The Real Female Entrepreneur

How to Build an Authentic + Engaging Email Opt-in

Lauren FrontieraComment
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I've built the TRFE platform from a place of authenticity and realness. It's one of my business pillars. If it doesn't feel authentic and true to myself, I don't do it. So, when it's come to email opt-ins, I've gone a very long time without one. There just wasn't anything that felt compelling enough or that embodied me staying true to myself and my dream for this space to take the time to create. 

So, I didn't. 

Until recently. 

And my love, I now have the great pleasure of introducing you to the one thing that felt compelling and aligned enough for me dive head first into building an email opt-in. I'm both wildly excited about what I've created and so wildly excited to share with you how you can create one, too.

Psstt ... it's also one of the easiest things I've ever created (seriously, if I can do it in one afternoon, you can too!).

Meet Interact. The platform that's about to change your life (or, email list).

Interact is a quiz builder that helps you easily generate leads with quizzes.

You've seen the fun online personality quizzes, am I right? Which Harry Potter character are you? (umm ... Hermione, duh.)

Interact helps you easily create a quiz that's unique to you, your brand, and your audience that will drive traffic to your email list. If you can post to Instagram, you can do this. It's really that easy.

I'll be honest. I was a little intimidated in the beginning.

I'm no psychologist!! How do I know what questions to ask or how to create a quiz that flows?!

Magically, though, and with a little afternoon kombucha, I figured it all out!

So, I want to share with you how you can easily brainstorm and decide on the content for your own quiz. This is the foundational piece of your quiz. And if, like me, your desire is to create something authentic and true to you for your audience, this is where you're going to spend the bulk of your time. Once you've created the foundation for your quiz, Interact makes plugging the info in as easy as binge-watching New Girl on netflix!

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO BUILD AN AUTHENTIC + ENGAGING EMAIL OPT-IN QUIZ:

  • Headliner Question:  what do you want your audience to learn about themselves?
  • Results: what are the possible outcomes that your audience will get at the end of taking your quiz?
  • Determining Questions: what detailed questions do you need to ask to determine the answer to your headliner?
  • Answer Choices: you'll need one answer choice for every determining question that coincides with each result (i'll explain more in a minute)

 

HEADLINER QUESTION

Learning the answer to this question is why your audience will take your quiz in the first place. So, it needs to be intriguing. You want this question to catch their attention. This question should also be the answer to a pain point in their current life (i.e., creating blog content is so difficult). Their result should provide them with a sense of release or understanding for this pain point (i.e., you're a storyteller! use your blog to share your stories and experiences with your audience).

A few things to keep in mind:

  • this question should be relevant to your brand
  • the answer to this question should relate to a product or service that you offer (you want to be able to provide additional value after they take the quiz, am I right?)
  • this question should be attention-grabbing (ya gotta make 'em wanna take it!)

My Quiz Headliner Question: What's your decision-making superpower?

 

RESULTS

Determine 4 distinct personalities within your audience that will be the results of your quiz. The results should be one of the first things you figure out after deciding on your headliner question. Why? Because they will influence your questions and answer choices. The results should answer your headliner question. That means this question has multiple answer options. For example, if you asked the question What's the color of your brand personality? there would be multiple result options (blue, yellow, red, purple).

A few things to keep in mind:

  • create 3-4 result options (bonus points for getting creative with the names ... you can see mine below!)
  • make sure these results will resonate with distinct personalities within your audience
  • write a detailed description (2-4 sentences) for each

My Results: Intuitive Unicorn, Lover of Logic, Collaborative Queen

 

DETERMINING QUESTIONS

Now we're getting into the nitty gritty. These questions are what your audience will answer during the quiz. How they answer these questions will determine their result (don't worry about the answers to the questions for now). I want to encourage you to spend time brainstorming various questions. Set a timer for ten minutes and write down every question that comes to mind (remember: a great brainstorming session doesn't judge good/bad answers!). Then, go back through, get rid of the questions you don't love and land on 7 final questions.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • If you were trying to guess the quiz result of a new friend, what questions would you ask her to help you more accurately guess her personality type? These are the types of questions you should be brainstorming!
  • Land on a final 7 questions.
  • Your questions can be worded as an open-ended sentence ("My favorite color is...").

My Questions: My ideal workspace is ... // My favorite music to work to is... // I feel best when... // When I know I’ve made the right decision, it’s because…

 

ANSWER CHOICES

At this point, you should have 7 determining questions. The final step is creating your answer choices for each question. As Interact suggests, our minds tend to think in groups of 3, so having either 3 or 6 answer choices helps the quiz taker move smoothly through your quiz. You should have at least one answer choice that correlates with each result. For example, my quiz had 3 result options. Therefore, every determining question had 3 answer choices, and each answer choice correlated with one result.

For example, I asked the question When I know I’ve made the right decision, it’s because…

My 3 answer choices correlated with the corresponding quiz result:

  • it feels good in my heart (quiz result: intuitive unicorn)
  • the pros outweighed the cons (quiz result: lover of logic)
  • i feel supported by those around me (quiz result: collaborative queen)

 

NOW, IT'S TIME TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER!

At this point, you have all of the building blocks for a successful email opt-in quiz! All you need to do now is insert all of this information into the Interact quiz-builder. Then, you can easily connect it with your email platform and share it out through your website. 

