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6 Tips for Effectively Using Direct Messages for Networking

Some of my most meaningful connections, friendships, career opportunities, event sponsors all share one thing in common…the relationship started with a direct message (DM) via social media.

Crazy, right?

For those who may be unfamiliar, a direct message (most commonly referred to as a DM) is a private message sent to a user via any social media platform. You can send DM’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

The thing is, DMs often get a bad rap. 

Photographer: Gooseberry Studios

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2017 Book Recommendations

Happy Book Lover’s Day! I love books every single day of the year but since it’s a whole day dedicated to them, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a full list of the books I’ve really enjoyed since the start of 2017!

2017 book recommendations

I’m sure my fellow book lovers can agree – there’s no better feeling than diving into a fresh new book. Whether you’re looking for fiction or non-fiction recommendations, I got your back! Since January, I’ve read over XX books, some released this year and others in the last few years that I didn’t get a chance to read right away. As I continue to read more this year, I’ll be updating this list so be sure to bookmark it to read my latest recommendations.

Lifestyle Books

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Did you know that Denmark is considered one of the happiest countries in the world? This is because they prioritize ‘hygge’ (the art of intimacy and cozyness) in their everyday life, from the clothes they wear to the type of restaurant they go to. It’s a short yet informative book that is perfect for anyone looking to improve their quality of life or anyone who loves that feeling of cozyness. I found this book to be extremely fascinating as it not only includes interesting historical facts but it provides practical steps to achieving ‘hygge’ right away. It also makes for a great coffee table book!

The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

This book has singlehandedly changed the way I think about happiness. I am definitely one of many people who grew up thinking that as long as I worked hard and got a good job that I would automatically be happy. Author Neil Pasricha completely flips that old-school equation on its head and encourages us to be happy first and be completely unapologetic about it. I absolutely loved his writing style, the short chapters and his sketches that were thrown in which made it feel like I was chatting with a trusted friend. He also provides helpful tips on productivity, time management and motivation. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has been re-evaluating the concept of happiness is also looking for a much-needed kick in the pants to get work done!

Fiction Novels

The Color of our Sky by Amita Trasi

Based in India, this beautifully written non-fiction novel tells the story of Mukta and Tara, best friends who were torn apart after Mukta is kidnapped. Tara moves to America with her father after the incident and even after several years pass, she can’t help but think about what happened to Mukta. After another tragic incident, Tara decides to move back to India in hopes of finding Mukta as well as the truth about what happened. It’s a wonderful but heart-breaking story that highlights the underground world of human trafficking in India and the everlasting bonds of friendship. It’s an absolute page-turner – I was hooked from the very beginning and couldn’t help but finish it within just a few days. An absolute must-read!

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

I read this book in roughly 4 hours as I could not put it down. Based in the 1970’s, Osei, a young black boy, moves to a small town in suburban Washington and becomes smitten with Dee, a young white girl in his class who becomes completely fascinated by the “new boy”. The two fall in love despite the racial tensions and their young romance infuriates teachers and classmates alike leading to a tragic ending. Although it’s not an unfamiliar storyline (based on the tragedy of Othello), I found myself completely engrossed in the characters and couldn’t wait to get to the end. Author Tracy Chevalier  does a wonderful job of revitalizing the Othello story to make it relevant to today’s society.

Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar

I really enjoyed this book and I’m still wondering why I didn’t discover Thrity Umrigar’s work sooner. In this beautifully-written but also emotionally-charged novel, she tells the story of Anton, a nine-year old living in the projects who is put into foster care after being left at home alone for 1 week without food, electricity or air-conditioning – during one of the worst-ever heat waves. Judge David Coleman, who is desperate to have another child under his roof after losing his son in a tragic incident, takes Anton in and leverages his power to ensure Anton stays with him. The story weaves the issues of race, power, privilege, money and politics together in a way that completely captures your attention from the first few pages and I found myself sad when it came to an end. I particularly enjoyed the way the author shared the growth of Anton as he navigated his “dual identities” and I hope Umrigar continues to tell his story in future novels.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Lisa See has never failed to disappoint me. Since reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (one of the best books I have ever read), I immediately buy any new books that she releases. Once again, See tells such a beautiful story that captures the unique routines and rituals that are often found in remote villages. In The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, we read the story of Li-yan who lives with her family in a remote Chinese mountain village where their lives revolve around their ‘Akha’ culture and the farming and selling of tea. However, Li-yan rejects her cultural customs when she has a baby before marriage and decides to leave the baby girl outside an orphanage instead of abandoning her in a forest. Through the novel, we follow along as she gains an education and builds a career all while still thinking about her long-lost child. See also weaves in the story of Haley (Li-yan’s daughter) as she grows up in America but struggles to navigate her Chinese-American identity. It’s a very well-written story that beautifully captures the everlasting connection between mother and daughter.

