Take notes ladies, Shari Miller is a total #bossbabe. She gave Bring Your Own Kombucha a MAJOR facelift and is full of talent!!!!! I can’t wait for you all to to meet Shari Miller of Little Blue Deer! Enjoy this weeks edition of #bossbabe!!!!
Shari Miller, founder of Little Blue Deer
Who is this fabulous and highly successful soul? Shari Miller helped Bring Your Own Kombucha get a MAJOR facelift. She is an awesome self-taught graphic designer, highly educated as she has an English degree from Emory University, and has been working in website production for about 20 years.
She started out working at a public relations job that she absolutely hated and decided to start blogging for fun, as a creative outlet. (Isn’t that how all of us bloggers start out!) So she started a blogger’s blog in 2009.
“I loved blogging right away, and part of what I loved was designing my own blog template. I started to learn about blog design and I already had a good working knowledge of graphic design and programming. A few months later, fellow bloggers started to ask me if I was available to design their own blogs. My very first client is still a friend whom I have met several times in real life, and my second real client is now an internationally-known textile and interior design based in Amsterdam. So it’s cool because she was sort of starting out at the same time as me, it’s been really awesome to watch all of these early bloggers evolve, some of them are now quite famous!”
After about 6 months, Shari had so much business that she was able to quit her day job and now seven years later she is still doing this full time.
Okay Shari, let us in on the secret. How do you become a #BOSSBABE?
Shari has SO MANY great tips for future #bossbabes. She really stresses the importance of being organized. For example, if you plan to work from home, you should get up early, take a shower and get fully dressed, including shoes. If you look professional, you’ll be professional, even if no one can see you. She also advises setting boundaries.
“If you work from home, you have to set boundaries. So for me, I shut my email window around 5 or 5:30. I also don’t enable email alerts on my iphone. You HAVE to be able to “leave the office” if you work from home otherwise you’ll literally be working 24 hours a day. So those are the 2 things that I do to give me time “away from work.” Then I don’t do anything work-related till the next morning. Also almost every night I get out of the house: meet friends, go to a church thing, take a walk, I do something so I’m not sitting inside 24/7. This also helps break up the day and separate me from work.”
My FAVORITE piece of advice that she offers is: BE AUTHENTIC.
“As far as my story goes, I think the KEY to being a boss babe, or to having your own business is not to put the cart before the horse. You cannot go into something with the end goal of working for yourself, I think it has to evolve. I had no intention of starting my own company when I started my blog, so I was blogging for what I feel are the right reasons: for fun, as a creative outlet, to meet people, etc. Rather than having an agenda. I feel like authenticity is a huge part of blogging and readers can really tell when you are being fake or trying to be something you’re not. So I had no expectations and my company evolved in a very natural way (albeit very quickly and it still feels a lot of the time like a train running out of control); I would have preferred maybe a slower evolution because I had to do A LOT of learning under pressure and on the fly which is stressful but maybe sometimes is the best way to learn. Either way, I had no choice, that’s just how Little Blue Deer evolved.”
Shari explains that she doesn’t have a fancy office and her day to day life isn’t exactly “instagrammable” (her words not mine!), and that is her choice. Shari strongly suggests focusing on whats important.
“I focus solely on my digital presence (and the digital presence of clients), I’m not getting up in the morning and sipping a latte in a Frette bathrobe, leisurely answering emails and occasionally stopping to admire the fresh peonies on my desk. I’m all about business, if that makes sense. I don’t need all the trappings to make me look successful, I sort of AM successful because I keep my overhead very low and I keep everything to do with my business low-key – for example, my whole business is in my Macbook, I don’t have a fancy office, everything is digital (which is key because it’s all portable too which allows me a lot of flexibility).”
What do you do when Clients are demanding?
“The hardest part of my job isn’t the technical or design stuff, that all comes pretty easily to me, it is managing clients. It’s interesting because I deliver a very specific product that is the same for everyone, so the variable in each job is the client and their personality. I have gotten a lot more assertive, when I first started my business, I said yes to everything and I killed myself (I have put thousands and thousands of hours into this business, many, many late nights and getting up at 4 a.m. to work on something!) to make people happy. Now I’m a lot more forceful with outlining what clients can expect and terminating projects, at this point my well-being is more important than money, so if a client gets to be too demanding or unpleasant I will end things with them rather than suffer through the project, I feel like at this point I can afford to do that. But I still dread emails, that might be crazy but my least favorite part of owning my own business is dealing with people.”
She also relies on taking a break mid day to go for a run or going to play tennis. She emphasizes that exercise is a huge part of managing stress, especially when your clients are demanding.
“It can be a little disruptive to leave the house and break up the day but by playing tennis, it forces me to focus mentally on something that is entirely unrelated to work, so I usually feel better when I come back from playing because I’ve had a mental break.”
What are some of the realities of being a #BOSSBABE?
“I kind of hate social media because it’s all so fake. We measure ourselves against what people allow us to see, so everyone has these charming and perfect instagram posts that are so carefully curated, but we only see a part of the whole picture and then everyone is breaking their backs thinking they need to attain something THAT ISN’T EVEN REAL. That’s nuts! So I do use social media to promote my business but otherwise I’m just not that interested in it because it sets unrealistic expectations.”
Instead of focusing on the fake social media that everyone hides behind, Shari advises woman to focus on the little things in life that give you joy, such as an etsy shop as a side business. Do what makes you happy and satisfied instead of living in a constant rat race to achieve someone else’s vision of success.
“There’s so much hard work that goes into business ownership and honestly it’s pretty unglamorous! But if you find a little time in every day to put towards doing what you love, you have good friends and family and a roof over your head, in my opinion you are the ULTIMATE #BOSSBABE.”
Isn’t Shari just AMAZING? Check out her website www.littlebluedeer.com.