3 mistakes I made when starting my Web Development business

I wanted to share with you something I have been wanting to talk about for a while. Failure.

Most creative entrepreneurs do not talk about their failures. They share with you their achievements. They share with you their goals and successes. They share cold hard numbers of the profit and revenue they made. BUT they hardly ever speak towards what they did wrong before they found solutions that worked.

I want to talk to you about my failures. The 3 mistakes I made when I started my web development business.

I want to be honest with you and I want you to learn from my mistakes so that when you start your service based business, you do not make the mistakes I made.

I started my web development business officially in 2015. But I was running it for 3 years at this point behind the scenes, without a real business name.

I was a freelancer who designed websites and took on clients, ran everything in my freelance business from marketing to looking for clients to billing and book-keeping. I ran a business, but I did not tell people that I ran a web development business. That's mistake #1.

Mistake #1. Not acting like you run a service based business

I loved developing and designing websites, but I hated being called a freelancer. I was foolish and in 2012, I did not even realize I was running a business so I told people I was a web developer.

Here's why that was a mistake.

THEY thought I was running a hobby.

"How cute?" they said. "You make websites, let me see some of your work. ... That's nice... I have a friend who needs a website... you want to make it for him?"

Of course I agreed the very first time this happened. How on earth did I not see that me being a hobbyist web developer would mean I WOULD NOT get paid?! Silly me. What am I doing? Running a business?

YES I AM. At this point I had not taken it seriously for what it was. I was a business owner.

I provided high quality service, developed beautiful websites, and provided customer service at a startup friendly price. I owned a web development business.

Takeaway: Value yourself and what you're doing. If you run a business as a photographer then you own a photography business. If you run a business writing copy for clients then you own a copy-writing service business.

Putting value in what you do and giving prospect clients a way to distinguish you as an established service and resource to do business with a way to make yourself look established is vital if you want to be recognized and of course, get paid like a boss!

Mistake #2. Not managing your money early on

Again, I was foolish. I kept books and all my receipts and invoices, but I never managed my money.

I had never understood how much money I was truly making.

What my expenses actually looked like.

AND of course what my bottom line was (that's profit)!

All of this as you may probably know is important. Managing your money is important. Being able to understand what your profit is at the end of the day and how much money you're putting back into your business is very important.

Why didn't I manage my money?

It leads back to my first mistake. I didn't know I was running a business.

I was always excited every time I made a sale or was paid by a client, but I didn't document it as much as I documented my expenses.

I had recipes and invoices saved in several different folders on my computer. I had no idea what the total amount of expenses were. I had no idea what the total amount of revenue was.

Takeaway: Keep track of every transaction. No matter how big or small. Track every expense. Track every sale. Track every invoice.

THEN keep track of all the totals. How much revenue are you making? How much are you spending in expenses? And whats left over?

REMEMBER: Revenue - Expenses = Profit

Mistake #3. Not understanding what my audience and target market was

Someone please tell me why I was completely out of my mind in 2012?!

YES, I had no clue what my ideal client looked like let alone what audience I was serving.

Not knowing my target market led to many other issues in the early stages of my business.

I went through several clients who were not a good fit for me.

I was not able to create a step by step system for on-boarding clients because each client was different.

Every time I acquired a new client, I had to set up a new way of on-boarding them, invoicing them, and figure out new ways to work and communicate with them.

This wasted lots of time and energy. Its as if every time I acquired a client, I had to run my business according to them.

DO NOT DO THIS. Understand and be specific about the audience you are serving. If you serve creative entrepreneurs, be explicit about how your process and services serve only them. If you serve fashion bloggers, make sure your business distinctly reaches fashion bloggers with how your business runs to the services you offer.

Takeaway: Be specific about who you are serving early on. The sooner you decide this, the sooner you will be able WOW your clients with your amazing targeted business!

I want to teach you more about how to run your service based business or even how to take your idea and turn it into a service based business. Do you want to learn more?

If so, I'm hosting a webinar where I'll be teaching you how to build, package, and launch your service based business! It's totally free to attend and super valuable to miss!

It takes place on June 16th at 2PM EDT. I hope to see you there live! BUT if you cannot make it live, by signing up for a seat you'll get the chance to view the replay!

Sign up for the webinar BELOW!

Can't wait to hear your business ideas!

