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How to start an online boutiqueDid you know that starting your own online business is actually quite easy? It’s coming up with great ideas that requires a little more work and time. But legally setting up a new business really just takes a few minutes for someone who knows what they’re doing.

I was lucky that a friend of mine was able to walk me through the process to let me know what all I needed to do to create a legal business. In case you’ve been wondering about that too, these are the steps I took to create mine.

1) Create an LCC, Corporation, S-Corporation, etc.

If you google “Secretary of State [Insert your state]” and go to their website, there should be a link to find all the information you need. On Missouri’s there is a tab that says “Start a Business.” This link tells you how to apply online for the type of business you want to start. I consulted an accountant for this step just to make sure I filled out the forms correctly. You should also use this site to research business names in your state to make sure the one you want isn’t already taken before you fill out the application.

2) Apply for a Federal ID Number

You can apply online for an instant Federal ID Number at IRS.gov. You will use this number to file taxes each year and to verify that your business legally exists when you are doing business with other companies, establishing a business checking account, etc.

3) Apply for a Sales Tax Number from your state

If you’re selling retail, this is required. Most real wholesale websites will not let you create an account without one. This just ensures that you are responsible for collecting sales tax on the products you sell and can turn them in to your state. It took me a little longer to get this number. I was able to apply online, but had to mail in a bond to cover any future unpaid sales tax and it took about 2 weeks to get the letter that assigned me a sales tax number in the mail.

4) Open a business checking account

This isn’t required, but it is extremely helpful in keeping your accounting records straight once you get started and keeping the business money separate from your personal finances. Once you start making money, you can withdrawal whatever amount you like to start paying yourself. I typically write a check from my business account to my personal account to pay myself. I linked my business checking account to Quickbooks Intuit and it has made the accounting process so easy. I also think it’s helpful to make as many purchases as possible with your debit/credit card that is linked to this account so that you have an online record of them instead of having to keep every single receipt.

5) Decide on a shopping cart service

There are many shopping cart services to choose from out there, including selling your items through Amazon, eBay or Etsy, but I do recommend creating your own website as well so that your sales aren’t dependent on the decisions of those companies. I use Shopify which has multiple plans to fit your needs and your budget. You can also host your own shopping cart on a website platform like WordPress. There are a lot of options out there, so be sure to do your research to find one that is the best fit for you.

6) Purchase packaging, labels and stamps to ship products

This is something I admittedly didn’t think about until AFTER I made my first sale, which was a mistake. I ended up going to the post office, purchasing a box from them, then stood in line to get my package stamped and shipped. As soon as I got home I headed to uline.com to purchase packaging (they have all sorts of options to best fit your products), purchased adhesive shipping labels from Amazon, and set up an account with Stamps.com so I could print my own labels (shipping costs included) directly from home. This allows me to prepare everything at home and just drop my packages off at the post office at the end of the day. Places like Office Depot also let you drop off your packages with them and USPS, Fedex, and UPS will come pick them up at a determined time each day. You can also ship priority mail and schedule a time for the USPS to come pick up the packages for you. There are a lot of different shipping options, so this is another one that requires a little research to determine the best fit for your business.

7) Find wholesalers or manufacturers

Finding REAL wholesalers is actually a lot harder than it seems. Google generally brings up hundreds of companies that claim they are wholesale, but are really just discounted retailers. That is not who you want to be buying from. Talk to trusted friends or connections in your industry to find out about legitimate wholesalers, or check the tags of the products that you like and research the brands that way. Just be prepared if you consult someone who would be a future competitor, they might be a little tight lipped.

If you follow these steps you’ll be well on your way to owning and running your own online boutique. There is still a lot of other work to be done like product photos, marketing, finding your ideal customers and delivering a great buying experience to customers, but you’ll be learning all of those things before you know it!

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Acceptance and Inspiration

I should start out by clarifying that this is not a sponsored post. I just thought this experience was super interesting. Read on and you’ll see what I mean :)

Lately I’ve been on this newfound health journey. And by “on a journey” I mean that I’ve researched and read a lot and done nothing to implement any of my newfound knowledge. I had (an entire) pizza for lunch today and Mexican for dinner and didn’t get around to exercising.

Anyways, I’ve been interested in these oils that are becoming more and more popular. My wedding photographer recently started selling Young Living Essential Oils, so I’ve been talking to her about them a little. This past weekend I got the opportunity to get a zyto scan which is basically where a machine scans your hand to let you know which oils your body needs the most. There’s something else important about wave lengths and what not to explain how it works, but I can’t remember all that.

