How to Find the Right Business Partner for You

By Emily Meyer.

I was honored to speak at this year’s Alt Summit, and am excited to tell you about how I found the right business partner—and, by extension, how you can do the same.

Twelve years ago, I was designing the “little girls” collection at Esprit. I had an brewing idea for a brand inspired by the discovery of global cultures. It was a beautiful concoction of my life experiences up to that point in time.

I met Leigh Rawdon at a party – our husbands were friends from business school – and we began chatting about work and life. She was passionate about starting her own business someday. Then eventually I told her my idea for a brand. Her eyes lit up and she said, “Tell me more.” Leigh believed in my idea—and I soon learned that she had the skills and experience to turn my concept into an actual business.

It might seem that Leigh and I were just plain lucky to meet and then to co-found Tea Collection. But there was more than luck, it was fate. Here’s what I’ve learned about finding the right business partner:

How to Use Your Editorial Calendar to Grow Your Readership

By Chris Gardner. Photo by Susie Blackmon.

There is a magical formula to growing your blog’s readership, and you’ve heard it a thousand times–publish consistent, high-quality, original content, and use it to interact with your audience and other sites. That’s it, and it comes as a surprise to no one.

And, in some ways, it’s not all that easy to execute. With this in mind, here’s an editorial exercise to help you plan and produce high quality pieces of original content every week for the rest of the year. You can mix these in with the rest of your posts to remind your readers that there’s a real person behind the site they’re reading.

Step One: Go to a fresh page in your notebook, or open up a new spreadsheet on your computer.

How Choosing Monthly Themes Can Grow Your Readership

By Chris Gardner. Photo by Liz West.

I’m a firm believer in being as transparent as possible to your readers. Let your audience know that you’re not some magical, creative, and beautiful mist floating around the internet in perfectly lit spaces wearing amazing clothes. You are a real person who blogs at night, and on weekends, and in your pajamas. Let your readers know that just to the left of that photo frame is the pile of junk you scootched over to find some blank wall space, as well as a bunch of tape and string and other tricks. Doing so makes you a real person, and people want to follow real people, not anonymous tastemakers.

After Alt: Organize Your Inspiration & Get to Work

By Sara Urquhart. Photography by Mandy Pellegrin.

Alt Salt Lake City is over. You’re home now and your head is spinning with awe, inspiration, and maybe a little intimidation. It’s time to put all those great ideas to use to build your business.

Start by making a list of your biggest a-ha moments. Hopefully you took some time each day at Alt to jot down those highlights, and you can use this list to prioritize your actions. Start with the things that moved you most, and break down the action items associated with each idea. Then put them on the calendar and start. Just start. Success in following up on all the inspiration and ideas is a matter of moving forward.

Make another list of people you need to follow up with: pitches, phone calls, collaboration ideas, emails, even something as simple as a note to someone who impressed you (they’ll be flattered, and you’ll feel great acknowledging them). Put these to-do’s on your calendar. Remember, moving forward with the conversations that you started at Alt is key to turning that inspiration into profitable action.

Top 7 Tips For Finding Your Voice

By Alt SLC speaker Karen Walrond.

1) Stop comparing – It’s natural to be curious about what others in your field are doing, but one of the biggest wastes of time is comparing your work with theirs. Particularly since it is patently impossible to create effectively in someone else’s voice — the inevitable result is disappointment. Accept that you will do what you do differently from everyone else. Believing in this will be incredibly freeing.

Given this, I want to be sure to make the distinction between comparison and inspiration (because I do think that inspiration is critical in being a creator):

  • Comparison will make you feel bad about yourself, or stir ugly feelings of resentment or jealousy. It is completely destructive, and should be avoided at all costs. 
  • Inspiration will spur you to try harder and do better work. Inspiration encourages experimentation of your own techniques. Inspiration is a good thing, and should be strongly encouraged (but always giving credit where possible). 
  • I won’t touch on flat-out copying someone’s work, because I think we can all agree that plagiarism of any type is wrong. Copying should obviously be soundly discouraged.

2) Practice seeing – I encourage all creators to keep their cameras close at hand – your camera phone will do nicely – and take time each day to photograph something beautiful, inspiring, or thought-provoking. You don’t have to share the images if you don’t want to, but it’s a great way to gather a body of work, that gives you evidence of what it is that you are passionate about.

Three great reasons to get organized online

By Victoria Hudgins. Photography by Paul Indigo.

Being organized will help you to streamline content
One of the most difficult issues with blogging and can be finding what you need, when you need it! You know you have the perfect cake stand for today’s round up or the correct credit on a photo you loved, you just cannot remember where you put them. When you establish organizational systems online it will help your content to be tight and fabulous. Using programs like Evernote or Flipboard can be a great help to getting your online inspiration in order.

Being organized will increase blogging efficiency
Have you ever opened your computer to start a project and then checked in on Twitter, and then scrolled over through a page of Pinterest, and before you know it three hours have gone by? If you are able to organize your tasks and schedule on the computer you can eliminate what I like to call “aimless wandering syndrome.” With a successful social media organization system, you will be able to get projects done on-time. You’ll also be able to find the right inspiration, when and how you choose to do it.