Entrepreneur

DISCONNECTING WAS HARDER THAN I THOUGHT

OH HEYYYYY!!! I disappeared for a little bit, because well LIFE has been happening. Work has been insanely busy...We’ve been doing a lot of house stuff...I finally left the state of South Carolina...And my Mom actually came into town for a quick weekend. Plus it is SUMMER, so we should be busy and be outside and soaking up that sunshine and going on adventures. And honestly, blogging, just hasn’t been a top priority for me lately. If I am not feeling inspired or have anything to write in this space, I just don’t do it. No need for bull shit or to force something that isn’t REAL. I definitely get frustrated, when I don’t stick to my blogging schedule and I promise to write about ALL these topics, but then LIFE HAPPENS and I just can’t do it. There are other things that have to come first.

I don’t know why I have to explain myself, but I do, because I appreciate all of YOU who support me and read my posts, whenever the hell I am able to post. So now that I am done blabbing and I have had my “Thinking Out Loud” moment, why don’t we keep chatting...Okay? Great...Let’s do this…

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Wisconsin for a 4-day trip and we are heading back again on Friday. I had not been on a plane or a vacation in MONTHS. I was so so so READY for this. I felt like I was living Groundhog Day here in Charleston. It was the same thing every single flipping day. I was stuck in my routine. I was antsy. I was burnt out with work and training. It was time to escape. This was also the first trip that I was going on where I was going to have limited phone and Internet service...My first reaction was WTF...My second reaction was HALLELUJAH!!!

WISCONSIN LAKE LIFE

The weekend was AMAZING! We went to lots of parties. We ate all the food. We drank all the booze. We just lived in the moment and it was relaxing, refreshing, fun, and yes I was pretty exhausted by the end. I only posted a few times to Instagram stories and then by the last two days, I just stopped. I was able to text here and there, but mainly went off the grid. And the only time I opened my laptop was early Monday morning when we were leaving Wisconsin. I also “thought” I was going to take a full 4 days off from working out, but I didn’t. I did two 6 mile runs and one long walk. Why didn’t I take a break? I don’t know...I love to move my body...I am a better person when I sweat...And when I travel, I like to explore. Plus, the weather was amazing and when you are able to run on country roads surrounded by corn fields, with no music and no distractions...it was therapeutic. And after eating and drinking the food and booze, it felt good to sweat it out.

WISONCSIN LAKE LIFE

But let’s talk about DISCONNECTING for a hot minute...It was a lot harder than I thought! I love what I do and I do work 7 days a week. When I am home, on the weekends, I don’t work a full day, but I will typically work 2 - 3 hours total in the mornings and evenings, or whenever I get the urge to create and schedule posts. I like to be organized and have a clean inbox and schedule things, because, in the social media world, organization is KEY. At first, when I had no service I rejoiced...but by the end of the trip when I opened all my emails...FULL PANIC. The week after we got back I was playing catch up the whole entire week. I didn’t like that feeling.

As I prepare for another weekend away, I have already tried coming up with a plan of attack, so I don’t feel like I am drowning when I come back home on Tuesday. The goal is to go off the grid on Friday and Saturday and then reconnect on Sunday and Monday. I can spend hopefully at least two hours here and there to respond to emails; place orders; and take care of any fire drills. We’ll see if this actually happens, but for now, I have a plan. I know I sound like a control freak, but this is my business. 

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Do I wish I could fully go off the grid? HELL YEAH! But it just isn't in my nature...I like to work...I love my clients...My clients help me pay the bills. Since I control my schedule, I know that I have to set limits on how much I work, because just like everything else in life, it will lead to burn out and affect your life and lifestyle and relationships. I am also learning to let go of my control tendencies...Now that is definitely a work in progress...LOL!

Am I looking forward to going off the grid again? HELL YEAH! These quick weekend summer giveaways are so good for me, my body, my mind, and most importantly my relationship with Shannon. We both work so hard day in and day out and disconnecting is the best way for me to be present with him and us with each other. It is sad that our lives revolve around our phones and social media, but it is what is. Social Media is a business and it is my livelihood, so I just have to learn what works best for me, my life, my relationships, so that I can strive in BOTH. I am constantly learning, growing, and living and grateful for every moment of it. 

See y'all next week! 

Are you able to disconnect on a regular basis?

What's your longest "off the grid" moment?

