Why Dropbox is an Essential Tool for EVERY Business {Tips + Tricks Included!}

It was my best friend’s 30th birthday and naturally, her Dad and I were talking tech (he’s a geek, I’m a geek). I was long overdue to upgrade my laptop to something newer and with more space. There were two models I was looking at and one of them was “cuter” than the other but offered a little less space. Naturally, I was leaning towards the cuter one (LOL!) but her Dad was telling me I just needed WAY more space, being that I own a web design agency. I sat there for a second and laughed, “I literally have no files on my computer, everything we do lives on Dropbox. It’s a total game changer.” He sat there for a moment, laughed and then said “Get the cuter one then haha”.

It wasn’t always this way. I remember the days my computer would let me know I ran out of space and needed to delete things before it exploded (jk). I’d have to spend over 2k (I’m a Mac fan after all) on a fancy pants laptop that was not only expensive but heavy and annoying to lug around. Dropbox is an absolutely essential tool for my business and here are the top 3 ways I use it to make my work and life run smoothly.

Save that space

This is a no brainer. A clogged up computer makes things run slow, adds stress to your day and leaves you open for your computer crashing. I’ve had the unfortunate event happen where I lost EVERYTHING on my computer because it just decided I had too many things on there and it gave up on life. Saving space on your computer also means you don’t have to spend a ton buying one either.

Team collaboration

The days of me having an office here in LA are over. I hated having to go in even though it was my own space and I prefer to work alone in the comfort of my home. With that being said, I extend the same benefit to my employees who all work from their homes. Without Dropbox, this wouldn’t be possible for us. We have large files, several files, projects, clients, our work, etc. and we need it all organized and accessible. When I approve a design for a client, my designer just tags/syncs with my developer assigned to that project and voila! No more attaching files to emails, the back and forth or losing things. Everything is in it’s place, in it’s own special file and on our Dropbox. When we have a new client, they get their own folder and within there are all our photoshop files and site backups. Gone are the days where I have to email each member of my team, I just upload what we all need and they do the same.

Mobility

As a lifestyle entrepreneur, I don’t really like to sit in one place. I work from home for the most part but a lot of times I’ll take my laptop and work at swanky hotel cafe, a friend’s office or co-working space. Other times I’m just on the go all day long at meetings. Since I tend to run around and I don’t drag my laptop with me, I use the Dropbox app to get to everything.  Literally EVERYTHING. Oh snap, I need to post one of our new promos on social but I’m across town. Problem? NOPE. Just click the Dropbox app and pull what I need from there. Drag and drop on the desktop app so I don’t even need to login if I don’t want to. It makes life as an entrepreneur on the go easy and stress free.

There are hundreds of ways I use Dropbox but I’m not going to list them all here. No matter what type of business you own or the size, Dropbox is essential.

**This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Dropbox. The opinions and text are all mine.

Why You Need a Morning Routine

I have been compensated by Sundown Naturals® and Pollinate Media Group for this post as part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sundown Naturals® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GoodnessGiveaway #sharethegoodness http://my-disclosur.es/OBstV

I had the day from hell the other day and that’s putting it lightly. It was a beautiful Monday morning and I woke up a little late and rushed through my normal morning routine. BIG MISTAKE. What I thought was going to be a beautiful day unraveled into a day from hell and I know it was because I skipped my morning routine. It may sound dramatic but think about it, if you do a few things every morning to start your day off right but then skip those things one day, it can start a domino effect of not so great things. 

Why you need a morning routine

What happened 

I own Gilt Design Group, LA’s premier web design agency and with that can come a lot of stress and fires to put out. Typically, it’s easy for me to put fires out and I do them without blinking an eye. Working on custom projects with high end clients is no easy task but it’s something I love and handle day to day with no issue. However on this particularly horrible day, I happened to rush through my morning routine and started a domino effect of annoying things happening. 

First, I woke to find a website on our server had been wiped clean. This particular site was set to launch that very week and when I called our hosting company to setup our backup, they told there was actually NO backup. I thought I was dreaming. “What do you mean there isn’t a backup for this site?” to which they responded “You went over your allotted space on your server so we stopped all backups.”

