Tuesday Tips: Self-Branding

Self branding is one of the most crucial elements of success. Whether through social media or face to face interactions, how you brand yourself will set the tone of your job interviews, friendships, and your overall encounters and reputation. You may be asking, how do I do this? Have I already branded myself? What do people think of my brand now? Am I too late?
SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. Luckily for you, I’m here with a few #TuesdayTips to help get your personal brand on the right track, and if you think you need a little more help remember that DFSCC is always here with some brilliant marketing strategies!

Define yourself

What are your passions, interests, hobbies, and goals? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Who are your role models? What do you want people to think of when they meet you?

Answering these questions is integral to starting your self-branding process, but I personally found it one of the hardest parts. We all love hearing other people say great things about us, but when it comes time for us to brag on ourselves it can be challenging. I found that using tools like Gallup’s StrengthsQuest helped me verbalize my skills on my resume and relate them to previous experiences. If StrengthsQuest doesn’t do it for you, Reinventing You by Dorrie Clark has been on my reading list forever and is supposed to be the ultimate self-branding-guide.

Privacy Settings work…right?

With social media and technology becoming increasingly prominent in our daily lives, what you post online really matters. I know, I know, you’ve heard this a hundred times. But it’s easy to slip up and forget that a potential boss or client is probably Googling you before committing to working with you. Even if you’re happily employed, it’s important to remember that what you post online is a direct representation of your company, and unfortunately, there can be serious consequences if they don’t like what they see.

Now, don’t keep reading this thinking, “my pages are private so this picture of me (the one I’d rather forget) won’t affect anything” because truthfully, many companies have the ability to side-step social media privacy settings. Watch your pictures and try and refrain from posting about extremely political or controversial topics. It’s also important to be careful about what you say while texting, since you never know who knows who or what’s going to be the subject of a screenshot!

Leave a [professional] digital footprint

While I could go on about the implications that social media can have on your career path, it’s important to emphasize the benefits of leaving a professional online presence.

If you have a portfolio, why not put it online? Create a personal website to document your achievements as well as tell a narrative about yourself. This is a great way to broadcast your personality and appear relatable while still sharing your talents and experiences.

Don’t forget to link your online resume – while your website is most definitely amazing (don’t forget, we can help with that!) it’s still important to condense your experiences into an easily accessible and downloadable file. I recently revamped my resume on visualcv.com and if you haven’t tried it yet, do it, because it has changed my life forever.

If you’re not interested in creating a personal website, make sure to take advantage of professional social media platforms like LinkedIn. LinkedIn makes it easy to document and share your experiences, projects, education, memberships, recommendations and more. With their new update, you can even link to different documents or websites – like your resume or online portfolio – to further showcase your qualifications.

Check out my Personal Website, Online Resume, and LinkedIn page for some #GirlBoss inspo.

Email Etiquette – it’s a real thing

Your email address: a small thing that goes a long way. Imagine receiving an email from frogggie209@optonline.net (yes, that was my email address in middle school). Would you take them seriously? Most likely not.

If you took my advice about an online portfolio, website or resume, attach them to your signature. This emphasizes your credibility and experience, and can really set you apart from other professionals.

Remember that emails and texting are NOT the same – I’ve seen way too many people send professional emails with misspellings, inappropriate abbreviations and common grammatical errors. Keep your message streamlined, short and to the point. Not many professionals have time or want to sit through and read an email the length of a novel – break up your points into small sections to keep your audience interested. Reassuring people of your capabilities will be a breeze if you acknowledge these professional do’s and don’ts.

Who do you associate yourself with?

Who you associate yourself with is a strong tell about who you are. Although it can seem comforting to befriend everyone who crosses your path, it’s important to remember that you’re judged by the company you keep. Are the people you surround yourself with doing good in the world or promoting an environment you don’t want to be affiliated with? A quote I’ve always kept in mind is, “I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies”. This can be hard for me, since I’m a typically positive person and love to see the best in everyone, but as a wise woman frequently says, “Friend divorcing is necessary sometimes”. Sound harsh, but you have to look out for yourself and your reputation.

