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The 3 Minute Natural Makeup Look

Get Your Face on in Under 5 Minutes

The morning routine can get so, well…routine. Choosing the clothes, fixing the hair, applying the makeup. You are barely left with enough time to grab a cup of coffee before heading out the door, let alone incorporate anything healthy into the mix.

three minutes makeup - belong magazine blog - fashion, beauty, female entrepreneur, women in business, lady boss, creative, time management

Feel your daily makeup routine is taking too much time? Been thinking of switching to natural products but don’t know where to start?

What if you learned you could get your face on in less than five precious minutes with makeup made from healthy ingredients? It’s true! Let’s take a look at the products and techniques to get you there.

3 Steps to the 3 Minute Face

Following are steps to help you get started with a natural makeup look all your own. And in only three simple steps. Who doesn’t have time for that? First up, choosing your new makeup items. All of the following products are made with natural and organic ingredients, and free from toxins.

1. Conceal and Cover:

Are you caught in the primer/foundation/powder time suck? I’d like to introduce you to a product that is going to change your life. It’s called tinted moisturizer and it will give you back some of your morning. Suntegrity "5 IN 1" is tinted moisturizer with mineral sunscreen, for added anti-aging benefits, and comes in four natural shades. Not sure a tinted moisturizer will provide enough coverage? Blend your own. Add desired amount of foundation to your daily moisturizer, blend lightly between fingertips and apply. Not only is this method fast, but it’s more hydrating and looks super natural. Those with dry skin may apply over moisturizer.

2. Eyes + Brows:

If it takes you forever to apply mascara, which it does most of us, a good smudgy liner look will compensate for skipping lashes. Benecos Natural Eyeliner goes on smooth and creamy, but stays in place. As for brows, this is the easiest, quickest way to plump those babies up. Brush brows straight up, add a soft line of Benecos Eyebrow-Designer to the bottom edge of your brows, blend slightly with a cotton swab, brush brows into place. So simple yet it adds so much to your look.

3. Lips + Cheeks:

No makeup look is complete without a bit of color. A great way to keep your look cohesive without multiple products is with a handy little two-in-one. Tata Harper Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tints are perfect for the job, providing natural color that suits all skin tones. Plus, the cream formula keeps skin looking dewy and fresh. Stow in your bag for primping on the fly.

There you are. Three and done. You’ll even have time to whip up that green juice or avocado toast. A faster, healthier start to your day.


Liz Thompson is an organic beauty expert with over a decade of experience writing on natural beauty / health and wellness. Liz started Organic Beauty Source as a way to inform others searching for safe cosmetics to add to a healthy lifestyle. She is a regular contributor at OrganicAuthority.com, EcoSalon.com, and Domino.com. When not blogging, Liz is providing copywriting services to her dream clients, and loving every minute of it.


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stay in the loop /

In the spirit of community (which we talked a bit about last week), we introduced...

Belong Collective Facebook Hostesses

this week to our FREE facebook community, The Belong Collective. These lovely women are there to prompt discussion and be a resource to you. They are talking about inspiration, encouragement, support and resources, as well as lots of other female entrepreneur related topics. We want you to join the conversation. If you aren't already part of it...

favorite #youbelong posts /

There is no better way to spend an evening than on the couch scrolling through the #youbelong feed on instagram. You ladies post some of the most amazing images. 

Here are my favorites from this week. Find all the details HERE

favorite resource /

There are only so many hours in the day, and, let's be honest, a girl has got to stay current on her Netflix, BUT I'm telling you, this podcast is a game changer. Abagail and Emylee of Think Creative Collective are killing it, as usual, with their newest addition to the plethora of resources they offer the female creative entrepreneur community. Make the time to listen in. You won't regret hitting pause on Netflix. Go here to get caught up. 

favorite pin /

Remember when I was talking about the "big ask?" Well, this post was helpful for me in forming my "asks" into something tangible. It's always hard putting together a good pitch, but Gilit makes it so simple! Check it out here.  

What did you find on pinterest this week that you found helpful?

belong magazine blog - free printable download

I just love this quote hand lettered by Little Black Letter Company for ISSUE 03. 

until next time, remember...  

 

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Conferences for Female Creatives + Entrepreneurs

13 best conferences, workshops or retreats for female creatives and entrepreneurs, women in business, lady boss, femalepreneur, blogger, artist

There is nothing more important to the life of an entrepreneur than community which can be very difficult to achieve if we spend the majority of our day behind a screen. Conferences and workshops are great ways to network, learn and be inspired. Thought there are so many more, here are a list of 13 conferences ideal for female creatives and/or entrepreneurs. 


the yellow conference - best conferences and workshops for female creatives and entrepreneurs, bloggers, women in business, lady boss

The Yellow Conference /

The Yellow Conference is a relatively large event (approx. 500) of creative, entrepreneurial-minded women. Women who desire to fight for a better tomorrow. Women who are willing to roll up their sleeves, step out in courage, and use their creativity for good. Women who know, deep down within their soul, they were made for more, and they desire the practical, tangible know how it takes to make that happen. 

Yellow is unique in its bend toward social justice. It's two days (with the option of a third workshop intensive) in LA with previous speakers such as Alexa Jones and Jedediah Jenkins. With the growth of the event, the venue has changed and is now a large, airy warehouse feel BUT decorated and executed beautifully with an organic feel. I've attended this conference twice and thought it was very well done. 

Visit them on their website here.


together--a boss lady experience - best conferences and workshops for creatives, female entrepreneurs, lady boss, creative, women in business

Together - A Bosslady Experience /

About to launch it's first event in February, Together is forming into a classy, intimate event hosted at The Nines in Portland, OR February 22-24, 2017. 

Together is for the woman looking to launch her small business or take her passion to the next level. Speakers (including me!) include inspirational women who are succeeding in their creative businesses who will be sharing the intimate details of their journeys from beginners to bossladies. There are hands-on workshops, expert panels and sessions to offer practical application to your business. 

