3 Main Tips for Collaborating with Those in your Industry

Something Styled Events 1.png

One of the things I love most about owning a business is the connection I have made with other industry creatives and businesswomen.  Whether I am planning an event, designing floral, or styling a soiree, I have worked with and collaborated with some of the best in the industry!

With more than 1,000 events under my belt, I have three main tips for collaborating with those in your industry to build your portfolio and network.

 We all know that sending a DM, leaving a voicemail, or emailing a company or person to collaborate can be a bit nerve wracking but rewarding if done well.  I receive numerous calls, emails, and text messages on a daily basis with resumes, portfolios, and daily business grind.   

Collaboration has one goal…to build community + business.

Something Styled Events 4.png

To preface my tips, I want to let you know that I recently took the Enneagram test and I am a type 3 – an Achiever.  So my tips to collaborating with others might be a bit more to the point and less lovey and soft haha! We type 3’s are busy achieving things and have a very business like mindset so we don’t beat around too many bushes.  In fact, we don’t even beat around little tiny shrubs!!

So for all my business boss ladies out there here you go. Also… don’t take anything to heart. But in fact, practice brevity and you will come across more business like. 

Something Styled Events 3.png

1.    There is a process to collaborating with the people you want to partner with.

In order to gather the person’s attention, make it brief and send a plan.  Businesswomen can be swamped and if you present a quick visual, a date, what you need, and what your plan is, they are more likely to respond. Don’t bombard.  Sending 5 paragraph emails seems daunting to reply to. I when growing up, I was told by my dad that a 5 minute phone call is much easier than a 15 minute email with a 2 day response time. with that thought in mind, if several days pass by and you don’t hear back, call them.  I know telephone calls seem foreign to most these days, but an actual phone call proves that you’re a professional who is willing to take the time to step out and step up in your business.

2.    Have your plan in place and be confident about it, but also know that a true creative businesswomen will want to put “their touch” on it so it benefits them as well.

If you are confident and well assured of what you want and what they can bring to the table, they will most likely hop on board.  Your plan allows the other person to bring their talent to the table. You are only asking for what you need and they won’t feel taken advantage of or exhausted from the submission forms that hit their inbox. It will then feel like team collaboration and not a personal gain.

Something Styled Events 2.png

3.     Enjoy the collaboration!

When I first started my business, I had some poor collaborations because I reached out to people who didn’t truly want to collaborate and who were actually …well, lazy!

I ended up doing all the work and quickly learned that collaborations were not meant to exhaust and drain, but rather to give joy and be an outlet for creativity with other like-minded individuals. And to be honest, there are some people that you won’t be able to work with and then others you will want to work with time and time again.

Collaborations are meant to bring out the best in each person you choose and to benefit both.

How have collaborations helped your business and expanded your community and reach?

Something Styled Events.png

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.

– Henry Ford

NOTE: Collaboration photos included in this post are from here, here, here, and here!

 

 

 

 


READ MORE ABOUT  SARAH  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GAL  GUIDES SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT SARAH (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GAL GUIDES SECTION

WRITTEN BY SARAH JOHNS: ENTREPRENEUR, CREATIVE, FLORAL AND EVENT DESIGNER.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know You Could Write Off

socialsquares_warmneutralshome0030.JPG

If you’re a small business owner and dread dealing with taxes, know you are not alone!

With it, comes with the worry of audits, fees, and money owed. But while it can be stressful, it does come with benefits for business owners - like writing off all those business expenses to help minimize your tax bill. Let’s go over some of them! 


RENT 

Most businesses have to pay rent of some sort. Usually, businesses are renting buildings out like storefronts, warehouses, office spaces, and more. These all cost money in the way of rent. Luckily, business owners can write off the rent for their business on their taxes! 

UTILITIES

Along with rent, you are going to have to pay the utility costs for where your business is located. Electricity, water, and internet all cost extra money on top of rent. But not to worry, these can be written off too! 

YOUR HOME OFFICE

Maybe you don’t rent a separate building for your business but you do have a home office. There is a tax deduction for that too! How much you can deduct depends on how large your home office is. You can calculate the deduction based off of the proportion of your office space compared to the total square footage and utility bills of your house. Have these numbers ready for your tax preparer when filing!

VEHICLE EXPENSES

If you are driving for work, you can too deduct this off your expenses. If your vehicle is both for business and personal life, just make sure to log your vehicle costs (gas, repairs, maintenance) and the mileage for both categories. 


TRAVEL

For some businesses, work requires the owner or employees to travel. If you or your employees are traveling out of town, you can deduct both your transportation and lodging expenses. As long as the trip truly is for business purposes of course!

Tax.png


MEALS & FOOD

Meals and food that are related to your business are a few of those partially detectable expenses. Most of your meal expenses are deductible to up to 50%. This includes travel meals.


INSURANCE

Insurance is a must have in business and luckily it is also something you can deduct on your taxes. Items like your business insurance, liability coverage, and your employees’ insurance can be a great deductible for you and help save on taxes. 

ADVERTISING SPENDING

Didn’t think you could write off the money you use to advertise your business?  Well, you can! Types of advertising you can write off include social media, newspapers, digital ads, email marketing, and more. 


EDUCATION

Continuing education and personal development can be definitely expensive. Which makes it daunting and scary to invest in. Even though it is needed to advance your business. Thankfully, you can write off education that is related to your business - like conference tickets and online courses.


