Come Visit Autumn Lane Paperie

  • January 13, 2017
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Hey y’all!

Ready for a funny story?  Even with MONTHS of planning, and nearly six months of content authored… a month into this blog thing, I’ve realized that the content is much better placed with our website Autumn Lane Paperie.  It’s a funny story, because just when you think you have it all figured out, the twists & turns of life & business show you otherwise.  Don’t worry, though — you won’t be losing any of this awesome stuff, business advice, or candid discussion about design, branding, business, & more.  It’s just moving to Autumn Lane — we’ve always touted ourselves as a one-stop shop for design-related things — logos, branding, website design, and other technical services.  It mostly just made more sense.  With our on-going overhaul of our website, we’ve decided to move it all AT ONCE.  We’ll be toiling away over the next few weeks to get it all in place and looking stellar.

In the meantime, who knows what the future holds for BeckMcCormick.com — I have some ideas.  🙂  Come hang out with us at Autumn Lane Paperie, though, and you’ll be among the first to find out!

 

Beck

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Badass Boss Babe Inspo

  • January 13, 2017
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Here’s a little badass boss babe inspo for you today: be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.  Isn’t this amazing?  I think it’s the perfect reminder for a business owner, plugging away at what they do.  We’re all in business for a reason, right?  We started businesses because it made us happy.  The day-to-day aspects of business can really zap you of your passion if you let it.

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

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

 

Want font info?

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

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11Jan

Three Tips on How to Build Trust in Your Brand

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

The Golden Rule

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

Show Off Your Brand

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

Be Accessible & Prompt

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


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

09Jan

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

so-you-want-to-blog-2So, you want to blog?  Now that you have an idea, you need a plan.  It has to be a badass plan for your badass blog.  Duh!

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

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

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

Brain Dump

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

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

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

Refine

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

Vision + Mission Statement

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

It could look something like this:

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

My blog is the central point of my website, but I also have an online store.  My secondary vision and mission statement is related to that.  I want to provide some fab products to my readers by exploring other creative outlets and harnessing my own abilities in a variety of mediums.

What I’ve Done So Far

My blog content planning was pretty willy-nilly and all over the place at first.  I’ve been rolling around the idea of blogging for years.  I actually started a few times, but it sort of dropped off because life happened, or because I wasn’t entirely certain that I wanted to open up all areas of my personal life.  (The blogs were definitely more of a lifestyle/family type of blog, and I think my kids should have privacy, so I sort of just stopped blogging and telling stories.)

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

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

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

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

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


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

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04Jan

Common Misconceptions About Running an Etsy Business

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

How to “Legitimize” Your Etsy Shop

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

 

BRAND YOURSELF.

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

 

WRITE MO’ BETTER.

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

 

BETTER PICTURES.

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

 

COMMUNICATE.

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

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

 

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

 

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I Woke Up Like This … Tired

  • January 3, 2017
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I Woke Up Like This ... TiredWho can attest to this?  I woke up like this … tired.  This is me, most days, and the reason why I can go through a pot of coffee in a matter of 2-3 hours quite easily.  It seems that there are NEVER enough hours in the day to accomplish what you need to (or want to).  There are even fewer hours to rest and recharge, am I right?

I Woke Up Like This … Tired

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

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

Grab yours here!

Badass Boss Babe Inspo

  • December 30, 2016
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badass boss babe inspo - new endingThe NEW YEAR is upon us, boss babes.  How did 2016 treat you?  Did you meet goals that you had?  Or, are you still trudging along, wishing, hoping, and dreaming?  Here’s some badass boss babe inspo for you from Carl Bard: “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” 

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

Do it.

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

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

Want font info?

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

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29Dec

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

so-you-want-to-blog-1So, you want to blog?  We’re coming up on a new year, and it seems like it’s a great time to try something new.  A fresh start, fresh ideas, and a ton of motivation because there’s just something about going from 2016 to 2017 that makes people crazy!  I’ve been planning this badass blog for months, and 2017 is *the time* to make it happen.

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

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

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

What’s the big idea?

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

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

The genres BeckMcCormick.com is a part of?  I’m a combo of business + lifestyle.

What are the details?

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

One thing that is different about BeckMcCormick.com is that it is tied to a main business, Autumn Lane Paperie.  I want to author content that helps small businesses & other designers.  I also want to provide a real glimpse into the crazy life of a business owner that also happens to be a mom, wife, learner, and creative.

Take it, and run with it.

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

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

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Mother of Boys & Mother of Girls Tees Available NOW!

  • December 28, 2016
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Check out these Mother of Boys & Mother of Girls tees available now from my shop!

New Products!

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

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

 

26Dec

Your Brand is More Than a Pretty Logo – A Crash Course in Branding

Your brand is more than a pretty logo. Let’s get that out of the way, ok? I feel like the world of graphic design as it relates to branding is misunderstood by a lot of people. You cannot have a brand with *only* a logo. Your brand is made up of many things. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to look at visual identity and the experience, which both have different aspects.