You can sign up for Interact right here to get started. 

 

MORE HELPFUL TOOLS!

As you're creating and promoting your quiz, here's a few additional tools to check out.


Create your own quiz! 

Click the badge on the right, sister, to check out Interact and get started creating your own ahhmazing email opt-in quiz!


SEE MY QUIZ IN ACTION!!

Wanna test it out and see how incredible the Interact quiz-builder platform really is? You can take my quiz for a test run and learn something about yourself, too.

A Celebration Giveaway ... just for you!!

Lauren FrontieraComment
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A celebration giveaway just for you.

Because ... none of this would be possible without you, and my heart is so wildly freaking grateful for each and every one of you.

This week is the second birthday of the podcast (ayy! two freaking years.) and the launch of The Sisterhood. My heart is so full of gratitude, and as with any milestone, I'm reflecting on the past two years ... all that I've learned, how much I've grown, and the incredible women I've met. This entrepreneurial journey isn't all bright, happy, sunshine-y moments. Amiright? It's a roller-coaster of emotions and feelings and fears and excitement and doubt and confidence. 

If I've learned anything, it's that you've gotta be your own biggest fan (thanks for this reminder, Grace). Because if you're not, who will?

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So, as a giant *hug* and "thank you, thank you, thank youuuu" to all of my biggest fans, I want to celebrate and love on YOU a little and remind you that I'm right here cheering you on with every octave of my loud voice!!

I've asked some of my favorite ladies (and past podcast guests) to share some pretty awesome prizes with one lucky winner. The prize pack is full of goodies that are 1) good for your heart and 2) good for your biz. Because, really, both should be a priority, sister. From a soulful journal to help you create your most inspiring and successful year to an incredible course to help you grow your biz using Pinterest, there's over $500 worth of value all wrapped up in one amazing prize!


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ENTER TO WIN:

-Rachel Allene's Launch Strategy for the Creative Entrepreneur workbook

-“Bare Naked Bravery: How to be Creatively Courageous” by Emily Ann Peterson

-The Solopreneur’s Dilemma: a manual on how to do it all when you’re all alone by Lizzy Okoro

-A brand + website audit by Launch Your Daydream

-Lavendaire's 2018 Artist of Life Workbook

-(2) Girl Boss mugs by Amy Bone

-Buzzing Creatives course: "Pin for Growth"

-Issue 10 of Belong Mag

-A Janet Gwen Designs Grey Marble Laptop Case


TO ENTER:

ENTER USING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW.

A random winner will be selected on 2/20/18. Your email will be shared with the businesses who've provided products/services for this giveaway. Some of the prize companies will be contacting the winner directly to provide you with the prize product/service.



THE GOODS!


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Artist of Life Workbook

The 2018 Artist of Life Workbook is a 198-page workbook and journal to help you create your most inspiring & successful year.

These questions and exercises are designed to guide you through self-discovery, exploration and fulfillment. This workbook will help you create your dream life from clarifying your vision to following through on execution.

CREATED BY AILEEN XU

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Aileen Xu is a lifestyle blogger, Youtuber, podcast host, and creator of the Artist of Life Workbook. Through her blog Lavendaire and podcast The Lavendaire Lifestyle, Aileen empowers people around the globe to embrace their true potential and create their dream life.

www.lavendaire.com // YouTube // More deets


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Launch Strategy for the Creative Entrepreneur

When it comes to running a business, there are several strategies that most Entrepreneurs recognize as important. Launching a product does not always make that list. Rachel, however, would argue that it is one of the most important steps. If you look at the businesses that are successful, they have a distinct Launch strategy. So, she’s compiled all the best launch strategies and tips into an easy-to-digest and implement guide.

This guide will assist you in perfecting the launch for your business and product/service. And the best news? The strategies will increase your bottom line. So, more dolla billz in those pockets of yours. Sound good?

CREATED BY RACHEL HECKMANN

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Rachel Heckmann is an educator, product shop owner, encourager, and the creative stylist and director at Rachel Allene, an online shop that offers products and services for the creative, joyful, and inspired dreamer. She creates business resources in order to encourage and empower women to run heartfelt and profitable businesses on all social platforms. Rachel is a grateful wife, humbled mama, founder of #lesshustlemoregrace, and believer of real talk.

www.rachelallene.com // More deets


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Belong, Issue 10, The Connection Issue

Belong Magazine is designed to celebrate the art and community of blogging, social media and entrepreneurship. Issue 10 is full of women just like you, sharing their knowledge and passion to make a difference in the world. We hope that you will find the issue inspiring and life-giving.

CREATED BY BROOKE SAXON-SPENCER

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Brooke is the creator of Belong Mag, a quarterly digital and print magazine celebrating the art and community of blogging, social media and creative entrepreneurship.

www.belong-mag.com


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Brand + Website Audit by Launch Your Daydream

You deserve a brand that you're in love with + a website that attracts your dream clients. Instead of spinning your wheels, trying to figure out why the heck your inquiries are crickets, let us do the heavy lifting for you!