CHARITABLE DONATIONS

Just like on your personal taxes, you can deduct charitable donations from your business taxes as well. Just make sure you have the receipts to prove it!

It Doesn’t Have to Be Scary 

Taxes don’t have to be scary. Keep track of your deductions and don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you need some assistance.

READ MORE ABOUT  ADRIENNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT ADRIENNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY ADRIENNE ZIMBRO: ACCOUNTANT, CONTENT CREATOR, & ENCOURAGER

15 (free) Ways to Market your Business

tamara-bellis-189610-unsplash.jpg

Marketing for our businesses can feel overwhelming, especially when we feel like marketing dollars flow out of our bank accounts like water. Luckily, there are tons of ways to share what we’re doing for FREE!


1.HOST A FREE TRAINING

Create video training or host a webinar to share your expertise. Make sure you offer your services at the end to remind potential clients that they can come to you for deeper/further assistance.

2. ASK FOR REFERRALS

Reach out to past clients, family, friends, and other business associates and ask if they know of anyone who might need what you’re doing.

3. PROMOTE A SPECIAL OFFER OR DISCOUNT

Giving an incentive from time to time is a great way to get past clients to work with you again and develop new customers, as well.

4. WRITE A GUEST POST

Get in front of an entirely new group of people by writing a guest post for a blog or website with a similar target audience.

5. FACEBOOK GROUP NETWORKING

There is a FB group for absolutely everything these days. Comment, post, and use them to market your business to like-hearted individuals.

andrew-neel-237802-unsplash.jpg

6. HOST YOUR OWN (LIVE OR VIRTUAL) EVENT

Whether you’re charging a small fee (to cover the cost of the event itself) or offering it for free, blow everyone away with the depth of content you offer. Make it both beautiful and full of value so those who attend share it with their audience/networks.

7. HOST A TWITTER OR INSTAGRAM CHAT

Connect with other experts and host a conversation that shares expertise in a certain industry or topic. Use a cohesive hashtag to share with your fans, keeping the conversation connected for all of your audiences.

8. COMMENT ON BLOGS

Comment (often!) on your favorite blogs and websites, including your web address. People often scroll through, reading other’s thoughts…they may be curious about you after reading what you have to say, and click over to your site.

9. SEND NOTES TO PAST CLIENTS

Sending a hand written note or even simply an email reminds past clients that you value them and their business. It also reminds them that you’re out there and the likelihood happy customers coming to you again is great.

10. ATTEND A NETWORKING EVENT OR POPUP

Find groups in your community or city because these are such a treasure trove for your business! Make sure your elevator speech is ready so you can quickly get folks excited about what you do.

thought-catalog-641073-unsplash 2.JPG

11. EMAIL YOUR SUBSCRIBER LIST

A subscriber list is imperative for any business and in any industry. Even if you don’t blog, simply sending quick emails with great, friendly content, will keep your company in their thoughts and therefore know where to find you when they need you next.

12. CREATE A YOUTUBE VIDEO

YouTube now has more subscribers/viewers than cable television. Get in front of an entirely new audience by filming videos providing great content.

13. CREATE A FREEBIE

Create a valuable (free!) resource for your ideal audience that they will receive when opting-in/subscribing via email. Mini Courses, resource guides, checklists, printables, videos, the options are endless and so is your opportunity to grow when you find the ideal thing to grab their attention.

14. SHARE INTERVIEWS

Interviewing other experts in a certain field or within a particular topic will not only be share-worthy, but also expands your reach because they will likely post about it to their network/audience, as well.

15. COMMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Being active on social media is a given, but don’t forget to like and comment on other people’s feeds, as well. Comment in an authentic way that makes sense with the post (not a cut/paste generic comment that is obvious you’re not actually consuming their content). Not only will that person begin to notice who you are because of the consistency, but so will others reading through comments on their feed…resulting in curiosity and clicking over to see who you are and what you’re about.


What other ways have you been marketing your business?? We’d LOVE to know! xo

READ MORE ABOUT  TERESA  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  GUIDES SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT TERESA (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS GUIDES SECTION.

WRITTEN BY TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON: AUTHOR, SPEAKER, AND FOUNDER OF THE & SOCIETY

Writing Content for Your Business, Part 2: Website Content

Welcome to the second installation of our Writing Content for Your Business series. Last time, I talked about why blogging is still a viable and important piece of your business’s content strategy. This time however, I’m tackling your website content, which I dare say is one of the single most important pieces of marketing copy you can write.

Here’s why.

Your website is where your business lives online. It tells people what, why, and how you do what you do. It’s where you introduce yourself to your audience and give them a sense of who you are as a person and a business owner.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0386.JPG

And—this is super important—it’s where you clearly direct prospective customers or clients to take action to further interact with or buy from you.

For these reasons, you should write your website content to accomplish these goals. Looked at through this lens, the process is quite strategic.

There are many really good marketing writers who teach this in detail (and I suggest you do yourself a favor and read what they have to say, specifically Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand and Ray Edwards’ How to Write Copy that Sells), but for brevity’s sake, I’ll pull the main points they espouse and break them down for you here.

