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3 Reasons Why Boundaries are Crucial in your Creative Business

Bold & Pop : 3 Reasons Why Boundaries are Crucial in your Creative Business

Technology can be both a blessing and a curse sometimes… We love it for so many reasons -- being able to work remotely, being able to help clients all over the world, and well it just makes our lives a whole lot easier most of the time. With that though, there are a few drawbacks too... like feeling like you always have to be "on". Especially as a business owner because 1.) you want to keep your clients happy and be helpful (always our TOP priority) and 2.) Let's be real, as a business owner there is always something you could be doing. #AlloftheStruggles right?! Well yes, but there's more to that.

I truly believe people treat us the way we allow them to and if we've answering emails at 2 in the morning and working on client edits every weekend, then that's what they're going to expect because we set that expectation. But that's not really sustainable for anyone so that's why today I'm going to tell you why boundaries are so important. Not only to improve your relationship with your clients but also improve your creativity and productivity, which all sound like a lot of wins to me!

Sets Expectation for What to Expect from the Beginning

Often the trickiest things about boundaries are making sure you stick to them! It can be tricky to change your policies with long-time clients or mid-project so we suggest laying out your boundaries right from the beginning. There's a reason we have our office hours on our website and in each of our project kick-off kits... It's so that it is front and center! This helps our clients know when they can expect us in the office and when we'll be working on their projects. In what seems like a 24-hour work cycle sometimes, by doing so, our clients know that if they email us after hours they can expect a response the next business day. And guess what?! Creating this boundary hasn't been a big deal at all. Our clients know that we are super responsive. We try to reply to all emails within 24 hours... but let's be real most are replied to within the hour -- blame that NYC mentality. So they know that they will always get that attentive communication during office hours and after hours, they may just have to wait a little bit longer. We know that sometimes great ideas spark after hours and that's fine, but they know we won't be having a social media campaign brainstorm sesh on a Saturday afternoon.

What about if an emergency happens or there's something urgent? I mean, there are always exceptions to the rule and we're certainly not going to leave our clients hanging. We still see all of the emails that come through -- we're not that hardcore enough to take email off of our phones. Yes, in 2018 that is what is hardcore 😂For all of the everyday non-urgent requests though? A few hours never hurt anyone. This way we can relax in the evenings and on the weekends and any emails that come through we can star them in our inbox and reply the next business day. This may seem like a silly thing to even have to do, but we've found that it really is helpful so that everyone is in the know on when we're in the office.

Another thing we do? We create timelines for our design projects with clear deadlines for our branding and web design projects and also have a client delay clause in our agreements. While the clause seemed a little extreme at first, we realized that we were being too lax with letting some of our clients take longer to give us back edits and then projects would drag on much longer than anticipated. Which, as a service-based business, wasn't productive for our business nor was it beneficial for our clients. We know everyone is busy, but by making these adjustments and being upfront with expectations we've made it clear when clients will receive work and when we need to receive edits back to continue forward. Same goes for our social media clients. We send content every week and they know if we don't have edits back by a specific day and time then we have the okay to continue posting according to schedule. By setting the bar right from the very start not only are projects more productive, but communication is also clearer.

Allows for Downtime which is Critical to Creative Process

If you take away one thing from this post... it should be how important rest is to the creative process. I'll be honest, in the first two years of our business we worked ourselves down to the bone. We're certainly not perfect, but when I moved home last year we decided to make a conscious decision to give ourselves more time to relax! I wrote a whole blog on this topic before, but for some reason, "rest" seems to have gotten a bad rap in the entrepreneurial world. Something I personally think is such a bad trend. Rest isn't a luxury, it's essential and even more so if you have a creative business.

I've found that often when I'm running low on ideas, whether it be client projects, blog topics, or social media content, it's usually when I've been working on overload. The work we do as creative entrepreneurs isn't repetitive work. It's very much a mental process and if our brains are feeling fried... well I can tell you my ideas will be pretty fried too. That is why having that off-time is SO important. And I can bet your clients are hiring you for your tip-top best ideas so give yourself that downtime!

