What is the “(#)GIRLBOSS” hubbub all about?

SimoneAnne-1834

 

When I heard about Sophia Amoruso’s book #GIRLBOSS (can’t forget the hashtag!), I wondered what the thrill was. Yes, according to a Google search, she took an Ebay business and turned it into a thriving, multi-million dollar company, Nasty Gal.

Then, with a title as GIRLBOSS (one word for hashtag friendliness), it started a movement. Every girl is a GIRLBOSS. There is something about that word, that title that rubs me kinda wonky. Maybe it’s the “girl” part? I keep imagining girls wearing bad mobster Halloween costumes, with dreams of running thriving businesses while showcasing obviously planned social moments on Instagram. Just, no.

Or, as to speak Internet, I just can’t even.

Also the use of “girl” diminishes the power. Could that be it? Yes, there seems to be an increase of lovely ladies out there making a go at being their own boss. I did it, continue to do it, but I don’t give myself a title. I just want to fucking do it, because I don’t like making money for other people.

I don’t get off on rags-to-riches stories either. I could tell you about my life, my upbringing, the downfalls, the tears and the heartbreaks, the disappointments and the triumphs that made me WHO I AM TODAY (and sprinkle in some sincere gratitude), but I won’t. Business is hard. There is a lot of blood, sweat, tears, nerves, alcohol, hair-pulling, caffeine, prescription anxiety pills and breakdowns to get noticed. There is no formula to getting “it” right, what “it” is that you’re doing. As I’ve said before, creating and running a business is a constant cycle of improvement that requires your own common sense and observation to shape into your own success.

 

Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What do you think?

 

 

Image from Death to the Stock Photo

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When the last couple of years help create something else

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So almost two years have passed where I have spent 80% of my days alone and reflecting on the rollercoaster of experiences my life has had. It has been an adventure filled with breakdowns, tears, sleeping pills, wine and insomnia—and that wasn’t just “business life,” that was life sometimes dropping a major deuce.

The past weekend, that metaphorical stick of dynamite was lit under my ass and I executed a project I that was burning inside my brain for a few months. The experience of owning a business helped me conceive the idea. So while I did my nightly routine of binging Netflix, I put the plan into place for a new blog, The Broke and Bitter Girl’s Guide to Life.

Sassy and totally honest. For the girl with the guts to drop he day-to-day same ol’ situation knowing that there will be many late nights and invested time. Money may be tight, but you do it anyway. A social life turns into solo dates with Netflix. But you’re okay with that.

Even if you pin a few inspirational home décor images on your “dream home” board for two hours on Pinterest to calm your nerves, that’s okay. Leaving a job where you feel like a measly peon and going out on your own is also okay. Actually, that’s extremely okay. Even if all you eat is a bag of nectarines for an entire week, or whatever bulk food you were able to afford for the week.  

That’s okay too. You may have also created the next diet trend.

Are you going to be waking up every day with cartoon animals at your bedside waiting to brush your hair and dance a musical number? No, but you CAN get up to brush those pearly whites and step out the door to face the world.

Because, you know, we’re only inching closer to death. Each and every damn day.

You’re the captain of your own ship, darling.

 

Image from I Love Doodle

 

Read this for a weird baby analogy. Oh, and I’m closing up shop (in the ROC).

 

A view from the counter.

A view from the counter.

This is probably the lamest analogy ever, but bear with me.

Like most of my friends and acquaintances in their 20s and 30s, I have a baby, about 20-21 months old (babies’ ages are counted by months, right?). My baby is not a human in that sense, but I conceived the idea, let it sit while I considered the steps needed before it made a worldly debut and eventually opened the door to let everyone take a peek.

I even posted Facebook pictures and devoted a complete album to my baby that showed the growth along the way.

So my baby at this age has grown. Grown enough for me to make some changes. I should probably mention at this point that “my baby” is actually my bakery, if you did not grasp onto that already. I don’t need people congratulating my parents while they are grocery shopping or getting angry messages from people type-screaming, “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU WERE HAVING A BABY!”

Okay, okay lame analogy aside, I’m just going to lay it out in the open:

I’m closing my bakery’s location.

Before anyone gets all huffy and shocked, let me tell you this—it is not a permanent thing. Ohhh no sireee! Do you think I’d take all my time and effort to raise this little thing (back to the baby analogy) and let it go? I don’t back down that easy.

First and foremost, my health has been a major deciding factor. Cakes are a difficult task to complete with a progressing movement disorder. I feel I am providing a disservice to customers when I’m having an “off day.” Luckily, no one notices any flaws, but when you know, you know (especially when you’re a perfectionist).