Use code BROOKE to get $100 off of your registration for this conference which is just around the corner!

Go to their website here.


create and cultivate atlanta, ga - best conferences for creative entrepreneurs, women in business, lady boss, creatives

Create & Cultivate / 

Create & Cultivate is headed to New York City May 6th, 2017.  C&C is a one-day conference filled with panels, workshops, mentor power hours, break out sessions, delicious food, cocktails and much more. The conference is hosted a couple of times a year at locations all over the country. The core focus of all of the conferences is to entertain, enlighten and inform creative women around key topics surrounding the digital space, entrepreneurship and life as a modern woman. From launching a blog or business, developing content strategies or taking your existing strategies to the next level, this conference will have you networking with like-minded creatives while hearing advice from the best in the industry. 

I've attended this conference a couple of times and it is spot on--every detail is attended to. There are no holds barred for this event. It has a fashion/beauty bend to it, so if creativity is what you're looking for, this may not be the event for you. 

Read more on their website here.


thrive creative conference - best conferences and workshops for creatives, entrepreneurs, female lady boss, women in business

Thrive Conference /

Thrive is a yearly conference located in Houston, Texas with it's next event February 24-16, 2017. Speakers include successful bloggers and entrepreneurs. Attendees will be connected with each other even before the conference weekend through designated Thrive mentors. At Thrive, you will walk away with new knowledge that you can start implementing right away. The speakers at Thrive know their stuff, have been through it all, and are willing to spill their guts so you can avoid mistakes they may have made.

Get more information on their website here.


creative at heart conference - best conferences for female creatives and entrepreneurs, women in business, lady boss

Creative at Heart Conference /

Creative at Heart Conference is a two or three-day event which has been held in various locations across the country. It is designed to be an inviting atmosphere for creative men and women of ALL industries — photographers, planners, hand-letterers, business strategists, designers... the list goes on. At CAH You'll hear keynote speakers who discuss heartfelt and practical topics that can be carried across all industries, and also receive one-on-one time in panel sessions specific to your craft. 

I've not attended this event myself, but I've heard really amazing things about it (and it's been featured in an issue of Belong).

Sign up on their website to get details for 2017 when they are announced.


the hello sessions - best conferences and workshops for female creatives, entrepreneurs and bloggers, women in business, lady boss

The Hello Sessions /

The Hello Sessions is a conference held in October in Portland, OR for bloggers who want to profit from their blogs and desire to grow. Not only are there large group speakers, but there are hands-on activities/workshops to give you the tools you need to keep it going when you get home. Make your blogging business legit and poised for growth. Create videos that trigger massive shares. Find not just new clients, but the perfect clients with social media.

I attended the first Hello Sessions in 2015. With a smaller group of attendees, this intimate setting and workshop focus makes for a lot of time and space to get to know other women and put new knowledge to work.

Though no 2017 date yet, you can read all about past events on their website here.


the inspired retreat - best conferences and workshops for female creatives and entrepreneurs, photographers, bloggers, women in business, lady boss

The Inspired Retreat /

The Inspired Retreat is a retreat experience for creative women entrepreneurs to grow, connect and be inspired. Inspired is a very intimate experience where you're bound to make new business besties while learning business strategies and tips from other successful women entrepreneurs. If you are a designer, maker, shop owner, blogger, photographer, artists or creative women-owned business, this event is for you. The details are beautiful as is the venue. The retreat is hosted by Amber Housley and takes place in the Nashville, TN area. The next event is in the fall of 2017. 

I have yet to attend, but it's one that I'd definitely love to go to. Details including some lovely photos can be found on their website here.


altitude summit - best conferences for female creatives and entrepreneurs, bloggers, women in business

alt /

Alt Summit is for creative entrepreneurs and stylish social media influencers. At this conferences, you’ll find classes and information for a broad range of skill levels. If you’ve already designed a successful line of products, if you opened your first Instagram account last month, if you’re a social media pro, or if you’re just thinking about starting a future blog, then Alt Summit is for you.

The next conference is January 31-February 2 in Palm Springs (moved from its previous venue in Salt Lake City). It's sold out (thankfully, I snagged a ticket--it will be my first time) but you can find out more and get in line for the next event on their website


the identite collective - best conferences and workshops for creative female entrepreneurs, women in business, lady boss, branding, blogging, social media

The Identité Collective /

IDCO hosts intimate, two-day workshops for creative small business owners designed to help build a more intentional and distinctive brand. From mood board creation to email marketing and everything in between, attendees collaborate on strategy and implementation while learning key, actionable steps to increase their social media engagement organically and effectively. The first event took place in Austin, TX with round two in January 2017, sold out and stationed in San Francisco at Oh Happy Day Studio. 

I'm anxious for IDCO to get LA on their calendar so that I can attend one of these beautiful curated events. Head to the IDCO website here for more info. 


blink conference - best conferences for female creatives, entrepreneurs, photographers, women in business

blink! /

BLINK is the coolest, hippest and most genuine conference for photographers you will ever attend. I can tell you first hand because I was at the most recent on in November in Palm Springs. The vision behind the BLINK Conference is to create a boutique conference option that has a workshop feel, reflecting the photography communities' diversity in gender, ethnicity, age and creative expression. BLINK Conference is a place where creative artist can come and learn from a variety of talented photographers both well known in the industry, as well as up-and-coming. BLINK prides itself on hands-on learning, intimate environments and community connection.

Their next conference is in Seattle, WA November 9-12, 2017--and I plan to be there. Join me and find more info here on their website. 


bash conference - best conferences for female creative entrepreneurs, event planners, party planners, bloggers, women in business

bash /

BASH is a stellar networking event for entrepreneurs in the lifestyle/entertaining and party blogging community. Attendees will benefit from face to face interaction with bloggers, stylists and experts in the entertaining and party field. BASH conferences feature nationally recognized speakers, such as globally celebrated, premier event designer, Preston Bailey, HGTV personality and editor for BH&G Magazine Eddie Ross, and the Sweets Stylist Expert herself, Amy Atlas, to name a few, all who share their expertise on a wide range of professional development and blogging business topics to help enable you to clarify your goals and help you accomplish them.

