May Pinspiration: Creative Marketing

May's theme was creative marketing and it was all about experimenting with new techniques outside of your normal marketing toolbox. We encouraged you to use events to grow your solo business, Cristina explained why she was an Instagram convert after giving it a fair chance, and we spoke with Alexia Vernon in a members-only Hangout about how to use speaking gigs to get in front of your ideal audience.

Want even more creative marketing ideas? Check out our May #OWSChat recap with Halley Gray, and follow along with us as we explore new ideas over on Pinterest:

Follow One Woman Shop's board May: Creative Marketing on Pinterest.

See pins you think would fit great here? Leave us a comment below or on Pinterest and we’ll add you as a collaborator on the board!

So You Wanna Be a…Professional Speaker

i want to be a professional speaker

You’re ready to start your solo business — you’re craving the freedom, the versatility, and the chance to put your passion into play — but you’re not quite sure where to start. You’ve come to the right place. In our So You Wanna Be a… series, we highlight entrepreneurs who’ve built successful businesses doing what they love.

This month, we’re chatting with three professional speakers — Jess Ekstrom of Headbands of Hope, Alexia Vernon of Alexia Vernon Empowerment, and Nicole Belanger of Nicole Belanger Media — to get their inside advice on how they got their speaking careers started.

So you wanna be a professional speaker? Here’s what you need to know…

Tell us exactly what a person in your role does.

Jess: When I was in college, I started a company called Headbands of Hope. For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 to childhood cancer research. I started getting calls from universities to come speak to their students about taking action in college. I signed on with an agency called CAMPUSPEAK and have been traveling around the country ever since speaking to students and some corporations as well.

Alexia: As a professional speaker, I have the opportunity to inspire and transform people with my message. From keynotes, to TED-style talks, to corporate trainings, to retreats, I get to create epic experiences that show people opportunities they never know existed, help them reframe limiting beliefs and behaviors, and transfer their insight into action.

Nicole: As a speaker, my role is to create a safe, enjoyable space for audiences to reflect, to help them learn something new about themselves or their work, and inspire them to act based on those newfound discoveries.

How did you get your start? What are other ways someone else can get started?

Alexia: I was somewhat thrust onto the speaking circuit in college after winning the Miss Junior America competition. After graduate school, I worked as a training and public speaking professor, and I began to use public speaking as a means for developing my coaching business prior to focusing on public speaking and speaking coaching as a business. For someone looking to get speaking gigs, I recommend pitching one's self for online opportunities (i.e., podcasts and tele-summits), self-producing webinars (where you make compelling offers to enroll in your upper-level programs), and applying to speak at industry events as well as building relationships with meeting planners and event organizers (and then submitting to speak).

Nicole: I consider my "start" to be my second TEDx talk in March 2014. I was actually a late addition to the roster, having originally been invited to give a "mini talk". The event organizer who reached out to me had gotten to know me through my work in the community, which gave her a sense of my experience, my personality, and my interests.

The most important piece of advice I can give to someone is this: do interesting things in your community or industry. This not only makes you more visible, but also gives you the essential material you need in order to have something interesting and valuable to talk about.

Also, let people know that you are available for speaking engagements! If you have a website, put together a simple speaking page that lists your the topics you are available to speak on and any past speaking engagements. Then, share it out regularly on social media!

Jess: Even though I didn't speak professionally in college, I tried to practice as much as I could. I gave campus tours and I also taught fitness classes. Almost every day I was getting up in front of hundreds of people and talking. That helped me become more comfortable and confident in my speaking. Even if you're not in school, I recommend finding a way to get in front of people, even if it's just raising your hand in a meeting.

Is there a certain kind of person that would thrive in your role?

Jess: When people think of motivational speakers, they probably think of someone who is really inspiring and internally reflective. That may be the case, but in order to get booked, you also have to be an entertainer. You could have a great story and an inspiring message, but if you can't deliver it in a way that captivates the audience and makes them laugh, then you won't get booked. It's not just about your story, it's about your delivery.

Nicole: I wouldn't say that you need to be an extrovert to be a speaker (some of the most compelling talks I've heard have been from introverts), but I would say that you need to be able to read the energy of a crowd and quickly respond to it. But, most importantly, you need to be willing to get up on that stage and speak honestly from the heart. Your willingness to be vulnerable is directly proportionate to the impact you will make on your audience.

