How To Be Entrepreneurial In Your 9-to-5

How to be entrepreneurial in your 9-to-5, entrepreneur inspiration, entrepreneur tips

I’ve had a side hustle since I was 8 years old. Yes, 8.

I have the faintest memory of schlepping around handwritten magazines that I created in elementary school on the playground, each costing a pretty 5 cents each. I sold a few until word got out and I was quickly reprimanded by a teacher.

WHAT?! I was just exploring my entrepreneurial desires, c’mon.

Ever since then I’ve had several creative outlets that have served as platforms for businesses, including photography and writing - and now social media, branding and design - all while holding down a 9-to-5.

If you’re anything like me, the urge to create, innovate and do the dang entrepreneurial thing all day long is real. If if you’re also like me, the need to hold onto your full-time job right now is just as much of a reality.

So what gives?

I’ve pushed myself to be more entrepreneurial in and out of the office lately, and it’s been an incredibly eye-opening and fulfilling experience. If you’re yearning to take more control of your full-time and side hustle careers, keep reading for a few of my personal learnings on how to be entrepreneurial in your 9-to-5.

Throw out your bulleted list of “job duties.”

I’ve never been a fan of job descriptions. To me, they’re boring and are rarely ever characteristic of the actual job at hand. Looking at my current full-time job description, it would look something like this:

- Owns strategy, management and execution of all influencer marketing efforts
- Responds to all inbound social media comments
- Manages organic and paid content strategy for Instagram

Snore. What do these things really mean, and how can you take them above and beyond?

When I started my current job, our influencer marketing efforts were at a standstill and it was my job to get them back up and running - and fast. I had no idea where to start, and I didn’t even know who our ideal influencers were. I delved into Instagram and quickly discovered that a lot of influencers were already talking about the brand that I work for organically - so why not reach out to them, thank them for their praise and bring them on as paid partners in a campaign? I did exactly that, and influencer impressions and positive brand sentiment has been on the rise ever since. I’ve even been able to jump-start the first ambassador-type program that my company has ever had, all thanks to taking the leap into the unknown and discovering our brand advocates.

Case in point: your job description isn’t going to be a roadmap to success. Sometimes, you have to just wing it, try different things out and see what sticks. Take a boss mindset whenever you’re assigned a new project or initiative, and you’re sure to excel.

Welcome challenges as an opportunity to flex your entrepreneurial muscles.

Confession: I don’t like conflicts. Whether it’s disagreeing with a team member on a project or having to send revisions to a vendor, I cringe at the fact that we all just can’t get along all the time. However, with every professional challenge I’ve faced, important lessons and solutions have been discovered in the process.

In my last job, I helped with the marketing efforts for a gorgeous boutique hotel. We frequently comped hosted stays for media personalities and bloggers, but it was challenging to measure the ROI of these stays. Even moreso - how can you ensure that a blogger has a great enough time with you to talk about it?

With that in mind I reworked the program to include an informational welcome packet and list of preferred deliverables so that it was a win-win situation for the hotel and media. Ever since, I’ve welcomed challenges and love to problem-solve at the benefit of my workplace.

Contribute your side-hustle skills to your full-time work.

This is the biggest, most important one for me. You already know that you have the mind of an entrepreneur - so why are you hiding your amazing talents from your workplace?

When I first began my current role, I shied away from sharing the fact that I managed a successful blog and freelance business outside of work. I thought that if my mind wasn’t 100% into my full-time work, that my boss wouldn’t think that I was committed to the job.

I offhandedly mentioned to my boss one day that I enjoyed design and branding outside of work, and was then able to leverage those skills within my full-time job to begin designing assets for my company to use on social media! Now, I’m not only helping my team with content, but I’m also adding to my side hustle skill set at the same time. I feel happy in control of my career knowing that I’m more than just a list of predetermined, bulleted job duties - and you are, too.

How are you going to be more entrepreneurial in your full-time career today? I want to hear how you’re going to make it happen in the comments below!

