Monday, March 4, 2013

Mind Your Business March 9 & 10

Sarah & I so excited about the Mind Your Business Boot Camp this weekend!  We have been planning for months and as we pull together the final touches, it is promising to be a great time.  There is still space available, so be sure to head on over to the Makeshift Society website to register.  And guess what? You do not have to be a Makeshift Member to attend the Boot Camp.

Sarah has been hard at work making a series of promo videos of MYB.  They have all been really fun, but I think this one is my favorite.

Mind Your Business Class Promo III from Sarah Deragon on Vimeo.

As always, we promise you a good time, some serious butt kickin' for your business and a lot of laughs.  Here's our line up of brilliant businesswomen ready to jump start your business in 2013:

So join us and our collection of top notch speakers for a weekend of fun and Mind Your Business.  I'll be posting pictures of prep for the weekend throughout the week over on instagram. Can't wait to see you there!

Happy Monday!



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mind Your Business Announces our Final Two Speakers

Say hello to Karrie Mayers Taylor of Videokard and Giselle Gyalzen of Rare Device.  I can't say enough about these two ladies!  I work with Giselle quite often and Karrie and I are always dreaming up projects together.  Sarah and I are so excited that they will be sharing their expertise on running a successful business with you on March 9 & 10. Spots for the weekend business bootcamp are still available but space is limited so get on it!  Here's the link to the Makeshift Society to sign up. Come along with us as we start of 2013 with a big business bang.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mind Your Business Guest Speakers Announced

We are so so so so so so excited to start telling you all about our list of fabulous guest speakers. We've announced two so far and see their fun facts below. You can register for the class right HERE and we can't wait to work with you in March. Please email us with any questions!

Thanks to Nicole Delger & Stephanie Bodnar for rocking our worlds with your small business owning savvy. We are elated to see what they have to say! We still have 3 more speakers to announce - can you guess who they will be??

Here's Nicole's info:

And now Stephanie:

Happy Inauguration, MLK Jr. Day and birthday to me! What a fantastic Monday so far.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mind Your Business Class at Makeshift Society

Well, here's what we've been excited to talk to you about for weeks! Lisa and I put together a wonderful class for small business owning women and lady entrepreneurs and it is all going down over two days in March (the 9th & 10) at the Makeshift Society. You can register for the class right here and be sure to like our business pages on Facebook (mine - Portraits To The People & Lisa's - Zelma Rose) so that you can get the chance to win a free enrollment to the course. We're going to be announcing guest speakers as as the class gets closer and wow wow wow we have some super awesome women that we'd like you to meet. We'll be coordinating a yummy dinner somewhere too, so that folks can get to know one another a bit better. Stay tuned for details on that too!

You will not only be inspired by this class, your business will be transformed. We're just the right kinda gals to help you whip your business into shape! 2013 is the year of the lady entrepreneurs - watch out, boys!

Email us if you have any questions!

Sarah & Lisa

Monday, January 7, 2013

Zelma Rose: A Year in Review

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

It all started with a desire to DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU DO.

Last year at this time, Sarah and I held our first Success Squad Meeting.  I remember introducing myself to members and saying that I was going to give this crazy Zelma Rose thing a try.  If it didn't work, that was okay, I was a mom, which is what I had always wanted to be, and I would find something else to do, or go back to my private practice if ZR went bust.  Looking back that seems so insane!  I can't believe how much Zelma Rose has grown in the past year.  It is no longer a matter of making it work!  A year later, ZR has become a team.  I added a publicist, a rep, and hopefully will soon add an intern to the mix.  Business has been growing and there are already so many exciting surprises on the horizon for 2013.

There are so many moments in 2012 that stand out, but the highlight by far was being chosen as a Martha Stewart American Maker Finalist.  As you know, I am just crazy for Martha and to be recognized by her team as a skilled designer still gives me chills!  While selling at Renegade Craft Fair this past holiday, I had a handful of customers tell me they saw my profile on Martha Stewart and wanted to come meet me in person.  What fun!  Also thrilling was to be part of the Makeshift Society spread in San Francisco Magazine and to get a mention in the Chronicle!!

On a personal note, getting to know Sarah and sharing this journey with her has been life changing.  We are crazy and it totally shows.  Deciding to partner up for a year of writing and truth telling when we had known each other for a minute?! Sure, why not? It's been awesome to be a sounding board for Sarah and now one else tells it like it is when it comes to the good the bad and the ugly.  I hope for all of us that we can find meaningful business friendships and relationships in 2013. This journey is a lot more fun when shared with friends.