How to write killer website content in a (abnormally large) nutshell:


YOUR HOME PAGE

This is literally the first place most people land on your website, so it’s imperative you provide clarity about what you do so they’ll keep reading. Various reports say the average reader will stay 15 seconds on your site before navigating away if you haven’t given them a good enough reason to stay. I’ve actually heard that time reported as few as 3 seconds. The point is, you have very little time to capture a reader’s attention. So…

1. BE RIDICULOUSLY CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU OFFER.

To grab and keep someone’s attention, you must be crystal-clear about what you offer so they know immediately if the answer they are looking for is on your website.

To do this, you must first become crystal-clear about what you offer.

This may seem obvious, but honestly, how simply can you describe what you do? And would the average person understand what you mean?

Trying to be cute on your home page is basically marketing suicide.

Just don’t.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0711.JPG

We don’t know what “Upleveling Your Spiritual Vibration” means. Truly, think of all the possible ways to interpret that… I mean, the mind reels.

However, we do know what it means when you say, “I teach regular people how to incorporate meditation into their everyday lives”. OK! Now we’re getting somewhere.

You want people to understand right away what you offer so they can decide if that’s what they’re looking for or not. And there’s a good chance they do want your product or service or information so long as you don’t disguise it under weird language that doesn’t actually say anything.

2. HAVE A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION PROMINENTLY POSITIONED.

People need (and want) to be told what to do when it comes to taking action to get your product/service/information. They do not have the time or desire to interpret vague messages and follow a meandering path toward actually getting what they want. The sooner you can connect them with their desired outcome (buy the product, set up the consultation, learn about the subject), the more likely they’ll be to actually do those things.

That may seem obnoxiously obvious but think about how easy (or difficult) you make it for people who come to your site to quickly get what they came there for. Go to your website with the eyes of someone who knows nothing about you or what you do and see how easy it is to figure it out and navigate to the end result.

It is possible you may be too entrenched in your business to be able to do this objectively, so you may be better served to have a trusted friend or family member do it for you. Either way, do that exercise, be willing to be completely honest with yourself, and then make the changes to convert browsers into buyers.

Here’s one quick and easy way to do that: Place a clear call to action button in the top righthand corner of your home page. Use words like “get” and “click here” and “download”—basically any directional word that clearly tells your reader what to do to get what they want. Make sure there’s no ambivalence about what they’re doing or what they’re getting when they click that button. And if you don’t have a call to action button, for the love of all that’s holy, add one right now!

3. HELP READERS NAVIGATE TO THE RIGHT INFORMATION.

It’s possible you offer more than one service or product. Your home page is where you clearly lay out each one and guide readers to the right information for each one. This is easily achieved through boxes like these ones from online marketing guru Amy Porterfield’s website:

She clearly lays out three paths you can take, depending on what you need most. When you click on the button, you are taken to the cheat sheet she promised (and you add yourself to her mailing list, which is another super important facet of your overall marketing content strategy…but that’s for another article).

Clear. Simple. Effective.

Your boxes don’t have to go to freebies that you use to build your email list (though, if they do, bonus points for you), but they should lead to the most appropriate page on your website that answers your visitor’s question or meets their need.
Which leads us to…


YOUR SERVICES PAGE

If your home page is the first stop on your customer’s journey, then the next step is your services page (and, ideally, your home page should lead them there several times). Because this is where you get down to brass tacks about what you offer. From artwork to consulting services, present the options to your visitors as (wait for it…) CLEARLY as possible.

LAY OUT YOUR OFFERINGS CLEARLY AND MAKE THEM EASY TO BUY.

If you offer several services, you may choose to present them individually or in packages, but be sure you convey all the value people receive with each one.

Bullet points are a nice way for readers to quickly scan the benefits of each offer. They also force you to be more concise about communicating them.

The goal here is to say what you offer, what the person can expect to gain from it, and how to receive it. Donald Miller does this really well using boxes (of sorts) on his page for the online marketing workshop he offers:

Don’t overcomplicate this part but do put careful thought into the strategy of what you’re doing and on how best to execute it.


YOUR ABOUT PAGE

This is the page where you introduce yourself more personally to people, so it’s a great place to let your personality shine. However, it’s not the place to go on and on about yourself.

*Record scratch*

What?!? Isn’t that the whole purpose of an About page?

Well, kinda. But not really. Here’s what I mean.

In Building a Story Brand, Donald Miller explains that the most compelling stories are those where we follow a hero’s journey through hardship to reach a desired goal. Very often, the hero has a guide who gets them there. Gandalf guides Frodo in the Lord of the Rings,  Dumbledore guides Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series… they are essential characters in the story, but they are not the main characters.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0744.JPG

This, Miller argues, is how to effectively position yourself in relation to your customer because every person sees themselves as the hero in their own journey. Trying to place yourself in that role upsets that order and doesn’t serve them best.

So your About page is where you lay out what you know to be their hero’s journey as it relates to what you offer.

For example, if you sell toxin-free makeup and skincare products, your customer’s hero’s journey is to learn about the toxins she currently uses on herself and her family, discover why they’re harming them, and replace them with safer products. She remains the hero of her story, her life, her family, and you simply serve as the guide who shows her what she needs to know to make the best choice when it comes to the beauty and skincare products she buys.

Language you might use in your About page could be, “You might have heard that traditional skincare products and makeup actually contain harmful chemicals and toxins. You definitely want to make the safest choice for your family, but with all the information out there, you’re not sure where to start. Don’t worry: You’re in exactly the right place.”

