My top 5 secret weapons that have helped me build my beach brand.
September is "Back To School" month and although my school days are now nothing but a fond distant memory, I still push myself to keep on learning every single day.
Being a solo female entrepreneur, I quickly figured out that I have to be a little bit of a "Jack-Of-All-Trades" and I have had to learn "on the job" every aspect of running a business. With no formal training, I thought I would share with you, the tools I use that have helped me build Dushi Designs from the ground up to what it is today.... Going from selling t-shirts out of the back of my car to now shipping island-inspired apparel all over the world.
When I first started Dushi Designs I had absolutely NO idea about the importance of social media and having an online presence. I spent months and months and months perfecting my website, tweaking my designs but I hadn't even begin to think about the day to day running of my little island-inspired apparel brand. I really struggled to find resources that would give clear information and practical advice...
What to post? When to post? What captions to write? How do I engage with people? How do I convert followers in to customers in a genuine and authentic way? Etc, etc, etc. So many questions, but very little answers.
It was frustrating at times and there were days that I felt like throwing my laptop straight in to the sea!
But as time went on, I discovered (after LOTS of research) some super useful tools that have helped me plan my content, stay consistent and turn my passion in to a profit.
If you are starting a journey in to entrepreneurship, thinking about getting that travel blog up and running or wanting to perfect your personal branding, these "secret weapons" will hopefully help you like they've helped me too.
To be a success you have to have the right mindset and surrounding yourself with positive energy is the key. Over the last few years I have watched countless motivational YouTube videos, listened to more Podcasts than I can remember but in all honesty I would probably end up forgetting everything a few hours later and end up thinking to myself, "What a waste of time!"
That was until I discovered Gary Vaynerchuk!
This guy is a LEGEND in my eyes. His no nonsense, fast talking, give-it-to-me-straight advice has been a game changer for me!
His approach to entrepreneurship and the importance of happiness over wealth really struck a chord with me. He talks about how you should stop caring about the number of likes on a post and focus more on creating content you truly love and feel passionate about and you have to sacrifice certain things in your life to achieve your goals and dreams.
I don't have the latest phone... In fact I still have an old beat up iPhone 5 😂
Why? Because it works just fine and I will replace it when it breaks.
I don't drive a fancy car.
I don't buy things I can't afford with a credit card.
I don't try to keep up with the latest trends or fashions to impress my friends.
I have cut out negative people in my life and avoid drama at all costs.
I work hard behind the scenes, quietly, not boasting or bragging.
I invest everything back in to Dushi Designs, work freelance on the side to make extra cash, live on a construction site whilst my house is being renovated so I don't have to spend unnecessary money on renting somewhere else....You get the idea.
Small "sacrifices" that have a big positive impact.
I listen to @garyvee every morning whilst sipping on my daily dose of caffeine. He has soooooo many YouTube and IGTV videos that offer bite-sized chunks of information, motivation and little nuggets of wisdom that really resonate with me. This sets me up for the day and I swear helps me be more productive.
Have you heard of him? Do you listen to any motivational speeches or masterminds? I would love to know who or what helps you focus in your business or day to day life.
Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.
I am a list girl. Always have been, always will be. I have been writing lists as far back as I can remember. I would always have several notebooks scattered around the house, ready to write down dreams, goals, ideas for new collections etc but it became a little chaotic to keep track of.
Then I found the ultimate secret weapon to solve this problem: The Content Planner.
The only physical planner for brands, blogs and social media planning.
Let me tell you, this has truly helped me take Dushi Designs up a level!
Before I used to scribble everything down on scrap bits of paper and in my many notebooks, but now I have one place to write down everything from future post ideas, photo shoot schedules, sales dates and more.
The Content Planner was created by the ultimate boss babe and pineapple queen Kat Gaskin. If anyone knows anything about social media, building a brand and turning a dream in to reality, it's this girl!
Some of you may know her, some of you may not... But I guarantee you will have definitely heard this famous quote, "Be a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside."
Well, my friend, Kat Gaskin is the genius behind that quote! This is kind of how I found her on Instagram and through following her I got to learn about her product, The Content Planner.
When I first heard about this planning system I was a little sceptical. Is it another gimmick? Will I end up buying it and then never use it?
I can honestly say, that as soon as it arrived in the post I immediately wanted to sit down and start filling it in. I planned a whole month of content in one day. This was major for me because I get distracted easily and can be a professional procrastinator at times.
Each month I now make time to fill in my planner and I find it really helps me be more accountable as I feel a sense of achievement when I tick things off my list and can track my wins each week/month.
If you are a passionate entrepreneur, want to grow your online brand or master your social media and blog content then this is 100% for YOU!