As we begin 2013 there are so many exciting things on the horizon for ZR and myself.  Sarah and I are continuing to work together in new ways, Zelma Rose continues to grow and I look forward to starting the year firmly cemented in my role as as a designer and business woman.  It has been a lot of hard work, crazy hours and dedication.  It wouldn't even be possible without my family and friends cheering me on, calling me on my bullshit, and reminding me that this is who I am.  It has been an honor to share the journey of the past year with all of you. I look forward to 2013 being a successful year for all of us!

Here's to SUCCESS!



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Year in Review for Sarah

The other day I was cleaning out my Pinterest account and before I deleted this board I had to take a screenshot of it and share it with you on my year in review post. The inspiration board I set up for 2012 was pretty spot on - I blogged, I made art, I had a very fulfilling year sharing my successes and failures with you all on Awfully Grand. And since I'm an Aquarius and things are always changing, this blog is going to change too - more on that later, but wanted to let you know that if you want to follow my trials and tribulations of being a small business owner, then come meet with me face to face at the Makeshift Society Success Squad. In 2013, I am going to be doing more face to face business stuff vs. just writing about it on the blog. I really want to help other female entrepreneurs succeed like I have, so coffee dates and meetings it is going to be! If you're not local and want to see what I'm up to, then please head over to my photography blog - I just migrated it over to WordPress and it is so much prettier now!

So, back to my year in review - 2012 was pretty awesome and as I was preparing my goals for 2013 I wasn't sure how I was going to top all of the success I had this year. Some of the highlights for me were collaborating with Lisa on this blog and with running the two Success Squads together, I was featured in Daily Candy twice (I died both times, so happy), I had photos in magazines like Curve & Forbes, I was personally in San Francisco Magazine twice, I photographed over 100 people's not-so-corporate headshots, I decided to focus my wedding photography solely on LGBTQ couples and my partner was able to quit her job and come work with me, so now we own a family business. Life has been incredibly good and I still can't believe I've only been shooting full time since August 1st.

One of the main reasons for my success, something we continually try to drill into you on this blog, is that I have a strong community of support and I have friends like Lisa that tell me the honest truth no matter what. Friends that tell you that everything you do are great, but it is the ones that really push you to try harder, to update that text on your website, that challenge you to create more dynamic packages, that dare you to send off that marketing pitch to the magazine are the ones that really are responsible for your growth. So, thanks to the ladies of the Success Squad and to Lisa for not being afraid to push me forward. I adore you all and can't wait to see what we do in 2013.

Ok, Lisa, it is your turn. And um, I can't believe that we blogged for the entire 2012 - sounded like a pretty nutty idea when we talked about it in 2011, but we did it, we freaking did it! Woohoo!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Small Business Report Cards & Our Success Squad

Coffee Bar is where almost all of our Success Squad meetings were held. 
So, a few weeks ago Lisa and I talked about how we'd asked the Success Squad for some report card questions to ask ourselves as we prepare to get our businesses set for 2013. I wanted to share with you the list of questions that everyone sent in and I hope that you take an hour or so during the holidays to answer them. If you don't think you have the time, set up a phone date or have coffee with a friend and they can ask you these questions. A lot of the time I figure out the best answer to something while talking, so I will probably have my partner ask me these questions and I'm sure interesting things will come up. I'm all about making changes to my business and perhaps I should start doing this quarterly!? 

The other big news is that we've decided to combine the two Success Squads into one and to change the structure. We'll be modeling the 2013 Success Squad on the format of the one we've been facilitating at Makeshift Society. If you're someone looking for more accountability, then find some friends or colleagues to support you. We are better business women when we are supported and encouraged and allowed the space to dream bigger. I have this feeling deep down in my gut that 2013 is going to be a banner year for all of us, so thank you to all of the members that continually showed up and participated. I cherish you all and value your opinions so so much! 

Ok, so here is the report card questions - ready, set, go!

Sarah D’s List:
1) How well did I interact with the various social media outlets I'm connected to?  

2) How well did I structure my days, so that I maintained a healthy work/life balance?

3) Do I know where/how my clients are finding me?

4) Is it time to raise my prices?

5) Are any of my packages not working?

Karrie’s List:
1) How did my monthly income as an entrepreneur compare to income at a previous job?  Were there any things I lost in one way, but gained in another?

2) How did I organize constant connection and follow-up with clients?  What non-conventional (i.e., social media) ways could I also accomplish this?

3) What was my "180 Moment"? (the moment I completely changed my mind about something I thought I knew)

4) What collaborations did I participate in this year, and how did they help - or not help - my business?

5) What big leaps did I take, and which ones do I wish I hadn't taken?  What mental space was I in at the time, and how would I do it differently now?

6) How did my product improve beyond what I originally imagined?

7) What social media did I find to be most relevant to my business?

8) How did accountability play into my success this year, and how could it play a bigger role?

9) What the hell is networking?  How did I do it this year?

