a One Woman Revolution

We all know it can be tough being a One Woman Shop, but from my experience working with the do-gooders, change-makers, and ruckus-starters of the world... it's even harder being a one woman revolution.

Now, I work with a plethora of driven, passionate, and mission-driven solopreneurs. They're out to make a difference in the world and just happen to use their businesses to do that. They have more than just something to sell; they have something to SAY. And they're some of the fiercest, most committed humans I've had the pleasure of knowing. Sound like you?

If it does, then you know that it's not all rainbows and sunshine, this mission-driven entrepreneurship thing - especially when you're riding solo.

Of course, we struggle with product development, service creation, marketing strategies, time management, and a whole slew of other biz obstacles. But beyond the challenges of the average solopreneuring superstar lies a set of unique issues I hear all too often from my do-gooding, change-making, ruckus-starting clients.

1. PRESSURE: Carrying the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders

There's a level of personal responsibility we place on ourselves when our businesses are built upon the bedrock of impact. Because our missions to make a difference are so deeply ingrained in our businesses (and in the very fabric of who are) we start believing that if we miss the mark, the greater good we're trying to achieve is going to suffer.

Stop Thinking: "If I don’t launch this product/service/program right and it flops, I'll not only being failing myself... I'm failing my cause."

Start Believing: This "epic failure" mindset is probably the biggest contributor to stunted biz growth among mission-driven entrepreneurs because the pressure becomes so big and so gnarly that it stops you in your tracks. It makes you so afraid of failure that it only results in failure to try risky things, push the envelope, and shake shoulders. And that, my friend, is failure to affect change.

2. NEGLECT: Putting Yourself Dead Last on Your List of Biz Priorities

I'm not talking about self-care here. I'm talking about being so committed to making a difference and helping others that we build an encyclopedia of excuses why everyone and everything comes before yourself. If someone needs your help and can't afford your products or services, you're inclined to help because you started your business to HELP - even if helping means you add to your already too-heavy workload or that you'll have to sacrifice something important to you to make time.

Stop Thinking: "I don't have the time or energy to work for free... but this person REALLY needs my help and I'm in the business of helping people."

Start Believing: Neglecting to put yourself first when taking on the task of saving the world or starting a movement means neglecting to put your mission first. That sounds contradictory, but it's not. If you spend all your time doing work for free in the name of helping others, you're not spending your time doing what you need to do to be your best. When you sacrifice sleep in the name of helping others, you're sacrificing performance the next day. When you sacrifice family time, you sacrifice moments and memories that feed your soul. When you sacrifice time and energy spent working on your next big thing, you sacrifice the potential of that project making its maximum impact. When you sacrifice YOU, you sacrifice the mission.

3. ENOUGHNESS: Feeling Like You're Never Doing Enough, Shouting Enough, Being Enough

Let’s be totally honest. There’s always more good to be done, more change to be made, more shoulders to be shaken in the world than any one woman revolution can tackle herself. And because of that fact, you probably tend to reside in the “Never Enough” camp when it comes to your confidence level. This doesn’t show up to outsiders, though - it nestles deep inside your brain where only you can hear it and you can hardly ever shut it off.

Stop Thinking: “I’m not doing enough/saying enough/being enough to really make an impact in the world. I should be doing/saying/being MORE.”

Start Believing: First and foremost, what you’re doing/saying/being is MORE than enough. Most people don’t give a damn to make an impact but you DO. The fact that you’re doing/saying/being anything at all means your level of enoughness is far above and beyond the average joe. And secondly, you’re a human. You can only do/say/be so much. If you’re working your tail off to make an impact and it’s slow-going or barely working - it’s not due to your lack of commitment or your lack of effort. Creating a movement takes time and it often feels like damn-near rocket science. Keep trying. Keep experimenting. Keep innovating. Keep doing and saying and being. You’ll figure it out as you go so long as you don’t guilt yourself down burn-out alley.

