Friday, 20 October 2017

Never Underestimate How Much You're Worth #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Never underestimate how much you're worth: How to work out how much you should be charging for sponsored blog posts and in other areas of life.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a unique position: Someone who wanted to work with me asked me to justify my worth.

This was the first time this had ever happened to me - I'd never been asked to justify the fees that I charge. And the thing is, I was perfectly confident about doing so. Had I been asked three or four years ago, I wouldn't have known what on earth to say or how to respond.

The confidence I have in my ability to produce great content - and to do it professionally - is something that every now and then surprises me (in a really good way).

I've learnt through bitter experience that for a long time I totally underestimated my worth. Yet this doesn't apply to just my blogging career, but to many of the jobs I had that led up to me going full time as a professional blogger.

And it's something that I think too many of us do. It's even worse when we consider than women are still being paid less than men for doing the same jobs in many industries.

Being asked to justify my worth

So what happened?

I was contacted by a PR person who wanted me to get on board with a particular campaign she was running for a brand. (It doesn't matter what the campaign or the brand were, it's not relevant.) She outlined the project and asked for fees, which I gave her.

I listed the fees that I'm currently being paid by other brands for equivalent work, so I knew for a fact that those fees were what I'm worth (to a brand).

Here's the rub: She replied asking me to explain why I'm charging so much more than my contemporaries. I explained things that she should really have known already (if she'd done her research) about my stats, successes with other campaigns, my UK Blog Awards win, etc.

I was curtly told "I think you've misunderstood my request, I understand how and why you might decide on pricing. I need to demonstrate to the client why you'd be worth the additional spend, what do you bring to a campaign that no one else can?"

My answer?

(I'm so glad I thought of saying this, because it's true...)

I said perhaps it's not that I'm overcharging, maybe it's that the other influencers are not charging enough. This is something that all too often is not the first thing that PRs think of. Blogging is a very, very new profession, after all, and bloggers are generally in the dark about what to charge companies (usually not enough).

I very politely declined to go any further with the campaign and stopped short of telling her what I thought of her asking me to do her job for her (it's HER job to pitch me to the client and justify why I'm worth what I charge... She found and approached me, after all).

How I calculate what fees to charge

I'm lucky compared to a lot of bloggers: I've had an agent who helped me see what I was worth by quoting on my behalf. It's a lot easier to have the confidence in yourself when someone else is doing the negotiating.

What do I charge? I charge what brands are willing to pay me.

In IFB's recent article 5 reasons to walk away from a blog sponsorship, they explained it this way:

"If your rate is X, and you've never sold a service for that price, then maybe your rates are too high. Experiment to find a rate you are comfortable with that brands feel comfortable investing in as well. If your rate is X, and you are selling it more than you have time to do a great job on it, then your rate is too low, and you should raise it. There are no “set” rates for anything."

In other words, the way to know whether what you charge for your services - and this applies to ANYONE who charges fees for a service or products - is by putting up your prices. If everyone happily pays you those fees, then you're still charging too little. If no one pays you those fees, you're charging too much.

WHAT YOU WANT ARE GOLDILOCKS RATES: RATES THAT SOME PEOPLE CAN AFFORD AND HAPPILY PAY BUT THAT ARE TOO HIGH FOR OTHERS. 

Goldilocks rates

What you want are Goldilocks rates: Rates that some people can afford and happily pay but that are too high for others. This is the way you stay in high demand - those that can't afford you but are desperate to work with you or hire you for your services will look for some way to be able to pay you what you're worth.

I strongly believe that too many of us are afraid of charging what we're worth. I did, many times: when I look back on what I was charging brands in the early days I could kick myself for charging too little - I know because they accepted my rates far too readily. I was afraid of putting them off, afraid of them thinking I was too big for my boots.

I know better now and have no qualms about quoting my fees and knowing they may (or may not!) be able to afford me.

Find out your worth

So whatever you do in life - whether you are self-employed, an employee, a freelancer, someone who bakes cakes for friends and family or walk dogs now and then for some extra cash - make sure you don't underestimate your worth. If you find that people are all too happy to pay you what you charge them, put your prices up at the end of the year. Those that can't afford you won't be able to pay. But you'll be making more money by having put up your prices, but your workload is less.

(Obviously I'm talking from a purely business point of view... I'm not suggesting you go ripping off old ladies whose dogs you walk to help them out!)

