How to Organize Your Business So You Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

How to Organize Your Business So You Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

As a former side hustler, the one of the common questions I would get asked was: How do you organize your business to balance work and life? And the truth is, that you don't there is no such thing as work-life balance, but you can strive to have what I like to call a healthy work-life blend. My business is my life and my life is my business, therefore everything is intertwined. I never really "clock out" and my ideas and mind are always "on." After a whole bunch of years of doing a mediocre job, I finally figured out a system to organize my business and not feel overwhelmed. You can get a quick overview in the video below, or the entire outline within the post.

How to Upgrade Your Resume Design for 2017 [Templates Included]

How to Upgrade Your Resume Design for 2017 [Templates Included]

Your resume is important, because every piece of paper or profile that is associated helps to make you more marketable. If you can master a good resume and how to sell yourself on paper, you can sell yourself in your side hustle, for speaking engagements and other opportunities. Job seeker or entrepreneur, your resume is not to be ignored. By now you should know that whatever you learned about creating a resume design is probably outdated, especially if you're in a creative industry. It is the one piece of paper that we obsess over the most and the hardest one to get right it seems. Microsoft Word templates are just not going to give you the wow-factor that you need to stand out in a pile, and the contents on it is probably a lazy collection of copy-and-paste from past job descriptions. Your resume is your introduction and speaks for you. What does your resume say about you? While a resume is just one part of the job search process, it is what can get you in the door.

She's Up Next: Women You Better Not Overlook This Year

If you know anything about me, you know that I live for rebuttals. I always try to give a new perspective and challenge traditional ways of thinking, because if we all think the same, then the world would be a really boring place. I wrote this post weeks ago, but decided that International Women's Day was the perfect time to post it and celebrate women near and dear to my heart.  I remember reading an article on XoNecole about Erika Pittman,Vice President of Combs Enterprises - yeah, Diddy's brand. All I could think of was “OMG, I need to meet her!” I immediately started searching for ways to get in touch. After a few minutes, I quickly gave up on the idea. Not because I didn't think it was possible, but because I wasn't sure how I could be valuable to her. I could pick her brain, interview her for my site, but what would I be offering her in return? I went on a Twitter rant and questioned why we are so biased around who we give our attention to? We are so quick to support celebrities and other public figures, but don't put half of that effort in supporting our own friends and people in our network. We will pay $30 for Kylie's lip kit or Karen Civil's book, before we pay $15 to attend a friend's event. Why? Why are we constantly looking up to these powerhouses of women and simultaneously neglect our peers?  Think about it. How many times have you curved brunch with your friend, but would immediately drop everything if someone like Erika Pittman or Oprah made time for a 15 minute meeting with you? You would probably travel 2 hours on camelback in the desert of Dubai if you had to.

[Tweet "Don't get so consumed looking up to people, that you forget to look around you."]

Guess what? One day, the women we are looking up to are going to retire and be out of the game. If you fail to cultivate relationships now, you will have no connections with your peers who are up next. You will realize that you spent so much time trying to connect with the Bevy Smiths of the world that you missed out on the Kela Walkers. You were so consumed with the Valeshia Butterfields, that you overlooked the Raven Robinsons. In the race to break into these inner circles of success, I realized I was ignoring the resources around me. That's what I hope this list can be. It's an ode to the amazing women in my network that I have overlooked, undervalued or downright ignored. It's also a celebration of women in my circle who I don't give enough credit to.

13 (and counting) Up and Coming Women of Color Under 30

Note: Comparisons are just for reference.


Darian Harvin - the next Ariana Huffington

Greatest Accomplishment: Working to put out a hardcover culture magazine, HRDCVR .

Words of Encouragement: Gimme the loot, gimme the loot.

Raven Robinson - the next Valeshia Butterfield

Greatest accomplishment: Receiving the top 30 under 30 rising star in government in New York State by award by City&State Magazine

Words of Encouragement: Remember you can only win or learn, there is no such thing as losing!

Tiffany Bender - the next Mona Scott Young

Greatest Accomplishment: Bringing home a Black Girls Rock Award for Harlem! *hits milly rock*

Words of Encouragement: get up and do everything you want to do, everyday.

Brittnee Anderson -the next Erika Pittman

Accomplishment: Traveling rural China for 10 days (basically by myself).

Words of Encouragement: if you can, you must.

Cristine Jacquez - the next Alison Brod

Greatest Accomplishment: Working on a brand that has cultivated an online community of Latinas to over 1.5MM members while giving women a platform to be authentically seen, heard and understood.

Words of Encouragement: Be bold & be YOU - there are those who will appreciate you for the same reason others are intimidated by you; be you anyway!

