Business Bites: Ryan Gosling & New Blogger Business Advice

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Photography: Marla Meridith Photography

This week has been busy but delightful. I signed off on my two big projects (one of them will be hitting the blog on Monday – watch this very excited space!) and spent an evening with Gareth at a spa (yes, it was just as wonderful as it sounds). Then today I’ve hotfooted it to London to speak at the fabulous Papergirls Paperfest conference followed by one to many cocktails with Debs, Lucy and Abbey. Despite speaking to them all pretty much every day I haven’t seen them in forever and it’s just beyond magnificent to catch up in person.

Also Gala kindly just reminded me that we have less than two weeks until we fly out to Austin for the final US Blogcademy of 2013! Waaaah, I have so much to do before then! Can’t stop to chat, I’ve got too much blogging to do…

So you want to write a book?
♥ Best blog series ever: Business tips with Ryan Gosling
♥ The 36 rules of social media
Seven minutes with The Sartorialist

WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO ANYONE STARTING OUT IN BLOGGING NOW?
“Have a point of view. That’s the hardest thing. Most people don’t have a point of view. They’re not willing to say what they believe and I guess they want to do it for different reasons than I did. They want to make money. They want to get famous. They want to sit in the front row. I didn’t think any of that stuff when I started the blog. I just wanted to communicate and talk about fashion and the way that I love it.”

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Is it Ever OK to Work for Free?

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When it comes to valuing your worth, something which I am a fierce advocate of, it’s not just cold hard cash that can be the deciding factor. While the thought of working for free might initially seem like something that no-one in their right mind would want to do, on the contrary, doing some pro bono work can actually be a really good investment in your business. If you chose your projects and collaborations wisely and correctly use that work as part of a larger campaign or as a stepping stone to something else, it can be a hugely beneficial exercise.

For experience

The very best way to get paid work is to show potential clients that do you do the kind of work that they want. If you’re approached by a company to do something but they don’t have a budget to pay you, ask yourself, will the experience or portfolio content you’re going to get out of this make it worth your while?

Don’t just sit around waiting for these offers to come your way though. It’s up to you to make sure you have the right body of work to show your clients. If you don’t then it’s time to get proactive. If you’re a wedding photographer wanting to shoot alternative weddings but all your current clients are at the traditional end of the market, a great way to do this might be to offer discounts or host a free wedding photography contest that targets the exact market you want to attract. If you’re a designer it’s easier – simply take some time to design some items that will be appreciated by the clients that you want to work with. Just because you’re not getting paid to design something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing it in your own time!

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For exposure

I get a lot of companies wanting to work with me but who only offer exposure in exchange – i.e they’ll mention me in their newsletter, link to me on facebook or write about me on their blog. While it’s very flattering to be asked and all press is good press, I have to consider whether this exposure is going to be a fair exchange for the time and effort I need to put into the project.

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The Blogcademy: Big in Britain!

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I don’t mean to brag but when it comes to The Blogcademy, London is where it’s at! Not only did we do two sold out classes when we were here in January, but due to overwhelming demand for a weekday workshop this time round (I’m looking at you wedding industry peeps and freelancers who couldn’t get the weekend off) we’ve decided to add another class when we’re in town in September!

Our weekend class in September is now sold out (yey!) and so if you couldn’t join us for those frivolities, this one’s for you. Our additional class will kick off at 10am on Thursday September 5th, and go until around 6pm on Friday September 6th.

“There’s a lot of noise & nonsense out there about how to become a ‘professional blogger.’ The Blogcademy headmistresses bring it back down to the beautiful basics: Killer content. Artful packaging. Consistent posting. Personality & charm.

If you’re a baby blogger, consider this workshop your official initiation. If you’re a seasoned pro, think of it as your finishing school.

Gala, Shauna & Kat walk their talk — and blog their walk. A weekend well spent? No question, for me. Get thee to The Blogcademy!” Alexandra Franzen (attended Minneapolis in June 2013)

Just like our weekend class, it will be held at the sublime Curtain Road Studios in Shoreditch. Here’s what you can expect from our time together. You can also read our course overview for all the specific topics we cover.

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“The Blogcademy is fucking life-changing. I sold half of my wardrobe (no joke) in order to attend and I’d sell the other half and show up in nothing but my undies and black eyeliner ten times over: these women are legit. Their energy is through the roof. Their knowledge is powerful. Their commitment is palpable. And they will give you the necessary kick in the ass you need to own your identity, no matter how scary that might be. Between the sparkles, sea of hair colors, and resounding tribal spirit, I kept waiting for Jessie J to burst through the window on a Tarzan rope belting out ‘Just be true to who you are’. (I wouldn’t put it past these three. I believe them capable of anything). But all in all, whether you have to walk 500 miles, subsist on Ramen noodles for a month, or fly on a broomstick to get there…GO. Stop thinking about it. GO. I kid not when I say it will alter the course of your professional career and, by extension, your life.”Madelin Adena Smith (attended in New York, June 2013)

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Business Bites: Contagion and Controversy

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Photography: Vincent Sandoval

Oh hello there friend, how the devil are you? As usual I’ve been a busy bee this week. Apart from the obvious admin and writing that comes with this lil job of mine, I’ve been furiously putting very nearly final touches to two big projects that I’ve been working on for the past 6 months or so.

