I was compensated by Nordstrom to write this post, but as always styling and opinions are my own.
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PC- Sarah Sweeney
One of the unexpected opportunities that has come with starting a business has been being asked to speak to groups of other business owners and professionals. It doesn’t happen every month or anything, but it has been happening more often recently, and it’s been a great learning experience for me.
I’ve been specifically asked multiple times to share our Nickel & Suede journey, and it’s amazing what I learn every time I sit down to get my thoughts together and then as I give my talk. Telling our story has been really rewarding in that I get to remember the blessings that have come along the way as well as reflect on how things have come together for us in the past. I’ve also been able to see my growth and the ways that I’ve changed or what I’ve learned.
This last week I was asked to speak to a group of business owners about my entrepreneurial journey, and rather than just talk about me or us the entire time, I tried to pull together a few takeaways for the audience. I thought I may as well share them over here too.
As I’ve been on this journey (WITH Soren and the rest of our team, by the way), there are a few things I’ve learned that have lead to success—and none of them have to do with what we sell or what I went to college for. They are all, from what I’ve seen, universal truths in building a business (and lots of other things). They are:
1. To start something new, you have to learn something new. This is the fun part. I love learning new things, most of the time. Sometimes it’s hard to put yourself out there to learn something new, but learning new things is one place where you can see your own progress, and that is such a motivating feeling! When we started our first business, One Little Belt, the massive amount of new things I needed to learn in order to be successful at selling online was an attractive thing. I loved scouring forums about how to sell on Etsy and learning to take pictures and describe products and everything that went into building a small business.
And now as business owners, Soren and I are always the first to take on something new for the business, figure out how we want it done, and then pass it on to someone else. If anyone wants to start something new or make something new happen, they will have to embrace learning new things.
2. Be willing to change and act on difficult feedback. This is the hard part. Especially for me. I am married to someone who very easily shines a light on things that need improvement. Soren is a perfectionist, and he is almost always right—which can be really annoying in the person you’re married to and are business partners with, when I’m the type of person who loves to be patted on the back for how well I did in almost every case. However, as I’ve listened to his feedback or heard from him why to do something differently, I’ve learned so much about business, about what is important, and how to do my job(s) better. Because of his influence we’ve focused very heavily on developing our brand, we’ve avoided some pitfalls that lots of small businesses fall into, and we’ve been able to scale our business in a big way.
3. Be a person (or a brand) that people can trust. There has never been a time when this was more valuable. I’ve learned through my years of blogging that I value being authentic and trustworthy as a blogger, and that is part of what has drawn readers in. As a business we try very hard to be trustworthy to our customers by offering personalized customer service and quality products as well as sharing our faces behind the brand. Consumers want to have brands that they love and have an emotional connection with, and that can’t take place if a brand isn’t trustworthy. This can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.
So those are my nuggets of wisdom I shared with the group this last week. One other thing that I have found as a “boss” is that I feel better and more confident if I dress like a “boss.” (I’m pretty sure “dress like a boss” has never come out of my mouth until now. 🙂 Anyways, you know me; I love graphic tees and flats, but when I speak or I’m in charge of a meeting, I always feel better if I’m dressed up a notch. Nothing too business casual—that’s why I’m my own boss!—but something that elevates. And this top totally did the job! See?!?
My go-to place for blouses that work for both work and fun is Nordstrom. They always have a huge array of styles, price points, and options, no matter the season. I ordered this top from Nordstrom last week, and it just screamed me: simple, edgy, one crazy cool unique detail. And then it fit well too! I love it for something like speaking to a group of business owners, but then I totally could wear it out on a date just as easily. It fits true to size, just needed a little ironing, and was not hard to tie. I got lots of compliments on this top, and I also found a few other blouses that tie that also give a similar look! The tied up blouse is definitely trending this spring and summer, and I’ve linked a few more options from Nordstrom below.
A great dark skinny jean is a spring (year-round, really) wardrobe essential for me. This pair is the most similar to what I’m wearing, but I’ve found a few options that have good reviews and have just the right look for a range of price points.
And don’t forget a fun clutch and a strappy pair of heels. Heels are a must for feeling like a boss. I love the embroidered clutches I’ve linked below, and these shoes have just been compliment magnets. They are shockingly comfortable and fit true to size. Yes they are tall; no they aren’t hard to walk in, nor do they hurt your feet. I also have this pair.
And that’s it! If you took away anything from this post I hope you’re inspired to try something new, change your ways in an area you could do better in and then snag this top so you too can ‘dress like a boss’. 😉