Business Development

2019 Growth Tracking

Success is steady progress toward one’s personal goals.
— Jim Rohn
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Can it be that we are already one month into another year? Can someone remind me not to blink again?

In addition to the colder days and longer nights of this month, I often think of January as goal setting season. However, the season is usually short lived and only in full swing the first few weeks of the month.

Trying to avoid the pitfalls of resolution traps and “I’ll do better this year” thoughts, one of the things I love to focus on not only at the beginning of a new year, but throughout all 12 months is the growth of my business. While I feel all the hard work and hours that go into keeping Good Day alive, the only real way to understand progress is to track it. I started a monthly routine during 2018 and couldn’t have loved it more. Simple, straightforward (maybe even old fashioned) this one piece of paper did wonders for me.

I used this worksheet to track my monthly progress across a few platforms:

  1. Instagram Followers

  2. Pinterest Views

  3. Facebook Followers

  4. Newsletter Subscribers

  5. Unique Website Visitors

  6. Most Popular Blog Post

  7. My Monthly Salary (how much I paid myself)

I have seen a few more sophisticated ways to track progress (spreadsheets GALORE) and even plan to implement a few of these strategies this year, but there is something about a tangible way to track these numbers - something about taking the time to physically write it down - that brings a new awareness and realness to these numbers. Not to mention there’s something especially exciting about seeing these numbers grow when you write them down each month!

How do you use this sheet?

A couple of pretty simple steps!

First, download and print it out. Then, on the last day of each month, check each of the categories and fill out the numbers accordingly. I keep mine on a bulletin board in my office so it is always visible - something about “out of sight out of mind” has always rung really true to me, but you know what works best for you. The important thing is keeping a consistent rhythm ALL year. You will be so glad you did and so happy to be able to check your progress with one glance.

I am excited for you, your year, and your GROWTH! I hope this worksheet has been as helpful for you as it has been for me! As always, I’m in your corner!

I’m also curious if there’s anything else you would like to see listed on this sheet you would like to track? Or if you have any other methods or tools you use to measure your business growth? Personal growth? Please feel free to share!

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Make the Most of Your Brand's First Impression

"You only get one chance to make a good first impression." 

We've all heard it. We all understand it. But, normally, we only think of this in terms of the impression we as individuals have the power to leave behind. But here's the thing - this is true for your business as well! I've started describing this to my clients as the "First Impression Syndrome" and NO business is exempt (dun dun dunnn). 

At this point, the question to ask yourself is, “Is your first impression working for you or against you?” If it’s working for you then give yourself a pat on the back! If you’re not sure or don’t think it is, let’s figure out how to fix that.

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I think the easiest way to think about this is to reverse the situation. Instead of focusing on what people think of your brand, think about your own assumptions of other companies.

Let’s start with a familiar scenario. Think about how you make a decision about where to go out for dinner. How important is price point? Atmosphere? Convenience? Type of food? 

Now imagine you're in a new city looking for a dinner spot. You’re walking around downtown on a popular strip with plenty of options. You haven’t consulted reviews or recommendations from others, and you walk a few blocks to see your options.

What’s going through your head at this point? First thoughts? I would be willing to bet you've formed a first impression about each place you walk past based on a snap impression. Part of this could be the designer in me coming out, but really this is simply human nature. You have most likely already eliminated a few options and ranked a few as your top choices based on the storefronts alone, often with a logo as the focal point of that design.

At its core, design is processed on a subconscious level more so than a conscious one. The colors, the style, the type - the way they all work together. The whole point of design is that it evokes a feeling within you on a subconscious level.

In the above example, I would be willing to bet that you could identify the family-friendly diner vs the casual sports bar vs the 5 star rated steakhouse - all based on a first impression. 

The thing about this is that as a business owner, none of us are exempt from this process. No one. A first impression is a valuable asset that YOU can control. 

These are important aspects of understanding how to take that control...


1 | Put yourself in the buyer's shoes

Remember, at some point in time, when your brand was new to you? Maybe you've been in business for year, living with your business, day in and day out. Or maybe your brand doesn't even exist yet, but you've been imaging what it will look like as you begin your business. Regardless, you have to take yourself out of the scenario and try to see your brand with fresh eyes. Try to imagine what someone would think who has never been exposed to it before. 

It's not unlike selling a house. They say when you're preparing to sell your home, you have to look at it from a buyer's perspective. If you think about a house, you wouldn’t want to ignore the curbside appeal just because your child took their first steps there. You have to see your home the way it is - from the point of view of the person looking to make a financial investment in it. The same holds true for your branding. 

With your business, you can’t see your brand as the thing that gives you warm and fuzzy feelings or the place where you hang your hopes and dreams. You have to see it as part of a decision making process from someone who you want to choose YOU to purchase from. 

It’s easy to become emotionally attached or invested in a personal way. Maybe this means revisiting the logo you or a friend made to get you started but you know you outgrew a long time ago. Maybe it means putting your personal preferences on the back burner for a style or imagery that makes more sense for your industry. Maybe it’s actually asking your customers what your branding communicates to them. Ultimately, just take measures to make sure you aren’t choosing what works for you in favor of works for your business. 


2 |  Understand who you want to attract

I know, I know. How many ways can I think of to bring up your target market? But, ultimately, understanding who you want to attract is the best way to make the “first impression syndrome” work for yo uinstead f against you.

Flip the scenario again and think about the companies you are attracted to. What makes you like them? Go as far as to create a “client profile” for yourself. What does your life look like? What about these brands aligns with you and your lifestyle? 

