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The Skinny Confidential’s Best Tips for Business

Hey everyone! Coming at you today with a special Saturday post. I teamed up with Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential. Together we’re swapping blog posts on each of our sites. I’m on The Skinny Confidential today sharing three delicious yet healthy recipes. And Lauryn is giving HBH readers all of her best business tips on creating and managing your own business. I’m pretty excited for her to share all of her juicy details with you guys. So with that…here’s Lauryn!

The Skinny Confidential

Hi Half Baked Harvest community! I couldn’t be more excited that me & Tieghan are collaborating for a blog swap.

Today I am sharing 3 of my favorite business tips with you guys: branding, time-batching, & working ON your business not IN your business.

(ALSO you should know you can find Tieghan on The Skinny Confidential  today sharing the most delicious coconut macaroons, creamy mac & cheese & the yummiest Brussels sprout recipe EVER).

This post is for the business boss who wants to get things done. I’m spilling my favorite tips & tricks that help me be as efficient as possible. So, whether you run a business or a blog, or you’re thinking about launching something new, this post is for YOU.

With that, let’s get right into it.

The Skinny Confidential’s Hottest Tips for Business:

♡ Branding is everything

This is quite possibly one of my favorite things on the planet to talk about. If I wasn’t a content creator, I would most definitely be a branding consultant. There’s nothing I love more than a good brand that’s cohesive, clear & purposeful.

When I first started The Skinny Confidential, I remember thinking I didn’t just want to build a blog, I wanted to build a brand with a strong foundation. I’m always looking for strategic, creative angles for sending my message into the universe with branding.

For instance- quick story: 2 years ago I got a popsocket & I thought how cool would it be if you could have an interactive business card. So with a graphic designer, we created a business card that fit around a branded popsocket. It had all my info like my social handles & email, & on the back was my Snapchat code. Here we are, 2 years later, still giving them out as business cards, & people LOVE them.

Finding interactive ways to showcase your brand can be very powerful. Within the digital space, there are so many different ways to be authentic, crafty, & original.

But I want to tell you guys about a really amazing book that helped my business a lot. Let me set the scene:

It’s a random Saturday night & I’m sitting at my girlfriend’s birthday dinner. The table is beautiful- stunning really- filled with very nice, approachable people. The music is right. The food is right. The vibe is right. Across the table I half-ish hear this cool-looking guy say the word branding.

Of course, you guessed it: my head whiplashed around faster than you can say ‘vodka soda.’

( Vodka soda because that’s what I was drinking- with four lemons & a splash of bitters, if we’re getting specific ).

Anyway, it goes something like this:

“Sorry to interrupt but what did you say- I love anything to do with branding?” ( “Is this rude to butt into a conversation,” I think. “Shit, I can’t help myself” ).

“Oh, ya I was just telling _________ about this book I read that changed my business.” He says.

“OHHHHH what is the book?” I ask like a total nosey Nelly.

The Brand Gap,” he replies.

So he tells me about how it changed his business & really gave him perspective on branding. The cool-looking guy ALL ABOUT this book goes on about how he had his team read it too.

Meanwhile, I’m literally ( no literally ) ordering the book as he’s talking to me. ( THANK YOU AMAZON & JEFF BEZOS & THE FASTEST CHECKOUT EVER ).

Later, I found out he started the widely successful brands DC Shoes ( which sold to Quicksilver ) & InCase Designs. His name? Damon Way.

He is so humble! Like WOW humble. ::VERY IMPRESSIVE:: And me? Well, I’m waiting impatiently for my book to arrive- duh.

A day later…The Brand Gap arrived!

I devoured it in one weekend- dog-earing the pages, so many pages. Embarrassingly the whole book. Like bookmarks galore!

The reason this book is so amazing, is that it’s SIMPLE. A good brand is just that, isn’t it? It’s simple. Why over-complicate it?

Let me share the SparkNotes of The Brand Gap with you:

❤ A brand is not what you say it is, it’s what the consumer says it is. It’s the emotional reaction individuals feel when they see your brand. LISTEN to your audience.

♡ Branding has nothing to do with data, numbers, & excel sheets. Nothing at all. It’s about the people who experience the brand- not the numbers. Quit it with the data, look to the people.

❤ A typical design has four goals: to identify, inform, entertain, or persuade. However when it comes to branding, there is a fifth: to differentiate. THIS COMES DOWN TO STRATEGY. Why do you like Nike over other shoe companies? Because Nike has done an incredible job of differentiating its brand.

♡ Brands can become small tribes if they’re done right. YOUR VIBE ATTRACTS YOUR TRIBE. Community is key.

❤ It takes a village to build a brand- take ego out of it. Not one person can develop a powerful, lasting brand without a strong team of people around the brand’s message. Collaboration is incredibly important- & of course, engagement.

♡ Think in fresh ways- the fresher the better. Evolve quickly, think fresh.