Business/Career Books

Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

Whether you’re looking to actually give a TED talk or simply improve your public speaking skills, you not only need to read this book but keep it on your desk for reference. This book breaks down the elements of a successful presentation while also providing tons of real TED talk examples. As I read through the case studies, I found myself stopping mid-way to pull out my phone and actually watch the TED talk in that moment. Reading this book has completely changed the way that I give my presentations and I have sticky notes on key pages for quick reference.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

I’m still mad that I didn’t read this book sooner because it was an absolutely amazing read! Nike founder Phil Knight tells the story of his life and how he built Nike from a one-man startup in his parents’ basement to the billion-dollar company we know and love today. I really enjoyed his writing style and I found myself constantly thinking about the book whenever I put it down for a break. His story is a helpful reminder for anyone who has an idea or is in the early stage of their business and is ensure of whether they’ll succeed. I really appreciated Knight’s transparency on how tough it was to build Nike and the numerous obstacles that they faced – especially monetary obstacles. Shoe Dog is an inspiring novel that goes beyond the usual general advice that we get in many business books. The lessons that Knight shares in Shoe Dog will stay with you for years to come.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

So often we’re concerned with what we’re doing but when was the last time you stopped to consider why? Author Simon Sinek does an excellent job of highlighting why it’s important to start any business by considering the “why” first. The book covers important topics such as influence, trust, loyalty and tipping points – all to highlight what it truly takes to build a successful movement and inspire others. Start with Why is what inspired me to create The Why Women Panel and I’m confident that if you read this novel, it will positively change the way you think about the work that you do.

BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus

I picked up this book because I’ve always found it difficult to self-promote and it has truly changed the way I think about “bragging”. So often, many of us hold back from sharing our achivements and accomplishments in fear of sounding too cocky. This book will encourage you to become comfortable with your talents and highlight how to share them in a way that is sincere, confident and appealing to whoever you are speaking to. Through a number of helpful case-studies, Peggy Klaus highlights why we all need to know our “brag bites” and how we can leverage them to accelerate our careers. An absolute must-read and definitely one you will want to keep close for easy reference!

Build Your Dream Network by J. Kelly Hoey

Just when I thought I had a good-enough handle on what it takes to build and maintain a professional network, I read J.Kelly Hoey’s book and that all went out the window. Build Your Dream Network is absolutely the best book I have ever read on networking and I took notes while reading the entire way through! Hoey encourages you to go from random to purposeful networking – ensuring that each event or outing you attend is deliberate and in line with your current goals. Hoey’s approach to networking is extremely refreshing and encourages you to re-evaluate your current behaviour (most importantly, find ways to provide value to others!) while providing actionable tips for improvement. I particularly enjoyed the mini-interviews throughout the book as each of the interviewees shared excellent insights that are helpful to the average person but also people like myself who host their own events. If you’re only going to buy one more book this year, it needs to be Build Your Dream Network. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Happy reading!

5 Ways You Can Use Events to Build Your Personal Brand

Choosing to host my own events has singlehandedly been the best decision I have made for my personal brand.

Sure, it can be a little nervewracking at first and they do require a significant commitment of time and money (especially when you’re starting out) but the pros most definitely outweigh the cons.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the plethora of online ways to connect with people – namely Instagram, which has become a hot topic among bloggers, business owners and marketers alike. The changing algorithm has encouraged many people to explore some expensive and shady practices to grow their following and although I could rant all day about this – I’ll just say this: Instagram is not the only way to build your brand.