With this brand + website consultation from us, Britt and Kelsey at Launch Your Daydream, we're going to give you actionable steps to bring your dream brand to life. It all starts with filling out a questionnaire we'll send you that will ask you all about your brand + biz! From there, we'll learn ALL about you, and we'll send you over an exclusive 10-20 minute recorded video review of your brand + website within 7 business days. Not only do you get a walk-through screenshare video of helpful feedback, but we'll have a written PDF sent your way that will show you step-by-step how to take your specific brand to the next level!

CREATED BY BRITT HYATT + KELSEY CHRISTINE

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Kelsey + Britt are biz BFFs that recently combined their branding + website design businesses to form a new design studio called, Launch Your Daydream. Kelsey, Britt, and their Dream Team provide custom designs + educational resources for female creative business owners who are looking for a source of encouragement, excitement, and confidence within their biz.

www.launchyourdaydream.com


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The Solopreneur’s Dilemma: a manual on how to do it all when you’re all alone:

When you're a solo entrepreneur, it can be totally overwhelming wearing all those hats.

This digital download is the savior you've been waiting for. In the Solopreneur's Dilemma, we tackle:

-The top 10 free tools to get organized instantly

-30 ways to get on track in 30 days

-Find the perfect organizational system so that you can tackle your to do list

-and more!

CREATED BY LIZZY OKORO

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Lizzy Okoro is an LA based entrepreneur, consultant and speaker. She started a company called Bunch Magazine back in 2011 while living in New York. She left the company in spring 2017 and has been plotting and planning ever since. That experience was one for the books and has led her to consulting, leading workshops and speaking engagements around the US. 

www.lizzyokoro.com // More deets


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Two Girl Boss Mugs

You'll get this mug as well as a second "Boss Lady" design. Keep 'em both for yourself or share one with a girl boss in your life who could use a morning pick-me-up!

Amy designs these mugs in house with her team, and they're hand-pressed by her using a high temperature heat press. That means the design is dyed into the mug, not pressed on, and thus never comes off or peels away!

CREATED BY AMY BONE

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Amy started Paw Prints Photography after adopting her dog and best friend, Bear. She couldn't stop taking his photos and explaining to others their unique bond. It was then that she realized she wanted to capture that same bond for others and their pets. As her passion for business grew, she also incorporated pet-inspired mugs, with a handful of mugs to inspire her fellow girl bosses, too. 

Amy's Shop // More deets


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“Bare Naked Bravery: How to be Creatively Courageous”

Finally, a definitive explanation of bravery.

Bare Naked Bravery: How to Be Creatively Courageous is a deeply vulnerable & rebellious how-to memoir for people who are tired of feeling like they should be brave but don't know how courage could possibly unfold from their current fears and comfort zones. You'll finish Bare Naked Bravery empowered to confidently practice and build your own creative courage beyond your wildest imagination.

CREATED BY EMILY ANN PETERSON

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In 2013, Emily Ann Peterson was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological hand tremor, which forever altered her two-decade livelihood as a cellist/cello teacher. Refusing to lose her life's love of expression, she knew she’d have to be brave. In an act of neurological defiance, she expanded into wider mediums and broke through her creative glass ceiling, opening the door to limitless possibilities through songwriting. Her book Bare Naked Bravery: How to Be Creatively Courageous helps people from all walks of life understand what bravery really is - allowing them to step into it by creatively using vulnerability, imagination and improvisation. 

www.emilyannpeterson.com // More deets


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A Janet Gwen Designs Grey Marble Laptop Case

Show your Macbook® some love with a Janet Gwen Designs marble case. Simple, timeless, and (seriously) chic, this practical design is bound to turn a few heads. With easy-to-use snap-on grips and a dirt & scratch-proof design, this two-piece set is more than just a pretty face; its lightweight and durable design is made to withstand the typical wear and tear of the on-the-go lifestyle of a girl-boss, toting it here, there and everywhere.

CREATED BY JANET HOANG

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Janet is the founder and creative director of Janet Gwen Designs. It’s a creative studio known for their gold and marble cases and hand painted phone cases (YES! HAND PAINTED!). JGD's mission is to encourage and highlight unfiltered creativity by challenging the social standards of art. They strive to make a statement by using bold colors and textures on traditional and non traditional surfaces. They create one-of-a kind pieces of art for those customers who appreciate the little details it takes to pull it all together. They make your hustle beautiful, one art-infused piece at a time.

www.janetgwendesigns.com // More deets


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Pinterest: Pin for Growth

Pin for Growth is for creative entrepreneurs, small business owners, and bloggers who seek to gain targeted traffic and make passive income by using the highly effective platform of Pinterest.

This course will give you an in-depth understanding of how you can leverage Pinterest to market your business and will provide you with the strategies you need.

You’ll learn the basics of Pinterest for your business (creating graphics that work, how to drive traffic, using keywords, optimizing your profile, + more) plus learn how to use Pinterest to grow your list, your following, your traffic, and your business.

CREATED BY TRIPT + PRABH JOHAL

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Tript and Prabh, of Buzzing Creatives, are social media experts that specialize in Instagram & Pinterest - and yes they are sisters! They teach creative entrepreneurs how to grow their business online by leveraging social media. Buzzing Creatives was born out of their knowledge, experience, and passion for teaching. Being creatives at heart, Tript and Prabh are passionate about creative entrepreneurs turning their creativity into profitability without compromising their artistic integrity. 

www.buzzingcreatives.com // More deets


TO ENTER:

ENTER USING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW.