I will be the first to admit that I am a sucker for “Instagrammable” places, especially when I am traveling. Those shops, restaurants, cafes, and events understand that if they put effort into creating an experience paired with their service, they are catering to someone with preferences like mine. In this case, that means they are paying attention to the details of their interior, packaging, and overall presence, making someone like me more likely to become a customer - and potentially pay a little more to do so. 

On a less shallow note, I also tend to prioritize local companies or those that give back to a cause. Being clear on your values and projecting those to your audience is another way to authentically attract those who align with your company. 

Understanding the way you make decisions helps you to understand the way your clients make decisions. It also helps you to manage the ways you present yourself. This is the part of marketing that I think can be perceived as manipulative, BUT if you are able to present your products or services in a favorable way to the people who want to buy them, I would call that a win-win. 

With each decision come back to that person: Who are they? How do you want them to talk to their friends about your business? How would they react to your new campaign? What do you do to make them a fan of yours? Consistency and details are key! 


3 | Consider your competition 

I’m all about community and support in what could be a dog-eat-dog business ownership culture; however, understanding your positioning in the marketplace and understanding what your competitors are up to will help you to create a clear and unique experience for your clients. 

For instance, I happen to know a lot of very talented photographers. This industry is one of the best examples I have seen at successfully differentiating themselves. Each photographer is confident in their specific style, then manages their branding and presence in a way that is aligned with that style. This in turn ends up attracting clients seeking what they have to offer. It is a natural fit from the start because the person understands what they're signing up for. 

Back to the restaurant example - the steakhouse isn’t necessarily competing with the diner. They may be in indirect competition for hungry people, but they are serving different purposes and different audiences, so ultimately they need to understand who they are appealing to. If you took the diner’s logo but replaced it with the steakhouse’s name, then still try to use is as the $$$$$ restaurant storefront, it would most likely be misinterpreted and convey the wrong message. Each type of restaurant can consider how to use their visuals and their language to attract the right people. 

The point here is to understand what your competitors are doing, primarily so you can leverage the differences in what the two of you offer. Then you can use those differences to stand out and attract the customers who are the best fit for you. 

How are you feeling about your first impression now? What are some of the things you do to stand out? 

Brand Strength Checklist

This time of year, I tend to feel torn between feelings of slowness, feelings of festiveness, and feelings of excitement for the upcoming year. The slow feelings creep in side by side with the feelings of festivity - all the tempting cups of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace, trimmed tree in the background, I'm not the only one right? 

However, this year, more than ever before, my excitement for setting goals and determination to make 2018 the best year yet is at the forefront of my mind. Assuming most of you are business owners as well, I KNOW I'm not the only one! 

So, before taking a little well-deserved break to indulge in those fireplace moments and making memories with loved ones, take some of that motivation and turn it toward your brand.  Just like the New Year is a good time to evaluate your life and your goals, the same is true for your business! Reign in the New Year by checking in on the details of your brand.

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The thing about this time of year is that it is easy to overbook yourself and find yourself starting the year already feeling behind. I am a checklist kind of person, so for all my to-do list people out there, this is for you! This checklist is meant to set you up for success in your business and streamline your process to achieve your branding goals, but it's also meant to be a part of the bigger picture. 

When you look at your branding and business goals, do you include your personal goals? If not, now is a great time to start. By creating this streamlined system, the idea is that you'll know how to tackle these items, so that you feel prepared and organized in your business. This will, in turn, help to give you the space you need to plan time for you! If you streamlined your processes and had a clear plan of attack for your business checklist, what could look different for you?

  • Could you feel more confident answering inquires?
  • Would you have a better idea of what to outsource, saving you time and frustration?
  • Would you be able to book more clients by having professional, branded collateral to answer potential client's questions every step of the way - from business cards to pricing guides?
  • Would you be able to schedule more time for yourself? 

The point of this exercise is to figure out what's working for you and what isn't, so that you can answer all of the questions above with an enthusiastic yes! This step by step checklist will walk you through three steps to determine all of the above! Set aside a quiet 30 minutes to an hour and grab yourself a cup of coffee (or wine!) and dig in. 

1 | Foundation

Without a strong foundation, the rest of these elements - no matter how beautiful they are - can fall flat. We all go over these items when we first get started as a company, when excitement levels are at an all time high and before calendars are filled with client meetings and deadlines. But once the daily grind sets in, it is easy to overlook the the things that create a strong foundation, not to mention that things change over time. If it's been a year or more since you last analyzed these items within your own company, it's probably time for a refresher.  

In this section you will create an ideal client profile and review what makes up your company culture. Think about where you are now, where you would like your company to be in the future and how you want your clients to understand your business. These answers are the way you shape your business! It's can be hard, but this is the exciting stuff - you get to make your business whatever you want it to be! The answers to these questions and the culture developed in these answers will be valuable to the rest of the exercise. 

2 | Evaluation

Once you've covered the foundation, you will turn to your brand experience. Here you willl go over all the details of your brand from logo to collateral to voice.

As you go through this checklist you're going to keep it simple. You'll check the box that applies to classify each item. Some areas will be exceptional - way to go! Some need a little love - that’s ok! Identifying the areas that aren’t hitting the mark is the point of this exercise. In the notes section, you'll write down what you don’t love and why so you know how to fix them. There is also a column for a wishlist. This is for the items you don’t have yet, but want to add to your marketing bank of goodies.

Take time to evaluate these items on their own as well as how they'll work in tandem. Ideally you want each element of your brand to be strong as a stand alone item, but also be cohesive with your brand as a whole.

And don't forget to feel excited! Remember the questions you asked yourself about your client process? How these items can make your life easier? Keep those questions in mind while you go through this second section and how the outcome will benefit you! 