This way, your readers see themselves in the journey you’ve described, and they feel reassured that they have found the place to get their questions answered. You will guide them to the right solution.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0352.JPG

Then it becomes natural to tell them a little bit of your own journey to using non-toxic products and the benefits you’ve experienced as a result. You can sprinkle in details about your professional experience, as it’s relevant: “I always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and used to do it as a teacher, but now I’ve discovered a new avenue where I can both educate people and tangibly improve their lives—and even advocate for better laws that make our skincare safe!” You can also share bits about your personal life here, as it pertains to your business.

Your About page is also a way to sneak in details about who you most love working with—your ideal customer. You can achieve this by describing how you like to work with your customers and what you most enjoy about the process. This way, those who are drawn to your approach will be naturally drawn to you too, and you’re more likely to attract your people who are always so much more fun to work with!

In addition to these three pages, you should also have a Contact page that includes a field where people can email you with questions and that should also be linked to your email marketing provider, like Mail Chimp or ConvertKit. If you’d like people to be able to call you, make sure you include your phone number there too.

If you implement all of these principles into your website, you will have a fully functional, incredibly effective website that will help you reach the people you most want to help and keep crushing it like the #momboss you are!


READ MORE ABOUT  MEREDITH  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT MEREDITH (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY MEREDITH WATKINS: ENTREPRENEUR, EDITOR, WRITER.

If you liked this and would like to learn more about creating crazy-effective marketing content, visit me at www.meredithwatkins.com. I’d love to help your business grow through smart, intentional strategies.

No one talks about what happens when the pursuit of happiness doesn’t work out the way you thought it would

It’s been said that the test of a true man’s character is the way he behaves when no one is watching. The last few years of my life have lead me to believe that a better testament of personal character is how we respond to life’s blows, and how we treat others when we lose everything.

This past year my family has lost every single asset that has come to define modern day success.

Whether filling out school, home, or job applications, our entry to security and opportunity are all qualified upon this value of financial success…of winning.

IMG_6199.jpg

The world tells us to boldly chase after what sets our soul on fire. To be fearless and to #riseandgrind. We put entrepreneurs and risk-takers on pedestals, and we are led to believe that if we want something bad enough, and are also willing to put in the time and sacrifice that it takes, we can achieve all of our hearts greatest desires (these photos are an example of a dream come true…that was suddenly gone).

Sometimes that happens. My husband was lucky enough to achieve enormous success in business at a very early age. He brought significant impact to companies by doing things he was remarkably talented at, and those impacts made companies a great deal of money. His personal financial gains from those wins made taking more bold leaps possible, and seven years ago when we embarked on building our life together, we set off to do just that.

At that time, I believed that my husband and I were both destined and entitled to even more “success” because we were two of the most intelligent, honest, and hard-working people I know.

We do the right thing, even when that meant we took the biggest hits, because we value integrity above all else. We are not afraid of hard things.

We have collectively sacrificed so much to try and get ahead, and we did it all because success meant we had the opportunity to change other people’s lives.

IMG_6200.jpg

But even in the face of all of those realities, we managed to lose the two things that we thought we needed the most - my longing for security - and my husband’s desire for freedom.

Let’s be honest, those two losses were horribly difficult to swallow.

Some of our losses were due to the inevitable missteps that one takes when pioneering and disrupting into new territories, some were the byproducts of personal growth, and many of our losses (and the hardest to recover from) were the consequences of being taken advantage of by people who did not share our core values.

No one talks about what happens when the pursuit of happiness doesn’t work out the way you thought it would.

How do you stomach disappointment? How do you modify your lens of success when you try your best and you don’t succeed?

IMG_6203.jpg

And this is what I have learned as I stand here today in the reckoning of letting go of the security that I once believed defined me…

Most leaders believe that the biggest indicator of success is money, because money equals power, power equals freedom, and without freedom we have no control. I have learned however, that the things that give you the most fulfillment in life (for us, there is no greater meaning in life than the kind you experience as a parent) are often the things you lose sight of on the journey towards building your safety net.

While research has proven that money only increases happiness up to the point of about 70K a year, I still held on to this notion that ambition, if altruistic in nature, could bring purpose to your life.

IMG_6202.jpg

I surmised that business could act as a vehicle to create impact and to give back - and I have since come to understand that the biggest gifts I have given to others didn’t lie in the money I donated to charitable causes, or within the opportunities I provided, but in the ways I loved just a handful of people with my whole heart.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
— Maya Angelou

For a long time, I held onto this system of belief that my need for safety and freedom had to be met in order for me to be happy.

I have transformed that ideology in recent months to uncover quite the opposite. When you are the most stripped down and sitting in the absence of the things you think you need the most, is when you truly awaken to the magic of the world around you.

When you are forced to stop all the doing, grinding, charging, achieving, driving, hustling, and fighting is when you get still enough to focus on the being of human existence.

IMG_6201.jpg

I should admit that I am still in the process of forcing myself to stop the cycle. Accepting disappointment is certainly not my biggest strength.

When you don’t feel secure - you feel afraid - and its human nature to want to charge to fix it, control it, and solve it. When you feel stuck, and you don’t have answers to your problems, it is ever so difficult to let yourself be still and to focus on the sound of your child’s laugh, the wind at your back, the blessings you have in just being alive.

But this is the new measure of success I have set for myself and these are the goals I am striving towards: embracing disappointment and finding joy in the absence of getting what I thought I needed, being fully present to the simple joys of life, and expressing gratitude for what I have instead of mourning all that has been lost. 

