Working from home can be both a blessing and a challenge if you don’t have some sort of routine in place. In the 10 years of running my business from home, I’ve had to set some rules in order to keep myself disciplined and get work done. Adding kids and house work to the picture sure doesn’t make it easier either but it’s possible. Take heart!
Below are a few tips proven to work for me that might work for you too. Keep in mind, if you want to make working from home successful you are going to have to follow through and get real with how things are going to work.
1. Make a list of things that need to get done every day and do them!
It has become a routine for me to make a list the night before of 3 things I need to get done the following day. I keep the list short on purpose so that I can get to the bottom of it every single day. If it helps you, go ahead and plan the entire week and allocate only 3 items per each day of the week. I find it’s better to complete all 3 items on my list every single day than working on an ongoing list which I may eventually fall behind on.
2. Have a routine - especially if you are the creative type.
I wasn’t always good at managing my time, especially before kids joined our family. Being a creative entrepreneur I constantly struggled with distraction. Becoming a mother has helped me value time more. To this day my biggest struggle is keeping myself focused to one task at a time. Having a routine has helped me establish patterns that help me work more efficiently. The days I have help with my youngest I have learned to maximize my time and get the majority of the work done during those hours. I still do most of my work during naps and after bedtime.
Find the best time/s you can get work done and stick with it. Life happens and sometimes things do fall through the cracks but what’s important here is for you to be consistent.
3. Create a space that inspires you.
This should have been Tip # 1! I am a firm believer of creating a space for yourself and your work is the best thing you can do for your business. It doesn’t matter how big or little the space is, it will increase your productivity. Investing in my home office was one of the best decisions we ever took. I feel happy, inspired and re-charged each time I step inside it. Aaron and I use my office even when I don’t work. It has become our favorite room in the house to catch up on a favorite show or have a discussion after the boys go to bed.
4. Schedule your time on Social Media.
Social media is a huge time sucker (hello Instagram, I'm looking at you!) Schedule a set time to get on it – don’t get lost on the what-is-everyone-up-to-today land. I try to schedule a lot of our social media posts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, this blog post) to go out at certain time that way I am not glued to them all day long. Log off all social media. It is tempting to check Instagram every time you get a notification of someone commenting on your posts. Don’t do it! Instead focus on getting your 3 items on your to-do list done!
5. Get out of your pajamas.
I have a confession: I don’t always do this! Part of me enjoys the feeling of working on comfy clothes. Recently I’ve made an effort to put a new outfit almost every day. I do this because it puts me in the right mindset plus it gives me a chance to put on some of my favorite pieces.
6. Don’t underestimate the human interaction.
Working from home can be lonely and at times depressing. Get out when you can. Call a friend and set up a lunch date. I try to schedule these dates monthly. Having a human/adult interaction is good for my mental well-being. I often hop on the phone and call one of my girlfriennds just so that I can get out of the rut when I need to or pick her brain on something business or family related.
Don’t forget to be part of your community – whether that means attending PTO meetings at your children’s school or volunteering your time at your church or favorite non-profit. You know there’s a whole world out there, outside of the internet. Try to embrace it!
Do you also work from home? Share your tips if you do. I’d love to hear!
(photographs are of my home studio)
Last week I wrote about the reason behind re-branding Le Papier Studio. Today I will go on to discussion each element of the new brand. Starting with…
The main element that changed is obviously the new logo. Located now on the upper left corner is the main element that catches your attention when you first come to the site. The background color changed from a light blue pattern to a faint gray that complements the products and doesn’t take away from them.
We adjusted the About Us page to reflect the new look and feel of the brand. New photographs of the studio and myself as well as a new copy now grace this page.
One of the most important pages on our site has always been the Custom Process and FAQ’s page. It explains our process in detail and provides a guide to placing an order with us. The new and improved page is more streamlined and also reflects our new brand.
New Brand Collateral
These are all the pieces that support our new brand: the stationery, business cards, packaging pieces, notes to customers etc.
It was very important to me to create a brand that connect and tell a story, because what we do is preserve stories and moments through the art of silhouette. The business cards were updated with the new logo. We also added a little Thank You note to go out with each order. The note thanks the client for allowing us to create something special for them. It also (on the flip side) tells what we are and what we believe in. It is very important to me to continue to tell my story, inspire and leave a legacy to those who enter my life and the life of my business.
We wanted the packaging to reflect the product itself. In the case of our Clair Jewelry, we decided on a dainty glass bottle for the packaging. The bottle doesn’t take away from the dainty piece of jewelry – I think it was the perfect little “invention”.