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10 Common Networking Dilemmas (and How to Solve Them!)

You know – it’s no wonder that most people say they don’t like networking. Have you ever realized how many decisions we have to make just to attend your average networking event? From finding one to go to, to researching to see if it’s even worth it, figuring out what to wear, starting and exiting conversations…and the list goes on. Talk about major effort, right?

 

 

Lucky for you, I’ve spent some time putting together a master list of various networking dilemmas that occur before, during and after the event to make your life a little easier:

Have you ever realized how many decisions we have to make just to attend your average networking event?

Before the event

I don’t know how to find events near me! 

There are always events going on – you just need to know where to look! If you’re in the Toronto area, I do my best to post local events on my Event Calendar!

You can also check out sites such as Eventbrite and Meetup and most people list their events there. I also highly suggest doing a local Twitter search and of course, Google! I’ve written an entire post that walks you through how to find local events. Read it here.

How do I know if an event is worth my time?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Are you looking for a new job?

Are you trying to switch industries?

Are you looking to meet new people?

 

Always research to find out if the event is aligned with your current goals before you invest any time and money into an event.

I don’t have anyone to go with and I don’t want to go alone!

I know that having someone with you can help ease any anxiety but sometimes your best connections can be made when you’re alone! Sometimes when we attend with someone, we end up sticking with them the entire event which can hinder our ability to really connect with new people. But if you really do want someone else with you – let your network know! Post on social media that you’re attending the event and ask if anyone else is going. You’ll hopefully get some responses and can make plans to meet up. This is also where having a business bestie can come in handy!

I have no idea what to wear!

Although the dress code will vary depending on the event you’ll be attending, you should look polished and professional no matter what! Here’s my go-to networking look for a business casual environment:

  • Blazer or cardigan
  • Nice shirt
  • Statement necklace
  • Dark wash jeans
  • Pumps

I’ve also written a specific post on what to wear to a summer networking event. You can read it here.

I’m a student and/or unemployed so I don’t have a business card. What do I do?

You definitely still need to bring a card with you. Instead of a “business” card, you should create a personal brand card! This should have key information such as:

  • Your name
  • Email
  • Social Media Handles
  • Areas of expertise

Creating your business cards: If your budget allows, you can hire a graphic designer to create them for you. If not, I highly recommend Canva – it’s a FREE online design platform and they have templates for everything – including business cards!

Ordering your business cards: I’ve found Vistaprint to be amazing for business cards and they usually come very quickly

 

During the Event

I never know how to introduce myself in an interesting way!
It’s important to create a short elevator pitch for yourself that you can use in any situation whether it’s a networking event or you’re in an actual elevator!
Some tips:
  • Be natural (if you pretend to be someone you’re not, it will be obvious!)
  • Explain what you do in clear, basic terms
  • Highlight how you provide value through what you do
  • Give just enough to leave them asking more
I highly recommend reading the book Brag to not only get better at introducing yourself but effectively promoting yourself without sounding cocky. It’s one of the best career books I’ve read!
 

I want to start a conversation with someone but I don’t know what to say to break the ice!

This is probably one of the most nerve-wracking parts about networking, especially for introverts. How you break the ice does depend on the type of event but some conversation starters you can use are:

  • What did you think of the panel or presentation?
  • Is it your first time to one of these events?
  • That’s a great [insert item name here; necklace, shoes, shirt, earrings, etc.] you have on!

I really want to leave but I don’t know how to end the conversation without looking rude.

Don’t worry, it’s much easier than you may think. I typically recommend being honest (unless of course, you’re just leaving to go home and watch Netflix) but there may be other reasons why you want to leave the conversation. I created 4 scripts that you can use for different situations which you can find here.

After the Event

I never end up making real connections at networking events!

There are a few reasons why this could be happening:

  • You’re not doing your research beforehand to see if this event can help you meet your goals
  • You’re attending with a friend that you already know and sticking with them during the entire event instead of having your own conversations
  • You don’t ask the right questions
  • You’re not attending the event with the right energy (For example, did you have a bad day and your body language isn’t too friendly?)
  • You don’t follow up afterwards

You get out of it what you put in. Make a plan before, during and afterwards to ensure that the connections you make last beyond the event.

