Browsing Category

Do Well

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place: My Unexpected Career Journey

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a “boss lady”.

career journeyMe at (age 3?) attending a Montessori School

It’s funny because when I look at this picture, I think it serves as a pretty good indication of the woman I’ve come to be (and yes, let’s be honest, I’d definitely wear this exact outfit today). I’m grateful to have two parents that have always served as my role models. They have both successfully made their way up the corporate ladder and I told myself that this is what I wanted too. I would work hard in school, get a good job (where I could carry around a fancy briefcase) and rise up the ranks in a corporate role to follow in the footsteps of my parents.

Or so I thought.

The thing is, I probably could have achieved all that if, you know, this was 20 years ago. What I didn’t anticipate when I made these goals as a child is how much the Canadian workforce would change and the impact this would have on me and the future of my career.

45% of Canadians are predicted to be self-employed by 2020.

(source: workischanging.ca)

But, let’s back up a bit.

Even though I had my big, lofty “boss lady” goals, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a long time. In high school, I worked hard, got good grades and for all intents and purposes, I was a “good student”. When it came time to select university programs, I remember feeling stuck and really frustrated. I have these good grades but what do I do with them? I never felt like I had natural talents. Sure, I had things I liked and was “good” at (reading and writing, to be specific) – but how could I make a career out of that?

Fast forward one year and I’m now a student at McMaster University with plans of becoming the best female lawyer Canada has ever seen. Until of course, I took a Communications class and my world completely changed. Up until that point, I had never heard of public relations nor did I really understand the dynamics of social media. It was 2009 and I was barely on Facebook at that time. But, it only took a few classes before I realized I was destined for a career in Communications.

I switched my program and set my sights on a career in PR. I didn’t know anyone in this field so I became obsessed with research and learning how to succeed. I quickly learned that the key to success would be internship experience and so my (unpaid) intern journey began soon after.

From that moment on, I gave up every single summer while in university to intern. From a hotel PR agency, an elderly home, to the internal PR team at Joe Fresh to the sales and merchandising team at Michael Kors, I was committed to gaining as much experience as I could in the field. Save for the hotel PR gig, I had to land these opportunities completely on my own. I taught myself how to write good emails, an intriguing cover letter, how to stand out in an interview, set up my Linkedin profile and of course, how to dress well for the workplace.

career journeyAttending LG Fashion Week sometime between 2010-2012
career journeyAttending the 2010 Teen Vogue Fashion University in NYC

Every experience I got was through reaching out, following up and demonstrating my value and passion. Also during this time, I became the fashion writer of my university’s paper. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) used to affectionately call me “superwoman” as I was successfully juggling a number of different opportunities. I was doing well in school, writing great pieces for the newspaper and had tons of internship experience and connections under my belt. At that time, I felt on top of the world and that my career was pretty much set in stone. Oh, how things change.

career journeyMy husband and I at some point in university, likely 2011
career journeyPosing on campus for a photoshoot with McMaster University’s student newspaper

career journey
My dad and I on my university graduation day

After graduation, I landed another internship where I performed really well (and could have received a full-time job opportunity) but I felt as though it would be important in the long run for me to get certified in public relations. The program at Humber College had a great reputation as I had set up a number of “coffee meetings” with successful graduates who all emphasized the program’s importance. At the time, I also was beginning to make another shift – instead of traditional PR, I wanted to specialize in an emerging field – social media.

The program flew by and very quickly I reached the end where you’re required to complete an internship in order to officially graduate. I’ll be completely honest – I thought this would be easy for me. I had tons of experience and felt as though I could just find a full-time job instead of an internship. After all, I grew up with the belief that good grades and experience automatically equals a good job. Well, I certainly learned that this is not the case – I was the last person in my class to find something but I eventually landed a contract Social Media Coordinator job.

The job didn’t really pan out in terms of becoming a full-time job due to budgets. I ended up unemployed for a month and a half – the longest month and a half of my life. “This is not the life I envisioned”, I’d say to myself after watching yet again another episode of Ellen, going on yet another coffee date and submitting countless job applications. It was a low point for me. Now, I know that a month and a half isn’t anything to complain about and I’m not trying to sound entitled in any way. In fact, I should be grateful that it wasn’t any longer. I admit, I certainly went through an “expectation hangover” during this time. In other words, I had built up some high expectations based on what I learned from family, teachers and just society, in general. My unemployment experience didn’t fit within those expectations and it was a rude but necessary awakening for me. I finally opened my eyes to the realization that the job market is tough.

Eventually, I got a great public sector job as a Communications Coordinator. Good salary, interesting role and I felt excited to be back on my path to “success”. It was a maternity leave contract but with the opportunity to continue on afterwards. I worked hard in this role and felt very confident that I would be staying on. Until of course, I got the inevitable news – there’s no budget to continue my contract. AGAIN. Once again, I’d be out of a job but this time, 3 months before my wedding.

You can only imagine how stressful that time was but thankfully I managed to find something quite quickly and I didn’t have to deal with another extensive unemployment period. The bonus? It would be my first permanent job. I was ecstatic.

I was content for the first year but eventually, this wasn’t enough.

career journeyMe after being recognized as one of PR in Canada’s Top 30 under 30 in 2015

I felt a bit stuck. I was now several years into my career and I was still a “Coordinator”, a junior title by most standards. But, this time instead of the usual “there’s no budget”, I was now faced with another issue – there was no room for me to grow. As much as I didn’t want to compare myself to others, I couldn’t help but feel inadequate as I’d scroll through Linkedin and see my peers moving up into more senior roles. Now, maybe you’re thinking, “Why wouldn’t she just apply for other jobs?” Well, I did for a long time. Nothing ever materialized but I believe my heart just wasn’t in it. I kept thinking about what would happen if I found yet another job and then I encounter the same issues. I was feeling really defeated.

Maybe if I create a life outside of work, I’ll be fine.

The best way I can describe it is that I started to feel this gaping hole in my life and I realized I needed more than just my job. I needed a passion. Four words that came to me almost 3 years prior on a walk home started to keep me up at night – Do Well Dress Well.

So, on February 1st, 2016, I mustered up enough courage to launch DWDW. Originally intended to be a simple side hustle but it quickly flourished into something beyond my wildest dreams. Just a few months afterwards, I began consulting with some wonderful women which led to speaking which led to hosting networking events and eventually some recognition by brands. I also privately launched a consulting business with my husband and we began to get client work.

2.5 million Canadians, especially those aged 25 to 44, are taking part in the “5-to-9’er” lifestyle. (source: Paypal Canada)

After 1 year hit, I began to ask myself – What if I worked for myself full-time?

career journeyCelebrating my 1 year anniversary of hosting networking events

Do Well Dress Well has become this magical thing in my life. It has brought me so much joy and happiness in ways I can’t even begin to explain. When I talk about my growth plans, my heart actually swells with excitement. But, I never realized how much that was noticeable to others as so many people have asked me “so why don’t you just run DWDW full-time?”