3 | Action

The goal here is to feel like you’re on your way to having a well defined plan, not an exhausting to do list. Now that you have identified the items that need a little love and where you need to fill in the gaps, this will help you create a plan to tackle those items in manageable and actionable steps. 

Ready to get started? Yeah you are! Download your workbook below! 

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I would love to hear from you! How did this workbook help you? What did you learn about your brand? 
Cheers to you in the new year - your best one yet! 

How to Create a Moodboard AND How It can Be a Great Resource for Your Business

As I have grown in this business, at least in the realm of design, one of the things that has surprised me most is not only how much I enjoy creating mood boards, but how truly valuable they end up being as a tool to set the scene for each project. 

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One of the interesting things about branding is that the ultimate goal is to create a “feeling” (or a MOOD, am I right?) around your company. Do you want to be known for your user-friendly, inviting approach to accounting? Or your ready-made, gourmet approach to dinner? Maybe your luxury approach to fitness wear? 

The thing about all three of these? All three of these have already been done and in a wildly successful way. Quickbooks Online communicates a message about their user-friendly platform for small business owners to make bookkeeping easy. Blue Apron regularly reminds you that it is easy to make a homemade, nutritious, healthy meal, weekdays included. Nike makes you want to spend $150 on your newest pair of tennis shoes. All because they are have managed to successfully harness a feeling around the product or service they provide and can clearly paint a picture of the lifestyle around what they're selling. 

When I explain mood boards to clients, I explain it as a way to make sure we are on the same page and ensure we're on the right track before I ever begin sketches and logo development. The thing I don’t explain and probably never quite comes across is how much time goes into this initial piece.

This is the first chance to figure out how to convey the feeling you want to express with your brand. This is the first step in creating a message. It is funny to think about because more often than not, the clients or customers will never see your mood board, but it can be such a helpful piece to use internally.

Maybe you aren’t starting a new company and you aren’t in the market to rebrand, but this can still be a helpful tool for your company to ensure a clear direction that aligns with your vision and goals. 


Getting Started

I always start with by gathering as much information about the client and project that I can. I have each client fill out a questionnaire before we begin their project. I don’t start anything until I receive that completed piece.

Having this information to reference that you provide in your words is my best insight into what your goals are for your brand. It gives me the chance to develop a well-rounded picture of you, your company, and your clients. 


Evaluation & Adjectives

At this point, maybe you may be taking stock of your company.
Maybe you want to change directions. Maybe you want to expand. Maybe you are just getting started. Either way, creating a mood board is a great way to prioritize finding some answers to these questions. This is a good time to ask yourself (or your clients!):

  • How would you describe our brand?
  • Why do you choose us over competitors?
  • What are our long term goals?

One question I ask clients is, “Using 5-7 adjectives, describe the personality of your company. Yours and your staff’s personality?” Also, “How do you want your company to be perceived/described?” These answers generally provide the words that I base the mood board on.

Start by asking yourself these questions. If you aren't sure yet, another tactic you could try is to think of companies you admire and start by thinking of what words you would use to describe them. After this warm up, turn the focus to yourself. Sometimes it can be easier to start by focusing on an example, then yourself. 

If you are feeling stuck, or uncertain where to being, use this spectrum to get started. Choose where you would land between the two descriptors placed at the opposite ends. The line in the middle means you feel neutral between the two. You will be surprised how much it helps! 

Good Day Design Co. Brand Attributes

Collecting Images

Now on to the fun part! This is a good time to clarify, that a mood board isn’t the same as a goal board or vision board. It isn’t necessarily about where you want to see your company go. In case I haven’t beaten this point to death, it’s about identifying the feeling you want to surround your company and your brand. 

This is the time to be picky and get specific. It's hard to explain how to convey the “right way” to approach this. Technically there isn’t one, but a good starting point is to ask yourself WHY with each image. What is it about an image that feels right? If it doesn't come back to one of your keywords, don’t keep it.

If you keep coming back to something but aren’t sure why, you may have discovered a new adjective for yourself - one of the fun possibilities of this process. I have encountered plenty of times when I search for images and keep coming back to a theme that ends up being a key part of the end result.

For example, for the mood board below, I based everything on the words: Whimsical, feminine, bohemian, honest, minimalist, positive, & hard working. This was created for an event planner who primarily works in the wedding industry. It was important to showcase couples and romanticism, but it was equally important to focus on the kind of lifestyle these couples lead in order for them to be a perfect fit which ultimately came back to the words she used to describe herself. 

Good Day Design Co. Moodboard
Good Day Design Co. Moodboard

In general, maintain the mindset that if it doesn’t fit the feeling you are going for, don’t include it. In the end, it’s about so much more than the color scheme or the photo of the killer pair of heels that you waaaaant to include but don’t know why.
Now is the time to ask yourself “Why?”

To keep things focused, a good formula is to aim for is :

  • 1 Broad Focus Element
  • 1-3 Details
  • 1 Texture
  • 1 Design Element; i.e. a pattern, icon, etc. 
  • 1 Brand Example; i.e. a logo or font example
  • 1 Lifestyle Detail - Simply to showcase the kind of individual you imagine buying your service 

From there you can search, save, create, collage. This should be fun BUT it should be a challenge. It should be introspective. It should be space be to take an honest look at what you want for your company. 


If you are going through a branding/rebranding process, I clearly support the idea of a mood board being a part of the process. However, I also think there is a lot to be gained by implementing this practice into your business strategy. 

Do you feel like mood boards could be helpful in your business?
I would love to hear your thoughts and how it has worked for you. 

