I Changed Everything In My Business + Here's What I've Learned

We’re rapidly approaching the 3-month mark of when I re-launched everything and changed my life and business big time. I don’t do income reports, mostly out of the complete lack of wanting to figure all that out and then convert it to percentages or whatever because I wouldn’t really share real numbers anyway, and so on… but I will say this, the last 3 months have been without a doubt the best of my business. Financially. Emotionally. Mentally. Everything-ly. It’s just seemed to ‘click’ in this magical way and I wanted to share some “aha!” moments that I’ve experienced with you.


First things first: there aren’t any rules to this running your own business thing. There aren’t. Don’t let anyone tell you that you HAVE TO DO XYZ to make it or be successful. Don’t let anyone tell you have to talk or communicate or exist in some sort of perfect way to be ‘an expert’ and ‘gain authority.’

Do you know what an expert can do? Talk about things he or she is not an expert at and feel no worries or doubts about things they are good at. I’m serious! Ask someone you know who is really good at something – ask your plumber or your doctor if they are an expert at tax law, or baking apple pies, or knowing how to pull the next piece out of Jenga without toppling it over… chances are they will openly and willingly admit that they are, in fact, no expert at that.

So feel free, my friend, to admit that you might really suck at social media strategy (hey-ooo! Haven’t posted on Instagram in like 3-weeks OOPS), or can’t code a lick to save your life, or whatever. That doesn’t take away from what you do know and what you are good at. And even more, if you want to talk about something that you aren’t ‘an expert’ about – you’re also allowed to do that. People learn from other people’s experiences, too. So talk about whatever the hell it is you want to talk about, I give you permission. Stop being scared of not having enough clients or not having made 6-figures yet or whatever it is that is holding you back.

"There's no absolute path to success, so don't let anyone tell you that you HAVE to do something." [tweet that!]


Here’s a huge lesson I’ve taken in over the past few months. We are so, so, so totally allowed to say “no thank you” to things. We are our own bosses! If you don’t agree with a client or want to work with them, politely say so. If you don’t want to accept the guest blog post submission, or be featured on someone’s Instagram, or whatever it is that you feel you ‘have to do’…  just politely decline.

I wrote a whole post about sticking up for yourself (and setting boundaries) that circulates around this topic and it got some great responses, which I was flattered by. Kaitlyn in 2016 said yes to 100% of the opportunities, clients, and chances she was given. I figured out that webinars weren’t really my thing after like my 2nd webinar, but I kept doing them because people kept asking and I felt bad saying no. I’m not saying webinars are bad, but I am not great at them and kept knowingly wasting my time and energy and stressing myself out for no reason.

2017 Kaitlyn on the other hand? She says ‘thanks, but no’ a lot. In business and in life! And you know what? It feels GOOD to understand my goals, my needs, and myself well enough to know when something is not a good fit or going to benefit my audience or for me.


I should probably make a really big blog post all about this point. I spent 2016 with a lot emotions, but one key part was this “why not me?” mentality. Why wasn’t my blog posts going viral? Why wasn’t I get featured on The Huffington Post? And so on. Turns out I wasn’t actually working that hard… so… maybe that’s ‘why not’.

So here’s the “AHA!” moment. Things like passive income and funnels and all of that sound so glamorous and amazing – but these things require you to actually DO work at some point. You can’t just post like 4 blog posts and expect the money to start rolling in and you to be spending your days on yacht making beaucoup bucks. I mean, Pinterest might tell you otherwise, but I think a lot of those people might be glamorizing their truths.

If you really want this business thing to work then you have to work. Period. It’s a job. It’s a business. Stop working from your bed (guilty), stop wearing the same pajamas as work clothes and then again as pajamas for a week straight (guilty), stop taking breaks to watch The Good Wife on Hulu (guilty), and stop blaming everyone else and/or the world for your career not taking off rapidly (guilty). Instead – DO THE WORK. My productivity skyrocketing seems awfully coincidental to my business success rising and the only real conclusion I can draw is that actually working brings in results.

"If you really want this business thing to work then you have to work." [tweet that!]