Zobia

101 Blog Post Ideas for the Lifestyle Blogger
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Sometimes it can be hard to find a good topic to blog about. Sometimes you just run out of ideas or there's not much going on at a particular time. But, don't fear! Here are 101 Blog Post Ideas for the Lifestyle Blogger to help get you back on track! Plus, a free PDF download of the 101 Blog Post Ideas below!

  1. Write about your firsts. Write about your first date, your first day of college, your first day at your first job, your first Instagram post, the first blog post you ever published, the first time you filed taxes for your business, the first time you drove across country, your first trip abroad,  or the first time you saw your favorite band in concert. There's a first time for everything, write about yours! 

  2. Curate your most popular blog posts and why you wrote them.

  3. Share a story from your childhood. 

  4. A Typical Day in Your Life. Share some details about your typical day and a glimpse of what your daily life is like. BONUS: Share at least 5 pretty photos from your typical day!

  5. What was the first TV series you ever watched? Were you obsessed with a show before Netflix was even a thing? What did you like about the show?  What didn't you like about the show? Do you still watch it and reminisce?

  6. Talk about a time you've failed at something. Has there ever been a time where you did not feel like you did your best? Have you ever failed at something? What did you learn from it? How did you succeed in it on your second or third try?

  7. Name your top 10 favorite songs of all time. 

  8. Talk about your college experience. Where did you go to college? What clubs were you a part of? Did you study abroad? What was your field of study?

  9. Share some of your favorite blog posts and articles from around the web. 

  10. Review the most recent movie you saw in theaters.

  11. Share your income report. Do you make money online or from your blog? Share it!

  12. Share your favorite products at the moment. Are there any beauty products you really love right now? Any cool tech gadgets you've been playing with recently? Any apps you currently love using?

  13. Name 10 things you don't regret. 

  14. Create a bucket list. 

  15. How do you budget your finances? 

  16. A DIY post. Have you ever crafted something yourself? Share a post listing step by step how you did it, what you used, and how its been useful. OR curate a list of DIY projects on Pinterest that you want to try.

  17. Talk about your love life. Are you married? Single? Dating? Spill some details! 

  18. Share a story about a fear you've overcome. 

  19. Outfit of the Day Post

  20. What are your favorite places to shop online or in-store?

  21. How do you organize your blog posts? Do you plan your posts in advance? Have a special editing process?

  22. Talk about your morning routine. What do you do when you first open your eyes? Check your phone? Figure out what to wear? Look forward to a good breakfast?

  23. Write a letter to your teenage self.

  24. Write a letter to your future self.

  25. Talk about your favorite restaurants.

  26. Share a story about the worst date you've had. 

  27. What are some songs currently on your playlist? 

  28. List 25 things you're grateful for.

  29. Talk about your most memorable birthday.

  30. What does your family do for the holidays?

  31. Do a Q&A post. Ask your readers to submit questions through your social media channels, pick your favorite questions, and answer them in one AWESOME post. 

  32. Share what you've learned through blogging (so far).

  33. Write about something that motivates & inspires you.

  34. Interview another lifestyle blogger. Ask them inspires to blog? What their favorite things to blog about are? What goals they have for their blog? Document it and hit publish! 

  35. Create a blog post with no words just pictures.

  36. What equipment do you use to take blog photos?

  37. What apps do you use to edit photos?

  38. List 25 things you're looking forward to.

  39. Talk about your goals for the future - where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

  40. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

  41. Do a flashback post. 

  42. Write a book review.

  43. Create a blog post with a video extra. Write the blog post out and record a video of you talking about the topic and turn it in to one epic blog post!

  44. Write about how you stayed organized daily. 

  45. What's on your wish list currently?

  46. Name 3 things you'd never ever purchase. Make this post a little comical. Is there any product out there that is so ridiculous that you wouldn't be caught dead ever buying?

  47. Create a before and after post.

  48. Share your favorite recipe.

  49. List 10 fun facts about yourself. 

  50. Give a tour of your workspace. 

  51. Give a tour of what your house looks like. 

  52. Name 5 things you could not live without. 

  53. Share your shoe collection. This could be a fun post especially if you're not a beauty blogger because it shows your sense of style. 

  54. Are you a morning person or night owl?

  55. What is your five year plan? Plan your next 5 years in a post about your goals, where you see yourself, and where you are now all in one!

