A Chic WordPress Theme for Female Bloggers & Entrepreneurs

Bloggers looking for a dose of chic need look no further than the Paisley WordPress theme from BluChic. Perfect for female bloggers and solopreneurs who want their photos and articles to shine with a feminine and sleek design! With a ready-to-go sidebar for all important elements (like an author photo and bio, social media buttons and recent Pinterest pins) and a simple menu, this theme won't overpower your content.

classic chic white wordpress theme

A few of our favorite features:

  • Two columns for your blog posts, with a vertical featured image and post title
  • The customizable header logo and header background image, with an optional top banner ad placement
  • Responsive design for mobile and tablet
  • The ability to change colors with a color wheel picker
  • 5 category images and the site title in the footer

sleek feminine wordpress theme

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

All WordPress, all the time.

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A Stylish WordPress Theme for Lifestyle Bloggers

We love the new BluChic WordPress theme Olivie, which is perfect for fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers. If your blog needs a makeover, Olivie could be the perfect fit for you.

romantic wordpress theme

Our favorite features:

  • The prominent newsletter sign up area right under the featured slider (and setup support for MailChimp users)
  • Infinite scrolling for all your photos or regular pagination
  • Responsive layout for desktop, mobile and tablet
  • Custom header logo for personalized branding

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!

All WordPress, all the time.

Drop your email below to get WordPress theme updates, discounts, and learning opportunities directly in your inbox.

Spam? Not our thing. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

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!

Guest Post: 4 Tools to Help Grow Your Community

As a solo business owner, you’re probably looking to grow your community of collaborators, fellow business owners, mentors, clients, and customers, right? If you’re impatient like me, the “build it and they will come” mentality just isn’t cutting it for you. You know that with a little bit of resourcefulness and a touch of proactivity, you can grow your community much quicker than if you post and pray (okay, enough with the business catchphrases, I promise).

Click to Tweet

Click to Tweet is a free tool that lets you create pre-drafted messages for Twitter that others can send out. Top startups have incorporated viral sharing into their business models (think: Groupon and Instagram.) Consider Click to Tweet to be your own little exercise in viral sharing growth hacking.

You may already include Click to Tweets in your blog posts and on Facebook groups, but have you thought to incorporate them on your slides when doing a speaking gig, in your email signature, and in your emails to your list?

Read the rest of the post over on Freelance to Freedom Project!

A Tennis Analogy for Your Solo Business

tennis analogy for business

I play tennis regularly (it's one of my favorite ways to decompress, get outside, and get moving) and I had a little epiphany on the court the other night.

Sometimes when I'm out there, I get a bit super lazy and only go for balls that come pretty much right to me. When I notice myself doing this, I set a little challenge for myself: for the next 20 balls that bounce on my side, I have to make moves to hit every single one of them, even if it feels like a stretch.

As I'm sure you would expect, it definitely helps. I'd wager a bet that I get approximately 673% more solid strokes in than when I don't move- funny how that works!

The other night, as I was on my "must at least attempt" 20-ball streak, I got a ball that I knew I could never return. For you tennis players or dabblers, it was right up in the corner by the net, so it required some quick movement, some fancy footwork, and some serious lunging. But lo and behold, I was able to return it.

The business lesson, in case you don't give a darn about sports stories: commit yourself and go for those long shots (literal or figurative ones).

Want to start guest posting more? Reach out to 20 new websites or blogs without fear of rejection. Want to give seminars in your area? Reach out to 20 organizations and pitch them. Want to build your email list? Reach out directly to 20 individuals that you think would benefit from your services- don't wait for them to come to you (just like I didn't wait for that ball to come to me- see what I did there?!).

You never know what might end up being a home run (oops, mixed up my sports metaphors) winning shot.

Introducing: The One Woman Shop Calendar

calendar for solo business owners

We are so excited to announce the new One Woman Shop Calendar, a one-stop spot to find out about upcoming events geared toward or fitting for solo female business owners. You can expect to see a variety of both in-person and online events, including business retreats, webinars, cool product launches, workshops. More events will be added regularly, so be sure to check the calendar often.