If you're an employee ask yourself if you're being paid what you're truly worth. Have you found out if there is equal pay amongst the male and female colleagues in your company? This is a hot topic right now, so be brave and just ASK.

If you're a blogger, ask others what they charge. If they won't help you, find someone who will.

If you're told you're too expensive...

I think it surprises a lot of people that there ARE bloggers out there who turn down paid projects. Yes, it can be hard to keep saying no to a brand that offers you 25% of what you quoted or what you'd originally agreed upon (as has happened to me - and more than once or twice) if you really need the money. I regularly say no to paid projects because they either don't fit my brand or they can't afford me.

But, like brands who don't "do" sales or give discount codes, you could be harming your brand or your long-term earning power if you constantly accept less than what you're worth. (Don't forget, if just one brand is willing to pay you what you've quoted, that's your worth.)

IT'S NOT ABOUT RACING TO THE BOTTOM ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE. IT'S ABOUT KNOWING YOUR VALUE. 
- @allinbillgreen

Can you imagine the harm discount codes would do to a brand like Chanel? You never see big sale signs in designer stores because it would do their brand more harm than good to suddenly drop their prices. Consumers would no longer see them as a luxury brand - they'd become a discount brand.

Going back to the Goldilocks rates... think how many women save up for a Chanel handbag. I said "those that can't afford you but are desperate to work with you or hire you for your services will look for some way to be able to pay you what you're worth". Chanel handbags ARE worth it to some women. So they (hypothetically) beg, borrow and steal to be able to afford to buy one.

Chanel don't drop their prices - those who want a Chanel handbag find a way to afford one.

As this excellent article about how to reply if a customer says your product or service is too expensive explains: "It's not about racing to the bottom along with everyone else. It's about knowing your value, understanding what you're really selling, and being able to effectively communicate that value in a way that puts your cost into perspective."

I gladly gave up that campaign offered to me by that jobsworth PR even though she may have accepted my fees in the end. But if she couldn't already see that I was worth what I was charging, then that wasn't the campaign for me.

If you think about it, that thought process can be applied to an awful lot more in life than just monetary worth. Know your worth in every aspect of your lives, ladies. You deserve every bit of it.

DO YOU KNOW YOUR WORTH - OR ARE YOU STILL FIGURING IT OUT? DO PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE IN THE COMMENTS... WE NEED TO HEAR EACH OTHER'S STORIES :)

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So all that's left to say is - I've shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it's time to share yours... LET'S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

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Catherine


Linking up to: Brilliant Blog Posts, Fake It Until You Make It
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Thursday, 19 October 2017

The 3 Must-Have Pieces to Shop This Autumn/Winter

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed three key pieces that have been popping up everywhere in the last couple of months?

Now I know that the current season's on-trend pieces aren't always to everyone's tastes, and of course as the creator of the hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike I'm certainly not saying that these are the pieces you HAVE to be buying this season (unlike the fashion sites and magazines tell you). But if I really like a trend then I will wear it, once I've found the right piece that suits me (#iwillwearwhatilike works both ways)!

The pieces that I've fallen in love with (or is that been hypnotised into wanting?) this autumn are white boots, velvet anything and Prince of Wales check blazers. I've seen all three a lot on London Fashion Week street style stars... and I have to say I'm hooked.

I'VE SEEN ALL THREE A LOT ON LONDON FASHION WEEK STREET STYLE STARS... AND I HAVE TO SAY I'M HOOKED.

Prince of Wales (or heritage check, or Glenn plaid) blazers

A Prince of Wales check - sometimes referred to as heritage check or Glenn plaid - is a pattern I've loved for AGES. Some of you may be familiar with my wide leg check trousers that I bought last year, and I think even since the 80s I've been a fan of an oversized blazer (thanks, Bananarama).

White boots

Those street style stars have proved white boots look AMAZING with a maxi dress - I'm thinking I need a pair to go with the floral maxi dress I wore recently: it'll take the dress from 70s Ralph Lauren to AW17 in an instant.

Velvet

And finally, velvet. It's taken me a while to come around to liking velvet again after the bad memories I have of cheap crushed velvet in the 90s, but after wearing the stunning yellow ochre Hobbs dress I'm not turning my back on velvet again anytime soon:

Desk to dinner outfit: One dress styled two ways | A Hobbs yellow ochre velvet midi dress with ruffles styled as office workwear and a date night outfit
I'm also crushing (see what I did there 😉!) on this orange velvet backpack - if I could just ensure I keep it out of the rain I'd be a happy girl.