Meet The Brand: Outdoor Beginner

When my dear friend Laura of Outdoor Beginner approached me to help her concept a brand for her blog, to say I was overjoyed was an understatement! Laura and I first connected in the summer of 2014 before I took the leap, packed my car full of the only belongings I owned and ventured out West to live in Denver.

Over the last few years, Laura has worked hard to grow her blog and create fun, educational content that makes exploring the great outdoors a little less daunting for beginners. From knowing what to wear the first time you go hiking to mountain biking tips, Laura covers it all from a beginner’s perspective.

Prior to concepting her brand, Laura was clear in that she wanted to incorporate earth tones and a non-script, hand-drawn font into her new look and feel. Armed with this creative direction, I got to work!

I wanted to incorporate the adventurous essence of Colorado-living into Laura’s brand - because nothing beats it. With this in mind, I worked to include Denver’s coordinates subtly into Laura’s brand, as well as mountain details as logo marks.

The end result? A simple, stand-out brand that radiates meaning, purpose and utility. Laura ended up selecting the rectangular logo as her primary brand, and kept the circular and mountain-influenced marks as secondary logos.

Outdoor Beginner brand identity | brand identity, brand design, logo design, branding yourself, branding business

When I look at Laura’s final brand, the words “adventure,” “outdoorsy,” and “nature-inspired” come to mind. What words come to mind for you when you look at Outdoor Beginner’s identity?

Leave your thoughts in the comments, and check out all brand concepts below!

Outdoor Beginner brand identity | brand identity, brand design, logo design, branding yourself, branding business

I see you DIY-ing your brand while juggling a million other things. Fuzzy logo files, font pairings that don't look *quite* right and a color palette you don't love: you deserve better. If you're ready to get branded, click here and let's chat! 

My Home Office Tour...And How I Designed It On a Budget!

Home office decor ideas | Lindsay Scholz | Brand and social media designer for creatives

When Paul and I were in the process of purchasing our first home last winter, having a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom setup was the end goal - and that’s not because a nursery is coming anytime soon! It’s because I’ve always dreamed of having my own home office, and one that I could design and make my own.

Once we moved in, I knew that the second guest room with all of those tall sunny windows was destined to become my office. I moved my existing desk in, and...that’s about it. After moving from Atlanta to Denver to St. Louis in the span of three years, I had to downsize my belongings and my “office” setup was looking a little grim.

Until I started doing what I do best: bargain hunting.

With a little elbow grease and creativity, I was able to design a home office that radiates my ideal aesthetic for under $300, complete with all of the little touches that make it feel like home.

Wondering how you can do the same for your work-from-home space? I’m sharing a few of my favorite home office decor tips and bargain steals below!

Home office decor ideas | Lindsay Scholz | Brand and social media designer for creatives

Thrift stores are your best friend - for select items.

Ever since I was young, I’ve loved the rush of unearthing an unforgettable find in a thrift store. Over the years I’ve thrifted some of my favorite pieces: the perfect $2 black sundress, impeccable $8 Italian leather oxfords and the $3 quote art print that now adorns one of my office walls (originally $20 at Urban Outfitters, what?!).

Thrift stores are great for home office decor bargains like picture frames, floor planters (I thrifted the awesome seafoam-colored number in front of my window) and even unused and sealed office supplies like folders. However, I wouldn’t recommend them for items like rugs and office chairs, which may be harder to clean and inspect for defects prior to bringing them home.

Home office decor ideas | Lindsay Scholz | Brand and social media designer for creatives
Home office decor ideas | Lindsay Scholz | Brand and social media designer for creatives

Art prints are expensive. Print yours instead!

I love a good gallery wall, and have had one in my home ever since I moved into my first solo apartment four years ago. Art prints can be expensive, so my favorite wall decor hack is this: I would buy cheap, basic frames from IKEA (these here, to be exact!) and would print out inspirational art prints that I either designed or would stumble upon on Pinterest.

Sure - these prints aren’t quite the same quality as framed and matted art prints, but they do the job for now! If you’re looking for great photography to print out for your walls, I can’t recommend Unsplash enough. All images are free domain, high-resolution and print-ready.

