Day in the Life: Kiersten Kindred

Day in the LifeWelcome to Day in the Life, where we peek into the lives and schedules of solopreneurs and freelancers. Today we’re chatting with Kiersten Kindred, founder of Kindred Communications, a communications and branding firm in Houston, Texas. Kiersten specializes in communications, media, marketing, and defining brands for medium-sized businesses. Visit her site to download Five Steps to Marketing Success: A Small Business Guide.

Kiersten Kindred7:30 am: I wake up to my alarm song, Rihanna “We Found Love.” I still love that song. As soon as I get up I put on the Today show to see what is going on in the world.

7:35 am: After I lay in bed for about five minutes watching the news, I move to my floor to meditate. My mantra that I say over and over again is “God is love.” I say that on repeat to allow my mind to find my inner peace before I begin my day.

7:45 am: Once meditation is complete, I hop in the shower.

8:30 am: I begin to get my breakfast ready. I clean off a piece of fruit (a plum, blueberries or a banana) and heat up some Cream of Wheat or pour a bowl of Fiber One (with no sugar added). Once the breakfast is ready, I put it on a plate and head over to the table to eat and watch more news.

9 am: After I finish my breakfast, I go to the kitchen to prepare my lunch and snacks for the day, so I won’t have to stop and cook in the middle of the day.

9:45 am: I get on my laptop to check and respond to emails. I often forget how many email accounts I have, so I have to keep a check list of which email accounts I have checked. I keep many email accounts for my personal emails, business emails and fun emails.

10:45 am: As soon as I’ve checked my email accounts and replied to clients, potential clients and others, I get on social media. I try to automate my social media accounts, but it often becomes a mixture of me posting live and automatic postings. When I post automatically, it is great for me because I can proceed with my day and not worry about social media. My favorite tool for this is Hootsuite. I also take this time to look at trends and look for events in the area.

11:45 am: I do a conference call with a client to talk about the communications and branding efforts for the week. I love this part of the day because it so motivating to be able to help businesses improve their branding efforts for their business. It truly is enjoyable to be able to watch businesses grow through communications, branding and marketing efforts. Once I talk to one client, I call the next client and discuss their efforts for the week. I try to touch base with all my clients in some form in the day, so they know they I am on top of things.

1:45 pm: Once I have talked to all my clients, I go to the kitchen to get my lunch and eat it at the table while reading emails. I take a little break to try to eat and sometimes play Lumosity for a mini-mind break.

2 pm: After finishing my lunch, I then prepare my bag and leave to meet with potential clients that I have already researched and prepared a pitch for. I aim to meet with at least 10 potential clients a day, in their offices.

4:30 pm: Now that I have met with potential clients, I arrive back home and get on the computer again to promote my new book (Five Steps to Marketing Success: A Small Business Guide). I promote it on social media, search for media outlets and look for possible speaking engagements.

6 pm: Once I have completed tasks for my book, I look for networking events in my area and surrounding areas. I try to make it a habit to attend at least three networking events a month. I search Eventbrite, LinkedIn, Twitter and use a simple Google search.

7 pm: I head to the gym to have an hour-long workout filled with cardio first (I either get on the elliptical, stair master or treadmill for about 20 minutes) then I do either my legs, abs or arms. I typically do legs and lower body Mon, Wed, Fri and then I do abs and arms Tues and Thurs.

8:30 pm: I arrive home, check my emails and then try to watch TV, talk to family and friends, and prepare dinner. It depends what night it is for what I am watching on TV, but my favorite shows out now are Blood, Sweat and Heels, Power, and Empire. My dinner usually consists of something like salmon, always with two servings of vegetables.

9:30 pm: I write a blog post for my company blog. My blog post will be about branding, communications, marketing or media relation tips.

10 pm: Finally, I prepare for bed and get ready to do it all over again. What a day for Kiersten Kindred!

PS - Liked getting this behind-the-scenes look? Check out the rest of the Day in the Life series!

One Woman Shop Chats With…Live: Bucketlist Bombshells + All Things Location Independence

When a new member mentioned that she found out about One Woman Shop through the Bucketlist Bombshells’ email newsletter, we asked her to forward us the email feature. We were immediately sucked into all things Bucketlist Bombshells: their tagline and the name of their e-course (Work Online and Travel the World), their fun branding (love the teal!), and their reference to binge-watching New Girl. (Who’s that girl?)

