I am so excited to announce today’s featured girl bosses! These two young women are so inspirational and I was lucky enough to meet them very early on in my journey as a blogger. I actually think that their Girl Boss Facebook group was among the first groups I joined after I launched The Sophisticated Gal. Both Tracey & Kate own their own businesses and are also the two women behind Lipstick & Muffin Media, whose mission is to help other female entrepreneurs with their businesses.
Kate is the boss babe behind Layered Indulgence and Tracey is the boss babe behind Lipstick & Muffin Girl. I was so inspired by their story and I think all of you will be blown away too 🙂
Tracey (left), Kate (right)
#1 What inspired you to start both of your businesses, Layered Indulgence and Lipstick & Muffin Girl?
Kate: I started Layered Indulgence as a hobby blog over 3 years ago now. When I started, I didn’t realize you could create a business with blogging unless you were a huge blogger with millions of followers and page views, so I was more focused on sharing content I loved and enjoyed. About a year ago, I started treating it more as a business, and it has grown substantially! I started focusing more on helping lifestyle bloggers grow their blogs. My passion has always been to help others, and I think it works well that I get to do that in my own creative online space. I love everything about blogging, from photography to writing, to creating digital products, and of course connecting with other bloggers, so I’m happy that I get to do it as part of my day-to-day job!
Tracey: I started Lipstick & Muffin Girl as a personal outlet to express my perspectives on beauty, entrepreneurship and women empowerment over 3 years ago. I used to think of Instagram and blogging as my outlet to express myself. Until one day, my followers started coming to me for advice on personal growth, makeup and motivation. That’s when I realized that I could really leverage the power of social media to make an impact in the world. The brand Lipstick & Muffin has never been just a business to me. It has always been about making a difference and making space for more women out there to succeed. Since I was little, I have always been passionate about women empowerment and the passion just got stronger as I got older. Lipstick & Muffin is the brand I built to prove that as women, we can indeed succeed when we work together. Having to struggle through my first few years as a creative entrepreneur, I decided to extend my brand to launch my second business called Lipstick And Muffin Media. This is where I found my best business partner of all time, Kate Bialowas. Lipstick And Muffin Media is where we help female entrepreneurs like us build their online empire and where we use digital marketing to help their journey to entrepreneurship less difficult.
#2 When you first started, did you ever feel nervous that it wouldn’t work out?
Kate: I still feel nervous that it won’t work out LOL. Being an entrepreneur, there’s always that uncomfortable feeling, but that’s what pushes me to keep creating and trying new things.
Tracey: Oh, of course! I think every entrepreneur has to go through this feeling when they first start off their journey. It’s inevitable! But you know what they say, “success is feeling afraid but doing it anyways”. I pretty much wake up everyday with this quote in my head.
#3 How did you overcome situations that challenged you and your business?
Kate: We overcome challenges it seems every single day! That’s what helps us grow in both our businesses and personally. Challenges are good. If you’re not challenged you can’t grow. The best thing to do is to learn from challenges and see them as a stepping stone rather than a brick wall. When you’re an entrepreneur you have to get creative and think outside the box, so challenges push me to do this.
Tracey: I have to say that as I get more mature into the entrepreneur that I am today, I have grown to love challenges. I think my team and myself face challenges every single day. The word ‘business’ itself already means dealing with rapid change and ongoing challenges. I think challenges are so important. They are the reason why you can grow and become stronger. They are the stepping stone to your success. I think my journey wouldn’t be worth it without any challenges. When you look at challenges and obstacles that way, you have more fuel to succeed and be creative with your solutions.
#4 How did you meet each other?
Kate: She stalked me on Instagram.
Tracey: I did stalk Kate on Instagram. I was about to launch my second business and posted up a “GIRLBOSS WANTED” and Kate sent me an e-mail with her resume and that’s how everything started.
#5 The mission for your business Lipstick & Muffin Media is so inspiring. How did the idea for Lipstick & Muffin Media come about?
Kate: I met Tracey when she first had the idea to start Lipstick and Muffin Media. It was still an idea in her head, but as soon as we met we realized that we had the same goals and vision. We both wanted to motivate women to follow their passions and be their own boss. Female entrepreneurship is something we’re both very passionate about and above all else, we wanted to create a community where women could support each other, grow and be inspired. The business has evolved a lot since we started. We’ve thrown events, started a Facebook community, overhauled our website and so much more. We love to feed off what our clients and community want and it helps us continually grow!
Tracey: (same as Kate)
#6 What’s your #1 tip for women starting their businesses?
Kate: Don’t give up! Seriously. It sounds so cliché, but a lot of entrepreneurs don’t make it because they give up after they didn’t see quick results. It takes time to build a successful business, and it will never get to the point you want it to if you give up. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and always have your WHY and goals at the front of your mind. When you know WHY you’re working for what you’re working for, your success becomes so much bigger than you.
Tracey: Always give your 200%! Always go an extra mile and don’t ever give up! Most of the time, successful people aren’t at the top because they are smart or talented. They are just more persistent than others, work a little harder than others and hang on a little longer than others. For me personally, we either go big or we go home, there is no half way around that. Build your business on other people’s needs, not your own and definitely, never let money get in your mind. I know starting a business involves a lot of risk and sacrifices but don’t let the financial stress get in your way. Believe in yourself, work hard and never give up! You will be alright 🙂
#7 What time management tips do you suggest for other young women running their own businesses?
