Badass Boss Babe Inspo

Who could use some badass boss babe inspo today?  I love this quote from Einstein: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

I think there’s a ton of truth in that.  Making mistakes is sort of life, ya know?  I think that sometimes, mistakes are embarrassing, but most of the time, a mistake is simply a way of learning what *not* to do next time.

I also think that this is a good way of saying that you should be prepared and ready for a mistake, especially if you’re trying something new.  The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with making a mistake or not being perfect.  If we were perfect, we would never progress and push ourselves further.

So, please feel free to snag this downloadable graphic!  It’s sized perfectly to share on your social media… in fact, I’d love for you to share this on your social media.  Encourage your fellow badass boss babes, why don’t ya?  Simply click the graphic to download, or you can click here.

 

Want font info?

The lovely sans font is called Athens, from Jen Wagner Co.  This font has become one of my regulars!  I love a tall, skinny sans. And, I think it’s amazeballs that it comes in multiple weights.

The cursive font is called Lemons Mangos Sunshine by the super sweet Emily Spadoni.  I’m a big fan of Emily’s work, and this particular font is one of my absolute favorites she’s ever done.  The swashes are so gorgeous, and the entire font is super versatile.

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Thieves – Handling Intellectual Property Theft

Oh yes, I said THIEVES. Not that amazing smelling essential oil from Young Living (my fav oil ever!), but legit THIEVES. Intellectual property theft is what I’m talking about.

If you’re a person that has put their all into their business, only to find that someone has stolen your material or intellectual property, you can understand the frustration that we’ve felt before.

We’ve become those victims. It’s happened a few times, and it’s always perplexing when it does happen. Is it really so hard to figure out how to say something on your own? We’ve had a gal, under the guise of being a future client, steal our questionnaire and probably use it. We’ve had people swipe our specific, injected-with-our-personalities wording from our listing details. People have copy/pasted generic information from our listings. It’s insane that people are really that lazy and dishonest.  We’ve also had folks inquire and solicit for more information about our services, claiming that they were in the market…except they worked in the same market.  We’ve even had a few of our premade logos blatantly copied.  (I mean, they were pretty awesome.)

We’ve handled it directly. We’ve submitted reports for copyright/intellectual property infringement, both with federal organizations and with Etsy, since that’s where the crime happened. Yes, crime. Because it is. (What? You didn’t know?) We’ve learned a few things along the way.

 

Reach Out.

Reach out to these people, if you want to take action against them. One thing that I learned in the military is that you should always handle things at the lowest level possible, because it’s often easiest this way. It’s always great to have a record, too, where you can submit proof of requesting the information/item to be removed. If someone knows that they’ve been busted, they likely won’t want any trouble and will remove the offending pieces from their website or shop. If they oblige, it’s super simple and fast. (But keep an eye out; our experiences have been such that we’ve had repeat offenders.)

You might encounter some full-of-crap excuses.  “I’m so sorry, I had no idea, I hired a guy to write my content for me, and I guess he stole it.” or “It’s not wrong to use YOUR business name in my logo display, give me proof.” (Yes, someone took Autumn Lane Paperie, OUR business name, and used it as a display name in their own shop’s logos.)

 

Submit a report.

If you run an Etsy shop, their IP section has a standard operating procedure for something like this. It requires you to submit a report, but they do request that you reach out to the person(s) first to handle it without the “grown ups” getting involved. Having screenshots of the infringement will be key to having action taken, and Etsy doesn’t take infringement lightly.

 

…but only if you’re certain.

You should also understand that Etsy, and many other entities, doesn’t take false reports lightly, nor do they take kindly to reports that come from shop owners that are under-prepared to make a claim…for example, no legal paperwork showing trademark rights, screenshots of plagiarism, and so on. A false report or a report in which you simply feel that you have been wronged but don’t have the legal stuff to back it up could result in your own shop being shut down.

 

Hire a Professional.