Kelly’s List:
1) Am I currently enjoying my work/projects and clients?

2) How clear is my communication with clients?

3) Are work goals being set and reached?

4) Am I excited about the future of my business?

5) Do I allow myself moments of reflection to truly absorb and appreciate the work that I do?

Kiffanie’s List:
Have I made changes this year that get me closer to my ideal day/clients/offerings?

If I didn't meet my income goals was it because I didn't have the appropriate offerings in place or because I
needed time to grow into those goals?

Did I set one audacious goal this year and achieve it?

Sarah G’s List:
1) Am I charging what I am actually worth and getting paid for all the hours spent on a project?

2) Have I managed my time well?

3) What aspects of what i do do i like best? how can i focus more on those areas and less on areas that aren't as interesting?

4) How am I/my biz perceived by potential clients?

5) How do I get through the rough financial patches without panicking? :)

Shelly’s List:
1) Have I made the appropriate changes that allow for my work to align.more with the life I want to lead? What other changes can I make?

2) What are five things I have done to get closer to making a sustainable income?

3) Why have am I  currently not making "art?" I feel stuck in this area right now.

4) What could I add to my life to connect with more people off of the web?

5) There are a lot of places Creating Space has been taking me. What parts have I enjoyed and want to pursue further and what is not working?

Stephanie’s List:
1) What have I done to push my brand/business (marketing-wise) in unconventional ways?

2) Have I identified my target customer and am I reaching him/her?

3) How are this year's numbers comparing to last year's? (Productivity, profit, viral reach, etc)

4) How am I staying engaged in marketing my business each day?

5) Am I excited about my work and happy to be doing it? Is it still worth the sacrifices I've made?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bye Bye to the Book

This past weekend was Renegade Craft Fair.  It's a huge show for me.  The weeks preceding are spent on production, planning and hitting my head against the wall trying to guess what might possibly be a big seller.  I'm almost always wrong.  Part of my RCF plan is sharing a booth with Kristen & Tom from Pommes Frites.  Kristen has been in the biz for 6 years and is a major pro when it comes to shows, Etsy, selling, and working the hell out of a booth.  This past weekend marked a special milestone for PF, as Kristen said goodbye to making one of her best selling items.

Kristen of Pommes Frites

Sarah and I are always fascinated by the decisions we all make for our businesses.  I guess I started thinking about all this last night.  I was recuperating watching a doc about the Foo Fighters.  Guitarist Pat Smear, who followed Dave Grohl from Nirvana to start the band, left when the group was on a non stop trajectory toward success.  He simply felt bored of touring and wasn't interested in playing the same song night after night.  Just not the direction he wanted his work to go. Brave or foolish, you decide, but a bold move nonetheless.  Yes, I am about to compare Kristen to Pat Smear.  You are welcome girl.

I witnessed Kristen make a similar bold move this weekend, when she said goodbye to her very last book safe.  Kristen has been making book safes, or hollowed out vintage books to hide goodies, as part of the PF charming home decor line since the beginning.  They sell like hot cakes, I watched them sell out on day one of RCF, but let's just say, she's over making them.  PF is about to go in a more focused direction and it is time to move on.  She wasn't even there to wish the very last sale goodbye.  As I watched Tom wrap up the very last hollowed out book cradling a flask inside, a bell rang out for the end of a era.

It was nice to witness a moment like that.  I loved to see Kristen saying no to something that for all intensive purposes was working for her customers and her business, but not for her anymore.  It is exciting to see her at the precipice of a wonderful and big turn of the tide.  I hope in 2013 we can all have the courage to make decisions like that for our business.  We are after all, the boss.

Thanks to Kristen & Tom for another great weekend.  See you guys in July!



Friday, December 14, 2012

All I Want For Christmas Is Camera Gear!

Surprise, surprise, surprise I want camera gear for Christmas! Here's some of the camera related things that are on my Christmas list, so here goes!

1. You know how much I love taking photos with my iPhone and I haven't played with any of these lenses before, so I'd like all 3 of these, please!

Buy the Photojojo Phone Lens Series at the Photojojo Store!

2. My iPhone battery goes downhill fast when I do a lot of photo posting, so this great little solar charger would really help me out. Love the wood case too!

Buy the Bamboo Solar Charger at the Photojojo Store!

3. I'm on the go all of the time with various lenses in my bag and I'm kind of over the ugly black padded cases, so I want one of these Photorito lens wraps. Hilarious, right??

Buy the Photorito Lens Wrap at the Photojojo Store!

4. I am always misplacing my lens caps. I annoy myself with how I can never find them after a shoot. I get wrapped up in the moment and either shove them in a pocket or a corner of my bag and I lose them all of the time. This would be awesome!

Buy the The Lens Cap Strap Holder at the Photojojo Store!

