Why You Should Start Your Side Business Today

For the past several years, I have spent countless hours day dreaming about what it would be like to own my own business. I have always felt that I have an entrepreneurial spirit, but in college and the years following, I took the complete opposite path and followed a more traditional route in the corporate world.  

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that path. But for anyone who has ever felt the slightest pull towards pursuing a deep passion, you know that it can be a conflicting path to be on. I constantly feel faced with frustration when weighing the pros and cons of my chosen career. On the plus side, it has offered stability in the way of income, benefits and a 401k. On the down side, it's created little joy and fulfillment. After a long day at the office, I don't have a deep satisfaction in my day's work, and feel that longing for something more fulfilling.

Why You Should Start Your Side Business Today | Broad + Main

In the past few years as I've learned more and more about design and worked on projects that fill me up and ignite my soul, I finally understand what job satisfaction feels like. This year, the year that I officially started my business, I have felt a deep sense of gratitude for the work I get to do, and even greater satisfaction when hearing great feedback from a client. I love seeing a project evolve from an  initial conversation and idea into a finalized product that is exactly what the client was looking for. 

Today I want to talk about taking the leap and starting today. I spent years day dreaming, wishing and hoping to have my own business one day, but never put in any work behind it. As you can imagine, it didn't get me very far. As I've finally had the courage to take the leap, I have just one regret... that I didn't do it sooner. Below are a few reasons why you should start that business today. 


1 | The Sooner You Start, The Sooner the Success

My business is certainly not an overnight success, but in the past year as I've really put in the work, it has steadily grown. As I think back to the days I was dreaming rather than doing, I can't help but wonder where I'd be now if I'd just started sooner. It takes time to build your business, especially if it is a second job on top of your demanding 8-5. By starting today, you're that much closer to your ultimate goal, what ever it may be. 

2 | You're Never Truly Ready

Timing is difficult when you have a full time job and are considering a new business on the side. It is a LOT of work and a huge undertaking. It affects your family, your friends and takes up the majority of your free time. When your plate is full with home and work responsibilities, it is easy to feel like you aren't ready. If you could just wait until the kids are in school, or your big work project is done, or just to get through your friend's wedding.... then you'll be ready. I can guarantee you with 100% certainty that when you get through with whatever marker you've set for starting your business, something else will come up. Life happens and things get in the way. Trust me - you are ready now, even if you don't feel it. 

3 | Practice Makes Progress

None of us were born knowing how to run a business. It has been a crazy, exciting, but often bumpy road to navigate. But everyday I have the opportunity to practice being a business owner, and everyday I feel like I get a little better at it. I am certain that I have many many more lessons to learn, but I know that sitting and waiting until I know everything, would cause me to never start in the first place.  Start practicing today. It will be so worth it. 

4 | It's easier than ever to Start Your Side Business

I know I just got done saying that starting a side business is a huge undertaking and it absolutely is. But thanks to this beautiful place that is the internet, it is easier than ever to start creating your presence and getting your name out there. With very little money and time, you can create a website, start a blog and get your name out there. You can begin to network with other bloggers by participating on their sites, using social media, and adding your content for the world to find. You will be shocked at how quickly you can make yourself known and start seeing results.

5 | The world needs you

We are each gifted with unique talents and gifts we can bring to the world. I know that sounds like a Hallmark greeting card, but I completely believe in it. One of the things that held me back in starting my own business for so long was knowing that there were already so many successful designers doing something similar to what I wanted to do. It can be intimidating to start from scratch when you are surrounded by examples of success. But similar is not the same. Yes, we might both be designers. But what comes out of my creativity is totally and completely different than what you will create. 

We each have our own unique talents and voice to offer. We've each had experiences that have uniquely shaped us into who we are and given us our own one of a kind perspective on the world. There is room for you in whatever adventure you dream of for yourself, and we need your voice and vision in this world. 

New in Portfolio | Ashleigh Donahue Photography

Friends! I have so many new projects to share with you, and can't wait to share the first of many I've been working on! 

Ashleigh Donahue is a recent college grad and budding photographer who just started her business in the last few months. As a new business owner, she wanted to create a professional looking presence, while still staying within a budget, so we put together a custom design package for her, working on a logo design, logo variation and mark, and color palette, equipping her with all the tools she needs to get started! 

We have plans to work on her Squarespace website in the very near future as her photography business continues to flourish!