I love the fact that it's light and portable too making it easy to pop in my carry-on luggage so I can whip it out on flights and work whilst I am 37,000ft in the sky.
I have used The Content Planner for the last two years and was lucky enough to snag the brand new one in the 2020 Private Pre-Sale last week. I am already counting down the days until this one arrives in the post!!!!
You can check it out here (whilst stocks last): The Content Planner
Or if you want to download any of these FREE resources click the image below.
Showing up every day on social media is HARD!
Sometimes I would get brain fog and wouldn't know what to say or post.
Anyone else suffer with this blank screen stare and wish they had a social media lifesaver?
Y'see, I have this love/hate relationship with the 'gram... I love that fact it allows me to connect with like-minded people, how it has enabled me to grow genuine friendships and at the same time showcase Dushi Designs and share my creations to a global audience. But I hate the comparisons, the constant pressure to think of something fresh every day and come up with something witty to say.
We've all had those moments where we post a picture and then all you get is crickets!!!
I joined The Social Curator, an online community and resource center that provides image ideas and customisable caption templates for it's members. Each month I receive an action plan with step-by-step guides on how to engage with my audience and grow my business, caption ideas that I can use as conversation starters, plus amazing high quality stock photos for if you ever have a moment when you don't know what the hell to post! This has saved me so much time which allows me to focus more on designing, content creating and well basically, living my life without being a slave to my laptop.
Jasmine provides an abundance of free useful resources that are actually really easy to implement and she shares so much knowledge with her community that after watching her monthly masterclasses I always feel empowered and ready to take on the world.
One piece of advice that she always reiterates is, social media is like a cocktail party, you have to strike up meaningful conversations with people just like you would do in real life.
In person, I am confident and outgoing and love to talk, but on social media I often found it difficult to say what I wanted to say without sounding stupid or silly, so I would just end up not saying anything at all or spending hours upon hours searching for something catchy to say. Being part of The Social Curator has definitely changed all that for me and made my life much easier and less stressful when it comes to posting and caption writing.
This may sound simple but it's often something that gets overlooked.
Listen to the people, YOUR people!
Whenever I am making any decisions with Dushi Designs I always ask for your opinion and feedback.... And I genuinely take it on board.
Being a solo entrepreneur, I don't have anyone to brainstorm ideas with, plan new collections with or share my frustrations or wins with.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely life so it's important to stay connected with your audience and customers and really appreciate and value their advice.
Some of my greatest and best selling products/designs/collections have be born from your suggestions.
I initially founded Dushi Designs as my way of sharing my love for Aruba and giving something back to the island that I am lucky enough to call home. Over time it has grown in to so much more than that and that's down to you.
Did you know that in the beginning I didn't even want to sell t-shirts?! (crazy, right?!)
I only wanted to create round beach towels... But you guys kept asking for t-shirts and other items and that's how Dushi Designs evolved. I listened to what you wanted and then worked like a dog to make it happen. Thanks to you, now people are wearing my t-shirts as far and wide as Australia, U.K, Netherlands, Dubai, Ibiza and more!
If you ever have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can always reach out to me any time and I will do my absolute best to accommodate your requests.
Collaboration triumphs over competition every damn time!
I wish that more people would take this approach, especially when starting out as a young fresh brand or business and even more so when you are a solo entrepreneur.
When you team up with another creative who has the same goals as you, that's when the fireworks and magic happens.
I have been very lucky with some of the collaborations that I have been a part of, I have got to work with some amazing photographers and influencers and cross promote other brands in my niche.
But this comes with a warning...
Do your research and be selective.
It's ok to say "NO" now and then.
Whenever I would get asked to do a collab, I would always say "YES"...
1. Because I didn't want to offend anyone or let them down and
2. Because I was genuinely wanting it to be an opportunity for BOTH parties to gain something.
It didn't always work out like that though and there have been many times that I have put in 99% of the work to make it happen and came out with almost zero content, or I have promoted the other brand and they haven't promoted me back, or I have gifted a "model" or "influencer" with $$$ worth of merchandise in exchange for posts only to find out they just wanted the free stuff and clout but never had any intentions of promoting/advertising Dushi Designs.
Learn from my lessons, and do your due diligence. Get that collab in writing, or even better get a contract and only collaborate with someone who truly aligns with your core values, has a similar work ethic to you and who respects your brand ethos.
Speaking of collaborations, who would you like us to collab with next?
Would love to know your thoughts on who's hot right now, who you think gets the "dushi vibe" and who you would love to see in our next campaign....
Let me know in the comments or send me your suggestions via the feedback form.
Thanks for reading. I hope you've found this information useful and it all makes sense.
If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this blog please let me know.