We also decided to improve our fine jewelry packaging. The new leatherette pouches are the perfect way for our clients to store their Le Papier Studio keepsakes. Constructed of the finest material and craftsmanship they add the perfect touch to our brand. We decided on a pouch instead of a box, because we use know from personal experience how useful a pouch can be especially if you like to keep your favorite pieces together when you travel.
New Gift Wrapping
I am a firm believe in the art of gift wrapping. I’ve always looked for the perfect wrapping paper and card to go with the perfect gift. Our new gift wrapping complements our new brand so well. We settled in 3 wrapping paper colors – kraft, black and white, and 3 different cotton ribbons to go with each paper.
When coming up with these selections, we wanted to keep it simple and make it memorable. After all, the small details are what we all remember.
So here you have it! I hope you enjoyed this (rather long) second part of our re-branding process. If you have a question about anything, feel free to reach out to me via a comment below or email. If you love our branding and would like to discuss having your brand worked on, I am always thrilled to whip up something fabulous for my clients.
One thing I have learned from running Le Papier Studio since 2008 is that you can’t run a company the same way forever! The same rings true about your brand. The logo and branding that worked for us as a new, young company 6 years ago, required a second look as we became more establisheds. Whether you choose to make a few small adjustments or a major overhaul, your brand will benefit greatly from the change.
On today’s post, I will discuss the reason behind the decision to re-brand Le Papier Studio.
New and improved message
We are the safe keeper of a family’s memory. We strive to help evoke the magic of a moment forever through our silhouette artistry.
Our story is essential to what Le Papier Studio is today and although it will evolve with time, the beginning of it will never change. However, as we’ve grown and expanded as a brand, we had to take a look at how we continue to communicate our story and message with our customers and the world.
Questions like “who do we want to be?” and ” who we want to serve?” and “why do we matter?” evoked a lot of my thinking as I set down and analyzed the look of our new brand. We are and will always be a small, woman owned company. Le Papier Studio started by a mom in an effort to satisfy her creative passions while fulfilling an even higher calling, being a mom. We work personally with each and every customer, assisting them to turn their favorite family moments into one of a kind silhouette heirlooms.
We strive to capture and foster the happy, beautiful, and positive moments in life. We do this because we understand out of all the million moments the ones we treasure and hold on to are those that make us smile, inspire us, give us wisdom, and joy.
New and relevant branding elements
The single most important element of any company’s brand is its logo. As you may have noticed, we completely changed our logo. This decision was probably the most time consuming yet the most rewarding. I wanted the new logo to reflect the story behind the brand. A story that started with the birth of my first born son, Nikolas and through the years has continued to evolve with the addition of my other son, John. The two continue to serve as my muses. The new logo reflects simplicity of form – a black silhouette (of Nikolas) – and elegance – with “le papier studio” handwritten by the talented Laurel Essl.
The logo is the main element on all other collateral pieces that make up the new branding. It is eloquently incorporated in the new business card, thank you note to customers, company stationery, jewelry packaging, gift wrapping, signature products and much more.
Along with the new logo, I settled on a new color palette and a few patterns – kraft paper, black, shades of white, beige, gray , stripes and polka dots and a touch of occasional gold.
Communication that reflects my brand
Besides the visual/graphic aspect of re-branding, communication is another key element. First impressions matter, right? Ever since I started selling my products, I’ve felt the need to not only satisfy my clients but also exceed their expectations. To me, details are so important and a huge part of what I do. So it was only natural that I would spend some time to come up with the few elements that would surely put a smile on ones’ face every time a package was received or a gift was unwrapped.
I hope you enjoyed Part 1. Let me know if you have any questions. On Part 2 I will discuss each element of the new brand in more detail.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure to work on-on-one with many women entrepreneurs create thriving brands and businesses and still be able to put their families first. In a world where we’re constantly being pulled in many different directions and doubt ourselves every single time, I believe that love and family can still inspire a meaningful business and ultimately, a lasting legacy.
Wanna find out is this the opportunity you’ve been waiting for? Head over HERE to read how we can work together. If you know this will benefit you, I urge you to contact me right away – spots are few and limited to first come first serve. As of right now, I have a few open spots for those interested to work with me in the months of September and October. These will be the last sessions for 2014.
I look forward forward to helping you end 2014 in the best note ever!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend! We enjoyed some warm-er weather here and finally were able to have our first barbeque for the year. It sure feels refreshing to see the first signs of Spring.
I wanted to let anyone interested in booking a coaching session with me know, that I have one last opening available for the last week in April. At the present, I only offer 4 coaching sessions every month. So far, it’s been amazing working with a handful of crazy talented women in assisting them to move their business forward (will be sharing their testimonials here soon).