What do people need before they can get started in your industry?

Nicole: Self-awareness. The reason that I was able to immediately jump on the TEDx opportunity by pitching a topic and a talk outline is that I had a keen understanding of my life story and the lessons that I have drawn from my experiences. I believe that compelling talks -- even the most technical -- center around stories, from which a speaker can then pull insights, lessons, and nuggets of information that will inspire and empower their audience.

Alexia: There are certainly some key materials that can help, including an effective speaker's page (editor’s note: here’s a great resource) on one's website -- ideally with a description of 3-4 talks/presentations, a speaking headshot, speaking footage, and testimonials from audiences. I also HIGHLY recommend becoming top notch both at sculpting one's content into a great talk (or keynote, training, etc.) and developing one's delivery skills.

Jess: It's 100% necessary to have video footage of you speaking. Even if you speak for free at an event, rent some audio and recording equipment and film it. Even better, film testimonials of people at the end talking about how great you are. You can write all of your keynotes and messages down on paper, but it's rare anyone will actually book you unless they see you talk.

How do you currently seek out clients or customers? What are some ways you've considered seeking out clients or customers that you haven't tried yet?

Jess: I attend a lot of conferences to speak and network. I would say about 90% of my bookings come from personal connections I make at conferences or just daily life and the other 10% come from internet marketing. The best way to gain new clients is by recommendation and referrals. If you did a talk and the school or company gave you great feedback, ask if they wouldn't mind recommending you to another organization.

Nicole: Currently, I rely mostly on word-of-mouth for booking speaking engagements, as well as inquiries through my website's speaking page. I also keep a mental list of conferences that I would like to speak at. Every now and then, I visit their websites to see if they are taking speaker submissions. If there is a conference that I am particularly eager to participate in, I will personally email the organizer with a proposal of a talk that I would like to share at their event, specifically tailoring it to their audience's needs and interests. Remember -- you'll never get what you don't ask for!

How do you normally work with clients or customers?

Alexia: I have corporate clients who I present keynotes and trainings for, provide mentorship to entrepreneurs and thought leaders seeking to develop their speaking careers (through private coaching and masterminds-meet-transformational retreats, or MasterTreats), run several face-to-face communication and leadership development programs, and I have two digital speaking programs (and more coming!) including Your Spotlight Talk.

Nicole: Keynote talks and in-person workshops (the smallest I've done was 5 people and the largest was almost 200).

How did you decide how to set your pricing when you were starting out?

Alexia: I make all of my speaking decisions based on my business goals. If an opportunity is purely transactional, for example a keynote or corporate training, it's a multiple 4 or 5 figure fee (depending on the scope of work). If I am speaking and have the opportunity to enroll audience members in my own programs, then I make sure that the audience is the right fit and right size to say "yes" to my offer - and the fee I get becomes significantly less important.

Jess: At first I was really confused by how expensive speakers are. In my mind, people were paying huge sums of money for only an hour of their time. But one of my speaker friends explained it to me in that the client isn't just paying for the one hour you're speaking on stage. They're paying for every moment in your life that got you to that point. So now when I'm charging a client, I know that they're paying for all the lessons and stories I've been through in order for me to be a speaker, not just the time on stage.

Nicole: Oof, this was a tough one for me. As a woman and a former non-profit worker, I have had to overcome a number of limiting beliefs about my worth and my ability to earn money doing things that come naturally to me. I will never forget the first time I made four figures giving a talk -- I waited a whole week before cashing the cheque because I was convinced that they would somehow realize that they had made a mistake and ask for their money back! (They didn't.)

That aforementioned gig was my very first keynote talk. I hadn't yet established pricing, so I chose to ask them about their budget, and, once I had that information, named a price that I thought would be fair for all involved. Now that I have been speaking for a year, I have a handful of what I call "base talks" that I customize based on a client's needs, but if I am being asked to develop an entirely new talk on a different topic, I will take that into account when I give them my quote.

What are some great resources for people looking to learn more about your industry?