  56. Share your best blogging tips and give your readers a free download. 

  57. What is one event you've always wanted to go to and why?

  58. Blogging DOs and DON'Ts.

  59. Talk about your blog and your brand. How do you want the blogging world to see you? How does your brand coincide with who you are? How is brand represented in your blog?

  60. What's on your phone? Do you download lots of productivity apps, games, music?

  61. Write a post about your pet and introduce them to your readers. 

  62. Talk about your hobbies that you normally don't blog about. 

  63. How do you unwind on a Sunday?

  64. How do you prepare for the week ahead?

  65. What's your favorite place to work or blog? 

  66. Talk about a city you've always wanted to visit.

  67. Talk about where you're from? What's your native nation?

  68. Introduce your real life friends.

  69. How to make money as a lifestyle blogger. HEY! THAT'S YOU! 

  70. Share your biggest dreams. 

  71. Name some things that make you laugh. 

  72. Share some of your favorite clothing or jewelry pieces. 

  73. Review a monthly subscription box. (Ipsy is my favorite!)

  74. What online software do you use to run your blog/business?

  75. If you're a WordPress blogger, share a list of your favorite plugins. 

  76. Talk about your siblings (and share some family photos too!)

  77. Share your social media routine. 

  78. Talk about your blogging income streams. 

  79. Name all your pet peeves. 

  80. Share a story about a bad day you turned around. 

  81. Talk about a class or course you've taken and loved. 

  82. How do you dress up for a big event? I'm talking black-tie events. 

  83. Do a behind the scenes post.

  84. Share your opinion on the most controversial news at this time. 

  85. Talk about the last time you stayed in on a Saturday night.

  86. Share what you do when you finally have "me" time.

  87. Grab some of your favorite Pinterest pins and put it in a post!

  88. Create a series of tips. Example: Blogging tips every Friday.

  89. Share your weekend in photos.

  90. Host a guest post with another lifestyle blogger.

  91. Run a giveaway featuring your favorite brands.

  92. A day at the mall. Talk about your last shopping trip. 

  93. Host a link-up!

  94. Review a few articles in a random magazine. This post has lots of potential to be comical. If you pick up a celebrity gossip magazine and share your views, it could be pretty entertaining.

  95. Share some of the essentials in your purse.

  96. Create a movie theater ticket it or skip it post.

  97. Dealing with clients/sponsors.

  98. Share a story about a time you used public transportation. 

  99. Talk about your last job interview.

  100. Talk about your favorite Disney/Pixar movie.

  101. Create a gift giving guide. 

*This post originally was written for Blog in Between in December 2015 here

When You Realize the Last Blog Post You Wrote was 4 Months Ago...

Its been a long time since I blog(ed). Since my blog post on December 31, 2015, I have been checking my blog time and time again thinking to myself that I need to write new content, I need change my blog design, and I need to update EVERYTHING in the sidebar. I never got around to it and the more I looked at my blog, the more I didn't want to do it. 

Sometime last week, I asked myself what am I doing? I want to write more. I knew I wanted to get back into blogging, I just didn't know how. I decided to completely let go of my old blog, switch from Blogger to SquareSpace, and go from blogging under TheEternityJournal.com to ZobiaAlvi.com. I decided that in the spur of the moment and made it happen in one weekend! 

I think it has made me excited again to blog more and it gives me a fresh new start to the direction I want to take my blog in. I can't wait to bring everyone new content to help them kickstart their own badass online businesses, up their blog game, and start creating something with true meaning to them! 

Before we get into all that, let's recap on how the last 4 months have been

In January, I decided to make 2016 the year I take action. I set this theme for the year to say that I no longer will think about what it is I want to do or set goals that I "take my time" accomplishing. I WILL and I MUST  take action on all my goals. 

I wanted to look and feel more confident with myself so I got biolage highlights in this pretty light brown tone. It was the best decision I have ever made. Seriously. Still in love with it!

In February, I decided for sure that I will be quitting my day job and taking on my business full-time. After being a web-developer for 3 years, it only seemed like the right direction to go in. My last day was going to be March 21st. 

In March, I quit my job and started to learn what it truly meant to prioritize my business and put myself first (more on that soon!). 