I hope you'll find something you love in my picks... don't forget that YOU choose what trends to follow, and what to leave behind. Only wear what you love and what works for you. I can imagine that white boots will be a bit of a Marmite piece - let me know!

ARE YOU LUSTING AFTER ANY OF THESE THREE KEY PIECES THIS SEASON... IF SO WHICH ONE(S)? COMMENT BELOW, OR TAKE IT TO TWITTER @NOTLAMB!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission.

White boots

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb
Bottom right: Rebecca Minkoff white boots £132.76

Love them or hate them, they certainly make any outfit look very, very modern. I love that bright contrast that white gives - sure beats boring black boots.

More white boots to shop...




Prince of Wales check blazer

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb
Top right: Miss Selfridge check blazer £45.00
Bottom right: H&M belted check jacket £39.99

In my hunt I found that Mango has one of the best selections of check blazers. Look how many gorgeous ways Carelia of My Small Wardrobe styled her plaid blazer - it's all the inspo you need for ways to wear yours.

More check blazers to shop...




Velvet anything

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb
I am DYING over so many of these pieces! I can't believe I've gone full circle and am now loving velvet everything.

More plush velvet pieces to shop...



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3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb

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Catherine

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

How to Do Smart Preppy Style in the Autumn, Over 40

Preppy Style in the Autumn: Double breasted camel blazer \ striped Seasalt sweater \ white button down shirt \ aubergine peg trousers pants \ two tone brogues \ orange vintage sunglasses | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style
NDAL banner

There are few things that make you feel more like the lady of the manor than an English country estate - especially on a beautiful autumn day.

And what's better to wear than something a little preppy? It's a style I generally associate with summer because of all the sailor stripes and gingham, but if you switch up the cotton for lambswool and the gingham for stripes in earthy tones you've got yourself preppy style in autumn.

The house and estate you see in the background here is Escot House and park in Devon - it's not a stately home like Blenheim Palace that you can tour but it can be hired out for conferences and weddings. To be honest it's quite a small house as far as country estates go(!), so as we're considering a house move next year I'm thinking this sort of size house would do me very nicely, thank you. There'd be less to dust when it's this small, though if I were the lady of this manor I'm pretty sure I'd have a housekeeper or two... #lol

Joking aside - the real reason we were there was to watch my brother in a cycle race that went around the grounds, so it was the perfect spot for a photo shoot. It was also strangely warm for mid-October - I layered a white shirt under my new sweater and I really didn't need the blazer, but I liked the way the colours all went together so the blazer stayed on.

This outfit is a mixture of old and new - the new blending seamlessly with other items in my wardrobe.

Preppy Style in the Autumn: Double breasted camel blazer \ striped Seasalt sweater \ white button down shirt \ aubergine peg trousers pants \ two tone brogues \ orange vintage sunglasses | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style
SHOP THE LOOK:

Seasalt Trumpet jumper sweater, striped   Oasis double-breasted camel longline blazer   Topshop berry red paperbag waist belted trousers   Zalando two-tone brogues   Marks & Spencer white button down shirt   Asos pearl and gold hoop earrings
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Monday, 16 October 2017

A Sequinned Rock n Roll Outfit at the Spectacle Wearer of the Year Awards #iwillwearwhatilike

Specsavers SWOTY 2017: Evening/cocktail date night outfit - David Bowie rock t-shirt tee \ black sequin trousers \ bright orange pointed heels | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

It may not be Christmas yet but I've already broken out the sequins. When you're invited to an event that says cocktail dress code you just HAVE to get the sparkle on, don't you?!

Last week I went to the Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year Awards (what a mouthful - it's often called SWOTY which is easier) as an influencer to raise awareness of the event and the money it raises for charity. You may have seen on my Instagram feed last week that I was there in my Bowie t-shirt and sequinned trousers, feeling more than a little rock and roll...!

I attended last year as well and went for a vintage dress that time - this year I thought I'd go for (almost) head-to-toe black which isn't like me at all! As I often say when asked about not wearing black I say that I often go for black for a nighttime event... maybe it's something to do with me wanting to reflect the happy, positive vibes you get from daylight rather than sucking the life out it with black? Who knows.