On that note – embrace the good moments because that breeds more success. For me, when a client is really happy and satisfied and telling me that they are – I relish in that and it makes me want to work harder for them (which means they are more likely to refer me, and grow my business). Acknowledge your successes – get excited.

I’ve been working through a Manifesting course and I’ve taken the time to review my finances nearly every day since and also to track my income and you know what? My income has increased. Now I know there are many factors to that, but I do think there is something to be said about seeing my money, knowing what’s going on with it, and hearing the nice little ‘cha-ching’ noise the app makes whenever I input a new amount. It feels good to feel good, and I really like to embrace that feeling so that I work harder to have more of it.


Your self-care routine might be different than mine, but mine involves taking time for yoga and working out, cooking (aka watching my partner cook) good dinners, and not working on weekends (unless I really feel like it/want to). Implementing more time and energy towards making these things a habit has led to me feeling excited and rejuvenated and well-rounded. Mondays are seriously my most productive day and I can almost guarantee it comes from the break I give myself during the weekend.

I know a lot of us get caught up in thinking we have to do it all, then we get overwhelmed and run away and hide, and then we get mad that the world isn’t working out in our favor. Well, I feel you on all those thoughts – but here’s a big “AHA!” – do what you like to do and are good at, don’t overcommit or make yourself insane, and give yourself a break. You don’t have to make 6 figures in one launch two weeks after you start your business. I promise you, it’ll be okay. That’s actually probably the biggest “AHA!” of them all – it’ll be okay.

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!

Posted on April 26, 2017 and filed under Business.

Making More Time For Life Outside of Your Business

Last week we touched on a topic that was a personal to me, but I think important for other business owners to read about: setting boundaries and sticking up for yourself in your business. Building off that topic and idea, I wanted to move into how you can make time for your life and activities outside of your business (even if you feel like you are working 25/8).

This time last year I was at the beginning of a downward spiral business-wise and if I am being completely transparent with you, some of those feeling seep in from time to time – so I totally understand why last summer happened.

Here’s the thing – I am a summer lover to the extreme and living in Charleston fills my heart with joy. The days are already longer, warmer, and just calling me to be outside, be with friends, go on bike rides, lay out a the beach, etc.  Last year I let myself do that – and lost track of my business, put myself into stress mode, and ended up burning out because of weird schedules and making up for my summer fun. In an effort to avoid any of those sorts of mishaps from now on, I’ve made a lot of changes (which if you follow the blog, I’m sure you’ve gathered at this point).

But here we are, my favorite time of the year drawing close and days like today I find myself staring out the window and longing to be outside in the sun. But, luckily, this year I’ve got a few things as my disposal to make sure I don’t fall into the same traps as last year and still maintain my business WHILE having time for fun and a life.


I know you hear this one a lot, but having things run smoothly with little to no effort is key for work/life balance. Invest in systems and/or people that can take things that you dislike, don’t have time for, or can’t do and free up your time to focus on your business (and have fun).

Hiring out a team is a super scary venture and I get how that can be something you want to put off. Even if you do decide that you’re not ready for a team, you can still save yourself hours by investing in software or programs that take work off your plate. My favorites are SmarterQueue and BoardBooster – between the two of those most of my social media is taken care of.

You can also automate things like auto-responder emails that help you feel less anxious about needing to answer an email immediately. Something that ends up being a big distraction to me is getting an email with a quick ask (something that will take me less than 15 minutes) so I stop and do it really quick. Though it seems like a quick and innocent action, it reality that sort of multitasking actually throws a wrench in my overall productivity – so instead of sitting and having my inbox in my face all day, auto-responders can alleviate that feeling of needing to check it constantly.

Similarly, it helps me not feel anxious when I do get an email to my phone while I am not working. I still might peruse the subject and sender, but I don’t feel like I need to stop what I am doing (i.e. something not work related) to answer right away.


This is something that I love to do. I do keep a pretty regimented schedule of what I am accessible to clients, but I don’t mind sometimes working into the evenings if I feel particularly motivated. My partner has a sporadic schedule sometimes, and most of my 9-5er friends aren’t super active during the week, so on a Tuesday night you might find me parked in front of a Tiny House Hunters marathon or you might find me working ahead.