The first is issue 3 of the print magazine which is due out in August. It’s been SUCH a mammoth project as unlike the previous two issues it is filled with 100% brand new and exclusive content. I call it a magazine but it’s basically been like writing a damn book! There’s new real weddings, unseen DIY tutorials and a bunch of advice articles I’ve penned just for the mag. I’ve also organised two massive photo shoots for it. The first was an editorial shoot with proper models and some proper gorgeous wedding inspiration which I’m not afraid to tell you I’m super duper proud of. I can’t wait for you guys to see it!

The second was the cover shoot. With all the content now being previously unseen I figured I should also come up with a brand new cover shoot concept to tie it all together. Those of you that follow me on Instagram might have seen a couple. of. hints as to what it’s going to look like already…and yes, that gold dress was just as glorious in real life (thank you Fur Coat No Knickers!)

The second project is a collaboration that I’m also super excited about. I don’t think I want to tell you exactly what it is yet (such a tease!) but it involved sparkly pretty things that you’ll be able to buy.

Oh and in other news (phew!) I had an article published by Cosmopolitan Magazine featuring my top 10 weddings. Did your favourite make the list?

EXCITING TIMES AHOY!

Six steps to making your content contagious (this is really, really brilliant by the way!)
How to stay productive while flying
♥ More people are doing marketing badly than any other profession I can imagine
How to deal with controversy

“A good controversy demands that we draw a line in the sand and dare others to cross it. If you’ve got a topic so heartfelt and genuine that you just have to share it – do it. One post that’s near and dear to you will be worth more to your readers than ten “safe” posts.”

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When All You Want To Do Is Quit…

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Dear Kat, How do you deal with those moments/ days/ weeks when all you want to do is give up? In the past month, so much stuff has happened that it’s been incredibly stressful and at times totally overwhelming. Some of it has been to do with my business. I won’t go into details but it’s had to involve lawyers. I’m actually really loving what I’m learning about the law, but the emotional side of things, and having to construct my own case, has been pretty stressful.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to giving it all up. I’ve been in tears almost every day at some point this past month. But then I think about how much I love my job and my customers, how hard I’ve worked at my business and the amazing reputation I’ve gradually and very carefully built up and that keeps me hanging in there for another day.

Apologies for the long ramble I just really want to ask how you would go about coping with all this stuff coming at you from every angle imaginable. I’m sure if I feel this way, other people must feel this way too.

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Many people will tell you that situations such as yours are sent to test us but I call bullshit on that one. I don’t believe for one second that some divine influence is trying to see if we’re up to scratch, I think that things like this are just part and parcel of running your own business. Whether it’s a challenge related specifically to your business, or it’s something in your personal life that’s making it harder to concentrate on work, tough things happen to everyone.

People telling us to “stay positive” or “keep the faith” just feel like empty words. It won’t always be smooth sailing, sunbeams, rainbows and a truckload of orders; there will be times like this when it feels like the whole world is out to get you and it would just be easier to pack it all in. No matter how strong we are, unforeseen circumstances can leave us feeling lost, scared and vulnerable. It’s important to remember that you are not helpless though, far from it.

Firstly, dear emailer, you need to realise that the whole world is not out to get you. When we’re going through a testing time it’s very easy to get into a spiral of imagining the worst and dramatising the situation. Yes, this is rubbish but it doesn’t bear any reflection on everything you’ve achieved before. You have customers who love and appreciate what you do and a network of industry connections that you have worked hard to build up. They’re not going anywhere and everything you’ve ever built is not going to come crashing down overnight.

It’s also very easy at times like this to throw our hands in the air and exclaim “It’s all over! This is the end of the road, I can’t cope any more!” But you know what (tough love time coming…!) pull yourself together. You can do this. You are a strong, confident and capable woman who’s launched and made a success of running her own business. Many have tried and failed before you, you’re already a step ahead. Don’t you forget that.

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Lake Life and New Adventures for The Blogcademy, Minneapolis

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When you’re visiting a new city and the first thing your hosts do is invite you to hang out on their pontoon on Lake Minnetonka, you kinda know you’re in for a bit of an adventure. I had no preconceptions about Minneapolis before I visited it last month, well actually less than none – I knew absolutely nothing about this mid-western city. I had a rough idea of where it was in the country (after checking a map) but that was pretty much it. I was oblivious to it’s lively hip hop scene, it’s lake culture and all the deep friend delicacies that are served in almost every restaurant (deep fried pickles and cheese curds are both much more delicious than they sound and cream cheese wontons are definitely oh so wrong but oh so right…)

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So you might wonder why, knowing so little about a city, did we choose it as a destination for a workshop. Well, we decided early on that if were were going to be travelling so much we might as well use it as a handy excuse to visit some places we’ve never been before. Gala, who is a hip hop fiend, made a brilliant case for Minneapolis and Shauna’s husband who was born here also convinced us that we’d love it. He was right. Our class also just happened to fall on Pride weekend which made our evenings out after class about a hundred times more entertaining!

The workshop was held at Public Functionary, a brand new art gallery space. We were lucky that they’d just wrapped one of their first art exhibits before we arrived, which meant the walls were still decorated with black and gold paintwork and deep burgundy velvet.

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