5. And finally, I want a tripod. This one is so cute!

Buy the The Expedition Wooden Tripod at the Photojojo Store!

Are you listening, Santa?? Thanks to Photojojo for their great embed codes for my guest list. LOVE everything about Photojojo!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Rare Device Gift Guide

We are so excited to have Giselle and the team from Rare Device, San Francisco's favorite shop to find the best in independent design, as our Gift Guide guests.   We asked the RD crew to pull together some of their current faves for your shopping pleasure.  Take a look here and don't forget to stop by Rare Device during the Divisadero Art Walk on Thursday, December 13 starting at 6pm.

The holiday spirit is on full blast at Rare Device. 
Here are some gift suggestions from the Rare Device crew!

Jackie Likes:

1. Centerfold Earrings 2.Leather Clutch Bag 3.Mikazuki Bottle Opener
Kevin Prefers:

1. Graphite Objects 2. Pebble Tape Measures 3. Skull Bronze Sculpture

Giselle Picks:

1. Leah Duncan 2013 Calendar 2. Arcos Earrings 3. Dotty Drips Egg Cup

Thanks so much to Giselle, Jackie and Kevin!

Happy Wednesday



Monday, December 10, 2012

You Are Gifted!

Well, we just couldn't resist!  With all the great gift guides out there this season, Sarah & I had to do a little fantasy shopping.  This week is the perfect time to get your holiday shopping on and what better way to fall in love with the perfect present then with a really great gift guide!  This week we will be sharing with you some of our favorites, plus we will have a VERY special guest on Wednesday giving us her top picks for the season.

I'm starting off the week with a series of gift guides from one of my favorite wedding blogs,  If you don't know Heather, get on over to her site and take a look.  Heather pulls together the best in wedding inspiration from a variety of style perspectives and ties it up with a beautiful bow! My favorite thing about her gift guides this year is that they are categorized by price and they include big name designers like Kate Spade and J Crew side by side independent and handmade Etsy sellers.

Also, you just might recognize some familiar designs :)

Happy Monday, groovy gifting and stay tuned for a very special guest gift guide coming up on Wednesday!!



Friday, December 7, 2012

foreignspell is Awfully Grand

Photos by Beck Diefenbach 
Hello, on this fabulous Wednesday we are featuring another guest blogger and this time it is Niki Baker of the amazing Etsy shop, foreignspell. Niki creates illustrations, carves stamps and makes cards that are inspired by music, art & nature. See if you can find any song lyrics in her cards - I spotted a few. We're delighted to have her words of wisdom and inspiration on the blog for you today.

I asked Niki a few questions and here are her answers. If you have some free time you should dive into her Pinterest boards - it was a nice glimpse into her universe and I kind of want to live there. Take it away, Niki.......

When did you open up your Etsy shop? 
My Etsy shop opened on August 14th 2011, but I began illustrating song lyrics while studying abroad in France around 2006. Upon returning to my normal BA studies at Seattle U I started compiling tons of notes & playlists containing songs that inspired me, along with some sketches. Once settled back in SF I started carving stamps, converted my tiny apartment into a home workshop and foreignspell really got going.

Is foreignspell a full time business for you? 
Nope - while that would be super great, my full time job (that I also love) is with Zinio in downtown San Francisco. I enjoy the challenge of this juggling act and it provides two very awesome forms of stability. Not even sure what I would do with all the free time I'd have if foreignspell were my one career!  

What was something unexpected that happened to your business this year? 
My items found homes in Japan! A wonderful Japanese distributor discovered my work online and they've made a few large orders. Working with them has taught me a great deal about time & inventory management and acted as a reminder to keep my focus from becoming too narrow. I also loved experiencing a brand new business perspective. I feel incredibly lucky - it's been amazing working with them. Never could I have imagined that my art would travel so far! 

Are you a goal setter or more of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of business owner? 
I definitely set goals and make plans, but oftentimes find foreignspell evolving in ways I never would have predicted. It's important to set goals as long as you don't let them hinder you from taking advantage of  unexpected opportunities that come along!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

What kind of analytics do you use when tracking your business' success, if any? 
I use the built in analytics in Etsy & Squarespace. I also have an excel doc that I really should update more often...

Biggest challenge for you this past year? 
Definitely time management! Right now my cat has her sleepy paw on my hand as I type and my boyfriend has been asleep for a few hours already. Coming home after an 8 hour day and working another bunch of hours without paying attention to the people (or pets) (or chores!!) in my life as much as I should is a big challenge. There are times when work for foreignspell doesn't really feel like work, so I hope to integrate that more in the future. For example : In preparation for three upcoming craft shows, two of my longtime friends came over and we made a fun night of prepping merchandise - complete with Mission Chinese Food, eggnog, & music! It's a little tough sometimes, but I really do love every moment of it and the support my loved ones provide is immeasurable!

