Howdy Do It, Round 7

Hey Pitch, it’s Ellie, back again with Howdy Do It for 2010! Margot and I took a little break around the holidays, but now we’re psyched for the new year and brainstorming ideas for this little series of ours. If you’re joining in for the first time, check out my past Howdy Do It posts here and Margot’s here on Mint. Each Monday, we’ll be switching blogs to write about the joys/stresses/details of being self employed. We’d love for you to chime in!

Since it is the New Year, after all, I suppose some new year’s resolutions are in order. Normally I kind of hate these things, as my success rate with resolutions has got to be, like, 2% or something awful. But, new year, new business, new goals… and if you want to call them resolutions, so be it. Here goes:

Photo by abbytrysagain

1. Hire a photographer.
I do OK with my fancy digital SLR (Nikon D5000 if you want to know) when I have to, but the bottom line is that I want the photographs for Hello Tenfold to be professional and styled, and I am no professional photographer. This is going to be a challenge for me for two reasons: (1) I’m cheap broke and afraid I can’t afford it, and (2) I get so impatient to put up new work that spending the extra few weeks to set up a photo shoot for new pieces will certainly test my patience. That said, I know this is incredibly important for anyone who runs a business online. Since your customers can’t see your product until they place an order, you need to make sure the photos look as good as the product you spent days/weeks/months creating. My favorite example of this is Kim Ludy of Trampoline, who kindly guested on Mint with her DIY photography tips. Do you think Trampoline would be doing so well if Kim didn’t believe in the importance of good lighting and styling? I say there’s more going on than her excellent taste in vintage.
Photo by unruly things

2. Work on a Mint redesign.
I haven’t decided if a quick DIY (no-cost) update is in order, or if I need to hire a programmer to help me with a full-on redesign, but I do believe that blogs need to change and grow when their readership does. Think about it: the content on your site changes daily, so shouldn’t the layout get some kind of face lift every year or so? For those of you with a similar resolution—some of my favorite websites (like the soon-to-be updated Design*Sponge, and the beautiful Ashes & Milk) were designed by Also.
Photo by Anja Mulder

3. Design a line of non-wedding stationery.
I intended for this to happen last summer, but you know how that goes. Most of my work for Hello Tenfold has been wedding related (which I love), but I want to add everyday stationery to the mix. Ideally, it will be small runs screen printed by me.
Via Anthropologie

4. Get the finances in order.
This one is the most important! I do an okay job of keeping track of my business finances with a basic excel spreadsheet, but when it comes to things like taxes I’m an utter newbie. On January 1st I separated my business and personal accounts (yeah, I know, I hadn’t done it until then!) and since the majority of my income goes through PayPal, I activated a PayPal debit card for business expenses. Next up, finding a good accountant. I’ve got a few friends who own local small business, and plan to gather some names and numbers from them. Picking the brains of colleagues is always a good place to start!

So, business owners, freelancers, bloggers, and wannabes! What are your New Years Resolutions? Please, do share.

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Howdy Do It came from “how do you do It,” the question Ellie & Margot found themselves asking about their freelance lifestyles, and so Howdy Do It was born, a weekly column about the things we do to keep ourselves organized, inspired and on track. Ellie will be here each Monday, and Margot will be over on Mint at the same time.



Ellie – I think these are great resolutions for your growing business. I know a local photographer who recently shot for Nested (Carrboro) and Toots and Magoo (Chapel Hill). If you like her work I’d be happy to give you her info. Happy New Year!


Maybe you could find a photographer and/or programmer and/or accountant in need of design services to trade with?

It would keep costs down, and could be a great way to network as well.

Just a thought!


My suggestion is to seek an accountant who has experience working with creative types too, it’s really really handy having an accountant who gets the lifestyle and who will support all of your creative research & growth as viable write-offs. My accountant is honestly like a friend now. I enjoy working with her and she’s so supportive with all of my questions and never makes me feel dumb or like my finances are effed beyond repair. She’ll work remotely too, just let me know if you want her name I’m happy to share.


I’m with you on “freshening” up the design of your blog every year. I worked on mine over the holidays and it feels like a huge accomplishment. It’s good to start the new year on a high note.


You might look in to using to redesign your site. I’m NOT affiliated with them in any way. I am just very impressed after using them myself when I designed my own site. I am not a programmer and I didn’t use one. Instead I used Squarespace and found their modules pretty easy to use. It’s all WYSIWYG, and if you have a question, they answer it quickly (even when you are using their free 2-week trial).


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