Every single time, I’d brush them off. No, I want to build my career. No, I want to save money. No, I just bought a house. I felt like it just wasn’t something I could do.

At the same time, it’s something that I wanted more than anything. I felt as though my career growth was always in everyone else’s control, but mine. The “corporate” world wasn’t working out for me and maybe it was just a sign that I was meant to become my own boss. I truly felt as though I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I could go out on my own, an option that I was sure would be difficult both emotionally and most certainly financially, or I could stay in my “9-5” and continue to feel frustrated – an option that felt just as (if not, more) difficult to accept as entrepreneurship.

Economic changes have shifted as risk has shifted from organizations to individuals. People are now forced to become more active in managing their own career growth and retirement. (source: workischanging.ca)

I went back and forth and had a lot of emotional breakdowns. I felt like my hunger for entrepreneurship was wrong. I would get angry at myself for not being happy for what I had. By most standards, my life was pretty secure and traditional. So why am I now trying to mess that up?

Fast forward to when I had a very serious conversation with my parents and husband. What if I tried this? After all, I’ve been an intrapreneur (an “inside entrepreneur”, someone who drives innovation within an organization as an employee) for several years which has positioned me to feel extra confident in myself and my abilities – a topic I recently wrote about on workischanging.ca

A few conversations and planning sessions later, I realized that I’m more prepared than I thought and entrepreneurship is actually a viable option right now. Wait, whaaaat?!?

So, today – November 30th, 2017 (my 26th birthday) – is my first official day of self-employment.

career journeyPhotography by Gooseberry Studios

Wow, that was weird to write.

But, I’m doing this. I’m really doing this.

I’ll be running my consulting business Vision Vertical and of course, continuing to create content on Do Well Dress Well and hosting ideate networking events. I also have a few other fun ventures up my sleeve.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Behind my smile and excitement is a whole lot of nerves. I’m not all starry eyed and thinking that this whole self-employment thing will be a breeze. In fact, I’ve been bracing myself for the complete opposite so that I don’t have a complete breakdown when things get tough. I also don’t know if I’ll be an entrepreneur forever. It’s way too early to say but I definitely wouldn’t feel ashamed if I went back to a corporate job in the future. I’d be way more ashamed if I was able to look back 10 years from now and I still didn’t take the chance on myself.

I’ve been living for exactly twenty-six years but today is the first time in my life where I can actually say I feel alive. That comfort zone I’ve lived in up until now? It no longer exists and I couldn’t be happier. I’m now free-falling and yes, the thought of slamming face first into the ground has kept me up the last few nights but I keep reminding myself…there’s a good chance that I could fall but what happens if I fly?

63% of independent workers have started their businesses out of choice rather than necessity (Source: Upwork and Freelance Union)

When I visualized my future as a corporate employee 10 years from now, nothing would come to mind and I would become extremely frustrated. Until I realized it’s not because success isn’t in my future – it just means that the job I want just doesn’t exist and it’s up to me to create it.

As you’ve learned through my personal experience (and possibly have experienced first-hand yourself), work is changing. It’s not the same workforce that my parents or even my grandparents worked in. In order to prepare Canadians for these changes, Futurpreneur Canada has launched workischanging.ca, an online content and resource hub with a goal of creating national awareness around employment and the value of entrepreneurship.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing and creating content for the Work is Changing campaign, a collaboration that couldn’t be more timely as I begin this new chapter in my life. In addition to my recent piece on intrapreneurship, I have two other pieces that will be going live soon and I’m excited to share that on Thursday, December 7 at 1:00pm EST, I’ll be hosting a live interview on the Futurpreneur Canada Facebook page! I’ll be interviewing Toronto entrepreneur Rachel Kelly, Founder of Make Lemonade, Toronto’s newest coworking space for women. I hope you’ll tune in to the interview and I encourage you to actively read the site and follow #WayWeWork on social media.

To everyone who has supported me along this journey – my absolutely amazing family and friends, the Futurpreneur team and the many women who choose to read and support Do Well Dress Well, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

A few days after resigning from my job, I was sharing my news with my grandmother (who became an entrepreneur later in life) and she said, “Well, I understand that this is what you have to do. Your grandfather was at the same job for 30+ years before retiring but times have changed. That doesn’t happen anymore.” Grandma, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Work is Changing and now so am I. It’s time to become the boss lady I’ve always known I was meant to be.

This post was sponsored as part of my collaboration with Futurpreneur Canada but of course, all experiences, opinions and photos are mine.

10 Canadian Female Entrepreneurs You Need to Know

According to a 2015 TD Economics special report, Canadian women have been leading the charge into entrepreneurship since the recession and the number of self-employed women continues to rise today. Our businesses may currently be smaller than our male counterparts (although at the rate we’re going, I highly believe this will change), we’re way more innovative and this same study found that female-owned small businesses are more likely to have engaged in innovation (significantly improving or creating a completely new good or service).

It’s not surprising though. As I learned through Futurpreneur Canada’s Work is Changing campaign, 46% of the Canadian workforce is currently at risk of being replaced. That’s a huge percentage. Consequently, people are confused, frustrated and are in search of some job security – a job where they are in control.

Additionally, our lifestyle habits are changing. In general, Canadians are in search of better work/life balance but if you break it down by gender, the TD Economics special report highlights that women prioritize this way more than men.

 

With November 19th marking Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the entrepreneurs that have each inspired me way more than they know. Whether full-time or part-time, entrepreneurship is not easy and although more of us are turning to it in hopes of creating a more flexible lifestyle, it still has it’s challenges. Regardless, these women continue to work hard, create amazing products and services and remain humble while doing so.

Here are 10 Canadian Female Entrepreneurs You Need to Know:

Katie Zeppieri

When I think of female empowerment, Katie immediately comes to mind as she passionately works everyday to empower women and girls. She is the Founder of GIRLTALK Empowerment through which she inspires, empowers and mobilizes girls to become world-changers! She’s also the Founder of This Box is Pink, a monthly subscription box for girls & women with lifestyle products that not only make them look and feel good but also DO good. Oh, and she’s the author of GIRL TALK Book. Earlier this year, I met Katie for the first time as I invited her to speak on The Why Women Panel, a small networking event I hosted for women to discover their why. She openly shared her story with the audience and was just so kind and genuine.

Victoria Stacey

If you’re looking for a DIY guru, Victoria is your girl. I’m convinced that she can pretty much make anything! Victoria is the Founder of Florals and Teacups through which she blogs on everything DIY and she hosts plant-inspired craft workshops all across Toronto. I met Victoria through her volunteer work with the Toronto Chapter of Young Women in Business and since then she’s become someone that I will always go out of my way to support. She also just became the new DIY Content Creator at Diply so she is truly showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to her passion for crafts.