Read more it on here on their website.


Snap-Conference- best conferences for female creative entrepreneurs, bloggers, women in in business, crafters,

snap /

Snap conference is designed for the creative blogger. It's a three-day conference held each April in Salt Lake City, Utah, targeting makers. Snap features well known bloggers representing modern handmade, contemporary craft, home-based events and DIY, and creative entrepreneurs. Through workshops and networking, you'll walk away from Snap inspired and invigorated.

Find info about their next event on their website here.


bloguettes workshop - best conferences and workshops for female creative entrepreneurs, women in business, bloggers, social media, branding

bloguettes /

Bloguettes 3-day branding workshops hosted across the country are an intimate (and fun!) way to learn the skills to elevate your online presence. Through hands-on learning, their workshops will give you the tools to grow your following on social media, craft a good photo, & monetize your blog. Plus, the occasional guest speakers are industry leaders who will pass along all their tips.

Read more about Bloguettes here on their website.


Do you know of a conference, workshop or networking opportunity that we should know about?

Send us an email at info@belong-mag.com so we can check it out!


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When Your Biggest Fears Come True

There comes a time in life where your biggest fears come true. Mine happened unexpectedly while I was kayaking on a beautiful blue lagoon nestled in a quaint fishing village in Vietnam. I had been backpacking in Africa for two months and reminisced on the fond memories I had in Uganda and Zambia while I looked at the vibrant green mountains and clouds painted around me. I had met the most incredible people and had a calling to pursue my dream business: creating backpacks that symbolize and support girls education. I never once thought for a second my biggest fear would come true. I was on the last leg of my backpacking trip excited to start the next chapter of my life in South East Asia. I was finally living in the moment. I felt a calmness in me that I can’t quite explain.

I breathed in this stillness and thought, "My life is perfect."

what to do when your biggest fears come true - ACE backpacks - belong magazine blog - female entrepreneurs, women in business

That stillness was soon interrupted by the buzzing of my phone- it was my mom. My first reaction was, “I’ll just call her later when I’m back on land.” But my phone did not stop ringing. I had this bad feeling inside of me I could not shake off.  I paddled frantically back to shore and ran to my room. I had five missed calls. I called her back. She said in between sobs, “ I need you to come home. Daddy died.”

I was hit by a wave of pain, shock, and sadness. I immediately crashed to the floor. The room was spinning. Gravity took hold of me. “ No. Please. No. No. No. He can’t be dead. Why? He’s alive. He’s fine. He can’t be dead. He was healthy. He’s only 66. This is all a dream. A joke.” He’s alive. I’m going to wake up. WAKE UP, Danielle.

I didn’t wake up. Fast forward to the day I planned my father’s funeral. I was consumed by self-pity and anger. My life was perfect and the universe decided to take that away from me, and give me the biggest fear of my life. Losing my father.

I had the weight of my family, funeral, and the loss of my father on my shoulders. I could not fathom living in a world without him. He was supposed to be there for my wedding, the birth of my children, and when all my dreams came true. He will never walk me down the aisle, and he will never get to hold his grandchild. I will never hear him talk again about one of his greatest loves in life: music. The thought killed me.

But I had two options.

  1. I could go back to my self-destructive coping mechanisms and numb the pain. 

  2. Or I could do something even crazier. I could persevere.

I looked up at the Funeral Home Director as he handed me all his paperwork to sign. “Take all the time you need,” he said. I didn’t need time. I knew what I had to do.

This was the day I decided to pursue my calling. ACE.

My heart hurt. But my idea was still flickering a tiny light in my head, and now in my heart. I know that this is exactly what my father would have wanted. This time, I was all in.

It’s Times Like These

Think of your biggest fear. Has it come true? Has fear ruled the path of your life? Or has fear empowered you? I remember the anger I felt holding my father’s death certificate. My hands were trembling as I read the word “deceased.” I walked around the mortuary at my father’s funeral with a blank face wondering, “What next?” I felt that anger again. I was so, so angry. I wasn’t just angry that he died. I was angry with myself. Why didn’t I call him when I got to Vietnam? Why did I move to New York to just be farther away from him? Why did I travel when I could have been home spending the last few months that he had on this earth? I wish I could have held him for one last time, tell him how much I love him, and make sure he knew that he is the most amazing father. But I didn’t have that chance.

When I got back to New York a few months after his death, I became overwhelmed with anxiety and self-doubt about ACE. I wanted to pursue ACE. I had that fire inside of me, but those thoughts always crippled me and that fire became a dim light.

“I want ACE to happen so bad and to honor my father but what if I fail? I have $10,000 from him- what if I use it to make ACE happen and it fails? What “honor” would I be bringing him?” There were so many times I wish he had given me answers.

I went back to working at the coffee shop and decided to completely open up to my coworker and friend, Garrett, about everything that’s happened in my life. “I have been trying so hard to figure out how to honor my father after all of this. But I am terrified of disappointing him. Failing him.”

Garrett said the best thing that I have carried with me till this day. “Honor yourself. If you honor yourself, you are already honoring your father. Because your father would’ve wanted you to be happy. Go after your dreams. Live your life according to you- even if you do fail. That’s how you honor him. Through honoring yourself.”

He was right.

My father never wanted to change me. All he wanted was for me to be happy and healthy. He never pressured me to be anything but myself. But who am I and who do I want to be? I wanted to be someone who lived like an ace.

An ace is someone who has struggles, but despite the struggles, despite the fears, an ace decides to keep going and be the best version of themselves. An ace is someone who perseveres, lives boldly and courageously. Someone who spearheads their dreams with fear, but achieves them with courage. That is who an ace is. THAT is who I want to be.