If interested, get in touch now.
In a few days I will be celebrating 6 years of running Le Papier Studio. Throughout the years I’ve had the honor to work with some amazing mentors who have helped me move my business ahead. It has been my personal goal to inspire and help women entrepreneurs achieve their goals in running successful businesses while making time for their loved ones. To celebrate this major achievement I will be giving away 1 (one) Business Coaching/Mentoring Session to 1 (one) lucky winner valued at $150. You don’t have to have a business to benefit from this giveaway. Actually, if you are still working on your business idea and are hoping to make it happen soon, this giveaway is your chance!
TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
1. Leave a comment below briefly telling me about your business or business idea and how would you benefit from this free coaching session.
For Additional Entries:
2. Leave a comment below with the link to your Facebook comment on this FB post
3. Leave another comment below with a link to your Facebook Share of this FB post.
4. Leave another comment below with a link to your tweet about this giveaway.
5. Leave one last comment below with a link to a pin of any of your favorite images from this blog or our website.
(Please note these additional entries will allow me to keep track of all your sharing, so enter them diligently. Thank you!)
Giveaway ends on March 18th at 12:00 AM EST. The winner will be announced here and all social media on March 20th.
Whenever I look back at the 6 years of running my online business, I am in awe at the amount of knowledge gained by just running my business through trial and error. Truth is, I’ve loved every single moment of it and there hasn’t really been a day I didn’t feel blessed to be able to do what lights my heart on fire from the comfort of my own home. Over the years I have developed a deep appreciation for women entrepreneurs who manage it all on their own or with very little help.
It is my heart’s desire to inspire and be of service to small business owners, especially women, to create thriving brands and businesses and still be able to put their families first. I believe that love and family can inspire a meaningful business and ultimately, a lasting legacy.
Ever since I started this blog, amongst other things, one of my goals has been to provide free valuable business content to aspiring entrepreneurs. The content is based on questions I receive from fellow business owners as well as my own need to document the things that have worked well in my business. Besides sharing them here, I’ve also enjoyed working one-on-one with many talented women – assisting them with needs specific to their business. For the first time last year I started offering my coaching services to small online business owners and loved it so much, that I decided to offer it again in 2014.
WHO DO I WORK WITH?
Are you a woman entrepreneur with an online business and doing it ALL on your own? Perhaps you’re just starting out (or thinking about it) or have been in business for a few years and want to move things to the next level? Do you feel stuck? I’d love to help!
I can help you streamline what you do, understand who you do it for and take action on getting it into the world.
WHY WORK WITH ME?
I have 6 years of experience finding success as a one-woman entrepreneur, building a thriving business and still being able to shape my schedule by putting family first. I am a firm believer that one should invest in personal and business growth to propel their business further without having to learn the hard way or spending years doing so.
You can always learn new things by reading books, attending workshops and webinars. You can even go to business school. But none of the above will focus on your unique business. We all know how precious time is. Running a business while still attending to our family’s needs can be challenging and time consuming. I would have gladly paid my hard earned money to speed up my learning time during the first years of running my business. But things were different than and honestly I didn’t know that was an option. You don’t have to go the long route to be successful in your business.
I can utilize the experience gained these past 6 years in being a successful entrepreneur to help you with any aspects of your unique business. I’ve been where you are standing right now! I have what it takes to tackle the areas of your business you need the most help with.
WHAT CAN I OFFER YOU?
Starting this month I will be taking 4 clients a month for 45 minute long sessions via phone or skype. Each session costs one hundred and fifty dollars. During each session I will be addressing concerns and questions as well as assisting clients draw an action plan on steps needed to reach their goal. Some of the topics include, determining what type of business is right for you (for those who haven’t launched their business yet), social media and online marketing, product development, pricing your products to sell, increasing profitability while working less hours (for those who already own and operate a business but need help getting ‘un-stuck”), money – how you make it an how you handle it (there’s no need to tip toe around this very important element in our businesses. No need for it to be the white elephant in the room), etc. To find out more details on the type of coaching I offer, check out my services section.
there is only 1 spot open left for March.
UPDATE!! March is all sold out!
Curious to know what my clients have to say? Click HERE to read some of their testimonials.
To reserve a session now, email me directly.
Raise your hand if you get your best ideas while running an errand, taking a shower or just unwinding (read : away from the good ol’ internet). These past few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and making plans about the next chapter in my life and business. Perhaps is the urge for new things in the new year but I have this itch to start on a clean plate.
Funny this is I am not a fan of change. I like my routine. I am hesitant of the unknown. This is why I’ve grown my business organically without taking any huge risks. I have talked a great deal about the importance of going slow and steady in your business. Every business and life decision I’ve taken has felt right and coming from within.
