It’s Monday and time for a new Behind The Blog interview. We’re running this series until mid-October as you know and there is just one interview spot left so if you’d like to be featured, please get in touch asap! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll chat about your career path and what you’ve learned along the way.
This feature has been a great opportunity to showcase bloggers who are self-employed and business-owners within our community so that we could celebrate together the entrepreneurship and creativity that we’ve witnessed in so many of our talents.
Catch up with all previous interviews at the following links: Sarah Moody (bloggers events), Lynette (illustration studio), Sarah Akwisombe (interior styling), Claire Wilson (maker, writer, workshop host), Laura Pashby (writing and photography), Kezia Hall (health and nutrition coach) and Jasiminne Yip (illustration, painting, comics).
Today, we introduce you to the lovely Emily Jayne. She is a lover of colour and a firm believer that every woman no matter their shape, size or age deserves to feel fabulous every day. She offers personal styling and image consultancy services on a one on one basis and as part of workshops or public speaking engagements, and works with individuals or brands who need a little help with their blog-writing and social media upkeep. Busy lady!
We hope that you’ll find this interview inspiring and an interesting read; please give Emily Jayne’s blog a visit and leave any questions for her in the comment section below. If you have a friend who would enjoy this post, why not share it? The more, the merrier!
Hi Emily Jayne! Thank you for taking part in our “Behind the Blog” interviews, it’s a pleasure to feature you today. To start off, can you tell us a little bit more about you: where are you from, what did you graduate in and what has been your career path so far?
Hello! I’m a personal stylist, blogger and general digital freelance type who lives in Birmingham. I did a degree in History at Leeds – I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life so I just picked a subject that I loved! Upon graduating I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do – I loved writing (and had dabbled with livejournal and fan sites) but couldn’t see how I could make a living from it, and so I decided upon the corporate world to keep myself in shoes and pretty dresses, and became an IT Recruitment Consultant.
I did this for five years, and during this time learned loads, and had some really good times (corporate trip snowboarding anyone?!) but came to the conclusion that my heart wasn’t in it.
I had day with a personal stylist as a target hitting reward and absolutely loved it, and something just clicked. I ended up training as a bit of a hobby at first, but then went on to quit my job and start up my styling business. Alongside this I started a blog, initially just to promote my business, but rediscovered my love of writing. Other people (including my old company!) noticed that I loved blogging and social media and asked me to help them, and so the other side of my business was born.
How long have you had your blog and what do you write about?
I’ve been blogging at Emily Jayne since 2009 (eek that seems like a very long time!) and write about style and beauty with a focus on colour, style advice and the fashion/beauty scene in Birmingham, with a little bit of what I’m up to in my life and business for good measure.
To what extent having a blog informed your desire to start a business or to work for yourself?
It was actually the other way around. Initially the blog was just about my business, letting clients know what I’d been up to and announcing events/new services etc, and it kind of all took off from there, gaining a bit of a life of its own.
Can you tell us a little bit about your business and when/how you started it?
I started my business after fleeing the corporate world. I have a styling studio where I offer one on one Colour and Styling consultations and run workshops, and also travel to do workshops and speaking engagements – this could be anything from a girls’ night in at someone’s home, to a talk for the WI, to a workshop on wearing colour for Dulux employees.
I also do personal shopping and wardrobe weeding, and am passionate about showing women how they can feel fantastic about what they wear at any age, size, shape or style. I particularly enjoy getting people to wear more colour – it makes a massive difference to people once they know what colours work the best for them, and seeing them walk out of my studio feeling happy and confident gives me a real buzz!
I also, of course, blog, both for myself and for clients, and offer social media and blogging coaching sessions to those who are feeling a little lost.
Do you think blogging played a part in giving you the drive, tools or confidence to make that desire a reality?
Blogging gives me a space to voice my passions and get people excited about colour, so absolutely, it is an integral part of my business and I have had many clients say to me that they have chosen me over other stylists because of my blog – it lets them know who I am and what to expect when they come to see me.
Did you seek anyone’s advice or insights before you took the plunge and what is the best piece of advice you were given?
My mother, my father, and my grandfather all run their own businesses (I guess it’s just in my blood to be my own boss!) and they have all been incredibly supportive throughout – the best piece of advice that I was given is that it doesn’t happen overnight (or “it takes years of work to be an overnight success”). Being self-employed takes perseverance and resilience, but it is oh so worth it if you can stick it out!
Did you set a timeline or goals for launching and growing your business or has it been very organic so far?
To be honest I kind of just threw myself into launching, although I did take some start-up business courses which were incredibly helpful. However as my business developed and ‘life stuff” happened, I set myself targets so that I can reach my goals – for example knowing how much I needed to earn to be able to move in with my other half (done!) and now saving for our wedding.
Would you change anything you’ve done in launching or developing your business?
There is no doubt that I have made mistakes – however I really don’t think I would change anything as they’ve been good lessons to learn, and got me where I am today.
[Jesse’s edit: Totally agree with this and I think that’s a great way to approach one’s mistakes.]
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
So much! Learning to live on practically nothing in the early days of my business after quitting a well-paid job, teaching myself how to blog and work with social media, that one time that my e-commerce website company went bankrupt and the whole thing went kaput, leaving me to rebuild from scratch overnight!
What is the thing you have been proudest of?
I was really proud that Birmingham Bullring asked me to take part in their Spring fashion event this year, and run presentations/workshops on colour. Standing in front of a packed shopping mall, wearing a Madonna-mic and talking colour to that size crowd was an absolute thrill!
How do you organise your workday and how do you keep motivated/focused to deal with your different varied priorities?
Lists, lists and more lists! I have a really varied schedule, and really enjoy this, but it means I have to work hard to keep track of everything. I really like the 30/30 app to keep me focused on the task at hand, and have found I can’t beat a pretty desk diary to plan out my blogging!
What are the next steps you will be focusing on to grow your business?
I’m about to go through a rebrand, and shift my blog over to wordpress which I’m really excited about! Following this I will be launching online colour and style consultations – I’ve done a few ‘pilot’ consultations and they’ve gone really well, so really can’t wait to launch this, just have to get all the tech in place first.
Is there anything you can share with bloggers wanting to start their own business or go it alone?
It’s not easy, but it’s totally worth it!
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and career path with us Emily Jayne. Nuffnangers, give her a follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. You can also add her blog to your RSS feed or Bloglovin to never miss a post and if you have any questions or comments for Emily Jayne, please leave them in the section below!
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