Taking a breath…

I realize it has been almost a year since I last posted! What a crazy year it has been.

Many people barely made it through 2020, doing the basics, trying not to get overwhelmed, their businesses or jobs taking a hit. I feel so deeply for those people. Other people took it as a mandatory pause button. A time to bake more bread, read more books, nap more. No matter what category you fall into, it seems that we are not out of the woods just yet. New year, same world. That can feel overwhelming, and we all surely have Covid Fatigue, BUT- the good news is, that you can choose to pull some wisdom from the second group of people.

Many businesses are taking this time to rebrand a little, or to switch gears and try new paths that they have never had time to explore. Others are using this time to actually take a break, and spend more time with their families, or work on neglected hobbies. Whether you need someone to bounce ideas off of, and help you find the new direction for your business, a complete branding overhaul, or just someone to take over managing your social medias so that you can keep enjoying this newly found free time, I would be delighted to help you.

<3 Dawn

Getting organized…

It has been a while since I have written a blog post, since I have been well… disorganized!

With some health issues, and crappy weather, and just a lot going on, I have let business life slip through the cracks a little bit. Let’s be honest, this can happen to all of us at times, and life priorities shift and change with time.

I am starting to feel a bit more normal, and it is time to get back to some semblance of organization, so that I can manage the many things going on all at once. I’m currently running this business and Magpie Bath still, as well as a new venture with a friend called InstaBrunch, planning a wedding, and working full time. When you have that much on the go, it is very important to have a clear picture of where you want to go with each venture, and a solid plan of how to get there.

When you are feeling frantic and disorganized, nothing will get done. My advice is to schedule some time when you will have no interruptions, and make a plan. Find a quiet space, light a nice candle or something to set the mood and relax you, or make you feel energized. Grab an amazing planner, and your favourite pen (or a scheduling app on your phone or computer that you like) and grab yourself a coffee or tea in a mug that makes you feel unstoppable.
Here are some products you might enjoy for these purposes:

Make yourself a list of goals for the first venture. What do you want to accomplish? Next make a detailed to-do list of what it will take to get there, how much time you need to alot each day or week. What small steps can you take now? What bigger tasks, or tasks outside your wheelhouse can you hire out, or outsource? Are there any new skills you will need to learn in order to accomplish the tasks?
When you break everything down into bite-sized chunks, it makes it much easier to accomplish, and you stop feeling so overwhelmed.

You can repeat these steps with each new venture or task.

Pro tips:
-If something on your list will take less than 5 minutes, DO IT NOW!
-Do income producing tasks first. The goal in business is to make money, so start there, and leave the boring administrative tasks or other things you feel you HAVE to to until last (you will be surprised how many of these things you can actually avoid doing altogether, or how little value they might be adding to your business)
-Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t need (or want) to learn everything, so start with tasks you know you aren’t good at, or don’t like to do, and outsource those, so that you can focus on growing your business.

OK customer service vs AMAZING

Customer Service- A case study

Something happened yesterday, and I have been thinking that it could be a good teachable moment.
I purchased a pie yesterday, from somewhere that came highly recommended. I took it to a friend’s house for dinner, and we all enjoyed a piece. While finishing my last bite, I found a piece of an apple sticker (with my mouth) while eating said pie. I sent a photo of the sticker and the pie box to the company on IG and let them know what had happened. (discretely, as I did not want the friends to know this had happened)

The reply was what I would consider “OK” level customer service. They said they were sorry, thanked me for telling them and said that they would have a talk with the “pie girl” and that it was in fact a sticker from one of their apples (perhaps unnecessary to tell me, unless it was NOT from one of their apples and I was trying to scam them).

In contrast, here is a story about EXCELLENT customer service: BITE Beauty

They have an agave lip mask that I LOVE, and the old packaging was a metal tube, and the sides would crack and leak. One day I sent them a message (again on IG) telling them how much I love their product, but that I thought their packaging could be improved, and switched to the plastic tubes they used for sample sizes, as well as a photo of my leaking lip mask. Their reply was that they would pass the info along to the right department, and could they have my mailing address to send me a replacement. This already had me over the moon, because I expected nothing from them at all. When the parcel arrived, it contained not only multiple replacement masks, but also several other goodies, including a lip scrub and lipstick. (Their products are not cheap) The real kicker? All the new items ALREADY had plastic packaging. They must have already known that this was a defect, and corrected it. Instead of telling me “Ma’am, we switched over our packaging 6 months ago… you must not really be that much of a fan or you would know that”, or even just not replying at all, they took the time to make me feel like my opinion was valid, and gave me free stuff. In that situation, had I not received a response, I would have forgotten about it, and totally moved on. But their response was so amazing, that I told anyone who would listen how great they were, and did a post of all my goodies too. The cost for them of the product sent to me, was for sure made up in future sales from me, and other people I may have told.

