personal

What I Do In My Time Off and Other FAQ's

What I Do In My Time Off and Other FAQ's

How did Lemon and the Sea get it's name?

Long story short, God gave me this name very early in my business (like, before my business was even a real thing) and I've stuck with it ever since. For more details, check out this post all about the story behind the name and how Lemon and the Sea got it's start.

Who do you work with?

We love working with creative women with a heart to serve. It doesn't matter is you are in a "creative" industry as long as you're willing to think about the box and push past what's "normal." We've worked with wedding professionals, interior designers, authors, bloggers, accountants, dance instructors, and even an agronomist and we've loved them all! If you have a passion for serving others well and want to build a business that supports the life you want to live, we're on-board for that!

WHAT IS BRANDING, EXACTLY?

Your brand is you, especially if you’re running a one person business. It’s what you’re about: your values, your message, and your approach. Branding is how you present yourself to the world: through email, social media, blogging, and anything else you do. Design takes all of that and makes it visual. This can include your logo, your color palette, your website, or your print documents. Your design should match your brand, not the other way around. This is why I take so much time to get to know you and your business before I jump into creating.

WHY DO YOU ONLY DESIGN WEBSITES ON SQUARESPACE?

I love Squarespace! I want to make things as easy as possible for you as your business grows and you need to update your website. Squarespace makes updates and changes super easy. I can set all of the visuals in place and you don’t have to worry about a new page or blog post not matching the rest of your site. It’s easy to use and works really well because you never have to worry about plug-ins or updates. Squarespace also has a great customer service if you ever have questions.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

I’ve been creating and designing since I was old enough to hold craft supplies. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to combine my love of creating with my passion for organization and helping others. I attended Clemson University and studied Architecture, where I learned a lot about design in general. My favorite part of every project was playing around with concepts and figuring how to mesh beautiful design with practical experience for each different client. After graduating, I took a job working for a family run business where I handled everything from everyday administrative tasks to updating and photographing products for their online store. I was able to design for every aspect of business from email marketing graphics to real estate advertisements, from product photography to website additions. When the time came to relocate for my husband’s career, I was excited to have the opportunity to take everything I’d learned and the projects I’d done to build a business that allowed me to design for people who are just as passionate about what they do as I am about my own work.

Do you have kids?

Okay, maybe this one is mostly from people I meet in person, but I do get asked this a lot since my husband and I have been married for 4+ years now. The answer? No, we don't have kids, but we do have a goofy little dog named Gambit who hangs out in the office with me every day. Check him on Instagram at #gambittheweshi.

What are your business values?

We believe in serving well. We believe that we’re all at our best when we’re serving others with our talents and skills. That’s why we focus on creating processes that make communication easy and work efficient.

We believe in meaningful projects. What we do matters. That’s why we choose projects that we can execute well and that speak to our mission and vision. And you should too.

We believe in authentic design. Design should be a reflection of who you are, not what’s trendy or normal in your industry. We aren’t afraid to think outside the box.

We believe in family time. You know that idea that you have to hustle all the time? We believed it too for a while. Then we learned that we’re at our best when we can invest in the people who matter most - our friends and family. So we take time to make them a priority - and you should too.

We believe that growth is important. We love continually learning in growing, both in business and personally. We’re always testing out new systems and making investments in our future.

What do you do in your time off?

What time off? Just kidding! I've learned the hard way that it's important to make time for myself and my family if I want this business to be sustainable.

When I'm not working, I love cooking dinner with my husband, binge-watching Netflix, hanging out with local creatives and my church life group, and spending time exploring Virginia. I'm a big reader, so I always have a book by my bed and I'm all about DIY projects for my house.

My favorite shows include Criminal Minds, Veronica Mars, Firefly, and Gilmore Girls. My most watched movie is probably Legally Blonde (my sister and I watched it everyday for an entire week once), and my favorite (non-business) podcasts are Myths and Legends, Crime Writers On, Casefile, Generation Why, Invisibilia, and These are Their Stories.

Want to know more about me? I'm always sharing behind-the-scenes stuff on Instagram.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


The World Needs Your Story

The World Needs Your Story | Lemon and the Sea: Your story is so important to your personal brand s because it share the bigger message behind your why and connects with your audience.

Remember when you had to give presentations in school to practice your "public speaking skills?" You would get docked points for saying "um" too much (which my sister has pointed out that I do), you were graded on making eye contact, and you had to keep up with your time so it wasn't too long or too short.

For many of us, both speaking and listening was a nightmare because everything was so robotic and formulaic. Looking back on it now, the torture of giving and listening to speeches wasn't because the information was boring, but because there was no story behind it.

Story is a driving force.