Rachel Kelly

After life actually handed her a lemon, Rachel literally made lemonade by creating Make Lemonade, Toronto’s newest female coworking space. I absolutely love the space and she has done an amazing job filling what was once a large void in our city. Her space offers desks, tables, meeting rooms and a variety of different events. Plus, Rachel is so friendly which makes visiting the space an even greater experience.

Laura Benn

Laura, my favourite go-to photographer, is the Founder of Gooseberry Studios, a storytelling studio that specializes in cinematic photography and custom branding services. Throughout my personal journey over the last 2 years, Laura has consistently been someone I can count on whether it’s through partnering on blog content or capturing photos of me in a way only she knows how. She is such a kind soul and also one of the most hardworking women I know.

Julene Chung

Julene is the mastermind behind Curated Life, through which she creates empowering lifestyle events and media content for millennial women. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Curated Life Magazine which features business, beauty, travel and health content which was recently named a Finalist in the Canadian Magazine Awards – Mag Grand Prix. She also hosts her signature event series MASTERCLASS. Each event connects attendees to a community of peers and the resources required to start and/or grow a prosperous business. She does an amazing job of bringing women together and providing them with opportunities – I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to contribute some of my favourite books to a past issue.

Karen Swyszcz

Karen is the Founder of Makin the Bacon and she helps small businesses learn how to blogging, branding and social media for business success. I first met Karen through Instagram and she’s become one of my favourite business owners to follow for her down-to-earth personality and valuable business tips. She’s an expert on all things blogging and most recently became an instructor for a Writing for Social Media class at Sheridan College.

Huda Alvi

Huda describes herself as a life influencer and that couldn’t be anymore accurate. She uses her life experiences to inspire, influence and empower others. She’s a serial entrepreneur – she started her first company at 18 and then again at 25, she opened Istaff Management, her own recruitment firm, which was able to succeed just short of a million-dollar company within its first year. Now, she’s been hosting various classes called #WORKSHOPSBYHUDA where she, alongside other experts, teaches on topics like photography, blogging and YouTube. She’s also the Founder of the #IAMMORE movement, a storytelling platform for people to share their stories from all over the world. Oh and she’s also working on launching a tech start up all while continuing to build a strong, inspiring personal brand.

Jam Gamble 

When Jam says that she is the #SlayerofTheMic, she is not lying. She slays the mic every.single.time and I can personally attest to this. She really is the Connector of People, Ideas and Energy as her infectious personality instantly brings people together and you can’t help but focus on what she has to say. She hosts everything from weddings, corporate events and public campaigns. She also recently developed the Slay the Mic program in order to coach people looking to become more confident public speakers. It’s also worth mentioning that she does all of this outside of being a full-time highschool teacher. I don’t know how she does it all but she manages to succeed and always looks good while doing it.

Alethea Robinson

Althea is the Founder of See Girl Work, providing content strategy, blogging, and writing & editing services for creative agencies and small to medium-sized businesses. She also runs a popular blog that has become a valuable content hub for creators, marketers and freelancers. Recently, she was invited to join Paypal Canada’s Small Business Growth Council as an ambassador to inform, educate and inspire other Canadian business owners to embrace the power of e-commerce. Her blog has become one of my personal favourites as she consistently creates quality content to help women succeed.

Cristina Maritano

Cristina is the lovely lady behind ShoeTease, a shoe blog she created to talk about shoe trends, shoe styling, shoe care and more. She’s a Paris trained designer with an obvious passion for all things shoes and accessories. In addition to running her blog, she also launched a pom pom shoe set collection called Pombons (the perfect way to add some personality to your shoes!) and she consults with small businesses on how to leverage search engine optimization (SEO). She creates such gorgeous content and is probably one of my favourite people to follow online.

 

Girlboss Rally Review – November 11, 2017 in NYC

As I write this, I’m currently sitting in LaGuardia airport waiting for my flight back home to Toronto. I could be playing around on an airport iPad, buying an overpriced meal or cracking open my current read (The Power of Moments, if you’re curious) which I’ve been meaning to finish. I tried to “relax” and soak up my last few minutes of my New York City weekend but quite honestly, I can’t stop thinking about the day prior. My first (and certainly not last) Girlboss Rally experience. I said it on Instagram and Twitter and I’ll say it again, I had an amazing time!

In a world where we are surrounded by photo filters, staged photos and fake social media personas, it was so refreshing to have a completely authentic look into the reality of inspirational girlbosses, both full-time entrepreneurs and corporate women alike. 

I have received tons of questions about my experience so I’ve done my best to put together an extremely comprehensive review. Remember that these are my open and honest thoughts. I paid for my rally ticket, flight and hotel with my own money and I’m not receiving any compensation in any shape or form for this review. There are tons of conferences these days and my hope is that this post will help you in the future as you make decisions on what to attend. With that being said, grab a drink and a snack and get ready to read! 

girlboss rally review

Why I decided to attend

I read Girlboss in 2014 shortly after it was released. I had recently graduated from my PR post-graduate program and was currently an intern at a social media agency. Like many recent grads, it was a really confusing time. I wasn’t sure which direction to take my career but I knew what kind of person I wanted to be. The book came into my life at the perfect time giving me the courage to go forward with the idea that I couldn’t stop thinking about – this very website that you’re reading right now – Do Well Dress Well. I read Girlboss in July/August and by December of that same year, I had officially purchased my website domain (Note: I didn’t actually launch until February 2016 but purchasing the domain was a huge step for me!)

girlboss rally

Despite the impact the book had on my life, I almost did not attend because of the cost. 

The rally was not cheap by any means. There were two options – $475 for General Admission (GA) and $700 for VIP. Take in mind, these prices are in US dollars which makes it even more expensive for a Canadian like me. Considering I would also have to pay for a flight to NYC, 2 nights hotel accommodation, transportation to airport + food, I opted for a GA ticket which came to roughly $600 CDN. 

So how did I justify spending over $1000+ for this? 

1. I admire Sophia Amoruso’s resilience. 

She is fresh off the heels of a bankruptcy, divorce and Netflix show cancellation – all of which were very public. In what seems like no time at all, she leveraged the immense success of Girlboss to launch Girlboss Media. I was intrigued to be around someone with this much determination and commitment to “redefining success.”

2. I want to build DWDW into a multi-faceted platform like Girlboss Media

Her platform is built around offering great content in various forms – website, podcast, books, events and a non-profit foundation. This has and continues to be my goal with DWDW considering there is nothing like this in Canada currently. I wanted to soak up the knowledge and inspiration needed to continue pushing forward by learning from Sophia who has managed to do so quickly and flawlessly. 