Alexia: I'm pretty fond of my programs, Your Spotlight Talk and Your Spotlight Workshop, wink wink. Through my action-oriented videos, templates and cheat sheets, group coaching calls and membership community, I enable anyone interested in speaking the opportunity to develop the know-how at a price point she can afford. Two of my favorite books are Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds and Transformational Speaking. They really get to the heart of how to not just speak, but to do it in a way that transforms lives.

Jess: I love watching TED and TEDx talks, just like the rest of the world. But think about the ones you really liked or the ones where you hung on every word. What about that talk resonated with you? Was it their personal stories? Their humor? Their audience engagement? If you can start to understand why you like certain speakers more than others, you can better learn the traits yourself.

Nicole: I highly recommend this phenomenal blog post from Scott Dinsmore, the Founder of Live Your Legend and a TEDx speaker whose talk was viewed over 1 million times: 3 Rules to Giving a TEDx Talk that Gets Over 1 Million Views.

What is something that someone getting started in your type of business would be surprised to hear?

Jess: Speaking isn't just about your story, your delivery or your messages. It's about solving a problem. After hearing your talk, what is the audience walking away with? What did you fix or change? You could have an awesome story about how you saved an elephant and rode it into the sunset, but if there's no application then you're not serving your audience. When you want to speak, don't just think about the topic, think about the issue you're solving.

This post contains affiliate links for resources mentioned by those we interviewed. Anything you purchase will net us a bit of money, which helps us further our mission of supporting One Woman Shops across the world.

8 Styled Stock Photography Shops for the Solopreneur

8 Styled Stock Photography Shops for the Solopreneur
The first time we found a styled stock photography shop, we had a big slap-hand-to-forehead “oooh, so that’s how it’s done” moment. Before then, we thought maybe there was some required course in setting up beautiful, perfect desktops that we’d missed out on in school. But no! The internet is fancy, and we’re all just a few clicks away from access to these beauties. If you’re new to these shops, we think you’ll find they're quite useful.

So what exactly IS styled stock photography?

Unlike traditional stock photography, styled stock photography is usually designed around a color palette and/or theme to help you display your own work. These images are generally created with clear areas to insert your designs or text and are usually highly-staged setups, like tabletops or desktops.

If you’ve seen these styled photos around but are wondering how to use them in your business, there are so many ways! Use them for: 

  • Creating blog post images
  • Making images for landing pages for new products and/or services
  • Sharing images of your newsletter on an iPhone via social media 
  • Showing off your ebook on a tablet or Kindle
  • Displaying a styled laptop scene displaying your latest e-course
  • Showcasing your design work on a photo of a mug or print

If you’re not sure where to find these types of photos, we’ve gathered up some shops we adore to get you started.

Dear Miss Modern 

Specializes in “mixing business with pretty.” We're especially lusting after her fall stylings, like this glam pumpkin!

Dear Miss Modern Styled Stock Photography


Perfect for all you pink and gold lovers out there. Plus, donuts almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

KateMax Styled Stock Photography 

SC Stockshop 

Filled with gorgeous choices, like this fun desktop party and so much more.

SCStockShop Styled Stock Photography

Type & Style 

Many fantastic options in this shop -- take note of their bundle deals in particular.

Type&Style Styled Stock Photography


A modern and practical shop with stylish options perfect for products or blogs.

Upstyled Styled Stock Photography 

Don’t Tell Anyone 

A small but impressive collection of hip, modern styled photos.

Don't Tell Anyone Styled Stock Photography


A lot of to choose from in this shop, like this pretty accessories scene below. Also check out this fun holiday photo!

Kristina&Co Styled Stock Photography


A great shop with adorable photos that will make your site or products look fantastic.

LittleSparrow Styled Stock Photography

We hope you check out these shops and they give you some rad ideas! Do you already use styled stock photos in your business? Have you ever tried using stock photography to spark your imagination? We'd love to hear about it in the comments!

We are affiliates of Creative Market. As always, we only promote products and services that we think will benefit you and your business. 

#OWSchat Recap: Creative Marketing with Halley Gray

#OWSchat from One Woman Shop

Missed our May Twitter chat with Halley Gray of Evolve and Succeed? Catch up here and be sure to join us for the next #OWSchat at 9pm EST on Wednesday, June 3.

P.S. Can't get enough of Halley? Check out her Supercharged Sales Pages E-Course!