Here we are in April and I'm so thrilled at the results of my decision to pack my bags at work and start working for myself full-time. I have worked with some really great clients so far and have learned so much while doing so. I have been working to add more to my portfolio and collaborating with other bosses online. 

Some of the things I've been doing...

  • I started a Facebook group for bosses and business owners to collaborate and connect called the Boss Ladies group (join here)
  • Created an awesome subscription that helps people increase their following and engagement on Instagram called the Boss Lady Loop Subscription
  • Started a real life meet-up group as I branch off The Blog Guild out to NYC. E-mail blogguildnyc@gmail.com if you're interested in our upcoming events or contributing to our team!  
  • Writing weekly Sunday letters to my mailing list
  • Writing course content for my FREE Build a Better Business in 7 Days Course
  • Collaborating on some awesome webinars on growing your online presence and starting your business (details to follow soon!)

Overall, these past 4 months I truly feel as if I'm moving myself and my business in the direction I want! I have been taking action and just love all the freedom I have to run my business and manage my life on my own terms! This journey has been off to great start and I can't wait to see whats next! 

What was it like when you first decided to quit your job to pursue your business? And if you haven't, are you going to? or is there something holding you back from doing so? Share your stories with me in the comments below!

2015 in Review + Epic Canon Camera Giveaway
So I'll be honest and say I really had no idea how to write this post, what to say, and how to even begin to explain even a glimpse of what went on this year. I spent hours contemplating whether this post would be something I want to be truly honest with or a post I would just recap my public blog posts on. I read other creative entrepreneurs' year in reviews and every single one I read was the most inspirational and well-written review of 2015. Every single one was better than the next. I couldn't see how my year in review could compete with theirs. Then I realized, I may have not accomplished as much as some of these creative entrepreneurs who traveled all over the globe and made bank in hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I did have one heck of a year (whether that's good or bad)!

Zobia Alvi

What Worked this Year

Work
I left my part time job in retail within the first three days of the new year. Best decision ever! I worked at that soul-sucking landfill for 9 months and just had enough. Sure, there were some good times and even some good people I worked with, but it was most definitely not a place for me.

Events in NYC
I spent a whole lot of time in NYC this year - attending conferences, going to the Video Games Live concert at the Beacon Theater, touring WeWork, and going to the HerCampus Fashion Show. I had fun and really felt like I was making connections through every conference and networking event I went to. I met lots of interesting people who do awesome work and overall, I felt in my own element. I was among people who were smarter and more successful than me. That is just mind blowing to me! It really is true when they say:

"If You Are The Smartest Person In The Room, Then You Are In The Wrong Room."

Family
I'm not going to lie - my family has made lots of changes this year. I met my parents' new spouses and as I continue to grow up I see myself taking on a more parental role for my two siblings. I said that this post will be honest and raw so here it is. My family isn't typical and no where near normal. But we're working on it.

This year we've had lots of fun memories going out for dinner, catching a movie, and even taking a couple trips to Dave & Busters. I hope to make more time next year for these family events.

Fluffy
In March of 2015, I met a little male holland-lop bunny we named Fluffy. He quickly became my little other half. He's the sweetest and most unique bunny ever. I never saw myself as a pet person, but this little cutie changed my life. Follow the little guy along on Instagram or check out some Fluffy the Bunny merch.

Business
Launching Little Eternities in August was super rewarding. In about 3 months, I launched the business, recreated the original website, started branching off into creating a course sector where I'll be teaching my students how to start their own businesses, perfect their business plans, and become digital innovators, and not to mention, I grew my e-mail list from 0-300. Next year, I can't wait to launch my courses and help people become successful too!

What Didn't Work in 2015

Personal
For years, I've kept my other half a secret online from my family, my friends, and anyone I meet online. I'm simply tired of it. So from now on, I'll be mentioning him and writing more about him publicly. I'm done with hiding such a huge part of my life. In 2016, I'm going to be completely honest and open. His name is Anthony. He was referred to as my best friend in a lot of my old blog posts.

Other Projects
I didn't even look at the fiction novel I started writing back in 2013 titled Within the Bindings. Although, I do not feel ready to take it on in 2016, I at least want to go back and plan how to publish it.

Fragrance Essence took a seat on the back burner while I took my web design business to the next level so in 2016, I hope to expand my inventory and increase sales.