So you’re thinking, hello lady shouldn’t you have known this? Yea, I would have known, had the company contacted me to tell me this. They didn’t and we lost a site that we spent a month to build. The rest of the day was a series of mini fires and frustrations that on a normal day I can handle. But without my awesome morning routine, it was ROUGH. It was go hide under a blanket and don’t come out until it’s over rough. 

Why you need a morning routine

Why a morning routine is important 

A solid morning routine is what sets the tone for the rest of your day. It’s also great because it helps you start your day on your own path rather than just reacting to things that happen all throughout the day. I’ll explain my own morning routine and why/how it helps me have better, happier, more productive days. Some routines start with a jog, mine starts with being mindful and as always, taking my Sundown Naturals® vitamins

Why you need a morning routine

What my morning routine is like 

I do what everyone does which is getup, brush my teeth, wash my face and take a quick shower. Once that’s done the real routine begins. I start with a 15 minute meditation (if you don’t meditate, you need too!) followed up with some light reading on something positive or spiritual. I head over to the kitchen and take my Sundown Naturals® Adult Gummy vitamins (available at your local Walmart, yay!). Okay not to get side tracked but yes I take Vitamin C adult gummy vitamins to help support my immune system and all my friends and family make fun of me for it, haha! I just HATE swallowing pills and refuse to do it on a daily basis.

I love that these Sundown Naturals® vitamins are free of gluten, dairy and artificial flavors.◊ I also make my tea and sit down for a few minutes to think about the things I want to get done today and how I want to feel throughout my day. Not to sound to “woo woo” but I feel it’s important to start your day with intention. After all of that, I get my fabulous day started. 

Why you need a morning routine

That morning routine is what helps my day stay on track and helps me stay grounded when annoying things happen. Life is filled with surprises and I need to be ready and grounded in order to tackle them properly. My delicious and gluten, dairy, and artificial flavor free vitamins make sure my health is in check and my meditation and reading keep my mind in check. Both are super important. A morning run might help you out but you also need to make sure you have other things like the ones I mentioned to stay on track and feel great every single day.

How do you start your day? Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. If you’re not sure what vitamins may work for you, you can take this awesome quiz.

P.P.S You can enter the Goodness Giveaway Sweepstakes today! Head into Walmart and purchase at least 1 Sundown Naturals® vitamin product for a chance to win weekly prize packages and a grand prize! Every week, one winner will be selected to choose from 1 of 4 prize packs – Yogi Pack, Fitness Pack, Foodie Pack, or a $100 Walmart Gift Card. Simply upload a picture of your receipt here and you are entered for a chance to win some incredible prizes now through 11/1!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. ◊Applies to all products manufactured after 5/1/15. Please check back of label as manufacture dates may vary.

How to Avoid Booking the Client From Hell: 7 Signs You Should Pass on the Work

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 10 years now and one thing I have dealt with in EVERY business that I’ve owned is the dreaded client from hell. Often they’re disguised and you don’t really know who you are dealing with until it is too late. Thankfully, I’ve had to become a master at weeding these types of clients out and in doing so have created a peaceful, fun and fulfilling business. If you are a freelancer, business owner or deal with any type of client, then this post is for you.

One thing every entrepreneur has in common is the client from hell. The client who sucked the life out of you and along with it, time, energy and money. The one who you told family, friends and even strangers at your local coffee shop about because THAT is how much they sucked to deal with. Clients from hell all have a few things in a common and the trick is to spot them BEFORE you book them.

How to avoid booking the client from hell

So…how do you spot the client from hell and avoid the inevitable pain and suffering that comes with them? Here are the top 7 signs to look for plus a FREE questionnaire and checkilist!

