Tools of the trade: 10 apps that make my life a little easier

08 05 2013

Here’s a round-up of the ten online tools that I l-o-v-e love:

Making connecting a little easier:

Hootsuite: When a new post is live on my blog but I’m ‘out of office’, Hootsuite is my answer.  To be more effective I plan ahead Twitter, Facebook and Google+ posts with a link to my latest blog post. That way, when I’m online I can use my time to get involved in conversations rather than sending out links to my website.

Tweriod: A new discovery, Tweriod can illustrate trends with your Twitter followers: whether they’re active on Twitter most during the week or weekends, and at what times of the day. 

Wisestamp: To make emails look a little more professional, Wisestamp links with your email platform to add a slick-looking signature to your emails including social media links.

Making information organising a little easier:

Google Drive: With my goal of having a flexible work-style, Google Drive is a dream for saving all my files in the cloud so I can access on-the-go.

Evernote: While Google Drive is my home for all my business files and folders, Evernote is where I pool all the non-business inspiration, ideas and articles I want to bookmark for future reference.  I’ve got everything saved here: from ideas for creative play with my little one and sewing tutorials, through to ideas for future goals and visions. 

Pinterest: I’m a visual person so I love being able to save gorgeous, inspirational images for my home and business on Pinterest.  Also, as Pinterest is now the third largest social network in the world, I’ve upped my game in making sure I have a business presence on there.

Making managing my time a little easier:

Google Calendar: All my appointments and reminders are saved into Google Calendar and synced with my calendars on my iMac and iPhone.  When it comes to planning my time I’m a pen and paper girl but, with Google Calendar (and it’s fab reminders) I’ve got a place to ‘pool’ the many things I need to remember.  And, to make it even more super-duper, the labels function on Google Calendar makes it much easier to see priorities for different areas – personal, business, home – at one glance.

ToDoIst: The home for all my big projects, ToDoist syncs with my Google Calendar to drop project reminders and tasks into the relevant week/month so (in an ideal world) nothing gets forgotten and my big plans stay on track.

Making planning my blog posts a little easier:

WordPress Editorial Calendar PlugIn: This is the single-most useful app I’ve discovered in the last 6 months.  Before, I was planning out my blog posts and Secrets of my Success interview series using a paper year-planner but, as things inevitably got moved around, it started to look messy.  Introducing the Editorial Calendar plug-in: it lets you create draft blog posts for the relevant days and it’s easy to move things around and re-schedule the date and time of posts with just a click.  And it’s neat!

Making keeping on top of financials a little easier:

Freshbooks: A really easy-to-use, online accounting website.  It’s easy to set up invoices and expenses, recurring payments and you can even track time which is ideal for service businesses.  Freshbooks also sends you a weekly update so you can see an overview of your business finances in a really, simple format.  I’m a fan.

They’re my ten favourites of the moment.  How about you?  What online tool makes your life easier?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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How to be a better planner

08 02 2013

The #GlitteratiSocial topic this week: Every creative’s favourite word, PLANNING

Are you a planner? Does it come naturally to you? What are your struggles? What tips can you share with other creative entrepreneurs?

The Twitter chat starts at 5pm…

See you there, Emma x

the skinny

Glitterati Social is a weekly get-together for creative female entrepreneurs.  Each Friday between 5-5.30pm (GMT), Emma Gwillim hosts a live Twitter chat focused on a nominated topic so that the Glitterati community can share their experiences, offer advice, build new relationships and encourage one another to design a life and business that sparkles. #GlitteratiSocial

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The Wealth Files: are you too nice to be wealthy?

08 01 2013

Step right up if you want to be a rich b***ch?

Nope, not a label I’d want either. I was brought up to be a good girl, to play nice, be kind. I might desire success and financial freedom but you can keep the label, thanks. What is it they say? “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.”

But what if playing nice is holding you back? What if there’s a flip side to some of the typically feminine attributes? Do any of these ‘nice girl’ tendencies sound familiar?

