VENDOR SERIES : CREATIVE WAYS TO GIVE BACK!

BSB_WeekFour-07After organizing our finances last week, I think its time to dig into a more light hearted subject. I absolutely love the creative ways I’ve seen and experienced small businesses dive into the lives of others. Here are three ways to give back with your business. Time to think outside of the box…

Donate Your Time
Service Saturday
The first Saturday of every month – volunteer at a local nonprofit. Build a relationship and invest in their mission! Document the experience online through social media and create a hashtag so others can follow along. This not only impacts the lives of others but can potentially attract your followers to join in on the challenge.

On A Mission
I try not to play favorites, but this idea gets personal for me! I’m afraid of just about everything (HA!) and mission trips are on the list. Experiencing something new, with people I don’t know, in a place I’m not comfortable in, oh please, my fear would much prefer a cozy Saturday watching Netflix. So to challenge this (somewhat, irrational) fear, lets set aside 10% of our business income for a mission trip. It can be domestic, overseas or even a local weekend investing in our community – I just find it important to push yourself outside your comfort zone when it comes to serving. Setting the bar a little high makes room for heart changing experience! Journal about your personal growth and invest the new found wisdom back into your business. The more we stretch our hearts for others, the more a priority it will be in our daily lives!

Donate Your Services
Client Spotlight
Once a year be on the look out for a deserving client that could truly benefit from your discounted services. I say once a year, because its extremely important to provide this perk with the knowledge and understanding of where your business stands financially. Make wise choices! But when we are financially fit we can bless others! Bless someone once a year with a surprise donation of your time. Feature an interview on your blog to capture the heart warming gesture and loving relationship with your client. Your readers will appreciate the transparency in your values and a peek behind the heart of your brand.

Group Effort
What we are able to do as one, can be multiplied if we work together! Create a social media campaign with other wedding vendors. A group of local vendors can partner up and create a gift worth celebrating. Maybe raise funds for a specific cause or give away a free wedding to a lucky nominee. All are ways to build community, burst social media followings and create excitement around giving back!

Donate Your Resources
Just for Them
For all the product based businesses out there, create a product that is specifically for your nonprofit partner. After running the numbers of course, decide if its possible to donate 100% of all sales or just 50%. Remember this is your business, so do the research before you jump into it. What is the cost of the item? How much do I need to cover cost? etc. Important questions to make sure your business remains financially strong. Creating a product just for donations can even encourage marketing participation from you nonprofit partner. Cross promote together through social media, build excitement and reveal your generous heart to your customers!

The Classic Percentage
There is a reason the business plan of giving 10% has been around forever – it works! It creates the change we all crave to experience. As much as our hands-on work can shift the course of a human life – these amazing non profits also need funds to keep their walls up, lights on and impact moving forward! What’s incredible is 10% makes a world of difference for people that make every penny go a long way. The men and women running these organizations are the definition of resourceful. So when you look at your donation check (My last one was $267) and your tempted to think, “This really doesn’t do anyone, any good!” Slam that door immediately! Its a lie. What is $267 to someone that is struggling? Its comparable to a million dollars. Its telling them they are seen, they are cared for and they are loved. Encouragement for the hurting human soul is priceless. So whether you give one dollar or $1,000 every month. Know a million times over, the amount – no matter what it is – fulfills a need.

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Giving is not just a duty, but a life value! We don’t do good because we are supposed to, we do good because we want to. But this value doesn’t come naturally. Honestly, I WANT to stay in my comfort zone. I WANT to do what is safe. But if we can muster up the courage to start small, serve small, I believe one day we will be the fearless givers that this world so desperately needs! I’ll be cheering you on friends, each one of your reading, we can challenge each other and do this together. We are not in this along.

Until next time, have a great week! We’ll be back next Tuesday for our final discussion. Want to chat? Reach out to me at Rachael@appetitepaper.com

VENDOR SERIES: SMART BUSINESS FINANCES

BSB_WeekFour_01It was hard to admit that the success of my small business required a little more than just talent and hopeful wishes. As an entrepreneur, we are passionate. That is a given! However one mistake we’ve made is letting that passion be in the drivers seat of our small business.

Honestly, this time last year you could sum up my business finances in two words, avoid it. I was the master at avoiding that pile of receipts on my desk. Day after day, eventually tossing that neat little pile into a drawer. Whoops!