We all share struggles, every single day. Most of the time, my struggle is grief. Some days, it’s self-doubt. Other days, it’s depression. Every day is a different struggle. What’s your struggle? Whatever it is, we can all choose to be aces.

You make the choice. Making that decision is scary. Terrifying, actually. It requires you to take risks. Taking risks means being vulnerable. It means the possibility of failing and then deciding to rise up again, and again, and again. When you rise up, there’s only the process, because there are no guarantees when you take a risk. Just you and the beautiful unknown.

The Moment

Everyone has that moment. The moment that they decide to put on the battle armor and fight with all their heart. I sure as hell wasn’t ready to fight.

My story may be the same as yours, or it could be different. The point is, we all go through this moment. The moment where it feels the universe is stacked against you while you wear your silly little wooden armor suit with your silly wooden sword and you go out there to take on the world. “Is that all you got universe?!” I still find myself saying.

But that’s it. That’s the moment. Whether that moment comes after losing someone you love, or losing the house you grew up in, or after going through a traumatic experience. OR, that moment could just come! Out of nowhere. That moment is everything. That moment is where you decide.

Are you gong to rise up from the ashes? Dust yourself off? Or are you doing to stay down? This moment...this is where I want to encourage you to rise up. When you rise up, that's when the magic happens.

I’ve come so far since that moment. I finished the design of my backpack, created a spec sheet, sourced a bajillion fabrics, published three articles, attended textile conferences and met with fabric suppliers from all over the world, created a website, made business cards, launched social media accounts, hired a sample maker, and I went to an amazing conference specifically for women who live like aces. I’ve made new friends, met the most inspiring people, and the most important thing? Every time I wanted to give up, I didn’t. I never surrendered.  

When Life Happens  

Life is full of trial and adversity, but it is at those pivotal moments that we can shape the success we have tomorrow.

When faced with the unknown, most people prefer to stay within the comfort of security. But what if next time you were faced with life's oppositions, you stood your ground and forged a new path?

I’m not promising it will be easy. In fact, it will be one of the hardest things in your life you’ve ever done. I’ve cried and screamed into my pillow many times. I’ve told myself over and over again, “I can’t do it.” But every single time, I always ask myself, “But what if I can?”

It is only when you’re tested that you can truly discover who you are and who you can be.

Every woman goes through the battlefield to succeed. But what you don’t know is that these ups and downs of daily wins and losses lead the successful women we are today. Success is a movement, not a destination. And in order to create that movement, you have to take action.

I believe that an ace is for truth living individuals who own their story. Through being vulnerable, we find the courage to empower ourselves to reach our full potential. Through that act of bravery, we are able to create an impact greater than ourselves that can send ripples through the universe. I’ve owned my story. Now it’s your turn to own yours.

Every day you have a choice, to live like an ace or not too. That choice we make in the moment can define the rest of our lives. Find your inner ace, she’s in there somewhere. When you do, let her thrive in this magical, chaotic battlefield I call success.


Danielle Magee is the founder of ACE Backpacks, a company that creates minimalist backpacks for conscious adventure seekers and dream achievers. ACE advocates for girls' education, creates jobs that lift people out of poverty, and empowers women across the world.

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram


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The Business Baby's Guide to Getting Started

GUEST POST BY ASHELY YANCER

A simple conversation which included, "Wouldn't this be such a fun idea?!" turned into a full-time business for my sister, my mom and me. We are still business babies, only two years from taking the first steps to creating our products and only months after our official launch, but have learned so much. We are three moms, none having a business background, but have proven to ourselves that if you really want something and believe in it, anything is achievable. We are far from knowing everything and are still continuously encountering obstacles to overcome, but we have found that some methods to our madness have never failed us (yet!).

the business baby's guide to getting started - take a leap of faith - belong magazine blog - female entrepreneurs, lady boss, women in business

1. Do not take "no" for an answer and never give up.

When you feel down, when you are second guessing everything, when you aren't sure if you are ever going to get where you want your business to go, you have to continuously woman up and just keep pushing forward. If a door shuts, open a window. As difficult as it is, you have to do your best to keep emotions at bay. You are going to be rejected, you are going to hear "no" and, in those moments, you have to dig deep and remember why you started your business. Stick to your goals and exhaust every option. And when you think you are all out of ideas...keep digging. 

Our favorite quote when it comes to business is:

"There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs."

2. Being pushed out of your comfort zone is not a bad thing.

All three of us have had to do things for our business that we never thought we would or could do. We are not public speakers and we do not see ourselves as salespeople. That being said, we spent so much time creating our products and have invested so much money into our business that the words "I can't" have been pretty much eliminated from our vocabulary.

We want to know that we have done everything we can do to get our product out there. This has included going from store to store selling and doing local news segments anywhere we can. We still get nervous but have honestly been so proud of ourselves for everything we have pushed ourselves to do. We've had to check our egos at the door, realize that it is okay if we mess up and continue to put ourselves out there as much as possible.

3. It's okay to admit you don't know what you're doing.

Seriously, no one expects you to the business experts day one. It has been surprising and so refreshing to us how helpful other business professionals have been. We have received so much amazing advice and we are like sponges ready to learn anything we can.

We have always kept it real. Never act like you are something you are not or that your business is further along that it is. Be genuine. 

4. There is no blueprint to how to run your business.

You know your business better than anyone. Others' advice might not always work for you like it did for them. Apply advice that makes sense for your company, your product and your budget. 

5. Find balance for yourself.

Being a women in business means you might be juggling a lot more on your plate than just your company. Our littles comes to work with us at our warehouse every single day. Having them with us makes things fun but crazy! My sister has two under the age of two, and I have three of my own. After spending so many days at work with us, we have coined the name, "The Warehouse Children." (Our warehouse neighbors even asked us if we ran a day care!)