A random winner will be selected on 2/19/18. Your email will be shared with the businesses who've provided products/services for this giveaway. Some of the prize companies will be contacting the winner directly to provide you with the prize product/service.


*No purchase necessary. Open to those 18 years of age or older and US residents only. Sweepstakes begins 2/12/18 and ends 2/19/18 at 11:59 pm ET. Sponsored by The Real Female Entrepreneur. Email lauren@therealfemaleentrepreneur.com with any questions. To enter, provide your email address. One winner will be randomly selected on 2/20/2018 and will be notified via the email address submitted. The winner will have until 3/5/18 to respond. If not, another random winner will be selected. One winner will win a prize pack of (1) Janet Gwen Designs Grey Marble Laptop Case, Issue 10 of Belong Magazine, the course "Pin for Growth" by Buzzing Creatives, (2) coffee mugs, Lavendaire's 2018 Artist of Life Workbook, a brand + website audit by Launch Your Daydream, (1) copy of "The Solopreneur’s Dilemma: a manual on how to do it all when you’re all alone", (1) copy of “Bare Naked Bravery: How to be Creatively Courageous” by Emily Ann Peterson, and (1) copy of "Launch Strategy for the Creative Entrepreneur workbook" by Rachel Allene.

3 Tips for Not Burning Out as a Busy Mompreneur

Lauren FrontieraComment

ARE YOU FEELING BURNT OUT?

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"I was more tired than I’ve ever been...

...and I wanted to scream, to cry, to throw things. And then I wanted to curl up in bed, away from everyone and everything and hibernate for a few months until it all passed."


Burn out is a very real thing in the land of entrepreneurship. And yes, you can burn out even when you're doing work that you love! I googled "burn out" because I'm cool like that and really wanted to know how to define it for you, and here's what it said: "completely consumed and thus no longer aflame".

As the old saying goes, if you've been burning the candle at both ends and your flame has gone out, you, my love, very well may be burned out. Or maybe you're starting to feel the beginning signs of your flame slowing retreating (you can get the same physical knowing that burn out is coming on as you do when you feel yourself "getting sick").

Either way, you're not the only one. So here's some wisdom from a sisterpreneur who's been there, and burned out...


But, first. A little bumpdate.


THE BUMPDATE: HOW ARE YOU AND BABY?

At the time of writing this, I’m 32 weeks pregnant (though likely 34 weeks when you’re reading this) and let’s just say, I’m ready for this to be done. At 34 weeks with my first pregnancy, I went into pre-term labor, which was one of the scariest moments of my life. I had my son 3 weeks after that at 37 weeks. So, while I’d like him/her to cook a little longer, I’m also ready for this new chapter to start. Here’s to hoping the last month-ish flies by!

 

THE BIZDATE: HOW'S THE MAG?

Our January “Courage” issue just released on January 9th. I AM SO EXCITED. I’ve redesigned the core of the magazine and I’ve never been so proud of a design. The magazine is a little thinner this time around which means slightly lower shipping costs which is ALWAYS helpful to a publisher because aside from printing, that is without a doubt your biggest cost suck.

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I’m going to get a little personal with you today and talk about burn out.  


It’s something I’ve experienced a few times since starting the magazine but it hit me REALLY hard around mid-December. Is it the holidays, the stress of a new baby, or a consistently high level of things on my to-do list? Probably a bit of all of it.

I have a lot going on, but then, I always do. I tend to think that I’m Superwoman and that I can handle anything that is thrown at me.  In the last couple months, those things have been: my regular, full-time job, running the magazine (itself a full-time job), working freelance in both design and virtual assistance in my “downtime”, being a wife, being a mom to a very energetic toddler, and, oh yeah, growing a human.  Plus, I’ve been working on scheduling, planning, and doing from December through March so that I can take a little time off when the baby comes - and that to-do list is MASSIVE.


"I tend to think that I’m Superwoman and that I can handle anything that is thrown at me."


For the majority of my pregnancy, I’ve been handling these things just fine. Sure, I’m a little extra tired, but I attributed that to a living being sucking the life out of me from the inside out.  

But then one day, it all caught up with me. I was sitting at my day job just staring at my computer - my to-do list blinking back at me. I literally felt frozen in place as tears started to stream down my face. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to move forward, I didn’t know how I was going to get everything done. It felt like there was never going to be enough time, that I was never going to get caught up, that I was failing at E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I was more tired than I’ve ever been in my life at that moment and I wanted to scream, to cry, to throw things. And then I wanted to curl up in bed, away from everyone and everything and hibernate for a few months until it all passed.


"I wanted to curl up in bed, away from everyone and everything and hibernate for a few months until it all passed."


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That’s when it hit me: I was burned out.  

I had been fighting that feeling for months, knowing that if I gave in to it, if I admitted my weakness, I’d no longer be the Superwoman I always fashioned myself as. I’d have to admit that I need help (something I’m terrible at) and that I don’t have it all together (something I like to hide from the world). But it was time. I knew I had to do something for both my own sanity, and the safety of my unborn baby. The extreme stress I was putting on myself couldn’t be good for him/her (no, we still don’t know what we’re having).


"I had been fighting that feeling for months, knowing that if I gave in to it, if I admitted my weakness, I’d no longer be the Superwoman I always fashioned myself as."