❤ Pick a strong icon…& name. Criteria for a good name: distinctiveness, brevity, appropriateness, easy spelling & pronunciation, likability, extendibility, & protectability.

♡ It’s OK for the brand ( at times ) to be inconsistent- AS LONG as it does not abandon the defining attributes.


♡ Creativity is one of the most difficult parts of branding- but it’s MAGIC when it happens.

❤ Ultimately it is design, not strategy, that people get excited for. Always INNOVATE…that’s where the brand becomes truly magical.

+ + + + + 

I don’t know about you, but I kind of want to tattoo these tips on my left forearm? I just feel like even though they’re simple, sometimes we can get caught up & forget them…Daily reminders on these branding principles are SO NECESSARY.

For me, when I launched The Skinny Confidential, branding was hands down the most important thing. Not money. Not being an influencer. BRAND. Brand & the readership. I’m very glad I led with BRAND- obviously I have a long, long way to go but I do believe brand is the foundation. A good brand attracts the right people.

How are you branding yourself?

♡ Time-batching makes all the difference

Have you heard of time batching?

If not, you need to know IMMEDIATELY.

Back in the day, when I first started blogging, I was a slave to time. I used to wake up, try to fit it all in one day, without really having an efficient plan. ( Sound familiar ?? ) My calendar wasn’t filled because I figured it was fine to go with the flow as long as I got it done, right?



This is a very easy time-management hack that will enable you to take full advantage of your CONCENTRATION by doing a lot of the same things together at the same time.

Make sense?

Like for instance: if I wanted to shoot photos for a blog post- instead of doing a few photos throughout the week, I do the exact opposite. I put them all in one block, on one day. Fridays are usually my day to shoot content. My team knows Thursday is prep night where we set everything up for the shoot. My photographer knows the shot list. I brainstorm ideas for whatever I’m shooting & we make sure the weather is going to be right…because you know natural light is where it’s at.

Before we really get into it, let’s discuss the benefits of this:


Honestly the time it takes to set up, breakdown, rinse & repeat is obnoxious really. I mean, if I’m doing a coffee meeting Tuesday & then a dinner meeting Wednesday…NO!! I don’t want to get dressed up for two events, so I’ll batch the meetings in one day.

By going from one thing to another, you actually lose energy. I want to completely minimize start/stop times. Getting ready takes A LOT OF TIME. So does setting up for a shoot, sitting down to return 1023484 emails or text messages, writing, etc. I find it more efficient to batch.


Instead of checking your email 20 times a day, you check it once. Even with text messages I do this- I don’t respond right away. A lot of people get mad at me for this, but if I got caught up in my inbox & text messages I would be screwed.


It’s so much easier to focus on one thing at once. I’m all about a good multitasking moment, but here’s the difference: when I get a facial, I batch emails for one hour. When I get a blowout, I write. When I get my nails done, I do DM’s. So essentially I still batch while multi-tasking. Does that make sense?

I learned about time batching through my best friend, Tim Ferriss- I kid, he’s not my best friend- but like in my head…maybe?

Anyway, I LOVE TO BATCH CONFERENCE CALLS. Conference calls are evil little shits. Conference calls are now all done on Wednesdays & I really don’t like to make exceptions. If I do, I am working off someone else’s time which takes away from the overall vision. Wednesdays are the day I buckle down & do about 10 calls in one day. Then Thursday is a day to myself to write, read, plan & strategize with no calls.

I batch a lot of random things too. Such as:

DM’s & Snapchat messages- I used to do them throughout the day which just wasn’t working for me. Now I sit down for 30 minutes in the morning & an hour at night, every night & reply to my messages. It’s most certainly a priority for me to respond to my amazing community so I make it a point to batch this specific thing.

Emails are batched too- if I sit down to return emails, I GO CRAZY!!! My team sometimes hates this because they will wake up to 23490 emails. Recently we added Slack & Trello so emails have lessened. But remember: when you add on things like Slack & Trello, you need to batch time to respond to these messages too.

Blog posts are one thing that are hard to batch- I write on the go. Just how I’ve always been- I don’t like writing a bunch in advance. I find it boring. I’m very sporadic & fly by the seat of my pants when I write. I prefer to write in REAL TIME. BUT if I’m going on vacation, I will batch blog posts on the plane.But because I wanted to take some ACTUAL time off ( for the first time ever ) when I had Zaza, I did bank a few posts.

Playtime is always batched- if I am going to the movies with a friend, I like to grab dinner with another friend before. I feel like it’s the best way to plan for me. That way I can be the most efficient with my time.

“Every time we become distracted, it takes an average of 15 minutes to regain complete focus, and that adds up over time.”

So get onboard with batching, k? You won’t be sorry.

♡ Work ON your business not IN your business.

My friend Steve is a coach for CEOs.

Yes, that’s a thing & man, um HELLO – what a cool job right? Basically, he helps CEOs gain serious control over their calendars, time, & business. Steve has REALLY helped me create a strategic business future by design.