Secondly, opportunities! I don’t like the idea of franchising, a product produced in multiple stores can lose novelty. If you limit yourself, people will find a way to get it. We saw that just now with the cupcake trend and I’m sure with time you’ll see other franchises fizzling. I would never do that to Cakes a Go-Go. I’ve kept my eye on the market and when it comes to baked items, like fashion, trends come and go. You have to be on top of that and be willing to evolve.

I also am excited to say there is a new venture on the way! What started as a joke a year ago with a friend is something that we really want to send out to the masses. It allows Cakes a Go-Go to still function as a stand-alone business or a collaborative brand. As a permanent change, I need to say goodbye to handwritten messages and tiny fondant details. Everything will eventually be calling a new location “home.”

This is the final month to visit Cakes a Go-Go. August will be a month of well-deserved rest before any new announcements will be made.

How do you view success?

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Last week was a long ass week preparing for the annual Fairport Canal Days weekend. A two-day event where people roam the closed off Main Street, snapping up handmade jewelry, free water bottles  and pens from the local banks, not to mention the food, food, food being sold at every turn of the head.

It is also the one weekend where every local business gets a major boost in revenue, my place included, as I get people from all over the greater Rochester area poking in and walking away with a few sweets.

Anyway, I guess you can consider the weekend a success. Saturday, the stock was almost wiped out and on Sunday, there were remnants of crumbs left behind on every display plate on the counter. Everything was gone. Success! Right?

Now, how about personal success? It is a peculiar little bugger. Before graduating high school, a few friends and I were chatting during our final moment s in the building. We all pondered the thought, “Will we be successful?”

Specifically, by what means? Following that straight and narrow path of college/career/marriage/kids? Would we follow that plan or veer off completely?

It seems that the archetype of success—or the successful female—exudes power and professionalism in a tailored skirt and blazer combo. She carries a leather bag and her heavy-thudded steps screech to others nearby that she is in charge. Inside that leather bag is a golden business card holder with delicately embossed letterpress cards. Magenta lipstick stains the top lid of her Starbucks cup.

So there’s the look, but her playground? The place where power and professionalism make the mark? It is inside a massive office that looks out to a city.

I’ve always viewed success as the outside shell of what people look like. Clothing, transportation and nice dwellings make the man or woman, right? I may be wrong, but that has always been my view of things.

Now, I’ve never had the opportunity to work inside a gorgeous office with a city view. I own one suit, two pieces of an Isaac Mizrahi for Target set that I snagged on clearance. I can’t pull off pumps without stumbling around, so I plan to trek through wear black New Balance sneakers and a ratty messenger bag for the rest of my life. Maybe on a rainy day you can hear my walk with purpose as I squeak by (you know, sneakers), soaked because I always tend to forget an umbrella.

So after I left my job—giving up insurance and a salary, I began to fine-tune and figure out what success really was. Thrusting yourself into the world of entrepreneurs is a scary world to be a part of when you’re trying to redefine success.

So, I’ve spent a great deal of time now working for myself and I’ve figured out a new attitude about success.

Basically, success turns you into a person you want to celebrate and befriend.

So as for today, I was up early on my day off. When I say “day off” it means it is a closed day at the shop. I still work at home getting some writing done. So today in particular, after I woke up I had my coffee and cat snuggles. Threw in a load of laundry and plopped onto my very large beanbag that I essentially call my “office.” This is my time to get any emails out and a few articles and blog posts written. The days I open the shop are spent baking and tending to customers and orders.

So I get up every day, and no matter what I end up doing—either writing or baking, I am not living for other people. I am creating each day for myself. See that stereotype I came up with earlier? That is not the one, correct success package. If you feel comfortable with what you do and carry out your own responsibilities without the worry of what others will think—that’s pretty successful.

How do you define success?

Photo from Death to Stock Photos on Instagram

How to get over the “I don’t give a shit about today” feels

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The hard thing with having a business is that sometimes you may have a day (or few) where you just want to call it quits, throw in the towel and run away–for a day, week or forever. You work long hours and people expect you to be available and devoted to the baby of a business you conceived, cultivated and raised. When you want to want to get away from it all, it seems like a shock to the outside world with one unanimous exclamation, “BUT I THOUGHT YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO!”

Well, yeah. That’s why people start businesses and work for themselves. But like everyone else, you get a little burnt out. You get in these funks when you wear the same pants for a week and face the day with a hairstyle that is half sticking up and half pillow-matted.

Or maybe that’s me.

 

Oh you too?

Good. I’m not alone.