We wasted no time in reaching out to thank them and quickly asked them to join us for our One Woman Shop Chats With… Live series to talk about all things location independence.

In this 55-minute video, we chat about:

  • How strange we entrepreneurs can be (think: silly nicknames and our excessive usage of acronyms)
  • How it's possible (and sometimes imperative) to create routine and community while you're traveling
  • Fresh Mexican tacos + coconut juice
  • The people best cut out to take on the location independent life
  • The greatest fears that hold women back from building a location-independent business
  • The (few) drawbacks of living the digital nomad lifestyle
  • How the Bucketlist Bombshells have built such a strong brand and community
  • The Bombshells’ favorite and least favorite social media channels

Pop in those headphones and listen and/or watch at your own leisure!

After you’ve listened, tell us below: 1) both the best and hardest part about location independence (for our current digital nomads) or 2) what’s holding you back from pursuing location independence (for our aspiring digital nomads).

Digital nomad and location independence resources

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.

So You Wanna Be a…Personal Stylist

soyouwannabe_blog

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 solopreneurs who’ve built successful businesses doing what they love.

This month, we’re chatting with three personal stylists -- Monica Barnett of Blueprint for Style, Conni Jespersen of Art in the Find, and Nicole Longstreath of The Wardrobe Code  -- to get their inside advice on how they got their solo businesses started.

So you wanna be a personal stylist? Here’s what you need to know...

Tell us exactly what a person in your role does.

Conni: A wardrobe stylist is a multi-faceted job. Most of what I do involves behind-the-scenes movement before the actual event or appointment with a client. A wardrobe stylist can do everything from organizing and styling a photo shoot/editorial to shopping for or with a client. The role requires you to pick up and drop off clothes for photo shoots, organize dressing rooms, racks, and closets, and build solid relationships with women who need help with style and organization. It's the job of a stylist to help empower women to feel motivated and confident about their wardrobe every day!

Monica: As a wardrobe stylist and image consultant, I'm part psychiatrist, part clairvoyant, and part shopper. I work with individuals and companies to understand what they want to say with their style message, and then work toward creating that visually using clothing and accessories.

Nicole: I teach the modern working woman how to define her style and build a wardrobe around the person she's destined to be.

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

Conni: The obvious road to start out is attending a fashion-based college to obtain a degree in fashion. But if you have a degree in another field, like I do, use that to your advantage and assist someone who is already established. It’s a great way to build knowledge, experience, and skill. Another idea is to attend night classes at a community college to slowly earn a degree, while interning, assisting, or working in a field closely related to what you want to do. (That's what I did!)

Monica: I started very organically by styling friends, and discovered that I had a natural eye for putting things together. It morphed into a career after leaving a six-figure consulting gig out of necessity. I wanted to help people feel good and I know that when you look good, you feel good and that can change the game! I think a great way to start is to "start where you are" and get exposure to the different facets of fashion -- and read, a lot (which I openly confess I don't do enough of).

Nicole: I got laid off from commercial interior design for the second time in three years, so I decided to start my own business. I had already been working on the side with a few friends, and it seemed like the perfect time to go out on my own!

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

Conni: An extrovert would thrive in this role! You have to love working, networking, and collaborating with people and be confident in your style in order to help people with theirs. A lot of what you're doing in building relationships. Styling is not about ownership but about teaching others how to rock their own personal style in their own way. You have to be competitive but not pushy. Be willing to listen, look around, and see what's happening out there then give it back to women in a way that women will feel empowered to do it themselves!

Monica: Someone who is creative and has tenacity because it isn't all sunshine and fun. It requires a business mind to think a few steps ahead, build alliances, and brand appropriately. You truly have to have a passion for what you do because people see/feel and feed off of it!

Nicole: You have to be able to see different types of style possibilities for different people. It's not enough to simply dress your clients up in trends.

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

Conni: Obtaining a credential or degree in fashion is encouraged but not required. Taking courses in the fashion industry is helpful because you'll be more apt to understanding the in's/out's of the fashion industry.

From an entrepreneur perspective, securing a business license & domain name for your site/blog were first. Most cities have places you can go for free business advice. In San Diego, there is a non-profit called Score, that gives free business/finance advice for new entrepreneurs. (They helped me a lot.)