Home office decor ideas | Lindsay Scholz | Brand and social media designer for creatives
Home office decor ideas | Lindsay Scholz | Brand and social media designer for creatives

Embrace your inner minimalist.

Personally, a home office space with clean lines and lots of natural light is what gets me in the ready-to-work mindset. Embrace intentionality when designing your home office space, and ask yourself: “Will that armchair that I’m tempted to buy and sit in the corner add purpose to my work, or is it just another piece of furniture that I want to buy?” Less distractions around you means more time to crack down and focus on the work that matters most to you.

What would your *dream* home office look like? Describe it for me in the comments below, or show me on Instagram!

A Creative Minute: Kaitlin Noverr of elysian market

Kaitlin Noverr of Elysian Market | Abstract Artist

All images courtesy of Avner Road Photography.

Today I am so excited to introduce Kaitlin Noverr, the creative entrepreneur and abstract artist behind elysian market. Kaitlin and I first connected on Instagram at the beginning of the year through a Rising Tide Society Instagram Challenge (hello, #communityovercompetition!), and I've loved keeping up with her work and every step of her creative journey. 

What I love most about Kaitlin's story is the fact that she's come full circle and stuck with a self-declaration that she made years ago: to commit her life to her art. It's not easy to say "no" to the societal pressure of diving into a 9-to-5, but Kaitlin has done so with grace and understanding.

Kaitlin recently launched her website for elysian market, along with her brand-new "Evolve" collection, which you'll get to hear more about below! 

Q: Share a bit of your story with us: what events in your life led to you pursuing a career in abstract art and painting, and what has most recently changed and evolved for elysian market in 2017?

A: From a young age, art has always been my escape away from reading, writing, numbers and dyslexia. Though I did very well throughout my schooling and college, I had to work extremely hard. Like many other twenty-something-year-olds, I felt the societal pressure to get a degree that would be safe and expectable. After much consideration, I decided to get my degree in Marketing from Western Michigan University. Throughout college I had a three-year paid internship with a Fortune 500 company and met the love of my life, Travis.

In December of 2013 I graduated, and followed Travis for his new job in Cincinnati, OH. Throughout the following months in combination with applying for jobs, I did a great deal of soul searching. I haven’t told many people this, but I made a self-declaration to myself in June that I would follow my dream of being an artist and small business owner. That was a pivotal moment, or so I thought. A couple weeks later I received a phone call from a business I had interviewed with, and they offered me a marketing event planning role. Instead of staying true to my self-declaration, I decided to go with societal expectations and said yes.

"I haven’t told many people this, but I made a self-declaration to myself in June that I would follow my dream of being an artist and small business owner."

I was there for about a year, and every day I thought more and more about my soul’s true calling, and how I needed to follow it. With the love and support of Travis I ended that chapter on May 31st, 2015 and it allowed me the opportunity to figure out the next step of this self-declaration. The rest of 2015 was dedicated to soul-searching, researching, and travel.

In January of 2016 I decided that I would launch my Etsy shop in August, and knew there was no going back. After the launch of my shop and throughout the rest of the year, I participated in numerous art shows, pop-ups, and hosted my first ever workshop.

This year has already brought me many new opportunities that I’m extremely grateful for, and also accomplished one of my biggest intentions on June 1 – the launch of my new website and “Evolve” collection. 

Abstract artist Kaitlin Noverr of Elysian Market

Q: I always have to ask! What does your workday routine and workflow look like, and how do you manage to work productively while running your creative business? 

A: Though I’m the epitome of a Type A personality, I actually don’t have a “true” workday routine. As a workaholic, I of course have a to-do list for actions and intentions I want to complete for the day. However, there are only three things that actually stay consistent on a daily basis: countless cups of coffee, frisbee sections with my studio assistant, Hemi (my pup), and nightly walks with Travis and Hemi. 

I believe I manage to work productively because I was brought up with two loving parents and sisters that not only told me the meaning of hard work, but showed it. They instilled in me a deep-seated passion to chase after my wildest dreams, drive to continue to push through the hardships, and above all else the importance of helping others along the way. I believe all of these different traits play a role in the day-to-day work of a small business owner.