It's Technologic will definitely be launched in early 2016 as a tech and business blog focusing on startups and technologies. I'm also currently looking for guest-post writers to introduce their own startups or share tech hacks. If you're interested e-mail zobia@theeternityjournal.com. I totally abandoned this project in 2015, but its coming back!

Periscope
I love periscope! I started using it in August and love the platform so much! My only regret is not using it regularly to speak towards what I do and share some design and business tips. So in 2016, particularly from Jan 1st to Jan 12th, I'll be doing a series called #12DaysofBizPlanning where I'll share tips on planning your business and how to setup for success in 2016. Follow along on Periscope, Instagram, and Facebook to get all the awesome tips and talk business with me!

Work
I'm working my way into taking on my businesses completely full-time. 2016 might just be the year.

Financial Goals
My goal is to make $70K in revenue and my follow-up goal is to make $100K. Let's see where 2016 takes me.

Community
My e-mail list this year could not be more important. Honestly this year, I was unable to really hone in on offering value and raw material to my e-mail subscribers. I created some free content and quite a few opt-ins, but I didn't receive the response I was looking for. I have yet to engage my audience and in 2016, all of my subscribers will get loads of free valuable information and actionable content pushing them forward in their own business endeavors. I can't wait for it! Want to be in on the action? Sign up for my free e-mail course and build a better business in 7 days.

Courses & Investments
This year I invested a whole lot of money in my businesses. I invested in software, courses from other creative entrepreneurs, and equipment to start launching courses and provide more premium services for my web design clients. I invested roughly $8K this year. What didn't work for me here is that after investing in these courses, I didn't get through much of the content and I hope to really focus on it next year.

Blog
Honestly, my blog is so outdated that I could not believe my last post was in October. I stopped blogging and I am going to change that in 2016 with more useful posts sharing my experiences as an entrepreneur and helping you build a better business!

Now Let's Talk New Year's Resolutions

Every year, you set goals to accomplish - hoping that by some miracle you'd actually get them done without lifting a finger. I'm sure you know what goals I'm talking about. Losing weight. Saving money. Working less. Enjoying life more.

Those are goals, yes. But they aren't specific enough to achieve.

Everyone falls into this trap. (Guilty) You give yourself this one big goal that's super broad and you never get around to even taking the first step to achieving it.

Days roll by. Weeks. Months. And then December 31st comes around and your left wondering where you went wrong.

Let's do something different this year and not make these broad goals. Let's make goals we can actually achieve. Let's set really specific goals that we can actually achieve by next year.

I'll give you an example.

I'm no longer telling myself that I'm going to succeed with my businesses. That's a super vague goal and quite frankly the outcome of it being accomplished isn't exactly all in my hands.

This year my goals are:

Make $70K in revenue from my businesses then take it to level 2 and make $100K

AND

Have 2 Successful Course Launches in January and April

I don't want to set a traditional New Year's Resolution. Instead, I'm creating a theme for 2016. My theme for the year is Take Action. I'm not going to sit around trying to expand my businesses. I'm going to ACTUALLY do it.

I encourage you to do the same. Don't throw yourself into the New Year's Resolution Trap. Ditch the traditional resolutions, make a specific goal this year and create a theme for the year!

That's a wrap!

Before I ask you what your 2016 theme is, I want to also thank you. Thank you for your support, thank you for continuing to follow along, and thank you for sharing your experiences with me! I enjoyed connected with y'all and can't wait until your businesses flourish in 2016!

As a thank you, enter below for your chance to win an awesome photography package with everything you need in 2016 to take better photos for your blog and business! Enter below!

Take a second and share your 2016 theme with me. What do you want 2016 to be full of? Let's encourage each other to get started and keep going!

The Ultimate Beginners Photography Giveaway

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Why It's So Hard to Make Goals and Follow Through + #ShotsFromEternity
Zobia Alvi Goals Victorias Secret Kohls
Quite often I find myself questioning where I am and where I am going. And, every time it happens, it comes at a strange time and in the strangest way. Yes, goal setting is important on a continuous basis (daily, monthly, yearly; etc), but no matter how hard I try,  I can never make goals and complete them by the time I said I would.

SO yes, I make New Year's resolutions and they stay unresolved.

SO yes, I tried those 30 day Instagram post challenges and have only made it through the first 3 days.