Nicole: People who want to get started need an interest in fashion and some sort of creative professional background, since there is a pretty substantial customer service component of the business. You're not just a "creative" - you're a designer who creates wardrobes for clients.

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?

Conni: Most of what I've done so far has been word-of-mouth or advertising tips/style services on my blog. Networking has been the greatest way of building a client base. When meeting people, I love to chat about what I do, exchange business cards, and reach out to them again after we've met. I have yet to try advertising in print as a method of building customers. I am just not sure how effective it would be for me.

Monica: Currently, I do mostly referrals and use most introductions to share what I do and get people excited. I have considered advertising in certain magazines but haven't done it yet partly because it's expensive but also because I'm not sure it will provide the type of clients I need at this juncture.

Nicole: I create content that my ideal client wants, but can't seem to find from other sources. Establishing myself as an expert and flying my flag on certain opinions has attracted an audience that feels connected because we share ideas.

How do you normally work with clients or customers?

Conni: Mainly I work with clients 1-on-1 but there are also fun events that I participate in where I am giving style tips to small groups. I also offer virtual styling online when a client lives out of town/state. This is an affordable option for people who need a stylist but don't need a whole overhaul of their wardrobe!

Nicole: The majority of my clients go through my online course, Style Mastery. We have an online library of materials, a private Facebook group, and we do twice-monthly live calls. I also do have a few clients I work with locally in Orange County.

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

Conni: I was once told by someone that it's easier to lower your prices later than it is to raise them. When I was deciding how to price my hourly rates/packages, I took the following into consideration.

  1. what I would need to make in a day to live
  2. what a "client" who would hire me could afford

Monica: I backed into my pricing originally based on what I wanted to make. Over time, I have changed the model to price slightly higher than the competition and to focus on dollars per hour.

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

Conni: In the fashion industry, there are networking groups you can join such as FGI (Fashion Group International). It's a great idea to start networking as soon as possible to know what is going on in the community. Other style resources are WWD (Women's Wear Daily), which is an online and print publication that is the know-all of style forecasters, and style.com.

Monica: My favorite blogs are Cheetah is the New Black, whowhatwear.com, and Le Catch.

What is an industry-specific tool that you couldn’t live without?

Nicole: Polyvore. (Editor’s note: Polyvore is a “community powered social commerce website” where you can curate products and create collages.)

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

Conni: I don't know if it's surprising but collaborations with others in your field will broaden your knowledge and experience. A lot of what you'll do in the beginning involves free work on your part to show what you know. Collaborations will not only widen your community but it will exercise your creativity! Be in it to help others, not just yourself.

Nicole: Women will invest in everything else in their life before they invest in themselves (which is a shame!). To convert a styling client, it's best to find women who already have a specific reason why they want to define their style. Otherwise, you're constantly convincing them how and why they're worth the investment. I still do a bit of that with clients, but they need to have mostly come to the conclusion on their own already.

Ready to get started? Connect with our experts via Twitter:

P.S. Liked this post? You’ll love seeing a day in the life of Nicole Longstreath!

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!

Day in the Life: Sabrina Bolin, Intuitive Coach + Hypnotherapist

Welcome to Day in the Life, where we peek into the lives and schedules of solopreneurs and freelancers. Today we’re chatting with Sabrina BolinSabrina is an Intuitive Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist who guides the energetically stuck back to their soul's purpose by teaching them to release limitations, strengthen their intuition and take more inspired action in life. Head over to her site to join The Tribe.

MyMiBoSo office

Upon waking, I pull my two dogs up into the bed for morning cuddles with me and my man - an essential part of starting my day filled with love.

I then roll out of bed and into my closet, which doubles as my meditation space. Depending on the day, I go through a chakra cleanse, breathing meditation, or self-hypnosis visualization journey to get myself grounded and ready to receive insights from my inner wisdom for my life and business.

Because I believe a healthy body is the best way to support a healthy mind and soul, I like to move my body before I check a single email. On busy days, this simply means the long walk around the block with my dogs, but I also like to turn it up a few times a week with a jog to the park, kettle bell swings, or time on my yoga mat.

I'm fortunate to have the support of a daily accountability partner through a fellow entrepreneur and dear friend, and my work day officially begins as we text each other to set our daily goals and intentions to stay on track with the weekly ones we share with each other at the start of every week. I review my Google calendar at this time as well as my Trello to do lists to check on what needs to be prioritized for the various ongoing projects I feel called to devote my time and energy toward.