Maximizes Productivity During Office Hours

Last but definitely not least, by setting boundaries you can also boost your productivity during office hours. When we were working around the clock, it was easy to push a few things back because we were working pretty much all of the hours we were awake. Which I definitely don't recommend! When you actually set office hours and try and stick with them though you have to really get your priorities in check and bang out as much as you can during your office hours. And guess what, now that you're actually giving yourself more time to relax you'll probably find that you get work done a lot faster! Plus it just allows you to better plan our your week and really decide what needs to get done and when that needs to happen.

By having boundaries, this also benefits your clients too because the time you are giving to them is at 100% and not at 70% or sometimes even lower. I think anyone who starts a business is some form or Superwomen and Superman, but the reality is there's only SO much we can do in a day. So make sure you're giving your all during that time.

Hope this post was helpful for you all! If you have other advice on setting boundaries or if you could use some help on creating some of your own, drop us a comment below or shoot us an message!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched a free #BoldBossTribe Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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#RealTalk Why We Should be Embracing Our Failures

Bold & Pop : #RealTalk Why We Should be Embracing Our Failures.jpg

No one wants to look like a failure. It can be embarrassing and disappointing, and because of this we often don't talk about our failures in life and in business. But here's the thing, we're human and make mistakes. Most business owners rarely get it right the first time around. 

Did you know Walt Disney's first animation studio went bankrupt? 

What about how it took J.K. Rowling 7 years to write Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone then to have all 12 major publishing houses reject it? 

Or that Oprah was fired from her first job as a television reporter?

Can you imagine if these three and others just gave up after failing? We wouldn't have some of the amazing products, experiences, or inventions that we have today. 

I know first-hand how embarrassing it feels when a business doesn't work out. Prior to starting Bold & Pop with Anna, I had 2 other businesses... both of which were not nearly as successful as Bold & Pop.

My first business was a big ole failure and this one was particularly embarrassing for me. I basically built my name off of this first company. I had gotten tons of press. I did plenty of speaking engagements. I appeared to be extremely successful but the company wasn't making any money (and I spent a lot to get it up and running). I held onto this business much too long because I was determined to not let it fail. When I finally decided to close the business down, I didn't want anyone to know it was because I was barely making any money so I told people I was burned out and there was no way to scale the business to grow (both of which were true and part of the decision but not the deciding factor). 

While making this decision, I came up with my second business idea. Less expensive to start-up and definitely had the possibility to grow and flourish. This company did much better. However, it still wasn't enough money for me to live off of but it was making more. This was a much easier decision when it came to whether or not to shut this business down. We had started Bold & Pop and it was doing so well that I decided to solely focus on Bold & Pop.

Now listen, I'm using the words 'fail' and 'failure' very loosely here but I don't believe anything is ever a true failure. Here's why: 

You learn from your mistakes

Your failures are your greatest lessons but only if you allow them to be. If I didn't make all my mistakes with my first company, I wouldn't have learned for my second and now for Bold & Pop. I knew where to spend money. How to cut expenses. What marketing tactics worked. What parts of the business I enjoyed most. I could leverage what I built from my first company for my second and so on. 

If I hadn't made the mistake of investing in a ton of inventory for my first company, I wouldn't have realized that I could start with much smaller batches from manufacturers for my second, saving a ton of money and helping the business be profitable more quickly. 

I can't think of one amazing thing that has happened in any of my businesses that wasn't a direct result of learning from a previous mistake. 

Makes you a better biz owner

Because you're learning from these failures, it inevitably makes you a better business owner. You learn to: 

  • Trust your instincts
  • Manage people and conflicts
  • Pivot quickly
  • Cut costs
  • Leverage past opportunities and mistakes 
  • And so much more! 