6. Keep organized.

We make sure to always keep our selves organized and on top of everything. Our mom definitely drives the organization, but it really makes such a difference. When everything is organized and ready to go, we are able to take lunch breaks with our kids and take time out for mini dance and singing breaks throughout the day. I am able to leave in time to get my kids from school and to their extracurricular activities and homework time. We all make sure to schedule in date nights with our significant others as well as make time for just us. Whether it's watching our favorite TV shows, reading a good book or a fun girls night out, we make sure to take time for ourselves when we can. Don't put things off. Just get it done and you and your families will be happier for it.

Always remember: you create your own opportunities. Behind every successful woman is herself. You've got this!


Ashley Yancer is the in-house creative diva and co-owner of Hudson & Heart Co.  She is an Oklahoma native, mama to three, and has been married for 11 years to the love of her life.  Ashley worked in the classroom as an early elementary teacher and transitioned as a stay at home mom as her family continued to grow.  During the years at home, raising her family, her creative spirit continued to flourish as she became a self-taught graphic designer and business owner.  After many years of dreaming of creating her own brand, Ashley, her sister Lauren, and her mom Lori, decided to take a leap of faith in 2016 and began Hudson & Heart Co.  H&H is a unique and meaningful gift company that incorporates Ashley's passion for children by providing a meal to children in need for every product purchased. She is the company's go-to girl for artwork, branding, and new product production. Her ideas just keep on coming, and she cannot wait to see what the future has in store for H&H!

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stay in the loop / community

In an effort to share more, provide more resources and encourage and inspire you, I thought regular "stay in the loop" post might be good. So here goes! 

The topic of diversity has been swirling around a lot lately, and I've been spending a lot of time thinking about it as well as talking about it with friends in the creative community--discussing what "true community" is and how to achieve it. This note that Reina of Reina and Co. sent out a couple of weeks ago struck me. It was helpful for me as I've been preparing for my presentation for the Shine Brighter Together summit next week.

Speaking of which, don't miss the chance to be part Shine Brighter Together. January 16-18, 2017. Online.

Every day that you serve and support in your community is an opportunity to make a long-lasting impact that can truly change the world. I know that as hard as you already work, you desire to make a bigger and brighter difference in the world around you. I know that you see how divided our world is and that you want to be involved in making meaningful change. And that doesn’t happen because of social media followers or a beautiful website alone (those things are important too), but by actively being involved in building real community.

Join me for this FREE conference dedicated to just this: building true community through workshops on personal and professional development. 

Our Friday faves from the #youbelong stream on instagram. You can find all the details here

This week's favorite resource is none other than our own collaborative effort with Holly Meyer Design -- The Belong Boss Toolbox which is full of 50 resources designed for the creative entrepreneur. 

Are you part of the Savvy Business community? It's a really fun and encouraging bunch of lady entrepreneurs. This last week, they had an instagram challenge and these are some of my favorite new #savvybusinessbesties. (get details here)

For this introvert, community can be tough. I talked about it a bit on the Creative Empire Podcast here

What are your favorite ways to be in community, whether online or off?


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What You Need to Know Before You Ask

I didn’t crown this my word for the year, but maybe it should be the princess to my queen word.

ask

what you need to know before you ask - belong magazine blog - female entrepreneurs, creative business women

You know the lovely ladies at Think Creative Collective? I asked them recently if they had any insights on how to generate more Instagram sales and you know what they said? “Are you asking people to buy the magazine?” Hmmm…

Then, I had a virtual coffee date with none other than the utterly amazing Cyndie Spiegel of The Collective of Us. I know, strange enough for this introvert to have a coffee date, but with such a firecracker as Cyndie--crazy. I am sure I got WAY more out of the conversation than she did and it was a gift to get to chat with her dynamic self. But here is the thing, she kept repeating something to me: “Are you going to ask?” “Are you going to ask for it?” “What are you going to ask for?”

At first, I was like, “Welll…..(followed by excuses).” Then I realized that my excuses were simply not going to work with her. She was calling me out! To my face. I was speechless and a little embarrassed. There were only two answers to her question: yes or no. Which was it going to be?

Then, Cyndie was interviewed and featured on Forbes.com. Yes, the Forbes. And you’ll never guess what she talked about: asking. You can read the whole piece here (and I recommend it). But it cemented in my mind that this was something that I needed to pay attention to and practice.

A couple of things I've learned.

  1. determine what I want/need to ask for / 

    You have to know what you're asking for in order to ask. Though I like to think I can do it all on my own as a female entrepreneur, I cannot. How do you intend to grow your business and what do you need to get you there? These are the things that you need to be asking for. Maybe you need to ask for help or you need to ask for sales or you need to ask for clients or you need to ask for encouragement. Whatever it is, figure it out. 
  2. who do you ask / 

    Questions put to the wrong people are a waste of your time and their time (and can be embarrassing for you which may make you feel hesitant to ask again). Figure out who the right person is before you put your "ask" out there.
  3. "no" doesn't mean you should stop /

    Be prepared to hear "no" for an answer. A lot. That's okay. This doesn't speak of failure but of effort--you are out there trying to make it happen. Just because you hear "no" doesn't mean you should stop. Keep asking until you get your "yes." It will come.
  4.  you have to ask to grow /

    When it comes down to it, we can't do it alone. We need others both in our personal life and our business life. It's not a sign of weakness to have to ask; it's a sign of strength. You can't grow if you aren't willing to put yourself out there. 

I’ll admit, I’ve not started yet, but I’m working up my nerve. No excuses.

I’m trying to keep in simple. I am going to ask businesses to advertise in the magazine and through our other opportunities. I am going to ask new distributors to take on our title. I am going to keep reminding people of the value of the magazine and asking them to buy it.

I KNOW that Belong offers value both to advertisers and to readers. I know that it is changing lives. How? Because YOU are telling me! So why do I feel so shy about sharing this with others? Why is it so hard to ask?

I. DON’T. KNOW. But it is. I get it.

Earlier this week, I sent out a request to fill out a quick 30-second survey. It was an "ask" and it was hard for me to put it out there. But I did it and so can you. 