Broad and Main Brand Styling and Squarespace for Photographers

5 Reasons You Need to Use Squarespace for your Blog and Business

Squarespace is quickly becoming a very recognizable name in the blogging and website world, and for good reason. One of the most common inquiries I get via email goes a little something like this:

"I'm currently on Wordpress and am frustrated with..."

or

 "I'm really interested in switching from Wordpress to Squarespace... can you tell me more?"

So many of my clients are frustrated with Wordpress; The deciphering of wordpress.com vs. wordpress.org, the confusion of blogging on one platform and having a hosting program through another, the updating of plug-ins all. the. time., and the concern over back ups and potentially losing valuable site content. 

I started blogging over 6 years ago on the Wordpress platform. As a college student eager to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I started a blog called "The Hungry Yogini" which was a healthy living blog chronicling my attempts to stay healthy while living on campus and completing a yoga teacher training program in the midst of obtaining my B.S. in Finance.  As you can imagine, I had a lot to talk about. 

At the time, Wordpress was fine. I was actually quite successful with my first blogging venture, and was able to use that as my part time job while in college. Fast forward several years as I've grown, changed and started a new adventure, I fell into the natural comfort of Wordpress to get going. I wanted my site to be beautiful, but continued to become frustrated. I am not a web developer or a coding guru, and without that skill set, making Wordpress beautiful was hard. 

I fell in love with Squarespace last year for good reason and I'm here today to share why I've moved my blog and business from Wordpress to Squarespace, and why you might want to consider it to! At the end of this post, you'll also be able to download a free step by step guide to setting up a Squarespace site!

5 Reasons you NEED to use Squarespace for your Blog + Business and a free Step by Step Guide for Getting Started

01 | All in One

One of the most confusing things I encountered as a Wordpress user was that my blog was run through Wordpress, but I needed to pay for separate hosting to make my site live on a .com address. Installing Wordpress, cPanels, site back ups... it all makes my head spin. Squarespace is an all in one platform. Your blogging and hosting platform are in the same place with no confusion as to what's where. With the click of a button, your site is live and ready to go.

02 | Beauty

We've all been taught lessons about inner beauty, but when it comes to your website, outer beauty is just as important. In order to attract your ideal clients, your website and branding should be cohesive and your website a reflection of who you are and what you have to offer your clients. When I first started Broad + Main as a lifestyle blog, I was on Wordpress using a Genesis theme that I customized. I am not a coding prodigy, however, and without that valuable skill, customizing Wordpress was next to impossible despite purchasing premium themes and working diligently to get it just right. Squarespace has awesome, beautiful themes that are fully customizable to help you create a site that is uniquely your own. 

03 | Affordability

While you can get a relatively inexpensive hosting service for your Wordpress blog, you have to also factor in cost for things like themes, back up services, paid plug-ins, etc. These things add up, and they add up quickly. A premium theme alone can cost you $150 and often times more! And hiring someone to design and develop a custom Wordpress site? While beautiful and for the right business, it can become extremely expensive. Squarespace takes that out of the equation. You have access to all of their premium themes, automatic updates, and access to any future themes they might create. There is no need for back up services or plug ins. Squarespace current offers 3 plan options, one of which starts at about $8 per month, and most of my clients are just fine with the most basic plans. 

For additional information on pricing, click here. Also, with the code GIMME10, you can get 10% off your first year!

04 | User Friendly Interface

We've addressed outer beauty, but the saying is true: beauty is on the inside.  Not only does Squarespace deliver on this aspect, but it is also beautiful on the inside as well - the perfect package. It's user interface is clean, organized and intuitive. After all, what good is your beautifully designed website if you can't easily and efficiently make updates to your site and create valuable content for your blog? Exactly. Squarespace utilizes a "block" system, allowing you to easily add text, rearrange content, and creative beautiful layouts and unique blog posts. 

05 | Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile responsiveness has been much discussed in recent months. Talks of a "mobilegeddon" came about when google announced a change in it's algorithm this past April that favors sites that are "mobile friendly." This caused sites that are NOT mobile friendly to plummet in google searches. If you are a Squarespace user, fear not. Each of their beautiful themes are completely mobile responsive, and the Squarespace user interface even gives you the ability to view your site as it would appear on various screen sizes. 

Squarespace Interface
Squarespace Interface

Ready to start your Squarespace site? Click the below image to download a free step by step guide to getting set up. 


Questions about Squarespace?