So, I texted my husband as nonchalantly as I could and said “I really need a mental health day where all I do is lay in bed and rest. I’m struggling so hard.” He responded that he would take my son out of the house the next afternoon after work so that I could rest. It was a nice gesture, and normally I’d pretend that would be enough. But at this breaking point I was in, I knew I had to ask for more - again, something I hate doing. So I told him what I really needed - a full day away from everyone where I could rest, I could work, and I could rest some more. Would that be enough to drag me back from the edge? Probably not, but it was most definitely a start.  

My husband booked me a hotel room for that Saturday so I could have all day and night to myself. I could sleep in, I could have peace and quiet, I could rest, and I could work through my to-do list - but only if I felt up to it.


So today, in case you are getting to the point I was, I wanted to give you three quick tips to help you through it:

  1. Know your breaking point before you get there: As I mentioned, I knew I was getting there, but I kept ignoring it, assuming it would all go away. It didn’t, and it only got worse. Listen to your body. Your body knows when you’ve had enough.

  2. Try to squeak out a little time for yourself each day: Because I have VERY little free time, I never fill that with time for myself. But I need to. My mental health depends on it, and so does yours. Even if it’s just a half hour run, or a 20 minute bubble bath, do it.

  3. Learn to say no: One big thing I’ve learned is that it’s okay to say no to things when I know in my gut that I just can’t do it, whether that’s taking on extra work, traveling for a weekend, or adding that one minuscule extra thing to your plate. It’s okay to think of yourself first once in awhile.

So, that’s my breakdown story. And if you’re reaching that same point, I hope you’ll recognize it and take steps to fix it sooner rather than later. Being an entrepreneur is SO hard. And it won’t do anybody any good if you aren’t functioning at your best. Take time for yourself. You’re worth it.


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Sarah Hartley

Sarah Hartley is the creator, designer and publisher of Holl & Lane Magazine, a quarterly publication celebrating women's everyday existence and opening the door for tough conversations.

Since 2015, Sarah and the H&L team has been dedicated to providing women with a platform to share their truths. From miscarriage and infertility to mental health and body image, Sarah believes in changing the media for good and celebrating women where they are.


MORE OF HOLL AND LANE

www.hollandlanemag.com

Holl and Lane on Facebook and Instagram

Free H&L Mini Issue


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want more real + inspiring convos with female biz owners?


KEEP READING MORE FROM SARAH!

What Happened When Ebony Nichols Left Academia to Go Back to Her Creative Roots

Behind the HomepageLauren FrontieraComment

HI SWEETS! YOU'RE HERE FOR ANOTHER POST IN OUR BEHIND THE HOMEPAGE SERIES!

It's a badass weekly series that's equal parts coffee date (go ahead and refill your mug!) and meeting new friends and all the parts real + inspiring. 

So, cozy up + get to know the badass female entrepreneurs (and businesses) behind the homepage.


MEET EBONY NICHOLS

"I am Ebony. I am a big ball of organized chaos. And I am the real female entrepreneur."

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As kids, it's so easy to pursue what you love. You have all of this time and no one standing over you with this "adult" expectation to "figure it out". Creativity and art are highly encouraged when we're young. Then, something happens between childhood and becoming a teen and most of us end up leaving that creative spark behind.

After spending years in the world of academia, though, Ebony found her way back to that creative spark. And the rest is history ... or, well, history in the making. 


Need some inspiration to find your creative spark again?


BEFORE WE DIVE RIGHT IN, LET'S START OUT WITH A QUICK ROUND OF THE QUESTION GAME…

 

WHAT'S ONE THING YOU MUST DO BEFORE GOING TO BED EVERY NIGHT?

I find something to binge watch. I wish I had a more enlightened answer, but ... nope! 

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS: TOTALLY DOWN OR THEY'RE TOTALLY CRAP?

Totally down! Resolutions give you hope even if it’s for a brief moment. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?

Honestly … a judge. But only because I thought the judge on the TV show my grandma watched was so awesome. My first day in poli sci during undergrad woke me up. 


1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIZ IN 3 SENTENCES OR LESS.

Announce Divinely is a party brand that encourages chic and charming communication and celebration. Our products are designed to equip the perfect social moment whether it’s a celebration for self or others. 


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2. NOW, LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING. WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

I come from a family of creatives, so designing and planning celebrations were my childhood hobbies. I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of creating something that was pretty but also practical because it shared information. However, I never thought that I could actually do this as an adult. All of those creatives I watched growing up had a career or job that did not focus on those talents. So, I just knew that I had to find something else to do for the rest of my life.


"Going back to my roots and creatively expressing myself made my heart sing, so I finally decided to step out on faith and design cards with all of these sayings that I had stored in my phone over the years."


When I went to college, I fell head over heels with the social aspect of cultivating relationships with different people. I ultimately received a postgraduate degree, but I realized that the academia setting was not satisfying for me. So, I just took a break from everything and really got serious about finding out what made me happy.

Going back to my roots and creatively expressing myself made my heart sing, so I finally decided to step out on faith and design cards with all of these sayings that I had stored in my phone over the years. Now, two years later, our product line has expanded to stationery, notepads, and party decor. I could not be more ecstatic! 