Be bold. Be confident. Be brave. You've got this.

I will leave you with one "ask:" what are your "asks"?

THINK BIG. DREAM BIG. ASK BIG.


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How to Connect with Clients via Instagram

GUEST POST WITH KATHERINE HENRY

Social media is all about connecting and building community! You have an Instagram account and now it’s time to use it to the fullest. What I love about Instagram is how I am able to not only connect to friends but also clients, future clients and also others in my industry. Below I have five ways to build your connections, share about yourself and grow on Instagram!

how to connect with clients on instagram - belong magazine blog - female entrepreneurs, lady boss, women in business, customers

1. Share passions other than your business /

One of the main reasons to follow others through social media is to learn more! This doesn’t always need to be about your business, it can be about you and your passions. Do you love to bake? Share that! Love to dabble in watercolor painting? Show your journey! Sharing your passions are a great way to have clients and future clients become comfortable with you and to connect through common interests. Finding out someone else loves the same things as you is always exciting- and you instantly feel more connected (even without meeting face to face).

2. Share a glimpse into your life /

What are you doing from day to day and where are you spending your time? Do you have little ones at home that you are coloring with around the table? Maybe you have some furry friends and you like to take long walks. This is also a great way to share your studio, home or work space. Clients love to see where you are working, and your space and home can show a lot about you. Maybe you have a beautiful planner you use to organize your schedule and jobs, or your desk is filled with framed inspirational quotes. If you invite clients to your space they will love to see where they are going before even setting up an appointment. It’s also an important way to help them feel more relaxed and comfortable when they do come in to see you.

3. Share your adventures 

What better way to connect with others than sharing your adventures through your feed. Not only is this a great way to let others know what you are doing, but you can ask questions to learn about your followers to get their feedback. Maybe you are traveling to a new city and want to know the best spot for breakfast - just ask! You could even make a new friend to meet up for tea. 


4. Share your "friendors" (friends who are vendors) /

Community over competition is the way to go. Not only can you make great working relationships, but you can develop some wonder friends at the same time, so work together. It’s wonderful to collaborate and share photos working together (behind the scenes maybe?) and of course the final product. Tag, tag, tag your friends too. You never know who will be browsing your feed and find the perfect match in your friend. Isn’t it the best feeling to help a friend out?!

5. Share your work /

Lastly, of course you want to share your work with your followers. Are you a photographer? Filmmaker? Artist? Baker? Now is your time to share your best work and start a conversation around the process, experience and lessons learned.


Katherine Henry is the owner of Katherine Henry Boudoir, a Boudoir studio located just north of Boston, MA. She lives in Wilmington, MA with her husband Craig and their two children. Katherine has been photographing Boudoir since 2012 and her favorite part is watching and celebrating her client’s confidence. When not working in her studio she is spending time with her two little loves, Max and Ivy, most likely building with legos or baking yummy treats in the kitchen.

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Tips for Beginning Meditation (and why it makes you cry)

GUEST POST BY BOOM SHIKHA

Meditation has been gaining in popularity over the years, so much so that it isn't considered a foo-foo practice anymore. It is a legitimate exercise that has gained traction with people from all walks of life. Almost every successful people you might chat with has a consistent meditation practice that they follow.

tips for beginning meditation and why it makes you cry - belong magazine blog - female entrepreneurs, creatives, bloggers

I have been an avid practitioner of meditation for the past few years, and I always get asked the same question by beginner meditators. "Why does meditation sometimes make me cry? I thought it was supposed to make me Zen and stress-free?"

The common misconception about meditation is that it is primarily a stress-relief tool.

That is how it has been marketed in the past. In my opinion, meditation is a life-long practice of un-smudging yourself to see who you truly are. To see your authentic self, without the myriad masks that we normally wear.

Meditation helps us realize the truth, the ultimate truth about ourselves.

When we begin the process of un-smudging the layers, a lot of emotional distress will be revealed. Either it is grief at all of those moments you were unaware of yourself, or sadness at lost time, or joy at the discovery of your true self. A lot of emotions will come up when you first start meditating. Like any other detox, this mental detox of meditation will reveal and release a lot of toxins. In order to let go of your past, the past must come up in the form of emotions.

Let the emotions come up and let them go. Release them. Do not hold on to them. They are of no use to you anymore. Cry if you want to. Laugh out loud if need be. Whatever emotion you are feeling, feel it intensely, lean into it, and then let it all go.

Tears are a great healer - a good cry can help you release so much negativity and toxicity. Along with meditation, a good cry can cleanse your soul from the inside out. We all could do with one of these deep cleanses.

Don't be afraid of crying during or after meditation. You are not going crazy. It is a necessary step in the process of letting go of your past selves. They don't serve you anymore. In order to grow, and move upward to your higher self, the past selves must be discarded. Crying will help you do so.

TIPS FOR BEGINNER MEDITATORS

1. Take some time after any meditation session to be on your own.

This time is necessary for you to integrate the learnings and growth that a meditation practice entails. In addition, being alone will give you permission to let go of emotions and cry if necessary.

2. Do not be afraid to cry.

Emotions are a natural part of who we are. Do not be ashamed of it. Crying is one of the most healing practices. It helps us let go of so much. I try to get a good cry in at least once a month.

3. If you need to talk to someone after you cry, please do so with someone you trust.

You are in an extremely vulnerable position after a meditation cry session and you need to be around people who will take care of you.

Meditation is one of my favorite practices to gain clarity about myself. I believe if more people meditated, we wouldn't need to drown our miseries in alcohol, drugs, shopping, food, or other alternative therapies. I would love to hear from you about your meditation practice. Please comment below!


Boom Shikha is a serial entrepreneur, wanderluster, online-business owner, yogi, author, and avid meditator. She's interested in helping you find your life purpose, and get to your Level 10 life. Join her free private FB group at http://www.whatsyourfreedomnumber.com.


