Your personality spills into everything you do, that’s no secret. From the clothes you wear, to the food you eat, to the people you hang out with, to the place you go. So it must spill into your business, too, right? Have you noticed this with other businesses you follow? Someone with a big personality probably has evidence of this in their vibrant branding, their confident messaging, and even in the ways they choose to promote their products + services. Likewise, someone who is more reserved probably has a softer brand, more neutral messaging, and promotes themselves in more subtle ways. Some may call this introversion and extroversion, but we’ll get to that later… wink wink.
Small business owners these days wear a lot of hats. We tend to be our own assistants, accountants, advisors, marketers, copywriters, and now even our own designers. When it comes to designing for your business, you’ve probably quickly learned that there are... 1 — there are tons of things that need designing within your business, and, 2 — there are tons of software options to make those designs.
Last week I posted a picture on Instagram of my computer as I was planning out aaalllll my 2017 tasks in just a few days. Yes, that’s right, an entire year’s worth of projects in about one week. And people freaked out. Rightfully so! I know how crazy it sounds, 12 months of work scheduled out on a calendar is a little control-freak-ish right?! It’s okay, you can say it. But this method helps me brain dump all my ideas + plans for the coming year in an organized way so I can actually accomplish the things I set out to do on January 1.
I’ll cut to the chase: sharing your story with a bunch of strangers on the internet can be down right scary. A little over a year ago, I had no blog and had just opened my business Instagram account with my teeny tiny following. No one knew my name, much less what I had been through in the two years prior. But I had an inkling to write, and I knew I needed to finally start blogging. Not just for my business, but for my own journaling of sorts – to keep a record of this wild journey of entrepreneurship and motherhood.
As a creative business owner, I’m guessing you have a million ideas shooting through your brain at all hours of the day. Don’t worry, you’re not alone :) I can't seem to get my brain to shut off either, and I recently found myself feeling scatterbrained and unable to move forward with business ideas or decisions because there was so. much. stuff up there. Google Drive was overflowing with random, unorganized notes and lists, and my desk was overrun with scraps of paper and post-its. Enter Evernote.
As a branding designer, it’s been a bit of a backwards journey as I’ve developed aesthetic and elements that make up the Paper + Oats brand. I never imagined it would grow into a multi-faceted business that provides products, services, resources, and even a blog. This week I’m celebrating my official two year business birthday, so I thought it would be a great time to give a behind-the-scenes look at how the Paper + Oats brand has developed into what it is today, and you can develop the different facets of your own brand to work cohesively.
Squarespace is gaining popularity quickly these days, and by no surprise. It’s sleek design, incredible user-friendly interface, and straight-forward approach to web design is irresistible. Some complain that Squarespace is too limited in what it can do when it comes to integrations and customization. I beg to differ.
There’s no question Etsy is a powerful platform to sell handmade products to a hungry audience. Setting up a shop can be done in an afternoon, and you can hear the “cha-ching” go off on your phone by dinner time. Etsy is where Paper + Oats started in 2011, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to work full-time for myself if it weren’t for this platform. But with all the bad rap Etsy has been getting lately since they’ve revised some of their policies, many shop owners are looking to build their brands elsewhere. I had a light-bulb moment last year after nearly 3 years of being exclusively on Etsy. As my brand began to gain momentum, I realized that I was building my entire business on rented property.
As a Squarespace subscriber, you get to automatically take advantage of new features they add to the platform on a regular basis. One of their latest features that's getting more popular is their new cover pages. A Squarespace cover page is basically a landing page with minimal information and 1-2 calls to action. The backend setup in your Squarespace account is different than your regular page designs. It has it’s own set of styles for fonts, colors, and sizing. Instead of using blocks like regular Squarespace pages, it has limited options for adding different types of content to the page. But this allows your cover page to stay super simple and to-the-point, hence the name “cover.” They are highly visual and can be used for a variety of reasons.
I don’t know about you, but as a creative entrepreneur, my mind is always planning and dreaming about the next project for Paper + Oats. I lay in bed at night thinking of ideas to make existing products / services better, ways to collaborate with other business owners, and lofty dreams I have for this little business of mine. To be sure I don’t let a single task slip my mind, I use two tools every single day to keep my projects, ideas, and tasks organized.
If you’ve been following Paper + Oats anytime in the last month or so, you’ve probably heard of Batch Day – it’s a quick little idea I had to create community around productivity. In a nutshell, Batch Day is a one-day productivity challenge for creative entrepreneurs. Here's the plan: you’ll dedicate an entire day's work to one topic, eliminating all distractions so you can make the most of this hyper-focused time. Hold yourself accountable, learn from your peers, and get a healthy dose of motivation throughout the day with other creative business owners using #POBatchDay on social media.
As I write this, today is Monday, March 30. A couple hours ago, I stepped outside, barefoot, and threw the frisbee a few times with my dog. Inside, my 8-month-old daughter, Penelope, was screaming her tiny head off in her room and frankly, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed air. I needed to breathe. She cried for half an hour attempting to take her usual afternoon nap. She cried the whole time I made dinner and she cried the whole time eating her dinner. I put her pajamas on against her will, cradled her in my arms, held that binky in for dear life, and rocked. And rocked. And rocked. And she finally drifted off to sleep. In moments like this, I am so clearly reminded that I am a single mother to this sweet pea, and I have been from day one. Literally.