The best speakers share stories to engage their audience and connect the dots of their message with the real world. If you've ever listened to a really good sermon, you know the pastor will combine personal stories and his Biblical teaching.

Without those stories, you would just be listening to a list of dos and don'ts. (And you'd probably be trying hard not to fall asleep.)

Story is a driving force for any message - whether it's for a presentation, a teaching moment with your kiddos, or a business. People want to know that you've been there, that you understand, and that you aren't just spouting facts with no real purpose behind them.

You have something unique to share, even if you don't think you do.

Your story - how you got to where you are now - is unique. It may not feel like it (I mean, there are a surprising number of graphic designers who started out in architecture), but even if the basic building blocks of your story are similar to others you've heard, you have something no one else does - your perspective.

It's like when psychologists have a group of people all watch a video of the same car accident. The facts of the accident may all be the same, but each person saw it a little differently (which is why eyewitness testimony isn't very reliable, but that's a whole other topic).

So even if you're in a crowded market like design or photography, your story gives you a unique viewpoint on what you do and why you do it.

Your Story Informs your why

We talk about finding your "why" a lot as creative entrepreneurs, but it isn't always as easy as following a formula.

Your "why" isn't some vague reason that you pull out on the home page of your website - it's part of your story. For example, my "why" is to help other women build businesses they love and that let's them focus on their families. I didn't come to this because it seems nice, but because I've worked for businesses that I don't believe in, done jobs that take me away from my family, and I've decided to build my own business in a way that's different.

I believe that God has brought you to this place and time for a reason. It may not be clear yet what that is, but He's developing your story so you can share it with others.

Someone needs your story

It can feel like you're shouting into a crowd when you're trying to reach your dream clients and share your message and that turns many of us off of even trying.

But I promise you (and I can do that because I've seen it) that someone out there is watching and listening to your story. You may not be aware of them, they may never reach out to you, but they need to hear your story.

Maybe they are a few steps behind you and want to learn. Maybe they're going through something similar to your experiences and just need the encouragement that this too shall pass. Or maybe they're at the very beginning of a new path and they're struggling to find their own voice.

No matter what, even if you're sharing your story with only one person, it's worth it. Because it does make a difference.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


My Favorite Non-Business Books that Have Impacted My Business

My Favorite Non-Business Books that Have Impacted My Business | Lemon and the Sea: I'm sharing some of my favorite books that have impacted what I do and why I do it in my business.

When I was in high school, I spent hours every week in the library. Most of the year, I had swim practice after school, but there was about an hour between when school let out and when I had to get to the locker room. So everyday, I would grab my book bag, and walk down to the public library, and read by myself for an hour before I had to jump into the pool.

If you've spent any time with me, you probably now that I love to read. I carry a book (or now my Kindle) with me everywhere I go in case I can find a few minutes to read a few pages of a good book. My favorite part of my job as a lifeguard was that I was able to read on rainy or cold days. And the thing I miss most about having a regular 9-to-5 job is the time I had to read during lunch or at the end of every day.

Now that I'm running Lemon and the Sea, I have less time to read (I listen to a lot of podcasts while I work), but it's still one of my favorite activities. Books inspire and refresh me more than anything else because I can get lost in someone else's world and learn about my own.

Why I don't Love Business Books

When I first started Lemon and the Sea, I would read every business book that someone recommended. And they taught me a lot. But over time, I realized that I was consuming so much information and filling my entire day with business - I had no time to relax and step away from the hustle. So I decided to intentionally stop reading business books except on very rare occasions and then only a little at a time.

Because reading is so impactful for me, I'm better when I read for escape and pleasure instead of education. Sure, business books have there place, but when you're always thinking about your business the way I am, it's nice to get away from it every evening.

What I've learned from my intentional step away from business books is that my business is impacted just as much by non-business books - the stories, lessons, and characters all have something to teach me.

Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite non-business books that have impacted my life and business, as well as what I learned from each.

The Magnolia Story

by Chip and Joanna Gaines

If you haven't read this book yet and you're a fan of Fixer Upper, I highly recommend it. I love watching Chip and Joanna interact on their show because they're so real (plus I love the open floor plans and white kitchens), but it's easy to think that they have it all together all the time. This book gets into their story and how God has lead them to where they are now.

I was reminded of so many lessons I've learned in my own business and encouraged to know that I'm not alone in the sometimes messy, sometimes scary, always a blessing journey of being an entrepreneur.

Find it here.

Hissy Fit

by Mary Kay Andrews

This book is why I decided to pursue architecture and spend my time "abroad" in Charleston instead of traveling to Italy or Spain. It's also where my love of refinishing furniture and interior design was solidified. These are some of the lessons the book taught me:

  • do something you  love, even if it doesn't make sense
  • find people you can depend on
  • historical architecture and antiques are awesome!