Oh what a mistake. A few minutes each week could have saved me so much wasted time and money. Thankfully, when I was finally ready to face the facts, I had some incredible DIY resources to help me wise up. Here are a few tools that bridged the gap between running my business on passion vs. wise business practices…

 

First, Educate yourself

The E-Myth RevistedI found this book through a business podcast. Honestly, my creative mind found it a bit dry, but the knowledge in this book was well worth pushing through those less-riveting pages. Im so, so glad I came across this gem. It woke me up out of my foggy haze, thinking all I needed to survive was passion and talent and I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Creative LiveAn incredible resource for small business owners, Creative Live offers online line classes from the most renowned experts in their field. If your able to watch these classes LIVE (hence the name) – they are FREE! Ive been lucky to catch a few in Small Business Finance and Bookkeeping. They are so rich in information, I was scribbling down notes like I was in college again. Im constantly checking their page and signing up for courses and it can be incredible resource!

 

Now, Get Organized!

Fresh Books. This is one of those tools you kick yourself for not using sooner. Fresh Books is a huge blessing in my life. It not only gives me peace of mind, but Its super easy to use, navigate and organize your finances without lifting a finger (Literally all you have to do is click your mouse!). Another perk? Its all online and secure. Also, their blog has a generous amount of resources. Check it out, even better, its free for the first 30 days! Alright, Im starting to sound like a paid advertisement…Moving on!

 

Always, Make It a Priority!

Administrative Mondays. I adopted this practice from a very wise business owner! Blocking off every Monday morning to play secretary and catch-up with my finances has worked wonders. Its the black and white rule I needed to get this “boring” stuff done. I also benefit all week from simply knowing whats going on in my bank account. The financial knowledge naturally defines my daily decisions; Is this a wise investment of my time? My resources? Can I afford this? All important questions when trying to maintain high profit. Reviewing and organizing my finances every Monday gives me the confidence and knowledge I need to run a smart, efficient work week!

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Most importantly, this all relates to one very important issue. Giving back. Can you see how your financial health of your company directly affects your impact? The better I manage my money flow, the more intentional I can be with my time/money, and in turn build a stronger foundation and more profitable business. If we are strong, we can help others become stronger!

Also, actually understanding the financial health of my company allows me to give back with confidence! No more writing a blind a check, not knowing the impact it could have on my business. I can now give without jeopardizing the foundation I’ve worked so hard to build. My business is officially a celebration of our blessings
So fight for that financial confidence in your business. Don’t let it be pushed to the back burner! Ive learned its not so scary after all, you just have to get started!
(P.s.  Just a reminder, Im not a certified accountant. These are just business practices that have proven to be very helpful to me. So please take this thoughtful advice as you wish!)

VENDOR SERIES: UNCOVERING YOUR PURPOSE

BSB_SC_AppetitePaper-02Good morning, I’m Rachael, the owner of Appetite Paper. You’ll find me here each Tuesday as we unfold a range of topics that both enlighten and challenged your perspective on generosity within the wedding industry.

Last week we ended with one simple question.  What is the motivation behind your small business? Why do we slave away each day, perfecting our craft, answering countless emails and working on the weekends? What is our business purpose?

I’ll be honest, when I started Appetite Paper, my business purpose was as sweet as pie. I was determined to serve others through my passion for design and creativity, pretty noble right? But my actual motivator unraveled into a different story. I soon discovered my strong work ethic stemmed from one simple dream, to be recognized as the best, most talented, creative business owner in the whole wedding industry! A pretty long winded ambition right? So there I was, building my little stationery kingdom, gunning to be the best.  Defining my success on the fleeting approval of others.

Thankfully, months later, I was presented with another option. I could continue down this road, puffing up my pride or focus my talents on building others up.

Whoa, even as a socially conscious small business, this was new territory for me. Yes, I was giving away 15% of my profits but my business purpose was headed down a dangerous road. It’s hard to admit that in 50 years all I really wanted was for you to step back and declare, “Rachael is pretty damn talented, a hard worker and incredible artist, I wish I could be like her!”, a perfectionist’s dream in a nutshell, the recognition of others. BSB_SC_AppetitePaper-05

So I’m switching gears, won’t you join me?

Build Ourselves Up
When I focus on personal gain, I find that these lies are sure to follow…

I am only as talented as others say I am.

I will never be as successful as ____________.

I have no unique skills or perspectives to offer this industry.

I can not keep up, I will never be enough.