Hire a professional if you’re unsure. A lawyer can send a cease and desist letter to the offending person, and, lawsuits can be filed over this stuff. You should definitely use this as a last resort, though — you might wind up spending more than it’s worth just to prove a point.

 

Nothing.

Sometimes, doing nothing might be the best option. Follow me on this one.  We’ve had a few incidents where people took generic wording directly from our product information. I hear you saying, “If it’s generic, how do you even know?” It’s pretty simple. We noticed patterns.  Following on social media, sudden likes and favorites, and oh look, you’re a competitor? When you’re knee deep in web design, writing, and design work, you tend to notice stuff like this.  You also likely have ALL of the resources necessary to track down information.

 

Well, not NOTHING.  Keep an eye out.

When we get some fishy looking followers and favorites, and then notice you’re a competitor that is fairly new to the scene, and we see the exact generic wording contained in our listings showing up in yours…it’s pretty damn obvious. Sure is a big coincidence that even our generic information and lengthy lists are word-for-word.  If it’s generic, we often choose not to do anything drastic except for thanking for the favorites (we’ve got our eyes on you), and watching (yep, still have our eyes on you).  You can only be so creative when you’re listing what your branding package includes.  At the same time, no one likes it when you directly copy/paste — stop being lazy.

 


The whole thing sucks, let’s be honest. It sucks to realize you’ve been taken advantage of and that you’ve been stolen from after you’ve put countless hours into what you have. On the other hand, it’s a slight compliment (in the weirdest way) that someone sees you as successful enough to want to mirror your business down to your wording for generic branding items.

We recommend a legal statement on your website and shop to ensure protection.  Hire a professional, if you have any questions or concerns about whether or not your IP rights were violated.  You might also want to look into protection through an entity like DMCA. We’d also recommend trying to protect yourself by ensuring YOUR ducks are in a row and that YOU aren’t inadvertently being the problem.  Ensure that you keep licensing, if applicable, on hand so that you can offer proof if there is a question.  Additionally, make sure that if you’re doing business with other entities that maintain crystal clear policies.

Let me close this by saying that in our experiences, every single person that we’ve caught stealing from us has actually gone on to shut their shops down shortly thereafter. It won’t be true every single time, but you can’t get that far on stolen stuff or imitating abilities. Karma’s a bitch, after all.

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Badass Boss Babe Inspo

Here’s a little badass boss babe inspo for you today: be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.  Isn’t this amazing?  I think it’s the perfect reminder for a business owner, plugging away at what they do.  We’re all in business for a reason, right?  We started businesses because it made us happy.  The day-to-day aspects of business can really zap you of your passion if you let it.

Sometimes, I think that we even get “stuck” in what is working and keeping things afloat that we forget to keep charging forward for those things that set your soul on fire.  New ideas, new concepts, new additions are all things that you should be fearless about.  Don’t get too comfortable or complacent — be fearless, and constantly seek out more.  I think that fear — especially fear of failure — keeps us from realizing our fullest potential and greatest joys.

Feel free to click on that image over there, download it, and share it to your social media to encourage other business owners & dream chasers — hashtag it with #autumnlanepaperie and feel free to tag me, too!  You can also click here to download the image!

 

Want font info?

The ever talented Sam Parrett designed Crystal Sky, and you can find Bravery here, by Pollux of Geminorum.

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Three Tips on How to Build Trust in Your Brand

A trustworthy brand is so important if you expect to make it as a business.  The trust that you can build will lead to that initial “leap of faith” with a purchase, and continued trust-building will likely lead to additional purchases, as well as referrals.  Basically, building trust in your brand is crucial to establishing lasting relationships with your clients.  Let me give you three tips on how to build trust in your brand.