A few highlights currently on the calendar:

    • Twitter chats, including the #OMHG chat for creative makers, #ChicChat for bloggers, the #SoloPR chat for solo PR practitioners, and the Creatives Club inaugural Twitter chat
    • Retreats, including the Retreat Retreat with Rebecca Tracey in Canada for women who want to run retreats in their own businesses and the Create Your Dream Biz Mastermind Retreat with Tara Mullarkey in Mexico
    • Conferences, including The Multi-passionate Women's Conference in the UK, Alt for Everyone, an online conference from Alt Design Summit, and Yellow Conference in Los Angeles for "creative women who desire to ignite passion and bring goodness to the world through everyday living"
    • Other miscellaneous awesomeness, including Write Yourself Into Awesome Workshops with Alex Franzen, #IndieCruise for creative independent makers, and Business Meets Spirituality in NYC

A few orders of business (no pun intended):

Calendar image via Awwwards

One Woman Experiments: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Welcome to One Woman Experiments, where daring business women experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. We hope these mini-experiments help improve your business and inspire you to test-drive new strategies. Have an experiment you want to test out and document? Check out our ideas and guidelines!

When Hope Connell came to us with the idea to implement a new morning routine based on Laura Vanderkam's e-book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, we were all for it- after all, we love tinkering with our schedules (and even debating about them).

What is your experiment and why?

A strategic morning routine might seem like a no-brainer to some people, but I have always been a person that sleeps until the last possible second. I’m neither an early bird nor a night owl. I love sleep, and I have always found it challenging to get up early “just because.”

Despite my inclination to hit the snooze button, I typically got up early with my husband on the mornings when he had to be out the door by seven, partially because it was hard to sleep though his preparation, but also because I knew I would be handling the morning routine of our toddlers singlehandedly. I wanted to get a couple basic things done before I was pulled into the demands of diaper changes and Cheerio refills.

These mornings gave me two realizations:

  1. I felt calmer on the mornings when I didn’t hit the ground running from the moment I woke up.
  2. I did not feel any less rested, even though I was getting less sleep.

I was considering the implications of these observations when I stumbled upon Vanderkam’s book, and I knew it was time for me to start setting my alarm clock.

Without sounding too much like middle school science class, tell us about your methodology.

The book recommends the following steps:

1) Track your time.

Confession: I did not do this. However, I did implement a strict bedtime of 10:00 pm, setting an evening alarm clock to alert me when I had 20 minutes before lights out.

2) Picture the perfect morning.

The book advises focusing on items that are “important but not urgent,” things that wouldn’t otherwise get done unless I make a special effort to schedule them in. I had several brainstorming sessions, which all resulted in long lists of possible ideas and no clear way to narrow the list down. Part of the issue was there were several items that I wanted to do, but that I didn’t necessarily need or want to do every single morning.

I eventually developed a variation on the Pomodoro method. I have three areas of focus with little breaks for quick chores in between. The areas of focus were mind, body, and business. Each day I would fill this time with something that strengthened me in those areas:

  • 6:00am Alarm goes off. Turn bedroom light on, hit snooze for 5 minutes.
  • Mind: 30 minutes of reading (when I’m lucky, my husband brings me coffee in bed while I read)
  • Break: 5 minutes to make bed and start load of laundry
  • Body: 10-minute workout video or doing a gentle stretching routine while I watch The Daily Show
  • Break: 5 minutes to get dressed for the day
  • Business: 30 minutes of watching video tutorials to develop my coding skills (or business training/inspiration videos) or writing

3) Think through logistics.

To being with, I started incrementally setting my alarm clock earlier until I was getting up at 6:00 am (this did not work, so I finally ended up just going “cold turkey” with the new wakeup time). I also made sure my current book and the kitchen timer were on my nightstand, so I was ready to start my 30 minutes of reading as soon as I woke up. I settled on a workout video to try, and I talked my plans over with my husband to see if any of it was going to disturb or annoy him first thing in the morning.