Looking forward to 2013 - what are some things you hope for your business? 
I hope my art & cards find themselves in more shops around the Bay Area. Working with shop owners has been so much fun and I love discovering new places to find unique items! In general, it seems that I need to market foreignspell better and try not to get too caught up in production without leaving time for growth. I am so so happy though - even if things remained just like this I will continue feeling super lucky!

To find out more about Niki and to buy her cards - check out these links: 

foreignspell website
etsy shop
facebook business page
pinterest boards

Thanks so much, Niki. I think that your time management challenge is something that a lot of people can relate to. I remember doing photography part time/working full time and those 80 hour weeks nearly killed me. I hope that your business grows as much as you're able to sustain it and if you want to go full time, there's tons of us out there that will be rooting you on! San Francisco is such an incredible place for these types of dreams to come true. 

If you ever want to be featured on the Awfully Grand blog, you totally can, just head over to the submission tab on our blog and voila. You too could have a fabulous feature like this one.

Happy Friday!

Sarah & Lisa 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Exciting Goal Setting Workshops

Go to Pooja's website to find out more about her. 

One of the newer members of our Success Squad, Pooja Dang, has taken the leap to become a full time life coach and now she's offering these fabulous goal setting workshops in December to people in the Bay Area. Pooja and I first met because she hired me to do her headshots and immediately upon meeting her, I knew that she was something special. Her approach to life coaching is super refreshing and she's incredibly energetic. I highly recommend taking one of her goal setting workshops and then seeing if you could use her services for 2013 to help you make it the best year yet!

Email her at for more information or go to her website -

PS - You can still attend the Makeshift Society Success Squad meeting happening tonight, Wednesday, December 5th at 6pm. Come and share your expertise with us!

Happy Wednesday!

Sarah & Lisa

Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Freakin' Jon Stewart And Other Lovely Surprises

This week we started out offering up some ideas on how to grade our businesses for 2012.  Sarah circled the Success Squad troops to provide some great questions on how to look back at gettin' it all done this past year.  We will continue to post their questions and Success Squad member report cards over the next few weeks. One question that I am sure to allow for at the year's end is,

What surprised me most about my business this year?

My favorite thing about life is that no matter how well we plan, there are different paths we find ourselves on by just being open to possibility.  One of my super geeky favorite past times is to think about a public figure that I respect and enjoy and follow their professional trajectory.  I usually end up saying, "Wow, I never would have thought!"  And that is so exciting to me!  One person who I am admittedly obsessed with is Daily Show host Jon Stewart.  Okay, when I say obsessed what I really mean is that I have a super serious crush that has gone on for I'd say about 20 years.

I grew up in New York and in the early 90's Jon was on a local TV show known as the Jon Stewart Show.  For all you New Yorker's who remember, you know I'm talking about Channel 9.  It was a very sweet and funny show.  Jon was self deprecating as ever and I just loved his dark super 90's longish on top wavy haircut. I was sold.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined then that 20 years later I would still have the crush (still unrequited Mr. Stewart), but that Jon would be the host of a crazy popular satire cable show and interview Presidents and well respected public figures, not to mention be really good at it. How lovely is that?

When I look back on my businesses for 2012 with this question in mind, I will answer indefinitely blogging.  When Sarah and I started Awfully Grand, it was an experiment.  We wanted to chronicle our lives as we went down the rocky road of doing what we love and loving what we do.  At the beginning even that statement seemed so bold.  Were we really doing it?  Could we be so lucky to do what we love and love what we do? A year later we know the answer to be YES!  When it comes to blogging, for me it was all an experiment. I was working on Awfully Grand and writing some posts for Indiemade when I had the good fortune of meeting the crew from Stitch Labs.  Willo O'Brien, super geek and all star get it done girl mentioned that she really liked my writing style.  I hadn't really given it much thought.  I was used to writing academically and blogging never even crossed my mind as a writing style.  Before I knew it Willo asked me to blog for Stitch, which I still do and love to this day.  Stitch led to being a contributor to and that led me to blogging for Let's Neighbor.  Who knew that blogging would be such a large and exciting part of my business?  I'm oh so grateful to Willo for seeing something in me I had no clue was there and giving me a chance to prove myself.  One of my goals for 2013 is to continue to blog and seek out opportunities to keep it a large and significant part of my businesses.  Plus, I kind of love it.

PS Jon, if you are reading this, I'm still crushing on you hard.  Gosh you are cute.

What has surprised you about your business in 2012?