The Golden Rule

Treat others the way you want to be treated.  The Golden Rule sounds like a given, but so often, people need to be reminded of this.  Businesses make us busy. Sometimes they make us short-tempered or terse with our prospective clients that simply want to have their questions answered.  After a long day of managing your business, remember how you would feel if you received an e-mail like the one you’re about to send.  Kindness, compassion, and gratitude go a long way in establishing a personal and personable relationship with the people you want to make your clients.

Show Off Your Brand

In short, branding equals credibility.  The general population is judgmental, and if you don’t have a nice-looking logo, website, or branded materials to look at, there’s a good chance they’ll pass you by.  I sat in on a seminar once in which the gal speaking mentioned that a logo must be seen some 6-8 times over the course of 2-3 weeks.  Why is that? It’s because your brand needs to stay etched into someone’s mind in order to build trust and familiarity.  That could come in the form of your logo on a website, on a postcard, on a business card, or perhaps someone talking about your company in conversation.  Keep your brand at the forefront of people’s minds.  The professionalism you could display with your brand will also go a long way to build trust, as well.  You may be the most credible, trustworthy person ever, but if your brand looks like you made it in Paint…well, you know.

Be Accessible & Prompt

Make yourself accessible to your prospective and returning clients.  Answer your e-mails promptly.  If you have a business line, publish your phone number and answer it.  Are you in a physical location?  Make sure you display your address, and ensure that the maps display your correct location.  If it’s difficult to track you down, people won’t put in the effort.  Additionally, if you don’t display various methods to establish contact with you, people may view your inaccessibility with distrust.


Of course, you’re not limited to three ways to build trust.  There are many ways that you can build trust.  First, think about some of your favorite brands, or the companies you purchase from regularly.  Why do you give them your business?  Consider what factors make you trust their brand.  Then, consider how can you take those factors, and use them in your business.  Ultimately, trust will lead to buy-in.  If you have people on board with your business and products, you’ll be unstoppable.

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So, You Want to Blog? Part 2: A Plan for a Badass Blog

So, you want to blog?  Now that you have an idea, you need a plan.  It has to be a badass plan for your badass blog.  Duh!

The biggest part of your plan will be content.  Content is this.  Look around.  It’s the stuff you write, the subjects you talk about, and the info you’re putting out there.  Unless you’re heading down the lifestyle blog path where you detail your day to day, you’ll likely need to plan out your content.  That’s not the same as planning your blog posts, just so you know.

When I say “planning blog content” I mean gathering up topics & information to write about.  If you’re planning an informational type blog, you might need to plan for research, too.  The planning your posts part is more like scheduling your posts once you have the content written.

Other parts of your plan should include your brand and your future website.

 

Brain Dump

The first part of your plan should be a brain dump.  This’ll probably occur over a time span, and not one single sit-down session.  When I say “brain dump,” I mean that you should jot down all of your ideas for your blog, no matter what it’s about.  I would suggest dividing your dump into a few different sections: content ideas, brand + website ideas, and other possibilities.

I write down ideas that I have ALL the time.  Most of my ideas go into my Notes app.  Since I use Apple products, I can add them to my phone on the go, my desktop machine as I’m working, my laptop as I’m blogging, or on my iPad if I’m using it.  They all sync up, so I have the same notes no matter where I go.

I also use my Limelife Planner.  Sometimes, as I’m working through my day’s to-do list, I’ll have a stroke of genius that I need to scrawl out, or put onto my schedule.  Writing down your ideas will be key, even after you’ve done your brain dump.  Don’t just write down one or two words about your idea. Give a little detail and depth so that you don’t forget where you were headed with it.

 

Refine

After you’ve let your various ideas simmer, it’s time to refine things.  What fits, and what doesn’t?  What should you let go of?  Are these ideas you’re letting go of still great ideas you can incorporate later?

 

Vision + Mission Statement

Most businesses have a vision and a mission statement.  Well, at least, they should have those things!  In the simplest terms possible, a vision is the goal, and the mission statement is the plan to execute.  Your blog should have a vision and a mission statement, too!