The silver lining of my story is that when you lose everything, you get to wipe the slate clean and start over…and as it turns out the security, freedom, and success I have always wanted, was always right here for the taking. It just looks different than I expected. The world is still our oyster, and I wouldn’t bet against us.

IMG_6204.jpg
That’s all about doing, not being – and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness. Stop and breathe. Be healthy.

Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.

If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow.  Because allowing yourself just to be, puts things into perspective.

There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. As human beings we have the ability to think, move and communicate in a heightened way.

We can cooperate, understand, reconcile and love, that’s what sets us apart from most other species. Don’t waste your human talents by stressing about nominal things, or that which you cannot change. If you take the time simply to be and appreciate the fruits of life, your stresses will begin to dissolve, and you will be happier.
— Richard Branson

READ MORE ABOUT  CHRISTINA  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GAL  GUIDES SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT CHRISTINA (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GAL GUIDES SECTION.

WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA CERANNA: ENTREPRENEUR, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PHOTOGRAPHER, SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT STRATEGIST

Bookkeeping Basics for the #MomBoss

Mom life is extremely busy - right?! Between taking care of the kids and the normal household necessities, you barely have any time for yourself. Add running a business on top of that, and the time you have available has pretty much gone to zero. Thankfully, some things in life can be made easier in order to save you time. One of these things is bookkeeping for your business.

We know that learning a new skill also adds to the amount of time you need in a day, so instead of having you take a full course on accounting, we have prepared some quick tips on bookkeeping basics for the #MomBoss. 

socialsquares_neutralloves007.JPG

Choose a Bookkeeping Software 

One of the very first steps for getting your bookkeeping going is a good software. You will want to choose an easy-to-use system that allows you to code income and expenses, reconcile your accounts, and provide you with monthly reports. If you are just starting your business, check out Wave. It is free and pretty intuitive to use for service-based industries. 

As your business begins to grow, you will want to upgrade to more robust (but still super user-friendly… we promise!) accounting software. Quickbooks Online is our go-to recommendation. They offer a variety of plans so you can pick which one is right for your company. It costs a monthly subscription fee but is SO worth it offering customized reports, sale tax and 1099 tracking, and more. These are features you will want available as you grow that business!

Separate Your Bank Accounts 

GOLDEN RULE! No matter how big your business is, you should always separate your business bank account from your personal bank account. Even if you don’t use a bookkeeping software, at the very least you will have a separate register of all business-related transactions in one place. 

We recommended having a dedicated business checking account from the very beginning. And if your business is already up and running, it isn’t too late to separate your finances now. If you are a sole proprietor, you can even just open up a new checking account under your own name and use it strictly for your business finances. 

All business related income and expenses should flow through this account, and this account only!

Bookkeeping Basics.jpeg

Keep Your Receipts Digitally

Filing receipts is probably the most yawn-inducing aspect of bookkeeping - but necessary for tax purposes. That’s why we advise taking it digital. Keeping your receipts in a physical file can get really messy and disorganized. Instead, snap a photo on your phone or save the PDF attachment emailed to you, and then simply upload to your preferred cloud storage folder.

Not sure which platform to choose? Take a look at Google Drive or Dropbox. You may be already using one of these for your business anyways! We like to file receipts by year and month.

Block out Bookkeeping Time 

Has anyone else heard of block scheduling? We love it as it helps us focus on specific tasks at a designated time - like taking care of the bookkeeping tasks. 

Set aside one time each month to work on coding transactions, reconciling accounts, reviewing reports, and filing receipts. You will feel at ease knowing that your one-hour block of time has saved you that headache during tax time.

Keep it Simple

The biggest advise we can give is to keep it simple. Bookkeeping may seem like it is super complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! The simpler the system you are using, the more likely you are to keep it up long-term.

Automating tasks like invoice follow-ups, letting clients pay through invoices directly, and using the QuickBooks Online bank rules to automatically code recurring expenses can save you even more time to spend on other areas of the business. 

By utilizing these tips, you will have your business bookkeeping flowing smoothly in no time. And maybe even squeeze in some extra mom time!


READ MORE ABOUT  ADRIENNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT ADRIENNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY ADRIENNE ZIMBRO: ACCOUNTANT, CONTENT CREATOR, & ENCOURAGER

How Time-Blocking Changed my Life

All of us working moms know that the after school hustle is real.  Call it witching hour, or call it whatever you like but those precious hours starting when you get home from pick up or the bus pulls away from your house, until bedtime can be a little nutty.  Especially if you are in a season of small or school aged kids.  So, I’ve found a few things that have been pretty helpful in managing the potential stress and chaos.

WHAT IS TIME BLOCKING?

Ok, I’m sure you get the concept of what this is, though I’ll admit when I first heard about this concept, I binged watched every youtube video I could find.  I was enamored by the idea. 

THINK ABOUT BLOCKING OUT THE HOURS OF YOUR DAY LIKE WHEN YOU WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Yes, really!!  Remember when the bell would ring, and you would pack up your Geometry books and head off to Art? Then after the bell rang for art, you would pack up your supplies and head to English?  You get the point…

Instead of doing ONE MILLION THINGS at a time, you were laser focused during that particular block of time.