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Small Business Report Card for 2012 - Part I

Today on the blog we are featuring one of our fabulous Success Squad members, Karrie. She owns the small business VideoKard and is responsible for making Lisa and my beautiful videokards. To see Lisa's again, click here, and of course here is mine. Karrie has been going full time with VideoKard for most of 2012 and is looking ahead to 2013. She's one hell of a planner and loves color coded spreadsheets, so when I asked her how she'd grade her business, I just knew she'd send along some excellent questions.

I wanted to share these questions with you today and please feel free to start grading your own business using these questions. We're going to doing big things in 2013 and the best way to do that is to be crystal clear about how well or what we struggled with in 2012. Ok, here are Karrie's questions and if you'd like to share your answers with us, please leave them in a comment below.

Here are some of the ways in which Karrie is going to grade her business this year:

1) How did my monthly income as an entrepreneur compare to income at a previous job?  Were there any things I lost in one way, but gained in another?

2) How did I organize constant connection and follow-up with clients?  What non-conventional (i.e., social media) ways could I also accomplish this?

3) What was my "180 Moment"? (the moment I completely changed my mind about something I thought I knew)

4) What collaborations did I participate in this year, and how did they help - or not help - my business?

5) What big leaps did I take, and which ones do I wish I hadn't taken?  What mental space was I in at the time, and how would I do it differently now?

6) How did my product improve beyond what I originally imagined?

7) What social media did I find to be most relevant to my business?

8) How did accountability play into my success this year, and how could it play a bigger role?

9) What the hell is networking?  How did I do it this year?

Thanks so much for this, Karrie! I'm going to answer a few of these questions right now, since I have the floor, ha.

1. How did my monthly income as an entrepreneur compare to income at a previous job?  Were there any things I lost in one way, but gained in another?

I'm definitely making more now than I did at my previous job, mostly because it was a non-profit. I don't think that I lost anything by leaving other than the comrade of working in a really fun office and a good night's rest. Since heading out on my own, I find it really hard to turn off my brain at night because I cant hand off a project to an intern or anything - if something goes undone, it is because I didn't do it. I'm working on changing this though for 2013!

6) How did my product improve beyond what I originally imagined?

My product has improved a great deal this year, mostly because I'm shooting so much more. I had hoped that my photography and packages with resonate with people and I'm elated (and extremely grateful) that I've been able to be working so much. Each shoot that I have I try to challenge myself to do something new and different for my clients. I have also been able to invent new packages and replace the ones that weren't working very well.

7) What social media did I find to be most relevant to my business?

Social media that's been most relevant for my business is my Facebook business page. I devote most of my time and energy to it and I've linked it up to Twitter, so it is going really well. I post Instagram photos to my FB business page too! Yelp has also been really a very important website to my business. I wouldn't say it is 'social media' per se, but following up with clients and getting testimonials assures me top ranking whenever someone types "headshots and San Francisco" in to Yelp.

Woohoo! Gimme more, can't wait to see what questions are on the blog Friday.


PS. Karrie is teaching a class at Makeshift Society in December & I'm totally going. Read all about it RIGHT HERE!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Forward and Back

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

As we move toward December, Sarah and I like to look forward and back.  It is critical in business to keep an eye on the past, present and future, all at the same time.  Whoa.  For me, this time of year means working a ton, thinking about my goals for the next year, and post Christmas, taking stock of the health and over all success of my businesses.  In all the excitement and business of the day-to-day I often lose sight of the strides I have made during the year.  To be honest, I come up with new goals everyday.  I just can;t stop.  I reach one mark and move the bar. That's just how I role.  While this keeps things humming, I often forget to step back and take stock of all the little and not so little accomplishments through out the year.  What goals did I set at the beginning of 2012? Where did I fall short? What were the unexpected successes that came along the way?

From now until the end of the year, Sarah and I will be working on those daily reminders.  Join us this week and over the next month as we share our successes, failures, and surprises along the way.  We will be sharing our tips for evaluating success, like making a report card for your business...oooooohhhh, and getting and evaluating feedback and making plans for how we want to put changes in place for 2013.

What's your year end ritual for evaluating your business? What do you look forward to discovering? What has you hiding under the covers?

Lay it on us!

Happy Monday



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Katy Atchison is Awfully Grand

Katy Atchison in her studio/apartment in San Francisco. 

This week we are talking all about leadership and we love featuring ladies that have decided to step it up and so we talked to Katy Atchison, co-captain of the SF Etsy Team.  I first met Katy at a tattoo studio a few years ago, she was getting some work done and so was I. We chatted while our artists were hard at work and once you're tattooed next to someone for multiple hours, you're kind of end up as tattoo sisters. Lisa has interacted with Katy because they are both members of the SF Etsy team and they are an active bunch. If you're new to Etsy and live in the Bay Area, we highly recommend joining the SF Etsy Team, you will learn so much and have a great community of crafters rooting you on right away. We are elated to be featuring Katy Atchison on the blog today. She was kind enough to do a guest post for us. Ok, take it away, Katy...