Kate: I’ve always been really good with time management. I danced competitively in high school, so I practiced 10+ hours a week and had to manage my time to get my homework done, and it always came pretty easy to me. I’ve always been good at getting things done well ahead of time and that helps a lot, rather than leaving it until the last minute. With my blog, Lipstick and Muffin Media, and freelance writing, time management is really important. I like to schedule my to-do list out hour by hour each day so I know how much time to spend on each of my assignments/goals. Giving yourself a time frame is a great way to get your tasks completed!
Tracey: Time management plays a huge role in your success. I was sent to Canada for school at the age of 16. Being in a foreign country without any family or relatives, I had to learn to take care of myself, do well in school and train myself to be financially independent. In a way, I was forced to be good at time management in order for me to succeed in this country. Today, I run two businesses, a blog and a team of many awesome business partners and I always carry my agenda around. Schedule your days out, have a to-do list, set goals and stick with your deadline! Whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, remember that Beyonce also has 24 hours just like you. You can do this!
Related Reading: Time Management Tips for Total Girl Bosses
#8 What’s one quote that inspires both of you?
Kate: “Most of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up”
Tracey: “Nothing can stop you if you don’t stop for nothing!”
#9 Walk us through a day in the life of the two founders of Lipstick & Muffin Media!
Kate: OMG every day is different and that’s what I love so much! I usually wake up around 8:30 and start getting down to business at 9. On the day to day I could be meeting with LMM clients, working on LMM projects, writing freelance articles, working on my blog, doing a photoshoot, doing a Facebook Live with Tracey, going to events, strategizing at cafes with Tracey for our clients, working on client websites/social media, meeting with our amazing team. It’s always different so there really is no typical day in the life!
Tracey: How do I start? Hm…We eat problems for breakfast first, then go about our days. To be honest, the pleasure of being an entrepreneur and working for ourselves is we have total control of our schedule. We are always busy but super productive. Kate can definitely share with you guys more details how our typical day looks like. I often go to bed without remembering what happened that day. I just feel really good. It’s like how you feel coming out from a good workout at the gym you know.
#10 What is your advice for other young women looking to take their side hustle to full-time?
Kate: Keep working hard and believing in yourself. You can make it happen, but you won’t get there without hard work. And make sure you’re being realistic. If your side hustle won’t pay your bills and put food on the table as a full time gig, don’t jump too soon. You will make it happen, just keep trucking!
Tracey: Always always trust your gut feelings! They never lie to you. I quit my corporate job way earlier than I was supposed to but I was also very determined not to come back to the 9-5. In a way, being in the rock bottom at times have pushed me to be more creative with my venture. I don’t think Lipstick And Muffin Media would ever come into the picture if I didn’t make the big jump. However, expect sweat and tears and hard work! Leaving a stable 9-5 full time income to become a full time business owner is a big change. I know a few people who did it and couldn’t survive because they did not expect the work that involved in being a business owner.
#11 Do you ladies have any exciting projects coming up that you can share?
Kate: We have a makeup and beauty event coming up in June that we’re throwing with a team of amazing female entrepreneurs! We’re so excited for this!
#12 What’s your favorite part about owning your own business?
Kate: Knowing that I’m working to fulfill my goals and dreams, and not someone else’s. I’m usually working a lot of the time, including weeknights and weekends but I don’t even care because I know I’m growing something of my own and it’s work I love so much. I also don’t have to worry about asking to take vacation days or dreading Monday mornings. I’d rather put in crazy hours now and build something amazing, so I can take it easy later in life!
Tracey: My favorite part is being able to grow, as a person and as an entrepreneur. Owning your own business means you are no longer slaving for someone else and building someone else’s dream. But it also means you are often left alone to figure out your own path. At the beginning, it’s scary. Later on, it becomes a thrilling experience to create your own path and seeing your ideas become reality. It’s addictive. It makes you want to climb the next mountain after you conquer one. You will also grow so much as a person and on the way, inspire people around you to do the same.
#13 You two are social media pros, what is your best tip for using social media to advance your business?
Kate: Build relationships! Relationships are sooo key to growing your business. Me and Tracey met on Instagram and we’ve grown our network and client base through social media because of building relationships with amazing like-minded individuals. Starting a Facebook Community was also one of the best things we’ve done. We always wanted to create a community for female entrepreneurs and the ladies in the Lipstick and Muffin Facebook Group are so inspiring! I love hanging out in there every day 😉
Tracey: Social media is not everything if genuine relationships aren’t there. Focus on collaboration rather than competition. You will be surprised how many awesome people you can collaborate with on social media and succeed together!
#14 What are some of your favorite websites to read when you need some extra inspiration?
Kate: My top websites for inspiration are The Every Girl, The Coveteur, Helene in Between, Blogging for Keeps, and of course, Lipstick and Muffin Girl!!!
Tracey: I have to be honest! I read more books than websites but obviously, my girl, Kate has such an inspirational blog that I check on everyday. She is awesome!
#15 What goals have you set for yourselves and your businesses in 2017?
Kate: I can’t believe we’re almost half way through 2017. We have big goals for Lipstick and Muffin Media. We want to expand our team and help as many female entrepreneurs as we can, whether it’s building their dream website, growing their social media presence, or creating more networking events for them to connect with each other. One of my biggest goals for Layered Indulgence is creating an online course for lifestyle bloggers. I can’t go into this too much yet, but it’s going to be amazing!!!
Tracey: Yes! Everything that Kate said here ha ha. Literally she reads my mind!
#16 Where can we find you two on social media?
Facebook: Tracey Nguyen
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