From there I move into my office where I focus on working on the growth of my business - whether it's with new marketing experiments (because truly everything is an experiment - some just more guided than others!), crafting new programs and offerings, and finding other ways to connect directly with the clients I'm meant to serve. Currently in the works: my "Get Unstuck" training series and "The Inspired Life" podcast.

I typically unplug midday for writing, intuitive practices, and practicing what I teach - because truly, I'm most helpful to my people when I release my own limitations and strengthen my own intuition first. Nature is my muse, and I'm so lucky to have a home office surrounded by trees, with both an indoor and outdoor workspace that allows me to stay connected to my soul no matter where I'm working.

Most of my client sessions are in the late morning or early afternoon, so I take a moment before each session to reconnect and then release any busy-ness in my own mind - these sessions are not about me after all, and it is essential I am fully present so that I can meet them exactly where they are.

The late afternoon is the time to get back online and reconnect with my tribe; I aim to make myself available at least a couple of times daily via email and on social media so that I am not "always on" but present enough to make a difference. This is also a great time to connect with my tribes in the Facebook groups, as I connect with friends and mentors old and new on the always-exciting journey of a heart-led entrepreneur.

My evenings are spent with my man, with friends, or just by myself, unwinding, playing in the kitchen, and giving my mind over to a little TV or reading. When it's time to call it a night, I often get out my journal to practice gratitude and reflections, listing out my moments of appreciation, priming my mind and soul for a good night's sleep and refreshed start to the new day.

Of course, what I just described was my ideal day - which realistically only happens a little more than half the time.

However, even on those days when I "break the rules," and spend too long on social media, skip my breaks entirely, or completely take an unplanned day "off" from my business, I practice what I believe is real balance: the awareness of those things that I value the most and the flexibility to allow my energy to ebb and flow where it's needed to honor all parts of myself.

So after a day completely off routine, I am able to get refocused and dive back in that next day - ready to serve the world the best way I know how and pour my heart into a business I love.

Designer Profile: Kim Lawler of Kim Lawler Creative

Welcome to Designer Profiles, where we profile some amazing designers and developers who focus on making kick-ass websites and graphics for creative women entrepreneurs and freelancers. Think: eye-catching, sleek designs, fun functionalities, and social media integration. If you're in need of a new website, blog, or other graphic design collateral, take note of these creative superstars! 

Meet Kim of Kim Lawler Creative. Kim describes her work as "clean, colourful, and organised" (she lives in the United Kingdom, hence the spelling 😉 )

She says, "I love working with clients who know they want a website, know what they like, but don't really know how to make it happen. I like to work honestly, telling the client from the outset if one of their grand website dreams won't work within budget, keeping my clients up to date with the progress, and keeping lines of communication firmly open (by email, Skype, or Twitter... you'll think I'm stalking you by the end of the project)."

Kim offers the following services:

    • Blog/website/e-commerce design
    • WordPress theme development
    • Blogger/Blogspot theme development
    • Shopify theme development
    • Bigcartel theme development
    • HTML newsletters
    • Mailing list set-up
    • Social media branding
    • Logo design & branding

And a fun fact about Kim: Jurassic Park is her favorite movie!

Connect with Kim: Twitter // Facebook // Email

One Woman Shop Chats with…Gigi Griffis

Welcome to One Woman Shop Chats, an interview series where we- you guessed it- chat with solo business owners. Want to chat with us? Email us!
Gigi Griffis

Hi Gigi! Tell us about yourself and your business.

​My name is Gigi Griffis and I'm a writer, content strategist, and world traveler. About 3.5 years ago, I started a small business called Content for Do-Gooders. The idea was to provide content strategy and copywriting services to companies that cared about the world.

While I was running that business, I was also traveling the world full-time (working remotely) and doing a lot of creative writing on the side, including magazine articles, a humorous dating memoir, and a growing travel and inspiration blog.

Then, in September, 2013, I took a month off to hike in the Alps--my first real vacation since starting the business. And while I was hiking across ridges and past waterfalls, I realized that my real passion was for the creative writing I was doing.