4) Build the habit.

I was genuinely surprised at how easy it was for me to commit to the new routine. I have skipped the routine a couple of times, but they were after long nights with a teething baby. On those mornings I figured we could all use the extra sleep, so I turned my alarm off.

5) Tune up as necessary.

One thing I’ve learned is that I need to settle on the specifics of my morning routine the night before. Which book am I going to read? Which workout video am I going to do? Was I going to write (and what writing project would I work on) or watch videos (and which ones)? Having these decisions made ahead of time helped me make smoother transitions between activities, which saved time and mental energy.

How did you feel when you adopted the practice?

Overall, I have felt great with this new routine! Some mornings it’s hard to pull myself out of bed, but I know that if I just get past that initial resistance, I will wake up and feel good and get some important stuff done. The book said this would happen, but I was surprised when I started to genuinely look forward to those quiet morning hours when I could work on long-neglected activities.

It’s hard to measure any quantifiable increase in productivity. Since the book suggests incorporating things that would not get done otherwise, my day after the morning routine looks almost identical to what it was before. The items I added to my morning routine are also not particularly productivity-centered, but I have seen progress in those areas, and my overall level of stress has gone down.

Reading: I’m not reading more books per month, but I’m reading them a little at a time rather than binge-reading right before the books are due at the library.

Workout video: Right now I’m using a video specifically focused on ab strength and health following pregnancy, and I have definitely seen an improvement (though it’s hard to measure).

Team Treehouse videos: This is one of those things I always mean to do but can never find time for. It doesn’t make me more productive, but it makes me a better web developer.

Writing: This is where I’ve seen the biggest improvement. Working on writing a little at a time helps me space out the work I need to do, and I don’t end up with a stressful few days before the deadline. In fact, since I started this morning routine, I have turned in two articles early because they simply got done sooner than I thought they would.

What was the toughest/best part of the experiment? Do you think you’ll stick with it?

The toughest part about maintaining my routine is the unpredictability of my children and their sleeping schedules. My morning routine goes flawlessly when they sleep until 7:30. But if my kids are up at 6:30 and my husband has to leave at 7, it’s really hard to get everything in around changing diapers and fixing breakfast.

On days like this, it’s hard not to push my morning routine onto my to-do list for the day. This is unhelpful, because I already have a full day (hence the need to find extra time in the morning to get these things done). When this happens, the routine that is supposed to make my life less stressful makes my day more stressful. I’m still working on letting those activities go until the next morning.

The best part for me has a lot less to do with productivity and more to do with guilt, believe it or not. I have always loved sleeping in but always felt guilty for doing it. It seemed like sleeping in isn’t the mature, grown-up thing to do. Similarly, I’ve been meaning to start workout videos for a long time, but I was always finding excuses not to do it, and that made me feel guilty. When I’m up against a writing deadline, I often feel guilty for not planning ahead and pacing myself better.

Now that I’m getting up early and crossing these things off my list every morning, all of that guilt is relieved. I’m not a person usually motivated by guilt, but in these areas, I was often feeling frustrated with myself for not getting things together. Now that I have a process in place, these guilt-inducing issues just take care of themselves.

I will absolutely keep my morning routine. I think it will be especially helpful as my kids get older and start sleeping later and more consistently. I feel just as rested, my mornings are calmer, and I am able to tackle important tasks consistently.

Questions for Hope? Ask them in the comments!

How to Get Your Own Copywriting Clients

In addition to proactively searching for writing jobs yourself, you can also market yourself so that future clients will come to you. Sounds pretty ideal, right? While it takes a little time, creativity and some good-old networking, you can successfully attract clients by putting yourself out there. Here are a few tips to get writing gigs by making them come to you.