It could look something like this:

The goal of Autumn Lane Paperie’s blog is to empower and connect with other like-minded business owners (vision) by providing easy to digest information and experiences in a down-to-earth, relatable manner (mission).

 

What I’ve Done So Far

My blog content planning was pretty willy-nilly and all over the place at first.  I’ve been rolling around the idea of blogging for years.  I actually started a few times, but it sort of dropped off because life happened, or because I wasn’t entirely certain that I wanted to open up all areas of my personal life.  (The blogs were definitely more of a lifestyle/family type of blog, and I think my kids should have privacy, so I sort of just stopped blogging and telling stories.)  I thought that a business-related personal-ish blog was a great solution, but it turns out, we really want to provide information to people and help them with their business ventures.  So, Autumn Lane’s blog is really the best avenue for that!

Once I started to realize the type of blog I would enjoy writing, I realized that a lot of it was business-heavy.  We (my husband and I) have a great deal of experience in the business world with both failed and successful businesses, a ton of combined experiences to share, and we’re also regular people working to feed a family and have fun.

I want to share those experiences as a mom + wife, a family person, a student, and business woman.  I want to share experiences and recommendations with people, and also have a way to look back on some memories made, connect with others over them, and so on.

In addition to the business related posts that I knew I would have, I realized I would also have a lot of great insight on branding.  It is what I do everyday, after all!  Some of the other things I want to write about include things that make my life easier (who doesn’t like that type of info?), organization, and food + travel.

As I realized the type of things I wanted to write about, I realized my blog was beginning to take shape as a business + lifestyle blog.  I have a ton to say about running a business, but I say it from a busy mom’s perspective.  Autumn Lane was born because I wanted to be there for & provide for my family.

I also really love the idea of being able to show that there are real people behind what we do at Autumn Lane Paperie.  Sometimes, business takes on a much-too-professional and sterile feel, and that’s just not me!  While we do provide professional level services and products, we’re pretty casual people over here.  I connect better with my clients when I’m communicating like *myself* and not someone trying to *sound* professional.  Creating better connections leads to better brands, plain & simple!


 

In the next So, You Want to Blog? series, we’ll be taking a look at making the actual *badass blog* happen!  We’ll touch on the website and branding aspect of your future blog!

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Common Misconceptions About Running an Etsy Business

Autumn Lane Paperie got its start on Etsy, like many businesses do. Etsy is & has been amazing to us — not only is the dashboard super easy to use, but Etsy has been super attentive to our needs when we have questions or when issues arise. We’re really happy with how things have gone with Etsy, and the clients it’s helped us reach. We’ve found that there’s a little bit of a negative stigma around doing business with Etsy, though.  People seem to have their own ideas about what an Etsy business is, or is not.

 

Incorrect Assumption #1: You’re not a real business.

I still encounter this a lot, where people assume that because you’re using Etsy as a method of setting up a storefront, it means you aren’t a legitimate, full-time business.  Tell that to a six-figure business doing this seven days a week! A lot of shop owners use Etsy *with* their website, or even open up a shop after they’ve established their own website. Simply because not everyone has the capital or inclination to go out on their own doesn’t make their Etsy shop any less of a business. Furthermore, when you sign up for Etsy as a seller, you *must* provide tax information. Sorry, but that seems legit to me!

 

Incorrect Assumption #2: You are obviously a hobby shop.

No, not like a hobby shop crafty type of store…I’m talking about a shop that someone has opened up because they have a hobby and want to profit from it. This assumption also ties in with #1 — not all Etsy shops are opened because the owner has a hobby that they’d like to profit from. I’ve had conversations with folks before and when we mention that we’re on Etsy, they’ve said, “Oh, I didn’t know you were doing it part-time.” or “It must be nice to have a hobby that pays well!”