CELEBRATING 1-YEAR IN CHARLESTON

I cannot even believe that it has been ONE YEAR since I moved to Charleston. It has been one of the fastest years thus far in ALL of the places that I have lived and it is probably because I feel beyond blessed and happy for everything that has happened over these 365 days. I definitely have to pinch myself sometimes, because life in the Lowcountry is pretty darn good.

CELEBRATING 1-YEAR IN CHARLESTON

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good” - Roald Dahl

A sucker for quotes, this one jumped right out to me, when I started to write about this past year, because it is so unbelievably true. Life is short, so why go at it half-assed. Why not go big? And go BIG with work, relationships, and YOU. When you are happy, being passionate about life comes naturally. It is almost like it seeps out of your pores and that crazy energy is contagious. You attract the right people; the right projects; you start evolving into your crazy amazing self!!! How freaking cool is that?

Obviously, there have been some not so pretty moments...Moments where I have failed...Been rejected, scared, unsure, and hit some speed bumps, but this is life, and I try to be REAL and honest in this space. I am still growing...learning...striving to be the best version of me. I am still figuring it all out and that is OKAY! The best part of this new chapter is that I am not doing it alone.

MY TRIBE - I have met some amazing women down here, who I have worked with and have also become very close friends with. They are teachers, entrepreneurs, dreamers, and supporters of my vision and dreams. It is not easy to make friends as you get older. It is hard to put yourself out there when we are kind of set in our ways, but for the first time I have put myself out there and it has helped me connect with a solid tribe. These women have helped build my brand; my relationships; and my overall well being. The past couple of months, I have made that conscious effort to get out and connect with other like-minded women to help build my presence in this community and I am wondering what took me so long to do it. Again...living and learning!

CELEBRATING 1-YEAR IN CHARLESTON

MY PARTNER IN CRIME - I will eventually share this story because it is a good one and it is another anniversary that is approaching fast as well! Shannon is an amazing man and I am one happy and lucky lady to have met him. He’s hardworking, real, honest, kind-hearted, and yes very good looking. He has kept me on my toes. He helps me stay grounded. He motivates me. I feel safe in his arms and whenever I am with him and that is something I have not felt in a really long time.  It has been one amazing journey to where we are and I would not change any of it. Is that cheesy enough for you? BOOM! 

CELEBRATING 1-YEAR IN CHARLESTON

My BUSINESS - I am a busy woman! I am currently managing 4 different social media accounts and YES it is a lot of work...YES it is time-consuming...YES it can drive me bat crazy...but at the end of the day, I LOVE the companies that I work for and the people I have connected with. I enjoy being the voice behind other brands. I enjoy creating and inspiring and helping these businesses grow because I LOVE their products.

When it comes to my own personal brand, this is a little bit harder and is taking more time. I sometimes worry that a “Fitness and Lifestyle Influencer” has become saturated. I am by no means giving up, it at times gets extremely frustrating. But like I have said, I am just going to keep on trucking. I am going to write, create, and share with all of you the things that I love, inspire me, and continue to introduce you to my tribe! I have also made it a goal to start educating myself and truly learn how to build my brand, by joining supportive communities who specialize in this. It is time to be a little selfish and do it.

My VISION - I am going to keep it simple as I move forward into this next year down here in South Carolina. I am not going to set any goals, I am just going to do ME. There is definitely a list of things to do and things I want to do, but I am not putting any pressure on when they get done. When time flies this fast, I am finding I just have to take it one step at a time. Who knows what this coming year will bring. I think I am ready for it, but who the hell knows what will happen. Good vibes ONLY! 

What do you want to see more of in this space? Below are a few topics I love to write about, so tell me what YOU want!

  • Workout Videos
  • Simple Recipes
  • "Get It Done" Workouts
  • Women Who Inspire ME
  • Body Image 
  • Self-Care Tips

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I DISCONNECTED

When I made the decision to get my shit together and take this leap of faith to rebrand myself, I knew that I had to step away from social media! To be 100% honest with y’all, this really involved me stepping away from Instagram, for almost TWO months. This would involve NO liking...NO commenting...NO posting...NO checking. I continued to tweet, pin, and share posts on Facebook, but as the time got closer to the launching of the NEW site, I went 100% dark and it was just what I needed. Like everyone else who takes this time away from social media, it is definitely worth it and recommended.