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Belong Boss Toolbox

Holly has been showering us with tons of great information and motivation--how to start on your boss idea and how to make smart investments in your business.

We decided to pool our knowledge and create a resource for business women sharing tools and resources that we've utilized along our journey into entrepreneurship that we've found helpful (and necessary). 

belong boss toolbox with holly meyer design - resources for the female entrepreneur, tools, software, apps for your small business

The Belong Boss Toolbox in collaboration with Holly Meyer Design is filled with FIFTY resources designed to make your business life simpler and more efficient. These are tools that we've used and have found helpful and dependable in our businesses. Inside the Belong Boss Toolbox you'll find resources related to email and inbox, money and finance, client and team management, video and audio, design, website, social media, printing and shipping, storage and backup and apps. That's a lot of tools!


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How to Make Smart Investments for Your Small Business

GUEST POST BY HOLLY MEYER

Every business owner knows "you have to spend money to make money." However, there are seasons where you either have a limited budget to spend or no finances to spare at all. I've hardly ever been shy about spending money on my business, but there comes a point when the habit of spending can impair your profitability. 

how to make smart investments for your business - profitability, planning, money, revenue, sales - by Holly Meyer on the belong magazine blog - female entrepreneurs, lady boss, women in business, solopreneur, creativepreneur

When I look back over my monthly business expense through the years and compare against my return on investment (or lack thereof), it's become clear to me that some investments have been worthwhile and others not so much. The question I hear many times over from fellow bosses is...

 "How do I know what the smartest investments is for my business?"

To ensure your money is being spend in the best way possible, make sure to ask yourself these questions every time you get ready to drop some dough on any sort of business investment:

1 / Will it help you do your job better?

There is a difference between spending hundreds of dollars on Instagram props at Target and spending the same amount of money on a single business coaching call. A gorgeous social media feed will make you feel proud for a short while, but the long-term confidence you'll receive after jumping over your biggest mindset block is unmatched.

2 / Will it save time?

There are some investments that are actually shortcuts and others that require time and effort to see results. If you're self-motivated, investing in a do-it-yourself course can be beneficial for you. On the other hand, if that online course is going to sit around untouched, you may get more use out of your funds by investing in professional done-for-you services. 

3 / Will you see a return on investment?

When you think of the phrase "return on investment," your mind likely gravitates toward the financial results you'll receive, though money isn't necessarily the only return you could potentially experience. For example, your dream investment may be to attend a creative conference that will allow you to sharpen your skills and increase your knowledge. An unexpected return on investment could look like meeting your new business bestie, accountability partner or a collaboration opportunity.

4 / Is this a limited time offer?

Another factor to consider is the urgency of this investment. Whether the product or service is available year-round or seasonally will greatly impact your purchasing decision. The longer you wait, the more likely the price will increase over time. Lingering could end up hurting your bank account in the future. 

5 / Is there an alternate method?

If you answered "yes" to all of the above questions, then research to see if there is an alternate method that doesn't require as large of an investment but will yield a decent result. For example, bootstrapping your own brand design will not give you the same end result as working with a professional designer, but it could get you by until you're financially able to up-level your business. 

Once you determine if an investment is worth making, begin saving your money. Take on additional clients, host a flash sale, or you can even go so far as selling unused office furniture and supplies. If you're investing in a service, chances are the provider offers payments plans. If not, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Remember, the real risk is doing nothing.

What has been your best business investment to date? If money were no object, what would you invest in your business next? 


Holly Meyer is the owner + creative director of Holly Meyer Design, a boutique studio specializing in unleashing the inner roar of wholehearted solopreneurs and small creative businesses through intentional branding, web design, and design education. Holly is passionate about collaborating with creative entrepreneurs to inject new life into their brand with the perfect visual design that tells their unique story + deeply connects with their dreamiest tribe. She lives in eastern North Carolina with her lively cat squad.

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How to Take Action on Your Boss Idea

GUEST POST BY HOLLLY MEYER

You've probably heard the phrase, "There's nothing magical about January 1st," but when Baby New Year makes his appearance, we can't help but naturally think about all the fresh starts we are going to make, all the changes we want to implement and all the possibilities the next twelve months will bring.

how to take action on your boss idea pin.jpg

When you flip the page on the calendar, I bet your to-do list rapidly multiplies with #allthethings you want to do in the new year. And because your'e a boss, these new ideas will only continue to find you throughout the following weeks and months--while you're in the shower, in the carpool lane, making dinner, in the middle of a new episode of Grey's, and sure enough....right when you're half asleep.

Coming up with new boss ideas isn't the problem. The real struggle is figuring out which of these amazing, potential gold-mine, game-changing ideas to take action on. It's the 21st century after all, and we haven't quite figured out cloning (yet).

So instead of pulling your hair out, here are several tried and true steps for taking action on your boss ideas.

1. Brain dump. / 

Choose your weapon of choice, whether that's a notebook, bullet journal, scrap of paper or a clean Google Doc and begin writing anything and everything that is taking up residency in your brain. It doesn't have to be perfect because this will only be for you.

2. Group + Color Code. / 

Next, comb through your new list and use highlighters, crayons or colored pens to group like items together. Use various colors to begin ordering your list by priority. If you're feeling fancy, you can create a legend so you'll always be able to decipher what the different colors mean.

3. Create a calendar. / 

Once you have your list grouped and prioritized, the next step is to create a calendar in order to begin scheduling your action steps. A few favorites of fellow bosses are Trello, Asana, Google Sheets and a paper planner. 

4. Begin Scheduling. / 

With your handy new calendar in hand, start plugging each item into your preferred day, week or month. Make sure to break each task down further into tangible baby steps. If your boss idea is along the lines of "designing a new website," there are many moving parts that add up to the end result. Baby steps might look like: deciding a new color palette, selecting photography, sketching a homepage layout, etc...