What do I mean working ahead? Well, I make a weekly to do list on Monday and then each morning sit and pull the top 3 tasks from it that I want to work on that day. But sometimes, if I decide I feel like working, I’ll go ahead and knock some more things off that to do list.

I’ll be honest, it’s always the most fun things I decide to work on – making cute icons or creating a workbook – but regardless, it gets crossed off the to do list and opens up more time later in the week for me to relax, take a half day, or just feel less stressed.

So I know the point of this post was making time for your life, and you’re probably thinking “wow, working at night, what a life” but for me it clears up more time so that when there’s something I really want to do (go on the boat, etc.) I have already created space in my schedule for it!


Another important thing I do is actually pre-schedule days I will take off or take a half-day. Maybe I know that the weather is going to be perfect and my boyfriend is going to have the afternoon open on a Thursday, so I’ll schedule a half day that day and make sure I get my work done accordingly around that.

I guess this exists in a traditional 9-5, so I’m just carrying over habits, but it’s a lot easier because no one is really going to be able to tell you “no” right?! I also have toyed with the idea of scheduling Summer Fridays this year, and stopping working around noon or 1pm on Fridays. I haven’t fully decided, but I think that’s an idea worth exploring. I know a lot of larger businesses do that and I think establishing myself as that type of business owner early on is a great idea.


The biggest favor you can do yourself is not overcommitting you time. This is hard, especially when you start getting lots of inquiries and clients. It’s such an exciting feeling – but you have to be realistic with what you can actually do and accomplish. When I started really getting a lot of clients over the past few months, I had to stop and decide just how many hours a week was I a) willing to work on client work and b) actually able to work on client work. I landed around 25 hours/week of client work would be my maximum and have worked hard to keep it around that figure.

Overcommitting is easy to do – you don’t want to disappoint people, the money seems great, etc. But what will happen, in reality, is that your work will suffer and clients wont have as good of experiences, which overall will be much worse for your business. If you haven’t already worked out exactly how many clients you can take on (or how many hours of work you can do), I highly recommend doing that math.

"Overcommitting yourself is a slippery slope - be honest with how much you can do in a week." [tweet that!]

Overall, I’ll say that in my experience having a work/life balance is essential to not getting burned out – but focusing on the fact that regardless, the work needs to get done, is important too. I’ve been focusing on creating ways to make that happen that don’t feel like I am sacrificing “fun time” or “me time”  and that has seemed to work best so far!

creative entrepreneur

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!

Sticking Up For Yourself In Your Business

When I first started TheCrownFox something that happened, a lot, was that I got walked all over. Not in a mean or negative way, but if someone asked me to do something outside the Scope of our agreement I would just do it and take the financial/time hit out of fear of hurting a client’s feelings or displeasing them.

Something that has happened in my recent business evolution is the ability to stand up for my work, my business, and myself with a lot more ease (suddenly). I’m not sure if it just falls under being more confident in my services and abilities, being a 2nd year business owner, or growing more as a person – but either way I’m proud that I’ve become someone who can stick up for myself in my business.

There are a few scenarios that call for this sort of strength: people asking you to do work for free, people asking for you to do more work than you agreed to (with no extra payment), people expecting unreasonable results in limited time frames, etc. I wanted to cover a few main ideas about this topic and help motivate you to a) stand up for yourself and b) notice these issue and be prepared to handle them in a professional, polite way.


As a designer in the online space I’ve rarely been faced with work that qualified as something I felt uncomfortable about, but before TheCrownFox I worked for a huge advertising agency briefly. I was desperate to impress everyone, eager to come in early and stay late, and overall an ‘overachiever’. One day I was presented to do work for a tobacco company that wanted to specifically target college kids in this campaign – and I felt sick to my stomach over it. I don’t smoke, I think smoking is not a good thing, and I definitely don’t think we should be targeting young people to take up this awful habit…

I felt really uncomfortable by the whole situation and conflicted over how to proceed. I didn’t want to look like a bad employee but I also couldn’t do the work. I finally discussed it with my superior and was met with nothing but kindness and understanding, which taught me a valuable lesson – you are allowed to say you don’t want to do something, you don’t feel comfortable, you don’t feel like you are able to do your best work, etc. People will respect your honesty and life will go on.