I had some pretty wild things happen with my first business. I received a cease and desist over the original name after filing a trademark on my own. I was almost fined for not having the correct paperwork while importing my first shipment. While I had gone to business school, I was only 21 at the time and had a steep learning curve on how to run a business. These 2 things happened at the very beginning of my business meaning I had to very quickly learn how to manage conflict like this. I had to learn to advocate and stand up for myself when the freight-forwarding company I hired didn't inform me I needed this new form. I had to VERY quickly change the name of the company and figure out a way to rebrand the products I did have from the old name to the new one in an inexpensive way. 

These experiences have made me a better business owner because they've taught me valuable skills I wouldn't have learned in any classroom or if things were just to go right for me. It's only through these mistakes and failures that I've learned these key skills. 

It takes guts

Starting a business takes some serious guts. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and succeeding in it. In my opinion, it's better to try and fail than not try at all. 

No matter what happens in your business, you should ALWAYS feel proud of yourself for trying and for giving it your all. Maybe this business doesn't work out but that doesn't mean for one second you are a failure. Embrace these experiences as lessons to gain valuable skills you can use on the next business venture or use in whatever you decide to do. 

P.S. Exciting news! We launched a free #BoldBossTribe Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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Turning your Side Hustle into your Main Hustle :: Things to do before you quit your Full-time job

Bold & Pop : Turning your Side Hustle into your Main Hustle :: Things to do before you quit your Full-time job

You’ve long dreamt of turning your passions into a career but the details on making that happen have always been a little fuzzy. Cue your brand new side hustle. The term has been thrown around a lot in today’s world, but what exactly does that mean and how can it help you turn your dream life into your real life? A side hustle is a hobby or interest turned part-time business with goals of getting your feet wet in, while also maintaining another job. For many, starting a side hustle will be just what they need to fill their passions, but for others, it may be looked at as a stepping stone at creating a full-time career. If you’re in the latter group, this post is for you. As someone who has been down this path before, something I get asked a lot is, “how do you turn your side hustle into your main hustle?” So today I'm talking about just that!

Set a Schedule

When you decide to start a side hustle, time management will be key to your success. When a solid 8-10 hours (give or take for your commute) has already been accounted for, planning your tasks for each day will become increasingly important. As you start out, sit down and take a good look at the amount of time you have available and what you can realistically dedicate to your new project. There may be 24 hours in a day, but you need to make sure to allow for adequate rest, your family and friends, and other obligations. While we all like to think we’re superman and woman, the truth is, you want your side hustle to be sustainable so that you don’t burn out after the first few months. You know that phrase this is a marathon, not a sprint? Totally applies to building a side hustle. Building a business is A LOT of work that will take some sacrifice, but you shouldn’t have to give up your whole life. Think about the big picture when you’re creating a schedule.

Something else that I think is important to mention is making sure none of the time you have accounted for your business overlaps with the time at your full-time job. When you are starting your own business while employed somewhere else, make sure you aren’t violating any employment agreements you’ve signed. If you can be open with your superiors about what you’re doing that’s great, but that’s certainly not always an option. Take the time to review your contracts and make sure you are giving 100% of your attention to your commitments to avoid any sticky situations later.

Maximize Your Off-Time

Now that you’ve identified the amount of time you can dedicate to your side hustle, it’s time to maximize your time. While it’s not always necessary to build a full business plan, I do suggest setting goals and actionable steps to reach them (both short and long-term). Then, each week try and break those goals into smaller items so that you have a clear focus on what you would like to accomplish.

Something really great about managing a side hustle while you still have a full-time job is it gives you more wiggle room to sort out some key processes without the full risk. This means nailing down your:

  • Branding, website and social media channels
  • Taking care of business licenses/accounting needs
  • Business goals and education
  • Product and service development
  • Pricing and business systems
  • Building your community

While you may want to run off to the races, now is the perfect time to really nail down your vision and the logistics while there’s a little less pressure. This will help build a strong foundation from the start and help you down the road.