Who Am I?
I am and visual designer, illustrator and the mighty Co-Captain of the SF Etsy Team

What is SF Etsy?
SF Etsy is a free peer-to-peer creative support group which motivates and teaches vital skills to local Bay Area Etsy sellers online, through in-person events, craft fairs and interactions. We’re a unique blend of over 800 creatives who have a passion for sharing information, building community and connecting with one another.

Our vision is to create unique opportunities for the creative growth of our members: selling events, social media, marketing, business connections, and helping guide them towards success for each of their unique business models.

Why do I LOVE to do what I do for SF Etsy?

I think it’s a good thing that when you asked me this mind swirled with about a million reasons why I love to do what I do for SF Etsy. 

But I think it can all be broken down into two strong words: Community & Inspiration

I have a very strong passion for creative communities where people share information freely and openly without expecting anything in return. SF Etsy helps to bridge the gap of missing connections within a person’s creative community. Whenever a bridge is built, my heart fills up and I feel so much fulfillment out of those experiences.

Have you ever seen someone learn something new – their curiosity is sparked, their eyes and whole face beam when they connect the dots between the steps? I encourage an open dialogue between members to support them in exploring new ways of creating and putting their own special spin on their original product and process. 

SF Etsy inspires people; it encourages and excites people. They feel supported, they know they have a resource that is there to help them. I get really excited when I think of the things that SF Etsy is doing for people. Our members don’t feel alone in their journey. There really is no other organization in the Bay Area that has had the natural growth and unique blend of peer-to-peer sharing that SF Etsy has. The diversity of the Bay Area works in our favor with everyone having an important personal story to tell & something valuable to share. We connect companies to sellers, create selling opportunities for members (like our Pop-Up at Bazaar Bizarre and our Holiday Show at Urban Bazaar) and open up in-person networking events that help to empower our team members to be brave when they take their business to the next level. How cool is that?!

As Co-Captain, I feel it’s my job hold the light up that lets our members shine and feel supported. And I’ll gladly let my arm fall asleep while holding that light if it means I’m making a difference in a person’s life, which I know I am.

Thanks so much for the guest post, Katy! Hope you have a fantastic holiday season! 


Sarah & Lisa 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ladies and Leadership

Happy Monday! This week we are celebrating ladies and leadership. Today's brief introduction is to get you to start thinking about women in a leadership position you admire. I'm not thinking about lady politicians, I'm thinking about the women that step up into leadership positions because it is a labor of love. Women have an uncanny ability to organize, collaborate and work together in exciting ways that we simply must applaud. A lady in a leadership position that I admire is, Leah Busque, founder of Task Rabbit. I have her "Making the Leap: A Founder's To Do List" printed out and up on my closet door. I look at it every day and draw inspiration from her words. Stay tuned for some exciting stuff on the blog this week!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Ring in the New

We will leave you this Friday with a little photo fun!  Being that our theme was all things new, we couldn't resist thinking about moving forward into the New Year and being incredibly grateful for what 2012 has brought us.  Part of the tradition of looking forward and thinking back for us centers around holiday greetings.  Plus, just in case you haven't heard, Sarah & I are stationary obsessed.  We popped on over to SF based to have a little fun with some of their awesome holiday card templates.  The possibilities are endless and it was really hard to narrow it down to just a few! Check out the designs below and cast your vote for the 2012 Awfully Grand Holiday card. Links to the card templates are in the captions.

Holiday Map Postcard

Year in a Nutshell

Happy Everything

What are your plans for looking forward?

Happy Friday!



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hey, Let's Neighbor!

As you've read, this week has been all about the new, so what better time than now to share with you all my newest blog!  November 1 was the launch of an exciting new project over on called The Neighborhood, and I just happen to be one of it's newest contributors!!

In short, Vivint creates home automation systems that help organize and control home security and energy usage. As pat of their mission, Vivint wants to help us to rediscover what it means to be a neighborhood.  Get out there, meet our neighbors, support local businesses, join together and be a neighborhood again. Their project Let's Neighbor launched November 1 and is a blog chock full of fun and helpful tips that center around neighborhood themes.  Pick up downloadable thank you cards, learn how to start a community garden, resolve conflicts with neighbors, prep your house for the holidays, and learn all about the art of the carpool with my first post, start a neighborhood carpool! The resources are pretty impressive and Vivint has lined up a group of top notch bloggers to bring interesting and relevant content to the project. You can follow along with me on We also added a button to the side bar of AG - it's that cute little orange n :)

I found out about Vivint through Alt Summit, as they are one of this year's sponsors, and really liked the concept of reintroducing the idea of the neighborhood.  Plus, the content allows me to write about all different kinds of topics and flex both my creative and psych muscles.  Which you all know I totally LOVE! Once I spoke with Vivint and learned more about the company and could feel their passion for what they do, I was kind of sold.  Ya know when something just feels like a good fit?