4. ISOLATION: Being an Outsider Even in the Presence of Peers

Doing good, making change, and starting a ruckus is not easy work despite what some may think. Those of us in the business of impact are often misunderstood. People think it’s all rainbows and sparkles and unicorns because it’s meaningful work that gives us warm fuzzies and a sense of purpose in life. But it’s quite the opposite. And even fellow members of entrepreneurial cool kids club don’t seem to get that. Being mission-driven in a world of fortune-, fame-, and freedom-driven business owners can feel lonely and alienating at times.

Stop Thinking: “These people just don’t get me. I don’t have people to turn to when it comes to needing help with spreading my message.”

Start Believing: It’s true. For every mission-driven entrepreneur out there, there’s at least 10 other entrepreneurs driven by something else (based on entirely unscientific research, that is). But there are like-minded revolutionaries out there. We just don’t always wear our do-gooder, change-maker, ruckus-starter name badges, so it’s sometimes hard to find us. To initiate your “Impact Radar” (that’s the part of your brain that recognizes fellow impact junkies - more unscientific research for ya), you’ve got to listen carefully. Find people talking about social entrepreneurship, changemaking, philanthropy, purpose, and “heart-centered” business. That’s normally where you’ll find us lurking.

5. OBSCURITY: Swimming in a Sea of Rules Written for Everyone Else

You take the classes. You attend the webinars. You buy all of the eBooks and read at least half of them. You go to the conferences. You hire the coaches. You scour the internet for anything you can consume that will help you become card-carrying, cape-clad SUPERpreneur. But it all feels... ill-fitting. The definitive guides are about building traffic, the roadmaps and blueprints are for making six figures in six months. And the courses push smarmy marketing and sales copy tactics that make you feel sick to your stomach. But you implement everything you can and you still feel like your all-important, game-changing message is merely a whisper in the midst of a hurricane.

Stop Thinking: “I’ve done everything the gurus tell me to and it’s not working. Is the mission-driven business model just not viable? Am I struggling because this just can’t be done?”

Start Believing: The answer, quite simply, is NO. You’re not struggling because you can’t make a buck while making an impact. You’re struggling because we’re being taught the rules of the entrepreneurial game that have been written by people with other priorities. There’s a plethora of resources for those looking to make oodles of money, get famous overnight, or work as little possible - but there’s not much out there for those driven to make a difference through their businesses. You’re struggling because you are a rare breed. You’re struggling because the current culture of entrepreneurship hasn’t yet made room for us - and we haven’t yet decided to demand it. And it’s about time that changed, wouldn’t ya say?

I say it’s time to demand that the One Woman (okay, and Man) Revolutions of the entrepreneurial world stand up, raise their hands high, and let each other know we’re here. I say it’s time to start the conversations mission-driven entrepreneurs need to be having and provide each other with the support we all need. I say it’s time we join forces with another as we plow forward in our endeavors to leave a dent in this world.

Step 1? Sound off in the comments about your biggest challenge as a One Woman Revolution.

Step 2? Engage your fellow revolutionaries in some conversation about how they best overcome what you struggle with most. We’re in this together, changemakers.

Getting Gutsy: A Digital Nomad Adventure

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is One Woman Shop founder Cristina Roman's entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.

cristina matagalpa

For several months back in the spring and summer, I tossed around the idea of going to Central America for a few months to work remotely and travel on my own. I wasn't in a particularly good place personally and I felt like I needed a change of pace and a change of scenery-- basically, I needed to hit the reset button in my life.

Every single one of my family members and friends fully supported the idea, but I distinctly remember deciding one day that I wasn't going to go. Traveling alone wasn't for me and I didn't want to leave my life behind. I decided I was fine with settling.

Obviously, my final decision turned out a bit differently or I wouldn't be writing up my story for a contest on getting gutsy!

After hours spent comparison shopping for flights-- which, in retrospect, was probably an avoidance technique-- I bought a 3-month ticket to and from Costa Rica with the understanding that I could change it if I wanted to come back earlier or if I got hooked on solo travel and wanted to stay longer (spoiler alert: I'm now traveling "indefinitely").