Why I’m an Instagram Convert

Instagram Convert

I’ll admit it - I used to be one of those people who said “I just don’t get it” about Instagram. While my One Woman Shop partner, Sara, was counting the days until she could start using Instagram back when it wasn’t available for all devices, I was decidedly holding out.

But since implementing the #OneWomanShopBaton and now #coffeewithaview, I can safely say this: I, Cristina Roman, am officially an Instagram convert.

If you’re also an Instagram junkie, none of facts below will be news to you. But if you aren’t yet on the #InstaBandwagon, here’s why I love it and encourage you to consider using it in your solo business:

It’s not just photos

When I was under the impression that Instagram was “just photos,” I didn’t see much value in it. Once I discovered that you can do quite a lot with the captions and hashtags, it was a game-changer. Now, I periodically search relevant hashtags, like #solopreneur, #solobusiness, and #creativeentrepreneur, to find women who might be interested in the One Woman Shop community.

There’s an incredible amount of engagement

Facebook and I are on rocky terms, but Twitter and I are in it for the long haul. But despite my love of the little blue bird, I have to admit that Instagram posts get far more engagement- both likes and comments- than most Facebook posts and tweets. Research proves it (this Business Insider piece says engagement on Instagram is up to 50 times higher than on Twitter), and so does our experience with One Woman Shop’s Instagram account.

It’s user-friendly

Instagram is ridiculously straightforward. Still haven’t grasped the ins and outs of RTs, DMs, favorites, and lists on Twitter? With Instagram, you “heart” a photo or you comment. That’s all.

It adds a human element to your business

Those behind-the-scenes photos we post of our inbox after an #OWSchat or the #coffewithaview pics from various coffeeshops and poolsides in Antigua, Guatemala? They add a human aspect to our business, which we think is pretty critical as a solo business owner. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the #OneWomanShopBaton, it’s that our community loves a little “inside” peek into the lives of their fellow solopreneurs.

It capitalizes on mobile

I won’t bore you with stats about the increase in mobile usage worldwide, but we all know it’s happening. (The fact that Google has changed its algorithm to emphasize mobile certainly says something). Instagram is nearly 100% mobile-based, which means it effectively capitalizes on the growing mobile trend. Grabbing the attention of potential One Woman Shop members while they’re grabbing a latte or riding in a tuk tuk (as the case may be) = priceless.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.

The few downsides of Instagram

You can’t add links on Instagram, so it’s a bit hard to track who is coming to your site because of your Instagram presence. Anyone who finds and follows you on Instagram has to make the extra effort to track you down elsewhere online.

Also, Instagram- more so that other social media networks, in my humble opinion- contributes to the comparison trap that we solopreneurs are often so guilty of entering. Instagram is most often a perfectly curated stream of the highlight reel of people’s lives and businesses; we rarely see the less-than-perfect moments captured.

But speaking of Instagram and transparency! We want to do our part to show what running a solo business is really like, which is why:

One Woman Shop Instagram Challenge: #OWSBehindTheScenes

Announcing: our first Instagram challenge! We love being as transparent as possible in how we run One Woman Shop, and always enjoy getting a glimpse into how others’ structure their days through the #OneWomanShopBaton. So this month, we’re opening it up to our entire community -- over 12 days, we’ll be prompting you to share what’s going on behind-the-scenes of your One Woman Shop! We're getting started in one week -- and here’s what we’d love to see from you:

One Woman Shop Instagram Challenge

Monday, May 18th: Where I’m Working
Tuesday, May 19th: Starting My Day
Wednesday, May 20th: Planning My Day + Staying On Track
Thursday, May 21st: How I Manage My Inbox
Friday, May 22nd: My Favorite Way to Network
Saturday, May 23rd: Moving My Body
Sunday, May 24th: My Meals + Meal Planning
Monday, May 25th: My Much-Needed Breaks
Tuesday, May 26th: How I Manage My Website + Blog
Wednesday, May 27th: My Favorite Solopreneur Task
Thursday, May 28th: My Solopreneur Reading List
Friday, May 29th: My End-of-Day Wind Down

How to participate:

1. Upload a photo to your Instagram account that corresponds to the day’s theme. So, on Monday, the 18th, post a photo of your workspace, on the 19th the first thing you do in the morning, and so on! Miss a day? Don’t worry about it. Jump back in when you can!

