Being Resourceful, Quitting Your 9 to 5 and Living the Dream with Annie Spano of Style Collective

Annie Spano

At the end of the year I spend some time cleaning out my inbox, junk box and files to make room for bigger and better things for the upcoming year. I was going through my junk mail and found a reply to one of my newsletters from Annie stating she was interested in what I was doing and wanted to learn more about me. As you know, I LOVE getting emails from my readers so I was literally jumping up and down when I saw she had a blog and I just had this gut feeling that she was going to be a big influence in my life. We have become instant best friends and she even came out to Vegas last month and stayed with me! Not only do I just adore and love her as my friend but I have been watching her grow Style Collective from the ground up and its been such a joy watching her totally SLAY the game! I just had to bring her on the blog and introduce you all to her not just as my internet bestie but as the girl boss that she is.

Annie is not only someone I talk to almost everyday she has literally kept me running towards my goals whenever I felt like giving up. I think about who I surround myself with and am so proud to surround myself with Annie, she is a total GIRL BOSS! Anyways, words can’t describe how much I love this girl but I know that after reading this interview you will think more about your resources, your surroundings and get motivated to push yourself that much further towards your business goals! I have been struggling to launch The Fit and Fabulous Club and she has been my main motivator everyday! She always pushes me to new levels and has taught ME SO MUCH about how to ignore the noise and make SHIFTS happen! I love this girl!!

I was DYING when I saw all the Style Collective sisters go to fashion week together, although I am a fitness and health blogger I still LOVE to get dressed up, try new trends and you bet I was looking at EVERY post about NY Fashion Week right from home! After seeing how much fun all my sisters had together I decided next year I AM GOING!

P.S If you are a fashion/lifestyle blogger who is ready to take her blog to the next level I highly suggest joining Style Collective, I have been a member since April and I have learned so much from Annie’s courses and finally feel apart of a sisterhood which is something I have been craving for years! You can learn more here <—

Annie Spano

♥ Tell us a little about you, why and how you became a total girl boss!

“Driven, loving and resourceful”

Thank you for the compliment! Style Collective was formed as a reaction to an experience that should never happen to other women. In late 2015, I left my corporate job after being bullied and harassed by another woman in the workplace. The experience had left me feeling defeated and emotionally drained. I really wished that there was a better way for women to work together and help each other achieve success.

♥What got you inspired to start Style Collective? 

During this time, I had started a fashion and lifestyle blog as a creative outlet and became friendly with other female influencers. I started a chat group with my new friends to share ideas and support each other with the intent of promoting community over competition. The result was amazing – not only did everyone eagerly share their blogging tips and tricks to help each other grow, but also we formed friendships that added a meaningful dimension to what we already loved doing. Our small group quickly grew into a large influencer network that was officially incorporated as Style Collective LLC in early 2016. It’s been a wild ride for sure!

Style Collective

♥What has been the biggest struggle with starting SC and what has been surprisingly easy?

The biggest struggle has been bootstrapping the entire business and running it as a solopreneur. I want to do it all and cater to everyone’s needs, but as the group has grown from 65 people to 400, I am realizing that this is the path to burnout and misery. I can’t give up my personal life to be so involved in the nitty gritty, so being able to reinvest money back into my business by getting help has been something that makes my life a lot easier. Removing myself as the face of the brand and shifting everything to just Style Collective has been hard but makes my life easier. You always have guilt that you can never do enough or be enough, but you get to a point where you have to say F it and make your vision happen. If you are always in the weeds, then you will never move forward. Going off the grid means you are preparing for something big.

♥ How do you define “wellness”? What does it mean to “be well” to you?

Earlier this year I had a health scare with my thyroid. I was SO emotionally drained from the bullying at my corporate job and was trying to get SC off the ground. My health took a dive and I could barely keep my eyes open while I was trying to code the website and put together the marketing materials. Being well means having my health and having energy so that I can make it through 12 or 14 hour days. Without your health, you can’t accomplish anything. A healthy and successful business requires a healthy lifestyle. Going to the gym and meal prepping is a MUST.

Annie Spano

♥ What is your day to day life like?

I wake up around 7:30am, head to the gym and have breakfast with my husband. Our favorite ritual is making French press coffee and sipping it over breakfast together. I usually start my work day around 10am which involves anything and everything from emails, calls, planning content, marketing, sales, strategy, etc. No day is ever the same.

I really try to listen to audiobooks or read as often as I can – education is VERY important to me. I am a lifelong learner. Dinner is usually around 6 or 7pm and I continue to work until 9 or 10pm at night.

After grinding hard all week, I love to go for a Starbucks and mani on Friday afternoon. I usually work through the weekend because it’s quiet and I can get a lot done, but I’m really trying to have better balance and do less of this. It’s hard because you always have the guilt of living your life instead of putting time into your business.