I hope these #TuesdayTips help you on your self-branding journey! Remember, DFS Creative Concepts is always here to help with any of your questions or needs.

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Monday Mantra: What Is Coming is Better Than What has Gone

Source: We Heart It

It was in the middle of nowhere in Alabama, I slept in a tent, and it was amazing. I got much-needed rest and inspiration. I had the chance to converse with new people about deep topics and listen to several talks. One of the talks struck a particularly deep chord with me. The talk was on parents.

I had never actually listened to a talk on parents before. The speaker went over how parents have the power to wound us in uniquely powerful ways, how we wound our parents, and what we can do about it. The most challenging part of the talk, however, was the task we were given at the end. We each had to write a letter to our parents.

It sounds fairly simple, but it really wasn’t. I would argue that writing this letter to my parents was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. I had to be vulnerable and open in ways that made me uncomfortable, trusting that this letter would in some way benefit our relationship. I tried not to think about when my parents would read the letter throughout the week. However, on Friday, I got a long text from my mom telling me she got the letter, followed by a phone call opening the door for conversation about it all.

It. Was. Awesome.

Just that one letter, that ink on paper, changed the game for me and my parents. It’s interesting how one letter can make a difference in all the right ways, and we are all so excited for what’s to come. As the mantra says, what is coming for me and my parents is better than what has gone.

This experience got me thinking about how the simple act of writing that letter was, and how great the impact is. Such a small concept has made a huge difference, and I believe this is applicable to any relationship. Just taking a moment to swallow pride, show gratitude, and to open up means the world to the recipient.

I encourage all you #GirlBosses to try to do the same thing. Pick one person to surprise with a letter. Watch the improvement in your relationship. Enjoy the good that will follow. Trust me, it is much better than what has gone.

Friday Vibes: Stay Happy with Hobbies


Everyone wants it, yet the road to attain it is anything but easy. Some will devote their entire lives to this escapade, and it is far too easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of tasks (I am guilty of this).

However, it is highly important to remember to include free time into a busy schedule. Any high achieving person will tell you that a balanced, successful lifestyle does not consist of just work. In fact, taking up a hobby can contribute to boosting your overall success– and who doesn’t want that!

To illustrate my point, let me give you a few examples. Entrepreneur Richard Branson spends his free time playing chess, Meryl Streep knits, and Ray Dalio practices transcendental meditation (fun fact: Wall Street Bankers are now signing up for these lessons).

So, are you seeing a trend yet? You bet you are! Successful people don’t just work all of the time (although it may seem like it). Instead, they dedicate themselves to activities and practices that make them feel good. After all, when you feel good, you work well (and in the case of our #GirlBosses, you look good too).

Not all hobbies have to be educational. In fact, Angelina Jolie’s favorite pastime is collecting knives with her family (let the record show that I am not attempting to motivate you to begin collecting weapons). Other more non-conventional hobbies include, sky-diving, playing polo on a segway (I highly recommend you look up photos), learning the ukulele, baking, and sailing.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find something exciting that you’re passionate about. Take an art class if you’re artistic, or go Bungee-jumping if you like getting your adrenaline pumping (Sorry, but I think I’ll have to sit that one out)

You’re new hobby awaits, and believe me, your work (and success) will thank you.

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Feedback Makes the Group Grow Stronger

At DFS Creative Concepts, we take pride in our team. We are a team of doers, thinkers, creators, and as we like to say, girl bosses (or women entrepreneurs). Each member brings something unique to the table. We are from cities all over the map and each of us has attributes that contribute to our strength as a team. Furthermore, we all possess different specialties that, together, help us to produce the best work for our clients.

Caroline is our master of prose and eloquently expresses her thoughts through her words. Megan is our spirited organizer and Julia is our inspired go-getter. Barrie is our “get it done” gal; she is speedy yet very thorough with her work. And these are just a few of our fearless girl bosses! In terms of our work as a team, we recognize each other’s critical roles. We have recognized the strengths in each of ourselves, and we willingly seek to learn from one another.