I haven’t been faced with that same scenario yet in my own business, but I say it to point out this to you: you don’t have to do work you don’t feel comfortable doing. If you think someone is selling scammy products or courses, and they want you to write their sales copy or design their graphics – it’s okay to say that you’re not the best fit. If you think someone is putting out the wrong kind of lessons and thoughts into the world through their business (for example: be extremely competitive, step all over people to move up, etc.) and that makes your heart hurt – don’t work with them. You can politely say this: “Thank you for thinking of me, but I don’t think I am the best fit for you in this project.”

"You are allowed to say no to a project as a freelancer." [tweet that!]

I’d usually recommend offering a suggestion of someone else to work with, but in this scenario you don’t even have to do that! Be polite, be courteous, and don’t let anyone have anything bad to say about you and their experience interacting with you – but do be direct.


Another scenario where you should focus on being direct and confident in your interaction with a client is when it comes to explaining your process. If you look at some of the most well known designers in our Internet space, something they all have in common is a very specific process – it what makes them stand out. Maybe it’s an incredibly short timeline, only presenting one logo, mailing a physical style guide, or something else – but it’s a process that they know works time and time again, and they only work in that way.

So here’s this thought that used to make me uncomfortable to acknowledge: I am the one in control. Yes, the client is paying me, but they are paying me because I can do something they cannot and they need my help. In this scenario I am the expert and I should be confident in that and in my ability to deliver.

I know that sounds really dramatic, like I am puffing my chest out or hair flipping – but I am not. I’m stating a fact. I was hired as the expert, the same way that I would hire a Pinterest expert or a copywriting expert to help me. So, remember that when it comes to explaining your process and sticking to it. Yes, clients have input and suggestions and ideas and boundaries, but overall you are the one that can and should present a plan of attack, a system, or a way to help a client (and they, in turn, should listen to your ideas, thoughts, and knowledge – trust me in this: there are dreamy clients out there who will think what you do is fantastic and love that you are bringing your knowledge to them).

When clients start to ask if they can drastically change parts of your plan, listen, acknowledge what they want, and yes, you can totally be adaptable and try to work with them.  But, you don’t have to be and you don’t have to work that you aren’t selling/offering in the first place. If you’re a sales page copywriter and you have a process that takes two weeks, one phone call, and one round of revisions but suddenly a client asks to make it last a month because they haven’t nailed down the details, and they need text message updates, and revisions from themselves, their partner, and their friend… it’s okay to say that wont work.

Again, I reiterate my point from above – be polite and courteous, but also be direct. You can say, “that is not my tried and proven process, I don’t think that is the best way to approach this project. We should get started after you’ve nailed down the details so we can contain this work into my 2-week time frame and multiple people can definitely offer revisions, but it is up to you to compile them and send them to me as one set of revisions.”


I totally feel you right now if you are reading this and thinking “this makes sense, but I can’t actually be that firm. I need clients to make money.”

Well, yeah, you definitely do but you need the right clients if you want longevity in your business, to avoid being burned out, and to avoid having unhappy clients (because trust me, the more you bend to doing everything you don’t want to do for a client, the unhappier you’ll get, the worse the work will be, and the angrier the client will get).

Here are two thoughts that helped me greatly with the idea of saying ‘no’ to a potential client:

  1. You won’t do your best work or make your best impression doing work you dislike/don’t want to do.
  2. If you fill up your schedule with work that makes you miserable, you’ll never have time to take on the dream client when they show up.

Keeping those things in mind when I answer the email or get to the point in the phone call when it’s time to say “no” makes it so, so much easier.

"You won't do your best work if it's a project you don't want to do in the first place.' [tweet that!]

If it’s a client you’re already in contract with that is now making things more difficult, it’s okay to be polite yet firm in saying something along the lines of, “I’d be happy to send you a quote for that work, but it definitely falls outside of our original scope of work so I won’t be able to do that for you at this time.” In my experience, 9 times out of 10 the client doesn’t even realize that what they are asking for is outlandish and super time intensive.