5. Commit to a schedule. / 

Your boss ideas are likely to consume your every waking thought, but you still have obligations like client work, guest posts and meetups galore. To keep moving forward on your ideas while maintaining other responsibilities, create a habit and commit. For example, perhaps you'll decide to work on your boss ideas for one hour three times a week. Or maybe you'll work on your idea every day for 30 minutes.

Even if you only complete one small step a day, in no time your goal will be achieved. Find an accountability partner to help you follow through. 

With these steps for taking action on your boss ideas, you have the tools you need to begin moving forward on your big goals. The biggest hurdle will be finding a system that works for you, but once you nail it down, it's full steam ahead. After you successfully wade through all the ideas swimming in your head, you'll feel a wave of relief. 

What has helped you take action on your boss ideas in the past? Where do you struggle to see these ideas to completion?


Holly Meyer is the owner + creative director of Holly Meyer Design, a boutique studio specializing in unleashing the inner roar of wholehearted solopreneurs and small creative businesses through intentional branding, web design, and design education. Holly is passionate about collaborating with creative entrepreneurs to inject new life into their brand with the perfect visual design that tells their unique story + deeply connects with their dreamiest tribe. She lives in eastern North Carolina with her lively cat squad.

Website // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest


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52 Ideas for Self-Care

GUEST POST BY TRISH OF JEWELS BY TRISH

Jewels by Trish Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry http://www.jewelsbytrish.com

When is the last time you took 10 minutes to do something fun for yourself? Do you set weekly pampering dates with yourself? Are you cranky and irritable? Do you feel frazzled and pulled in a thousand directions? Have you forgotten what you even enjoy doing?

Sounds like you are craving some alone time with yourself. And honey, I’ve been there and really don’t want the t-shirt.

As women, we easily fall into the trap of taking care of everyone else first + their brother + their sister + the neighbor down the street + well…you get it. We place ourselves last and at the end of the day, we often feel tired, used up, cranky, and less than stellar. We go to bed and then rinse, lather, and repeat the following day.

It’s a viscous cycle that spirals out of control.

And if left alone, this cycle will leave us feeling like all we do is chase our tail without ever catching it. Yuck! Who wants that?

Not me, fo-sho! And certainly not you either. But don’t fret my pretty; I have some help for you.

The first step to success with self-care is believing YOU DESERVE IT!

Yes, you DO deserve it. What is the thing they tell you in an airplane in the event that it crashes? Put on your oxygen mask FIRST. You can’t save the person next to you if you run out of oxygen.

It’s the same thing with taking care of you. If you don’t stop every now and again to make sure you feel good, then you end up being a poor caretaker of others because you feel like crap. I know you want to be good at taking care of your family, friends, or neighbors. And I know deep down that you really don’t want to feel bad all of the time.

So believe that you deserve to feel good; and you deserve to take some time out for yourself so you can feel great. Repeat that mantra daily until you feel it in your soul.

The second step is informing your family or whomever it is that’s holding you back about this need to take good care of yourself. Tell them why it’s important to you, what’s in it for them {duh, if you’re happy, they’re happy}, and what the plan will be for yourself. And if it’s you holding yourself back, then sit yourself down and talk to yourself.

The third step is scheduling this new playtime. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.

Decide how much time you want to start with…10 minutes a week, 10 minutes a day, an hour a week…decide. Now write it in your planner, or on your calendar. Set a reminder on your cell phone. Write it on a sticky note and paste it to the refrigerator. Put it somewhere to keep yourself accountable.

Lastly, take the time you decided and do something fun for yourself.

Have you forgotten what you even enjoy doing? Worry you will run out of ideas? No worries, I’ve listed 52 ways to pamper yourself. That’s an entire year worth. Here we go.

52 Ideas for Self-Care

1) Take a walk
2) Walk your dog
3) Take a bubble bath
4) Enjoy your favorite beverage on the back porch
5) Read a chapter in your favorite book
6) Take a short nap
7) Dance around the bedroom to your favorite 80’s band
8) Drink a green tea at your local coffee shop
9) Go online shopping
10) Do some yoga stretches
11) Go the movies with your bestie or alone {It’s actually really exhilarating on your own}
12) Paint your toes
13) Paint your nails
14) Splurge on a blow out at the hair salon
15) Get a massage
16) Braid your hair
17) Enroll in a leisure learning class at your local college
18) Shave your legs
19) Soak your feet
20) Go shopping for luxurious hand or body lotion
21) Watch ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ alone in your bedroom
22) Go grab a Sonic Blue Raspberry Slush and add extra Nerds
23) Go play tennis or kayaking or running
24) Go for a bike ride
25) Pick flowers
26) Go take a spin on a swing at the park
27) Visit the park
28) Visit your local Tourist Bureau
29) Meditate
30) Write in your journal
31) Work a puzzle
32) Read your favorite blog
33) Take a spin class
34) Pray
35) Enjoy the silence while smelling the scent of your favorite candle
36) Draw a picture
37) Color in your adult coloring book
38) Try watercolor painting
39) Play on Pinterest
40) Create a new play list on Spotify
41) Sit outside and bird watch
42) Feed the squirrels at the park
43) Flip through your family photo album
44) Learn to speak a foreign language
45) Learn to say, “hello, how are you” in French or Spanish
46) Gaze up at the stars
47) Gaze up at the clouds and see how many shapes you can find
48) Go for a quiet drive
49) Write a love-note to yourself
50) Wear high heels and go fragrance testing at the mall
51) Blow bubbles
52) Craft something with glitter

Oh my goodness, who is pumped up now?! I can’t wait to do all of these myself.

So go forth, my friend. Talk to yourself and believe that you are special, discuss with your family or friends, set a date with yourself and enjoy.

I am so excited for you. If you enjoyed this list, please share with all the women in your life that are so deserving of taking care of themselves, too.


Trish is a busy jewelry designer and a mom of two. Like many women, she used to struggle with self care, but not any more! Now that she has mastered scheduling time for herself, she is a woman on fire and you can be too.

http://www.jewelsbytrish.com


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