  • You’re empathetic.  You care deeply about the thoughts and feelings of others.
    • BUT maybe you care too much about other people think and are forgetting what’s important to you…
  • You’re not afraid to be vulnerable. You’re aware of your limitations and you’re not afraid to ask for help.
    • BUT that’s distracting your from your unique talents, skills and brilliance and in asking for what you deserve…
  • You’re a nurturer. You feel fulfilled in caring for and serving people you love.
    • BUT you’re not nurturing your own dreams and aspirations…
  • You’re open-armed. You welcome and involve others, you’re a good listener.
    • BUT you forget to listen to your own intuition…
  • You’re generous. You’re liberal with your time, your money, your energy.
    • BUT you’re generous to a fault and forgetting your personal and financial goals in the process…

Stay nice. Be a nurturer, it’s who you are.  BUT, to realise your own brilliance, you need to be nice to yourself too (without the guilt).  Here’s the rules for the Nice Girl 2.0:

– Be clear on what’s important to you and what you’re striving for. And then commit to it.  Don’t be afraid to say no. You may have to cancel a few nights with the girls to create the time to focus on your business idea or to save money towards your dream project.

– Focus on what makes you unique and brilliant and what value that has to offer the world.  Then ask to be rewarded for it.  Ask for what you deserve.

– Make choices based on what’s important to you and will get you closer to your goals. You may enjoy being ‘the one to treat’ but make sure you’re paying yourself first.  Get your financial house in order before you next splash the cash…

Are you a nice girl? How do you feel playing nice has got in the way of living the life you want? What will you choose to do differently from NOW? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…

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Secrets of my Success: Susannah Conway

07 31 2013

Susannah Conway describes her life in two parts: the ‘disconnected’ years, which saw her working as a freelance journalist and fashion editor in London, and the ‘unravelling’ years from 2005 onwards when Susannah was to use her creativity to heal and reconnect with herself after a huge life-shock. In chronicling her grieving process through blogging and photography, and sharing her journey with the world, Susannah built a loyal tribe of followers who wanted to know more. Fast-forward eight years and Susannah is now a two-time author, blogger and teacher of a series of e-courses.  Today, Susannah shares the secrets of her success…

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What is your title/position:

Photographer, author and aunt.

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  How did you get to where you are now?

The path I am on now began in 2005 when the man I loved died very suddenly — everything I thought I knew about life changed in that instant. Now I look back and see that my life has unfolded in two acts: in the first 32 years I was lost and disconnected from myself. In the last eight years I’ve healed and become the person I am today. 

I found my way back to myself through my cameras and journals. In the second year of my bereavement I discovered blogging and it opened up this whole new creative world to me. Being able to share my thoughts and feelings online was incredibly empowering — it was my way of ‘getting back out there’ from the safety of my living room. I started re-exploring self portraiture, which helped me to see myself again — literally, but also as the woman I was becoming, a woman working her way through loss and finding herself. There were so many layers to unravel and the healing went far deeper than the bereavement alone.

My Unravelling course began as a local evening class in 2008 and drew inspiration from my healing journey. I brought my photography and journalling ideas together and shared them with a room full of women. To my surprise the class was a great success! As blogging was such an important part of my life it seemed natural to find a way to share the class online somehow. So in 2009 I did, and I now have four creative e-courses I run throughout the year. I’ve also had two books published and teach in-person workshops and retreats.

Susannah UnravellingTell me about your vision/goals for your future.

I have two new books I’m working on, so I hope to get them finished and out into the world in the next few years. I’m also currently brainstorming a new course I want to launch in 2014. Anything beyond that will be a surprise! 

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality?  Where do you start?

Everything starts as a seed of an idea in my journal. I’ve kept a journal for the last 29 years and I can trace everything back to some words written down on a page. It’s the one place I can be completely honest with my dreams and desires — once you have something on paper you have something tangible you can work with. My journal was a key part of my voyage through bereavement, it’s helped me manifest house moves, and it’s the place I plotted out all my courses and books. 

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How do you stay motivated and inspired?

Motivation comes from a combination of wanting to do something useful in the world and also be able to support myself as a single, independent woman. Inspiration is all around me — there’s plenty of eye and brain candy online, but I most often turn to books and the world outside my flat. Living back in London is proving to be wildly inspiring.

What has been your biggest lesson learned?

One of the most important things we can ever do is heal our hurts so we don’t pass them on to anybody else.