My success is measured through the recognition, likes, followers and the approval of others.

Build Up Others
When I focus on serving others, I find that a confident purpose quickly follows…

I can bless others with my talents and strengths, how can I serve others today?

I am on my own path and Im grateful to own a business that offers new challenges and growth each day.

I am one of a kind, I have a unique skill and perspective to offer this industry.

I will do what I can, with what I have, where I am at – Doing my best is enough and rest is essential.

My success is measured by how well I’ve served others today, through my hard work, talent and caring service.

Our satisfaction in business will increase tenfold by simply readjusting our perspective. We will remember a life fulfilled, is a life in service to others. Ready to put your talents to good use? Join us next week, as we tackle how to get started!

Until then, if you have any questions or just want to say HI reach out to Rachael@appetitepaper.com for a quick chat about building a socially conscious small business, see you next week!

Let’s Be Fair Collaboration – Sneak Peek – Part 2

If you missed the Let’s Be Fair Part 1 shared on Monday featuring our friends at Let’s Be Fair most recent project… Have no fear- Part 2 is here… Let’s Be Fair is a thoughtful lifestyle and beauty blog based in Southern California.

They just recently launched an annual new feature series, Let’s Get Married, and we are so excited to provide a sneak peak to  each stage of the action!

We shared a little taste of what to expect from Part 1 on Monday and now we’ve received a few more amazing images to share for Part 2 today! Check out the full feature of Part 2 on Let’s Be Fair.

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We are loving the featured Eileen Gown, from Celia Grace, selected for this shoot! Celia Grace is one our amazing BSB Vendors and is one of my favorite leading designer for Fair Trade Wedding Fashion.2015-02-25_0002

The dainty Notch Necklace adorning today’s gorgeous bride is courtesy of Bario Neal!  Bario Neal Jewelry is handcrafted in Philadelphia with reclaimed precious metals, fair mined gold, ethically sourced stones, and low-impact, environmentally conscious practices.

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And the beautiful Fair Trade Emerald Ring, courtesy of FTJCO.

Want to learn more about these amazing vendors and brands? Go for it!

The Eileen Wedding Dress by Celia Grace

Notch Necklace by Bario Neal 

Emerald Ring by FTJCO

Whole Trade Greenery by Whole Foods Markets

Photography by Kyle Ellis

Hair by Raquel Tosaya

Model- Sarah Rude

Art Direction by Let’s Be Fair

 

VENDOR SERIES: MORE THAN A DONATION CHECK…

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Hello new friends! I’m so excited to kick off a new Black Sheep Bride socially conscious small business series with you today. You’ll find me here each Tuesday as we unfold a range of topics that both enlighten and challenge your perspective on generosity within the wedding industry. But before we hit the ground running, we’re in need of a quick introduction!

I’m Rachael, the incredibly ambitious (and sometimes exhausted) owner of Appetite Paper  We are what Black SheepBride calls a socially conscious small business. Now whether you are a seasoned giver or just a curious small business owner, this series will be a great tool to uncover the core purpose of your business. Our Ultimate goal is to infuse our daily work with intention, service and generosity.

We’ll even be exploring our finances (cue the Home Alone scream!). I know our lack of accounting knowledge leaves us overwhelmed most days, we can even argue there is no money to give! But what if we were a financially fit business? A business that makes confident, educated and wise financial donations without sacrificing the financial health of our company. Sound impossible? We’ll be taking baby steps to get there!

We will also get creative with how we give back. The opportunities are endless and it certainly doesn’t have to be a big wad of money each month. We’ll serve in ways that push us outside our comfort zone, that engages our customers and promotes the well being of all involved!

As for today, I’ll leave you with one simple thought…

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You are more than a donation check new friends! What do we have that money can’t buy? Passion! We have the heart, the social media following, the blog, the customer relationships and the perfect audience for our voice to be heard. Holding more power to change a life than a million dollars ever could. You can’t buy compassion, you can’t buy a sincere heart or a warm embrace from someone who cares. So don’t let a number intimidate or determine your potential to change lives, got it? Good. :)

So we will start with a tough question for next week…

Small business ownership is anything but glamorous, in fact we all know its really full of late nights, self doubt, frustration and daily challenges, so why are we doing it? The answer will play a cruitial role in uncovering your purpose as a socially conscious business owner.

Until then, if you have any questions or just want to say HI reach out to rachael@appetitepaper.com for a quick chat! See you next week!