I was prepared to see the consequences of my consistently bad eating, or some other health related deficiency. Instead, I was surprised to see my results:

young living

Acceptance and Inspiration would help with 27 of the 37 out of range markers detected in my body. If you look up these oil blends on the Young Living website their descriptions are even more interesting.

Acceptance© stimulates the mind with oils specially blended to promote feelings of accepting ourselves and others, regardless of perceived barriers. The Acceptance Essential Oilblend also helps overcome procrastination and denial.

Inspiration© includes oils traditionally used by the native peoples of Arabia, India, and North America for enhancing spirituality, prayer, meditation, and inner awareness. It creates an aromatic sanctuary for those seeking quiet meditation and spirituality.

What was more telling than these somewhat vague descriptions were the descriptions of the ingredients used in each blend, which my consultant and I reviewed as soon as the results came back (which took about 5 minutes). Most of them help the mind with concentration, positive thoughts, creativeness, focusing, gaining confidence and other similar qualities.

So many of these things apply directly to my recent decision to go out on my own and start my own business. They all help stimulate the brain. Isn’t that cool? I thought I’d find a healthy cure to headaches, not to the everyday mental blocks I encounter.

The “palm reading” as I started calling it only took about 10 minutes but I ended up talking with the two ladies hosting the event for about 2 hours. We talked about chasing dreams and the power of positive thinking and being confident in your skills and providing value to people and even without the oils I felt like I left so much more enriched than when I arrived. I love when little things turn into big things like that! :)

Needless to say, they sold me on the oils and a diffuser that plugs into the usb port of your computer.

Have you ever used any of the essential oils? Do you think they really work? 

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Falling Off the Wagon

Well folks, it appears I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon recently. I’m not quite ready to let it go yet, so here’s to hopping back on the wagon and getting back into a routine here. I ordered a passion planner that should arrive in January (I ordered it too late and it was already backordered) and I have high hopes that it will work miracles and keep me on track. It’s supposed to be perfect for entrepreneurs or just goal-oriented people.

So where have I been and what have I been up to? I’m still painting part time for a local faux finishing company and building my own business, and I’ve taken on a few custom furniture painting jobs for friends and family.

Things are going well. I’m not quite where I want to be, but nothing worth having happens overnight, so I’m getting there. I’m learning the ins and outs of running my own business as I try to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. There’s definitely a learning curve.

One things that’s been going well recently have been holiday marts. I’ve been selling my scarves and leggings locally and have had a lot of luck with in-person sales. I’ve met some great people and learned more about my products and my customers. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me and all the people who have supported me.

holiday mart

Will is in his final week of his 3rd semester of college. Only two more tests and a 10 page paper to go, then we’re only one semester away from being halfway done with his Bachelor’s Degree. I’m excited for his monthlong break from classes as things are a little less tense when his life isn’t consumed with work and homework and the military. It really gets to be a lot to handle and I’m not jealous of all his commitments. I’m kind of hard on him about all of it (I tend to go into mom mode about homework), but I probably wouldn’t have the drive to take it all on at one time.

us

Also – I can’t decide if I want to grow my hair out or cut it shorter. I see so many cute short hair cuts…but then I think that maybe I can’t pull it off because I don’t know how to style my hair well enough. I obviously wanted you to know the most important details of my life, so there ya go.

Now I think you’re all caught up! I can’t wait to start sharing projects again and I’ve already got some lined up :)

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How to Stain and Paint a Table

stained table

Today golden oak is on it’s way out the door while darker stained wood and white paint is all the rage. You can see why by the picture above. I myself have already decided that when I buy a house my kitchen cabinets will be white on top and turquoise on bottom. I live and breath breezy.

My cousin brought this dining room set to me for a quick makeover before Thanksgiving. Here is what we started out with:

stained table before

First, you should sand EVERYTHING. This is the worst part of painting anything, but if you just get it done all at once, then apply lotion to your hands generously, it’s not too bad. I’ve recently learned that sanding by hand with a sanding block really is the best way to go when your project hasn’t been previously painted. Electric sanders will leave marks in the wood that you’ll see when you stain it later.

After sanding, then you wipe down everything with a deglosser. This helps you clean off all the dust and gets your surface ready for stain. Wearing gloves for both of these steps is much more convenient than the dry, cracked hands you’re sure to encounter without them, especially this time of year.

Now you can stain. I purchased a gel stain from a local paint supply store. Home Depot and Lowes aren’t likely to carry a good quality one, so finding a local store and getting help from an associate is the way to go here. I ended up with an oil based gel stain, because that’s what they had, but you can also purchase a water based gel stain online, and that’s actually preferable for staining indoors on furniture that will remain indoors. You’ll want oil based if you’re painting anything that will live outside.