What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

Like any business owner I always worry that there won’t be enough money each month to cover my rent and living expenses, and I do spend a lot of time pondering the future of my business. Working online in the way I do is such a new world and I do wonder if it could all disappear tomorrow. I feel I’ve built a strong foundation for my buiness in the last four years and I’m always looking for ways to improve and innovate the work I do. I don’t think I’ve really overcome my fears — I just acknowledge them and work alongside them.

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

Transparency — I’m happy to share my life with my readers and let them see we all worry about the same stuff. I really look after my course participants and so many of them have been with me since the beginning. I write from the heart, and the most important and essential ingredient in everything I do is integrity. Always.

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What 3 tips would you offer ambitious women reading this?

1. Be ready to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. It’s worth it.

2. Invest in yourself — training, books, courses, coaches… whatever you need to grow.

3. Learn how to market your business gracefully and with integrity.

What book has most inspired you?

Just one? That’s almost impossible to answer! But if I must… The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron was a really important read for me when I was grieving. It helped me find my way back to my creativity.

Susannah Conway is the author of This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart. A photographer, writer and e-course creator, her classes have been enjoyed by thousands of people from over 40 countries around the world. Co-author of Instant Love: How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids, Susannah helps others reconnect to their true selves, using creativity as the key to open the door. You can read more about her shenanigans on her blog or connect on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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Behind the Scenes with Stephanie L. Howitt of SLH Lifestyle & Concierge

07 30 2013

Introducing Stephanie L. Howitt, the guardian angel of fashion, style and design at SLH Lifestyle & Concierge.  Stephanie is a former model, trained stylist and designer with a business degree and who is an advocate for entrepreneurial women in business. Based in Manhattan, Stephanie’s company offers lifestyle consulting and design services for personal styling, interiors and events for clients in New York City, The Hamptons and the Gold Coast of Long Island. Today Stephanie gives us a peek behind the scenes of her glamorous business.

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What’s your title/position: 

Designer, blogger, and founder of SLH Lifestyle + Concierge

Tell me a bit about your business:

I started premier lifestyle management company, SLH Lifestyle + Concierge in an effort to provide efficient living solutions for clients living in the New York area. The company is a multifaceted venture, offering lifestyle consulting and design services in four key areas of an individual’s world: image, style, interiors and events. In addition, my company offers private concierge services, errand services and travel itinerary planning to offer a full-service experience. Our services are individually tailored to the needs of our clients. We provide them with the opportunity to become the best version of themselves while affording the newly found time to live a more memorable life.

Aside from SLH Lifestyle + Concierge, I am also the primary contributor for three lifestyle blogs which share luxe tips for living life more brilliantly: SLH Lifestyle, Long Island Pulse Magazine’s Gold Coast Style and Hampton Style.  

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

My work schedule is never typical! Like most business owners, it’s all hands on deck. I find what most people don’t know about entrepreneurs is that they tend to put in effort long after the normal workday, completing tasks that help shape the future of their business, without necessarily seeing an immediate return. I start the day like many by checking emails, responding to client calls, setting up appointments or preparing interesting content for a blog post. I end the day by updating our social media platforms, preparing media kits for the next business day or strategising and developing ideas for design and organisational projects.

SLH Lifestyle & Concierge website

How do you plan and organise your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?

I’ve always been neat + able to naturally organise my time in an efficient manner, which is crucial to the success of any business let alone one that provides organisational services and lifestyle solutions.

[Tweet “”I’ve always been neat + able to naturally organise my time in an efficient manner, which is crucial to the success of any business let alone one that provides organisational services and lifestyle solutions” @SLHLifeStyle (via @emmagwillim)”] Clients seek our services in an effort to correct their organisational or time management issues.  As a designer and blogger, I am constantly being inspired and capturing inspiration whether it is for a project or story using my iPhone, camera or Moleskine notebook. 

What are your essential office tools?

After graduating from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, I made the jump to Apple products and have never looked back. As a business owner, I find it’s important to have consistency regarding office tools. By doing so, I find everything can run seamlessly between my MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhones. Aside from my Apple tools, I have a neat receipts scanner for Mac, which allows me to scan every business card and receipt in a digital file system. This allows me to eliminate the clutter of receipts while keeping records of everything. It is also crucial that every business owner back-up his or her computer. I back up all my business files, photographs, posts, projects, and client information once a week. I also use a shredder when working with personal information regarding my clients.

Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?

The perks of social media are endless. It helps one to network, connect with possible clients, showcase your expertise, advertise your business, create consistency and enhance your presence on the web.  It is a cost-effective solution that every entrepreneurial woman should capitalise on. I also believe it’s important to have a company blog. It provides a forum to personally connect with your audience and gives your company a voice aside from your website. I use the Square app with clients: the square reader easily connects to a mobile device allowing me to instantly accept credits.

Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style.  How does it motivate/focus your work?

My company workspace is clean and functional; I utilised the small space by incorporating an appropriately-scaled desk with the addition of functional accessories. I designed upwards by incorporating printed storage cubbies and corkboards in an effort to eliminate desk clutter.  I also have meaningful personal items that remind me of the path I’ve taken to get to where I am now. I always celebrate the small stuff with a framed press release and past company press.

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What book has most inspired you?

Picking a favorite book must be like being asked to pick a favorite child – it simply cannot be done! I have a collection of books which have helped to provide inspiration throughout the years. My business books have helped build the foundation for my business during its start-up phase. The words of inspirational leaders help to guide me on my personal journey. My design and stylebooks are a source to help break a creative block, while books filled with art and photography make the best for coffee table entertaining. Every year as my life evolves, so does my book collection. 

What’s your typical working lunch?

My typical working lunch is an art of balance. I eat while checking emails or returning calls. I tend not to answer personal calls while working with clients so I find that lunchtime is often the perfect opportunity to speak to friends and family.

And how do you switch off once the working day is done?

When I’m looking to switch off my workday, I will often turn to my friends and family. I enjoy new cultural experiences and outdoor activities. As a designer and concierge, I will often visit a new exhibit or try a new restaurant to advise clients. I also find music helps to unwind and clear my head after a long day. I’m happiest when at a concert or music festival. After working an all-nighter for a project or story deadline, I turn to a trusty eye mask and double-lined drapes to get in the proper shut-eye!

What makes your life sparkle?

My life sparkles when I radiate from within and the only way I can do that is by remaining true to myself.

[Tweet “”My life sparkles when I radiate from within and the only way I can do that is by remaining true to myself” @SLHLifeStyle (via @emmagwillim)”] I try to never compromise on my integrity or core values. I try to surround myself with people that want the best for me and inspire me. I attempt to remain optimistic by choice, which can be trying as starting a business can be difficult. It’s important to be your own internal motivator. I sparkle when I see the effect I have on others through my business or personal relationships.

Everyday I try to smile often, laugh at life’s unforeseen expectancies, hold respect for those I come in contact with and keep my heart open.

[Tweet “”Everyday I try to smile often, laugh at life’s unforeseen expectancies, hold respect for those I come in contact with and keep my heart open” @SLHLifeStyle (via @emmagwillim)”] I sparkle when I am creative throughout the design process or while contributing content for a blog post. I sparkle when I conceptualise an idea and follow through to view the final concept. I sparkle when I take a chance and put myself out there. The result can be scary because it is unknown and often vulnerable, but the reward can be creating an opportunity for myself. Never be afraid that failure will diminish your inner sparkle because it helps shape your path. [Tweet “”Stand tall and know that for some your path may be the one less traveled, travel it and leave a trail” @SLHLifeStyle (via @emmagwillim)”]

For more on Stephanie and her business visit her website or say  hello on Facebook or Twitter.

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#GlitteratiSocial: how to identify and communicate your winning combo

07 26 2013

The #GlitteratiSocial topic this week: How to identify your unique, winning idea… and how to make sure your customers get it.

The Twitter chat starts at 5pm…

See you there, Emma x

the skinny

Glitterati Social is a weekly get-together for creative female entrepreneurs.  Each Friday between 5-5.30pm (GMT), Emma Gwillim hosts a live Twitter chat focused on a nominated topic so that the Glitterati community can share their experiences, offer advice, build new relationships and encourage one another to design a life and business that sparkles. #GlitteratiSocial

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Secrets of my Success: Erin Stutland

07 25 2013

“Shrink your thighs, expand your mind”: it’s the promise of the energetic powerhouse that is Erin Stutland.  Mentor, coach and fitness professional, Erin shares today the secrets of her sparkling business experience that has seen her featured on the US Today Show, featured in Glamour Magazine and getting shot on The Sopranos!

divider-02 EG grey What is your title/position?