Now, before I get into what I liked and what I felt could be improved, if you’re looking for absolute perfection, the Girlboss Rally is not it. But, that’s exactly what made it great. It was imperfectly perfect. Let me explain:

What I Liked

  • The quality of speakers were by far the best I have ever experienced and I’ve been to TONS of conferences and networking events. They were diverse (not only in terms of race but their careers – some are full-time entrepreneurs and some are killin’ it in the corporate world) and so down-to-earth. Each speaker seemed genuinely excited to be a part of it but also committed to giving the audience REAL advice. I would describe the Girlboss Rally as a “no fluff zone” meaning that the conversations weren’t just fluff – they went beyond the standard “Work hard!” or “Just be yourself!” and I am so grateful for that. I don’t know about you but I roll my eyes whenever I hear boring advice like that.

 

  • Whoever did the decor for the venue deserves a raise because it was amazing. As soon as I walked in, I felt like I walked into a different dimension. The pink lighting, inspiration quotes all over the walls, creatively designed posters…all of it was just great. 

 

  • Everyone in that room had a story, a vision or an idea bigger than themselves. It was so inspiring to be in a room with women like myself who are looking to leave a unique mark on the world. Whenever someone would stand up and ask a question, they would often start by introducing themselves. They would say some amazing thing that they’re doing (for example, one girl is going to be a doctor next year but is also running a startup right now) and immediately the room started clapping for her. The energy in the room was electric and I wished I could package it up and bring it home with me to open on those days I’m uninspired. 

girlboss rally

  • You were able to join the Facebook group prior to attending so you could chat with attendees beforehand. Interacting with them made me way more excited and I was able to connect with some awesome women!

 

  • With that being said, I attended alone but did not feel alone. Everyone was so friendly and down-to-earth and we all helped each other take awesome pictures.

 

  • The startup studio allowed you to participate in an intimate session to gain some actionable knowledge on a particular area. I went to the one on Venture Capital and I found it SO helpful and I walked away with some resources that will be so valuable when I’m working on pitch decks in the future.

 

girlboss rally review

girlboss rally review

girlboss rally review

girlboss rally review

What Could Be Improved

  • I’m not a coffee drinker and I was disappointed that tea wasn’t provided. It was a little misleading as I stood in a line to grab a tea as the sign from the beverage sponsor said “Coffee and Teas”, however, only coffee was available at the event. 

 

  • The event was split into two buildings. VIP guests had their lounge in the main building where all the sessions were held and GA guests like myself had their lounge and food provided in building 2 which means we had to walk outside in the freezing cold to get there. It was only a 2 minute walk across the street but I was a little annoyed by this as I had put my winter coat in coat check as I didn’t want to be carrying it around all day. It would be great if they could find a larger venue so that this wouldn’t have to happen. However, this wouldn’t really be an issue for me if the weather was warmer.

 

  • That being said, if I wanted to grab a snack, I would have to leave the main room (and risk losing my seat near the front), walk outside, enter building 2 to grab the snacks and walk back. It would be great if snacks were available in the main room, especially for GA ticket holders. It’s a long 12 hour day and having convenient access to fuel would be great!

girlboss rally review

girlboss rally review

girlboss rally review

  • I was underwhelmed by the merchandise available for purchase. To be honest, I would have been willing to spend money on a shirt and/or tote bag with just the simple Girlboss logo on it but, surprisingly, this wasn’t available! Instead, the merchandise had some quotes on it which isn’t usually an issue for me except I wasn’t a fan of the language used. I don’t use curse words on a regular basis so I was a little put off by a totebag that said “unfuckwithable”. For some people it may not be an issue but that just doesn’t fit me or my brand. 

 

  • The giftbag didn’t consider international guests. Knowing that airport security is no joke, I quickly went through the gift bag before leaving my hotel to check for any “liquid” items. I had to leave behind a bottle of sauce, sunscreen and a box of Flow Water as it would have been thrown out at the airport. I would say they could avoid liquid items all together or potentially have separate gift bags for international attendees. 

Giftbag Reveal 

So, what was in the gift bag?! I decided that it would be a lot more fun to record a short video to show you so here it is! (P.S. I recorded it really quickly and it is not high-quality at all but thought I could show you better than I could tell you!)

Overall, despite the fact that I had to leave 3 items behind in NYC, I’m pretty pleased with the gift bag! 3 books, a bunch of coupons, some beauty items, snacks, affirmation cards and a water bottle.

What did I takeaway from the event and would I recommend it? 

Absolutely.

I think we all get to a point in our lives where “success stories” are no longer enough. We want real, actionable insights and we actually want to hear failures so that we can try not to make those same mistakes. If you feel the same way, the Girlboss Rally is for you. 

The success that we see from people we follow online is one-sided. There’s always another side we don’t see. The ugly stuff. The feelings and the failures. This is the stuff that the Girlboss Rally brought right to the forefront in a comforting and reassuring way. 

For example:

Did you know that Gabby Bernstein, New York Times Bestselling Author and Motivational Speaker, was a drug addict by age 25?!

Also, Kathryn Minshew, Founder of The Muse heard “no” 148 times before she got her first “yes!”

Being a Girlboss is glamourized. Instagram (and social media, in general) can fool many women into thinking it’s all inspirational quotes, writing ideas into a cute notebook and grabbing brunch. Yes, inspirational quotes were prominent at the venue but not without the speakers stressing that we just need to DO the work. 

What we see online can cause us to convince ourselves that we need to imitate the “success” of others. This is not true at all and the Girlboss Rally reassured me that I don’t have to change who I am to be successful. We can and we should redefine what “success” means to fit what makes us feel good.

“Success is an inside job. Turn your search for success inward.” – Gabby Bernstein

We shouldn’t be wearing our all-nighters, being stressed or busy as a badge of honour. In fact, as Gabby Bernstein says, we should take these things as a sign that we need to slow down in order to speed up. She also reminded us that we don’t need to be THERE right now. We need to stop working ourselves to the bone as if success happens overnight. We need to just focus on taking intentional small actions towards where we want to be. 

The rally also provided a timely reminder that being a “girlboss” does not = full-time entrepreneur. You can be a boss whether you’re a student, full-time or part-time entrepreneur or killin’ it full-time in the corporate world. Being a business owner is not for everyone. 

In the program, they described the event as a love fest. I agree and I would go as far as to say it was a lovefest of our imperfections and our failures. So often, we’re encouraged to just brush them off, get back up and run forward while pushing our failures to the outskirts of our memory. 

I was really moved when Sophia said:

girlboss rally review

Now, I don’t know if this was intentional but notice how she said she’s carrying it. She didn’t bury it, she didn’t throw it away. She’s moving ahead carrying her baggage and she’s doing a pretty amazing job at it.

 

If that’s not inspiration enough to love and embrace your failures, I don’t know what is. 

