Recently, we shared our 6-year journey from clueless beginnings to a full-time blogging career and beyond! We're incredibly thankful for the projects we've been able to work on up to this point and, as always, even MORE excited for the future! Without further ado, here's a chatty post about how our business works and some of our plans for the future!
For the past year we've been working from my (Elsie's) home. It's been convenient, because my space has big windows, a giant dining room table and plenty of space for our team of four people to work on projects and do computer work, while still staying close enough to chat. We never saw this as a permanent space for our studio, but it was better than the loft we had rented before which was WAY too tiny. And we've saved a bunch of money this past year. This is what my house looks like on an average day…That's supposed to be my dining room table. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to having a normal home soon, and we're ALL looking forward to moving into a devoted studio and office space! It's been our favorite topic of conversation for the past few months! I will finally be able to go home after work. What?! Also all the work projects don't have to be constantly filling my dining room table. I think Jeremy is looking forward to having home dinners at a clean table! So as soon as Emma and I finished a book deadline last month, we finally had some freed up time and energy to spend house shopping. (insert cheers and dancing here)
Originally we assumed we'd want to move into some kind of industrial building, but after spending the year working from my home we knew that buying a residential home for our studio made more sense. We live in a part of the country where buying a house can be (way) more affordable than renting traditional office spaces, and our business has needs more conducive to a house. We're planning to remodel and redecorate our studio house room by room and share all of it here on the blog.
I can't even describe how excited we are to create our dream studio together! We'll be sure to share photos as soon as we close on that perfect place. The house shopping process has been incredibly fun! It's so different shopping for a studio than a house. Windows are everything, I'll say that for sure!
Our Growing Team/It seems like our team is always changing and growing! Currently, we are a team of four full-time people… soon to be five! We recently updated our about page with little profiles about each of our team members. Emma and I worked on the blog together for several years with some part-time workers as needed before we started building a full-time team. Our business is set up as a partnership which means we make all of the decisions together and equally share in the joys, the pains, the profits, the weekend workdays and everything else that comes along. Honestly we never even knew we would need or want a team until the needs started arising, and positions have been naturally creating themselves ever since!
Last October (about 5 years after the blog first started) we were finally making enough revenue to add our first full-time employee. We hired Trey to manage the advertising and sponsorships program and other aspects of the business. The results of adding him to our team have been incredible. Not only is our advertising program more healthy and better than ever, but we've also been able to focus more on the creative aspects of our business (like developing the perfect recipe for Whiskey Cinnamon Rolls, of course!) This past April we added Laura to the team as a project assistant. She joined our team as we were really diving into our book 2 deadlines, and I can honestly say that I'm not sure we could have done it without her. In addition she assists with many of the blog posts you see here on the blog. She's a crazy perfectionist, and we love her.
Pretty soon we will have a full-time photographer and videographer starting with us in February. We hired Sarah from Arrow and Apple. We do feel a tiny bit guilty stealing her from all future brides ever (sorry future brides! don't hate us!), but you know what? We had to! She's incredible and the perfect fit for our team. We still plan to take photos for the blog forever, but over the past six months we've realized that it's a little more than we can handle sometimes, and it's SO incredibly hard to get good photos of us together, much less candids! We're so excited about all of the possibilities that adding a photographer will open up! We just wish February would get here sooner. Ok, not really, but we can't wait to work with Sarah on a daily basis!
In addition to our full-time team we work with contributors who write occasional articles here on the blog. (I'm working on their profiles and will add them to the About page very soon!) We also love our awesome agency, Rocket Mobile, who develops the A Beautiful Mess App! You'd laugh if you knew how many phone meetings we have with them. Apps are crazy, but we have absolutely fallen in love with the process!
Basically, we work with a lot of awesome people. We are lucky and so incredibly thankful!
Future Plans + Dreams/People are always asking us, "So what's next?" To which we respond, "Um… more stuff like this?". That probably makes it sound like we don't think about the future, which isn't true at all. Sometimes I feel like I think about it too much. The truth is that we've found our sweet spot for our business. We're busy, without being too busy (we've been there too). We've narrowed down what our passions and priorities are. We've learned to be more selective with what we take on and we've found the project that make us feel energized, rather than drained.
In the next few years we will continue to build our brand in ways that play to our strengths and inspire us. We're working on a lot of collaborations with other companies. We love the process of designing for other companies and creating products with the A Beautiful Mess aesthetic. We will continue to invest in our app. Right now we're working on version 2.0 which is a huge (AWESOME!!) update for iPhone and Android will be getting all of the same new features as well on their launch day. We can't wait! We talked about the new studio space above, with the new space we're also excited to delve more into the video aspect of our blog. There is so much to learn and try in that category that inspires us! Sometime in the next year we're excited to start thinking about our next book proposal (we're taking a book break right now until after the Holidays).