The Potential Client

…won’t stop complaining about the last person they hired

This is a very clear sign that something is wrong. Ever hear the the saying “What Sally says of Susie says more about Sally than it does about Susie”? It’s the anti-gossip saying and the same goes for business. If they’re so willing to bad mouth their last person, they’ll do it just as easily to you. It can also be a sign that they are very difficult to work with and you’ll never make them happy.

client-from-hell-meme

I once had a client go on an on about how terrible her last web designer was and how she just couldn’t believe what she went through. As she continued talking about the situation I could start to hear and understand her designer’s point of view. It was very clear that she was going far over her scope of work and the poor designer finally just refunded her money to get rid of her-WOW! But the way she spoke about it was as if SHE was the victim of the story which meant that I could be in for the same thing.

If they won’t stop complaining about the last person they hired, RUN for the hills!

…won’t give you a budget

Refusing to give a an estimate on what the client wants to spend for anything is not a good sign. When a client refuses to give me a budget I know it’s a red flag. It basically says they have either been “burned” by a prior designer and will take that out on you or that they generally don’t value what a designer/agency does. Giving the person you may hire a budget can only help you and if it’s not something you can afford then you’re always free to use another provider.

How to avoid booking the client from hell with this FREE client checklist and questionnaire!

…insist on speaking after work hours

Against my better judgment, I recently signed on a client I had a feeling would be a problem. The client didn’t have the other red flags that appear on this list but kept insisting on speaking after work hours. This was before we even signed them on, which some clients will push these limits to see how badly you may want their business.

Since I’ve been a business owner for over 10 years, this is something I no longer allow to happen. The truth is, unless you’re a doctor, nothing is so much of an emergency that your client needs to speak with you at 9PM. Setting these boundaries from day 1 are SO important but I’ll save that for another time, post or possible ebook. Just know if your new lead/possible client insists on speaking with you at all hours, it’s not a good sign.

…disappear then reappear

Inconsistent communication seems harmless enough. So what if your client emails you Monday excited to start your project but then disappears for weeks? Though it most likely is not intentional, a client who disappears and then reappears will cause a complete scheduling disaster. Imagine that you’ve signed on a new contract and set to start on the 1st of the month. You send them client homework or a questionnaire and eagerly wait to hear back. It takes them WEEKS before they get back to you.

Now you’re in to the next month but you’re already booked solid. The client magically appears and expects you to begin work right away. So, you’re stuck trying to juggle more clients than you planned for and possibly messed up your schedule for the next few months. It’s a giant headache, so client communication and consistency is SUPER important.

i-like-the-sound-you-make-when-you-shut-up

…want you to work for free first (LOL!)

When a potential client wants you to work for free in order to win their business, this is a sign that they don’t value the work that you do. If they don’t value what you do, you are going to have to fight the entire way with their project. You should also be prepared for them to ask for MORE freebies, discounts and other things you would never give to any other client. You’re in for months of headaches or you could do the free work and have them disappear. Either way, it serves no one any good to work for free and that includes you. No matter what stage of your business that you’re in, skip over this client immediately.

…don’t want to sign your contract

One of the funniest emails I’ve ever gotten from a client has been “Your contract seems to be more in your favor than in mine.” It’s funny because if you think about it, of course our contract is going to be worded to protect our agency. Read any contract for something you purchase and you’ll see the same thing. Ours is pretty standard, we don’t offer refunds since you can’t “return” a website and if you don’t pay your invoices, you don’t receive our services.

A client who takes issue with a contract is usually a client who will not abide by your contract. This client is the same one who will make late payments or none at all. They will also add HOURS of extra work for you because they don’t want to follow a scope of work. No matter who the client is or how badly you need the work, NEVER take on a client without a signed contract.

…complain about you before you’ve even taken them on as a client

I had a potential client fill our project submission form on a Saturday and schedule to speak with us next week. When Monday came around and I responded, they complained that it took us two days to respond to their email. Mind you, they were aware it was a weekend and still thought to complain about our service. If a client is complaining about you before you even begin the work, this is not a good sign.

Avoid clients from hell for GOOD

Those are just 7 signs though there are so many more. I’ve had the joy of experiencing every one of the clients I’ve mentioned above which has benefited my businesses tremendously. And now, you don’t have to deal with all the headaches I had to deal with since I’ve put this together for you.

I’ve also put together a FREE New Client Questionnaire and Checklist for you so that you don’t have to deal with client headaches like I did. YAY!