How do I keep in touch with the people I meet after the event? 

Knowing how to network successfully is pivotal to success in our careers. However, in my opinion, what we don’t hear enough about is what do after you network. Of course, what you do before and during the networking event is important but unless you’re strategic about what you do afterwards, what was the point of even going? What you do after you attend a networking event (of any kind) is what will make the biggest difference in your career.

I shared my tried and true tips for what you should do after you attend a networking event here.

You really do have to put the WORK in networking in order to be successful. Some of it is easy peasy, some is a bit anxiety-inducing but if you’re committed, the end result is definitely worth it.

Have a dilemma that I didn’t mention? Leave a comment below and I’ll update the post with my advice!

P.S. Bookmark this post as I’ll be updating it regularly (and you can quickly take a read before attending events!) and send to a friend who could use the tips!

5 Steps to Getting Event Sponsors

Over the past 18 months, I’ve had the opportunity to host 5 networking events and by the second one, I was able to secure support from various sponsors. Yes, the events were still relatively new but the numbers don’t matter as much as value. Without value, it doesn’t matter how many attendees or social media impressions you have. You may think that your event is “too small” but it may be exactly the type of event a company is looking to support.

But, let’s be honest – reaching out to sponsors is nerve-wracking! Between finding the right people to contact, drafting the emails, waiting patiently for responses (you’ll probably refresh your emails every few minutes) and dealing with rejection, landing sponsors is not easy. However, if there’s anything I’ve learned since organizing my own events – nothing worth having comes easy and you don’t get what you don’t ask for. Yes, it’s nerve-wracking to reach out to potential sponsors but if you successfully land sponsorship support, it can truly help to elevate your brand.

Here are 5 tips to help you get event sponsors:

Create a strong sponsorship package

It’s imperative that you have a short yet concise document that you can share with your sponsors that highlights exactly why they should get involved with your event. Here are the key things to include:

  • Who you are and your expertise (what’s your background, why are you passionate about this and what makes you qualified)
  • Details on past events (attendee numbers, photos, positive feedback – highlight your growth!)
  • Attendee demographics (describe your attendees by age, interests, location, professional background, etc.)
  • Benefits of sponsoring your event (a.k.a. What value can you provide them?)
  • Testimonials
  • Sponsorship options (will you provide pre-set packaged opportunities or customized options?)
  • Contact information

Research and create an outreach list

When it comes to sponsorship, don’t just throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks – in other words, don’t reach out to anyone and everyone and take whoever responds. You need to be specific in terms of who your ideal sponsors would be so that it makes sense for your event. Take time to research and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What brands can best integrate into your event and provide value?
  • Who has sponsored events similar to yours?
  • What brands do our attendees like?

 

Create customized emails

Once you have a targeted list, it’s time for you to start your outreach. I highly recommend trying to find emails for a specific person – emails sent to a general mailbox rarely ever receive responses. If you can’t easily find the best contact from the company’s website – don’t get discouraged! Here’s what I do:

  • Look up the best contact on LinkedIn
  • Once I have the first and last name, I research to find out how the company structures their email addresses (for example – is it firstnamelastname@company, firstname.lastname@company, etc.)
  • The quickest way to find out how the company structures their emails? Search for a recent press release and check the contact details at the bottom!

Before you start reaching out, it’s important to know exactly what type of support you would like from them. Take some time to brainstorm some ideas so that if they ask you what you have in mind, you can respond right away. Be direct yet reasonable in your requests.

Your emails need to be short but valuable and from the first few sentences, you need to make clear what’s in it for them. Start by addressing them by name and then briefly introducing yourself, what you do and the value you provide. Let them know your package is attached for them to review and be sure to end the email with a call-to-action so that they’re more likely to respond – you could ask to set up a call or a meeting to provide them with more details.

I also suggest creating a tracker so that you can keep a record of all the emails you sent out, what date and the responses you receive. This way, you’ll be able to effectively follow up.