Abstract artist Kaitlin Noverr of Elysian Market

Q: Where do you look to for inspiration when starting on a new piece of art? What are your go-to tactics for avoiding burnout and artist’s block?

A: My inspiration comes from a couple places. First, there is nature. The different physical elements play their role: trees, water, clouds, flowers, etc. However, the inspiration that nature provides for my work goes to a far deeper level. It shows me the delicate balance between light and darkness, organic movement, and the daily reminder that true growth takes time.

The second place where my inspiration comes from is self-awareness. Meditation helps me listen and be open to what is next for my work. An example of this would be that when I first started my Etsy shop all the colors I choose where very bold and bright. Now, don’t get me wrong I love bold and bright colors. However, after much thought on why I did this I realized it was because I wanted my art to “wow” people, and I thought that was the way I could do that successfully. After coming to this conclusion and growing as an artist over the past year, I realized that my work resonated with people beyond just the colors. I want the connection between the viewers and my art to be authentic and stand on its own, which is why you will see more neutral tones in the new “Evolve” collection.

I’ll be completely honest: avoiding burnout as a small business owner and artist is one that I have not yet conquered. To me, it is hard to balance the high demands of owning your own business with self-care. I’m sure that many of your readers can relate to this no matter what profession or stage of life they are in. Life’s balancing act can be extremely exhausting and leave you filling up everyone else’s cup rather than your own.

However, I believe that our minds and bodies try and communicate to us when we need a break. Sometimes that means a quick five-minute break, while other times it means a whole weekend. We owe it to ourselves to give ourselves that time and not feel guilty about it. For when we honor and respect our mind, body, and soul it will repay us in the best way.

Abstract artist Kaitlin Noverr of Elysian Market

Q: What’s one preconceived notion about your industry or work that you’d love to debunk? Now’s the time to set the record straight! 

A: I believe that many people don’t always fully understand how much work, time, and most importantly love goes into running a small business. I would explain my art as my soul’s expression coming to life in a physical form. Though the end product is for the world to resonate with, admire, and keep, the process of creating it is very personal. Our society is prone to looking at price tags and comparing it to similar mass produced products at a large retailer. However, we must never forget that the reason why those products can be priced that way; the human element is nowhere to be found. I can’t adequately describe how happy I get when I hear from my clients, “I want the pieces I have surrounding me in my home to hold a deeper, and more profound impact on this world.”

Q: What are a few of your biggest ambitions for elysian market this year, and which goals have you already hit?

A: My biggest goal for elysian market in 2017 was to launch my own website where my art could live and do so freely. After many months of hard work, intention, and pouring my heart into this endeavor, I’m excited that this goal was reached!

My big ambitions for elysian market for the back half of the year would be to continue to authentically connect with people through my art. Second, take part in a prestigious abstract art gallery show. Third, continue to mentor other artists and creatives to help grow a more supportive community. Lastly, I have been working with some larger companies on some exciting projects in regards to my art, and I would love to continue to expand into new partnerships and connections.

Q: What would your biggest piece of advice be for fellow women looking to break into and succeed in the creative industry? 

A: Some people believe that you choose this entrepreneurial life. While I believe that holds some merit, I also believe that this life chooses you. It might not be in your 20s, 30s, and it might not come to you until you are in your 60s. However, you owe it to yourself and everyone around you to listen and chase after your soul’s calling. I will leave you with this quote I wrote in my journal after deciding to take this daunting leap:

“She knows when she needs to fall. She doesn’t resist it, nor does she neglect it. She’s well aware that her soul comes alive more in the free fall, rather than safely on the ledge. She inhales, she exhales, and she falls….effortlessly." 

Keep up with Kaitlin and elysian market on Instagram, @elysianmarket, and on elyian market's website!

A Creative Minute: Lauren McHugh of in this box

A Creative Minute: Lauren McHugh of in this box

What would you do if you received a box in the mail that was expertly curated to meet you exactly where you are in life - during seasons of stress, joy and everything in-between?