I’m a Life Coach + Fitness Expert, creator of Shrink Session™: Tone Your Body, Expand Your Mind and the digital goal setting course, Magical Manifesters.

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  How did you get to where you are now?

My mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was a freshman in college. It rocked my world and scared the heck out of me. It also caused me to fall into a cycle of anxiety and depression, feeling like I truly couldn’t control the fate of the people I loved most. That said, I was determined to better understand myself, my thoughts, my feelings and my place in the world. That was a defining year for me that put me on the path of spiritual seeking. Thankfully, my mum got through it and the seeking has not stopped since.

Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.

Raise a family. Grow my business. Host my own show. Inspire and connect with as many people as humanly possible. Create things. Lots of things. Travel more.  Love more. [Tweet “”Create things. Lots of things. Travel more. Love more” @estutland (via @emmagwillim)”]

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality?  Where do you start?

I do a lot of brainstorming, dreaming and writing. I fill my journal with thoughts, ideas and lists. I start pulling images of things that inspire me. I listen to music that takes me to another world. I go to the theater and see movies. I go for long walks and ask lots of questions on those walks. From there, I let ideas come to me and start to form them into concrete goals with deadlines and actions attached to those goals.

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

Writing. Walking. Exercising. Music. Sleeping.  They are the five cornerstones of my inspiration. [Tweet “”Writing. Walking. Exercising. Music. Sleeping. They are the five cornerstones of my inspiration” @estutland”]

What has been your biggest lesson learned?

I have three:

Everything always works out and comes together, even if it happens in the last hour. [Tweet “”Everything always works out and comes together, even if it happens in the last hour” @estutland (via @emmagwillim)”]

Give before you receive.

There is never a good reason to take away your love from anyone.

What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

My biggest fear is probably that I won’t do all the things I want to do in this lifetime. That alone can cause paralysis. But, when I get into that mindset, I try to shift back into the beauty and power of the moment. I make a list of all I have done so far and all that I am incredibly grateful for.

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

Being genuine and kind.

What three tips would you offer ambitious women reading this? 

Take time away from your business. It will make your business feel more authentic. People are drawn to realness.

Don’t be afraid to try things in your business, even if no one else is doing it.  It’s all one big freakin’ experiment anyway so don’t wait for the perfect answer. Try and then course-correct as needed.

Invest in programs that not only help you market your business, but will also help you become a better human being. Make sure in those programs you take time to build genuine relationships with the people you are surrounded by. You never know how you will help each other down the road. 

What book has most inspired you?

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. I read this book when I was 18 years old. Up until that point, I thought I was just weird. That book gave me permission to call myself an artist.

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The Wealth Files: 5 signs that you're choosing to earn less than you deserve

07 24 2013

Five big fat clues that are choosing to earn less than you deserve:

  1. There’s always a reason why you wont ask for money: “I’m lucky to have a job/customers in this economy”
  2. You have a label for people with the mulla: “what a poser”
  3. You take pride in managing with little: “we get by”
  4. You blame someone or something else: “the market crashed when I’d just bought my property”
  5. You work VERY hard and are happy to as long as it’s recognised: “I know my boss values me”

Are any of these sounding familiar? If so, then you could be under-earning by choice.  Ridiculous, right?  Why would anyone choose to earn less than they deserve? That answer is when there is a nice, juicy payoff to staying put.  It’s the big fight live: Prosperity vs. Comfort.  Comfort often wins by way of fear…

Fear of hearing “no” when you ask for that pay rise/increased fee.  Fear of being judged.  Fear of going against your values and how you’ve been brought up.  Fear that you just wont be able to handle it.

Ask yourself what is your payoff? What do you get out of accepting less than you deserve?  Then make a choice.  Stay in your corner or step into the ring and face it.

Would you be willing to share your payoff with me?  What have you got out of staying put?  What choice do you make now?

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