If you've been considering a switch, are starting a new venture, or have been curious about Squarespace, I hope you found this post helpful! Please feel free to email me with any questions about the platform. As you can tell, I am a true, enthusiastic fan, and believe Squarespace has so much to offer to my fellow entrepreneurs.

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Demystifying the Design Process | What To Expect When Working with a Graphic Designer

When I first started blogging in 2008, and before I learned the skill set that put me where I am today, I briefly worked with a graphic designer to create a custom header for my very first blog, The Hungry Yogini.

At the time, blog's were still relatively novel (or perhaps I was just not aware of the more advanced and progressive ones!). I can vividly remember reading from several fellow bloggers who had worked with a designer to create a custom header and thinking THAT'S WHAT I NEED. There wasn't much talk about logo design, branding or web development, but I knew without a doubt...

I needed a custom header.

On a mission, I eventually found someone who at the time was working with quite a few other healthy living bloggers on creating custom headers for their Wordpress sites. $150 later and there it was, my custom header. I felt like Ralphie from "A Christmas Story", only replace Red Rider BB Gun with custom Wordpress header. Put me in a pink bunny suit, and call it Christmas!

Fast forward quite a few years, lots of experience, books, design classes, and trial and error, and I myself am a designer working with clients who were just as I was back in '08 - unaware of what all went in to working with a graphic designer but knowing that I needed something to take my blog and business to the next level. 

My goal with today's post is to provide you with some behind the scenes insight on what you can expect in working with a designer. I'm here to demystify the process, help you to know what to look for in a designer and what to expect in the process. As a bonus, I've also included a free 6 page in depth pre-planning worksheet that will you help you feel prepared for your first conversation with your designer, as well as give you a good sense of what your design needs are for your business.

Demystifying The Design Process | What to expect when working with a graphic designer + a free pre-planning worksheet!

Demystifying the Design Process - Designer Expectations


If you've never worked with a designer before, it can be hard to know what you should expect throughout the process. Even in starting my own business, it was tough to decide exactly what I wanted to do (and not do) when working with my clients. While you'll find that each designer has their own process, there are a few KEY things you should look for before signing on with someone.

001 | Consultation

A designer should provide a consultation before you commit to working with them. It is so important to make sure that your designer is a good fit for you not only in their aesthetic and what you've seen in past work, but in their personality as well. Do you feel a sense of trust? Do you sense their commitment to your project? Are they easy to talk to? The design process should be fun and enjoyable, and when you are with the right designer, it will be. That initial consultation is key in making sure that you get good vibes from your prospective designer, and feel that they are going to be committed to helping you create your brand and website. 

002 | Contract

I know, I know. I just said the design process is fun and then turn around and throw the word CONTRACT around all willy nilly. But don't leave yet. Any good designer will have a contract for you to sign before you commit to their services. I don't like to think of it so much as a contract, as it is an agreement. When I provide my clients with a contract, I bundle it into the back of a Design Proposal that has been customized to their potential project. It includes verbiage that not only protects me as a designer, but also protects my potential client. It specifically outlines the services your designer will provide, who is doing what in the arrangement, and a breakdown of the projected cost for the project. It's important that both of us know exactly what we're doing, what the cost will be, and who is going to be doing what during the process.

003 | Project Timeline

When I work with my clients and provide them with their contract and design proposal, I also build in a page that contains one of the most important elements of the whole project - The Project Timeline. Most of my projects are on a 6 week time frame, so after speaking with my client about my availability and their ideal project completion date, I create a comprehensive timeline that lists who does what and when. In it, I breakdown the deadlines for each step of our project, as well as deadline's for my client to provide their feedback. That way, there are no concerns about project delays, lack of correspondence, or questions as to what either party is doing in any given week. 

004 | Communication

Communication is so important when working with a client, and your designer should be available to you to answer questions and work with you every step of the way. Communication not only includes being available by email or phone, but also encompasses information delivery. How will deliverables (meaning inspiration boards, logo concepts, final design files, etc.) be sent to the client? What's the best way to communicate? To keep communication open, each of my clients get a private project homepage on my website that holds a ton of information about the process and guides them through each step. On this page they have access to questionnaires, homework, deliverables and final files. That way when I'm not available right away, they have a quick resource for finding information. It's important to feel like you know you will get the information you need from your designer, if and when you need it. 