 

10 Ideas to Recharge Mid Workday

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  1. 15 Minute Stretch
    I started with this one for a reason. Focus on your arms, legs, and core - especially if you sit at a desk the majority of the day. This is my fail-safe. Before I reach for a cup of coffee I stretch... and I am no yogi! But I find this gets my blood flowing in a practical and sustainable way and engages my mind more than anything else. 
  2. Meditate
    No matter how woo woo or spiritual you are, this is a great way to give yourself a minute to neglect your screen, guilt-free, and refocus your thoughts. This is something I recently started giving time and energy to, and I started with a three-minute meditation a day. No matter how small, giving a little space to refocus your mind can be a great catalyst to better focus and headspace during the day - which happens to be the name of the app I love using. If you are new to meditating, try out Headspace to get you going. 
  3. Rewrite your checklist for the day
    This could be counter-intuitive, but don't let it stress you out.  I am a huge advocate for including every little thing on your list so that you have more to cross off and more reasons to feel good about yourself. Once your day has gotten going, you've almost always crossed off a few items and potentially added a few more. Rewrite your list, reprioritize, and reorient where the rest of your day will go. 
  4. Have a phone date with a friend
    We all have that person who's hard to align schedules with (...Heeeey, Dad). I'm pretty sure I'm that person in my relationships more often than not because I happen to live away from almost all of my family, so phone time is important to work into my schedule. Sometimes it's in between meetings and sometimes it’s when I need a screen break, but taking time to catch up with my people tends to be an energizing part of my workday. 
  5. Respond to texts
    Am I the only one? The only one who sees the little red bubble go from 1 to 12 before checking? I buy into the idea that it breaks concentration, and I also dislike feeling tied to my phone. For both of these reasons, I am not great at responding to texts in a timely manner. BUT, recently, I have found when I take a break and respond to people, I feel better AND I don't end up neglecting people. Win win. 
  6. Take a walk - unplugged
    This is one of the best ones. Taking some time to yourself that you believe to be yours is surprisingly empowering. Not to mention you are physically getting your body moving which is always a helpful break in the day. No sweating or long-time commitment necessary makes a quick walk a great idea. 
  7. Make a specific effort to brighten someone’s day
    The easiest way? Offer a compliment. This habit means you are training yourself to think of others on autopilot and to let them know. It may not come naturally at first, but the more you think about it, the more you are able to transition your mindset into positivity and the more you are able to impact those around you. The more your mind focuses on positivity? The more you may find you feel positive. Why does that matter? Check out "Why Focusing on Positivity Can Improve Your Business" here.
  8. Listen to a short podcast episode
    It’s easy to think that a podcast is a time commitment and resign them to road trips or gym time. There’s a missed opportunity to listen to short podcasts that will inspire. A lot of podcasts offer mini episodes and are a great way to stimulate your mind. My current favorite is Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations.
  9. Enjoy a coffee or tea
    In the past year, I came across the term Fikka. Fika is considered a social institution in Sweden. It means having a break, most often a coffee break, with colleagues, friends, a date or family. One of my lifelong joys has been enjoying meals with people I care about. It wasn’t until mid-college that I started drinking coffee, so it seems fitting it took me awhile to enjoy the ritual, but now it is a great joy. It is a great opportunity to set meeting and learn new things about new people or catch up with old friends.
  10. 5 Minute Dance Party
    Call me crazy, call this cheesy…but try it and you won’t say I’m wrong. If I believe in stretching, I believe in dancing. The best thing to get your blood flowing is movement. I would love to think I’m not alone in this train of thought: Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister in Love Actually...or Meredith and Christina in Grey's Anatomy. I can tell you're smiling. Dance it out! If you don't know what I'm talking about, do yourself a favor and look it up. And for the record, I have experienced this in an office setting and it can literally turn. your. day. around.

Anything I should add to this list? I would love to hear what works for you!

Brand Style Guides - What They Are & How to Use Them to Improve Your Business

Among the many reasons to invest in your branding, I would consider a brand style guide to be at the top of the list. It is the item I am asked about most often and most often asked to exclude from the branding package in order to reduce the cost. This post is to detail why style guides are important and how utilizing one can improve your business.

I often compare branding to cooking. It’s something you can do yourself by throwing together ingredients you have in the kitchen and while it may work out just fine, it doesn’t compare to chef prepared cuisine. In this metaphor, if your logo, colors, and fonts are the ingredients, your brand style guide can be considered the recipe. Once you have the quality “ingredients” the best thing you can do is use them consistently. Your brand style guide enables you to do that!


So what is a style guide?

A style guide is a document that outlines the visual standards of your brand and explains how to use them. This can be as simple as a single sheet or as complex as a multi page document outlining each detailed application of your brand. The size of the guide is often proportionate to the size of the company.

At a minimum, your guide should outline:

  1. Branding Colors: The primary and secondary color palettes including color codes.
  2. Typography: The typefaces you use and any specifications for use, i.e. bolded vs italic.
  3. Logo Usage: Depending on the depth of the guide, you can include sizing requirements, spacing requirements, and color variation application. You can also include specifics on when secondary logos should be used.

Below you can view an example of two style guides and how each is designed to reflect the company it is describing. 



While the most practical application of a style guide is to outline a strong foundation for your brand that you can easily reference and share, the benefits extend far beyond that as well.

So, what are additional benefits of utilizing a style guide? 


You can see your brand starting to come to life

Besides the practical application of delivering information about your brand, the brand style guide forces the idea of how your logo will be used in the future. To neglect it would be to stunt the growth of where your brand can go and how you can use each element to represent yourself in the best possible way.