Visual Identity

brand-board-templateThis is where your pretty logo fits in, but don’t be fooled — it’s not the only thing you need. Your visual identity is the first thing that your potential customers will see, whether it’s on a business card, a product, or your website. It is the first thing that people will connect to your business. Your logo serves as the introduction to your business, if you will. It’s that thing that says, “Oh hey, I’m right here! Look at me!” If it’s appealing to your prospective customer, they’ll probably take a second look.

Your logo helps to create trust and familiarity in your business. Your prospective client needs to see your logo multiple times in a short period of time in order for it to become familiar — whether that logo comes in the form of a website, on a business card, a newsletter — it doesn’t matter. The main point is that it needs to be in front of your prospects multiple times. That’s where the visual identity expands — business cards, postcards, web-based materials, stickers, packaging items, signage. Sometimes, the logo is appropriate by itself for those things; other times, you might need an alternate version of your logo, or perhaps colors that people will begin associating with your brand.

Appeal

Let’s talk about logo appeal for a moment. Real talk: this is one of the biggest problem that my clients have. Your logo should appeal to your prospective client — NOT you. That’s a bit of a blanket statement, so let me clarify. Your business and your products/services are created for your clients + customers. You offer them something that they want, and they pay you for it, and in turn, your business thrives. You do those things (most often) for them, because it’s what they want. If you want them to check you out, shouldn’t you have a logo that makes them want to check you out?

Sometimes, this doesn’t mesh with what you have in mind for your logo.

What you want to see, because you like those things, isn’t necessarily what your clients would want to see.  I would love for Autumn Lane Paperie’s logo to be full of gorgeous, beautiful watercolor flowers, because that’s something we’re known for in the premade logo world.  Fact is, though, we’re presenting as a professional graphic design corporation that handles everything from premade logos to full custom brandings and websites.  It would appeal to some of our target audience, but not all of them.  Go for max appeal, with the understanding that you don’t need to have the kitchen sink in your logo simply because you like those items.

Experience

Experience is also a part of your brand…or rather, any good brand.  One of the greatest and most well-known brand experience examples is Chik-Fil-A.  If you click that handy little link there, it’ll tell you WHY this type of brand experience matters and give you some ideas on how to make this happen for your brand.

Chik-Fil-A has created an experience for their diners that is simply unmatched by other fast food chains and many sit-down restaurants.  The second you walk in the door, you’re greeted with a smiling face and good manners.  The workers use specific lingo in their interactions with you, and any time you thank them, they always reply, “My pleasure.”  Is it scripted?  Perhaps, but these guys & gals make it super believable, and you’re always left with a positive experience no matter where in the country you’re located.  (Hopefully, you have a Chik-Fil-A.)

Experience is everything from start to finish with your brand.  It includes how someone finds you, how easily your website is navigated, the ease with which you can complete a transaction, communications with you + your employees, and follow-up.  It also includes everything in between.  In short, you want your clients’ experience with you and your company to be positive.  How you make that happen is up to you.  There are a million things that you can do in order to develop a positive experience with your target audience and turn them into your clients.

Our Approach

For Autumn Lane, we’ve taken a very honest, casual, yet professional approach in our communications with our clients.  We want you to feel like that e-mail you get from us is similar to sitting in our own living room.  We also want it to feel professional, because you’re paying for professional level services and products from us.  So, we’ll always ensure that we answer your questions to the best of our abilities, answer in a timely manner, and do what we can to ensure you’re satisfied.  Feedback from you about your experiences is important, so we’ll often ask you to leave feedback.  (We can’t say enough about having reviews.  It is often what makes or breaks the decision to work with a person or company.)

Our website is easy to navigate without too many distracting bells and whistles.  If you can’t find something, we have tools to help.  We also make ourselves easily accessible with our e-mail address labeled in multiple places, a contact form, and our phone number in the footer.  This contributes to the experience by showing that you’re not hiding and that you’re trustworthy.

We don’t ship physical products with Autumn Lane; it’s all digital.  However, if you work with physical products and you have the ability to create an unpacking experience for your customers, you should do it.  What is more appealing? A thought-out packaging experience that is branded, organized, and includes business cards or referral cards, a free gift, or more?  OR…something that was thrown into a non-descript envelope with no thank you note?  The money you invest into your unpackaging experience will affect your customers positively.  It might even turn them into repeat clients, or they may referrals for your business.

Give It Thought

Give it some thought.  Your brand’s visual identity, appeal, and brand experience are crucial in establishing trust, reliability, and gaining clients that continue to come back for more.  The examples given are merely the tip of the iceberg.  Consider some of the greatest experiences you’ve had with a brand. What made it so that you wanted to continue doing business with them?  Those key reasons will be exactly what you need to put into action in your business…developed for your own brand identity, of course.

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