I’m not sure what it is about the mention of the word Etsy and people tying it to hobbies or part-time work, but so many shop owners rely solely on Etsy to have a paycheck! We don’t rely solely on Etsy now (we did before) but at least half of our income is a direct result of sales on Etsy. We also work morning, noon, and night…and although we don’t communicate with clients 7 days a week, you best believe we’re working on something for the business.

It’s not a hobby — it’s how we put food on the table for our family. Period.

 

How to “Legitimize” Your Etsy Shop

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about the assumptions people make if you’re an Etsy business owner, but there are a few things you can do to set yourself apart — if your Etsy shop is your bread + butter, treat it better and be freakin’ proud of it!

 

BRAND YOURSELF.

Whether it’s with us, or someone else, brand yourself!  Make it obvious and known throughout your Etsy shop. Etsy allows you to use a large cover photo and an avatar, which are great places to get your brand in front of people’s faces. You can also use such things as custom or reserved Etsy listings that are also branded for your business. If it’s feasible to put your brand on all product images, either by keeping the same layout on each photograph or putting a watermark there, do it. Often, being branded appropriately can make or break the sale — it shows that you are taking the time to give your business the best start possible and that you’re taking it seriously by trying to establish consistency and cohesion for your business.

 

WRITE MO’ BETTER.

Funny, huh? Seriously, though. Take the time to write your product listing details.  Take the time to give people a solid introduction to your shop.  Let’s not forget, introduce yourself, too!  It is 100% possible to write well AND still inject your personality into it so that it’s not boring and sterile. Spend the extra time on it, because these prospective clients? They’re judgin’ you. Similarly, make sure you have a solid policies section.

 

BETTER PICTURES.

Etsy gives you tips for your images — take the tips seriously, and do it. Product presentation is going to be HUGE when it comes to setting yourself apart. Think about it…if you are searching for penguin salt & pepper shakers and you find identical listings them, same price, but different product pictures, you’ll probably pick the one that looks the best, right? The one that has the best lighting, cleanest images, and clearly displays the product….not the one that is like Nokia cell phone quality, dimly lit, and painful to look at. This is another small detail that will have a huge impact on whether someone chooses to click that “buy” button.

 

COMMUNICATE.

Find a way to communicate better through messages. Some people have a real knack for making an e-mail sound fabulous and fun.  And then, others seem a little drab and unexcited. I know, I know — reading tone into an e-mail…who does that?! Um, how about everyone?? You’ve been there. Your significant other sends a text to you that simply says “ok” — no punctuation, nothing else, and you’re all… “ok???” Ok like, great? Or ok like, leave me alone I’m busy?

Don’t forget your punctuation in your communications.  Always ensure that you’ve found a way that jives with your personality to let people know you’re excited or happy to hear from them. It makes for a more positive experience for the customer.  It also means they’re much more likely to refer you, and so on.

 

What are some misconceptions that you hear about an Etsy business, and how do you deal with them?

 

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I Woke Up Like This … Tired

I Woke Up Like This ... TiredWho can attest to this?  I woke up like this … tired.  This is me, most days, and the reason why I can go through a pot of coffee in a matter of 2-3 hours quite easily.  It seems that there are NEVER enough hours in the day to accomplish what you need to (or want to).  There are even fewer hours to rest and recharge, am I right?

I Woke Up Like This … Tired

I love this shirt for so many reasons.  For one, it’s like the Mama Anthem.  I also dig how fun this is — I loved lettering this one.  It’s pretty, flowy, a little bouncy, and then…totally direct.  TIRED.  It’s a tee to wear with pride, but maybe a little bit of a warning for everyone else around you, too.  🙂  I paired this lettering with warmer, richer tones.

To me, it seems like the perfect thing to wear with your fav pair of jeans or some yoga pants, running errands or curled up next to a warm fire while your kids wreak havoc on the house you just cleaned.

Grab yours here!