I was intimidated by staining before I jumped in and started doing it. It really isn’t that complicated. The gel stain gives you more time to work with the product until you get the look you like, unlike your normal liquid stain. I just applied my stain with a chip brush and feathered it out until all the lines were straight and the color was to my liking. 24 hours of drying time is ideal with stain, and then you should apply a few coats clear coat. I used Masterclear Supreme, but that stuff is pricey. Polyacrylic would also work, you’ll just have to apply a few more coats.

Then I painted two coats of white paint (Navajo White) on the legs of the table and the chairs and sanded the edges with my sanding block to give it a distressed look. If you use a good quality paint, you should have to seal it in with a clear coat if it’s not a high traffic item. I didn’t seal in the legs of the table, but I did seal in the chairs since they’ll constantly be sat in and touched.

And ta-dah – here is the final look!

stained table after

All in all this project took me about a day and half of constant working. The chairs definitely took the longest to paint, so the project really isn’t near as intimidating as it looks. I was so happy with how this set turned out and how pleased my cousin was with it when she got it back!

Are you tired of the golden oak look yet? 

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Here in KC it is bitterly cold. And it is magnified by the fact that exactly one week ago we were enjoying a beautiful 70 degree day, and since then it has snowed. Boo.

On the plus side, I got in a new order FULL of soft, comfy, cozy, warm, fuzzy winter scarves. I love them all so much!

New Arrivals 11.17.14

1. BORDER RIBBED ACCENT INFINITY SCARF – This pink and black scarf is so warm and cozy, it would be great for a cold day! $15

2. BURGUNDY CHEVRON INFINITY SCARF – This one’s a little thinner, but still thick enough to keep you warm. I’m loving the chevron print! $15

3. BROWN CHEVRON INFINITY SCARF – Same as #2 in brown :)

4. BLUE STRIPED INFINITY SCARF – The blue is almost a chambray color and would go with just about anything. I think it is so classic! I also have a very similar one in white and gray. $15

5. BLUE PLAID INFINITY SCARF – Plaid is super popular this fall, so I tried to get in a couple new styles. I love the fringe on this one! $15

6. BURGUNDY AND BEIGE INFINITY SCARF – It’s so super soft and I just want to touch it all day. Need I say more? $15

7. CHARCOAL TWO-TONE KNITTED INFINITY SCARF – I’ve been drawn to deep grays this year and the pattern makes it more interesting. $16

8. CHARCOAL ZIGZAG PATTERNED INFINITY SCARF – I love Love LOVE this one! It’s my favorite of the favorite. It’s half plaid and half zigzag and it’s just fabulous! I’m strongly considering keeping one of these for myself! $16

9. TAUPE AND BEIGE WOVEN INFINITY SCARF - It’s just so warm and fuzzy! I really love this one too.

I also restocked a few styles and bought a couple more solid colored scarves that are great for wearing year round…AND I got in fleece lined leggings ($12). I do not want to live through another winter ever again without fleece lined leggings. The ones I have in right now are plus sized, but would fit everyone except itty bitty people. I’ll be getting in some regular sized leggings at the end of this week. You can check them all out at The Breezy Room.

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A while back I picked up quite a few mirrors from a garage sale and have been slowly painting them here and there. I had two left and decided they would make great mirrors to use in booths where I’ll be selling my scarves this holiday season. One of the two is gold and will work perfectly as is, but the other just looked a little too plain.

Mirror Before

I wanted it to look a little more shabby chic, so I decided to paint it a white color. [click to continue…]

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drawer storage

My sister recently moved to KC and got her first full-time job since graduating from college. She moved in with her best friend and a few other girls and finally gets to experience city life. One of the downfalls of her new lifestyle is sharing a room and the limited space that comes with that. One look around my stash in my garage, and we found something to help her create a little extra storage.

I had this old drawer left over from the dresser I turned into my entertainment center. We bought wheels from Home Depot and attached them so it would easily slide under her bed. Then she painted the sides green for a fun pop of color.

How to use an old drawer for extra storage

There are so many ways you could use an old drawer like this for extra storage in you home.

  • Store shoes
  • Store blankets
  • Store book and magazines
  • Store seasonal clothes
  • Create extra storage in your closet
  • Create extra storage under your bed
  • Slide it under a coffee table in your living room to store blankets, magazines, etc

The possibilities with this little project really are endless! My sister is using it to store her sweatpants and sweatshirts under her bed, since those are the clothes that take up the most room in a dresser.

