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STYLE COLLECTIVE FOUNDER ANNIE SPANO – INTERVIEW
I am sure you all have heard me mention Style Collective numerous amounts of time! I am a member of Style Collective and I absolutely LOVE being a member! I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview the founder (boss babe) of Style Collective – Annie Spano. I look up to Annie because she has created such a successful group for females to come together. In this interview I ask her what Style Collective means to her, how she started SC, and how she became so successful! Hopefully this will motivate and inspire you all to continue to pursue your dreams because anything is possible!!!
How did you start your journey (What made you decide to pursue this dream of Style Collective) & how long have you been at?
I started my blogging journey three years ago under the name Collective Passions, which I always had a vision for being a collaborative space for entrepreneurs where I could talk about leadership and self-development. I went very broad with the audience that I was trying to attract, which is why it failed. But during that time, I got to know women in the fashion blogging community and I loved these ladies! I was dealing with a female work bully at the time, so my new fashion blogger friends brought me back to life when I wasn’t at my 9-5. I rebranded Collective Passions as The Lovely Girl and tried my hand at fashion blogging for a year. I sold Chloe & Isabel jewelry and did marketing consulting through my blog for a local boutique. I started to learn the industry and became close with 65 women, who I call the founding members of Style Collective. I formed a Facebook group for us to connect and decided that it wasn’t enough, I had more to give with my background in teaching, marketing, and my newly acquired MBA. This was Nov 2015 and I also had enough of the work bully; I quit my job to start Style Collective full time. I had passion in my heart and it became my mission to help women in this emerging industry so that they could be successful and also NEVER feel how I felt from the work bully. Style Collective officially launched February 2016 and we are now 1,600+ boss babes strong!
Tell us about Style Collective, who can benefit from the program & what it means to YOU!
It’s a platform for female influencers to connect, grow, and learn how to be successful bloggers and entrepreneurs. It a community of 1,600+ women that I truly lead with my heart and encourage everyone else to do the same! Membership includes exclusive access to hundreds of sponsored opportunities, $500 worth of e-courses, our exclusive resource library, worksheets, calculators, videos, forums, groups, quarterly meetups, conferences, stock photos, a media kit template, graphic design tutorials, tech tips, affiliate programs, and more! Style Collective is for the hustler who is driven, but also wants to support others during the process. It’s for the girls who never want to feel alone. When she needs strength, she has the power of all her Style Collective Sisters.
To me, Style Collective means helping women all over the world find their passion and purpose. For so many years, I felt so lost and confused about who I was as a person and the value that I could bring to the world. It’s amazing to be able to empower others through influencer education and inspirational interviews on my podcast. It’s truly a dream job and I wouldn’t be able to do it without my amazing team members. They also inspire me to show up 100% every single day.
You are the definition of boss babe. What advice do you have to share with those who are trying to create their own dreams of working for themselves?
I am a hustler who won’t stop, that’s for sure! My MBA professor publically announced on my podcast that “discipline” is my middle name, and that’s exactly what you need to have to be your own boss. Focus, drive, grit, and discipline.
Were there any struggles you had to overcome? A lot of ladies get down because of the bumps along the way.
Oh there have been many bumps! Finding the right team members has been difficult and I’ve lost thousands of dollars with developers that didn’t complete the job to spec. Retention is my biggest mental challenge – it can be upsetting when people cancel and I read the cancellation survey, but I try to keep my eyes on the road ahead. How can I create additional value? What isn’t working and how can I improve the service? I am constantly trying to innovate, improve, and test new things. For example, I do Instagram Live every Wednesday and for a recent live, I created a contest where 10 viewers would be reposted to our Instagram Story as part of a #WCW shout out. Viewership increased 3x with that simple tweak! I’m always trying to figure out how to get everyone more engaged with each other, too! I feel like my work is never done and I can always do more to connect everyone.
How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired?
I come back to my “why” for starting Style Collective. I took legal action against my work bully. I recently re-read the legal documentation of all the horrible things that she said and did to me and I cried reading it because it was such a dark time in my life. That same week we were also launching our new e-course, how to monetize as a blogger and stand out from the influencer crowd, and I almost started crying during Instagram Live because the mission of SC all came full circle. I wish that I had this e-course 3 years ago when I was lost and knowing that so many women will benefit from this knowledge keeps me motivated and inspired. I come back to that horrible experience when I need the kick to keep going.
How long did it take before you were truly able to quit your FT job and put your whole heart into Style Collective?
Once I decided to help fashion and lifestyle influencers, rather than entrepreneurs in general, it was pretty clear to me that I needed to take a leap to make this work. I stayed at my job for 1 year before leaving to start Style Collective full time. I am also blessed enough to have the support of my husband, who has the full-time stable job and has allowed me to pursue my dreams!
Do you have any advice for those who are full time workers trying to pursue their dreams too? Time management? How to deal with it all?
It all comes down to time management and prioritizing. We all have the same 24 hours in the day and you will have to give up A LOT to work on a business while working full time. Would you be able to give up Netflix, brunching, drinking, or any sort of social activity in order to make your business happen? Would you be willing to move back in with your parents so that you could fund your business? The difficult truth is that you have to sacrifice a lot when you are an entrepreneur, but it’s 1000% worth it! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I want to thank Annie Spano for allowing me to interview her! I hope this helps motivate you all to continue to push through and reach your ultimate goals! You got this babes! Hustle till you make it!
Until Next Time,