Keep the communication lines open

Once a sponsor has agreed to partner with you, it’s important to openly communicate with them both before and after the event. Provide them with all of the event details and update them on any changes that may occur. Also be sure to respond to all emails within 24 hours.

Follow-up

Your follow-up after the event is extremely important. If you’re able to maintain the relationship, you could potentially have a permanent sponsor! Within 48 hours, send each sponsor a thank you email with pictures and stats from the event. I also suggest sending a handwritten thank you card within 7 days to really show your appreciation for their support.

Now, let’s be honest – you could follow all of these steps and still receive a No. If you do (and it’s very likely that you will receive a few of them – that’s just life), do not let it discourage you. Move forward and continue reaching out because you’re sure to find the right company that completely believes in your vision and will help to take your event to the next level.

Would you be interested in an e-Book on all things event sponsorship, including more proposal tips, screenshots from successful sponsorship packages, email templates and more? Leave me a comment below! 

What to Wear to a Summer Networking Event

Oh, summer! I absolutely love this season as not only does it allow us to wear fun summer attire but as the temperature rises so does the amount of networking opportunities! I think it’s safe to say that no matter where you’re located, there’s an opportunity for you to get out and meet new people every single week. So if you’re eager to get out, take advantage of the warm weather and meet new people, there’s only question I have for you – what are you going to wear?

Related: Check out this post on How to Find Local Networking Opportunities

Dressing for summer networking events (and just dressing in the summer, in general) does pose a bit of challenge as since it’s so warm outside, many of us become tempted to dress super casually (I mean, flip flops and shorts type of casual) and show skin. Although summer events tend to be held in more casual settings such as a restaurant patio or rooftop, it’s still important to look professional as after all, first impressions are important no matter what season it is!

networking event outfit

When Nine West Canada provided me with the opportunity to select a pair of shoes from their summer collection, I knew immediately that I needed this red pair in my closet. They are a sleek and classic pair of wedges that you can easily transition for different dress codes.

I wore these shoes during the networking event I hosted in June and I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they wore! I was running up and down all afternoon and didn’t complain about my feet once. Finding a stylish yet comfortable pair of shoes can be tricky but it’s not a challenge you should back down from. I speak from experience when I say that if you wear uncomfortable shoes to a networking event, it will make you super miserable and you’ll end up leaving early. Do you want to potentially miss out on meeting someone important all because your shoes are uncomfortable?

Here are two different networking outfit options featuring the same pair of shoes:

The Fun, Patterned Dress

I love this outfit because it’s one that you can wear both to the office and an after-work networking event! In an effort to remain cool yet stylish, I recommend choosing a light dress that is flattering and exposes little to no skin. Try to find a dress that is hemmed just below your knee to achieve an elegant look. I also typically go for sleeveless dresses especially on super humid days to ensure that I avoid those embarrassing sweat pits.

networking event outfit

Summer is also the perfect season to wear some fun colours and patterns to your networking events. This dress is great because it’s super colourful but is still very clean and elegant. Of course, you should always wear a statement necklace when you can – not only is it the perfect icebreaker but it adds the perfect finishing touch.

I loved how the open-toe wedges really complimented my dress as they were a great match with the colours on my dress and they helped to give me an overall friendly and approachable look while still looking professional, as open-toe shoes typically do.

The Statement Jeans

I know this outfit might not work for many office settings but it’s a look that I love for super casual weekend events! In fact, this is the exact outfit I wore when I hosted my event last month. Embroidered jeans seem to be “on-trend” this summer and although you know I’m not a big fan of following fashion trends – I can appreciate embroidered jeans as they are a great way to make a statement! Pair them with a neutral top so that your jeans become the focal point – I’m sure you’ll even get a compliment or two on how great they look! To bring out some of the colour in the embroidery, the wedges were perfect and of course, super comfy!

 

So, there you have it – one pair of shoes styled for two different types of networking events! Any pair of shoes that I can wear from work to weekend is a winner in my books. Find yourself your own pair of comfortable networking shoes and you too will be ready to make a great first impression no matter where you go!

Outfit details

Wedges: Nine West Canada (they’re on sale!)