Have you ever made anything out of an old dresser drawer? 

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Outside Fall Decor

Lately I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’ve got a never ending list of to-dos and I’m pretty sure I’m running in circles and getting none of it done. I think this is what most people refer to as life! :)

Anyways, today I want to talk about fall decorating. Actually I wanted to talk about it weeks ago and never got around to it. Sorry about that. But technically fall doesn’t officially end until December 20, so I have plenty of time to talk. And by talk I mean show you pretty pictures.

I wish I could claim these pictures as my own, but I do not have a porch or the photography skills necessary to provide these photos. These come from my sister-in-law and her awesome decorating/photography skills. She actually does professional photography, too, so check her out here. These pictures make me ready for next fall when we will (hopefully) own our own house and have a space to decorate.

Enjoy!

fall porch

fall porch 5

fall porch 6

fall porch1

fall porch3

fall porch4

fall porch7

fall porch8

fall porch9

Have you decorated for fall this year, or are you shooting for next year like me?? 

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Happy Halloween! I have been so busy the past couple weeks I keep forgetting that today is a holiday. Obviously, I don’t have any Halloween plans. I’m a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s wedding tomorrow and tonight I’ll be at the rehearsal, so it’s easy to forget.

It has been way too long since I’ve completed a before and after to share with you guys. I always have a few in progress, but finishing them is a whole different story!

A few weeks ago my cousin brought me her buffet for a little makeover:

buffet

This is one of the most exciting pieces I’ve been given the opportunity to work on. Can you believe she snagged this beauty for $25? And, the best part is that it’s in great shape. The drawers work fine and there aren’t any structural issues. What you can’t see is that it was pretty scratched up, so we didn’t feel any remorse about painting the beautiful wood.

She chose to go with a cream distressed look. This is how it ended up:

cream buffet distressed

In reality, it is much more distressed than you can tell in this photo. I wish all the details were showing up here, because it is sooo pretty. I tried to capture it the best I could from a few different angles.

cream buffet

So what do you think? 

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Today I’m letting my friend Susan take over the blog to let you in on a thing or two about organizing your life, something I’m pretty sure we ALL can improve on!

…..

I am thrilled my buddy, Kala, is letting me steal her space today to share a project I just finished that has completely changed my life and will change yours, too.

Kala was my roommate at the Haven Conference this year. I’m so glad we got the chance to meet! We stayed up late talking and laughing every single night. I only wish we lived closer, so we could hang out more often.

MyBreezyRoom

Kala and I at Haven

So about that project …

Do you often feel like your finances, schedule and even your thoughts are out of control? Does the clutter and chaos in your home give you stress and anxiety when what you really want is joy, peace and rest? Do you feel like your family’s health and well-being are suffering due to a lack of organization?

I can totally relate. For many years, I tried without success to keep myself organized. I’d do well for awhile then “fall off the wagon.” Things would pile up and my schedule, home and life would spiral out of control again.

I had trouble keeping track of stuff, trouble getting projects done on time, and trouble keeping anything neat for very long. I’d vow to do better next time. I’d embark on one epic cleaning and organizing binge after another, and the cycle of struggling would continue.

It wasn’t until I was injured by the clutter in my own home – yes, I was physically injured by my own mess – that I was ready to do whatever it took to get organized for real.

I started to get serious about finding organizing solutions that really worked for chronically messy and busy moms like me.

I discovered that if I regularly practiced a few basic strategies in five key areas of organization, everything else in my life seemed to fall into relatively good order. I began to experience lasting joy and peace and I even started noticing that my home seemed more comfortable and my family was happier, too.

I shared my tips with friends and family members and they encouraged me to write a book about them. So in an effort to help others like me keep their crazy busy lives organized, I wrote the electronic book, “Organized for Real: How to Conquer Life’s Top 5 Chaos Hotspots.”

Book-cover-low-res

This super-affordable e-book is jam-packed with 76 pages of helpful (and practical) information about how to organize your mind, your schedule, your food, your finances and your home. And it is available for purchase now! I am so excited about this e-book because I truly believe it will be life-changing for many of you. The principles in this book have rocked my world!

To find out more details about the book, check out the brief video below:

To get your copy of my e-book, “Organized for Real: How to Conquer Life’s Top 5 Chaos Hotspots” and start creating the margin and beauty in your life that you crave, click the button below. Note: This e-book is currently on “early bird” discount at 50 percent off for a limited time! Be sure to snag your copy now.

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