Up to this point in the process, you have a logo you love and a variety of marketing materials. While this a solid start, this document not only gives your designer the chance to play with your branding elements but also to show YOU how they will come into life in future pieces, something that can be hard to convey otherwise.


Pass the baton

One of the reasons people ask to exclude a style guide from the package is because they don’t think they will use it. However, there are a lot of scenarios where an outside party will need information about your branding standards.

When I finish working with a client, the next step is often talking to a web developer, screen printer, vehicle wraps, storefront signage, etc. With a style guide they can easily access the guidelines to your brand in one quick email. Imagine how much time this saves you both! They have everything they need to get started and to stay consistent!

I can’t emphasize how important this is, yet how convenient a style guide makes this to accomplish! Maybe you are having shirts screen printed and the printer needs to know the color codes - don’t leave it up to guessing! Send them your style guide and eliminate the chance of ending up with something that is close… but not just right.


A chance to impress and share more about your company

In any of the above scenarios, there are a few ways the interaction can go.

  1. You’ve been pulling together your branding here and there and aren’t sure how you should answer their questions.
  2. You can relay the information they ask for by typing it and sending it in an email or explain it in a phone call. 
  3. You send them your style guide, which requires only attaching the file in an email and sending it.

So far, the descriptions above only imagine this scenario from your point of view and how easy it is on your end, but put yourself in their shoes. Imagine receiving this organized style guide that is straightforward and answers all your questions. Imagine how impressed they will be with your company! This will make a great first impression and establish your company as professional and legitimate.

Not only that, but this gives them the chance to learn something about your company, which is why I always include a brief company profile at the beginning of the document. Maybe they will read it and maybe they won’t, but it is an easy opportunity to share a little bit more about you, your company culture, and your customers.


You have to know how to follow the rules before you can break them

There is a famous quote that says something to the effect that you must learn the rules like a pro before you can break them like an artist. Having a solid foundation enables you to have the opportunity to develop and strengthen your brand recognition.

Once you get to this point, you have more freedom to expand on the basics and maybe even break the rules (did I really just say that?!) Yes! A solid groundwork keeps you from second guessing what you should do and maintains your brand’s integrity but when you are running a special or hosting an event and want to get a little creative with the visuals, you have practiced enough to know what will still make sense for your brand and have found areas for some wiggle room within your guidelines.

Do you use a brand style guide for your business? How have you found it has helped you? 

How to Jump Start Your Monday in 5 Easy Steps

After starting this business, even more so than when I had it a 9-to-5 job, I found that it was extremely important to get my week off to a good start in order to have a productive and happy rest of the week. Regardless of whether you're self-employed, implementing these tips is a good way to take control of your week and enjoy your day-to-day that much more. 

How to Jump Start Your Monday in 5 Easy Steps

1 | When You Wrap Up on Friday

The temptation to check out after lunch on Friday is real - I am totally with you there, but before you give in to the weekend mindset, make yourself weekend ready. Take a second look at your inbox, make sure you aren’t neglecting or forgetting any emails, the kind that you opened and meant to get back to later - then pop into your mind at the most inconvenient times. Being confident you have done everything you need to for the week will help you to give in to your weekend relaxation. 


2 | Tidy Up Your Desk Area

I have a pretty strong compulsion to clean our entire house before going on vacation. To me, having a vacation come to an end then arriving home to a messy house makes the plunge back into reality a harsh one and makes at least one to-do list item immediate. Your desk after the weekend can feel the same way. Take a few minutes on Friday to file, organize, and get rid of what has accumulated over the course of the week. Not only will it feel good to walk away from a clean work area, but it will feel even better to come back to Monday morning. 


3 | Unplug

Enjoy your weekend. Overworking, over stressing, and under relaxing is one of the areas I have seen plague other business owners, so it is one of the reasons I try so hard in my own life to follow this advice. The thing is, it is really easy to give too much to your business, so it is easy to see how this happens. But when I saw this happening to people around me, I saw the way it affected not only their lives but also their business. When you don't allow yourself time, your business will start to suffer as well. 

Whenever possible take the weekend off…or if that isn’t practical for you try to only work on the little tasks for your business that you enjoy. I often write a couple of these blog posts or plan out my social media on Sundays. If I don’t give this area of my business a little time on the weekends it tends to fall by the way side, but I do my best to create an enjoyable space to do it by either sitting outside and getting some fresh air or visiting a favorite coffee shop while I work. 

But I really try not to send a lot of emails, do a lot of client work, or spend too much brainpower thinking about my business. If you can't take the time to enjoy yourself why even have a business, am I right? Give yourself that time in order to feel relaxed and rested so that you're really ready for Monday when it rolls around.  


4 | Prepare for the Week

This may sound counter-intuitive to the above point, but take a couple of minutes on Sunday to make sure you know what you have coming up for the week. Don't let this take long or become stressful. When I said a couple of minutes, I really meant a couple of minutes. Whether it's Sunday morning, afternoon, or night, quickly review your schedule for the week and tasks that you need to accomplish. This way, Monday morning when you get to work you won't feel like you need to spend time familiarizing yourself with what needs to get done and there's no chance of forgetting something at the beginning of the week (this has saved me from forgetting a Monday morning meeting more than once) which helps prevent an unneccesarily stressful start to the week. 


5 | Have a Monday Morning Ritual  

I can’t stress this one enough. Give yourself a little something to look forward to on Monday morning…and guess what? You look forward to it! 

This can look like anything that will be productive for you, but it really helps you to get in the work mindset for the week. If you work in an office environment or have employees, even better to create something for yourself and create something at your staff. When I worked in an office, we had a meeting every Monday morning to share our “Highs & Lows” from the week before and go over tasks for the week ahead. It kept out small team close and on top of what we needed to manage. 