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Badass Boss Babe Inspo

The NEW YEAR is upon us, boss babes.  How did 2016 treat you?  Did you meet goals that you had?  Or, are you still trudging along, wishing, hoping, and dreaming?  Here’s some badass boss babe inspo for you from Carl Bard: “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” 

Pretty deep, eh?  Maybe 2016 was rough on you in your personal life, or maybe business didn’t do as well as you’d hoped.  You’ve got two days before the calendar swaps to 2017, and if you’re like the masses, you probably feel like you need to make some sort of resolution for a fresh start.

Do it.

Just like Mr. Bard said, you can’t go back and start over.  But, you can start now to work toward the end goal you desire.

What goals do you have for 2017?  Want to know what goals your followers have, too?  Click the graphic to download, and PLEASE share on social media!  You can also click here to download!  Happy sharing, and best wishes for 2017!

Want font info?

Hello Beautiful by Nikki Laatz can be purchased from Creative Market.  Hello Beautiful is an excellent typeface duo with some pretty badass options!  It’s the perfect mix of edgy & feminine.

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So, You Want to Blog? Part 1: An Idea

So, you want to blog?  We’re coming up on a new year, and it seems like it’s a great time to try something new.  A fresh start, fresh ideas, and a ton of motivation because there’s just something about going from 2016 to 2017 that makes people crazy!  I’ve been planning this badass blog for months, and 2017 is *the time* to make it happen.

Follow me on my journey through blogging!  This multi-part series will take you through the steps that I’ve gone through in order to become more consistent with blogging here at Autumn Lane.  Blogging is something that I’ve thought about for a really long time.  Like, really long!  I loved journaling as a teen, and loved the ease of blogging online with free blog services.  I’ve started (and stopped) blogging many times.  Time has always been a factor, as has the purpose of the blog and whether or not I had an audience.

I’ve read blogs and have looked at articles, hoping to find that magic combination of what big name bloggers do in order to gain followers + readers, and even monetizing.  Guess what?  I haven’t found that magic combination, but I’m hopeful that with enough time & effort, I’ll find it myself!

First, you need an idea for a blog.  Not just any blog…a badass blog.

What’s the big idea?

Blogging can take any shape or form.  You can blog about fashion, food, or travel.  There are even blogs that are photography blogs, poetry and/or story blogs.  Personal or lifestyle blogs are some of my favorites, too.

Chances are, your bright idea for your blog already exists.  Don’t be discouraged by this; use this as an opportunity to put your own spin on it.  Define the genre you want to be a part of, but understand that you’re not totally tied to this.

I’m a combo of business + lifestyle.

What are the details?

The details are the fun part, and how you plan to set yourself apart from the others.  Travel blogs are everywhere, and there are a ton of lifestyle blogs out there where people write about the daily grind.  What will be different about your blog?  What are the major things you want to accomplish with your blog?

I want to author content that helps small businesses & other designers.  I also want to provide a real glimpse into the crazy life of a business owner that also happens to be a mom, wife, learner, and creative.  Autumn Lane as a whole takes an authentic approach to business – we find that relationships are key to developing a solid brand.  As a result, we want to make it easy to get to know us, and we want to get to know you, too.  That’s why you’ll find candid discussion in some of our blog posts.

Take it, and run with it.

Don’t stop at a single idea.  You can edit your ideas later, and decide what will work, and what will not.  Dream up some crazy stuff, because you can figure out the “How?” later.

Are you planning on starting a badass blog?  Share your hopes with me!

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Mother of Boys & Mother of Girls Tees Available NOW!

Check out these Mother of Boys & Mother of Girls tees available now from my shop!

New Products!

Mother of Boys & Mother of Girls tees available nowMother of Boys & Mother of Girls tees available now I’ve been having a blast lettering, y’all.  I put together these two cute 3/4 sleeve tees for y’all!  I’m really digging the raglan tees, too — they look super comfy, perfect for lounging around or pairing with jeans or yoga pants to run around and get your errands done.

You can find the Mother of Boys shirt here, and the Mother of Girls shirt here!

 

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