In some ways, I feel like a fraud claiming my actions as gutsy. Sometimes my travel life feels so easy that I have to pause and remind myself that I am traveling alone through foreign countries while speaking a different language-- and THAT alone is gutsy.

Eating blood sausage in the market in Granada, Nicaragua is also gutsy. Cracking jokes in Spanish with my friend from Barcelona is gutsy. Running One Woman Shop remotely with a business partner based in New York is gutsy. Going to Zumba class, even when I felt like an awkward teenager at a high school dance, is gutsy (when I left town, my Zumba instructor told me I was much "less rigid" than I was in the first class!). Learning to manage the constant cat-calls is gutsy. Living with a Nicaraguan family for a month and a half is gutsy.

I learned that getting gutsy doesn't have to mean feeling stressed or fearful. You can live a gutsy life filled with calm and and contentedness-- two things I feel now that I haven't felt so much in years.

One Woman Shop Member Spotlight: Desiree Jester

Desiree JesterWelcome 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 Desiree Jester, blogger and website designer at A Place To Nest.

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

My name is Desiree Jester. I design and develop websites at A Place To Nest. I create online homes for people with as much warmth, character, and personality as their own real life homes reflect. I mostly work with bloggers, coaches, and photographers, but I love working with small businesses, too. My favorite clients are the ones who have done the DIY route and are not afraid to get in there and really learn what they want, but are now looking for something that fits themselves and their readers like a glove; something that just works without having to think about it. I love clients that have a strong sense of themselves and know what image they want to convey to their audience.

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

I am the oldest of seven children and my youngest brother is 13 years younger than me. Because of growing up in a big family, I know how to get my voice heard, I can organize a crowd like a pro, and I still cook for an army, even though there is only my husband, my son, and I in the house. I seriously loved growing up in a big family and would not trade it for the world!

What's your favorite social media platform and why?

My favorite social media platform by far is Instagram. I found Instagram right after I got pregnant with my son and I quickly found it to be a great way to connect with other people who were going through the same things I was and had the same interests. Beyond just looking at pretty pictures (although I love doing that too and love making my pictures as pretty as possible) I love the sense of community that I have found there over the last three years. My baby has grown up with their babies and it is there that I found my first few clients. There is a strange vulnerability in sharing pictures of your life unscripted with others, but I have found it to be the catalyst for much deeper connections than I have had on any other platform.

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

I think the one word I would love to describe my business would be Home. I want my business to create true online homes for people. I work with many people whose business is almost solely online. Those people do not have the advantage of meeting people face to face and letting their personalities shine through. They have to rely on the technology that is being used to contact them. When you log on to a website that I have created for someone, I don’t want you to see “Desiree” stamped all over it. I want you to see the person whose online living room you just walked into. I want you to see their personality, their quirks, and to be able to get to know that person by looking around their “house.” I want you to get a sense of who that person is through their website. That is my goal whenever I sit down to design for someone.

How has running a business changed you?

I definitely have a tighter grasp on time management. 🙂 Really though, I have grown so much in confidence, and in being able to set healthy boundaries. I am definitely what you would call a fixer. I love solving problems and coming up with solutions for my clients. In the beginning of my business journey, I did way over and above what I initially agreed to (for free of course) because I wanted to please my clients. I have learned though that working like that leads to burnout and my clients not getting my best work. Now, I set realistic expectations and don’t mind saying “I can definitely do X work for you, but it will set our timeline back X amount of time and will cost $X.” My clients still feel valued because I give them clear options that they can decide on, and I am not giving away my time and energy for nothing.

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

I recently launched my brand new site, with a bunch of new website packages for all budgets and timelines! Please stop by and check it out. My favorite new service is my 1 Week Website Warrior package: with one week and for $500, you can have a warm, personalized, and professional looking website launched to the world!

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