Dress: Zara

Statement Necklace: H&M

Earrings: Charming Charlie

Top: Zara

Embroidered Jeans: Zara

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Disclosure: My shoes were sponsored by Nine West Canada but all words and opinions are my own.

 

Chanele’s Check-In: June 2017

In June, I…

  • Hosted the 4th ideate networking event 
  • Visited my business bestie for one week in Grand Cayman
  • Took a 3 week break from writing blogposts

But I was disappointed that…

  • I still didn’t finish the website for ideate networking – I keep encountering so many technical issues but I should have it done in the next few weeks!

In July, I’m looking forward to…

  • Meeting up with some new women over coffee (would love to meet ya in-person or virtually – email me and let’s set something up!)
  • Working on building out my new mentorship program
  • Writing blogposts more consistently
  • Potentially taking a course in User Experience Design

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need an escape from” – Seth Godin

Like many things in life, I believe that what this quote is suggesting is much easier said than done. As many of you know, I recently came back from a one-week vacation to visit my friend Jeanne in the Cayman Islands. From the moment she announced she was moving there, I was super excited by the idea of visiting.

Leading up to the trip, I had a lot on my plate. From day job work to side-hustle work, I was feeling extremely stressed. A lot of my time was spent organizing the next ideate networking event and I’ll be honest – I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it the best it can be. I wanted to make sure that the branding was on point and that everything looked professional. I invested hundreds of dollars in a standing banner, posters, pens, stickers and colourful gift bags. Why? Because, it will pay off.

To prematurely escape from the stress I was feeling from various work commitments, I began to work on creating a “vacation wardrobe”. I haven’t been on a vacation in almost 2 years, I told myself as I spent almost 2 months buying various swimsuits, dresses, shoes and accessories to wear upon my arrival to Cayman Islands. I became so obsessed with this new vacation style I was creating that I decided it was time to hang everything up on a clothing rack in my spare room so I could look at it everyday and figure out what was missing. It’s fine that I’m getting all this new stuff – they aren’t luxury items anyway and besides…I deserve it.

Those two very real scenarios from my life that I’ve chosen to share with you highlight the kinds of things I tell myself when I spend money. Leading up to the trip, I didn’t even second guess myself. The event went extremely well (you can read the recap here) and I was satisfied with my wardrobe and went off on my trip with a smile on my face.

Until, I came back, of course.

There’s nothing like that feeling of coming back down from the high of a vacation to be smacked in the face with reality. All the things you wanted to ignore and escape from are finally staring you right in the face and there’s nothing you can do but just deal with them.

I’ll just go right out and make this declaration – I don’t make very much money from my side-hustles.

The thing is though, I’m not in it for the money. Never have been and never will be. If I was, I would have quit this thing a long time ago. But, if there’s one piece of advice I can share with you…

…even if you’re not in it for the money, you still have to think about the money.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve invested probably close to a couple thousand dollars into my businesses. I have sacrificed vacations, conferences and tons of other things I’ve wanted to do because I’m so passionate about building my brand and this wonderful community that surrounds me. This is my life’s work. However, every time I spend money on something, I tell myself “it will pay off” or “I work so hard. I deserve this”.

But, the thing I want to know is – how do we know when it will really “pay off” or we’re just trying to justify spending money?

I was really inspired by the transparency of my friend Jessica over at Cubicle Chic as she shared how much fashion blogging ruined her finances. I couldn’t agree more. It’s easy to justify one shirt here and one pair of shoes there until of course you look back and realize that it all adds up. If you’re not bringing in anything extra to at least break even, your finances will really take a hit.

So, how will I deal with all of this? Well, naturally – I started off with a good cry. Although I’m very happy with the results of everything thus far, I felt (and still feel) a bit upset with myself for letting myself get this far without being serious about how much I’m spending on things. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have tons of debt racked up or anything crazy but I could be much, much better with my money.

I then moved on to review all the things that I’m currently spending on and how I can cut back. There are a few recurring monthly expenses that I have to maintain Do Well Dress Well and I’ve cancelled a few for now and already I feel pretty good about myself. So good that of course, I went out and bought 3 cute new summer pieces from Old Navy. Then I got home and realized that I don’t need all of them so I’m going to do a return. Baby steps, right? 