Create an online portfolio: Having a physical copy of things you've written is great for in-person interviews, but you need to keep up with the digital age. Creating an online portfolio of your work is a must for getting freelance writing jobs (and full-time jobs too). Contrary to popular believe, you don't have to be a web guru to create your own website. There are many free and easy-to-use platforms out there such as Wix, Contently and WordPress where you can upload your information, photos, links and samples. You don't need anything too flashy or fancy, you just want a website that's easy to read and features your writing samples.

One Woman Shop Resource: Brandon Lee provides an in-depth look at the best portfolio-hosting options for copywriters on Sangsara.

Link to this portfolio everywhere: I have a "Hire Me" tab on my blog's navigation bar. While I wasn't looking for a full-time job, I kept this up for possible freelance writing opportunities. After a few months of having this up, I was contacted by the owner of a fashion boutique who wanted me to help with their SEO strategy and write copy for their store, website and blog. She found me through my blog and contacted me straight from my "Hire Me" page, so I'm living proof that this can work. If you don't have a blog and you're a writer, I suggest creating one. It's a great way to practice your writing, make connections and get your name out there.

One Woman Shop Tip: When guest blogging, include a link directly to this page in your author bio.

Use social media: Much like the tip above, make sure to link your online portfolio/resume to your social networks. They should definitely be on your LinkedIn, but also can be seen by many if you link them to your Twitter bio as well.

One Woman Shop Tip: Consider using standard words like "copywriter" in your bio- while we love fun job titles, they can limit you since most people search for more common terms.

Keep in touch with your connections: I always try to keep in touch with my past clients and organizations who I've worked with previously. Maybe that small agency you did a writing project for last month has another client who could use your help. If someone had a pleasant experience working with you, they are far more likely to hire you in the future or recommend your services to a friend.

One Woman Shop Tip: Use a site like Newsle to easily keep up with your network- when someone pops up on your radar, take a few minutes to reach out to them. 

Blend- Don’t Balance- Your Work and Your Life

Everyone talks about the importance of work/life balance but balance, by nature, is very precarious. Tension is inherent in this idea of spending 50% of your time on work and 50% of your time enjoying your life. Picture a see-saw. Lean back or lean in on either side of the see-saw of work and life and you’ve tipped - there goes your perfectly balanced life.

Not to mention, if you are a solopreneur, is this really even possible?

Instead of trying to separate, and then balance, your personal and professional lives, we at Live in the Grey have a different approach. We advocate tossing out the idea of a black-and-white existence and blending these two important aspects together. No more black-and-white. Living in the grey means loving what you do and living what you love.

Did you realize that you are already living in the grey?

Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart. Since you’ve signed up for this awesome roller coaster ride, it’s safe to say you’re in it because you are passionate about what you’re doing. You’ve already taken the first step to #LiveGrey: you know what makes you happy, and you’ve found a way to fold it into your daily life.

Our challenge to you is to look for other ways in which you can actively blend your personal and professional. Are you making work playful? Can you find meaning when you play? Have you made your friends your colleagues? Are your colleagues your friends?

We believe that actions trump intentions so we’d like to leave you go-getters with a small challenge (a fun to-do to add to your list!):

We’d like you to do at least one of the following three things in the next seven days to make your life a little more grey.

1. Create opportunity. Think of two people in your life - from either your personal and/or professional network - that should meet each other. Look for people with common interests or similar goals. Shoot a quick note to each explaining why they should meet the other. Introduce them and see what happens! When you add value to the lives of people in your world, it comes back around!

2. Share your aspirations. Tell one of your friends or family members about a business article you’ve read or why you love a certain brand. Seek out their insight on the topic and engage them in conversation that you might not have otherwise had. This is a great way to nurture your (healthy) obsessions, name your aspirations and share them with the ones you love.

3. Make your colleagues your friends. Make a lunch date with the freelancers, contractors, peers, and mentors that are helping you build your business. Celebrate your collaborations by getting to know each other in a non-work way. Talk about hobbies, travel, pets, etc. Anything that will help everyone get to know each other on a deeper level. Just make sure there’s no work-talk!

Challenge extended! Share your results with us in the comments below. And if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out at [email protected] or find us on Twitter, @livegrey.