This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Hartford Small Business Insurance. All opinions are 100% mine.
Aside from decor-related questions, I am most frequently asked questions about how I run my blog and small business. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years (wow) and working for myself for about 6. So I really understand how daunting it can feel to start your own business. Today, I partnered with The Hartford to answer your questions about how I run a successful blog, the tools I use, and more about their solutions which can be tailored for your small business.
You Asked, I Answered: Your Questions about My Small Business, Blogging & More!
What are your top 5 tips to start?
- Do it for love, not the money.
- Get your social media handles on lock right away and make sure they are consistent.
- Don’t be afraid to watch your ‘competitors’ and see what they are doing… so you can do things differently and hopefully better!
- Stay true to your aesthetic.
- Be organized and fully use each tool.
What’s your least favorite part of blogging?
A lot of the time it feels like I can’t really step away and that I always need to be ‘on.’ I have a hard time putting my phone down at times. It also doesn’t help that there is so much pressure to ‘hack the algorithm’ in order to ensure the content I’ve worked so hard to create is actually seen. I find this especially difficult when I have sponsored content that a brand has paid money for and the social platforms simply don’t want to organically show it to my followers. That really bugs me, but most of the time I do my best to eschew those thoughts. Leaving the range of cell phone service and heading to the mountains really helps me maintain balance and peace.
I also struggle with feeling like I create in a vacuum. As a small business owner, I am the decision maker… but sometimes I really just want to be able to bounce ideas off of someone! Luckily, I have some incredible friends who are in the same or similar fields and I can share my latest schemes with them. It helps immensely.
What do you wish you knew when you started?
Honestly, one of my biggest regrets is not realizing the power of Instagram sooner! I regret not usually my natural creativity to create an account that was more interesting. Instead, I posted more personal photos and didn’t really establish a strategy. Because of this, now it feels like I’m constantly playing catch up.
How do you manage your photoshoot props and photography equipment? Do you have insurance for those?
I used to have a studio space where I stored all of my props, computers, camera equipment, files, etc. I have since given up the space and have a home office now because I wanted to save the money each month instead. Because of this, I have narrowed down my prop collection to my absolute favorites and I store them in Sean’s dad’s basement for now. I might get a storage unit one day, but for now this system is working just fine for me.
In terms of insuring these items and more, I absolutely do and highly recommend that you do as well. Small businesses face very unique challenges, so working with the right tools and people makes a world of difference. With The Hartford, they like to say ‘the buck’s got your back‘ and I couldn’t help but agree. From accidents to theft to property damage, small business insurance helps to protect you from financial risks that you might not even be aware of. Click here to learn how The Hartford is underwriting human achievement.
How did you get started??
I shared my entire career path story in this post and this one!
What’s your dream company to work with?
It’s not so much that I focus on brands and companies that I want to work with, but instead I prefer to dream up projects that I desperately want to do. Then, I reach out to brand partners to figure out a way to make it happen!
What is your biggest source of income?
One of my biggest goals of 2019 has been to diversify my streams of income. Sponsored content still makes up the majority of my income, but I also do Pinterest consulting, commercial styling, have my social media school for small businesses, and a few other things that I do in the background.
How do you manage so many projects at once?
Uh… I don’t? Just kidding, but most of the time it feels like I’m barely scratching the surface of what I wish I could be doing. I put a lot of time and effort into planning my editorial calendar so that I can work ahead and have posts scheduled. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Also, having a management team has been huge for me because I no longer have to deal with most communication, negotiating contracts, and chasing invoices. They do it all for me, which has opened up a LOT of time for me to get more creative.
What do you outsource/delegate vs. what do you do yourself?
Most of what you see on the blog is all me, except for occasional photography, DIY posts, and recipes. I also have a virtual assistant who is helping me build the online version of my social media class simply because I am really crunched for time. But for the most part, I plan, photograph, write, schedule, share, and more all on my own. It’s a lot, but I’m so grateful to do what I do.
Do you do your own taxes or have a bookkeeper?
I was asked this question multiple times and, quite frankly, I am not surprised. Taxes and bookkeeping are a topic that can really hang over the head of a small business, especially if you’re creative like me and have a hard time managing numbers. I am the first to admit my shortcomings, so one of the very first things I did when I started my small business was to hire an accountant and lawyer to help me get my LLC paperwork filed, get an EIN, and make sure my taxes were being handled properly. About 2 years ago, I also brought on a bookkeeper (hi, Sarah!) and she’s helped me put into place some really great systems to start organized.
Here’s a rundown of what we’ve put into place: when I sign a new contract, I create an invoice. I do this even if the payment will be coming from my management team because it helps me to track the due dates for my income. Therefore, I can plan big expenses, budget, and make sure I have enough income in the future months. Then, when payment is received, I can link the income to the invoice and mark it as paid. I do the same with any social media consulting or styling work I bring on, as well.
What’s next for your blog and brand?
This might have been my favorite question of the whole bunch! I really love the practice of putting goals out into the universe, so here we go:
- I want to take my career full circle and have a product line of textiles, rugs, and home decor.
- A book! This idea has been percolating in my head for a while and I’m really excited to see if it happens one day.
- I’m considering opening an online shop of artisan made goods and found objects.
- I’d love to do more styling work for corporate clients and books.
Many, many thanks to The Hartford for sponsoring today’s small business Q&A post. Don’t forget, the buck’s got your back. Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
If you have anything else to ask, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer!
Photography & styling by Jojotastic.