005 | Guidance

While your brand is ultimately about you and the vision you have for your business's logo, website, print items, etc., your designer also has a unique skill set and view and SHOULD be offering guidance and direction throughout the process. A designer is not simply someone who has the software that creates a logo, or the ability to get a website up and running. Someone who is willing to give you exactly what you want with no input or guidance should be a red flag.  Yes, we want to get you what you want, but if your vision has some fundamental issues, your designer should be able to provide insight as to why and guidance as to how to resolve it to still get you what you want in a way that makes sense. A good designer will provide you with their reasoning behind a certain logo design, the purpose of using a certain color instead of another, and the thought process behind your website layout for user experience. A good designer establishes trust early on, so that their client knows their guidance is intended to create a comprehensive brand... and not just a custom header. 


Demystifying the Design Process - Client Expectations


So we've talked about what you should expect from your designer, but what should you expect as the business owner and design client? 

001 | Homework

So you have your business idea, you've got a plan and you've hired a designer to create your website so you can start making some seriously awesome things happen. Time to sit back and relax, right!? Not so much. The design process is not without it's homework. Homework is such an important part of the process, and is key in making sure you and your designer are on the same page and working towards the same goal - creating your perfect brand design. 

The two key pieces of homework I ask of my clients happens before our project even begins. Those two tasks are creating a Pinterest board with images that reflect the mood and tone of their brand, and answering a comprehensive questionnaire. This questionnaire dives into what their business is, who their business is for, and even gets down into their business's personality. That's right, it's personality. One of the questions I ask my client's is "If your brand were a person, what would he or she be like?" I encourage clients to get specific, down to where this person lives, what they like to do for fun and how they take their coffee. Seriously! And you know what? My client's love it. It is a great exercise to define their brand's purpose, and hone in on what it might look like visually before we even get started. 

Another key component of homework? Your feedback. As I mentioned before, I include not only my deadlines for getting logos, website design, etc. to my clients, but I also include deadlines for their feedback. I build in a few days for things to sink in, and give instruction as to what I'm looking for in their feedback. Providing detailed feedback to your designer will go a long way in helping them create designs that meet your needs. 

002 | Cost

I got off pretty cheap in 2008 with my $150 investment. But it's true what they say; you get what you pay for. My custom header was just that - a custom header. While it made my site much more visually appealing, it didn't create a cohesive and comprehensive look to my site and business. The design process is not without cost, but it is a major investment in your business. Your website is often the first thing your potential clients and/or readers see. First impressions are everything and can make or break a potential sale, subscriber or follower. Making sure the visual elements of your brand are in line with who you are and what you do will go a long way in starting your business, or refreshing it on the right track.

003 | Fun

Working with your designer should be fun. It should be inspiring and spark new excitement for your business. If you are just starting out, seeing your idea and vision come to life is an invigorating and exciting process. There is a sense of "officialness" (totally made that up... but you know what I mean) that comes with having a cohesive brand - a beautiful logo, a crisp website, and print items that complete the package. As a designer, I love seeing the confidence that comes over clients who have gone from idea, to living breathing business just by having a brand package that fits perfectly. For those who are re-branding, and perhaps changing direction in their business, the design process brings on a sense of renewal and recommitment to your business. The change can spark new excitement and new ideas, much like those first few days of fall that make you feel like a new person. After days that felt long and stagnant, finally a rush of crisp air. Re-branding is a fun and exciting way to get that fall feeling and re-spark your commitment to your business. 


Pre-Planning Worksheet

Below is the link to the pre-planning worksheet that will get you prepared for working with a designer, and honed in on exactly what you are looking for. Knowing what you want before speaking with potential designers is key in making sure you find the right fit. After completing this in-depth 6 page worksheet, you'll know what questions to ask, have a clear definition of your brand's purpose and vision, and an understanding of your website and print needs. Enjoy!



 

 

The Broad & Main Family is Growing

We are so thrilled to announce that our family is growing!

Broad & Main Brand Styling and Squarespace Websites

Our sweet daughter, Harper James Malone, will be here this November and we couldn't be more excited. As of today, we are officially at the halfway mark, and can't wait for the next 20 weeks to fly by just as quickly so that we can meet our girl.

So what does this mean for you? It means that I only have a few spots left in my design queue for 2016, before I take maternity leave through 2017! As of right now, I have just THREE spots remaining for full brand and website design projects, and limited openings for smaller projects such as logo design or Squarespace site consultations. The last design spot is open for September 2016, and they're gonna go quickly!

Are you interested in a 2016 project? The time to get in touch is NOW! I can't wait to help just a few more entrepreneurs build the brand and site of their dreams before our life is forever changed (for the better!). Send me a note below to discuss your project with me!


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