Aaaanyway the sequinned trousers are so fabulous (JD Williams again, and like last week's floral midi dress act fast if you want a pair) and they went so well with my newest heels purchases: orange Aldo pointed heels. They're sold out now but these Asos heels are almost the same (I thought it was about time I had some orange in my shoe arsenal). Another punch of bright colour with the turquoise clutch (old - similar), some gold asymmetric earrings and a side-swept, braided-at-the-back messy hairdo and I felt suitably rock n roll enough for a celeb-filled bash.

I've featured a few shots that were taken on the night - a bit of a mish-mash of selfies, photos taken by the event photographer and casual outfit shots taken by my O40Co pal Nikki (who was also invited... we had so much fun). It was quite nice not to have to worry about getting perfect outfit shots for a change, I thought I'd just go with whatever I could scramble together for today's #iwillwearwhatilike - turns out the photos aren't that bad at all!
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Friday, 13 October 2017

How to Dress Big Boobs to Make Them Look Smaller #SaturdayShareLinkUp

How to Dress Big Boobs to Make Them Look Smaller | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

This week it seemed I "outranked" a friend in the cup size department, much to her surprise. As it's Breast Cancer Awareness month this was a timely topic...!

This friend - a fellow blogger - and I chatted for over an hour on the phone this week. The conversation swung round to our outfit posts and the way we look online, and we bemoaned the fact that being on (film) camera really does add ten pounds. She was being really complimentary about the way I dress (bless her!) - then she mentioned something about how her big boobs are so hard to dress.

This was what shocked her: Me saying that I too am a very busty girl (I got a bemused "really?!" in response). When we shared our bra sizes it seems I actually outranked her in the cup size department.

(I probably should have put a disclaimer at the beginning to say Warning: Much boobage talk will ensue in this post. If you're not a fan this may not be the post for you. Though I may also have attracted the wrong sort with the post title - they will be disappointed...!)

Anyway just for the purposes of this post, I will reveal my bra size. It's usually a huge surprise to those that I choose to tell, because I think I am able to dress my big boobs to look smaller... a LOT smaller. I'm often confronted with shocked reactions when I find myself in a situation where bra sizes are discussed.

IF YOU WANT TO SHOW OFF YOUR BOOBS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL OR LARGE THEY ARE, THEN GO FOR IT. SAME GOES FOR COVERING THEM UP. THERE ARE NO RULES, NO RIGHT OR WRONG. 

I do not dress to show off my boobs or my cleavage, and that's just my choice. As you probably know if you've ever read my blog before, I believe in #iwillwearwhatilike - so that means if you want to show off your boobs, no matter how small or large they are, then go for it. Same goes for covering them up. There are no rules, no right or wrong.

So how is it that I am extremely blessed in the chest department but no one seems to know about it?
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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Why There's No Such Thing As a Break in Full-Time Blogging

Why There's No Such Thing As a Break in Full-Time Blogging | Not Dressed As Lamb

Over the four years that I've been blogging full-time I've been contacted by quite a few bloggers to ask how I managed to give up the day job and go full-time with my blog.

There's no secret formula - I'm as surprised as anyone that I'm managing to make a living out of this strange profession. 

The first thing to realise? There's no conventional way to do it. I'm sure all the pro bloggers/influencers out there will have a different story to tell.

Secondly - there's absolutely no such thing as a break in full-time blogging. Anyone who does this for a living will tell you that there's always more Instagramming, Facebooking, Tweeting, commenting, writing, emailing or editing you could be doing. Always, always.

So how did I do it?

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Monday, 9 October 2017

The Perfect Autumnal Outfit for Air Travel and Sightseeing #iwillwearwhatilike

Romantic, Ralph Lauren-inspired 70s style autumn/fall outfit: Floral maxi dress \ tan belt and boots \ camel fedora \ orange leather tote bag | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Last week I spent two days in Amsterdam - it was half business, half leisure, and I had the most fabulous time. Friday's post explains why I was there for business... today I'm talking about the outfit I wore on the second day for the sightseeing part of the trip (and on the plane home)! 

I've created a little collage of the lovely day I spent with Greetje - scroll down to see the snaps I took. She showed me all the interesting small shops and boutiques (it was nice to avoid all the chain stores) and we ate delicious food in equal measures of healthy and naughty and took several tea and coffee breaks. The weather was predicted to be just about the worst you could possibly imagine: 50mph winds and pouring rain (not a good start). Although it was pretty bad in the morning, by the time met and had had our first cafe stop it actually brightened up and we enjoyed lots of sunshine with just a few short showers in between.