2. Include the hashtag #OWSBehindTheScenes when you upload your photo for the day. It’s the only way we’ll be able to follow along -- and we’ll be re-gramming a few each day from the @OneWomanShop account! (Bonus points for fun captions!)

3. Remember, Instagram is a social network. Be sure to explore the #OWSBehindTheScenes hashtag and interact with others participating in the challenge. (You might even grow your following in the process!)

Let’s have fun interacting on Instagram while inspiring others with the nitty gritty of our day, behind-the-scenes -- what do you say?

Are you in? We’ll see you on Instagram on the 18th! Need a quick nudge when we kick off on Monday, the 18th? Sign up for a reminder below or be sure to check back on the OWS calendar!

* indicates required

We can’t wait to go behind-the-scenes of your One Woman Shop!

Secrets of Solo Business Mompreneurs

Solo Business MompreneursSolopreneurship is an amazing thing. We pour our hearts, souls, and every ounce of hustle we have into building the business of our dreams -- one that both fulfills us financially and emotionally. We work day-in and day-out, often from dawn to dusk (and sometimes from dusk to dawn…) to make it work so we can enjoy the freedom and the choice that come from being our own boss.

But there’s a certain kind of One Woman Shop that often goes underappreciated: the mompreneur. The ladies hustling to make the baby that is their business work, while also taking care of their real babies, whether they’re two months, two years, or 20.

Seeing that we’re just a few days away from celebrating moms the world over, we thought it was a perfect time to chat with a few of our fellow solo business owners -- who just happen to also be mompreneurs -- and ask a simple question:

What are your must-haves for successfully managing motherhood and your solo business?

Here’s what they had to say:

"Be brave: ask for time, space, support, and babysitting from your family, friends, and community; try a short and sweet daily meditation practice; add a little movement and nature to your day; read empowering books; and approach it all with self-compassion and humor. I could name specific tips and technology but, truly, I create by using these simple practices in tandem." - Julie Fiandt, Create in Tandem

"My monthly planner (both paper and digital), byRegina’s Epic Blog calendar combined with my WordPress editorial calendar, and a (kiddo-free) scheduled planning day each month to automate my recurring tasks and get administrative work done. I became a solopreneur so I could stay home with my (now three-year-old) son and the only way for me to stay balanced is for me to keep a healthy dose of realism." - Desiree Jester, A Place to Nest

"My must-haves are intuition and action. I successfully manage motherhood and my business by acting on my intuition without delay. No second guessing, no doubt, no fear." - Lisa Ball, Mompreneur Assistant

"I’ve found that is it essential for me to 1) know my priorities, 2) have a good handle of how much time I can spend on my business and the corresponding, realistic output I can demand from myself (currently loving the Pomodoro technique to maximise my time), and 3) have clear boundaries with my son over when Mama’s work hours are. (Shushing the Mommy Guilt that may crop up whenever I have to say no to that sad puppy dog face!)" - Joy Ycasiano-Dejos, Mommy Proofing Coaching

"For me, it's a constantly updated to-do list. Because I know that I may only have 10 or 15 minutes in which to get a quick work item done, I have to have a really clear, prioritized menu of tasks available at my fingertips. I use the Bullet Journaling method to keep my to-do list organized and up-to-date." - Amy Simpkins, Life Architecting

"I'm still figuring things out since my baby is only eight months old, but I couldn't do it without my husband's support. He takes care of baby when he gets home from work so I can have all afternoon to work and makes sure I have everything I need to focus on getting things done." - Lilly Garcia,

"My email, Google calendar, and Facebook are indispensable for managing my mompreneur life. They keep me organized and focused in regard to scheduling, blog ideas, communication with others, and client work." - Jennifer Lopez, Live Simply, Live Thrifty, Live Savvy

"My iPhone -- if it is not in my phone calendar, it does not happen; Dropbox -- I can see my files on the go whether I am waiting at sports warm-ups or in the dance lobby; my planner from Target -- I need to visually SEE what the heck is going on, too! Finally, peppermint pedicures -- It is one of the things I do for myself where no can talk to me. I don't take my phone and I just relax in the moment." - Sang D,

"Reliable humans! Since welcoming baby, I've added a team member to my business and regular baby care at home, both of which I consider indispensable." - Laura Simms, Create as Folk

