January 29, 2015

My 5 Essentials for Productivity with gifs! Oooh! Aaah! (version 2.0)

Since I've started my vintage shop on Etsy nearly four years ago, I can truly say it has been a dream come true—mixed in with a lot of reality! It's been a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of lessons learned along the way. Some days I felt like the Road Runner, running at a pace of 100 mph, accomplishing every task at hand, demolishing anything that stood in my way. Other days I felt so discouraged, hopeless, and demotivated, not feeling sure what to do next but pull the covers over my head.

During those times, it was helpful to remember the following:

#1. The fact that I'm doing something I truly love. I've always found enjoyment in looking for one of a kind vintage treasures and being reminded by customers, friends, and family that I have a keen eye for finding some really groovy stuff has been motivation to push myself onwards and upwards.

#2. The fact that I truly can't imagine myself doing anything else. I've worked in Marketing, got my MA in Graphic Design, but owning my very own shop has been inside of me since I was five. I would pretend my dad's adding machine was a cash register and I'd make my family give me things to ring up. Alright it wasn't a vintage shop then, but the idea was always there.

#3. Having a clear vision of where I want to be. My vision continues to have CutandChicVintage become a full fledged online shop of its very own. Of course, a game plan, having tasks I can check off my list, and knowing how to stay motivated and productive are pretty helpful too.

Enter my 5 essentials for productivity!

But before I get into that (sorry for being a bit of a tease!), if you're a small business owner too and need some help with growing your business, I'd recommend checking out Kabbage. They're the industry leader in providing working capital online and are really passionate about helping small business owners.

Alrighty, now without further ado, let's do this...

1. Work S.M.A.R.T.

When I first read of S.M.A.R.T. it was like one of those a-ha! moments. S.M.A.R.T. is a project management tool that helps to set targeted, achievable goals. Think of it as the steps you need to take to get to your ultimate objective. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. I use this tactic for achieving my sales goals every month and it helps me break down what I need to do to get x amount of sales, as well as figuring out what will work best for reaching next month's goals.

With more focused goals I've found my shop's revenue has steadily increased year by year, traffic to my shop and my blog has grown by leaps and bounds, even my social media engagement has improved.

Of course with growth comes a longer and longer to do list. Between running CutandChicVintage and writing this blog, it's become a bit of a juggling act! The next tip for me has been essential to getting things done.

2. Write it down.

I swear the simple task of writing down a to do list helps to keep me on the track to getting things done. I love using old-fashion planners too. I can check things off my list, organize my time, and see how my week's turning out. Somehow physically writing tasks down and seeing them in front of me is sort of like setting them in stone and eliminates procrastination. None of that iCalender malarky for me.

3. Take breaks.

I used to be so guilty at taking time out for myself, but simply taking a walk outside for an hour helps to recharge my batteries and get going again when I return. Taking breaks and time out for yourself is healthy and necessary for your well-being. Otherwise you'll burn both ends of the candle and trust me that's the quickest way to losing your creativity, motivation, and your sanity! 

4. Just do it.

Sometimes when I overthink what needs to get done and how it needs to get done, it leads to nothing getting done. The moment I start to drive myself crazy about what's "the right way" of going about my plans, I've learned to stop second guessing and just start doing what feels right. There's usually no, one "right" way of doing something and my gut instinct is usually always spot-on. Just do what comes instinctively to you. If something didn't work, it's okay. Learn from your mistakes and try another way. The point is you tried and you'll see, you'll get there. 

5. Stay consistent.

Once you do find something that works, keep at it. I've found I get more engagement on my blog and on social media with my OOTD posts, so I've made it a point to do it every Monday and post it on the blog every Tuesday. It's now a weekly series that I expect to do the same time every week. The more you do it, the better you'll be at it, and the easier it'll get each and every time. You'll be able to do it without hesitation, like clockwork, or that eerie eyebrow movement.

What are your plans for 2015 and how will you go about achieving them? I'd love to learn more ways of staying productive, so if you've found a way that's worked for you, feel free to share it with us. If you end up trying any of my 5 essentials, let me know if and how they've helped you.

Till next time...

January 27, 2015

OOTD: Today, I'm after the disco.

OOTD by CutandChicVintage

Fashion blogger nyc

Vintage fashion by CutandChicVintage

Vintage hat

Outfit of the day by cutandchicvintage

Modern vintage style
I found that vintage hat at an estate sale about three years ago. It's one of those fabulous finds which forces me to wrestle with the decision of adding it to the shop or keeping it for myself. All in all, I have pretty good will power (I'd have an empty shop otherwise!) I very rarely keep vintage finds for myself but making that decision is still very hard. With this one, I crumbled.

The hat is actually a bit flawed, which is why I didn't want to sell it, or buy it, even. It's got some small patches where moths have gotten to it. You can see some of them from the close up picture, but when worn the patches are really imperceptible. When I saw the damage I was disappointed, knowing it's not repairable, but I couldn't not buy it. When I see something so wonderfully one of a kind I just can't part with it and like I said the damage isn't glaringly obvious, so hey ho. 

Vintage is very rarely found in perfect, "like it's brand new", condition, but that doesn't make it any less gorgeous than something new. I think of vintage as like diamonds in the rough, filled with so much potential and tons of character. To me, character trumps perfection any day.

hat & necklace: VINTAGE; turtle neck top: Had it for ages; disco pants in midnight navy: AMERICAN APPAREL; belts: H&M

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