♥ What has been your biggest lesson with starting your business? Any fears starting your business? Successes?

It’s hard work that never ends and it’s not for everyone. With a salaried job, you can leave your work at work – you also know exactly how much you will make every week and it’s very stable. When you have your own business, you are in control of the time and effort you put in to make it grow. At times, your income is directly related to your efforts.

I don’t think that a lot of people realize that you will pay others and reinvest in your business before you ever pay yourself. Also, about 35% of my revenue will go to federal and state taxes in addition to paying a 15% self-employment tax. People don’t really talk about this.

For anyone who has fears about starting a business, start small and run it as a side hustle. Test everything to see what works and doesn’t work – this is the fun part of developing your strategy. Strategy is more than a plan, more than resources, more than method: it includes halftime adjustments. My biggest success is seeing the impact that SC makes in women’s live – connecting them, empowering them and helping them achieve success and happiness. Seeing our membership grow every single day means that we are reaching and helping more women.

Annie Spano

♥ Tell us about your perfect day – start to finish. What would you do and who would you spend your time with?

This is going to sound SO lame, but I am living my perfect day. I used to DREAM about having my own schedule – being able to work whenever I want, as hard as I want, travel, meet other women in my industry and grow my network. I always felt so cornered in my corporate job and being an entrepreneur has given me the freedom to live my best life while helping others.

♥ What are your favorite books, quotes and/or productivity apps?

Favorite Books: 

I love “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. Also, True North by Bill George is SUCH a great leadership book. I just listened to “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie which is actually inspiring some new courses that I’m going to working on this Spring for SC. I love autobiographies also – hearing other people’s stories really gets me fired up and motivated. The Arnold one was incredible and I’m currently listening to one written by DvF.

:Side Note: Half the books on my Boss Babe book list were recommended by Annie!

Favorite Quotes From Business School:

“Strategy is all about balance – balancing the reality of your goals and your resources. It’s not about resources, it’s about resourcefulness.” – my strategy professor

“Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

Selling begins when people say “No, not interested.”

“Leaders mobilize the resources that people need in order to help them succeed.”

♥ Share with my readers 3 tips on how you keep on top of your day to day business tasks and still make time for a workout, eating well and slaying your business.

Delegate when you can afford to do it. By sharing the work load, I am able to make time for workouts, meal prepping and testing new ideas for my business. You always need to be above the S-curve. You have to observe, plan, execute and monitor.

marketing-hack

♥ What is the one thing that helped slingshot your business to the top?

Taking care of myself and my health is really important for being able to reach my business goals. I cannot stress how important it is to take time to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your business.

Side Note: YES! This is a total AMEN!

♥ Any advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Make a list of things that you love. Get to know people in that industry and really learn what it is all about. You might think of a new way to do something or make a connection with someone who turns into a mentor. For example, if you love fitness – get involved with your local fitness community: take classes, join the running club, etc. You might be inspired to become a certified instructor, start a new workout class or launch an online fitness program! The sky is the limit when you have a network of people to connect with and learn from. Your network is your net worth.

Annie Spano

You Can Follow and Check Out Annie and Style Collective Here:

So now you all know why I LOVE Annie, she stays healthy all while building a sisterhood with girls all across the nation! She is also an incredible best friend!

  • Love you girl!! WOW I can’t believe everything that we’ve been through together over the last year! It’s only beginning. Here’s to many years of success!! XOXO

  • I lovelovelove the support of fellow girlbosses here. And I LOVE that y’all are best friends now…something similar happened with me and one of my now-besties who I met via the internet. Crazy how these things work!!

    Coming Up Roses

    • Isn’t it so cool!! I love the internet for that reason it’s so awesome to meet people !!

  • Nicole Leffew

    This is so awesome Courtney! You definitely have to come to NYFW next year! Loving all the support!! Xoxo

  • Courtney, this post is so inspiring! I am glad to hear you and Annie have become such great friends (and a little sad I don’t still live in Vegas where I could have met both of you. I can see why you have made your business so successful.

    April | http://thebluehydrangeas.com

    • Yes I know April I wish you were still here but hopefully you go to ny fashion week next year!!

  • simplygailg

    What a great post Courtney. Annie is such an amazing woman and such an inspiration and so are you. Would love to meet you at NYFW next year! Thanks for sharing! Xoxo

  • Danielle Alexandra

    Such an inspiring, awesome post! I would love to come to a SC event sometime soon & meet you ladies! xo
    Dani // http://www.daniellealexandra.com

  • Victoria G

    i loved this post – it’s so inspiring and it’s awesome hearing about such girl bosses! definitely makes you want to hit the ground running on your own goals!!

    xoxo
    Victoria
    http://www.agallonofglitter.com

  • Taylor Smith

    Annie rocks! I love this!

    • My favorite interview so far! I loved having her at my place and got to pick her brain which was so awesome