Chasity Cooper - the next Melissa Harris Perry

Greatest accomplishment: Whenever I have the opportunity to connect with young people and empower them to chase their dreams, it's a win for me.

Words of Encouragement: Do the things that set your soul on fire. Ask all the questions. Have faith that everything will work out for the best. Consistently create dope sh*t that will make you proud and leave your mark on the world and do it unapologetically.

Ada Rojas - the next Myliek Teele 

Greatest Accomplishment: Being the first in my family to graduate from college.

Words of Encouragement: Trust your struggle. The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. Don’t give up. Have in your yourself and your hustle.


Altrichia Cook - the next Draya (Mint Swim)

Alechia Reese - the next Marshawn Evans

Raevyn Jones - the next Small Biz Lady

Hiliana Devila - the next Dulce Candy

Gia Peppers - the next Issa Rae

Marisa Mendez - the next Necole Bitchie

And of course me, Emmelie De La Cruz. - the next Beyonce of Business as I have come to be so hilariously called. Hello - If I don't believe in me, who will?


international women's day quote

Who is up next in your circle? The women you should build and bond with? Let them know today. Tomorrow is too late. (I'll be updating the list until 5PM EST on March 8th. Let me know)

[Tweet "Happy #InternationalWomensDay! @[Overlooked woman here], you're up next. #SheInspiresMe"]


Slay with your own Melanin Magic Merchandise:


How To Withdraw Your Job Application Properly [Template Included]

So I was chatting with my blog manager, Jennifer who recently accepted a job offer after going on tons of interviews. She got an offer on Monday and was offered a second interview by another company the following day. So what's a girl in such demand to do? For the sake of clarity, we will call the first company, Company A, and the second, Company B. Creative, right?

Here's what to do when you have an offer from one company on the table and are still interviewing for others.

1. Notify Company A that you have received their offer, are excited about potentially working for them, and need some time to review the offer. This is also the time to start negotiating. And yes, always negotiate.

2. Check in with Company B and reconfirm the hiring timeline. Communicate that you have received another offer, but are interested in exploring their company further and would like to know (if all goes well) when you will hear back about a final decision from them.

Now, if you are as amazing as I think you are, Company B will be transparent and may even speed up their interview process if you are a viable candidate. Company A will also try to put the pressure and ask for your decision in a few days after you've negotiated. (Again, this is a super important step that shouldn't be skipped. Hence, why I dedicate a whole section of the The Job Magnet to it. Whether it is your first job or your 5th job, negotiate.) If it is looking like the interviewing process with Company B will go beyond the deadline Company A set for a response, you have a tough decision to make.

However, this post is titled how to withdraw your job application, so we will assume that you decided to go with Company A. Now, let's get back to Jen.

She ended up accepting the first offer because she thought it was a better fit. Naturally, she should have withdrawn her application immediately when she chose to accept the other offer, right? Nope, she carried on. Please refer to this conversation to see the job coaching realness I dropped on her via text.

Job search etiquette

Template: Withdrawing your job application

If you accept another job offer, do not string the other company along unless you are planning to possibly rescind your acceptance from Company A, which is not a good move at all but it happens. Once you have sent off your job acceptance letter, here is a template to say thanks, but no thanks to Company B.

Hi [NAME],

Thank you for considering me for the [POSITION] and for inviting me to interview at [COMPANY].  Although I enjoyed learning more about the role, I feel that this is not the right fit at this time. I would like to formally withdraw my application from consideration. I sincerely appreciate your time and wish you much success during your search.

Again, thank you for your consideration.

It's really that simple. Don't drag it out and do the most sharing too many details. Withdraw your application quickly and politely, so they and you can carry on. If you happen to know someone else that would be a good fit for the role, offer to connect them. Be very cautious however, because the person you recommend will be a reflection of you. Choose wisely.

Job searching is full of layers and nuances. So many questions around when and how to negotiate, what to say during the interview, how to improve your resume and cover letter etc. That's why I created the Job Magnet course. If you're looking to get ahead of the competition, register today. 

The Pressure of Purpose: 5 Ways to Overcome Burnout


I burned out in August. I stayed up until 2AM every night for 3 weeks as I designed and launched the latest version of my brand, The Branding Muse 4.0. For a woman who was in bed at 10:30PM every night weeks prior to this rebrand, this was a huge change and not for the better. You see, we often think that working into the wee hours of the morning means that we are hustling and grinding. We wear our dark circles and under-eye bags with pride like they are badges of honor. We can't wait to humblebrag about how tired we are from passionately pursuing our dreams and building our brands. Oh please. Spare me with the #TeamNoSleep Instagram and Twitter posts. You're tired, and because you're tired, you are less productive, less creative, and less focused.

