life, lately: Hello, 2017

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Happy 2017, friends!

2016 went out with a bang on this end. In late October, R.T. and I went to an open house on a whim and ultimately ended up buying a house in Tacoma, WA (about 30 miles south of Seattle). It was the only house we toured, but it was very much a when you know, you know thing for me. I knew it had to be our house. We got keys on December 12th, spent that week painting, and moved in the following weekend. We’re mostly settled in already, which is mostly thanks to R.T.’s efforts.

A quick look at the other things I’m digging lately:

reading: The Big Leap (can’t believe I hadn’t read that earlier!), Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I promised to report back on Year of Yes – it was one of my favorite reads of 2016. Shonda is fantastic.

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wearing: Second-hand Frye boots – I love these so much, but they’re showing wear earlier than I would have expected. (I probably don’t know how to take care of them…) TOMS Desert wedgesTara gave me a pair of these (in taupe) during a pre-move purge while ago, and I only just started wearing them. LOVE. I found a black pair on Poshmark recently. I’m in love with a slouchy Crane Clothing beanie lately, too… As much as I dislike cold weather, I do like getting away with not doing my hair every day. Ha.

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smitten with: My new office and studio spaces. And our new fireplace. The house in general, I suppose. My letter board. The lighting kit I just got last week – it’s super inexpensive, but makes SUCH a big difference for taking photos in the studio at night. (I mostly use this for Instagram – and now for FB Live – YMMV in more pro-level settings.)

indulging in: I just indulged in about a month of slow-working… generally only working a few hours a day and taking a lot of time off. Some of this was intentional – I always aim to be off for the second half of December – but some of it was just the timing of our house closing and our move. Now I’m not feeling very inclined to indulge – I’m more focused on being productive. (That’ll fade soon, I’m sure… probably when all of the TV shows I like come back from their mid-season breaks!)

creating: I’m anticipating a lot of creative work this month – both in my business and on personal projects – but for the last little while, I’ve mostly been focused on turning this house into a home. I did create a new offering last month, though. It’s been awhile since I offered a low-budget starter site – but here they are! Launchpad Sites!

listening to: in terms of music, I’m really into Passenger lately. Podcast-wise, I really loved the Being Boss episode with Nicole Antoinette. I’m also really enjoying Jess Lively‘s adventures on The Lively Show.

celebrating: becoming a homeowner, obviously! Opening my own tiny, intimate Facebook group and getting brave with the folks who are hanging out there.

looking forward to: Everything ahead this year! It’s going to be a big year for my business and I’m excited for the brilliant business owners I’ll get to help and collaborate with this year. I’m also looking forward to SPRING and the warmer weather adventures that I’ll get to enjoy with R.T. (hiking, camping, etc).

How about you? How’s 2017 shaping up so far? What are you excited about?

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the dish on rebranding under my own name

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A couple of weeks ago, I was on a call with a client, discussing her rebrand from a “company” name to her own name. She expressed feeling some hesitation, but I assured her that it was absolutely the right move for her business. In fact, it seemed super obvious.

I hung up and told R.T. that I was doing the same thing. Rebranding as Evan Leah Quinn. This new website was most of the way done by that point, but a little logo revamp made the unveiling of this site the perfect time to unveil my brand name change as well.

So, why did I do it? Let’s first talk about why I didn’t do it to begin with.

I rebranded under the company name SixteenJuly in 2013, when my husband was working for me full-time, and I had intentions of building a little empire. I envisioned someday having a team and not being at the helm of the ship forever. I figured we’d grow to take on bigger web projects, and I’d have a creative director role rather than a client-facing role.

As my business evolved and I started doing more coaching and strategy work, I realized that I absolutely didn’t want to take a back seat. I wanted to be in the trenches with the people I was serving every day. I’m not in this to scale, or to four-hour-work-week my way to success. (Paul Jarvis recent wrote a Sunday Dispatch on this subject that really resonated with me.) I probably won’t do one-on-one work forever, but this is a lifestyle business more than a legacy business, and I’m fully on board with owning that choice. It’s right for me.

Should that change – if I do decide to take on a team… well, there are plenty of women who built empires under their own names. see: Oprah, Marie Forleo, Danielle Laporte.

Another reason I chose to operate as SixteenJuly was that I had a totally different (personal) name in 2013. It was Leah Tompkins, as you might remember. (Tompkins was my married surname, but my maiden name was, I assure you, not any better.) There was no way I was doing anything under that name, for reasons that are probably obvious.

That’s a factor to consider when naming your business, to be sure. Maybe your name is common enough that the domain isn’t available, or that there’s no way to get the SEO rankings you’d need. Or maybe your name is Gretchen Fletcher and there’s no font that’s going to make that pretty. (Listen – I’m really sorry if your name is actually Gretchen Fletcher. When we were kids, I used to tell my little sister that had been her name before my family found her in the garbage and took her in. It wasn’t super nice, but it was also the meanest thing I ever did to her. She got off pretty easy.)