Find it here.

Just Listen

by Sarah Dessen

This was one of my favorites in high school and I've shared it with my sister a few times as well. Sarah Dessen really knows who to write stories that relate to what every teenager is experiencing and capture some amazing life lessons.

This book didn't have as much of a direct impact on my business, but it did teach me the importance of getting to know someone's story before jumping to conclusions. As I work with clients in all different industries, I love hearing their stories and how they got to where they are now, because each is unique.

Find it here.

Gone with the Wind

by Margaret Mitchell

Yes, I'm aware that this book is a little controversial now, but I still enjoy it. My mom gave me this book to read sometime in middle or high school and I've read it at least 5 times since (I had to buy her a new copy because I read the one she had so many times it fell apart).

What I love about Gone with the Wind isn't so much the circumstances as the characters. Scarlett's story has taught me a lot over time (and I've gone from really disliking her to admiring her and back a few times).

  • You can do hard things when you have to care for the people around you
  • There is value in the place and family you came from
  • Taking care of yourself isn't always going to look the way people want it to, and that's okay
  • Don't be afraid to pursue the things you're good at

Find it here.

Christy

by Catherine Marshall

I recently read this book again after years of seeing it sitting on the shelf and it spoke to me in so many ways. Christy's story isn't something I can directly relate to (I'm not teaching children in the food in the midst of illness and feuds), but it served to remind me that while God's plans don't always make sense, but they are worth following and that God will provide in amazing ways if we simply ask.

Find it here.

Of course, every book and every story has something to teach us, so this doesn't nearly cover all of my favorite books. These are a few others that I return to over and over:

Tell me: what are your favorite books that have impacted your business?


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


How Lemon and the Sea Got It's Name

How Lemon and the Sea Got It's Name | Lemon and the Sea: The story behind the name Lemon and the Sea

Almost every time I mention the name of my business - Lemon and the Sea - the other person asks me what it means. This happened when I had my first freelance client start writing checks (yes, they still do that) to the business instead of to me, when I registered my LLC, when I opened my business bank account (and found out that the only other company with the name Lemon in the state of Virginia made cookies), and all the time at coffee chats and networking events.

I don't have a big story or grand meaning behind the name - no grandmother that it's named after or childhood business that I played make believe too - so usually I give a generic answer.

"It just came to me."

"I like the way the two words don't seem to make sense, but still fit together so well."

And those things aren't untrue, they just aren't the whole story.

My First Business Name

In 2013, after I graduated from Clemson and was still hoping to find an architecture internship, I decided to create my own portfolio website and name it [SAM]designs. I even still have the html files saved on my external hard drive. Sam is my nickname and my initials, so I thought it was the perfect name that would allow me to share all kinds of design - from my architecture work to the side projects I was doing since I graduated,

I was all set to launch that website, but when I went to buy the domain (my very first), [SAM]designs and all it's variations were taken. I knew enough then to know that I couldn't have the same name as someone else, so I made a simple website on Wix, launched it, and kept working as a administrative assistant.

How Lemon and the Sea Really Got It's Name

Then in 2014, because I was always reading blogs and doing DIY projects for our apartment, I decided to start a blog (my second - the first had one post about my review of Romeo and Juliet). I loved the idea of creating a little extra income by sharing my projects online and hoped that I could share our journey through unemployment (I clearly had no idea how making money from blogging worked).

As I was laying in bed thinking about all the projects I could share, the name Lemon and the Sea popped into my head. I honestly have no idea why those words or that timing, but as I kept thinking about creating that blog, I couldn't get the name out of my head.

God had given me this name and I knew that I had to use it. I started with a logo - I sketched out the lemon and wave design, chose colors I loved, and kept playing with it until I loved it. It was the most difficult thing I had ever designed in Adobe Illustrator up to that point, but I created a logo I loved and that fit me.

From DIY Blog to Business

Once I had a logo design, I decided to jump in with both feet and actually purchase a domain and start posting through Wordpress. My first blog post was about some how I had painted candle holders as Christmas gifts.

At the time, I didn't have much to post because I was living in Pennsylvania working and searching for a job so that I could join my husband in Richmond. 

Eventually, after six months of living apart, I decided that it was time to join Jay even though I didn't have a job yet. Instead, I started freelancing for the company I had just left and starting researching how to make money online. In a small apartment with no room for a workshop, I knew I couldn't keep up a DIY blog, but I started sharing all kinds of posts - recipes, design, home decor.