Now on my own, I usually wake up and check my inbox while my husband is getting ready for work. Then once he is off, I make a cup of coffee and take a little longer than usual to get myself ready while I listen to a podcast, always one geared toward creative entrepreneurs. It is my time to tap into a creatively engaging topic that inspires the rest of my day and really helps to set my mood and intention for the week. My Monday morning ritual has actually become one of my favorite aspects of being self-employed.

Think about some of those little things that make a normal work day a little better. Maybe you get a cup of coffee on your way in. Maybe this means making a big breakfast with your spouse or going to your favorite yoga class. Maybe it is the time you evaluate where you are with your annual goals and make a list for the week of what you will do to get a little closer to your goals for the next Monday morning check in. Maybe it’s calling your grandmother to catch up. You get my drift here. Whatever sounds nice to you and will fill your cup a little extra, even it adds a little time to your regular routine. 

Mondays happen to everyone, but hopefully, this list will take them from a dreaded alarm clock to a fresh start. Do you have routines not listed here to improve your Monday? What are they? 

7 Reasons You Need a Business Bestie

If there’s something you should be doing for your business (and for yourself) that you may not be yet, having a business bestie is it. No matter how truly wonderful, amazing, caring, loving, and great your everyday best friends are, if they don't own a business there are a few areas you won’t be able to relate and sympathize together. 

Having someone or a few people who can act as a sounding board is valuable. If you don't have a person like this in your life, I would highly encourage you to seek one out. It sounds weird maybe a little awkward, but I guarantee you will be so glad you did. Not to mention, it’s actually way more normal than it sounds. In my interactions with other business owners, I find that we're all seeking the same thing, the same camaraderie.

This also doesn't have to be one individual. This could be one person, a group of people, a networking group, or several different groups. Find your BBF’s, build your tribe, support each other, and these amazing things will start to happen. 


1 | Learn from each other

When I started Good Day Design Co. I was fortunate to have a pretty vast network in place locally. At my job prior to starting this company, I was encouraged to go to networking events often. (If that thought makes you want to run home to hide, check out tips on how to get comfortable with networking here.

I had been working with some of the people I met through these networking events for years, and some of them had already started to become friends. Many were more acquaintanceships than friendships, but it was a great starting point. The real point was to have people in a similar realm to interact and share experiences with. As I started Good Day Design Co., it became quickly apparent how extremely helpful these relationships are. Here’s why. 

In the first couple of months, I had so. many. questions. They ranged from big picture questions to small detailed oriented inquires. Some of those random relationships blossomed into friendships over hours long conversations about invoicing, taxes, project management systems, goal setting and on and on. 

Looking back, it is one of the things I have been most grateful for. I would have been so much more terrified if I had started this and didn't have anyone to turn to with those little questions. It's easy enough to hop on the Internet and consult there, but you're still just speculating at that point. Working for yourself and by yourself can feel isolating or lonely and this is one of the great ways to combat that. 

It is amazing to have someone that you trust that you can talk to and know they don't mind sitting down and telling you what their experiences have been. A lot of business owners enjoy sharing the knowledge they've learned over the years because we've all worked hard to get where we are, so people want to share that with you and having someone ask is huge. The great thing about this is, even if you didn’t have someone like this starting out, there is always something to learn, so this point will never become less important or productive. 


2 | Misery loves company right?

If you know me, you know I am normally not one to want to sit around and complain. It tends to wear me or bring me down. But there’s an exception to every rule and I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that sometimes, I am right there with you and it just feels good to complain.

If it is a short burst and a productive conversation, complaining can be a little detox to your stressful workdays. The reason having a business bestie is helpful here is because you can sit down and complain about your business pains or woes and the person sitting across from you not only understands but can chime in and offer advice. 

At a women's entrepreneurial group I go to once a month, we always open the meeting going around and sharing a “Bitch & Brag” for the month. It's important to acknowledge your successes (more on that in a second), but I can tell you we tend to linger on the business bitch a little bit longer. Not because it’s a negative group - quite the opposite actually. It’s really just because we all have something to complain about and having people listen who understand makes you feel a little less crazy and a lot more reasonable. 


3 | Share your successes

What's even more valuable than having someone to complain with? Having someone to celebrate with! Here’s the part I really love of this scenario. Imagine talking with your business bestie about the goals you have or plans for something new that you're trying out. They have been in on your plans since they started as ideas.

Not only will they be there to ask about your progress along the way, but when you reach your goal, they already understand how much work you've put into this. Sharing your successes with your family and friends is great, but in some cases those audiences may not understand the work that went into your success on the backend to make it happen.  However, your business bestie does know because they've been there with you throughout the whole process. While it isn’t really any fault of friends or family, if you aren’t working toward “business goals” it’s easy to offer a quick congrats without being overly excited about it. Someone who knows the details understands how much to congratulate you or how big of a deal it is and they're there to fully celebrate with you. 


4 | Someone to bounce ideas off of

Sometimes all you really all you need is a sounding board. It's pretty easy to start second-guessing yourself when you have a new idea and it's fully up to you to execute it. If you are like me you start to let feelings creep in of self-consciousness or worry about whether people will like it - especially if you are a single person operation. Even if you have employees it is helpful to have feedback outside of your organization.  

You might have a “take your business to the next level” idea, but sometimes you need to hear that it IS a good idea. It is helpful to have someone you trust to offer that advice, not only for the validation but because they might have valuable advice to improve your idea. In those rare cases, when something might actually be a bad idea, this trusted friend can help to prevent you from going through with those as well. 


5 | Someone to share to help you keep up with trends.

