Normally that's a phrase that makes my stomach contract with nausea.
I've been putting it off for well over a year. Mainly because I hadn't connected with the right person for the job. Thankfully, I found her. (YAY Amanda Creek!)
Another reason I've been putting it waaaaaay back on the furthest burner of them all is because I despise technical stuff.
Really and truly it's the part I hate the most (well, second to accounting...ack!) about running an online business.
When I first launched Blacksburg Belle, I did everything myself--the design, setting up the hosting and domain, figuring out the backend of WordPress. That included 23 meltdowns, 19 shots of tequila, and 7 sleepless nights.
After about a year, a website designer contacted me. She was building her portfolio and wanted the chance to redesign Blacksburg Belle. We hit it off and she created my current design.
While I loved it for years, I've outgrown it.
Not only that, but website design has changed a ton since 2011. I need a reboot--an updated look.
I've known this for about a year and a half, but it's terrifying to hand over the design reigns to someone you don't know. There isn't any trust. Like many of you running your own businesses, trust is huge to me.
I've already found myself working with the wrong people in the past. I've hired a photographer that wasn't quite right. I've hired a website designer that turned out to be a nightmare. I've worked with a makeup artist and hairstylist that did not understand my look at all which ended up with me sobbing for over an hour (ruining the horrid makeup) and having to put off a video team that we were paying thousands of dollars to for a couple of hours and losing that time completely. (Thank you Mayi for hanging in with me during those couple of awful hours. Love you to bits!)
I didn't want to find myself in that same situation, so even though I've wanted to update my website for a while, I've waited patiently (most of the time) to find the right person.
I'm sharing this with you, because I want you to know that it's not always rainbows and big red balloons here at the Blacksburg Belle headquarters.
I struggle just like you--to find the right person to work with, through moments of doubt, to make everything appear as if it comes naturally.
We often blog about the magical moments (and I love those reading about those!) and skip over the rainstorms.
These behind-the-scenes posts give me a chance to talk about all of it: the good, the bad and the nightmares.
When I hired Amanda Creek to redesign my site, I was literally like a five-year-old giddy with excitement. And, don't get me wrong, I still am!
But, for the past few weeks, I've been slogging through the mud to make this redesign the BEST it can possibly be.
I've spent waaaaaaay too much time on photo shoots. They took over my life for two weeks. I spent at least 60 hours getting ready, picking out the perfect outfits, taking the photos, figuring out that one of the outfits didn't flatter me at all, retaking photos, editing the photos, uploading them for Amanda to access, and picking out my favorites. And, I've probably spent just as much time on watercolors for my upcoming website--brainstorming, sketching, painting, scanning, and editing.
We started in a direction that didn't feel quite right so I had to redo all the watercolors I'd already done. (This one was totally on me--not Amanda. And, she's been great to roll with it.)
Throughout the past month, I've also been battling my insurance company. To make a long story short, they don't want to pay for the only treatment plan any of my doctors have been able to come up with in over five years because it's very expensive. They're coming up with every excuse they can think of (short of having me killed) to not pay for it. That's been really draining. But don't you worry about me, I'm married to one of the top 100 trial attorneys in the United States (yes...he really did win an award as one of the top 100 trial attorneys in the United States--I'm not just making up crap as a proud wifie even though I'm very much the proud wifie--go hubby go!) and they won't get away that easy. They better be prepared for war, because we are.
Okay...let's get back to the happy parts.
Now that I've leaped over a bunch of hurdles, I've got photos that I'm thrilled with and watercolors that I can't wait to show you.
The best lesson I can share with you so far is that when something doesn't feel exactly right, stop right then and adjust. If I said to myself, "Hey self. You've already spent hours and hours on these watercolors and editing them in Illustrator and turning them into your new logo. Don't throw all that away because it doesn't feel on brand," then I wouldn't be happy with the outcome. I know myself too well to know that just because I've put in tons of time into something doesn't mean it gets published.
You would probably be shocked to know how many things I've done that have never made it in front of you--blog posts I've fired, watercolors I've thrown in the trash, photos I've deleted, courses I've stopped mid-way through production.
When you're in charge, you can't get romantic about your projects.
You've got learn to be lethal--canning everything that you know in your gut shouldn't make it in the final edit.
It's not easy. But, it makes you one heck of a girl boss (yes, I love this term and will continue to use it so #hatersgetlost) when you learn this lesson. It means that the world only sees your best and that is something to be proud of.
Alright...alright...I'll come down off my inspirational soapbox and show you some behind-the-scenes moments from my website redesign:
First, here are some photos that I adore and am so excited about using:
It is taking every ounce of willpower I have not to share more photos. I've gotta save something for the website launch but oh my goodness, it's hard to hold back.
And, this unfortunately, is what happens when you get a little carried away with photo ideas. This will never make it to the final project but I thought you might need a giggle today:
Yes, that is silver glitter all over my lips. I must've ingested at least a teaspoon of glitter for this shot. Face palm!
But, hey...you never know until you give it a go, right?
Next, here's one of the watercolors I've created specifically for the redesign:
This is it mid-project:
And, here it is almost finished (I haven't scanned it in and taken off the background yet):
I hope you love it! I do.
Now, I've got to get back to my watercolors if Amanda and I hope to get the website launched anytime soon.
Thanks for all the support you've given to me as I've shared bits and pieces on Instagram. You have no idea how much motivation it's given me to get this right. Virtual hugs and kisses!