As for the switch, I just felt like it was time. Speaking with my client, emphatically agreeing with her rebrand, I realized I was tired of justifying doing something I would never encourage my clients to do. I was operating a business under one name, SixteenJuly, but my blog and social media channels were all under my own name. It didn’t make sense.

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My goal is to present my “business self” and my “real life self” in a more coherent way. I want my clients to really know the gal behind the curtain, because, like I said, I am in the trenches with the people who hire me. (I have some related thoughts on personal blogging, but I’m going to circle back to that another time.)

The name SixteenJuly served me well. I really loved that answering the question, “What is your company called?” was opportunity to explain that I launched my business on July 16th, 2009, and that my business name was, by itself, an invitation for my potential clients to think about when they first got (or were going to get) serious about their businesses.

If you’re in the “how shall we brand the baby?” stage of naming your business, that’s worth thinking about. Does your business name have meaning, or does it sound like it came from the hipster business name generator? (sidebar: I totally have a domain that was generated by that site, so even if your business name is basically animal + tree name, no judgement. Keep on rockin’ it.)

Ultimately, in the “my name vs. company name” debate, there’s rarely a right or wrong answer – just factors to consider and, ultimately, whatever your gut tells you. There’s more to your brand than it’s name, and, as I have (ahem – so expertly) shown, it’s not the end of the world to change it later. (This is actually my third brand name for this business, which I launched seven years ago, in 2009.)

So, here I am. Evan Leah Quinn across the whole wide internet. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram. (I hope you will.)


PS. My lawyer would like you to know that, if you hire me, you’re still hiring SixteenJuly, LLC.

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life lately: emerald city summer

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Hello, from a coffeeshop in Seattle on this cloudy & very cold July day. We’re having a very mild summer here in the PNW. (I’m trying not to complain.)

Anyway, I thought I’d pop in with a bit of a life update. It’s been awhile, hm? (Are we connected on Instagram, by the way?)

It’s been an exceptionally busy couple of months. R.T. and I had a very tumultuous move, but life has been pretty good since settling here. We’re finding our groove. I’m genuinely surprised by how much I’ve fallen in love with this city — if I’m honest, I felt a lot of resistance about moving here, so it’s been remarkable to instantly feel at home.

As usual, I’ve been hard at work on a number of projects for my clients at SixteenJuly — but in between, I’ve been exploring this city and the nature in and around it.

Here’s a short list of the other things I’ve been enjoying lately:

reading:

I recently read A House in the Sky – not exactly a beach read, and different than my usual lighthearted or self-help picks, but I would definitely recommend it. I juuuuust started Year of Yes – it’s enjoyable and funny so far. Will report back.

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wearing:

This dress, Birkenstocks (above), these jean shorts (on the rare days it’s warm enough to wear shorts here), a bunch of cute stuff that came from Stitch Fix this month. (It was a month where I kept everything. Love those.)

smitten with:

new bluetooth headphones – they’ve made my lifting routine woooorlds more enjoyable. I listened to 2.5 podcast episodes last time I was at the gym.

Related: I’m also really into bouldering lately. I joined a bouldering gym for their strength training area, but my membership comes with unlimited bouldering… I love it a lot more than I expected to. I got to boulder with Marie for an afternoon last month, when she and her partner stayed with us for a weekend. I’ll probably never be as skilled or graceful as she is, but it was fun & inspiring to climb with her.

I’m also really digging Wednesday coworking dates at Kat’s. (Her business is yoga for roller derby skaters, which is pretty rad.)

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indulging in:

self-care. June was super exhausting, and I’m trying to ease into an ease-filled July. Lots of rest. Listening to my body. I’m also off drinking, which shouldn’t feel indulgent, but I always sleep so terribly + struggle with anxiety when there’s booze in my life, so I’m actually enjoying having an excuse to not drink at all for awhile.

creating:

I’m just getting back into papercrafting (planner decorating & Project Life) as things start to settle down a bit. It’s been a long time since I carved that time out just to be fun & creative, and I’m really digging it.

listening to:

Music-wise, I’m really digging Theatrics by Puzzle Muteson. Still really into Modern Love the podcast. ‘Friends without Benefits’ was a recent favorite.

celebrating:

so many site launches! Liz! Squam! A facelift for Sas! Copperboom! Rachelle’s new site is just a day or two from launching – watch this space.

ALSO – my little business turns SEVEN in a couple of weeks. I’m pretty proud of that.

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looking forward to:

There are some big-to-me business changes happening this month and I’m really ready for those. (Blog post on the subject pending, in theory.) Also excited about some upcoming PNW adventures (like camping with R.T. for the first time), and for some travel to the mitten and back to the east coast in a couple of months.

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