Make Use of Networking Opportunities

One of the most beneficial things you can do while building your side hustle is learning and connecting with others. Do some research to find like-minded individuals and read their blogs, watch webinars, and introduce yourself — whether that’s in-person or through social media. Not only will the community you grow be a support system and sounding board for your journey, but it may also be a place where you’ll connect with future clients and customers. Just like friendships, a lot of relationships take time to develop so now is the perfect time to focus on this aspect. Here are some of my favorite places to meet others:

  • Instagram Networking: I can’t tell you how many business owners I’ve connected with just from finding them on Instagram. Consider searching hashtags to find accounts you’d be interested in connecting with and engage with their posts. Maybe you’ll also follow their blog or other social media channels as well.
  • Facebook Groups: There are so many great Facebook Groups for almost every interest and a ton for entrepreneurs and small business owners (including ours, the #BoldBossTribe!). Do a little research on some popular ones and join. You can start by watching the dialogue taking place and pop in on conversations when you have something valuable to say or have a question. Because these groups are interest based, they become a well of knowledge and potential for networking.
  • Twitter Chats: If Twitter is more your jam, consider looking for Twitter chats related to your industry. These can be a great place to meet others because it’s usually a smaller group than those you may connect on other channels, making it a little easier to connect directly.

Save Up Those Dollar Bills

While it may seem like the world is full of overnight successes, the truth is you can’t always bank on that. You might not double or triple your corporate salary in 3 months or make 10k months right off the bat. Truth bomb, we certainly didn't! Building a successful business takes HARD work and it doesn’t stop once you become full-time. If you have the opportunity to plan for your transition, do! While you have a steady income source, now is the time to build up your savings. If you are able, cut back on some of your extra expenses and stash it in the bank instead.

While it’s not the most glamourous side of building a business, money can be a big stress factor. Great when you have it and stressful as heck when you’re in a bind. Relieve some of that pressure if you can by saving up before going full-time. It may sound like a lot (and many do it with much less) but personally, I recommend having at least 6 months of living expenses saved before taking the jump. Something a lot of people don’t talk about is how inconsistent your income may be at the beginning. You may crush it one month, but the next month may be slow, or maybe a project doubles its original timeline. Not having a paycheck every week or few weeks is certainly an adjustment so having some savings as a cushion will make the process much easier.

Plan for Your Jump

So you’ve worked your butt off and you’re starting to make progress in your side hustle. Now what? When do you know it’s the right time to put in notice at your job and go full-time? The golden ticket question! To be completely honest, that’s a tricky one. My advice comes in two pieces 1.) when you have a solid amount of savings that gives you flexibility to give your business your full attention and 2.) when you hit the point of max capacity where you can no longer take on additional projects/sales without the quality of your work suffering. You will get to a point where you will max out on the time you can work on your business while working a 9-5 (and keep your sanity). By which you’ll need to evaluate if you will be able to make a living if you had more time to invest in your business, or if you need to adjust your model to do so.

Setting milestones, whether those are income or separate goals, will help you know when you might be ready to make the jump. Will that mean you’ll be 100% ready when you hit those goals or milestones? No one is ever completely ready for a big change, but all that you have accomplished will make it a much smoother transition. Sometimes life will have other plans and will push you along your path a little faster than expected too -- like our story! The key is all about planning for what you can and trusting your instincts when you have to.

Everyone’s path will be a little different, but it’s important to remember how every step forward you make now in your side hustle, will save you time and lessons learned later in your business journey. The key to taking your side hustle to a full-time business is truly passion. Give it your all, learn, make mistakes, and most important — don’t give up! Juggling multiple jobs and making sacrifices may feel tough in the short-term, but if you give it your all and learn as you go you too can live your dream life.

P.S. Exciting news! We launched a free #BoldBossTribe Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!