With that being said, feedback is major part of our daily work at DFS Creative Concepts. When necessary, we offer constructive feedback and we receive it. In our minds, feedback is not something we see as negative or offensive; rather we see it as a gift. At DFSCC, no member of our team is better or more skilled than another. It does not matter who has been with the company for the longest amount of time or who was the lead coordinator on last spring’s major event. We view feedback as one sharing wisdom they have gained in an area and using their experiences to help another master it as well. Sharing our wisdom not only helps one another to gain valuable experiences but also fosters our relationships as team members. As a whole, we have a passion for marketing and communicating our clients’ brand messages to the greater public. Our relationships and goals as a team must be strongly established in order to work well together. Feedback helps to promote this group cooperation.

On our little side street in The Village of West Greenville, we share feedback and accept it in our daily work. Each of us has something special to bring to the table yet by communicating ways to improve in each other’s work, we are doing wonders for our productivity and development as a group. So from our team to yours: make feedback a habit and a source of daily inspiration. A more well rounded version of you and your team will be the end result!

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What’s Up Wednesdays: Q&A with DFSCC Alumna Evelyn Henson (hooray!)

Caroline Tucker: How did you get involved with DFS Creative Concepts?

Evelyn Henson: I met Dorothy Self through Furman’s chapter of Alpha Delta Pi and started interning with her during my senior year. She was doing marketing exclusively with The Greenville News and TALK Greenville Magazine at the time, so I was with her in their offices a few times a week.

CT: Tell me about your experience with DFSCC. Any highlights? Low points?

EH: From the fabulously chic office space to the world’s best #GirlBoss, I love all things DFSCC and couldn’t have asked for better marketing experiences! DFSCC was working exclusively with The Greenville News and TALK Greenville at the time, so it was fun to assist with the marketing tasks for both of those publications behind the scenes. And, of course, any event I got to attend was especially fun. You know it will be a good time when Dorothy is involved with the planning!

CT: I agree 100%. Dorothy knows how to make event planning into parties in and of themselves. What was your relationship with Dorothy like? How has it changed over time?

EH: Dorothy has always been a wonderful role model, inspiration, and friend. Not only has she been the best ever example of what it means to be a #GirlBoss, but she’s remained so supportive and encouraging even after my internship time at DFSCC concluded.

CT: I’m not surprised. What was the main thing you took away from working at DFSCC?

EH: That anything is possible when you start the day with a smile and end it with champagne! And also that hard work, kindness, and a positive attitude go a long way.

CT: Spoken like a true DFSCC girl. Now as an artist, what is the biggest challenge you face daily? Do you use anything you learned at DFSCC to get you through this challenge?

EH: As any small business owner or artist can probably relate to, there are so many different things to juggle that it’s often challenging to stay on task. Sometimes I get so caught up in the day to day chaos that I forget to focus on the big picture. My time with DFSCC taught me to dream big and set goals for myself, and these lessons inspire me to structure my day in a way that helps me pursue what matters.

CT: At DFSCC, we think you are THE #GirlBoss. What advice do you have for aspiring #GirlBosses?

EH: Be kind, believe in yourself, and when all else fails have a piece of cake. 😉

As if Evelyn Henson was not already my girl crush, this confirms everything. We’re eagerly waiting to see how Evelyn uses her positive and fun outlook on life to change the world. Evelyn, #YGG.

Lifelong Learning Starts Young

The capacity to learn is a gift we all share, yet so few of us truly take this opportunity to its full potential. We spend so much time at work that the discovery of new things becomes more of a chore than a treasure. I personally am guilty of this mentality (oops!), but recently I’ve come to realize that the concept of lifelong learning is the secret to a personally fulfilling and professionally flourishing life. And after all, isn’t that what all of us #GirlBosses out there are truly searching for?

In order for us to reach our full potential and transform into the powerful women we know we can become, it is necessary to make learning a habit. Now, this takes hard work, of which we are all capable.