I wanted to help inspire people to live brave, breathtaking lives. I wanted to help them travel. I wanted to help them feel like the whole world is within their reach. So, I quit my copywriting and content strategy business and transitioned into full-time creative writing.

My biggest project, which just launched, is an unconventional guidebook for those who want to experience Italy like a local would. ​

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

​GO! I want people to go for it...whatever "it" is in their lives: to take that leap, to start their business, to travel the world, to simply stand up for themselves.​

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

​Writing my blog.

The most fulfilling thing about my business is the emails I get from people who stumbled on my blog and suddenly felt supported, more capable, more understood, or simply better able to do whatever it is they've been dreaming of doing.

If I could make a living off the blog alone and just keep giving all my ideas away for free, I'd do it in a heartbeat.​

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

Every big, fabulous idea starts with a lot of small, less-than-fabulous steps. ​The thing I constantly remind myself is this: just keep going. Because building a following, a business, a demand, a platform...it all usually takes time.

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

​People always say that you have to "put in your time." When I started my business (even with 5+ years of work experience), people told me I should spend more time working for someone else, learning from them. They told me I was too young. And it simply wasn't true.

Sometimes you have great ideas or great talent at a young age and without as much experience. Sometimes you get tons of experience in a short time (ah, 12-hour ad agency workdays). Sometimes you just need to take the plunge because your ideas are pressing.

The real secret to doing things in life is to simply do them. And so, when the whole "I need to put in more time" thing comes up, I think we all have to ask ourselves, "Am I putting in more time at this job/internship/school because it is truly making me better, preparing me, pushing me toward my goal...or am I doing it because I'm scared, because someone else told me to, because I'm putting off what I really want?"

Because, while we certainly grow and improve in our industries with time and experience, it's also true that most people never feel ready to start their business and at some point you have to take the leap. ​

Any funny stories from your time in business?

​When I was working from Croatia this winter, I met an interesting artist who invited me to drinks with her friends. When I arrived and introduced myself, telling them that I was a writer, one woman responded, "Oh, so you drink?"

Thank you, famed writers of old. ​

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

​My new book--Italy: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In--is all about helping people experience authentic Italy. Instead of a list of restaurants or hotels, it's a guidebook full of interviews with people who live and work in Italy and who can tell you how to find the best pizzeria in Rome, the most charming neighborhood in Florence, ​or the cutest towns in the Italian countryside.

As one reader said: “She asks the eternal question of 'what to do,’ sure. The difference is *who* she asks: clearly, the most delightful, enthusiastically interesting and deeply engaged people she has come across in her singularly extensive travels. They, predictably, have the raddest answers. They are niche answers. They are answers from people who really, really LOVE their particular slicelet of the country. And they are totally captivating. Loved it.”

Designer Profile: Kendra John of Key Lime Digital

Welcome to Designer Profiles, where we profile some amazing designers and developers who focus on making kick-ass websites and graphics for creative women entrepreneurs and freelancers. Think: eye-catching, sleek designs, fun functionalities, and social media integration. If you're in need of a new website, blog, or other graphic design collateral, take note of these creative superstars! 

key lime digital

Meet Kendra of Key Lime Digital. She offers custom blog designs for Blogger and WordPress. When asked to describe her work, Kendra said it's "modern, clean, and professional."

kendra john of key lime digital

In the words of Kendra:

I love the development of designing a blog- starting with having the client answer a bunch of style questions, designing a mood board, developing a header and then filling in all the details that really help make a design stand out. I am patient, reliable, and work to make the client satisfied.

And a fun fact about Kendra: she lives in Hawaii with her husband and two kids. They love to hang out at the beach, watch TV series on Netflix, and eat cookie dough by the spoonful.

Connect with Kendra: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest

P.S. Love Kendra's work? Show her some love on Twitter!

Day in the Life: Kelsey Jones

Welcome to Day in the Life, where we peek into the lives and schedules of solopreneurs and freelancers. Today we’re chatting with Kelsey Jones. She is the managing editor of Search Engine Journal and helps clients grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence under her agency, MoxieDot. She also just started a new healthy living/lifehack blog: The Hustle Life. When she's not doing all three, she can be found reading, getting a workout in, or trying to catch up on Breaking Bad.

day in the life freelancer kelsey jones

6:05 am: After hitting snooze once, I roll out of bed. My husband won’t wake up for another 90 minutes, so I be as quiet as I can. I get dressed in workout clothes in my master bathroom, put my hair up and put on a sweatshirt, and head into my office.