(Having trouble with this video? Try watching it here instead)

So what would it look like to block out your time as a working mom?  Well we could talk about a lot of different parts of the day right now, but…

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE AFTERNOON BLOCK

This is potentially the hardest and most freeing block of time for me personally, when I adhere to my time blocking schedule.  

I pick up my daughter from school at 3pm, and then by 4pm my son is home off the bus. I also have a 2 year old who somewhere in there is waking up from her nap.  So how does time blocking work?  I have an alarm on my phone that is set every Monday-Friday at 4pm that says “kids home/evening block”.

That alarm serves as a reminder for me to put my phone AWAY for the next 3ish hours.

Time Blocking.png

I know what you are thinking, “Wynne that is so hard! I do a lot of business during that block!” And I totally hear you, and I understand.  I’m just here to say that there’s a lot more productivity that can happen when you aren’t screaming at your kids “just one more minute” and getting so frustrated with them because they are “interrupting you”.  I know y’all get it, the struggle is real.  

What if instead of multitasking and trying to help with homework, cook dinner, be present with your spouse, play with your kids AND work at the same time…

What if you shut down the temptation to work during that block, set up a healthy boundary, and gave yourself permission to be present? 

I have found this to be extremely helpful both in my resting and my producing.  I fill myself up on kitchen dance parties, cooking dinner, and looking my kids in the eyes so once bed time rolls around, everyones tanks are full. You know what happens next right, the next alarm goes off!  

THE GOAL:

Be present wherever you are or with whatever you are working on, while still being the badass #momboss that you are.

Me/us time/work block rings and with our mind and bodies, we move onto the next block of time.  I promise that little “rest” of your mind from your work tasks onto your family will only give you the mental capacity you need to move onto your next big task or project!

NOTE:

If you want to see what the rest of my day looks like (time-blocking wise anyway), check out the photo below.

This one (and the image used above) are the actual alarm reminders I use each and every day!

Time Bocking Morning.png

FOR EXAMPLE:

5:12am DO NOT CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAIL

6:00am Write

6:21am Get Camp up! You got this!!!

6:55am Bus is coming!!!!

fast forward to evening

4:00pm All Kids Home/Evening Block (i.e. PUT PHONE AWAY)

7:30pm Kids Bedtime/Me/Us Time Block

9:30pm Shut it down (phone), Read, and Sleep

TRY IT!

I can’t wait to hear your stories and see how you make this your own. 


READ MORE ABOUT  WYNNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT WYNNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY WYNNE ELDER: PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER, ENCOURAGER, & COMMUNITY BUILDER.

Beating The Working At Home Guilt

I leave for work most days the same time as my kids leave for school. They are old enough now to fix their own breakfasts and pack lunches, so our mornings flow fairly well. Okay-most days they flow. Then there are the days my 10-year-old decides to take a 45 minute shower, but I digress.

Depending on the day, I pick them up after practices and we head home for dinner, which we always do together. It is literally the only thing in parenting that I am consistent with. No matter if it is bowls of cereal or the nights where we clean out the fridge, for at least fifteen to twenty minutes every day, we speak to one another. One of the only mom hacks I have is Clean Out the Fridge Night. At least one night a week we pull out all of the leftovers, heat up the containers and I pass out forks. We stand around our kitchen island and fork fight over the last bit of spaghetti or the remaining meatloaf. It’s fun, it reduces our food waste and it cleans out our fridge.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0099.JPG

There you go, you now have the secret sauce to the only beneficial tip I know about raising kids.

On the other nights of the week, the rules are different.

There are no cell phones allowed at the table, usually the TV is turned off unless it is something we all are pressed to watch together and we get to discuss our individual days.

And then we disband.

The kids head off to shower, lay out their clothes and projects for the next day and finalize homework. And  I open my laptop. Monday through Friday, this our routine.

neonbrand-381359-unsplash.jpg

Now some days are different and at least once a week we go out to eat because I have forgotten to meal plan appropriately. Those are the dinners we actually have more interactions across the table from one another, mainly because I have trapped them into a booth to talk.

Then there are other days where practice is cancelled or my work load is not pressing and we play games or watch movies.

But at this stage of parenting a teen and pre-teen, our weekends are for fun and our weeks are for getting through.

I would like to tell you that only have a brief moment with my children each day depresses me. However, it is all we can do with the lives we are leading and the time we spend is good. They are active and have homework and I almost always have a daily project to finish or a court date to prepare for the following day.

I have a no work on Saturday rule. Not for any other reason than soccer for both kids is almost entirely year round and Saturdays are game days. We are bustling from field to field, cities to varying States and I couldn’t work even if I had to. It also is an entire day that my kids know is devoted to them. You have to find a pattern that works for you, your business and your family.

The worst advice I’ve ever been given in business is that you have to have a work life balance.

There is no such thing.

stil-479024-unsplash.jpg

Sometimes, your business requires your family to make sacrifices. And then at other times, the laptops are closed and business can wait. The ebb and flow of that will change depending on your schedule, your family’s obligations and the needs of your business.

You cannot beat yourself up for the nights that you miss family game night doing expense reports. Because there will be days that you can move everything around to make it to your 3rd grader’s science project presentation. Giving yourself the freedom to know that a balancing act is not feasible, will free up space in your head and heat to think of something other than guilt.

You love your job…or maybe you need the income from it. And you most certainly love your kids. And that’s ok. In fact, that’s GREAT! The most important thing to remember though is wherever you are, be all there. When you’re home, make sure you’re looking into you family’s eyeballs. Ask the questions, be the encouragement.