For additional content:

Here’s a recap of my tweets: #GirlBossRally NYC Recap – November 11, 2017

If this post has intrigued you in anyway and you’d be interested in attending next March in Los Angeles as part of a group, fill out this quick form and I’ll remind you when 2018 tix go on sale and we can plan to attend together! 🙂


I Tried Bumble BFF For 7 Days. Here’s How It Went

Remember when it was easy to make friends?

When we were much younger, we were able to go up to someone in our kindergarten class, sit down beside them (maybe hold their hand?) and immediately become best of friends. No icebreakers, no coffee meetups to get to know each other. Genuine friendship in an instant.

Those were the good ol’ days.

bumble bff

Photographer: Victoria Stacey from Florals and Teacups

I can’t help but reminisce on how making friends used to be so natural. It was so effortless that we probably never thought twice about it. Fast forward to our adult years and well…making friends is now just like any other task on our to-do list. It’s now something that we actually have to work at.

Well, networking apps like Bumble BFF seem to be on a mission to make this easier. We’re all busy with work and other priorities that finding like-minded friends can be difficult.

Having had prior success making friends on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, I instantly became intrigued by Bumble’s new foray into the friendship arena (it originally started as a dating app).

In case you’re not familiar with Bumble, it’s a social and dating app that is changing the way that people date and make friends. You’re able to view different profiles and ‘swipe left’ to pass and ‘swipe right’ to connect.

After continuously hearing about it, I decided that I would try the app for myself for 7 days. By the way, this post is not sponsored in any shape or form. I genuinely was curious about whether I could really find friends through the app and thought it would be worth a try. Other than your usual social media apps, I’ve personally never used any type of social or dating app to connect with people. I met my husband before apps like Tinder came on the scene so downloading Bumble BFF was completely new territory for me!

Here’s how it went:

Creating my account

Like any social app or site, upon signing up, you’re prompted to set up your profile. What’s interesting is that you have to have a Facebook account to sign up as your information is pulled from your Facebook profile. I believe it’s also a way that they can verify your authenticity. My name, age, previous school, location and job title were all pulled in from my Facebook page so that I just had to fill in the gaps – photos and a short bio.

I never thought that I’d struggle with writing my bio but for some reason, it made me nervous! I wanted to be able to explain what I do while also describing what I’d be looking to get out of a friendship. After a few minutes, I finally settled on something I was happy with and moved on to uploading photos. Your profile photo from Facebook is pulled into the app but you have the option to add any additional photos. I quickly went through the photos I had on my phone to find a few decent ones and added them to my profile.

Curious to see my final profile? Here are some screenshots:

Swiping for matches

Once my profile was finished, it was time to get swiping! Remember, this was my first time ever using an app that allows you to swipe for matches so I found myself taking it really seriously. I wasn’t able to just nonchalantly swipe left or right (well, unless they had a really strange photo) but instead I found myself really reading people’s profiles to see if we really had something in common. I’m not sure if this is the case on dating apps but I should also mention that even if you ‘swipe right’ on someone, you can’t actually connect with them unless they ‘swipe right’ on you too. Eventually, I really got into it and then my husband became intrigued and started to give his feedback on who I should swipe right with!

If you’re wondering what I was looking for in a potential friend, that’s a good question. I didn’t exactly have any criteria in mind when I began swiping. However, after a while, I began to figure out somewhat of a pattern in the type of people I would be interested in meeting up with. I wanted to find females in my local area (in or near the city of Toronto) that were either a side-hustler like myself or a full-time entrepreneur. Not to say I’m not interested in being friends with anyone who doesn’t fit that profile but there’s a sense of relief that comes over me when I find people that are going through similar business experiences as me.

One weird thing I did experience though – even though I had selected in my setting that I was interested in matching with female BFF’s, there were a number of men that ended up in my selections! I’m not sure if that’s because they didn’t indicate their gender on Facebook (because remember, that’s how your profile is set up) or it was just a glitch. I don’t have anything against male friends (although I don’t have very many of them) but at this time, I was simply interested in finding a few cool females to hang out with.

bumble bff

Photographer: Victoria Stacey from Florals and Teacups

My conversations

So, how many matches did I end up making? I don’t have the exact number but I think I had about 10-15. Not bad, right? But want to hear the strange thing…I didn’t really end up connecting with them! On Bumble BFF, after matching with someone, if no one initiates the conversation within 24 hours, you can no longer contact each other. I found that I was always the one attempting to break the ice which was a little bit frustrating. I did have a few ladies that reached out right away but for the most part, unless I made the first move, the connection didn’t happen.

I found that a lot of people were really interested in the fact that I run a blog and host networking events. Almost immediately after the usual “Hey, how are you?”, I was asked about my site and how I got started. It was a helpful icebreaker for me so I would recommend finding some unique things that you can put in your bio that will intrigue potential matches.

There were actually quite a few people where after a short conversation, we decided that we should meet up for “coffee”. I had set a date and time with two separate people but both meetups fell through! I was given excuses from being sick to being double-booked so I never ended up meeting anyone in real life. I’ll admit – at first I was really annoyed but I haven’t completely given up on the app’s potential and I continue to swipe every couple of days to see who I’m matched with.

Conclusion

Overall, despite my failed attempts at meeting up with a few women, I still found myself liking the app. I genuinely enjoy learning about what businesses or passion projects that other women have and I liked being able to read different profiles – even if we didn’t end up matching. I actually found that if people had their Instagram handle in their bio, I would make an effort to look at their Instagram profile – sometimes I even followed them.

I know that many people would say that connecting online is a lot easier than when you’re face-to-face. I’m not sure if I can say that I find one easier than the other. Both can sometimes cause me a little bit of anxiety, especially in the “break the ice” phase. However, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s definitely value in creating a diverse networking strategy for yourself. In other words, you can’t just meet people solely online or in-person. You have a much better opportunity to connect with different types of people if you take a diverse approach to how you meet them.

If you haven’t already and this post has intrigued you at all, I encourage you to try Bumble BFF out for yourself! It doesn’t cost you a thing (except for your time) and you never know, maybe you could make some valuable connections! Just make sure that if my profile pops up, you swipe right! 😉

4 Ways to Effectively Use Social Media at Conferences

With conferences these days getting more and more expensive, when we do decide to make the investment, it’s safe to say that we want to get the most possible value out of the experience. The best way to do this? Use social media.

social media at conferences

To listen to an audio version of this post, click below!

It may sound like a way to be anti-social, after all, you are there to connect and network with people in real life! However, by using social media the right way, you can end up making even more in-person connections and strengthening your personal brand at the same time.

Here are 4 ways to effectively use social media at conferences:

Track and use the conference hashtag

Most conferences these days will create a unique hashtag that encourage attendees to use in their online conversations. Don’t just wait until the day of the conference to start using it! Not only should you search the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram before purchasing a ticket to help you determine whether to attend but even after purchasing your ticket – regularly check the hashtag to connect with your fellow attendees! You can make plans to meet up and you’ll find that you feel much more comfortable as you’ll already know a few people!