After dealing with my fair share of terrible client experiences, I now consider myself to be a master at client selection. I spend my days not only attracting great clients but keeping them on and getting tons of referrals in the process. A happy, awesome client means a great experience for both parties and growth for your business too.

And if you think about it, what’s the point of being an entrepreneur if you don’t spend your days happy + fulfilled?

How to avoid booking the client from hell with this FREE client checklist and questionnaire!

How to Stay Motivated When You Work From Home

A cup of get shit done One of the major downsides of working from home is the lack of motivation that can occur at some point. Some people struggle with this more than others but we all feel it in some way. I’ve been working from home on and off for over 10 years and now I’m back to working from home full time. While working from home has a ton of perks, dealing with a slow down of motivation can be brutal. So how do you stay motivated when you work from home? 

Ripped jeans and peplum top outfit of the day

*My typical outfit 

Get dressed, it makes a difference 

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you need to get into a button up, pencil skirt, and heels while you’re working from home. It’s one thing if you know you have to leave for meetings at some point but if you’re in for the entire day, just getting dressed will make a difference. That means absolutely NO pjs, sweats etc.-and it also means you’ve showered, done your hair/makeup as well. Here’s the thing, you will FEEL differently when you do this. You’ll be sitting up straighter and feeling more confident. This change in how you feel will then give you a boost of motivation and swagger when working. More motivation=more $$$. Plus if you need to run out and grab coffee or run an errand, you’re ready to go!

How to design a stylish home office

*My home office 

Make that workspace beautiful 

There’s a reason I have a ton of blog posts on my site that cater to office design. It’s because your space will effect how you feel and how you work. I’ve known this pretty much all of my adult life and seen the difference a beautiful space makes to someone’s workday. You take care with how the rest of your home looks so don’t neglect this important area. Imagine sitting down to a cluttered, dark and dreary work area and then trying to be happy while you work. Doesn’t sound fun, right?

Cute cat working from home

*Sorry Biscuits but sometimes Mama needs to work with humans

Work with a friend or colleague

If you already have a beautiful workspace and you get dressed everyday but still feeling motivation slow down; work with a friend. My cat goes wherever I go and while that’s comforting, being alone all day can feel really isolating. I frequently “co-work” with friends and other entrepreneurs as a way to keep us all motivated. It’s another reason you should get dressed and be on your game, as well as make sure your space looks pretty.

These are my go-to tips when it comes to staying motivated while working from home. Other things you can do to stay motivated: work in a different room, pop out to a coffee shop, have a Skype call with a mentor/friend, read something positive or watch a TED talk.

What to Do When You’re Feeling Lost, Stuck or Uninspired About Your Life or Business

Over the last year I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my blog, where I wanted it to go or what I wanted to write about. I felt stuck and uninspired and wasn’t really sure what to do. I knew the things I DIDN’T want to focus on anymore and I knew that would eventually lead me to where I needed to go. It felt weird because I wasn’t writing as often as I usually do and that’s because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write about, what I wanted to focus on and how what I was writing would help or inspire someone. I found that when I’m not really sure what to do…the best thing is to just wait and see what unfolds.

dorothy chandler los angeles

Just wait.

Sometimes when you’re not sure what to do, the best form of action is inaction. I know it sounds counterintuitive but if you rush into something from a place of anything other than being sure/it feeling right, it can lead to regret. Or you can just produce more stuff that you’re not connected to which will lead you to eventual burnout or worse, sickness.

A much needed break from blogging.

As I took the last few months to step away from my blog, I found that writing about offices, workspace design, DIYs and partnering with brands for frequent posts wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore. I’ve been running my modern and fabulous web design agency for over 5 years, so thankfully I could take a step back from my blog/business and not have everything else come crashing down.

do what you love

The truth is, I love a lot of things. Of course I love interior designbut I also love art, beauty, web design, opera, ballet, nature, stationery, business, animals, food, writing, painting, baking, working out, netflixing, reading and a lot of other things I’m passionate about. But the major thing I noticed in all parts of my life, is my love and passion for beauty as a whole. I’m a very visual person and that involves all aspects of my life. I can’t stand visual clutter or spaces that don’t come together in some way. All things in my life need to look and feel beautiful. Though my wardrobe is mostly black it’s curated together that way on purpose. Everything in my life seems to have one general theme and it’s my love of beauty (and currently with a monochromatic theme haha).

