What I Wore: A Weekend in Charleston

In an effort to make my Charleston recap post a little smaller, I took out the outfit details and am sharing them with y’all today!

Friday night dinner & cocktail party

This Anthropologie jumpsuit is probably my favorite purchase of the whole summer! It’s insanely light and breezy (which was very necessary in the Charleston humidity) and the top has great support too.

Anthropologie Mykonos Jumpsuit

Conference & networking

I’m pretty much always cold when I’m inside, so I opted for jeans to stay cozy during the indoor conference and brand networking. These AG jeans have been my go-to this summer and are SO FREAKING SOFT. My finance says they feel like velvet… what more could you ask for in jeans?

Don’t even get me started on these wedges! I got them as a gift from Hushpuppies and I seriously cannot tell y’all enough how comfortable these things are! I can wear them for an entire day and my feet will still feel great by the end. If you need a pair of cute and comfy wedges, these are the ones I highly suggest (and wear at least a few times a week)! Bonus: I just checked, and they are on major sale!

Anthropologie Summer Peplum Top

Exploring Charleston

I snagged this dress on sale at Anthro so it’s been out of stores for about a month, but dang it is so fun! I paired it with my new favorite Vera Bradley clutch – how perfect is this quilted leather?!

Summer White Eyelet DressVera Bradley Quilted Harper Clutch in Blush

I’m working on a couple new style posts for the next few weeks, and I’m so excited to share them with y’all!!

XOXO,
WHITNEY BLAKE

Five Tips For Starting Your Business

I get emails all the time from people asking me for tips about starting their business or blog. It’s both insanely flattering (that they think I know something haha) and a little nervewracking (what if I give them bad advice?!). In light of a recent influx of these emails, I’ve decided to write a quick post summarizing my advice for people starting a business!

Tips for Starting A Business

Get Your Accounting In Order (early)

I think my biggest fear when I started my business wasn’t the work I was going to do, but how to pay my self employed taxes. I literally had nightmares for the first few months that I underpaid and I was going to get hauled off to jail… so save yourself the stress! Find a bookkeeping system that you like and that works for your needs, and don’t be afraid to hire a CPA help prepare your annual taxes. I’ve found that when approaching my taxes and bookkeeping, opportunity cost is the biggest factor. For those who can’t recall their Econ lesson, opportunity cost is what you give up when you make a decision, aka the value of option B. And for me, my time is very valuable.

Hiring Amy was one of my best business decisions to date, and I’m so excited to share that she is launching an online course specifically for people starting a business/blog (and trying to figure out all of the mind-numbing numbers stuff!). The course is called Be Your Own CFO and I highly recommend signing up because lesson one is totally free!

Be Your Own CFO Free Webinar

Find Your Voice

I think it’s awesome that entrepreneurship is on the rise, and I am SO proud of everyone who decides to take the leap into it! Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart (see: when owning a business SUCKS) but it is oh-so worth it. Before diving into your business, I think it’s really important to do some serious introspection and pin-point what makes you unique. This should definitely be conveyed through your branding and website, but it will also dictate things like how you interact with customers on social media.

Businesses have a bad reputation for just pushing information onto consumers (“buy my product!!” “OMG SALE!” “read my blog post!”) so you’ll standout from the crowd when you facilitate a two way conversation with your customers in your unique tone.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is your target customer?
    • Bonus points: create a list and get SPECIFIC. Ex: A 20-something, social media savvy female; who has an eye for clean modern design, loves scrolling through Instagram, and has a soft spot for personal touches.
  • What makes you different from the others in your industry?
  • Are you serious or playful? AKA what is your writing tone?
  • What social media platforms does your target market use the most? Focus on those.
  • What are up and coming trends in your industry? You need to be VERY aware of what’s current and what’s the next big thing!

Invest in your Brand

Now I know I’m positively biased here, but in the age of the internet, your website is as important (if not more-so) as a brick and mortar shop. Your branding is the first impression that consumers have of you, and they’ll judge your business in seven seconds or less – so you had better make those seven seconds count!

Whether you hire a professional to help with your branding (hello tax-friendly business expense!) or do it yourself, make sure that you have the bases covered. A few things to think of when creating your brand:

  • Logo
  • Color palette
  • Font selection (use the same 2-3)
  • Alternate logo
  • Image watermark
  • Patterns, textures, or symbols

A few things to think of when investing in brand materials:

  • Business cards (side note: have y’all seen that Moo offers neon edge painting now?! I have way too many business cards already but suddenly I need to make MORE!)
  • Professional photos (products, headshots, your studio, etc)
  • Office signage
  • Pamphlet or print-out of your product/service
  • Packaging for products
  • Thank you cards

And last but not least, a few items to think of when creating your web presence:

  • Reliable web host (I adore Bluehost!)
  • Effective, mobile-friendly, website design (Google ranks mobile-friendly sites higher)
  • Social media profiles

Take yourself (and your business) seriously

I think most people don’t have a problem with taking their own business seriously, especially considering their entire paycheck rides on it actually being successful. However, there’s a lot of little moments that caught me off guard when I first started working for myself. For example, I found it really surprising how many people didn’t view my job as a “real job” simply because I didn’t have a boss or drive to an office every day. I was making more money than most of my peers right out of college but they were confused why I couldn’t just stop work mid-day and have a phone call or go hang out.

I found that setting strict office hours (and posting them on my website and in my email signature) helped me set guidelines for myself, my clients, and my family/friends. Before I had an office space, I wrote this post about how I worked from my bedroom and actually got work done!

Just start, already!

There will never be a perfect time to start your business. If you sit around and wait for all the stars to align you will never actually make this sh*t happen! I can’t tell y’all how many emails I get from clients saying that they really want to start a blog, but they don’t have all of their posts prepared. Or they want to open an Etsy shop but they don’t have 50 items to list. I tell them that it’s better to just jump right in and learn as you go (presuming you have basic things like branding and accounting figured out) than sit around and never start. At least potential customers (and Google) will know you exist and you can start building steam!

Be proactive. Be informed. Stay passionate. And always take time away to get inspired. 

Cheers!

XOXO,
WHITNEY BLAKE