With all that said, we have to be honest and say that our biggest passion of all is still this blog. We're looking forward to trying out a few new features this fall. We're excited to share some room tours from our homes. We're extra anxious to decorate for the Holidays this year. It's an awesome feeling to have this blog at the center of our business. We love it. We love you. So that's a little bit about our biz! Feel free to ask any questions and we'll respond to you in the comments. xo. Elsie
*bike photos and team photo by Janae Hardy.
Nice. How exciting to have another full time employee! I would love more posts about your daily process.
Just reading this post today, not sure how I missed it before!! Thank you for sharing all your plans and goals…I love the idea of you buying a home to use as your working studio. I have often commented on this Blog and on your Instagram that you, Elsie and Emma are the “Martha Stewart’s of a new generation” and I do mean that. I could see all of this happening from the day I started following you last August 2012.
Wishing you all the best on your future endeavors and looking forward to all you do as usual! (Cannot wait to see how you are going to decorate your home for Christmas, Elsie!!)
As someone who doesn’t always comment but has been following your blog for many years, I just want to say thank you! This was a great post and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the changes that are ahead of you. A Beautiful Mess was the blog that really sparked my interest when I first started blogging almost four-years ago. It made me realize that I could be more and do more. Though I have made many mistakes along the way, I realized that it was through those mistakes that I have learned the most.
My blog and indie business is getting a full on makeover at the moment but one of the things that I have learned from you, is to follow your bliss. Do what you love, even if it doesn’t always suit everyone. I have and it has led me into helping others develop and brand their own blogs and indie businesses. Especially on the WordPress circuit. The reason I’m telling you all of this is because in a way, I couldn’t have done it without you! You girls have been my go-to inspiration for many years and I feel, in your own way, you have helped to lead me on a career path that I never would have expected. Thank you so much for being a true inspiration in my life. I know you probably hear that sort of thing a lot but it’s simply because it’s true 🙂
Thanks so much for buying our book!
No worries! Our income sources are… advertisements here on the blog, our App, e-courses, books and product collaborations/side projects.
I have been an off and on follower of your blog for YEARS and I feel like I have gotten to know you guys over time through this amazing website! I always come here for a little bit of inspiration and happiness 🙂 I’ve always been curious, aside from the revenue from you new book (which I got a couple weeks ago and it’s amazing!) plus sponsors, what are your business’ actual sources of income? Sorry if that question is too nosy!
What a wonderful journey, and an especially interesting post for someone to read who’s studying small business and entrepreneurship (that’s me!) Thanks for sharing!
I love love love hearing your story from its beginnings. I have my own blog and am currently still in the ground stage of ‘working from the ground up’, so it’s really nice to have some inspirational success to look to. I only hope I can one day reach the stage you guys have achieved. Congratulations!
You guys are just awesome!! Keep up the good work!! xx
I have to be honest and say they I do NOT like all the video content. I understand that its a direction that you want to take, but I ask that when you do DIYs and things that in stead of just doing video, make video an option, but please also keep with your current format of pictures and text for those of us that are old school or have computers that don’t handle video well. That would make everyone happy
i remember reading Elsie’s blog back in the day (I even bought a commissioned painting off Elsie! love it <3) & it’s been so incredible to watch A Beautiful Mess continue to grow & expand!
good luck with everything that’s coming your way – i can’t wait to see it all unfold
So excited for the android app! Definitely kick myself for getting rid of my iphone sometimes but glad its coming soon.
This is so exciting. Looking forward to the whole studio blog posts and stories. I’m sure you guys will make it look so special. Yay!
Wow! This was fascinating to read. As someone with a small blog and big dreams, I love reading your posts about past progress and future plans – it makes me feel so inspired! Thank you for posting about the process. <3
This is such wonderful news to hear and its been amazing following you these past few years 🙂 Your all such an inspiration!
So glad I found your blog! And the app is one of my favorite! What you do and how you live is really inspiring.
That was really interesting! I love your projects because you can always feel the love and passion you give. (I just bought your book and it’s really really awesome!) So good to see, that it’s rewarding for you. Love, Eva from Germany
so happy to hear about your staff, it makes both of you appear “human” to know that you can’t do it all on your own LOL two questions: (1) how, exactly, would you describe the ABM aesthetic & (2) when it all started did the both of you have day time jobs? thanks for sharing! you both are gorgeous (inside & out) & an inspiration. XO
Ohhhh girls and boy
I really really really love your blog, projects and app!!!
Good luck and I’m excited for the news that are coming!!!
Xoxo from Brazil!
Wow just wow! so happy to have found you two years ago! Love all you do! Good luck with everything. Excited to continue following along with all of your future projects