Like many small business owners, every now and than I do get discouraged when ideas don’t come to be the way I planned for them. The world of social media is a great source of inspiration but also such a distraction for me personally and I constantly struggle separating from it. I think more and more these days we find ourselves wasting valuable time browsing in search for “inspiration”. But at the end of the day, does it really serve us well? I’m reading this awesome book by David Lavinsky, “Start at the End” (highly recommend it to all your business owners out there!) He talks a lot about the vision you have for your life and company and how to keep yourself from being distracted. This paragraph stood out to me and I wanted to share it with you all:
Wow! I mean, is he right on or what? How many times did you feel distracted and pulled away from the goals you set to do just because some other business is doing something that looks really cool? I still do. But this is about the change. This year I am focusing on pursuing my vision for my life and business, and that alone. For the first time since I started Le Papier Studio, I took time to create a Marketing Plan for the year. I poured my heart and soul into this spending hours and hours of thorough planning. I know it’s going to be great because it came from within me and not some model out there.
That said, I am happy to let you all know about some changes happening this year at Le Papier Studio. First and most important, I am re-branding. I have talked about it in great detail in the past, but it didn’t feel right undertaking such a task for my own business until now. Over the years I’ve taken on almost any type of project and expanded my product offering to everything I received requests for. I don’t regret it. It has taught me a great deal about running a business and dealing with customers.
Going forward, I will be discontinuing almost 70% of my products focusing on our very best sellers, which have proven time and time again to be the jewelry and the fine art prints. As a matter of fact, I was re-assured about this reading all the answers from the last survey I sent out. My plan for this year and going forward is to focus my time and talents on what I do best. And by doing this I know I will be a better service to those who put their trust in me.
Last but not least, I am working on a way to offer what I’ve learned about running a successful business these past 6 years with those that need assistance in starting out and furthering their business’s vision to new heights. I will share more on this soon.
I have also spent some time hand sketching again. Something I enjoy greatly and I hope to do more this year.
If you’ve been reading my blog these past years, thank you. Sometimes, it feels as though no one is reading what I post here – which is alright. But if you are reading this post, it would mean a lot to hear your thoughts. If you are a business owner, I am sure you too relate to these thoughts.
A few weeks ago I received an email from a friend asking my opinion about a certain online program she was thinking about purchasing. Seeing how this could be an interesting business topic to cover, I thought I’d write a post about it. When it comes to investing in online programs to grow your business I am all about it but I also have some hesitations. Let me explain…
I personally believe you should invest in educating yourself through materials that will fast track your business success. This if you have the money to spend in such programs. If you’re working full time and running your business on the side you might have more money and less time in your hands. By all means, use that money. As they say ” you have to spend money to make money!” But what type of investment would propel your business further?
The internet it full of business growth opportunities (software tools, products, coaching programs etc) and at times it’s hard to decide which one is the best one for your business. I would advise you to be strategic when it comes to choosing the right one. Don’t have the tendency to buy various programs if you don’t think you have the time to use them. Information is as good as you make it.
I recently invested in a higher price program – Marie Forleo’s Bschool. Why did I do that? And how could I afford it? I researched the program (have been a fan of Marie’s free videos on YouTube for a long time), read reviews on it from various well established business owners, and decided to sign up for it first and foremost because it aligned with my business goals and strategy. I had a pretty good idea going into it of what to expect and how would my business benefit from this program in a long run. I also knew about the cost of this program months in advance which allowed me to start saving for it. I didn’t make this decision in a whim but rather planned for it.
If you can afford it and it fits with your business goal, than by all means, go for the higher price program, hire a business coach or consultant even. But do make sure they are the right fit for you. Receiving someones’ one-on-one time and expertise is the greatest gift you can give yourself and eventually your business.
Whatever you do make sure you know your numbers. And by that i mean know exactly what and how much you need to bring in to keep the business running.
Did you find this post useful? Perhaps you have a strategy of your own. I would love to hear it. Please share it with us in the comments below.
I am so thrilled to have been asked to be a guest speaker on my new friend, Monica Lee’s Smart Creative Style e-course. This is a 6 week online course focusing on discovering your creative style. Monica walks you through a distinct step by step process in finding your creative style – it is your style that will set you apart – streamlining your brand’s message and positioning yourself in the right market. If you are a creative woman (or man) who wants to define or redefine your authentic style, this course will teach you HOW to get there.
The best part? You get to listen and learn from industry experts, myself included, on various topics of discovering your creative style. I will be speaking about how I use a weekly newsletter to communicate my brand and stay connected with my customers.