 

The Why Women Panel: June 10 ideate networking Recap

A couple of months ago, I was reading the book Start with Why (I highly recommend it!) and all of a sudden I was hit with this idea. How awesome would it be to put together a panel of empowering and confident women who have been lucky enough to find their passion a.k.a their “why”?! I would call it…”the why women panel”.

It felt like the perfect mid-year event. With June as the halfway point of the year, it’s typically a time of self-reflection as we look back at the past 6 months at both our failures and successes. It’s difficult to be successful (and happy!) if we don’t know “why” we’re doing something. It can be easy to get caught up with wanting a specific job or a specific item but why exactly do we want it? How can we actually uncover our passion? How do we deal with people that don’t support our vision?

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Chanele’s Check-In: May 2017

In May, I…

  • Had a public speaking gig at the City of Toronto to talk about personal branding and LinkedIn
  • Started the draft for my first physical book (!!) on personal branding
  • Landed some absolutely amazing sponsors for June’s ideate networking event
  • Started creating the ideate networking website (it’s almost done!)
  • Was featured in the I AM.MORE campaign

But I was also disappointed that…

  • I still didn’t keep up with my 2 blogposts a week – but I’m ok with that

Books I Read:

  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  • The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha
  • Build Your Dream Network by J. Kelly Hoey

Changes: I decided that I’m going to transform the mission of Do Well Dress Well…more on that later.

In June, I’m looking forward to…

  • The next ideate networking event on June 10th! (If you’re in the Toronto area, get your ticket here)
  • Taking a much-needed vacation to visit my business bestie Jem Castor in Cayman Islands (woohoo!)
  • Working on adding and removing offerings from Do Well Dress Well
  • Reading more books!

I don’t know about you but I keep looking at the date and wondering how in the WORLD is it JUNE?! It feels like just the other day that I was sitting on my couch watching the New Year’s Eve countdown and wondering how 2017 would unfold.

Yet, here we are…it’s now the beginning of June and as we approach that half year mark, I’ve naturally been thinking about whether I’m happy with what I’ve been able to achieve so far. If you’ve been reading my check-ins from March and April, you would know that finding time for happy moments and battling stress are two things that I’ve been dealing with.

Since finishing The Little Book of Hygge last month, I’m happy to share that I actually committed to finding time for ‘hygge’ every single day and I actually feel a lot better internally. But over the past month as I spent more time relaxing under a blanket and going for walks, I started to think about why I never prioritized these things in the first place. Where was I spending my time?! I don’t watch that much TV, I don’t go out a lot so how is it that I can say I don’t have enough time for the things I truly enjoy? Then, the answer became clear…

Instagram.

Instagram makes me unhappy

Since starting Do Well Dress Well, I have spent a disgusting amount of time on Instagram or just thinking about Instagram. I say that I’ll scroll my feed for 5 minutes and then this turns into 1 hour…or even 2. I never thought about it much before but if you think about it, imagine what else I could have been doing with all of that time?

In May, I committed to spending a lot less time on Instagram. Every time I get the urge to scroll, I pick up a book and spend that time enriching my knowledge. In May, I read 3 books!! Prior to this, I was lucky if I read 1!

The thing is, maybe my feelings around Instagram would be different if the effort I put into the ridiculous app actually went somewhere. But truth is, I’m one of the unlucky ones on Instagram who literally has had no growth since the whole algorithm change. I’ve had the same amount of followers for about 3 months (despite an increase in likes and engagement) and it’s just not worth my effort anymore. Sure, I could pay for loop giveaways or Instagram ads (both of which I have tried) but I just can’t justify spending the money.

Interestingly, my monthly page views continue to increase each month and that really is the metric that I care about most. I own my blog but it’s impossible to “own” my Instagram account which means that I would much rather focus on building up my blog audience than my Instagram followers. I had this discussion on Twitter with a few blogger ladies last month and if Instagram shut down tomorrow, so many people would be lost! It’s important to remember that Instagram is just another marketing tool and it shouldn’t be our main focus.