SO yes, I have said "This semester will be different. I will not procrastinate in ANY of my classes" and end up panicking an hour before an assignment is due, hand it in on time, and tell myself I won't procrastinate on the next one, but end up doing it anyway.

NO, this does not mean that I can't make deadlines or am incapable of doing so.

I believe it has more to do with the fact that I expect too much of myself and claim that I can resolve every New Year's resolution I make while posting consecutively on Instagram according to the theme of the day, and do ALL my homework days before it's due.

REALITY kicks me in the butt all the damn time and says "yes, you can pull all it off - JUST not for long" and laughs its evil laugh while leaving a haunting "you didn't get this done and you said you would" whisper in my head that I can not turn off even if I wanted to.

You know what I mean? That feeling of knowing you said you would complete a certain goal in X amount of time and when that time comes and you aren't even close to starting it - you feel bad - you feel like you've failed - and you begin to question if you can even knock a goal off of your list.

It hurts your self-esteem and it hurts your overall well-being. The number 1 person whose always on your side (you) has at that point realized that you can't do anything (again you) and convinces you to set another goal and throw you into the horrific process again.

Sometimes I have to really sit it out for a while so I can stop myself from going through this process over and over again.

Goals are important and setting them is a great way to guide you towards what you need to do - but, they shouldn't make you think that if you don't complete them you've failed. Plus, making too many goals can realistically prevent you from focusing on what matters most to you at a given time.

So let's break it down.

Make goals and make them often, but don't make too many for a given period of time and don't beat yourself down when you can't complete them. Trust me, you're doing the best you can.

Tweet: Make goals and make them often, but don't beat yourself down when you can't complete them. You're doing the best you can. #ShotsFromEternity

So here's my list of goals I hope to complete some time from now until the end of fall, but hey if I don't get a chance to complete all of them - they'll be projects I look forward to in 2016. And I encourage you to make a loosely timed list of goals of your own as well.

  • Start and grow my e-mail list - It's pretty boring in my e-mail newsletter and I'm currently using MailChimp, but I'm heading over to ConvertKit soon! 
  • Create an awesome and FREE e-mail course - Starting a business? Starting a blog? What would you like to learn more about? Comment below!
  • Start developing my first paid e-course 
  • Host my first free webinar
  • Blog more often and consistently 
  • Make at least $250 blogging 
  • Update Little Eternities - with a fresher brand look and updated portfolio & service packages.  An awesome print and web branding package is coming along soon!

By the way,  I've started a hashtag on Instagram and Twitter - #ShotsFromEternity that ya'll can use when you are completing your goals, creating something AWESOME, or creating something that will make a difference or leave an impact. 

For example, did you finally try that pumpkin pie recipe you found on Pinterest? Take a picture and tag it #ShotsFromEternity because you accomplished something AWESOME!

OR 

Did you finally buy yourself a big girl/boy agenda in an attempt to organize yourself? TAKE a picture and tag #ShotsFromEternity. I am sure you'll plan wonderful things to come!

OR

Did your launch a business? Start a website? Write a book? ANY accomplishment big or small, tag it #ShotsFromEternity! 

I will be posting some of favorites on my blog and Instagram! :) 

Beyond that, keep making goals (but, not too many of them) and keep pushing yourself forward! Share your list of goals with me below! I'd love to know what you're working on!


Let's Get Workin'!
WeWork Bryant Park
One of the things that is most important to me these days is finding an inspirational space to work. Between going to school full-time, working part-time, juggling my Fragrance business and web development business, creating e-courses to help entrepreneurs and bloggers start online businesses (more on that later) and of course blogging - it's extremely hard to find a quiet place to work that's inspiring and motivational.

It's extremely important for me too to be able to really sit down and feel relaxed while working because I'm constantly going from one place to another.

With that said, let me tell you about my current "workspace" at home. Let's just say it isn't the greatest. It's me in my room working with my laptop on my bedside table where I'm constantly distracted with my family around. It's not the greatest "workspace", but it's the only place I had within my reach to get some work done and unwind.

WeWork Bryant Park New York City

WeWork Bryant Park

Enter WeWork.

I was approached by a WeWork community representative who spoke to me about discussing a particular message on my blog. She wanted me to talk about how workspaces should inspire you to not just create a living, but to create a life.

I was uber excited about this as this very message is close to my heart. Everyday, my whole motive behind my businesses and behind helping others create and develop businesses is to encourage myself and others to build a business and life they love.