So if you do slither out of bed, slap the keys on the phone to shut off the annoying alarm sound and shuffle off to work, how do you get through the day?

You can trick yourself, or create a little game revolving around lists. If you make lists, you can manipulate them to motivate yourself to get working, especially when you need to make deadlines.

You see, those ruts that we may end up getting ourselves into could be because we have too much going on and we don’t know how to tackle everything. Now, go ahead and start on those lists. What needs to be done like, yesterday and what can be held off for a week or so?

This is where my OCD tendencies really shine. I’m obsessed with lists and I constantly offer up the game of tricking myself to complete tasks. I have paper lists, and try to scribble into oblivion each one as they are completed. My paper lists tend to be at my side, usually with immediate or daily tasks. I experience a weird thrill with each scribble.

For my long term tasks, I fell in love with the Springpad app. I downloaded it to my iPad as I basically run everything I do off of that. I have lists made up for blogging, book ideas and goals. It definitely helps as a place to rein in ideas to get to when I have the space to do so.

What about you? Do you use lists as a management to get your tasks done?

What tricks have you come up with to get yourself out of a work rut?

 

Photo from happyillusion on Instagram

 

Sometimes being self-sufficient can be a bullshit trait to have

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Yup. I have definitely learned this within the last few years. I have used self-sufficiency as a coping mechanism, and let me say this: it takes on a major toll, emotionally and physically.

You cannot do everything yourself. As attractive as it sounds to be someone who can support herself with by any means possible, it leads to more stress and confusion.

And no one wants that shit in their life.

It doesn’t hurt to ask for help (and maybe put a call out there to the police on your personal pity rager, because it’s getting a little
loud).

Asking for and receiving help releases much of the depression and isolation that you feel when you’re tackling everything on your own.

It is completely okay, to not have a handle on everything.

Photo by Chrysler Menchavez-Carlow via Flickr

Jobs, careers and having it all (the work+life balance showdown)

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When I was younger I wanted to be an animator. Yup. I wanted to be a fancy pants arteest for Disney. Bet you didn’t know that.

Now you do.

I used to make my own cels, doodling and painting up discarded overhead transparency sheets that my dad used to bring home.

Anyway, let’s talk jobs, careers and the little concept known as work+life balance.

I’m not fully convinced it exists. At least as not one specific form that you should live by.

Can you actually juggle everything you enjoy and need to accomplish?
Can you really…..HAVE IT ALL???

There is the “model” shall we say of a typical successful life, which include a career, marriage, kids and vacations. In between finding the
one, popping out a kid or booking tickets to Disney World, we should have sound mental and physical health. Perhaps, we also pick up a
couple hobbies along the way, because otherwise you come off as boring.

Oh! I’m also forgetting sleep. Somehow, in the 86,400 seconds of the day, you need to fit in some sleep that will make you feel refreshed
and bouncing along happily the next day.

The fact is this: reality is shit. And those pictures and status updates you’re posting? You’re not fooling anyone.

There is no sleep. There’s swollen feet and in the social media world of today, you feel as if you’re one artsy picture away of showing off
what your damn nervous breakdown looks like (Quick, find me a quote on Pinterest! *guilty*).

You’re probably obsessed with your day gig. You sacrifice blood, sweat and tears (good band!), and face customers with pants you did a sniff test on before you put them on while your hair is filled with dry shampoo.

Then, just THEN do you slog home at night and wonder if all the time, effort and energy is REALLY WORTH IT?

And by the time your head finally hit’s the pillow at night, your gut finally feels the fast food you mauled down in the car.

So there’s no right or wrong way to go at things. Diets come and go, and when you’re off and running who has time to whip up a kale
smoothie when there’s someone handing me a taco waffle out the window at Taco Bell. That afghan you were planning to give to a friend for her baby shower (two months ago) is still sitting on the floor in the saddest pile of yarn ever seen. What matters, in the end, is that you’re still doing something that gets you up in the morning and out the door. You’re still doing something that matters to yourself.

Everyone has a different idea of what a satisfying life is. You just need to figure out what gets your mojo cooking.

Because, if you think of it, we’re all striving for some sort of happiness, right? It is all in the details, what we’re doing to get there. So if we’re not smoothie guzzling, gym goers and book club attendees who are graciously accepting Facebook invites to direct-selling product unveiling party, THAT IS OKAY. It is absolutely okay.

So listen up, sweet cheeks. You may wake up in a drool and eye crusty haze, but you bet your sweet ass you’re doing what you know matters to you.

Photo by Ashley Brooke Designs on Instagram