I will 100% buy more products from BITE, but I will likely try a different pie joint next time…

The difference between these two replies is something to think about for your own business. Develop a customer service standard, and set of rules about how you will respond to situations fairly and consistently. (And so that all of your employees know how to respond as well.)


Image from mycustomer.com

Maybe you just started a new craft and made it a business, or maybe it’s a hobby you have had for years that you are only now trying to make money on. But either way, how the hell do you sell it?

Marketing can seem like this impossible to slay beast when you are just starting out in your business, especially when you are brand new.

According to Wikipedia “Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships.” and I think that when you break it down like that, it seems a lot less scary!


What relationships do you already have that will help your business? Which would be beneficial to create? When you break it down in more digestible terms, it doesn’t seem as big a mountain to climb, and you realize that you are not doing it alone.


A great (and easy) place to begin your marketing, is by creating an online presence. A lot of large companies even value brand awareness over actual sales, so take the time in the beginning to really think about what your brand is. What is the style, feeling you want to evoke, or general mood of your product or service. Think about the colours, fonts, and anything else you want to use to give your brand its own personality. The sooner you nail this down, the less changes you will have to make later. Make an “inspiration board” (a post on this will follow) and see what similarities you see between the images you have chosen. Once you have this down, start building your online profiles. Choose the same username for each platform, if possible, and get that handle even on ones you think you won’t use. You never know where someone will find you, and it’s better that you have that domain name/user name now, than for someone else to grab it later and undermine your brand. If you are @xyzclothing on twitter, don’t be @xyzboutique on Instagram. (it’s confusing for customers and people trying to tag you)


Another great starting place is to find groups online that you can connect with people in. London has more than a few groups for things like moms in business, home based businesses, crafters, etc. Take some time to look for a few groups that you think you fit into, and spend time introducing yourself and your product. Start small and join one or two groups at a time, so as not to overwhelm yourself.


Ask friends and family for referrals. Post on your own page about what you are up to, or pick up the phone and call a few friends. You will be surprised who doesn’t know about your new venture, and who is willing to help get your name out once they do. Many of them may even be interested themselves in your product or service, but even if they are not, they will be sure to share a post or tow online.


Look for vendor markets or craft shows that you can be a part of, and spend time building connections with the people around you. Those people may become your best friends in business, and can tell you about other events that might be good for you to participate in. You can approach stores as well to carry your product, either by going in with samples, or by sending a well crafted email (we can with these as well) explaining what you do, and the benefits to the store to carry your items. Be wary of approaching too many places too quickly, and not being able to keep up with stock, as well as approaching them too soon when your branding is still messy. You will only have one chance with most of these places to make a good impression, so be sure to make it count.


Hopefully these tips help, and if you continue to think about marketing more like building lasting relationships with customers and other makers, it won’t seem so scary!

Small Business + Day Job = Big Problems (or does it?)

image credit classroomnook.com
Image credit classroomnook.com

Jude asked: “As a person who works full time and is trying to start a small business I struggle with scheduling time and honouring that time to work on my business. Which results in late night scrambling or complete paralysis. Just can’t figure out what needs to get done so I cocoon. Any tips?”


This is a great question because it is something a lot of us struggle with, especially once you add in life responsibilities like home, children, pets, etc.


It can be super overwhelming to try to carve out enough time to build and grow your new business. If your end goal is to quit your day job to focus on your business, this can be even more of a challenge at the same time as being even more important to do. The tipping point of when your business is generating enough income to quit the day job can be really hard to get to when time is at a premium. The feeling of not knowing where to start, and so doing nothing, and “cocooning” as Jude puts it, is very real, and extremely counterproductive.


I am going to share some tips and trick that might help with this ordeal. Not all of them will apply to you, but feel free to pick and choose the ones that do, and modify ones that might to suit your needs. And of course, as always, feel free to reach out for help!