This one tends to apply more if you two are in the same industry. Maybe you’re an accountant and it’s keeping up with tax laws. Maybe you are an interior designer and it’s sharing an article on this season’s trends. Whatever it is, having a friend to share little tidbits with is fun because 1) If you are excited about it, it’s fun to share with someone who will care. 2) You end up learning something you may not have otherwise.  

It also doesn't have to be industry exclusive. Sometimes it's just general business trends, like keeping up with social media management. There are new apps coming out all the time, and it's hard to keep up with everything yourself. I noticed one of my business besties was killing it on Instagram and asked for some tips. That is how I learned what planning tool they use (by the way, Later.com, is game changing if you use Instagram) and it has been wildly helpful for me as well.  

If you can chat with someone about what’s happening in the industry or what kind of trends others have found interesting or beneficial, it saves you time researching. It's also a two-way street. The great thing here is that as your relationship and friendship grows this will happen naturally without it feeling forced. Instead, you’re just keeping each other up on what's going…because that’s what friends do! 


6 | Someone to act as a spokesperson for you

Sometimes the best person to share your message isn't you. It’s important to point out that this should not be the main reason you maintain a friendship. Self-gain is not what a good friendship is based on, but it is natural that you will talk about each other’s businesses. Having someone else out there on your side who is spreading your message and telling people what you and your company are all about is a great perk. 

Because it’s your friend sharing about you, you become automatically more trust worthy because the person referring you knows you AND your business. They can keep an eye out for people that would be a good fit for you, and you for them. Leading me to my next point... 


7 | Mutually Beneficial

This one is important! It’s not a friendship if it is one sided or if one party is all take and no give. One of the awesome things about this idea, is that it's a two-way street. It has to work for both people to be a positive experience of enriching each other's lives, and while your friendship will most likely grow beyond strictly talking shop, you get to enrich each other’s business as well.

Why Focusing on Positivity Can Improve Your Business

Positivity alone to improve your business? Really? While I try not to be all sunshine and rainbows over here, I do try to focus on good over bad, which you can probably tell if you read my blog often. BUT there's a good reason for it. It's not because I don't have bad days, or that I don’t know there are less than ideal things going on in the world, but for me, I know it doesn't help me or my business to focus on things that aren't positive.

Positivity-in-Business-Good-Day-Design-Co-Blog

Sooooo, what do I mean by that? Why would focusing on positivity be helpful for your business? Below are some of the ways I have found a positive mindset keeps me on track. 


Customer service

No one, seriously no one, likes a negative customer service experience. Whether it is someone taking your order or your photo, answering the phone or your insurance questions, we all notice the way we are treated as a customer. The reason I feel confident saying this? I am a customer more often than I am providing a service - and so are you. You notice when the waiter at your favorite restaurant remembers you. You also remember the rude cashier who wouldn’t take your one-day expired coupon. If you have clients or customers, as I am sure you do, you are providing the service here and you need to put yourself in their shoes. 

If I'm negative during my day, it is much harder for me to provide a good experience for my clients. While there is some degree of being able to fake it (which whenever you are having a bad day…by all means fake it) you can usually tell when someone is being genuine. By maintaining a positive mindset throughout the day I'm able to be more genuine with my business clients.


Gratitude for Your Clients

On the flipside, I can tell you countless stories of hearing fellow designers or account managers hating on the client because they've had it with the project and/or the client. Look, sometimes projects and/or clients are frustrating. I’m not going to sugarcoat that. But I can tell you from experience, you have the power to control your reactions here. Earlier in my career, I would spend entire mornings dreading my upcoming meeting with a “difficult” client, then spend the whole afternoon complaining about said client. 

Here is where the floodgates of negativity can open. When I was in an office setting, once one person started complaining, inevitably, we would all jumped on the business bitching bandwagon. Every time, I would quickly become worn out and start to feel unhappy. It would totally drain me. 

Whenever I start to focus on how irritated I am with a project, the slower I make progress. Then the longer a project drags, the more noticeably irritated the client and I both become. So I decided it was time to take another approach. This has taken time and I still catch myself on that complaining train, but less and less often. 

Instead, I do my best to remember that they hired me to do something I told them I could do. I try to remember I want them to not only be happy with the final product, but with the entire process.  Instead, I try to remember that I am doing what I want to do for a living. 

What if you remember you are being paid to provide a service that you enjoy? That is amazing! And a privilege. What if you look at that difficult client as a lesson? Because honestly, I have learned more from those clients than almost any of my easy ones. Some of those lessons for me have included, but certainly aren’t limited to, communication, efficiency, how to choose clients who will be a good fit, and determination.

In the first scenario, where your frustration is leading the way, you and your client start to butt heads, potentially even resent the process, which risks their feelings with the finished product , which you want to ensure they are happy with. If it was unpleasant, event a little bit, they won’t forget the pains it took to get there.

The really great part? Pretty much all you have to decide is that you're going to do your work this way - that you will be grateful for your clients and be a positive force within the process. Be positive to the point that they can’t help but notice! I know that when you're in the thick of it that's really not what you want to hear, but I'm here to tell you that you really do you have that power. 


People are drawn to positive people.

If you are a service-based company then this is really important. Even if you are in a product based industry, this can still apply to you. People are drawn to positive energy - plain and simple. As humans, we tend to seek it and listen to those emanating it. If this weren’t true motivational speakers wouldn’t have a job. The Tony Robbins of the world would have a voice but no audience. Yet Tony Robbins has reached people on so many levels because there’s an abundance of people drawn to his knowledge and process to focus on positive, forward thinking. 