Join the conference Facebook group

Some conference organizers like to create a Facebook group where attendees can get to know each other before the event. If this is an option – definitely take advantage of it! Use the opportunity to introduce yourself to do others and learn more about your fellow attendees. I was able to join the ‘Girlboss Gang’ Facebook group after purchasing a ticket to the NYC Girlboss Rally and have found it to be a really great experience. Especially as someone who typically attends conferences alone, I’ve been able to connect with some awesome like-minded women and it has made me even more excited to attend!

social media at conferences

Live tweet during sessions

For me, live-tweeting continues to prove itself as a valuable networking tool time and time again. There are a number of reasons for this: 1) You can easily connect with other attendees and foster conversations around the session topics 2) It enhances your personal brand as you continually share insights during the conference and in turn, you position yourself as someone worth following.

Another helpful tip? Engage with the conference speakers online! If possible, before their talk begins, ensure that you have their social handles and you’re following them so that you’re not scrambling to find it mid-tweet. While they are speaking, tweet out insightful learnings and direct quotes, making sure that you quote them correctly and attribute credit by tagging them. The benefit of this? The speaker(s) will more than likely see your tweets after and either like or retweet them for their entire audience to see. Your tweets will not only help your brand but it will help theirs too – it’s a win/win! You can also add a little extra to your tweet by including photos and/or videos as they get much more visibility and engagement online.

Create follow-up content

When the event is over, don’t let your online engagement stop there. Use the post-conference momentum to create an insightful wrap-up summary that reviews the event and highlights your key takeaways. This can take the form of a blogpost (on your own site and/or a post on Medium), video, podcast or a single post on Instagram or Linkedin. Wherever you choose, share it across all of your networks, tag the conference and any mentioned speakers and whatever you do, don’t forget to include the conference hashtag to ensure maximum exposure!

In a nutshell, using social media will help you to get the best possible experience and value out of the conference. Be sure to update your social profiles before you attend (bio, headshot and website link, if applicable) as your social media activity will bring lots of eyeballs to your profile – I’m sure you want to make the best possible impression!

Chanele’s Check-In: October 2017

In October, I:

But, I was disappointed that:

  • I still haven’t figured out how I want to create my coaching/mentorship program
  • I haven’t worked on my plan for continuing my networking events

To listen to an audio version of this post, click below!

Books I read:

In November, I’m looking forward to:

  • Attending the Girlboss Rally in NYC on November 11th
  • Launching my holiday content on the site
  • Writing freelance pieces for other outlets
  • Celebrating my birthday on November 30th!

October was an interesting month. In October, we’re really in the middle of fall but I think it’s when it also really hits me that we’re fast approaching the end of another year. This year, I found myself getting really reflective (more than usual, I should say) as I began to review the year in my head and evaluate whether I was happy with what I was able to achieve.

For the most part, yes, I was happy but there were a few things that I said I would do that I hadn’t done yet. So, I made a list of the remaining items and instantly made an action plan.

The launch of Do Well Dress Well Audio

This was the first thing on the list because it’s an idea I’ve had for so long and to be honest, it is pretty easy to do. I kept procrastinating mainly because I feel a little self-conscious about my voice (although I’m quickly getting over that because of all your nice compliments!) and also, I felt like I needed to have all of the fancy podcasting tools. But on one evening, I just used what I had (my iPhone headphones), recorded my first audio blogpost and taught myself how to edit on Garage Band. I was really nervous about putting it out there but I’m glad I did and the experience has made me more confident. It’s not yet at the quality I would love it to be but I will continue to get better – I’ve also put a podcast microphone on my holiday wishlist so I can’t wait to go into 2018 (and beyond!) with it! If you haven’t listened to them yet, please head over to my Audio page and give it a listen!

I read more books this month than usual

As I write this, I’m realizing that I had more time to reflect because it was the first month in the while where I had a lot of free weekends. I’m not complaining though because it was so nice to just sleep in and get things done at my leisure. I decided that I wanted to use this newfound free time to catch up on reading so I ordered the three books I mentioned above. I wrote a full book review on Braving the Wilderness but in a nutshell, I loved that book. I read it within 1 day. I then moved on to Entrepreneurial You, a recommendation from Cubicle Chic. I haven’t reviewed that in full yet but it has given me the insight I need to continue building Do Well Dress Well into a sustainable business. There’s no fluff in this book – just actionable tips on how to monetize your expertise. I’m now on The Power of Moments and it’s such a good read. Once I finish it, I’ll add a review to my 2017 Book Recommendations post.

I found out I’m an…ambivert?!?

So when I attended the networking event in mid-October, J.Kelly Hoey talked about the fact that she’s an ambivert. Honestly, before that date, I had never heard of it so I made a note to look it up on my way home. On the Quiet Revolution website (created by the author of the book, Quiet – I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list!), you can take a quiz to find out if you’re an ambivert. Well, ladies, I am an ambivert and I feel like my life has been changed.

As you know, I’ve always identified myself as an introvert. I’ll never be the most talkative person in the room and I really enjoy time alone. But over the last few years, I’ve been able to confidently do things that are very unlike most introverts. For example, I occasionally do public speaking which I enjoy. I host networking events and I almost always attend other networking events alone. Sure, I get a little nervous beforehand but never to the point where I’m too afraid to do it. Anyways, I feel really good about my new-found personality type because I believe it’s something that I was able to change on my own through starting Do Well Dress Well. I was definitely an introvert before I launched but 2 years later, I’ve made it to the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum.

I’m planning for next year and I need your help!

To completely change the subject – I’ve started my content planning for 2018 and although I can get a good sense of what you like and not like from my analytics and comments from social media, I’d love to hear feedback from you directly. I’ve decided to create my first ever Reader Feedback Survey! It will only take you a few minutes and it will ensure that the content I create speaks directly to your needs and interests. It’s anonymous so please be open and honest. I’d really appreciate it!

Want to fill it out now? Click here.

Until next month,

Chanèle

Note: The book links provided above are affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission.

5 Tips to Successfully Become Your Own PR Person

You create your own content and you have solid expertise in a particular area – but how many people actually know about it? PR coverage or what I like to call ‘Featured content’ is one of the 3 types of content that is an essential part of your personal brand content plan. This type of content includes being interviewed and quoted in other publications that positions you as an expert in your field.

To listen to an audio version of this blogpost, click below!