Life tends to get crazy and the pressure of the world and purpose is on our shoulders, but powering through while neglecting sleep and food isn't a good idea. This became clear as I was dozing off on the train, when I am usually eagerly working on a blog post or answering emails. What had those 2-3 extra hours of work every night cost me? They cost me my inspiration and creative energy. I found I was no longer as productive and as inspired as I usually am. Writing out a post took twice the time and I just stared at the computer when I had deadlines. Yes, an extra 2 hours of work each night is a good chunk of time when accumulated over a week, but the trade off wasn't worth it. You end up doing a lot but, accomplishing little; moving everywhere and nowhere all at once.

[Tweet "The pressure of purpose holds us hostage."]

Being consistently busy, but feeling like you aren't making any progress is common. I am on my way back from vacation in the Middle East feeling more refreshed than ever. Tons of ideas are brewing and I am ready to get back to work. This rejuvenation isn't easy for everyone. Battling burnout can take more than a few days off work. My friend and fellow burnout survivor Emilie (yes, we got cute with our spelling) launched her signature program Bossed Up For Life to combat this problem, and I also read an article in Redbook magazine about stress and burnout last week. I wanted to share some information around what I found that has helped me combat burnout as a working entrepreneur.

There are some staggering stats around this topic. We talk about the pay gap and gender inequity in the workplace, but no one is talking about how women burn out more often and in different ways than men do. I love the Internet, but too many times we miss opportunities to talk about the issues that impact our readers everyday. A style post here, a branding post there, but what about your physical and emotional well-being? I wanted to let you know that it's okay to push back on the pressure of purpose. Get comfortable with telling yourself and others no.

[Tweet "Push back on the pressure of purpose. Get comfortable with telling yourself + others no."]

I got healthier, happier and more productive when I stopped trying to be perfect. The email had a typo? Eff it, at least it got out. I didn't have time to beat my face for the Periscope broadcast? Whatever, the information I gave is more important than how I looked. I fell asleep mid-blogpost? There's plenty of other valuable pieces of content to read on the site until I finish it.

The best entrepreneurs, freelancers and employees are the ones who give. You have to share your way to success. In the same token, they don't give so much that it takes away from their sanity. You have to put yourself first. Women have lost families, friends, jobs and even edges, trying to live up to an unrealistic standard of what success and hard work looks like. This isn't to say disregard deadlines and become lazy, but understand that your body and mind have limits that you shouldn't try to push for the sake of public recognition.

Burnout Instagram Quote

What would you do if nobody was watching? Probably take your ass to sleep. Here are the tips that have helped me overcome burnout.

Become a better project manager and get on a schedule.

When you are exhausted and burnt out, you're in a bad mood and don't have good coping skills. Everything is a tragedy. Don't force yourself to keep your eyes open. If you have a passion project or side hustle like me, carve out time throughout your day to work on those things. Work on it when you are commuting to work, or right after dinner. I get home around 7PM, eat, relax, watch me some Love and Hip Hop if it's a Monday and I'm back online at 9. I assign myself two tasks a night to complete that are essential for the next day.

Sleep more.

This is a friendly and self-explanatory reminder that 6-8 hours a night will do wonders for your mind and body. Stop scrolling on the 'gram all night and get some shut eye.

Stop eating lunch at your desk.

You are entitled to a lunch break, take it! Have lunch with your co-workers or go for a walk around the block. Whichever you decide to do make sure to take time away from your daily tasks, you'll find that you've become more productive or focused when you return to it.

Deliberately disconnect.

Hi my name is Emmelie, and I am a recovering email addict. I am here to tell you to let the emails go. Responding to emails 24/7 sets unrealistic expectations for your clients and colleagues. Technology makes it hard to disconnect, but you are entitled to your time. After you leave the office, stay off email until the next day. Get comfortable with leaving work at work.

Understand that "No" is a complete sentence.

I love y'all, but I'm not taking on projects and clients that don't excite me. It's not worth the money, time or energy to do things you don't want to do, with people you don't want to do them with. Say no with a smile, but don't feel like you have to explain yourself. No is a sentence that needs no justification. Need a template or script for a particular situation? Holla at me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I've become a pro at this.

Pressure of Purpose

Pressure of Purpose

[Style Post] Printed Proper


Figuring out how to wear prints to work is an art and a science. Mixing prints is an entirely different skill set I will elaborate on another day. But, prints are an easy way to improve an otherwise boring look. There are only so many work-appropriate silhouettes to choose from. Stepping away from traditional solid colors like black, navy and beige, allow you to express your personal style. When I attend conferences, especially if I am a speaker, I try to wear something that speaks to my personal brand. My goal is always to look credible, but still fashionable, youthful and like a risk taker. A little subtle drama is good for your wardrobe.