"Designated office/work time and reliable child care to help make that happen. As a mother of three, knowing when I can answer emails, add items to our online shop, and correspond with clients and colleagues is a must. Knowing that the kiddos are well taken care of sets me at ease and therefore helps make a happier, more productive work environment." - Veronica Staudt, Vintage Meet Modern

"While I rely a lot on tools like Wunderlist and Pocket to help me keep track of to-dos and resources, my true must haves are flexibility and community. Children are constantly growing and changing, and I try to build some wiggle room into my schedule while still remaining reliable for my clients. And I love my community of mompreneurs to bounce ideas off of, relate to, and be inspired by." - Nikkita Cohoon,

"Focus. I manage my day with the​ WIN concept -- “What's Important Now.” It's all about fully ​dedicating your precious attention to the task in front of you​, no distractions. That way you know whatever you've done, you've done well and with intention." - Melissa Bolton,

"You know the saying “it takes a village”? Well that is definitely the case here, and a few go-to apps help too. First, I’m very, very lucky to have a husband who is willing to take on a good share of the parenting and household management. We use Cozi for scheduling, to do lists (we keep a permanent “travel prep list” for our road trips) and shopping lists. For my solo business, I use Redbooth plus a couple of paper planners (Passion Planner and The Day Designer). Gotta go, my turn for bedtime routine!" - Rachel Formaro, Blu Pagoda

"My biggest tip is having a good support system, I couldn't work on my business without my husband sharing our family responsibilities. I also separate work stuff from home stuff. I have set working hours, during which I ignore the house (ok, I might do a load of laundry, because as we know, there is always laundry!), and when my son and husband are at home, I work really hard on focusing on family stuff. I'd also be lost without my Filofax planner, which helps me to keep up with everything." - Francine Clouden, Callaloo Soup

"I am a runner and making time to run helps to keep me mentally fit, and allows me to have much needed me-time for about an hour every morning. We spend so much time worrying about our clients, families, and other responsibilities, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of just making time for yourself." - Nancy Laws, Afro-Chic Mompreneur

"Two things: 1. You don't have to answer e-mails in the evening or late into the night. Put down the phone and make some time to snuggle with your babies. This is sometimes hard to do, but I love the snuggle time. 2. Schedule your work day around your children. I wait to start my work until my son is ready and off to school; I then take a break to pick him up from school. That way we get some special time together." - Katie Radke, KR Creative Designs

A huge thanks to the mompreneurs sharing their secrets with us!

Fellow mompreneurs: what’s on your must-have list? Tell us in the comments below.

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

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!

May #OWSchat: Creative Marketing with Halley Gray!

#OWSchat from One Woman Shop

Mark your calendars: tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6, at 9pm EST, we're hosting our monthly #OWSchat.

This month's topic comes at a prime time for anyone looking to grow their business, expand their brand, or launch new initiatives in the coming months. We're talking creative marketing for your solo business -- something we all need (and only about half of us love). To help us in our fast-paced hour of trading ideas + inspiration, we're super excited to welcome Halley Gray of Evolve + Succeed to the party!

You'll want to be there: Halley's generously giving away three copies of her "Perfect Set of Testes" and one copy of her Sales Page DIY course.

Looking forward to chatting tomorrow, May 6th at 9pm EST!

PS – First ever Twitter chat? We highly recommend using a platform like TweetChat to keep things organized.

One Woman Shop: Behind-the-Scenes, April Edition

One Woman Shop, Behind the Scenes

Each day, we work with fellow One Woman Shops hustling to go places with their solo business. (How lucky are we?!) We love getting glimpses into how others run their businesses, so we thought it only fair to show you how we run ours! Without further ado, we present to you: this month’s Behind-the-Scenes at One Woman Shop!

A quick note: this edition of Behind-the-Scenes could easily be called Behind-the-Scenes of the 100 Best Sites List, but we decided to break that information out into a separate post. We’ll probably call it Behind-the-Scenes of the 100 Best Sites List -- cause we’re clever like that. Stay tuned!

We like to kick off each month with a serious jam session where we plan out the month’s goals. (As serious as two solopreneurs can be on a Google Hangout, of course). We’re both huge fans of batching, so we make it a set amount of hours of intense focus.