Stating your specific goals is a great way to ensure you stay on track, and distancing yourself from all forms of distractions (bye-bye iPhone) can keep you focused on the task at hand. In addition, I personally find it helpful to surround myself with other women who share my similar motivations and hard work ethic. After all, you are who you hang out with. And I want to be someone who sticks to her goals, and surpasses them. Continuous learning is the key to forging deeper relationships with others, discovering new passions, and even furthering your career.

Learning is not a burden, and with the right group of #GirlBosses around you it can be enjoyable and fun! Making a little time each day to read a classic book, take a sign language class, or even research your political interests will truly benefit you as a person overall. It’s not about being the best, it’s about creating the best you. We are all on our way there, we just need a little nudge!

So ladies, it only makes sense that being a #GirlBoss must include the habit of lifelong learning. Who you are on the inside shines just as much on the outside, and together we are a group of intellectual women who should never stop discovering. Knowledge is power, and power is freedom. The freedom to unlock a world of possibilities and let nothing stand in our way.

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Monday Mantra: Speak to Beauty

Photo source: @fmtv_official

Dorothy and I clicked very early on. From my initial interview (when I was shaking in my booties) to now, she and I have felt like a unit. A few weeks and several quality life chats later, we discovered the source of our compatibility. We have the same love language: words of affirmation.

(If you have no idea what a love language is, take the quiz here. It’s too much fun.)

My grandmother was also a words of affirmation person. Considering I have her exact bone structure and love for retail therapy, she’s probably where I got it from. She would always tell me to never keep a compliment to myself, and I think that is such great advice.

But for whatever reason, I find it really, really hard to verbally tell people things I love about them. I can write notes and texts all day long, but there is a sense of vulnerability that comes with opening up to a person about what I admire about them. And I think it takes a high level of self-confidence to look someone in the eye, open up and share with them the little dialogue you have with yourself when they walk in a room and look awesome or when you watch their kind actions.

I fear that verbal compliments are going out of style. In the age of likes and Instagram comments (that can also now be liked…?), old-fashioned, honest and vulnerable words of affirmation are fading out like gaucho pants (one thing I am SO glad are gone forever… hopefully).

I get it, words of affirmation are not everyone’s thing, just like physical touch is not mine. But they are powerful. Being able to give honest and genuine words of affirmation starts with a strong sense of self. You need to be confident in who you are before you can celebrate others for who they are. This is another reason why Dorothy is the best giver of compliments and affirmation – that woman knows herself.

Here is why I think this is important: the working world is becoming more and more competitive and sharp-elbowed, and I fear that kindness is becoming confused with weakness. You are not any less of a person by building another up. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Take a note from Dorothy and my grandmother. Speak kindness to other #GirlBosses, or all bosses for that matter, and make them feel good. It will make you feel good, too.

Conquering Fear Like a #GirlBoss

What are you afraid of?

Do you pursue your dreams?

For most of us, the answer is probably more complicated than it should be. In fact, if you didn’t answer with a resounding “Yes!” than this blog post pertains especially to you (don’t worry, you’re not alone!).
Fear is a complicated emotion which has a tendency to influence us in the worst way. It can cause us to second guess ourselves, freeze up, and miss opportunities that we know we should have taken. So, how do we combat this negative thinking? The answer is simple.
The next time you are fearful to take action, whether it be due to fear of rejection, anger, or failure, recognize your emotions and do it anyway.

Now, I realize that this is obviously easier said than done, but it is essential to begin to understand that while your emotions are valid, they are only emotions. Don’t let a primal instinct be the reason you miss the opportunity to apply to an amazing new job, or open your own business, or pursue that client you’d never think you could get. Fear is meant to keep us safe, but by doing this, it holds us back from making decisions that may be risky but can bring forth large rewards.

So, together let’s conquer our fears and reach our #GirlBoss potential. Step out of your comfort zone and don’t be shy. You will never know the consequences of your actions until you make a choice. One of my favorite quotes reads, “The greatest mistake you’ll make in life is to continually fear you will make one.” So let’s vow to increase our confidence and take advantage of every opportunity, no matter how fearful or apprehensive we may be. Success is bound to follow.