3. YOUR LIFE + BIZ JOURNEY IS A BOOK. WHAT'S THE NAME OF THE CHAPTER YOU'RE CURRENTLY IN? 

Grit and Grace. 


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"Sometimes, I’m a horrible boss to myself because I don’t let myself get away with anything! Overcoming that whirlwind of emotions is still a battle, but I’m learning to embrace it." 


4. WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY SO FAR? 

The most difficult part has been being OK with the path that I have chosen. That’s why I named my current life chapter grit and grace. I work hard daily at being very intentional about every aspect of my business, but I also struggle with giving myself grace. Sometimes, I’m a horrible boss to myself because I don’t let myself get away with anything! Overcoming that whirlwind of emotions is still a battle, but I’m learning to embrace it. 


5. WE'RE ALL BATTLING DOUBTS EVERY DAY AS ENTREPRENEURS. WHAT'S BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGEST DOUBTS YOU'VE DEALT WITH?

My biggest fear is becoming stagnant. I’m always asking myself, “Are you doing enough? Could you execute this better? Do you really know what you’re doing?" I am so afraid of being in the same place next year that I am today. 


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6. SHARING IS CARING. AND THERE'S SO MANY BADASS RESOURCES FOR FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS. WHAT ARE 3 OF YOUR FAVES?

  1. The Real Female Entrepreneur podcastA lot of my fears and doubts were quieted when I realized that I was not this isolated person on an island in the middle of nowhere. Whether you are a creative or just trying to stay afloat dealing with your vulnerabilities, this podcast is LIFE! 
  2. Pinterest: My Pinterest boards are how I get ideas out of my head and onto something concrete so I can start moving from an abstract state. Pinterest is for more than recipes or your next manicure idea!
  3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’EngleIt is my favorite childhood story, but it inspires me today because it is about an ordinary person doing something absolutely extraordinary. Even if we feel like we don’t have everything that someone else has or we have doubts out the wazoo, we can still do some amazing things!

"My biggest fear is becoming stagnant. I’m always asking myself, “Are you doing enough? Could you execute this better? Do you really know what you’re doing?" I am so afraid of being in the same place next year that I am today." 


7. IF YOU COULD GIVE YOURSELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

Sprinkle some confetti and move on!


8. WHAT'S YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH FOR WHY YOU SHOULD CHASE YOUR DREAMS?

You are the only person who has your exact combination of experiences, triumphs, downfalls, talents, and gifts. You know you’re capable of being absolutely amazing so let the world have it! We’re waiting!


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Ebony Nichols

Hey y’all! I’m Ebony Nichols and I am the owner and lead creator of Announce Divinely. I am obsessed with the charming moments in life and love to design and make all the things that make celebrations tick! When I’m not designing, I love doing fun things with my nieces and nephews, finding new places to dine, and binge watching any new television show. 



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Brittney Lynn Shares the Struggle, Anxiety, + Fear of Building a Business from Nothing

Lauren FrontieraComment

HI SWEETS! YOU'RE HERE FOR ANOTHER POST IN OUR BEHIND THE HOMEPAGE SERIES!

It's a badass weekly series that's equal parts coffee date (go ahead and refill your mug!) and meeting new friends and all the parts real + inspiring. 

So, cozy up + get to know the badass female entrepreneurs (and businesses) behind the homepage.


MEET BRITTNEY LYNN

"I am Brittney. I don't always have it figured out, but I always strive to serve people and myself well. And I am the real female entrepreneur."

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It's so easy to forget that most businesses begin with an idea - nothing more. No website. No press. No clients. No sales. And building a business out of nothing, well, it's hard. Especially the first year.

That first year was really tough for Brittney. After saying yes to every client who came her way, she finally found her niche. And this year she's seen all of that hard work pay off. Growth comes with it's own set of struggles, too, though. 


So, whether you're starting from scratch or are lost knee-deep in the weeds, you're in good company.


BEFORE WE DIVE RIGHT IN, LET'S START OUT WITH A QUICK ROUND OF THE QUESTION GAME…

 

WHAT'S THE BEST BOOK YOU'VE READ THIS YEAR?

It's hard to pick just one! I love reading. If I have to narrow it down, it has to be Daring Greatly: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown. Brene Brown can basically do no wrong in my eyes and even though this is an older book of hers, it was new to me and it's been super helpful for my mindset, which affects all parts of my life.

WHAT'S YOUR MOST WORN ARTICLE OF CLOTHING?

I'm a creature of habit and wear the same few outfits every week. My black leggings from Express are a fav!

FAVORITE EMOJI?

💁


1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIZ IN 3 SENTENCES OR LESS.

I help women entrepreneurs all over the world get more press and media mentions through strategic PR. 


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2. NOW, LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING. WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

Oh boy, how long do we have? Kidding aside, my story really starts in 2012 when my husband and I started paying off all of our debt. I didn't build up a side hustle while working a full-time job because I knew I mentally and emotionally couldn't handle it. So, we decided to lower our expenses by paying off our debt in order for me to eventually quit my job and start my business. 


'The first year was hard. Really hard. I accepted any client that came my way and had no strategy whatsoever."


It just so happens that the month of our last debt payment was the month that my husband accepted a new job in a new city (we moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Dallas, Texas), so I had to quit my job anyways. 