The WeWork community representative gave me a chance to tour one of the WeWork coworking spaces to showcase how their company is making it possible for aspiring entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators do what they do best in an environment that enables them to do so.


WeWork Bryant Park

WeWork Bryant Park

The beautiful 11 story building in Bryant Park, NYC is where I toured WeWork.

The whole building is designed to enable creative work flow and increase employee happiness. A few of the many things I loved about WeWork is that they offer private spaces for individuals and teams for rent as well as offer permanent office spaces, along with the perks and benefits of having your own space such as getting your mail delivered to their convenient Bryant Park address and discounts on dozens of business friendly services such as TriNet and Slack, and a snack bar so you can fuel up on coffee and fruit water.

WeWork Bryant Park

My most favorite thing about WeWork, however, was the Motherhood room offered at this location. In a hallway between some spaces was a room dedicated to helping mothers work while taking care of their family at the same time. How cool is it that they added privacy just for Mothers to feel comfortable in their own work environment?!

Membership to a beautiful workspace like this also just starts at $45 a month. Inspirational workspace, co-working areas with entrepreneurs, businesses, and creatives, along with the added perks of having your own office for only $45 a month.


WeWork Bryant Park

I loved my tour at WeWork and I was honored to work with the wonderful staff at this location. Everyone was friendly and helpful, I would definitely recommend joining WeWork!

WeWork Bryant Park

Beyond that, I was so inspired by the atmosphere in this workspace that I sat down and wrote this blog post before I left the space! 
Why I Skipped Class to Blog Today

OKAY. Some of you might think, what are you doing? Go to class, it's important! While others might think, you skipped class to blog? WOW! You're awesome!

Honestly, I am glad you think I'm awesome, but for those who think I should have gone to class, let me break it down for you.

First of all, its Calculus. Being a computer science and finance major and economics minor, you can never seem to get away from math. But, Calculus, please keep me away from it. We are not friends.

While in class, I feel extremely lost and helpless. I wander off thinking of ways to improve my businesses and my blog. I think of everything besides limits and functions. I can do my homework after hours of frustration and pass the quizzes and tests, but I still do not understand the subject.

Regardless, this blog post is not about my Calculus class, it's about the fact that I am constantly at a crossroads for what I actually want to do because classes that I am required to take to graduate get in the way.

Someone pointed out to me that most people pursue a Bachelor's Degree in order to find a job and transition into starting a career, but that's not what I want  to do so why am I doing this?

I do not want to get a job or start a career. I'm an entrepreneur. I want to create jobs and careers for others. I want to be the business owner of xyz business and I've set out to make a difference.

Truth is, I'm scared. I'm scared to let go of learning and fully transition into full-time blogger and business owner. And how could it not be scary? The world is a scary place when you don't know what direction you're going in or where you'll end up.

My plan when enrolling at Montclair State University was that I would learn as much as I can about computer science, finance, and economics so I can start a software development company one day and eventually start a bank (my ultimate entrepreneurial endeavor) and along the way experience life as a college student, blog, run my businesses, make money and graduate feeling as if I have a good grasp as to what I'm getting myself into.

I skipped class to blog today because I need to get this out there. I need to understand why I feel this way and hope I'm not the only entrepreneur on the planet who feels this way. I skipped class because figuring out my ultimate life goal and defining a clear picture for it is far more important to me than attending my Calculus class. At least - that's how I feel today.

Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads between something you are required to do and something you want to do? Have you ever just wanted to sit down and think about where you're going and how you're going to get there?

3 Ways to Increase Your Blog Following + $250 Giveaway
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One of the most important things that I learned about blogging is finding a balance between sharing glimpses of your personal life and offering something of value to your audience.

I absolutely hate it when someone says that blogging should be solely about your audience and that as a blogger, you need to write for them. On the other hand, I also hate it when someone says blogging should be solely about your personal values and stories and to disregard your readers' needs and wants.

There is a balance in blogging. Successful bloggers know that the medium between blogging about your personal life and sharing awesome content that your readers enjoy and can take something away from is the best way for you to feel authentic with your blogger voice and to welcome readers to keep coming back for more.

