Style Collective | Annie Spano

Hi! I’m Annie and I am the founder of Style Collective, a community for fashion and lifestyle bloggers. I connect women from all over the world through community and empower them to do what they love through influencer education. I’m also a blogger, speaker, consultant, and host of the Becoming Fearless Podcast, launching on May 9th!

What inspired you to create Style Collective?

A work bully treated me and the rest of the women in my workplace with extreme disrespect and even emotional abuse. She loved to put me down and humiliate me in front of peers during meetings, lock me in her office and go down a list of all the things she felt were wrong with me, micromanage every little detail of projects that I worked on, and make fun of me to my face (and behind my back). My experiences with the work bully shaped who I am today; without going through all of this, I don’t think that I would have started a blog, realized the need for a community/business, and worked to create Style Collective.

What is the mission behind Style Collective? 

The mission of Style Collective is for women to empower one another while creating their own success. I endured YEARS of emotional abuse from a female work bully, which inspired the creation of Style Collective.

What is your goal with SC? 

My goal is to change the paradigm within the influencer space: and that is:

1 | you don’t need to complete with other influencers to be successful;

2 | there are other options beyond sponsorship, affiliate commission, and advertising to make a living and;

3 | support boutiques who want to work with influencers, but don’t know how. I am launching a member portal for boutiques and brands that will include an e-course about influencer marketing and an influencer directory to reach out to SC influencers that fit your brand’s niche. It’s launching on June 1st, so please join our free directory to get on the list!

 

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs starting out? 

  1. Find your passion: Assuming you have a traditional job, what you need to do is think about what you are really interested in and passionate about. It can be MANY things, but you should focus and pick one thing to start.

  2. Become a subject matter expert: Do lots of research on that subject and become a subject matter expert if you aren’t already.

  3. Find and identify a need: This is easier said than done. It doesn’t have to be a unique solution, but you have to start somewhere. Start your business immediately so you can at least pay the bills. Once you have been doing it for a little while, you can find your differentiator and make yourself unique. The biggest mistake is WAITING to launch.

  4. Survey, survey, survey: Ask your customers what they REALLY care about. Survey often and observe what they are saying. This is the POWER of knowing your customers, asking them questions and getting to know their unique needs.

  5. Find Your Niche: After you’ve been running your business for a while is the time to create your niche. Yes, that’s right because this is now you:

You are a subject matter expert.

You know what everyone else is doing.

And NOW you have customer insight.

You can now niche down and do something unique within your field. This is called creating differentiation and will set you apart from your competition. You will be able to carve your space. This strategy can be applied to SO many businesses: jewelry making, designing clothing, creating art, becoming a personal trainer. Any kind of product or service can be created using this method.

 

In your eyes what is the most important thing people need to do before they start a business?

There are 24 hours in a day. It’s important to ask yourself: How are you using your time? Make a commitment to yourself, your business and your goals because no one else is going to do it for you. Make small changes to make your day as productive as possible: wake up 20 minutes earlier to work on your business, use the car ride to work to listen to an audiobook, use your lunch break a few days a week to do non-work, cancel any unnecessary social plans and don’t waste your time watching endless television. Use every single opportunity to move the needle forward and create a life that you LOVE.

 

What does community over competition mean to you? 

It means that you help others on your path to wherever you are going. You lean on others for help and you lend a helping hand. You don’t tear others down in an effort to get ahead.

 

Where do you find inspiration? 

Other entrepreneurs who have built their business from the ground up. The path to entrepreneurship can be lonely, scary, intimidating, and full of long hours. It is good to know that others before me have endured this journey and prevailed.

 

Any favorite books or podcasts? 

True North by Bill George & The Tim Ferriss Show are my top two!

 

Anything else you want us to know about you? 

I am moving to Raleigh, North Carolina in a few months! I’m really excited to experience a new city and southern hospitality. If you live in the area, reach out! You can find me on Instagram @annie_spano