So here I embark on yet another collaboration...yes, us Awfully Grand girls really do walk the walk and talk the talk. It is exciting to be a small part of something new for a growing company, and I am looking forward to seeing how Let's Neighbor takes over the bloggosphere!! Wish me luck!

Happy Friday!



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Success Squad Mixer

Happy Wednesday! Today I'm here to report that we've successfully merged the two Success Squads that have been meeting once a month on Sunday mornings for most of 2012. The first group started back in January and the second group was founded with a bunch of women that I met at the Makeshift Society informational meeting this summer. Having two groups made sense for a long time because I wanted to make sure the groups didn't get too big because we spent a lot of time with individual check ins, but once I saw how great the new format for the Success Squad worked with the Makeshift Society members, I knew that it was time to merge the groups into one and switch things up for 2013. We held a mixer at Rare Device (thanks to one of our Success Squad members Giselle, who owns the super cool store on Hayes and Divisidero) and I surprised every one by having one of my dear friends, Naima, come and sing. Naima is an amazing Oakland based singer songwriter and she's got a show coming up at Disco Volante in late November, you should come, I will totally be there. One of our members, Kiffanie, even brought the members of her Success Squad made up of lady lawyers. So, there was a ton of new people to meet and I'm excited to see new collaborations in the future.

The Success Squads have been such a huge part of my life this year that it will hard to say goodbye to the old format, but as an Aquarian, I'm always looking to change things up and so here we go! I know that a lot of us in the Success Squads can credit the support and advice that we receive with our exponential growth this year as business owners. Being an entrepreneur is freaking hard, but all of you ladies made it so much easier and I never felt alone or isolated. I heart you all so much and I'm really stoked about 2013! Our last meeting will be this Sunday and I'm already feeling a bit sentimental about it. Here are a few photos I snapped at the event.

Thanks again to Naima for coming to inspire us with your beautiful voice and to my business partner, Lisa, because without you none of the Success Squad amazingness would be possible!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Brand Spakin New

Welcome to Monday!  This week we are doing a round up of all things NEW.  It is no secret that when it comes to the bright, shiny, and new, Sarah & I are full of it.  We love to try new things, put forth new ideas and switch things up.  Maybe it is the Aquarius in us both that allows us to shake things up so easily.  Whatever the reason, when it comes to the new, we are game.

There has been lots going on with AG, Zelma Rose, and Portraits to the People and we want to share the excitement.  Sarah will be posting about the new changes to Success Squad on Wednesday, along with a report from her new iphonography class at the Makeshift Society.  I'll be following up on Friday with an introduction to my latest blog over on

We of course don't want you to forget about this Wednesday's Success Squad meeting over at the Makeshift Society.  We have some great presenters lined up and we can't wait to hear your ideas! If you are a member, sign up and stop on by.  We'd love to have you.

Hope your Monday is EPIC!



Friday, November 9, 2012

Strategy TNT - A Presenters Perspective.

When Jennifer from Strategy TNT asked me to be the launching speaker of their new project, I was pretty excited!  A chance to geek out, strategize, and talk psych all at once?  I'm in!  As you know, we Awfully Grand girls just love collaborating, so I was really excited to talk more with Jennifer and hear her thoughts on what might make for a powerful presentation from her perspective.

Working with Jennifer was great!  Turns out she is completely and utterly awesome.  She had great ideas for how to market the talk and was able to take a lot of deep and complex materials and suggest ways that I can bring it all together.  Mind you, my last speaking gig was to a group of grad students and I had 3 hours to make my point.  The idea of  breaking down a relativity complex psychoanalytic concept into 20 minutes was both daunting and exhilarating.  One thing I learned is that to get something down to its essence, you need to really know your stuff.  It was a great reminder for me and really grounded me in my expertise.

The talk was great!  I was thoroughly impressed with the variety of questions.  There seemed to be a lot of ah ha moments, which is exactly what we were hoping for.  Mostly I was impressed with the variety of professionals in attendance.  Strategy TNT is really touching upon something with their mission of collaboration and cross pollination.  There is so much we can learn from each other when we take the time to think together on a single concept.  It was an exciting night and I can't wait to do it again!

Thanks to everyone who attended, tweeted, and sent the Lisa Anderson Shaffer Consulting message out into the stratosphere.  If you missed the event, video will be posted soon, and I am also teaching my Boundaries for Better Business Class November 29 at the Makeshift Society, where you can get a taste for some of my business strategy ideas.

Happy Friday!