This post is a little bit about remembering to take some time to stop and ENJOY the fruits of our labor from the past year. It's also about sharing some of the things that I've realized along the way so that I can hopefully help you, too. I've included some photos of some of my favorite moments of 2017 and I hope you enjoy!
1. Invest in yourself.
A big part of taking yourself and your business seriously involves spending money and carving out time for yourself. In 2017, I attended conferences in February (The Southern C) & August (The School of Hustle). There were times this year (end even this month!) where I had so much doubt and anxiety, but these conferences are truly what kept me going & kept me inspired! I met new people to work with and heard speakers that gave me a fresh take on approaching my business. Before I even budgeted for buying new product for my shop, I purchased a ticket to The Southern C & The Maker's Summit. Let's connect if you'll be there too!
Don't put yourself in an irresponsible position, but don't always be so practical that it becomes detrimental to your growth. Justify spending money on childcare so you can devote time to exercise, hire a photographer to photograph your products or services, or book that conference or trip that will contribute to your overall wellness or build skills in your career. Don't be afraid to take a little risk, but know that it's ok to proceed with caution and do this in small doses. We opened a shop this year, but did so without taking out a bank loan or taking on very much financial responsibility. I do believe that the greater the risk the greater the reward, but it's ok to start out in shallow water if you're not ready to jump into the deep end.
2. Don't put all your eggs in one opportunity basket.
Remember how Rome wasn't built in a day? In 99% of cases that applies to your business, too. Aside from that .0001% of people that have a "Shark Tank" moment, it's going to take the combination of a lot of opportunities to get you where you want to be. You aren't going to have 100k Instagram followers or be a recognizable brand overnight- @OhJoy has been blogging for a decade! Being in an awesome magazine feature or having a mention on a big blogger's Instagram account are fabulous and exciting, but those things don't usually cause immediate success. The first time I was published in Style Me Pretty Living I thought it meant big things were going to happen right away! A few publications later- which I am super grateful & stoked about- I now look at these opportunities as something to help my SEO, build my reach, and slowly contribute to growing a brand.
3. Ask and ye shall (sometimes) receive.
Here is a little secret for you: every awesome thing you see someone doing on Instagram isn't necessarily getting handed to them. Sure, some people don't have to work as hard as others to be noticed and given opportunities, some people pay for a PR team to help them, but a lot of great opportunities come from people taking good old fashioned initiative. When I did some work for the Draper James blog this year? Reese Witherspoon didn't just discover me and decide I'm awesome and call me. When Maddie & I were on the West Elm blog, it wasn't because they thought I was the coolest blogger with the cutest dog. I do some projects for free, I reach out to a lot of PR teams, & I send a lot of emails I never hear back from or get rejections from. On the other hand, a few times this year I was asked to team up with some fabulous folks & also heard "YES" from some really awesome people- Houzz, Charleston Food & Wine Festival, Kelly Golightly, Charleston Fashion Week, Gray Malin, A Lowcountry Wedding, Charleston Inside Out, The Aqualillies, Palm Beach Lately, ACME House Company, Kimpton Hotels, Talbots, & more. Most of these people didn't know me from Adam until I reached out to them. Who do you want to work with? Just ask them!
pictured above: a Charleston Wine & Food Festival event & feature I styled for A Lowcountry Wedding
4. I can't keep going at this pace!
Anyone else trying to do more than one 9-5 job? Nowadays it's becoming the norm to have a side hustle, or maybe you're like me and your business is comprised of several parts. When this is the case, it's SO easy to never. shut. down. Before you know it you're either super stressed, super tired, or super lame and don't spend as much time on the important relationships in your life (even the one that involves taking care of yourself)! I've learned that I have to make myself a schedule and stick to it; I actually have to write in exercise and turn down even really awesome meetings that interfere with my yoga class. I have also broken down the various aspects of my income in order to help me see how to spend my time in 2018. This blog doesn't bring in 50% of my income, so it shouldn't take up 50% of my time. Let some simple math help you determine how to spend your time. I can already tell I've got a happier year ahead!
5. Habits are our friends.
Habits often have a negative connotation; for example, the adage "old habits die hard" makes me picture how often we struggle to give up bad habits. I've recently realized I could be using habits to my advantage! If I want to prioritize exercise or finding more enjoyment in my day, I have to create permanent habits instead of making goals that may or may not get accomplished. Check out my post on the best way to head into the new year ready to form more good habits.
Sianara, 2017! It's been real, but I'm ready to take on 2018 with some better strategies in my back pocket. Check out my year in pictures below, and follow along on Instagram to see what I'm up to in the New Year!