With that being said, I’m human and as much as I’d like to ignore my stagnant Instagram account it does bother me. Actually, I read an article the other day that said Instagram is the most detrimental social media platform to our mental health. Isn’t that horrible? Instead of letting it continue to bother me, I’ve decided to focus on reading because truth is, I’m happiest when I’m reading.

Yet, I found that even though I brought some more happiness or “hygge” back into my life…I started to reflect some more and realized that there’s a few more changes I need to make…

The transition of Do Well Dress Well

Shortly after launching my blog in 2016, I decided to offer a number of different services. This never initially was my plan but I was asked by numerous people for help with their personal brands, LinkedIn and dressing for work and/or interviews. I thought it would be a great idea to formally offer services as it would allow me to help tons of women (which I love doing) and make a little extra income on the side. For months, I was super happy with this especially because I was able to gain clients without having to actively promote my services. Everything was great but notice that I say was and not is. Offering services is great but is also very difficult especially when balancing a 9-5 job. I’ve loved the women that I’ve had the opportunity to work with and humbled that they chose me to help develop their brands but it’s just not the way that I want to help people anymore.

So…in a nutshell, I will no longer be formally offering personal branding and wardrobe styling services, effective June 30, 2017.

Now, you may be reading this and thinking “Chanele, why would you do that? Is it really that hard? I thought you want to be an entrepreneur?”

Well, when making this decision, I did think about whether or not this makes me a “bad” entrepreneur. Many entrepreneurs offer services but you know that I don’t necessarily fit in with everybody else. I tried and it and it’s just not for me and if there’s one thing I took away from The Happiness Equation, it’s this mantra: do it for you.

I want that when I help people that it will impact them emotionally. I not only want to help people with their LinkedIn profiles and their wardrobes but their confidence as well. But, I also want that as I help people…the experience also helps me to better myself as a person. I don’t want my interactions with “clients” to just be “business transactions” because as you know, I’m not in this for the money. I’m in it for so much more.

Introducing: The Do Well Dress Well Academy

I’m excited to officially announce that I will be launching a mentorship program. This is something that has been on my mind for a long time and I realized that it’s time to make it a reality. I haven’t finalized all the details yet but I can tell you that it will be a 12 week program (4 groups a year) and I’ll accept about 5-6 women in each group.

It will be a mix of one-on-one coaching, group dinners (with special expert guests), Skype chats, day retreats, coffee meetups and more. As an academy mentee, you’ll get access to every single thing I can offer – my personal branding and style expertise, digital marketing expertise, my advice and experience as a homeowner and wife and so much more. Through this program, my mentees will become my sisters who I will guide closely throughout the program and even after its completion. My goal is to produce 28 remarkable women each year. I’m still working out the details and I’ll continue to share updates as I have them.

Other updates to Do Well Dress Well

  • You know my password protected Resource Library? I’m going to soon make it openly available so that you can easily access any resources that you choose.
  • Well-Read Bookshelf – I’ll be adding a virtual bookshelf to the site so you can see which books I highly recommend and what I’m currently reading at all times
  • More e-Books, physical books and courses – for those who may not be interested or in need of the mentorship program, I will be packaging up all the content that I typically would share in my services into books and courses that are affordable and easily accessible
  • Another secret project that I’ll announce soon  

I’m really excited, ladies. Like, really excited. This is the kinda stuff that literally sets my soul on fire. When I was young, I never thought that is the type of impact that I would be able to make (or even have the courage to do so) but as I’ve matured and found my confidence, all I want to do is share that with other women so that we can all be remarkable together. I know what it’s like to not know what you want to do and/or to feel unhappy with who you are (trust me, I’ve been there) but it is possible to overcome it. In fact, that’s exactly what I talked about in my interview with the lovely Huda Alvi, the beautiful mastermind behind the I AM MORE campaign. If you’re interested in learning more about me, my inspiration and the trials I went through, I encourage you to watch it.

At the end of the day, we all have a choice of how we want our lives to unfold. I decided that I don’t want my status on an app to define me and I want to spend more time learning and inspiring. I can only hope that my younger self would be proud.