Over time I’ve come to realize that a lot of these issues result from me not being confident enough in my abilities and not being clear enough in my initial interaction/documentation of the project.

I’ve grown more confident over time, and you will to (I definitely think this is a scenario of faking it until you make it), but being prepared will ultimately help you the most.

So first things first: establish your client process, write down every aspect of it. Write down associated timelines and expectations. If you need the client to have their copy due 5 days before the start date of a project, write that down. Make it fool proof as far as what you need and what has to happen for this process to work (for both you and the client).

Then, take all of those assorted due dates throughout the project and make associated late fees, so that the client knows you are serious.

Now, make that a deliverable option to send to clients even before booking (but again definitely after booking) so that they are very aware of the rules of the road. Bonus points if you make them initial or sign an agreement that they saw, read, and understood the process. (PS if you need help designing this deliverable option, it totally falls into my wheelhouse).

Now, make sure to send over a detailed Scope of Work that works in conjunction with your contract that states exactly what you will do for the client and exactly what deliverables they are to expect. Make note in your contract that any delays caused by the client will result in late fee charges, as that will slow up the remainder of the process.

Review all of these points in your consult call and/or email. People, in general, value specificity and you are definitely offering that. Once they’ve agreed to everything, though, you HAVE to follow through on your end and work within that timeline/process that you presented.

Bonus Tips

You should also be specific about ways of communication. My contract used to say that phone calls must be pre-scheduled, and otherwise communication could and should happen via email unless we have established a workflow via Asana, Trello, (or similar programs) or Slack. Lately I’ve adjusted it to include that at no point is text messaging or Facebook Messenger a means of communication and messages sent through those channels might go unanswered. You can and should also specify when you are available: so I say that I am available 10am-5pm EST, Monday-Friday. Now I might answer/respond outside of those hours, but I want it listed so that I cannot be faulted for not answering a message at 8:30pm or something. Be specific!

I also want to take a brief second to point out something else: while you should have a process and a system – you totally have the right to be as adaptable as you want to be for certain clients. There are some clients that can ask me to do something completely out of my wheelhouse – and I’ll do it, but here’s why: the respect and understanding is already there and established, they are offering to help me expand my skillset by taking new courses or learning new information, and they aren’t going to be angry with me if it’s not 100% perfect the first time.

But I say that with the thought that that type of relationship should be developed and a goal to work towards, not an assumption. In my case I’ve been fortunate enough to work with amazing lady bosses who definitely fall ‘outside of the lines’ in our communication or ‘rules’, but that happened over time of getting to know each other, understanding our working styles, etc. In my type of work now, as I do basically join on teams, a lot of these ‘rules’ have been stretched but it’s always been through an understanding on both sides and done out of mutual respect. It should never feel like ‘you have to do XYZ to keep this client happy or else’ in my opinion.

Wow, as I blow past 2,000 words I should wrap this up by saying a few things: first, never be rude or mean to clients (or anyone) online. Your reputation is everything. BUT, you do have the right to stand up for yourself and your business. Just because someone is paying you does not mean they own you, your time, or your abilities. Being as specific and detailed as possible will only help you, and it is okay to lose a client or say no – because the dream client is out there and will respect you.

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!

Posted on April 12, 2017 and filed under Business.

4 Tricks That Have Helped Me Manage My Schedule (+ Stress!)

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ve seen a slight evolution in my business including a recent total revamp in my services and how I structure my client work. Well, I am excited to say that the client work side of my business is going amazing and I am busy with work I love. In fact, I’m probably the busiest I’ve ever been in my business’ history (with actual work, not ‘busy work to distract myself from what I don’t want to do’). My boyfriend and I joke that this is the most he’s seen me work since we’ve been dating, and to be honest, that’s totally true.

Luckily I love the work I am doing, I’m obsessed with my client’s and their businesses, and I’m pumped every day to sit down and create. But, regardless of all that enthusiasm, it’s still a heavy schedule to maintain with lots of moving parts (and due dates) to manage.