And when you’re at work, remind yourself not only how grateful you are to have one, but also what an incredible blessing it is that your children are taken care of while you’re hustling. Whether they’re at school, with a nanny, or daycare…they’re learning so much about playing with others, independence, seeing mom work hard, and thrive in a multitude of ways… all because you have given them the opportunity to.

Mom Guilt? Push it away and pass out those forks.

READ MORE ABOUT  LINDSEY  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT LINDSEY (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY LINDSEY W. ANDREWS: LAWYER, ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR, AND SPEAKER

You can connect with Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or www.lindseyandrewswriter.com

Is Blogging for Your Business DEAD? (Writing Content for Your Business: PART 1)

You’ve probably seen the headlines while scrolling through Facebook. I know I did.

“Blogging is dead!” they declared.

It is so early 2000s, and now it’s all video! and Pinterest! and strategic alliances!

Which left thousands of bloggers who invested years of effort and passion feeling confused. So, this whole business I started is now, what? Finished? Business owners who used a blog to provide value to their current and prospective customers were concerned—and more than a little frustrated—that they’d have to rethink their entire content marketing strategy.

Who decides these things, anyway? Is it even true?

rawpixel-752512-unsplash 2.jpg

The short answer is no, it’s not true. Providing value to your audience is a not a zero-sum game that one single strategy is responsible for. That’s complete nonsense.

People who want you to focus on what they have to offer—say, video, affiliate marketing, or ice bucket challenges—simply want to draw your attention their way. But some of them did it in this icky way of putting down another form of marketing to try to make themselves appear better. The thing is, that doesn’t work in life and it sure doesn’t work in business, especially if you’re in it for the long game.

blogging 6.png

OK, I think I’ve sufficiently made my point.

So. Now that we’ve established that blogging is not, in fact, dead, let’s go a little deeper about why blogging is not only still relevant but will make you money. Which—real talk—is a what makes a business a business and not a hobby.


ESTABLISH THE KNOW-TRUST-LIKE TRIFECTA

As you’re building your brand, you likely know that for people to buy from you in any capacity, they need to know, trust, and like you. It’s a human nature thing: if two people are selling the same thing, we are more likely to choose the one we know, trust, and like. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward:  

·      Know: People are familiar with you. Your name is associated with a specific area of expertise. They’ve seen your face and know what you’re about.

·      Trust: You’ve shown yourself to have credibility in your field. You’ve gained a measure of success and have consistently demonstrated that you know what you’re talking about.

·      Like: The persona you present is genuine to who you really are and people like that. Your style of humor or branding aesthetic resonates with them—you’re their kind of person.

blogging 2.png

POSITION YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD

Building on the trust factor, regular blogging allows you to tangibly demonstrate that you are an expert in your field. By sharing your insights and observations you’ve made as a result of your experience, you position yourself as a reliable source of information in your area.

They return to your blog when they have a question and, if you’ve developed a strategic content plan, they will likely find the answer they’re looking for. Then, when it comes time to buy something from you, they have little to no hesitation in doing so since they’ve already developed confidence in your expertise.


PROVIDE SERIOUS VALUE — FOR FREE! 

Blogging is fantastic source of free added value for your customers, existing and potential. You provide useful, practical, interesting, or just plain fun information that actually makes their lives better. This is no small thing and should not be overlooked at any level. Heck, even Martha Stewart has a separate blog-specific Instagram account in addition to her juggernaut brand account. And you know if Martha’s doing it, it’s a good thing. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) 

It feels like something extra, a bonus, to your readers—and it sort of is—but really, it’s just a smart move in your overall content marketing strategy. And, while time is money, this is one form of marketing that technically costs you no dollars. Anywhere I can get that kind of bang for zero bucks, I’m a happy lady.


CREATE MARKETING MATERIAL YOU CAN SHARE

Once you have a great blog, you can (and should) link to it from other relevant parts of your website (e.g., your About and Work with Me pages). Once you’ve amassed a nice little portfolio of blogs and have seen which ones generate the most traffic, you can provide a list for new visitors to your site to read to get a better sense of who you are and what you do.

blogging 4.png

Your blogs give you ideal social media content too. Every time a new blog hits, highlight it on your social media accounts and link back to it on your site. Two birds, one stone blog.

Blogs are also a fantastic way to share your business with other influencers, brands, and media outlets. Slightly tweaking your existing blog to their specific audience is a quick, easy, and effective way to get featured with people and companies with larger audiences. (One caveat: Sometimes media outlets will ask for an original piece for their platform. In this case, please write them something new rather than trying to pass off an old piece. Trickery does not a good business practice make.)

Massive platforms like The Today Show are constantly picking up popular blogs from relatively unknown people and posting them on their social media feeds (just ask Jen Hatmaker if you don’t believe me). Do excellent work now, and you never know who may come knocking!

If you weren’t sure if blogging was something your business needed before, I hope you’ll seriously reconsider that position and start putting out tremendous blog content immediately.

READ MORE ABOUT  MEREDITH  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT MEREDITH (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY MEREDITH WATKINS: ENTREPRENEUR, EDITOR, WRITER.