"When I say I started with nothing, I mean it. I didn't have a domain, social media presence (besides my personal), no prospects, nothing. I was starting from complete scratch in a brand new city where I knew no one."


Once we moved, I started my business, and I was initially offering ghostwriting services and social media management/content creation. It took me a good three months to get a website up and running and start building a presence online. When I say I started with nothing, I mean it. I didn't have a domain, social media presence (besides my personal), no prospects, nothing. I was starting from complete scratch in a brand new city where I knew no one. 

The first year was hard. Really hard. I accepted any client that came my way and had no strategy whatsoever. It took me a while to find my groove and I honestly fell into PR as my niche service. 


3. YOUR LIFE + BIZ JOURNEY IS A BOOK. WHAT'S THE NAME OF THE CHAPTER YOU'RE CURRENTLY IN? 

Unexpected Growth. For 2017, I picked the word Growth and I had no idea how much this word would be a part of my entire life.


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4. WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY SO FAR? 

I had never really experienced anxiety until I started working for myself. About a year into my business, anxiety really started to affect my life. I wasn't sleeping. I had heart palpitations. I had trouble breathing at night. I constantly worried. I just could not turn my brain off and relax. I eventually started seeing a therapist because I knew this was stemming from several different aspects of my life and it was the best decision I've made for not only my business but my life.


"I had never really experienced anxiety until I started working for myself."


5. WE'RE ALL BATTLING DOUBTS EVERY DAY AS ENTREPRENEURS. WHAT'S BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGEST DOUBTS YOU'VE DEALT WITH?

I never want to let people down. My biggest fear is letting someone I care about (which definitely includes all of my clients) down. At times, this is to a fault because no one person can make everyone happy. I'm constantly evaluating if I'm putting too much pressure on myself and making sure I'm also taking care of me and not just everyone else around me.


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6. SHARING IS CARING. AND THERE'S SO MANY BADASS RESOURCES FOR FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS. WHAT ARE 3 OF YOUR FAVES?

  1. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown: Can you see a theme here? For any fellow perfectionist entrepreneurs out there, this book was extremely helpful for me to combat those tendencies.
  2. How I Built This podcast with Guy Raz by NPR: This is a super popular podcast so maybe many of you already know about it, but I had to share. This podcast always inspires me when I'm feeling down on myself about entrepreneurship and it's always fascinating to hear from such huge brands (such as Rent the Runway, Kate Spade, Kendra Scott, etc.) and how they also struggled too. I especially love when female entrepreneurs are featured!
  3. Overdrive app (it's free!): So, I feel like not a lot of people know about this, so maybe it will blow some of your minds. I love reading, but buying books can become so expensive, so I typically rent books from the local library. Most libraries now also allow you to check out digital books that you can download on your Kindle or iPad ... for free. All you need is a local library card, and then you log in to the Overdrive app and bam! Thousands of books at your fingertips for free! This is how I read a lot of books that help me grow my business and mindset.

"We get so wrapped up in wanting to be the next big thing when in reality it doesn't need to all happen at once."


7. IF YOU COULD GIVE YOURSELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

To chill out and enjoy the ride. I think we all could take that advice. We get so wrapped up in wanting to be the next big thing when in reality it doesn't need to all happen at once. Not everything needs to be done right this second. 


8. WHAT'S YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH FOR WHY YOU SHOULD CHASE YOUR DREAMS?

Do you want to spend your life thinking what might have been? Maybe right NOW isn't the right time for you, but at some point you need to have an honest conversation with yourself and decide whether or not you're worthy enough to go after your dreams (hint: you are). We all only have this one life and I'd rather try and fail than not ever try and see what I'm capable of.


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Brittney Lynn

Brittney Lynn is a PR & Online Marketing Strategist for women entrepreneurs worldwide. She has almost 10 years of experience working in the online marketing industry and has a passion for helping others grow their brand through strategic PR. 

She's also the host of the Day in the Life podcast, which gives a glimpse into the daily lives of people from across the world who work in a variety of industries. Stepping into the lives of these fascinating guests will encourage, inspire and challenge listeners as they share in each guest's trials and triumphs, learning that we are all connected and are more alike than we realize. 

She's based in Dallas, Texas with her husband and pup. 



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When Your Unique Business Idea Isn't As Original As You Thought

Lauren FrontieraComment
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"As an entrepreneur, don't give up on your own idea just because someone else out in the world is already doing it."

Did you come up with your next best business idea only to realize it's already been done? Take a breath sister. There's a light at the end of this tunnel.


Leitia McHugh, the founder of The Confetti Post, shared her story on the podcast. If you haven't heard it yet, you can listen right here.

There's a piece of her business story you won't hear on the podcast, though. And that's why you're here. 


you know when that thing you were reallyyy hoping would never happen actually does? 

like going to pour a glass of wine and realizing THERE IS NO WINE?!

This story isn't about wine. I'm going to go pour a glass, though, and let Leitia take it from here!


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I knew in high school that I was interested in business. But I also knew that I couldn't handle what I perceived to be the "cut-throat" nature of business, and that I could never sell something unless I was head-over-heals passionate about it.  

So, I found myself on a career path in the non-profit world. Then, as you heard on the podcast, I became a mama and, well, that was the catalyst for starting a business and eventually, launching The Confetti Post.