When I came to this conclusion it was a giant relief for me, a big (self imposed) weight off my shoulders.

dont be like the rest of them darling

Why?

Because we’re told as kids and adults that we have to find that ONE thing and just be good at it forever or you’re doing life wrong. I’d admire friends who knew they were just BORN to do something and at the same time I would think “what’s wrong with me?” because I didn’t feel the same way. I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 10 years and with that comes a lot of different things I’ve tried, learned, loved or left. So to realize that my “thing” is that I just love beauty felt really good and it just felt right to me. I know it’s something about me that will never change and that has been inside me since I could remember. It’s why the home page of my site has the following quote:

eloise de wolfe quotes

And that’s exactly how I feel.

So I’m not really sure how content on my social media accounts and blog will go for now. I know that I’ll likely write about my life as an entrepreneur because it’s something I feel really connected to. I also often find myself consulting my web design clients on their businesses for free because I enjoy it. I love life as an creative entrepreneur and I love beauty, art and design in all its forms.

rose gold flatlay

So maybe you’ll see some small business tips/checklists and things that have helped me as a business owner, trips to art galleries, design/decor that I’m into, day in the life of posts and maybe a DIY post here and there. I’ve thought about the focus being a lifestyle entrepreneur because that’s what I am but I don’t want to put myself in a box anymore. I just want to write when it feels good to write. When I do write, I hope that my posts, past posts and what’s to come will help or inspire someone in some way.

modern and trendy web design

Feeling lost or unsure?

If you’re feeling like you’re not really sure what you’re “supposed” to do then my advice to you is to take a step back and not do anything at all. Sit and meditate on things, take a walk (or many walks) and journal how you’re feeling. Do this for a while. I promise it will come to you with time and it will most likely be something you never thought it would be. It might not be one giant AHA moment but a bunch of little ones. It may be just like me, where you don’t have a specific talent you want to focus on but you a specific feeling or mantra you want to have about your life. And that’s 100% okay as long as you’re happy.

It will all unfold when you’re ready to let go, just trust in yourself and in life.

How to Wear Rose Gold Jewelry + My Favorite Baubles!

I’m having a major rose gold moment right now. I just can’t get enough! Here’s the thing, I’ve loved rose gold jewelry since I was a kid. It might have been a jewelry a relative bought me, I’m honestly not quite sure what started my love of rose gold. All I know is that I’m SO happy it’s on trend right now because it makes it SUPER easy to find cute pieces.

And speaking of…here is a roundup of a some rose gold baubles that I’m lusting after with some easy tips on how to wear rose gold jewelry.

How to wear rose gold

*You can find all these gorgeous jewels here.

Mixing metals is okay

I’m a bit OCD when it comes to some things matching or fitting in their place so I understand if you’re not sure what to do here. Is it okay to mix rose gold with another color gold? YES! With rose gold, there is ONE metal I would stay away from and that’s yellow gold. Unless it’s a piece that has all 3 major gold colors in it, it’s a bit too much. Rose gold looks best with silver and also goes great with a gunmetal/black. Anything else can be a bit too much since it’s usually the star of the show.

funny jewelry meme More is more 

This could be the glam girl in me but I believe more is more when it comes to styling with this gorgeous gold. I typically rock earrings, necklace, bracelet, rings and a watch when I’m wearing rose gold. Keep in mind, typically all those pieces are dainty but even a statement necklace could work. What matters is what works for you and your overall style.

Buy both high and low 

With trends, I always feel you should mix your high and lows OR stick to mostly cheaper pieces if it’s something that can’t last as a classic. For example, fringe and neon is not a trend you want to invest in but pretty rose gold jewelry you definitely should and can. For the crazier piece that may be having their moment, opt for cheaper options rather than fine jewelry.

What you guys think of rose gold? Love it or leave it!?