The world is your oyster. And I don’t know about you, but I love some nice pearls.

What’s Up Wednesdays: Do It with Attitude

I’ve learned a lot of things in the DFSCC office. From how to assemble throw pillows on a couch to how to write a press release, much of my knowledge comes from my big sis/BFF/mentor, Dorothy. But one of the greatest lessons I learned from sitting under her wisdom through the years has been: attitude is everything.

Having a good attitude is the most important attribute you can have in the professional world. People will forget the projects you worked on or the articles you wrote, but they always remember your attitude. Do the small things with as much grace as you would the big things. That will stick to every person you come in contact with; from the CEO to the office manager.

In marketing and public relations, you wear a lot of hats. You can’t allow your position to define your role. Work needs to be done and it takes all hands, always. I remember when Dorothy and I were planning a huge after-party for a very important national client. It was just the two of us as we were tearing down until 3am after working a 20-hour day, which sounds miserable, but honestly it was pretty fun. We laughed, joked around, and danced (probably to Call Me Maybe, it was 2012 after all. . .) as we packed up 65 arrangements of orchids. We even designated the hashtag #orchidfilledgrassland, and to this day whenever either of us is stressed we’ll simply text that to each other and it automatically brings back memories of that day. Anyway, the work was work, but our attitudes made it a memory. And one that we love laughing about.

What is a #girlboss attitude to me? A #girlboss attitude is always working harder than you did the day before. You can take criticism but never let it define you and you never take yourself too seriously. So whether you are getting coffee or sitting at the head of a table at the board meeting, have an attitude. A really good one.

Networking 101, the #GirlBoss Way

Every #GirlBoss knows that the art of networking can transcend far beyond the realm of business, and is integral in our everyday lives. Whether you are looking to forge new relationships with clients or just make new friends, networking is an important skill to cultivate. This can be especially challenging when you are just starting out in a new place, and have no foundation on which to build up from. But fear not! We have all the tips and tricks to help you network like a pro, even if you don’t know anyone.

Being a California native living in South Carolina has truly shown me what it is like to have absolutely zero connections (sad, but true). Coming to Greenville from the West Coast was a big change, and I knew that establishing myself would pose somewhat of a challenge. If you are in a similar position, the first step is to dive headfirst into the unknown and trust in your abilities to form new relationships. In fact, that’s really all that networking is. Creating mutually beneficial connections with others.

A key ingredient to this simple recipe is being genuine. This is the only way to establish trust and authenticity in a new relationship. Do not try to be someone you are not. Instead, play up your individual strengths, quirks, and skills. People are more likely to positively respond to you if they can tell you are comfortable with yourself and have put in the necessary work to get to where you are.

Once friendships have blossomed (and how could they not, you’re delightful!), it is easy to stop attempting to meet new people and fall into routine.

But don’t quit there!

New friends can put you in contact with a whole new network of people with whom they themselves have connected. For example, every time I meet someone new, I ask to be introduced to others that they are close with. This has led to me meeting a plethora of new people I would not have known otherwise. The same principle holds true in business. Once you recruit a new client, do not be scared to ask if they know anyone else in need of your services. Odds are, they do.

Another key aspect to networking in a new place is to constantly put yourself out there. Literally. Go to different events that spark your interest and your career goals, talk to your superiors: you never know who you can meet through a single interaction! Networking tools such as LinkedIn are great, but never underestimate the power of a face to face conversation. Reaching out to people may be uncomfortable at first, but it is well worth it. You may find yourself with a new mentor who can share knowledge, or even speaking with a future employer who recognizes your #GirlBoss potential.

The last tip I have is to always follow up. This may seem trivial, but a phone call or email thanking someone for their time or letting them know you enjoyed meeting them can solidify a new connection. Relationships are not formed on one interaction alone, which is why it is important to stay in touch and remind people of how you can help them. I know every #GirlBoss has a lot to offer, and with these simple tricks we can easily form networks wherever our busy lives take us.