Here are four tricks I’ve been using to help manage my schedule that might help you with your own.


I love a cute stylish notebook as much as the next office-supply junkie, but lately I’ve been really into the old school Steno Books. Like the kind your grandparents probably used to have lying around. I like them for the double columns because I can set weekly tasks for clients on one side and weekly tasks for myself/my business on the other.

At the start of each week, on Monday, I go through all my client’s Asana and/or Trello boards as well as Slack groups and write down everything that is necessity that week. Even if it’s a tiny project that I could do in 15 minutes right then and there, I still write it down. I separate it per client and just fill up the left side of my Steno.

On the right side I write my tasks for the week, which stay pretty much the same: answer emails, write/schedule a blog post and a newsletter, update my SmarterQueue and BoardBooster with the latest blog, and any meetings I might have.

I like to see the big picture and know if it’s a week of a lot of smaller tasks (like last week) or a week of a few big tasks (like this week). It helps me to mentally prepare, roughly envision when would be good days to go to the gym versus a run, what day I can try to schedule a sister-date, etc.


I don’t designate (fully) what items go on which day until the morning of. Sometimes I get a little mercurial and have a day where my mood is shot and I feel unmotivated. Sometimes I work for 12 hours straight and forget to take a sip of water. Though the goal is to obviously find a happy medium in there, I don’t like to contain my days beforehand.

So each day when I sit down to get started I view the list and pull 2-3 things from it that I feel inspired to work on that day. I’ve noticed I am surprisingly upbeat and ready to work Mondays (I think because I’ve been not working during the weekends as much) and I usually can knock out a big chunk of the to do list in one day – a lot of the tasks for my own business and a handful of smaller, quick tasks for clients.

I designate which ones are the tasks I’ll focus on, but I keep the weekly task list visible so that I can work ahead and do more if I feel so inclined. Sometimes during a mid-day lull I’ll cross off easier tasks that require less brainpower and I definitely make a point to cross through them on the list and give myself the visible ‘pat on the back’ that I’ve accomplished things.

"I love the act of physically crossing items off my to do list - it feels so complete!" [tweet that!]


When I am working through the to do list, something that has been hard for me to totally accept doing (though I know it’s important) is to turn off notifications. Most of my clients and I communicate via Slack, so I get those notifications all the time. Plus I can just be a chatty Cathy and message people silly things or random questions. I also have a newly invigorated excitement for Facebook lately, so I keep finding myself on there in the middle of the day.

I realized I needed to turn off notifications to avoid all these distractions in my life. So I did. I muted notifications from Slack and my phone and everywhere else. I realized that no one would explode if I don’t answer his or her email immediately. And you know what? It’s worked!

Now I still check my email throughout the day, I’m not quite at the level of ‘once in the morning and once at night’ or anything (though, #goals). But I have stopped looking every five seconds and I have definitely stopped scrolling through Facebook with reckless abandon reading random click bait articles that show me the ten signs I’m a Pisces (besides the fact that I was born on March 1st) or whatever.


All the other tricks are so work work work oriented, which is fine, but I do want to point out that I take breaks. A lot. I get up, I walk outside (the weather has been gorgeous lately in Charleston), I do some quick yoga flows, I walk down the street and grab a coffee… I definitely take breaks.

And I think you should too.

I’ll be straight up with you – I know what it is like to burn out in your business and I want to avoid ever feeling like that again. It sucked. I am doing everything in my power to avoid feeling like that, and taking a break is definitely part of it.

I am not the greatest at following this mentality, but I am trying – and you are never to busy for self care! So if you are the type of person who won’t stop for anything – write it in your schedule at the beginning of the day to stop, drink some water, walk around, etc. It’s just as important as writing your newsletter, or whatever else you have on your to do list.

"Stopping and taking breaks needs to be an important part of your daily to do list." [tweet that!]

And that’s it! That’s what I’ve been doing each week and each day to power through and support multiple clients with their businesses as well as maintain my own. What are some tricks you use in your business to manage your schedule (and stress)? Let me know in the comments below!

productivity hacks

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!