How to Actualize (Not Just Visualize) Success

One of our kids is always talking about how they visualize getting to where they want to go in life…and therefore it will happen. Gosh, if only that were the way success and dreams worked, right? If that were reality, every morning I’d be looking at myself in the mirror and telling my reflection that Joanna Gaines and I were best friends and she wanted to gift me with a home remodel (I have a feeling you’d be doing the same thing).

Success in work, motherhood, and life is absolutely achievable…but how do we actually get there?

Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, social psychologist who researches, writes, and speaks about the science of motivation (she is also the Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia Business School) says,

Don’t visualize success. Instead, visualize the steps you will take in order to succeed. Just picturing yourself crossing the finish line doesn’t actually help you get there— but visualizing how you run the race (the strategies you will use, the choices you will make, the obstacles you will face) not only will give you greater confidence, but also leave you better prepared for the task ahead. And that is definitely realistic optimism.

Ok so let’s break that apart a little bit.

Instead of looking solely at your end-game or goal, take the time to answer questions on the steps needed to achieve it. Instead of “visualizing success” like my hopeful child, visualize the process of achieving the goal. Prepare and plan for your success. What do you need to do to achieve it?

Instead of dreaming of buying a cabin in the mountains, losing 30 pounds, building a social media empire, having kind and respectful children, getting out of debt, or whatever it may be…take the time to contemplate the HOW behind your “thing”.

Write it out. Seriously. We all know the importance of writing things down because we do, the likelihood of them coming to fruition rises exponentially, right? So go grab a notebook and take the time to pen down what actually needs to be done to get there.

rawpixel-1075751-unsplash.jpg

What is your Big Goal? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What baby-steps do you need to do every day to bring you closer to that goal?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What can you do today and get started toward achieving it?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Instead of simply deciding to have a six-pack before summer begins or have one-million downloads on your podcast, you need a plan of action.

Here are some things to remember though:

Practice does not equal perfect. It equals better.

Instead of focusing on being perfect or successful at something, focus on the growth behind it. Don’t allow setbacks or failure to shove you into a slump that tempts you to give up. Setbacks do NOT reflect your self-worth, nor do they reflect whether or not you’ll ultimately succeed. Instead of allowing failing or missteps to whisper shame and inadequacy over you, remind yourself that because you’re working step-by-step to achieve your “thing”, you’re closer today than you were in the beginning. You may even learn something from that supposed failure. That sounds rather elementary, I realize. But sometimes we need those simple reminders.

rawpixel-660727-unsplash.jpg

Success doesn’t happen overnight but progress does.

I know without a doubt that you’re the type of woman who desires to teach her children about perseverance, grit, and great work-ethic. You’re living it every day. They’re watching you rise to the occasion, put in the sweat and hard work, and they’re most certainly cheering you on every time you dust yourself off and try again.

Share your dreams and goals with them. Tell your family when you fall down and how you’re getting back up. Express what you’re learning from it all. Share the victories and the steps you’ve accomplished. Let them see the gold within the struggle.

Allow them (and yourself) to realize that success and struggle go hand-in-hand. Success rarely comes easy…and that makes it even more worthwhile.

Study after study shows that people who think not only about their dreams, but about the obstacles that lie in the way of realizing their dreams—believing they can overcome those obstacles and planning how they’ll make it happen—vastly outperform those who sit back and wait for the universe to reward them for all their positive thinking.
— Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson

READ MORE ABOUT  TERESA  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT TERESA (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON: FOUNDER OF THE & SOCIETY, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, DREAMER.

4 Tips for Selling with Confidence

Many of us in sale-driven industries have heard of the acronym ABC. In other words, “Always Be Closing.”  In my world of sales and business however, I like to think of it as “Always Be Confident.” 

Why?

Because confidence is key to making a sale. 

something styled 2.png

1. INSPIRE ALL FOUR SENSES

Create an environment in which you thrive and the potential client feels comfortable.  I work in the floral design and event planning industry so I work out of a studio. My team and I make it a point to surround a client with warmth each time they come in through our doors.

For example, we make sure the music is on and at the right level, a candle is lit, the studio is picked up, and their name is on our welcome board to remind them that they’re not only expected but they’re known. Most importantly, we want to be seen as well-prepared and have the right paperwork out and ready. When the client steps into an environment that is well kept and tidy they will feel more confident in you. 

something styled 1.png

2.  FIRST IMPRESSIONS

First impressions are everything! Wear your favorite pumps, that one red lipstick you love, curl your hair, and button that blazer, all while maintaining great eye contact and a smile. Make them feel as if they are the most important part of your day, in the most genuine way possible.

something styled.jpg

3. LISTEN MORE THAN SPEAK

Selling with confidence doesn’t mean talking about you the entire time.  Let them have air space 90% of the time.  You should never go into a meeting without a blank consultation form and knowing the order of questions that makes sense for the meeting.  Let them do most of the talking, yet guide them through the conversation with questions that have been thought about (and written down!) prior to them coming through your doors.

something styled 3.png

4.  ASK!

Create the relationship and ask for the sale! For example, if you have talked for a good hour and know that you can bring value to this person with what you offer then say “I’ve enjoyed talking with you today! I love your vision and I know that we can bring value to what you need.  Does it make sense to save your date today?”


READ MORE ABOUT  SARAH  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GAL  GUIDES SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT SARAH (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GAL GUIDES SECTION

WRITTEN BY SARAH JOHNS: ENTREPRENEUR, CREATIVE, FLORAL AND EVENT DESIGNER.