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I DISCONNECTED

As I begin to move into this next chapter of my career, I knew that I really wanted to put all of my attention to my Instagram feed and to my writing. So in order to do that, I needed to take a BIG step away from my account. The timing was perfect as I was feeling BLEH...I was running out of photographs that made me 100% happy...I was tired of scrolling, engaging, and I felt like I had hit a big ass plateau. My creative juices were depleted. I needed a break.

My initial thoughts when I talked to Shelby about closing it down for those two months made me nervous. What was I going to do instead of creating posts? How many people were going to unfollow me? Would this hurt my brand? Looking at the bigger picture, these were some petty thoughts, because there is another LIFE outside of social media. And as cheesy as it sounds, I needed to focus more of my attention on my real life issues.

The day I posted the announcement that I was taking some time away, I felt relieved. I felt excited. It was just time and I enjoyed every second. Did I lose a ton of followers? HECK YEAH! Did I care about losing those followers? HELL NO! Okay...maybe I cared a little bit the first few days, but then I forgot about it. Like I said, there were other things that I need to work on, so having those extra hours were a blessing in disguise. Yes, there were moments, when I wanted to check, engage, like, and browse around, but I didn’t.

The time away allowed me to fully give Shelby and myself the attention that I needed to create the new brand. I was able to write, write, and do more writing. I had time to work on myself and my relationships. I made myself tackle those tasks that I had been ignoring forever. And I was able to come up with my plan for the new Instagram account, which was just what I needed.

With life, fitness, work, and social media, we all need a BREAK! Whether it is a big one or a little one, taking the time away is good for the soul.

WAHT HAPPENED WHEN I DISCONNECTED

“To find peace, you have to be willing to lose your connection with the people, places, and things that create all the noise” - Unknown

Do you take time away from social media?

MORNINGS ARE MY JAM

I truly love to wake up early in the mornings and take that time to myself. There is something so peaceful about waking up to the smell of coffee brewing; watching the sunrise; hearing Lucy snoring by my feet; and being able to do about 2 hours of work with no interruptions. It is a magical and creative time for me, that I try to take full advantage of, because once the rest of the country wakes up, it is time for me to manage everyone else and I go into full work mode. I never know what each day will throw at me, so it is important for me to take full advantage of this time, and I definitely do.

Monday through Friday my schedule is pretty consistent, but on the weekends, I make sure to sleep in just a little bit more (depending on what kind of shenanigans I got into the night before), disconnect, relax and spend a decent amount of time on the couch with Shannon. Sundays involve A LOT of couch time (during the winter and the pool during the summer). He has definitely helped me SLOW DOWN on the weekends. Enjoying those slower days are good for both of us. But once Monday morning arrives, we are both ready to go and tackle the week and it is time to go back into crazy work mode.

MORNINGS ARE MY JAM

6:00 - 6:30 AM: Coffee is brewing...And as soon as I smell it, I slowly start to get my butt out of bed. It is still dark and the sun hasn’t even started to rise. Lucy is passed out cold on her bed and Shannon rolls back over to sleep hiding under the covers. I brush my teeth, wash my face, and turn on Fox Business and wait for the coffee to be ready for that first delicious sip.

6:30 - 7:30 AM: First cup of coffee in hand. The computer is on. My planner, notebooks, phone, post its, and pencil surround me and I am ready to dive in. I check my InstagramTwitter feed, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and HootSuite. After that, I dive into the six different email accounts and respond to all of them. Then I can check the Instagram accounts that I manage and respond to all of those as well.

MORNINGS ARE MY JAM

During this hour, I am typically on cup number two. The sun is up! I have a beautiful view from my apartment and I love being able to look over my shoulder and see it rise, see the walkers and runners on the sidewalks, and weather permitting, I will open the porch door and let Lucy sit out there and soak it all up. If I left that door open all day, she would be out there all day.

7:30 - 8:00 AM: Depending on the day, I may or may not be on cup number 3. This last half hour, I double check everything. I take some time to sit on the porch, enjoy the view, give Lucy some love, send Shannon on his way...always with a kiss, no matter what is going on. I also take that time outside, to remind myself what I am capable of doing with my life, my relationships, and how grateful I am for ALL OF IT. It is the perfect time to reflect before I set out to tackle the rest of the day.

MORNINGS ARE MY JAM

And after all of that is done, it is time to workout. I like to get that sweat session in before 11:00 AM, because once I start getting into the afternoon hours, the time to train can disappear FAST. I am fully caffeinated. I am full of my daily goals. I hopefully have my “Positive Patty” pants on. I am ready to tackle the day. And that is that…

Do you have a morning ritual?