So here is a post that showcases three ways to increase your blog following and also showcases glimpses of my own life. See what I did there? I hope you find value in reading it and actually try it out as well! You know what else is something of value? Cash. How can you get some? Enter the $250 PayPal Cash Giveaway along with some extra goodies below!

Now, let’s talk resources for bloggers to grow their blogs and get a following!

Actively Be a Part of the Blogging Community

A lot of times people think that by setting up a blog and publishing it on the Internet, people will automatically find it and become loyal readers. NOT TRUE. Being a part of the blogging community plays a big part in what type of people find your blog (whether they are stay at home moms, entrepreneurs, business owners, lifestyle bloggers, or fashion stylists) and what type of people become your blog's targeted audience.

Now, once you start finding out what niche belongs into (there is always a niche to put your blog in and if there isn't, start one!) you'll begin to discover other bloggers who discuss similar topics or have similar blog aesthetics as yours, or share the same readers as your blog. These bloggers are a part of your community! Reach out to collaborate with them, sponsor them or ask to do a sponsor swap, and most definitely notice the different topics they talk about, the social platforms they use, and see what you can do better for your blog using their examples.

Beyond that, another great way to participate in the Blogging Community is by joining Facebook groups. Facebook groups are becoming the most popular way for bloggers to communicate and collaborate. Join one (or even three), introduce yourself, comment on others' posts, share some advice on what you know about blogging, make friends, and gain followers!

Something I do to actively participate is answering any questions or concerns other bloggers have regarding registering their domain name or finding a web host for their blog. Basically, I see other bloggers who need help getting started and because I have already been through it, I simply share what I did and in turn the blogger who asked the question becomes a reader of my blog and others in the group who see I have helped this person want to read through my content to find other helpful tips! It works and it's awesome so go do it!

Some great Facebook groups that I love and am a part of are:

Being Boss

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#GirlBosses

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Blogging Boost

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Blog + Biz BFFs

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Coffee & Creatives

Host a Giveaway

America's most favorite word is FREE (It's a fact, google it)! If you offer something for FREE to your followers, they are more likely to come back to your blog often and much more likely to stay loyal followers. Giveaways are a great way to collaborate with others and share the follower wealth!

Now there are mainly two types of giveaways. One giveaway is solely hosted on your blog and could be an individual or group giveaway usually run using the RaffleCopter widget. These giveaways are great when you are working with a specific brand, collaborating with other bloggers to giveaway a BIG prize, or when your sole purpose is to gain followers on a certain platform. For example, let's say you just started using Periscope (an app I absolutely love! -

read why here

) and you have only 2 followers, but your blog has 200 followers. SO you host a giveaway asking people to follow you on Periscope and in turn they get entered to win a Starbucks gift card or something. This way you will increase your following on these platforms and your blog readers will love the incentive.

The other type of giveaway which is pretty popular are Instagram loop giveaways. These giveaways are run solely on Instagram and loops several bloggers and business owners together to giveaway a costly prize such as a Macbook, Apple Watch, Beauty Products, and even PayPal Cash. These giveaways are a lot of fun and your Instagram following increases a whole lot in a short amount of time.

Plus, the more Instagram exposure you have, the more exposure you gain for your blog and these Instagram followers soon become blog readers so it's a win-win. Want to take part in said Instagram loop giveaways? You can sign up to be a host through

this link right here

. Buy-ins are as little as $14.50 so surely check it out!

Engage with Other Bloggers 

Many bloggers have several followers popularly known as "ghost followers" that do not comment on posts, engage with them on social media, or leave a mark in some way, shape, or form that tells the blogger that someone read their posts. For that reason, a great way to increase your following is by commenting on other bloggers' posts and engaging with them on social media. The blogger you are engaging with will surely notice your comments or interactions and comment back and/or check out your blog!

SO right after posting a new blog post, go over to a few of your favorite bloggers and comment on their posts and then go through the comments, visit at least 5 new blogs, and comment on their posts. This way you are getting your blog's link out there and also engaging with fellow bloggers and in turn get traffic back to your blog!

Do you know of any ways you can increase your blog following? Go ahead and share it in the comments!

The following giveaway is hosted by:

Kristen

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Abby

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Stephanie

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Erin

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Selma

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Crystal

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Natasha

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Ashley

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Erica

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Susan

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Misty

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Charlotte

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Penny

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Holly

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Stacey

|

Alexis

a Rafflecopter giveaway