& he brought up a very interesting concept that I want to share with you. Actually everyone. Actually I just want to shout it from the rooftops.

Work ON your business, not IN your business. So: what’s the difference?

For me, I had to learn this the hard way. This wasn’t something I learned in school. I’ve learned it through experience as a business owner.

The difference is simple: working ON your business is building a game plan, creating a strategic future, & focusing energy towards main priorities.

Working IN your business is getting caught up in the day- to-day. The emails, the pointless conference calls, the things that can be delegated: tasks that are not essential to the growth of the business.

As Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook ( no big deal? ) says: “I spend more of my time thinking about how to connect the world and serve our community better, but a lot of that time isn’t in our office or meeting with people or doing what you’d call real work. I take a lot of time just to read and think about things by myself. If you count the time I’m in the office, it’s probably no more than 50 to 60 hours a week. But if you count all the time I’m focused on our mission, that’s basically my whole life.”


For the last few years, this is how I’ve worked. I work when I’m reading, I work in yoga class, I work on the treadmill, I work on a walk with a green juice. Half of my work is strategizing & thinking of creative ways to build The Skinny Confidential & its community.

Work does not always mean you’re behind a desk answering a million emails.

Of course emails are a HUGE part of most jobs, HOWEVER you can learn to TIME-BLOCK ( see above ) & answer them for only an hour & a half each day. If I sat behind the computer all day, there would be no time to create or move or travel or strategize.

For 3 years I did every job in my company. From emails to contracts to creating to photography to newsletters to writing a book, etc. AND then for a year I micro-managed everyone around me. Now I am slowly learning to let go, unless of course it has to do with building the business or writing & creating content. I mean, there’s no reason that I should be picking up food for a recipe post when I could be writing a blog post or making plans for the next step in the brand.

Time is your currency, use it wisely.

Growth happens when you create a strategic plan of attack.

The Ivy Lee Method can really help you work IN, not ON, your business.

THIS is a method that could really help you grow. It’s helped me do that & also helped with wedding planning, turning my house into a home, & even aspects of my personal life.

You should know that this method is one you’re supposed to do at night ( my husband does it at night so he can sleep on it ), but I do it in the morning. Either way works, it just depends on what type of person you are. Michael is a super early riser so that works better for him.

Ok so, here’s the story: { via }

By 1918, Charles M. Schwab was one of the richest men in the world.

Schwab was the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder & the second-largest steel producer in America at the time. The famous inventor Thomas Edison once referred to Schwab as the “master hustler.” He was constantly seeking an edge over the competition.

One day in 1918, in his quest to increase the efficiency of his team & discover better ways to get things done, Schwab arranged a meeting with a highly-respected productivity consultant named Ivy Lee.

Lee was a successful businessman in his own right & is widely remembered as a pioneer in the field of public relations. As the story goes, Schwab brought Lee into his office & said, “Show me a way to get more things done.”

“Give me 15 minutes with each of your executives,” Lee replied.

“How much will it cost me,” Schwab asked.

“Nothing,” Lee said. “Unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.”

During his 15 minutes with each executive, Ivy Lee explained his simple daily routine for achieving peak productivity:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

The strategy sounded simple, but Schwab & his executive team at Bethlehem Steel gave it a try. After three months, Schwab was so delighted with the progress his company had made that he called Lee into his office & wrote him a check for $25,000.

A $25,000 check written in 1918 is the equivalent of a $400,000 check in 2015.

That’s in 1918, guys!

The benefit of The Ivy Lee Method is kind of like time-blocking. You focus on one task & it allows you to focus on your priorities so you don’t get caught up in the riff raff.

Anyways, these are other major benefits of The Ivy Lee Method:

♡ It’s simple, so it actually works. All you need is paper & a pen.

♡ Makes you prioritize. 6 is the magic number here. Don’t overwhelm yourself with 20 tasks- only write down 6.

♡ Takes the guesswork out of ‘starting.’ How much time do you waste ‘thinking’ about what you should do first? When you have a prioritized list, it’s clearly laid out in front of you.

♡ It makes you SINGLE-TASK. You guys know I’m all about multitasking, but focusing energy on one thing at a time is also hugely important.

♡ It can encourage a healthier work-life balance. As an entrepreneur this can be really tricky so anything that helps is welcome to be honest.

To sum it up, this productivity hack helps with concentration, productivity, keeps you organized, & allows your brain to marinate on what you’ve done.

I hope you guys found value in this post. As I said, these 3 tips have REALLY helped me personally & professionally.

Huge thank you to the Half Baked Harvest Community for me! Now, enough about business, it’s time to go whip up some coconut macaroons – am I right?!

x, Lauryn

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  1. Hi,
    Im a business owner and want to start my own blog, write a cookbook and a hair stylist scheduling/goal book. I write list daily but too many tasks. This has helped me so much. I used the link from Halfbaked Harvest but will now be reading your blog and book as well.