Enter in this box, the current passion project of Nashville-based Lauren McHugh. I first met Lauren while I was running my former blog, That Working Girl, and Lauren was incredibly supportive of my content and everything that I was trying to achieve on the site. Now, it's time to return the favor!

If you've ever felt inspired to jumpstart a business that aims to serve others and love others well, this one's for you.

Q: Share a bit of your story with us: where are you currently located, what events in your life led you to pursue your current career path in social media, and what initially ignited your idea to launch In This Box as a side project to give back?

A: I'm a recent southerner in Nashville, TN, originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I currently am working a day job as a receptionist (hopefully not for long!), and a part-time job as a VA. I started in social media when I was in college as a sports management major and the jobs just kept coming in after that! 

In This Box started when a close friend of mine was going through a very hard time. She was miles and miles away from me, and I felt like I couldn't do anything to help. I was still in school so I couldn't just up and go to her...and I didn't have $50+ to send her flowers. I just couldn't shake the feeling that it shouldn't be this hard to show up for someone. Thus, in this box.

While in this box is currently a nomination process, the goal is for it to be a business. Boxes will be available to buy for different reasons (helping a friend with depression/anxiety, celebrating an accomplishment, etc.) and will shipped to people. We will have different price points and box size options so that anyone, anywhere can show up for someone easily. 

A Creative Minute: Lauren McHugh of in this box

Q: I love getting a peek into the day-to-day of other creatives. What does your workday routine look like, and how do you manage to successfully balance your full-time work along with growing awareness for In This Box?

A: I usually wake up around 6 and get out of bed around 6:30. I try to get done being ready around 7:15-7:20 and do some of my VA work in the morning and do some research for in this box. I then go to my day job. I live close enough to come home for lunch, so then I do either VA work or in this box social media posts. 

Most days I don't balance it. Some days I am not able to work on in this box. Other days I stay up a little too late working on new graphics for Instagram or a Facebook ad for a VA client. Since in this box has only existed since January, I'm still figuring out my vision for the brand and how to grow authentically.

I've really been inspired by Lara Casey's concept that it is "okay to grow slow." While someday I want and believe that in this box will be a full-fledged business, I'm okay with it right now being a small, intimate project that helps people on a small scale. 

Q: What is your “elevator pitch” for In This Box, and how would you quickly describe it to someone who was curious about your mission behind the project?

A: The tagline is "a gift-giving business focused on loving people and loving people well." 

We currently open a quarterly form to nominate friends, family or loved ones to receive a box filled with curated goods from around the country to let them know they are never alone. We work with the nominator to customize the box and figure out what would make the recipient happy. But everyone who gets nominated and nominates gets an art print and handwritten letter. I wanted to make sure that people knew they were nominated, and the nominators got recognition for being a friend that shows up. 

A Creative Minute: Lauren McHugh of in this box

Q: What is your favorite part of the submissions and selection process for In This Box, and how much time and planning goes into packing up boxes for recipients?

A: I love reading how people are showing up for each other. Some of the submissions are heart wrenching, and others are full of joy. But in our two rounds of nominations we've had over 25 people write in with stories championing their people. It is harder and harder to pick someone. That's why I can't wait for it to be a business so people can send boxes to each other across the country!

It takes about two weeks to pick a recipient. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be to choose someone - there are so many deserving people! Then it takes about another two weeks to order the items and discuss with the nominator how to best customize the box for the nominee. 

A Creative Minute: Lauren McHugh of in this box

Q: What would your #1 tip be for other women who are seeking more intentionality and gratitude in their career and lives?

A: I think what I've learned the most is to just have a lot of grace for myself. At first, I was constantly thinking about what I could or should be doing. But that led to me always feeling guilty or comparing myself to other businesses. Now, I have a list of things I need to do for the week and tackle it as it comes. I also have learned to take time to do things that I love. Whether it is reading, hanging with my husband or watching Netflix - "me time" is so important to staying focused and relaxed. 

Have someone in mind who would be a great nomination for in this box? Keep up on Instagram and Facebook for a heads up on the next round of nominations, and stay in touch with Lauren on Instagram and Twitter as well!