Of course, public relations is a full-time job and many people hire a PR person to proactively pitch publications for coverage opportunities. But, what if you’re not at the stage to hire someone to pitch on your behalf? No problem, becoming your own PR person is very much possible!

your own PR person

Here are 5 tips to successfully become your own PR person:

Know your pitch

Without a pitch, you’ll be unable to successfully promote yourself and your value. You need to be able to confidently explain who you are, what you do and why you’re credible. Pitching yourself can be nerve-wracking as you worry about coming off as too “cocky”. I like to think of personal pitching as humble bragging. I know, I know – bragging is not exactly a word that people love but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. (The book Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing Ithelped me become more comfortable with bragging!)

You need to brag about your value and expertise but in a humble way – which means, you’re not saying something like “Hi, I’m an awesome business owner. I get compliments all the time and no one is better than me because I’ve been featured here and here. I’m great, I’m beautiful and you need to know me.” As true as that might be, that’s not the way to go about things and I can guarantee you won’t get a positive response. Instead, introduce yourself in the context of your motivation – in other words, what’s your why? Yes, your pitch is about you but it’s also about why you do what you do and how it makes an impact. For example, here’s how I typically pitch myself for PR opportunities:

Hi, I’m Chanele McFarlane, Founder of Do Well Dress Well, and I specialize* in content and event experiences that equip millennial women with the knowledge and inspiration to succeed in style. [If I have a little more room, I’ll also say:] Through my website, I cover everything from personal branding, networking, entrepreneurship, career advice and personal style.

*I tweak this when I’m speaking to people in person to instead highlight that I’m passionate about the work that I do, instead of simply specializing in it.

I highly recommend reading the book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action if you want some inspiration in uncovering exactly why you do what you do.

Have your bio and headshot ready

As the saying goes, stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. It is more than likely that as you get featured, you will be asked to send over a short bio and headshot that they can use. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity by keeping them waiting as you scramble to put together a bio and get someone to take your photo. Before you start proactively putting yourself out there, ensure that you have these two important things prepared and update them regularly so that they’re both the most current reflection of you. Need help prepping for your photoshoot? Read these tips on How to Prepare for Your Personal Brand Photoshoot.

Subscribe to HARO

HARO, also known as Help A Reporter Out, is a platform for reporters to find sources for their stories. So, how does it work and how it can help you? Well, it’s a free tool that both PR agencies, publications, blogs and businesses can use to put out a request – often they are looking for expert sources to include in an article they are working on. You can subscribe to receive daily emails with these requests (don’t worry, you can indicate the topics you’re interested in – and yes, it’s free!) so you can read through them and see if there’s anything that you can serve as an expert source on.

Here’s an example of what the requests look like:

Sometimes the name of the publication is listed and sometimes it is anonymous. As you see something you’d like to respond to, you simply send an email to the email address provided with your expert response. I’ve personally written a few successful emails that have landed in me gaining PR coverage (full disclosure – I have a strong PR background so writing and pitching are my strengths) so my main piece of advice would be to ensure you’re as short and succinct as possible. No one has the time to sit and read a long-winded email. You should include:

  • A short 2 sentence introduction – your full name, title and your blog/business name and what you do
  • Response to their question/inquiry (it should be well-written, straight to the point and if possible, include a unique point of view that would increase your chances of being featured)

Read it over 3 times to ensure you don’t have any spelling or grammatical errors and then… you wait! You won’t always hear back (imagine how many emails they get!) but if they do, that typically means that you will be included in their piece. Most often, they will send you an email to let you know that it’s live and a link to the piece. Be sure to thank them and share it all across your social networks!

Follow the right people

Yes, HARO is an excellent tool to gain PR but in addition to this, you can gain opportunities from simply following the right people. Who are the key players in your industry? Who writes about the industry you’re an expert in? These are the people that you need to be following everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and any other platform where they’re present. Follow them closely and pay attention to their posts. You never know when they’ll post about looking for an expert to speak to a piece they’re working on. Trust me, this happens WAY more often than you think and is a great way to land a press opportunity.

Monitor your online mentions

Not all publicity is good publicity. Always keep an eye on any mentions of your name and/or business name to ensure that it is a positive reflection of you. An easy (and free!) way to do this? Monitor your name through Google Alerts to be sent daily reports of any online coverage of your name, business name or any other search terms you’re concerned with.

 

Any other ways you’ve used to gain PR for yourself? Leave a comment below!

 

Creating Successful Collaborations: Everything You Need to Know

“Two heads are better than one.”

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

It’s safe to say that whatever quote you grew up hearing, you know that in order to truly be successful, you need to work with others. Regardless of the industry you’re in, finding the right people to partner with will ultimately boost the trajectory of your success.

Click below to listen to an audio version of this post!

To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s define the word collaboration:

A collaboration is two or more people working toward shared goals

creating successful collaborations

In order for a collaboration to be successful, it can’t be random. It has to be calculated, strategic and mutually-beneficial. This means that you can’t just go to anyone and everyone and say “let’s collaborate!” (more on why that’s ineffective later) but instead, you should spend time brainstorming before you begin reaching out.

Want to start creating successful collaborations? Here are a few questions you should ask yourself first:

What are your current goals?

For example: boost your brand awareness (this can be your personal and/or business brand), land a job, build your network, increase your followers/audience, increase sales

What value do I have to offer?

This is key. For collaborations to be effective, you need to both give and receive value. So, what can you offer? Think about your expertise and potentially the audience and connections that you have access to and can bring to the table

Who are some key people in and outside of my industry that I could partner with?

Perhaps you’ll already have some people top of mind or you may need to do a little social media research to find new people to build relationships with.

Once you have your goals, value and potential people in mind, it’s then time for the fun part – coming up with collaboration ideas! Of course, they would differ depending on who you’re collaborating with but here are a few to get you started:

  • Write a joint blogpost on a topic that you’re both interested in
  • Co-host an event (I’ve done this multiple times with my business bestie!)
  • Create a physical or digital product together
  • Co-host a podcast and/or webinar
  • Organize social media takeovers (one of you takes over the other’s social media account for the day – you get exposed to a new audience and they get content and engagement)
  • Co-host a contest or giveaway

creating successful collaborations

Unfortunately, a lot of people skip the brainstorming step. Instead of being strategic about who they partner with, they end up telling anyone they come across that sounds interesting “let’s collaborate!” The main problem with this approach is that it sounds too generic. But also, what does it even mean? That type of message leaves a lot of questions in the receiver’s mind.

In order to receive a positive response to whatever you’re asking for, it’s important to be specific with your ask – and this applies to anything, not just collaborations. In your initial message, you should include:

  • Address them by their full name
  • Introduce who you are and the value you’d like to provide (to immediately pique their interest!)
  • Give them a genuine compliment
  • Briefly describe the collaboration idea (highlight how it would be mutually beneficial)
  • End with a call-to-action (ask for their feedback, a time to meet in-person or chat via phone or Skype)

Want a message template that you can use to effectively pitch collaboration ideas? I’ve created a free guide! Click the image below to download your free copy!