Early riser or sleep as long as you possibly can?

5 Ways to Build Your Instagram Presence

Social Media is a BEAST! It is a full-time job. It takes a LOT of work, time, patience, and experimentation. Some weeks I feel like an Instagram rock star and then other weeks, I want to pull my hair out. I do know that, for my own personal brand, my main goal is to always be REAL! It is definitely hard to keep up with the "Joneses", trends, and to not compare yourself to others. Just DO YOU! 

Now with that being said, I also think it is important to continually educate yourself, especially if you are using social media to grow your business and earn an income from it. You can still DO YOU, but if you want to continue to grow there are definitely some "tips" to help you do that, while still being authentic. That is why I asked my good friend Jess to share some of her favorite ways to help GROW YOUR BUSINESS! Take it away friend...

Hi, everyone! I’m so excited to be here as a guest for Katie today. As a social media strategist, I help small businesses establish and grow their social media presence. My goal today is to share a number of easily actionable tactics that you can implement in order to build your Instagram presence!

Instagram might be one of my favorite social media platforms, and it is a focus when I work with social media clients. With over 500 million active monthly users (source), it’s pretty safe to say that Instagram is a great place to be when trying to make an impact in your community! As a business owner, Instagram can be an effective tool for you in regards to connecting to customers, increasing reach, and growing your business.

Why Using Instagram Can Help You Grow Your Business


If you’ve established that Instagram is an effective tool for you to grow your business, you may wonder: how will it actually help me? Ah, the million dollar question. Over time, building your Instagram presence helps you:

  • Build trust with current and prospective customers

  • Establish and nurture a relationship with your readers

  • Reach more people

  • Give your readers a chance to share the love, by reposting your photos, tagging you, etc. which will continue to drive traffic to your profile and business.

5 Ways to Build Your Instagram Presence

Once we understand that Instagram can be a useful way to grow a business and connect with our niche, how do we go about building our presence? Let’s talk about five tactics that I believe are 100% realistic and easy to implement.

Be Clear About Your Presence

Ideally, when someone comes to visit your Instagram page, he/she should be able to immediately figure out what your brand is all about. Being clear about your presence includes making sure that your bio is direct and concise. Including WHAT you do, WHO you serve, and where you’re located can help you reach the right people.

Use Appropriate Hashtags

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, and I would encourage you to take advantage of it! Do you need to have 30 for each post? That’s debatable, but including at least a handful of relevant hashtags can help your posts get seen by more people in your niche. Users can search particular hashtags and connect with people who have used the same hashtag, which in turn can build your presence and help you grow your business!

Post Consistently

Consistency is key when it comes to building your Instagram presence. Within your direct community, being consistent with posting will basically “train” your audience to be accustomed to your presence! If they’re used to seeing your content, they’ll be more likely to engage with you and be aware of your brand and messaging.

Having content that goes out more consistently will also help you get seen more often across Instagram: in feeds, within hashtags, and in “explore” feeds. All of these factors can help you build your Instagram presence.

Engage With Your Audience

In order to build an Instagram presence, we must seem personable, trustworthy, and reliable. That includes making time to engage with your audience! If someone takes the time to post a comment on your post, please try to respond to them in a timely manner. I’ll admit, I’ve fallen behind and have waited a few days to respond to comments. Try not to do that ;-).

By starting and keeping up with REAL conversations on Instagram, you’re building long-lasting, trusting relationships that will build your presence in the long run.

Be Authentic

My final and possibly most important suggestion for you is to be authentic with your audience. Prioritizing just the sales of your product/service will likely get you nowhere in the long term, as far as relationships go.

A quality growth in your Instagram presence includes building real relationships with your audience, establishing a presence in your community and niche, and staying true to your brand. That could mean practicing being vulnerable with your audience - can you share both successes AND failures in your posts? If we show people that we are human and relatable, we’re more likely to build our presence in a quality way.

Building your Instagram presence does not require crazy-complicated tactics. Being consistent, authentic, engaging, and clear about your presence and brand will result in all the good things for your business!  

Leg day + a good workout outfit + giggles = 💯 Photo cred: @erinsinsidejob

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Jess is a social media strategist in Charlottesville, VA. She helps local small business owners establish and grow their social media presence.

Connect with her! Website | Facebook | Instagram