  1. The easiest way to deal with overwhelm is honestly to hire someone else. This can be scary, especially when just starting out, but when you still have income from another job is the best time to do this, to help you grow to the point where your business becomes self sufficient. A virtual assistant can be essential in this phase, as they can be a temporary or contract hire, to get you going. This will allow you to dedicate the time that you DO have, to manufacturing your product, delivering your service, or other tasks that only you can do. It also helps you learn early into the business process that you do not have to do it all alone, and can help you learn your strengths and weaknesses. Delegate the tasks you don’t like, or are not good at, and focus only on the ones only you can do.
  2. Get a great planner. Find one that you like, and works for you, whether this is a sparky pink notebook, or a user-friendly app on your phone. The key to this is making sure you actually use it. (I am guilty of not doing this myself) Set yourself reminders, and write out to do lists. There is hardly anything as satisfying as crossing off items on a to-do list! Use your planner to block off chunks of time for various activities, and actually BLOCK OFF the time. Treat this time as if you were out of the house at your day job, and make sure that your family knows that you will be unavailable during this time. Little Johnny wouldn’t call Mommy at work to ask for juice, so the same rules should apply to this work.
  3. Group like tasks together and complete them in batches. You will get in the groove, and things will go by more quickly. You may also find that set up and clean up for the various tasks is easier this way, since you won’t have everything out all the time. (If you make jewelry, for example, you would get out the tools you need for crafting the items, and then later you would get out the materials for packaging or labeling) This can be especially helpful if you don’t have a designated room for your business, and use the kitchen table or something similar.
  4. Put away your phone! If you are in a stage of creation that does not require the use of your phone, computer etc, put them away, and focus on the craft. You will enjoy the process more, as well as get less distracted. Set aside designated times (maybe twice a day) where you check your email or messages, and the rest of the time focus on the product or service you are building your business on. If you are spending time creating content for your social media or website, then use the designated time for that, and don’t get distracted by games or facebook.
  5. Use tools to your advantage. Facebook allows you to schedule posts for the future, and there are many apps that allow you to schedule posts across multiple platforms (Buffer is my favourite) or schedule posts to instagram with an app like Latergram. Using these tools will allow you to stay active on social media without always being attached to your phone or computer. Scheduling posts in batches also allows for a more consistent and cohesive brand look. Turn on auto responders on facebook letting people know their message has been received and that you will reply when possible (whether this means letting them know the specific times you have chosen during which to check messages, or just that you are busy crafting and will be back later). As always I can help craft these types of templates and responses, which are guaranteed to save you time and energy,
  6. Prioritize the items that are essential to actually building your business, whatever that means for you. If you absolutely cannot function in a messy office, cleaning it before you start may be a priority for you, but do try to put the focus on the tasks that will actually GENERATE INCOME, and let the other stuff fall to the wayside if needed. Your business will become a time and money pit if it is not making you money. This will contribute to the feelings of helplessness. Do the orders first, spend the energy on the clients who have paid first. A great website can wait (or be outsourced) and no one will notice if you miss a social media post here or there. Again, make a to-do list of the tasks you feel you need to accomplish for your business, and put time sensitive or income generating items near the top.


Hopefully you found some of these tips helpful, and feel free to share with someone else you think might benefit.


What I have been up to

Hello all!

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet on the blog post front lately. I am not ignoring you, I am just starting a big kitchen renovation that I am really excited about!! The planning took more time than I thought it would, and that combined with my day job, and my other business (Magpie Bath) has kept me very busy.

I have been working on a few projects as well, like a branding refresh for Trena of Defined Eyes Studio. It was a lot of fun to do, and I got to give her branding a whole new look. I will be starting to showcase some of the stuff I have worked on for my happy clients, and will be creating a schedule for myself so I can block off time for new clients.

I will also be writing more blog posts with tips and tricks for social media, writing, and really anything else you guys need, so comment below what you would like to see posts on. Each week I will tackle at least one more item, so get your request in.



On being “Busy”

I had the pleasure of attending an event last night put on by Millennial Networking Group with the lovely Tiffany from Duck and Dodo.

It was lovely to see so many young entrepreneurs in one place, meet new people, and here some people’s “why” stories, as well as their tips for the busy life we all seem to be living.

The first speaker was a real estate agent, Alana Wakeman, and her talk was amazing. She had some really great points about the language we use as business owners, and the impact that can have on people’s perceptions of us. I would like to paraphrase some of her thoughts and offer my take on it.

Alana referenced a meme she loves, that says “being an adult is easy, you just go around telling other adults how busy you are, and they tell you how busy they are”. It was funny, because that does seem to be what happens. A friend you haven’t seen in a while will ask how you are, and you reply “So busy! How about you?” and they will reply “OMG me too, soooo busy” and that’s the whole conversation.

What message does that send, and what would happen if we changed the language?

Friend: “I haven’t seen you in ages, how are you?”

You: “I am great, my business is growing, and I am doing a lot of exciting stuff! How are you?”

See how that immediately changes the feeling of the conversation from one of frustration to one of energy and happiness? Is this friend now more likely to refer you clients or business, because they see you have a passion for and are excited about your work, instead of bogged down and overwhelmed by it?

I had posted an article on my personal Facebook about a year or so ago about using being busy as an excuse, and how instead we should say “That is not a priority for me” that really struck a chord with me. It’s easy to put off life, friendships, etc because we are so “busy”, but what message does that send to the people who care about us. What does it do to our own sense of self? How many amazing opportunities are we missing out on by letting those relationships suffer, and those tasks go undone? Think about the difference in these two statements in the same situation:

Friend wants to make plans to have dinner, and your response is:

1) “Oh, I would love to, but I’m just soooo busy”

2) “I’m sorry that is not a priority for me right now”

You are essentially saying the same thing, and sending the same message, whether you think so or not.