Over time, I learned - from webinars, reading other blogs, and trying things out - how I could turn my little blog into a real business by offering graphic design services. In the summer of 2015 (right before I left for a week long vacation with my family), I got my first inquiry from someone who was interested in a logo design.

That one didn't work out, but I was hooked. I knew that I could turn my skills and passion for helping other people build businesses that supported them into something that could support my family and that I would be excited to spend time on every day.

And the rest, as they say, is history

Just kidding. Running my own business is a constant experiment. I'm learning how to market my services, how I can best serve the people I want to work with, and refining my skills in design and administration.

But the name Lemon and the Sea has kept my going through it all because I know that God gave me the name for a reason  and that He's still at work in my business and my life. That's why I haven't considered changing the name or giving up when things get tough - I know Lemon and the Sea has great things to accomplish.

How did you name your business?


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


A Reflection on 2016 and Changes for 2017

A Reflection on 2016 and Changes for 2017 | Lemon and the Sea

Can you believe that it's already 2017? I feel like just a few days ago I was setting goals for 2016 and getting ready to launch into my first full year in business.

Reflecting back on the past year

As I was thinking back on the last year, I realized that something was missing in my business - a personal connection with my audience. For a long time, I was convinced that because I provide a service and I'm not a coach or a photographer, I should only be sharing really practical posts about business and design. I came up with lots of ideas to share, but over time they felt more and more draining to write.

One of my favorite things about working one-on-one with clients (and one of the reasons I've stayed away from passive income products so far) is that I love connecting with each person individually - getting to know who they are outside of their business, helping them embrace the things that make them stand out, and creating something that helps them accomplish the big dreams they've been hiding away.

So in 2017, I want to do some things differently - I want to put more of my heart into my business, share more of my story, and trust that by being true to myself, I will be able to better serve you (and hopefully make a more steady income).

My Changes for 2017

When I first started thinking through the changes I wanted to make, I considered doing a re-brand for my business. I thought that maybe by changing my website design, my imagery, and my logo I could draw in the people I wanted to serve.

But I realized that I'm already reaching those people, I just had to change who my "dream client" was to fit the people I actually like serving best instead of the people I thought I should be working with. Plus, I love the colors and feeling of my brand (even if they are trendy right now).

So what is going to change around here?

  • Personal posts - I'm going to make an effort to write more personal posts and share the behind-the-scenes of running a business, focusing on my family, and following God's calling in my life.
  • A shift in dream client - after reflecting on the projects and clients I've loved working with most, I realized that they are all moms who are balancing running a business with raising a family. These amazing women don't want to be CEO's of huge companies, they just want to do what they love, spend time with their kiddos, and be able to provide financially for their families. (I'll admit - this was a hard shift to make as I'm not a mom yet and wasn't sure that I was allowed to focus on momtrepreneurs, but God kept putting it on my heart).
  • Putting myself out there - I've never wanted to push my services on people who don't need them, but I've realized that by hiding in the corner and waiting for people to find me, I'm actually missing out on connecting with some amazing women. So this year I'm creating a schedule for posting in Facebook groups, sharing on Facebook Live, and creating free workshops to share my knowledge and connect with the people I love helping.
  • Letting go of the wheel - I like to be in control. If you know me, that's no secret. But I'm being reminded lately that I'm not in control - God is. So this year, I'm focusing on letting go of control, listening to God's voice, and following His plan - no matter where it takes me. I've seen his faithfulness in the past and I'm trusting now that He will lead me (and this business) somewhere amazing if I let Him.

What You can expect from Lemon and the Sea

As I'm making these changes (some more slowly than others), I also want to keep my focus in the right place - on God, my family, and on helping creative entrepreneurs build businesses they love that support their dreams.

As I sat down on the first day of the year to brainstorm blog post ideas, these are some that came to mind that I'm excited to share with you throughout 2017.

  • How Lemon and the Sea Got It's Name
  • The World Needs Your Story
  • Why Your Brand Needs to Reflect Who You Are
  • How I Design Websites with My Clients (Instead of Just for Them)
  • How I Use Asana to Stay Organized (and Help My Clients Stay Up-to-Date)
  • How I Got to Where I Am Now
  • My Favorite Non-Business Books that Have Impacted My Business
  • How to Use Index Pages in Squarespace
  • How to Add a Font in Squarespace
  • Squarespace SEO Tricks You Should be Using
  • Why Your Process Matters
  • Pricing Your Services (without Feeling Like You're Guessing)
  • Why You Need a Professional Website (Even if Your Business is Word of Mouth)
  • Why Customer Service Always Matters

Of course, there will be many more posts and I don't have these scheduled yet, but I'm excited by these ideas and how they can help you grow your business.

  

Now it's your turn - what changes do you want to make in 2017? And how can I help?


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.