Wearing prints to work

Shirt | JCPenny Skirt | Burlington Coat Factory (I know, right!?) Shoes | Betsey Johnson; DSW Flats | Strawberry

I have never been a fan of wearing a a full suit. I like to take pieces from one set and mix it with another. My adorable cousin (who is more like my little brother), happened to be out shopping in Florida and came across a leather and leopard print two-piece set. Naturally, he knows those are my faves, so he got it for me as a gift. What an awesome buy, because that skirt fits perfectly, and what I thought I would be wearing for a night out, has turned into something that I like to wear for professional events.

IMG_0430For professional settings, it's always best to wear prints that have a neutral base, so in this case, my skirt's is off-white. (Since I'm thin, I usually go with prints that have a white base, because I don't want that slimming effect that dark colors provide.) If you have a bright base that's doing too much with a print on top of that, it may end up drawing the wrong kind of attention.

Whether you choose to wear a look like this with flats or heels, the print speaks for itself.


how to wear prints for work


These pictures were snapped on my tripod with my lovely Canon Power Shot.


This is Why You're Still Job Hunting


You’re stuck job hunting because you are invisible online. You have a network that you aren’t sure how to tap into, your online presence isn’t stopping employers in their tracks, and you have no distinct voice. Luckily, there is a solution. For millennials, it is crucial to leverage your personal branding to accelerate your career. According to PayScale, a whopping 98 percent of recruiters report that they turn to LinkedIn to find and contact top candidates. Recruiters and employers no longer wait for in-person interaction for the first impression. Instead, recruiters spend their time reviewing social media profiles and blogs. [Tweet "As social media reshapes the job market, what digital footprint are you creating?"]

One common mistake many women make is ignoring the narrative. They have not taken time to assess their skill sets, acknowledge their accomplishments, establish their expertise and proactively promote themselves. Each person has a compelling story to tell. Your professional narrative is a way to communicate where you have been, what you have learned, and how you apply it to the here and now. You focus on the obvious work of sending out resumes, networking at events, or putting in overtime at your job to get noticed. But what about developing your narrative? Many people jump into the creation of a personal website, social media channels, and blogs without thoroughly considering the message that they are trying to send.

SocialTimes reports that 92 percent of U.S. companies have used social media networks in 2012 as a part of their recruitment efforts. Additionally, 7 out of 10 employers have successfully hired a candidate through social media. Recruiters want to learn more about you, so you must clearly communicate the value that you can add to their organizations without a single spoken word. Online you are not able to explain yourself the way you would verbally, so your professional biography, about pages, portfolios, blog posts, and recommendations on LinkedIn are key in speaking for you.

Take hold of your narrative. Create a powerful personal value proposition (PVP) statement that helps others understand who you are and what qualities, skills and experience you bring to the table. How do you do things better or differently from others in your industry? Your PVP explains why someone should hire you or work with you. What skills can you leverage to make you stand out?

Explain what you do

Never go on to simply state your job title. You want to give the listener an idea of what industry you are in and your main responsibility. By simply stating your job title, you lose the power to control the first impression, because the reader will already have a preconceived notion about what that “title” entails.

Present your value

What are your skills? Help the listener understand how you add value. Share the skills you have developed and how you utilize them.

Highlight the outcomes and showcase your accomplishments

How have you made an impact as a part of your companies or organizations? Show how you have delivered results with specific examples.

Collect three recommendations on LinkedIn

Have some supporting evidence for your value proposition. Use LinkedIn to request a recommendation from a former supervisor, a peer who has worked with you or a client that you have served, and a mentor or adviser. Each of these people should be able to speak to different qualities and skills providing a well-rounded view into your abilities.

Ready to write your own narrative? Here’s an example for inspiration:

Elizabeth Grant is a digital marketing professional that creates audience-driven campaigns for non-profit organizations. As a professional working in the marketing industry for five years, she has worked with clients such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of America, increasing their engagement on channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Elizabeth currently works for an agency where she has learned to manage online communities and is skilled in proving her return on investment through the reporting and metric processes she has developed. For more information, visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

Now it’s your turn! Fill in the blanks below, and you’re set for success with your personal narrative.

______________ is __________________ (what you do) that _____________________ (problem you solve and who you solve it for). As a _________________ (your expertise or notable achievement), ________________(proof of your expertise and ability to solve stated problem using skills or past accomplishments). _______(name) currently __________________ (what you currently do) and ______________ (value you have added to you organization or team). For more information/to contact __________ (contact information).

By having the answers to these questions, you will be able to piece together a narrative that communicates who you are and what makes you a valuable asset in a quick snapshot. This is the start to the creation of your personal brand. This exercise and more are also available in our Break The Internet Muse Manual.