Most of us forget that our businesses are built on relationships with people, and that our social life CAN be a big part of that. There is no reason to stop living your life, because you are trying to build a business. So, I say we change the language, change our mindsets, and find a way to prioritize the tasks and people that are most important in our lives and our businesses.


Webinar coming soon?

I had the pleasure of hosting a Social Media for Small Business seminar this past Saturday, and wanted to share a few of the general tips with everyone. I also have had some interest expressed in a webinar version, which I am excited for, especially with the cold weather coming. Keep an eye out for this after the holidays, but in the meantime, here are a few general tips, that ally to most, if not all, platforms!

  • Add all social media handles on your business cards, website, email signature, and
    anywhere else you commonly do business. This will allow your customers to choose
    where to follow, instead of trying to find you.
  • Offer true value. Write posts and share content that relates to your industry, and
    positions you as an expert. Don’t make every post a sales pitch.
  • Post regularly: Posting sporadically sends the message that you’re not serious
    about your page. If you want people to invest in your page, you need to establish
    a regular pattern of posting useful and relevant content.
  • Make sure your page’s branding and design are professional and consistent. When
    people come to your page, it only takes them a split second to decide whether to
    like it or not; make sure your page accurately conveys your brand’s voice and
  • Use your insights to find when your followers react the most to your posts, and
    what type of posts get the most engagement. Then do more of that.
  • Ask Questions. This isn’t about YOU, it’s about THEM. Give your followers a place
    to be heard, and they will keep coming back. The questions don’t even need to be
    related to what you do.
  • Don’t be afraid to get a bit personal from time to time. It makes your brand more
    real, and easier for customers to connect to. But be prudent about what you share.
    Decide ahead of time how much of yourself (and the other people in your life) you
    want to share, keeping in mind the possibility of huge growth.
  • Use your insights to find when your followers react the most to your posts, and
    what type of posts get the most engagement. Then do more of that.
  • Use a plugin that will allow people to share content straight from your website to
    their social media accounts. They are then doing to work of posting for you, as
    well as giving you a wider reach.

Do you have any of your own tips to add to this list? If so, share them in the comments!

you never know who you will run into

Today, a friend of mine from work and I were at a local grocery store picking up some lunch.

The gentleman at the counter noticed our branded jackets and asked if we wanted to hear a funny story. Of course we did…

He proceeded to tell us that one of our high level staff wearing a branded shirt, in a company car, with dealer plates (he knows exactly who it was, since we all have photos on the company website) cut him off in traffic, and proceeded to flip him the bird. He was in the market, and actually ended up buying elsewhere because of this.

I tell this story to you, dear followers, as a cautionary tale. Since I live and breathe customer service, I would never imagine treating anyone else like this, but it does happen. We all have moments of rage, moments where we are not our best selves, moments where we are interacting with someone else who may too be having a moment like that. I wasn’t there, and I only have one side of the story, but it does serve as a reminder, to always put our best foot forward, for the sake of our business.


Do you have a story of a time you changed your mind about a business because of how the proprietor of a staff member acted? Share it in the comments below.

Customers who are the WORST

Image Courtesy of Bitmoji

Sometimes, we have customers that just SUCK!

Unfortunately it is a reality of doing business of any kind. You are not alone, by any means, but sometimes, in that moment, it feels like you are, and the whole world is against you, and your business will suffer, and everyone will agree with Mr/Mrs Crazyface, and it’s all over for you!

(Yes I know that was a run-on sentence, it was meant to convey the anxiety and panic that comes with these types of people.)

Here are some tips to help you deal:

  1. Take a deep breath, smile, and power through it.  

    Sometimes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you know you just have to take a little bit of crap, and get through just one grumpy customer, and be able to get on with your day.

  2. Write a nasty email. 

    But definitely don’t send it. Sometimes you just need to get the words out, so that you can feel better about the situation. Other times seeing what you think/feel about the situation may put into perspective that there is somewhere halfway that you could meet them, or maybe even that you are the one being unreasonable.

  3. Outsource their business.

    If there is another company that does something similar, or there is some other way you can deal with them less, or another staff member that might have a personality style that jives better with the customer’s, feel free to pass them off. But remember to do it as seamlessly and kindly as possible.

  4. Fire them.

    Yes, I said it. Sometimes there is no compromise, nothing you can do to make them happy, and you will only cause yourself more discomfort if you continue to deal with this toxic person. If they aren’t happy, and you aren’t happy, then what are either of you doing?! Find a diplomatic way to let them know that you don’t think it’s wise to continue the business relationship, so that you can both feel ok about the next transaction.

If you often find yourself struggling with difficult customer interactions, and need a bit more help, feel reach to reach out to me by email or on my Facebook Fanpage.