6:15 am: I don’t drink any coffee at all, so I move the large cup of water I filled up the night before from my desk over to my over-sized chair. I go through my Miracle Morning routine (meditation, affirmations, visualizing how I want the day to be, reading for 20 minutes), and then write down my to-do list for the day. I work in 90 minute chunks (with a 30 minute break), so I schedule my tasks out into about three or four chunks each day, depending on how much I have to do.

7:15am: Time for my workout. I’m doing P90X3: it’s 90 days and I’m at the end of week three. Agility X is today’s workout, my favorite. I take my computer downstairs, let my miniature long-haired dachshund and german shepherd/australian shepherd mix outside, and start making an amino acid drink for the workout, which helps combat soreness.

9am: After my 30ish minute workout, I mess around on email and Facebook, then finally get breakfast (either a smoothie with protein powder, chia seed, almond milk, and berries; or a ThinkThin protein bar), feed my dogs (how are they that excited about the exact same food every day?!), shower, and get dressed. My husband is usually dressed and leaving for the day, so we say bye. I go back upstairs with my laptop, sit down at my desk, and look over the daily list I wrote this morning. I write a B2B marketing news post for a KoMarketing and then start editing contributors’ posts they’ve submitted to Search Engine Journal, where I’m the managing editor. I send them edits and put each post either in Editor Hold or Needs Copyedit. I get distracted in a Skype conversation with an SEJ coworker about Game of Thrones but still manage to schedule out social media posts for my three social media clients on Buffer and HootSuite.

10:30am: After working my first 90 minute chunk, I set my timer for 30 minutes and either fold some laundry, put away dishes, or even just read for a few moments-- really anything to give me a break from the computer. Ironically, taking longer breaks during the day has increased my productivity and I get more done during the day, way more than when I was working 10-12 hours per day. Still, I feel weird and guilty folding laundry in the middle of the morning, when most people are at their desks.

11 am: I’m back at my desk for my second chunk of time. Now I have to write a 2,000 word article on Google AdWords marketing. I like writing, but 2,000 words seems overwhelming. I did do the outline the day before, so that helps. I manage to sneak in a peek at HootSuite to check for @ replies to clients and to my own Twitter accounts, before finishing the AdWords article, double checking it for errors, and submitting it to my ghostwriting client.

12:30pm:I feel good that I’ve already written that monster post, so I treat myself to Mr. Goodcents, which is like Subway. I get a pepperoni and provolone on high-fiber bread, with some baked Lays and a caffeine-free diet coke since I just found out my body is sensitive to caffeine.

12:45pm: Lunch took longer than I thought, but this 90 minute chunk of time is easier than the first two, so I manage to get almost everything done. I finally go through my inbox, which I don’t do in the morning because it makes me feel too stressed and distracted. A client IMs me on Skype and wants to set up a meeting for me to show her MailChimp with Join.Me screenshare. We set it up for the coming Thursday.

2 pm: I let the dogs out and talk to my backyard neighbor about how funny it is my dachshund still barks at her kids, even though we have lived there three years. I grab him and we go back inside. I think about eating thin mints as a snack but choose clementines instead (but sometimes the thin mints prevail).

2:30 pm: I start trying to wrap up my final tasks for the day but keep getting distracted since I have an Old Navy gift card. I put imaginary outfits into my online shopping cart before taking a quick break to fill up my water cup, which helps me get refocused. I have a call with another client about SEO for a pest control company. He designs the website and outsources SEO to me, so I take notes in Evernote about our next steps and promise to get three deliverables to him by the next week. I add them to ToDoist, spreading out the tasks to make sure my workload is fairly the same each day.

4pm: I didn’t finish everything, but I’ve lost all concentration, so I head downstairs. The dogs are happy I’m not working anymore and I start getting dinner ready-- cajun pasta with chicken. After eating, I take the dogs for a 30 minute walk. Their enthusiasm convinces me to walk a little bit farther than I normally do.

5:45pm: Time for TV time with husband or maybe something with friends. I force myself not to check my email.

10:30pm: Start getting ready for bed. I usually like to read before bed, but I’m too tired today. I set my alarm for 6 am, and talk to my husband in bed before we both fall asleep.