If I were to ask you to think of Anne Frank, then think of one quote of hers, I would be willing to bet I know which one comes to mind. Better yet, Google it, and you will find the same thing. Why do we remember her? Why are we inspired by her? Because in the midst of tragedy, this young girl chose positivity, wrote it down, and her beautiful words remain with us today. 

In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.
— Anne Frank

Positive people make others feel good about themselves. Being aware of this can not only be a great way to focus your outlook on life but become something you can capitalize on. Best part? Everyone wins in this scenario. Not to get too rah-rah here, because that's not my goal, but it is my goal to highlight a simple fact here.

Think about being around a grouchy person. You're probably excited to leave them when you do. At the very least, it’s not likely you want to linger around them. But when you're around a happy person who's making the interaction and your time spent together better, you're more likely to want to be around that person. And honestly, you're probably more likely to want to do business with them. This is why it is so important for service based industries, especially if your interaction is ongoing. Think about tasks you probably don’t love - taxes, banking, working out. What if you disliked interacting with your accountant, banker, and trainer? Your unpleasant task just got worse. But if you enjoy them? They make the task better! You can be that person for your clients and you can give them that experience. 

Since I started this business, I have studied what other businesses and individuals with a strong following post on their social media. Honestly so far what I have found is that the people others engage and connect with most are those who aren't shy about expressing gratitude, are almost overly positive, and use their voice for honesty and encouragement. The most engaging people tend to be positive ones - a good thing to remember as you try to find and land new clients.


Your Day to Day tasks are Bearable

This one is pretty simple. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t let the little things get you down. Chin up. All the cliche phrases. Keep up with it, don’t complain, look on the bright side, and you can brush those little things right off your shoulder and off your list. 

How have you found your attitudes affect your interactions with clients? 

Spring Cleaning for your Business

The birds are chirping, the days are getting longer, and everything is slowly starting to turn green again. There’s no doubt about it, spring is here. This year, I have been enjoying and embracing the season more than ever before. The ushering in of spring is often accompanied by the ushering out of the clutter in our homes with an annual spring cleaning. Doesn’t it feel amazing to rid your space of your unnecessary things?

Why not put in place a similar practice for your business?

At the start of the year, we are all about setting goals. This is a good time of the year to evaluate how you are doing with those goals, determine what is working for you and what isn’t, and freshen up your space. 

Good Day Design Co. Spring Clean Your Business

Streamline Processes

Where do you spend the bulk of your time running your business? Where do you waste time? For me, one of those areas was having a template that I use to send quotes to branding clients. I customize each one before sending it, but I never have to start from scratch. Think about your interactions with your clients start to finish. Where can you save time? Identifying small improvements will add up and add time back into your week. The key here? Details! The more detailed you can be when making this list, the more you will be able to find those little areas taking more time from your life than they should. Try starting with:

  • Responding to Inquiries
  • Sending Quotes
  • Scheduling meetings

Goals

We set goals for a reason. There aren't many feelings better than accomplishing goals we set ourselves. While thinking and dreaming and setting goals may come easily, the follow through can become difficult. Take time to evaluate. What have you already achieved? (Don't forget to celebrate!) Where have you made progress? What are the areas that could use more effort? Are there goals that you don't care about anymore? Maybe you thought you wanted to run a marathon...then you remembered you hate running. It's ok to change priorities but it's even better to check in with yourself, rid yourself of what you don't want to focus on, congratulate yourself for what you have done so far, and refocus on the areas you still want to prioritize. 


Social Media Management

If there is one thing I have found that can become a huge time suck, it is social media management. I recently started a Good Day Design Co. Instagram account. I hesitated for several months because I didn’t want to start one unless I could maintain it and regularly post solid content. (Quick Tip: I have been using Later for Instagram planning, and it has been revolutionary for me.) There are so many social media management apps out there.  Find the system that works best for you and use it, so you don’t end up working harder than you have to.

While we are on this point, which social media accounts do you use? It can be tempting to try to use all of the platforms out there, but a good rule of thumb is to choose two and stick to those. This will prevent you from spreading yourself thin and sharing subpar content on an overwhelming amount of options. Instead, you can share great content on only a few platforms so you can focus on gaining followers there. If you have accounts that you don’t keep up with or don’t see any engagement with your followers on, consider letting them go.


Your Workspace

You know what they say about an organized desk and an organized mind? Get rid of those stacks of papers cluttering up your space. Recycle them, scan papers to digitize them, file them, burn them, do something to get rid of the stacks and free up your space. You will feel lighter and refreshed afterward. Then get yourself a new plant or a notepad. Why? 1) Because you work hard! 2) Because it is important to make your workspace somewhere you want to spend time.


Digital Workspace

Do you have a system for saving files on your computer? Having an organized system will make your life so. much. easier. When I think about the way I saved files in college it makes me want to cringe. I could never find files and relied on “Open Recent Files” an embarrassing amount. Now I have a system in place and can find files from years past with ease. Take time to start implementing a system and clean up past files as well. While you’re at it, delete anything you no longer need to free up space and speed up your processor.


Inbox

No one wants to spend more time checking their inbox than necessary. Inbox management is a tough, never-ending task. It's like laundry for your professional life - you have to do it, and it feels good to cross off your list but is a pain in the buttocks.

  • Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read. Why open emails or let them collect when you don't want to read them to begin with? 
  • Delete emails you no longer need. 
  • Utilize away messages. This might sound obsessive, but you need to have freedom from emails. If you KNOW you won't be checking/responding to emails over the weekend, even if you aren't leaving town, if it will give you peace of mind, turn on your away message. 

Do you have any seasonal rituals to help keep you on track? I would love to hear what works for you!