Why I Chose Not to Do My MBA

As a blogger, hustler, entrepreneur and hopefully all around girlboss, people ask me how I became inspired to create and curate a blog. People also ask “Annika, how do you possibly have the time to work a full time job and be building a brand”? Well, to be completely honest and transparent, I am really motivated to make this work because it makes me happy! I find so many times in life a big decision spurs creativity and passion. For me, this HUGE decision was surrounding the choice of MBA or no MBA.

The process of deciding not to do my MBA was a really emotional one. The whole thing took about six months or so for me to really realize what I wanted. I think this made me dig deep because for so long I had this concrete plan in my head of what I “should” do, which I kept telling myself was what I wanted to do.

In the plan I had set for myself I had come to a decision point, the point where the MBA prep would start. I did all the things I was supposed to do: did my research on schools, joined a GMAT prep course and booked my exam date. Throughout the entire process I found things to be almost painful. Looking back now this is so interesting because I if I am doing something like blogging, even if it is hard work and late nights . . . I LOVE IT and it actually GIVES me energy. Whereas when I was doing all this MBA prep, it drained me right out and actually made me question so many things!

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My pivotal moment happened while visiting a good friend in London. She said, “Why do you actually want to do your MBA?. . . You don’t need it”. This struck me like a pound of bricks. At first I thought about the same old reasons like international experience and a good network (which she pointed out that I have a good start on and that those things can be achieved without the $100k price tag). It got me thinking about what the reasons were for driving me to go and spend a heap of money, consume a year or more of my life and take on some massive stress!

After some major inner searching I came to a root cause; I felt like having my MBA

. . . would make me enough and I would somehow be more worth it. . .

This was a troubling but liberating realization.

I realized for many years I had been doing things because I thought I should be, not because it was necessarily the thing that would bring me the most joy or passion. I took a step back and thought about what I really wanted:  Flexibility, an international life, and a creative business. These are the things that drive me, and things that inherently make me happy, why wouldn’t I take them into consideration? This is when the blog was born.

Maybe it is just me, but I would bet that there are many people similar to this. We put pressure on ourselves to be enough. There are, of course, the pressures that we get from society and many that we get from ourselves but there comes a time that you should just do it for you because it makes you happy.

Being a blogger who also works a full time job can definitely be a challenge at times! For anyone out there who is considering starting a blog or even for those who have and are looking for a few tips here and there I can share a few:

  1. Do it because you’re passionate! Like I mentioned above, if you’re not passionate, the tasks and time commitment will drain you.
  2. TIME BLOCK – You’re busy, we are all busy and yes, we all have 24 hours in the day (minus sleep and cocktail hour ;)) make good use of it! I love watching TV as much as the next chick but if you want to build a brand you better get your ass in gear!
  3. Network – I love to network. Networking supported me in my MBA research and in my decision not to do it. Networking is also so important (online and IRL) to grow your blog and your brand! Networking is how I met the FAB ladies @lipstickandmuffinmedia !

I challenge everyone to think about the passions and goals that you have. Are you taking yourself seriously and doing things for you?

Keep Hustlin’

Oxox Annika

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Annika Friesen is a lifestyle blogger from Toronto, Canada. The blog Fernweh Society specializes in travel, career, fashion and girlbossin’. You may find her running around Toronto cell phone in hand and jacked up on espressos or sneaking off to the airport for a jet setting adventure. Annika lives with her other half Dustin and their frenchie Karlsson.

Follow her on Instagram @fernwehsociety

7 Sure Fire Ways to Grow Your Creative Business on Instagram

If you are any type of creative business owner, from interior designer to shop owner to blogger, you need to get your pretty tush on Instagram! Instagram is one of the most artistic and captivating social media platforms out there, and if utilized in the right way, it can do wonders to help you grow your business.

The thing I love most about Instagram is pretty much any industry can flourish there. Whether you run a business in fashion, photography, weddings, makeup, tech accessories, food, stationery, graphic design, you name it, you can thrive on Instagram.

Growing your business on Instagram isn’t always easy, but with these 7 tips, get ready to see it soar!

1. Profile picture

From personal experience, we, at LMM headquarters have found that a profile picture with your face does much better than a profile picture with your logo. It humanizes your account and lets your followers see the people behind the business. Especially if you are an entrepreneur or small to medium business owner, it’s essential to ensure your followers feel connected to you!

We are working on growing our Instagram account from scratch over at @lipstickandmuffinmedia and changing our profile image from our logo to our faces has been a game changer!

2. Photography is key

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Good photography is key to success on Instagram. No one wants to look at an account with dark, crooked and off-focus photos! Think about how you want to convey your brand on Instagram and make sure all your photos fit that aesthetic. Is your brand minimal and airy? Feminine and bright? Bold and edgy?

Make sure all your photos fit your brand. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take awesome photos (I’m sure not!), but practice does make perfect! Make sure to always shoot in natural light, play around with angles and get creative! You’ll find your signature photography style as you go, and it will help in growing your biz!

3. Behind-the-scenes

Human beings are naturally nosy and love to get behind-the-scenes peeks, especially when it comes to creative businesses. It goes beyond being nosy and intrigued. Many people aspire to work in the creative industry, and a behind-the-scenes look offers inspiration, and shows them what a day in the life would be like. With the launch of Instagram stories, it’s even easier to give your followers sneak peeks into your daily life, so go ahead and give them what they want!

4. Flaunt your stuff

If you sell products through your business, whether it’s wall art, website designs, planners, or clothing, use Instagram to show it off! Instagram is one of the most powerful tools you can use to promote your products and show people how your products can fit into their everyday lives.

Do you sell planners for busy girls on the go? Style shots on a marble table top with your planner surrounded by pens, coffee, lipstick, sunglasses and an iPad. All these things are items busy girl bosses see on a daily basis, and working your planner in will show them how it will work perfectly into their lifestyle (and entice them to buy it!).

5. Giveaways

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When we first launched our @lipstickandmuffinmedia Instagram account we held a giveaway. It helped us gain a lot of followers who ended up being our target audience and most of them are still with us today! Not only did we give away some awesome products, we also offered a free social media strategy session for our lucky winner!

Get your creative juices flowing and think about an awesome giveaway you can offer!

6. Collaborate 

Never underestimate the power of Instagram influencers and bloggers. Shoppers are now more inclined to purchase things promoted by their favorite influencers, more so than celebrities or advertisements.

Let’s say you sell pretty stationery. Do some research on lifestyle bloggers/Instagrammers who completely suit your brand. Reach out to them for a collaboration and see if they will help promote your product. You should have a budget set aside for this as many popular Instagrammers will charge to promote a product. Make sure that you do you research, though. Ask them for stats from past campaigns to see if their promotion has resulted in profit.

7. Be consistent

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Consistency is key to growing your followers, and thus your business, on Instagram. If you don’t post for a week, people may get bored and unfollow you. Aim to post at least once a day to keep your followers on their toes! The more you post, the more they will want to see. But don’t overdo it. I would suggest keeping it to a maximum of three a day even if you have a lot of content to post.

Need help growing your business on Instagram? You may be interested in one of our awesome social media packages! You can check them out here!