So, let’s say you’ve done the initial work, you’ve pitched your idea and the other person is on board. How can you ensure that your collaboration is as successful as possible? Here are 4 key tips for success:

Do your research

Once you have a list of people in mind, spend some time researching them to ensure that they’re the right fit. Watch any videos they may have posted lately, scan their tweets and review their posts. Is their image aligned with yours? Is there anything controversial that could potentially tarnish your image? Is there anything they are working on that fits well with your brand? Doing your due diligence is extremely important as the collaboration must make sense to your audience – you don’t want them questioning why you’ve partnered with a particular person!

Be professional

Treat your communication with a potential collaborator like you would in any other professional situation. Address them by their name, use full words and sentences and contact them via email. If you’re unable to find their email address, you can send them a quick message via social media asking for the best email to contact them at.

Clearly outline deliverables

Once you’ve both agreed that a collaboration makes sense, you should take a moment to write out exactly what each person will be responsible for and key dates. For example, let’s say that you’re collaborating on an event. Make a to-do list of all your key tasks, assign a person to each task and the dates they need to be completed by. Doing this will allow you to easily see if the work distribution is fair.

Hold up your end of the bargain

A collaboration is only as strong as it’s weakest contributor. If you decide to let the other person do all the work (but still try to benefit from it!), not only will you very likely ruin the relationship between you and the other person but it will become obvious to your audiences. If you will be unable to commit to the collaboration for any reason, it’s best to be completely upfront and honest with the other person as early as possible so you can try to postpone for another date or call it off completely.

creating successful collaborations

But when it comes to the importance of collaborating, don’t just take my word for it. I asked 3 entrepreneurs about their thoughts on collaborations and why they are key for success:

“As a blogger, collaboration is a key component of keeping my content fresh, interesting and relevant. Whether it’s working with guest bloggers, graphic designers, photographers, or other creative talent, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with producing a high volume of content for my readers without successful collaborative efforts. In order to be truly beneficial for both parties—it’s important to communicate the shared value, parameters and timelines. Be open and flexible. Ofter more than you ask for. It will always be returned 10x over.”

Alethea from See Girl Work 

“One of my favourite things about collaboration is the community it allows me to build. Whether I’m collaborating with a brand to showcase why I love them to my online audience, building relationships with local small businesses for my events, or working with friends and other like-minded individuals to put together something great, it gives me a sense of belonging and the foundation of building a community around my passions.” 

Victoria from Florals and Teacups

“Collaboration means partnership. It means working together with other business or brands to create a final product to demonstrate skills or to further brand reach. Of course, sometimes collaborations can be just for fun, to shake loose the creative juices and create something for portfolio. There are a lot of things to consider for creating a successful collaboration, but here are my top four pieces of advice: Be respectful of the other person’s time and skills (paying attention to little details will show the other person that you understand they are busy and that their time is valuable. Plus it will more than likely increase the likelihood of getting a response!), approach individuals who align with your brand’s values, remember that “mutually beneficial” is not a dirty word (be sure to outline how the partnership could be useful and valuable to the other person’s goals. And please don’t say, “It’ll be great exposure,” because that is not a finite deliverable or necessarily worthwhile for an established business and don’t passively wait for a collaboration if you want one. Be the idea-maker and driving force behind a collaboration. Don’t just wait for other people to approach you. Get out there, knock on some doors (virtually of course) and ask!”

Laura from Gooseberry Studios

 

Hopefully this inspires you to start dreaming up your own collaborations! Remember, collaboration divides the task and multiplies the success. Find the right people to partner with and it will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make for your brand.

Don’t forget to download your free copy of the Well Done Collaborations guide! Get your copy here: www.dowelldresswell.com/resourcelibrary

The Importance of Skin Care in our Self-Care Regimen

The fall and winter season can be a really stressful time. We transition out of a fun, laid-back summer and almost immediately we have to get back into our routines to finish the year strong.

From work responsibilities to personal commitments, we can feel a lot of pressure as we realize there’s only a few months left before the end of the year. This pressure tends to manifest itself in the form of stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits and simply a jam-packed schedule as we attend everything from networking events to holiday parties.

skin care

Combine all of this with the cool, dry climate and well…not only do we feel tired but we start to really look like it too.

To listen to an audio version of this blogpost, click Play below!

Yes, I’m speaking from personal experience and it’s not one I’m proud of. As soon as the cooler temperatures hit, my face gets extra dry and I start breaking out. I typically do not wear any makeup on a regular day but to cover up my breakouts, I find myself putting on foundation which only makes my skin worse.

My personal self-care regimen is not perfect. In fact, typically my self-care days involve binge-watching a show on Netflix while snacking on a bag of popcorn. Quite honestly, I don’t give my skin care much thought even though these salty foods can certainly contribute to my breakouts as well.

skin care

It was almost perfect timing when I received the opportunity to try out the For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Bio-Cellulose Mask and Moisturizing Serum. I was becoming tired of the current state of my skin and needed to develop a good skin care regimen…and fast! I purposely waited until the Monday night on the long weekend to try this out so that it would be the perfect way to relax before starting the work week.

Here’s a short play-by-play:

  • I started by cleansing my face to ensure that it was completely clean before putting on the mask

 

  • After peeling off the protective layers both in front and behind the mask, I placed it on my face and then used my fingers to spread it so that everywhere was covered.

 

  • Again, I’m not a huge skin care guru so I was probably way too excited by the fact that it was instantly so refreshing on my skin. It was like I could feel it moisturizing my pores and I felt super relaxed.

 

  • I had to wait about 15-20 minutes before taking it off so during this time, I may or not may not have decided to pop back downstairs and scare my husband LOL!

 

  • Ok, 15 minutes were up and I peeled it off. My face felt pretty good! You also don’t have to rinse it off so I just used my fingers to rub in the rest of the solution that was visible on my face and then proceeded to use the serum.

 

  • I pumped a small amount into my hand and massaged it into my face. Not bad! My skin felt really hydrated and it hasn’t felt that way in a while.

skin care

Of course, I’ve only used it once so I know that to really see results that I’ll need to continue using it but it was a much-needed reminder that I can’t keep ignoring skincare because it’s a very crucial part of self-care. When my face feels dry and I have tons of breakouts, I don’t feel very good about myself and it starts to affect my self-esteem. It’s not a good place to be in.

I’m committed to being way more proactive with my skincare so that even if I am a little tired from my commitments, you definitely won’t be able to tell! I hope that this encourages you to do the same. I know, we’re all so focused on finishing the year strong but make sure that you take some time for yourself and give your skin the attention it deserves.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary PR sample of the mask and serum but this post or my opinions were not sponsored in any way. I only feature products on Do Well Dress Well that I have personally tried and feel confident that it would be of benefit to my readers.