Man have I got a treat for you today . Remember my post about Strong women to be inspired by? Well, a few weeks ago one of those amazing women and I had a lovely skype chat where I interviewed her I about her business, how she got where she is today and what it means to be a girl boss.
Meet Alexis GIostra, the planner queen herself and editor in chief of Strange & Charmed, a Productivity and Lifestyle blog for millennial women trying to kick but at their career and in life.
After graduating college, Alexis worked in online marketing for a few years. During that time, her blog Strange & Charmed has been a constant companion, creative outlet, and side hustle. Whilst working her way up in the corporate world, she also became serious about pursuing her passion. So she expanded blogging to making videos and building an online business that includes e-courses and all sorts of cutsy printables for the quirky planner girl. Fast forward to the present and Alexis has built herself a well-known brand that is reaching a wide audience all around the world.
Keep reading to find out about her biggest difficulties, her tips on being productive and her advice for making your dreams a reality.
To get us started, could you tell the readers a little bit about your business?
Alexis Giostra: My business is called Charmed Media Enterprises. It is a media company as far as I am concerned. I design and sell digital products that help you work more and not harder. Many productivity based tools like planners, inserts, e-books and courses for you to get started, more productive and get to work.
In 2014, you went from a secure job at a fortune 50 company to starting your online business. What was the crucial factor that made you decide to quit your job and fulfill your passion full time?
Alexis: I worked at my job for over five years and it was never what I expected to do when I grew up. So there I was with this secure job that I was good at but just wasn’t happy with anymore. At the same time, all the work I did online for my blog and YouTube was really paying off. I discovered the planner community and everything just seemed to click. It was like the perfect opportunity presented itself and I decided to just do it and work for myself full time.
Did you have any big fears about going out on your own?
Alexis: Of course. I guess my biggest fear was not succeeding. Nobody wants to leave their secure job to owning a business and then everything doesn’t work out. Luckily my husband has a secure job and we are quite good at saving money. So I didn’t really worry about becoming broke and bankrupting the family. But imagine having to tuck your tail between your legs and go back to that job.
Looking back, was it harder to get your business off the ground or actually keeping it alive?
Alexis: Definitely getting it off the ground. It’s like what they say about airplanes: The most dangerous part of air travel are the take-off and landing, keeping the plane in the air is not hard. There is a lot of hard work, knowledge, and discipline that goes into getting a business started. So I feel like by the time you get it off the ground you have already build all these good habits and you have learned so much that it makes it easier to keep the business flying.
What were the biggest difficulties that you have faced during your time as an online business owner?
Alexis: Since I am my own boss, I am responsible for everything and don’t have anybody to rely on. So the hardest part is getting myself to do everything that is necessary every day. I am naturally a pretty lazy person so being accountable to myself is really hard. Sometimes, I can be my own worst enemy with productivity. But during my time as an online business owner I have learned how important it is to understand your actual workload and plan out your projects. It will help your business grow and make it is easier to execute.
It seems like you constantly improve your brand and bring out new content. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Alexis: In the very beginning my inspiration for my blog, YouTube and even for my products were things that I was looking for on the internet that I didn’t see anyone else making. So I just did it myself. But once everything started to take off, the ideas for new content and products generally started coming from the people in my community. Usually, it is customers or the audience who ask me for certain things that will help them solve a problem. That is a big part of keeping your business alive: Interacting with your customers, understanding what they want and then giving them a solution.
What do you do when your productivity levels are low?
Alexis: I feel like my productivity and creativity is like a drain and if it is clogged I stop producing. So I just try and do all sorts of activities, like reading or listening to music, that will get me inspired. If worse comes to worse I make To Do lists and write down the things I absolutely have to do that day. No matter what. And generally, what ends up happening is by the end of the day if I do most of those things I feel really empowered and like I can do more tomorrow!
As a business owner and a productivity guru you always try out new tools. Do you have 3 items that you would not want to miss now?
Alexis: I would say my Charmed life planner has been the productivity tool that I have been using the most. It is the planner I have designed in the summer. Since I have been using it I have never been interested in another planner. It works perfectly for me. I also love this app called “Clear” that helps me make lists and be productive when I do not have my planner with me. So if I have ideas or anything like that I put them in the app and that helps me stay organized. I did a whole video on the productivity apps that I am loving. I also have stickers in my shop that I call “functional stickers”. I print those out and when I am having an appointment or a meeting I put a sticker in my planner that highlights it and makes it easier to visually see what is important.
In your videos and blog posts, you often describe yourself as a girl boss. In your opinion, how does someone become a girl boss?
Alexis: I think that a girl boss, although it seems she would be a girl running a business, is more just a woman who is in control of her own life, takes responsibility for her actions and works towards her goals. Whatever you want to do personally, it may be building your own business, mastering a specific hobby or succeeding in a career at a certain company: We choose what we are going after. So to me, that is what being a girl boss is all about. And that is what I want to teach people: It is possible, you just have to decide to do it and work towards it.
One of your go-to quotes is “Be an empress. Build your empire”. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring empress, what would it be?
Alexis: Get started right now. It will never be the perfect time, you will never know all the information that you need to know and you will never be connected with all the perfect people. You have to start right now with what you have. Set a plan and start executing it, because that is the only way to get yourself to the next level.
I would like to thank Alexis for kindly taking the time to do this interview with me. It was a true honor. And for all of my productivity and planner girls out there: If you want to check out Alexis and her work just click on the links below. I know you want to.