Here’s what April’s jam session accomplished:

  • Discussed a plan for creating merchandise- get ready for some #OneWomanShop swag!
  • Planned out our upcoming Instagram Challenge -- watch for an announcement later this week and mark off Monday, May 18th as the start date for our 12-day challenge!
  • Chatted about and plotted out more ways to grow our community, like running webinars, hosting a Twitter Power Hour, and starting a YouTube channel.
  • Brainstormed a new post series about our philosophies here at One Woman Shop (we kicked it off with the one we consider most important, Business Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All).
  • Planned new forms of member interaction -- and then made them happen (see below)!

New things that we made happen in April:

  • So You Wanna Be a…: A new series where we highlight solopreneurs who’ve built successful businesses doing what they love and want to help you get started. The first edition was a fun one: personal stylists!
  • Speed Dating: We put out a call in the private Facebook group for members who might be interested in “speed dating” with each other via phone or Google Hangout. One pair that did it said it was “awesome chatting about business courses we had taken/are taking, design, and creating passive streams of income.”
  • Rainy Day Circle: We put out a call in the private Facebook group for six members who were interested in a fun, uplifting experiment. Each member who responded was responsible for writing up something nice about the other five participants. The comments were so meaningful (we got to read all of them!) and several people said that receiving their Rainy Day file made their day! (The ultimate goal, of course.)
  • Coworking sessions: Twice this month, we invited our members to join us on live Google Hangouts to cowork. Those who attended said that it held them accountable and made them GSD (that’s get shit done).
  • 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs: It was a bear of a project (admittedly, we pushed the publish date back a few times), but we got that puppy #shipped just before the end of the month. And ohhhh, did it feel good (we were too tired to celebrate the night we wrapped things up, but we’ve celebrated since then).

How we connected with fellow OWS-ers:

  • 100 Best Sites: Not everyone on the list was a One Woman Shop, but it gave us an opportunity to connect with some awesome solo business owners we might not have known of otherwise!
  • Our April #OWSchat was all about collaboration + partnership. A fast-paced Twitter chat ensued, with Charissa Moore as our visiting expert. New connections (and, dare we say it -- partnerships!) were formed.
  • One Woman Shop Chats With… Live Edition: We asked sisters Pauline + Clara of The EventChic to join us for a call about event planning for your solo business. They’re experts at their craft, and are ridiculously fun to chat with, to boot! (No pressure on future guests for these members-only hangouts, but we have a pretty good track record between Coach Jennie and these sisterpreneurs!)

What we’re celebrating:

  • 100 Best Sites: A project whose scale we didn’t quite realize until we were doing it, but the hours (and hours, and hours) of work were worth it, because it has quickly become one of our proudest accomplishments with OWS yet!
  • Redefining a case of the Mondays: Over in the members-only FaceGroup, we’re using Mondays to do something a little more fun than moping -- and having so much fun seeing it evolve!

Where we struggled:

  • 100 Best Sites: We struggled with several things related to “The List,” but overall, we learned that we had NO idea how time intensive compiling it would be.
  • Overcommitment: We have big ideas and got a bit overzealous this month. We had to push back several deadlines in order to maintain our sanity (and reassure each other that it was okay- good, in fact- to make these kinds of adjustments when need be).
  • Prior to the Hire ebook: When we emailed our previous Prior to the Hire contributors to confirm that we could include them in our upcoming ebook, we got a bit of a different response than what we expected -- and have had to revamp pieces of the book, delaying the process.

Most popular posts:

What we’re most looking forward to in May:

  • Getting back to developing our “build your online community” e-course (lovingly referred to as BYOC in these parts).
  • Forever Task Night: a live, members-only hangout where we tackle that one task that’s been on the to-do list for far too long. Wine and ice cream encouraged!
  • Prior to the Hire ebook: compiling, editing, lay out, and release!
  • Questions for a…: we kicked off So You Wanna Be A… in April, and are back at it with another new series in May! Stay tuned for Questions for a… Developer -- the questions you want to ask before hiring a developer.
  • Instagram challenge: from May 18th-29th, we’re going behind-the-scenes of One Woman Shops everywhere via our Instagram challenge. (Announcement coming soon!)

What was the highlight of your April? What did you struggle with? Tell us in the comments below!