Unfortunately, though, one of my fears about the business world came true pretty early on.


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I came upon the idea for a "party in a box" gift package thanks to Pinterest. My love of parties quickly turned into me being madly in love with this business concept. At the time, everything I found was creative bloggers who were creating the cutest little handmade packages for loved one's birthdays. They would included a cake mix, card, balloons, confetti, birthday candle, and some small gifts. So cute, right?  

Pretty soon after my obsession began, I started Googling this concept to find out what else was already out there like it. I couldn't find any other businesses doing this. I found "parties in a box" that were complete party kits you could order to throw an in-real-life party and also boxes of mass-produced junk food you could send for a birthday from generic websites like www.carepackages.com. But I couldn't find anything quite like what I wanted to create!


"I thought I was really on to something! I also felt like I had found a gap in the market..."


I thought I was really on to something! I also felt like I had found a gap in the market for a more "modern" gift/care package. Everything I found felt really impersonal and generic.  

This can be a really scary place to be when starting a business. There was nothing else to validate whether my idea was viable or not.

Being the obsessive researcher that I am, though, and doing the research any business owner should do, I kept digging. I eventually started finding some more modern gifting services, mostly through good old Instagram.


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I found really elegant gifting companies, and then started finding even more modern gifting companies, too ... even a few with concepts really similar to mine. And ones I wanted to start sending my friends because they were so amazing! I even found a company that seemed to be doing really well and was almost exactly like my concept for The Confetti Post.


"Instead of feeling discouraged though, I felt encouraged. It gave me hope that a market did exist for the vision I had been planning out on paper. Maybe I could make this work!"


Instead of feeling discouraged though, I felt encouraged. It gave me hope that a market did exist for the vision I had been planning out on paper. Maybe I could make this work!

Thanks to the advice from my mentor at the time, I tried to learn from all of these other awesome companies and see what needs I could meet that they weren't. This is called market research. 


"After I finally launched The Confetti Post, I had this nagging sense of guilt..."


After I finally launched The Confetti Post, I had this nagging sense of guilt that my idea and product was so similar to another business' (even though the idea for The Confetti post was formed from my own heart and ideas and those early Pinterest pins and blog posts).

So, I decided to write the owner of the other company a note. Naive, perhaps.


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I wrote this heartfelt email, praising the owner and the business they had created, explaining that I had come up with a similar idea, but felt we occupied different spaces and different target audiences and had different execution strategies and goals. Surprisingly, I never received a response. And soon after, they blocked me on Instagram. (insert shocked/sad face here)


"Being a person that believes in community over competition and that there's enough room for us all, this was a total blow to me as a new business owner."


Being a person that believes in community over competition and that there's enough room for us all, this was a total blow to me as a new business owner. I did understand their perspective ... a little. But this was my first dose, and luckily the only one so far, of that cut-throat nature that kept me away from business for so long. 

Now, I sometimes find myself holding back my ideas out of fear that they'll look like I am copying someone else's, when I really should allow myself to move where my heart leads and do what is best to serve my customers.


"The truth is, there are very few ideas out there that are truly and inherently unique."


The truth is, there are very few ideas out there that are truly and inherently unique.

That cut-throat mentality isn't everywhere in business, though. I later came across another woman with a similar business model that had started her business around the same time as mine. We found each other at least a year into our new ventures. Our brands and models are very similar, even down to the heart of our missions and our branding colors. Instead of operating from this place of competition, though, we cheer each other on on Instagram, along with so many other awesome small business owners whose businesses occupy this similar space. And for me, that is the la-la land that I choose to occupy.  


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As an aside, living in my community over competition lal-la land does not mean that we are sharing all our "secrets." It simply means we root for each other's success, instead of shunning each other or trying to bring each other down. And for me, it means that when a customer reaches out to me because something on my site is out of stock or not quite what they are looking for, I know where to send them so they can have their needs met.


"As an entrepreneur, don't give up on your own idea just because someone else out in the world is already doing it."


As an entrepreneur, don't give up on your own idea just because someone else out in the world is already doing it. And I hope this goes without saying, but never, ever copy someone else! Use your own voice, but learn from others who have gone before you, so you can better serve your customers.  

There is room for you and your idea. Learn, grow, and do what works best for your business. Most of all, let's always keeping working to make the world a better, more beautiful place with our ideas."


STILL FEEL LIKE, "BUT MY IDEA IS ALREADY TAKEN!!"?

Read this article from Entrepreneur. Here's a sneak peek:

"And do yourself a favor -- stop freaking out every time your amazing new idea is already being done by someone else. Instead, celebrate whenever you see other people already making money doing what you want to do.

After all, if you come up with an idea that no one else is doing, there's probably a reason for that."


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Leitia McHugh

Leitia McHugh is the founder of The Confetti Post, an online "party in a box" gifting service. She started The Confetti Post as a way to share her love of parties with everyone and to help others bridge the gap when they want to celebrate someone they love, but long distances get in the way. Think care packages, but a lot more fun and without all the work hopping from store to store to find the perfect items, buying a boring box, then fighting the lines at the post office. These party themed gift packages are the best solution to brightening days and celebrating others even when miles separate.


MORE OF LEITIA

Leitia on the podcast

www.theconfettipost.com

The Confetti Post on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest


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