Sunshine on a day you're not expecting any at all is just the best type, isn't it...?

So this is the outfit I wore for that second day and then to catch my plane home - it was a 10pm flight so it had to be really, really comfortable to last me the day and not cheese me off (see what I did there - Amsterdam, cheese?! That was a cheesy joke, I'm sorry...)

I photographed the outfit properly at home over the weekend because I just wanted to enjoy my day with Greetje and not worry about having to get outfit photos done. However, those of you that follow her will know that a blog post about our day is bound to pop up on her blog before long - it's only a matter of time, I can feel it!
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Friday, 6 October 2017

Why It's Always Good to Admit You Were Wrong #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Not Dressed As Lamb talking at eRetail Europe 2017

A very short post this week as I've just arrived back from my 48 hours in Amsterdam - what a fantastic couple of days I've had!

Last week I wrote about having to attend a big European conference in Amsterdam (all to do with the retail sector) and give a presentation on Wednesday this week... to say I was bricking it because I hadn't had time to prepare sufficiently was the understatement of the century. The post was all about how it's important to do things that scare you - I mentioned hoping that I wouldn't eventually regret saying that.

The bottom line? I don't regret saying that.

The conference went really well.

I don't know why I was so worried.

The thing that really scared me the most?

Going on a plane by myself for the first time. I hate, hate, HATE landings and usually I have Keith with me to offer a hand to squeeze or a knee to clutch while I grit my teeth and wait till the plane has stopped screeching (as if it's never going to stop). Thankfully I got through the two landings without clawing at the men whose misfortune it was to sit next to me.
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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

8 All New, All Stylish Over 40 Fashion Bloggers

8 All New Over 40 Fashion Bloggers You Should Know

So it's a whole year since I last featured any over 40 fashion bloggers - I've been compiling a list of new (or new to me) bloggers that I think you'll absolutely love.

As always I'm keen to constantly find new inspiration and give a little shout out to some of the older bloggers who are either just starting out or maybe don't get seen in all parts of world (as much as they do in their home country). I'm so pleased to have also found several European fashion bloggers this time around: When I last featured over 40 bloggers, 9 out of the 11 I featured were US-based... it's just who had come to my attention in the months leading up to that post.

Europeans don't often get publicised outside of their own country very much so I was really pleased to find bloggers from Sweden, Poland, Spain and good old Blighty. I think styles differ quite a bit between continents, and even then from country to country, so it's great to have this mix.

This is actually my fourth list of over 40 bloggers that I've compiled over the last three years (here are links to the first, second and third ones, or see my full list of featured bloggers that includes everything from romantic style to preppy style and petites to mid-size bloggers) - I'm so happy and proud of my fellow midlifers to know that they're creating an endless supply of inspirational content and style.
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Monday, 2 October 2017

Why a Grey Biker Jacket is More Versatile Than Black #iwillwearwhatilike

Smart but comfy autumnal dressing: Grey leather biker jacket \ millennial pink sweater \ brown check wide leg pants \ pink snakeskin shoes | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

A grey biker jacket adds a softness to an outfit that a black biker jacket can't. Don't get me wrong, I love my black biker jacket - but sometimes a solid lump of black just adds too much heaviness.

Grey is a very 'pretty' neutral that looks so lovely with the warm tones of brown and pink in this outfit - plus grey goes with everything, it looks as good with white as it does with black. This is what I wore to travel down to Cornwall - we took a few photos when we got there but to be honest I wasn't feeling it (read that as "got stressed because we couldn't find the key to the holiday house we let"). So I wore it again to get my hair done last weekend (yes, even I repeat outfits!) and we did a reshoot.

I'm glad because the colours have come out much better in these photos: These are my favourite kind of neutrals to wear - warm mid tones rather than blacks and navy. I still love my wide leg check trousers (similar) and was glad that the season was the right one again to wear them - as much as #iwillwearwhatilike, I still FEEL better in clothes that are season-appropriate to some extent.

A brown Prince of Wales check is very autumnal, if you ask me. Plus pair it with pink snakeskin shoes and I'm absolutely made up.

A BROWN PRINCE OF WALES CHECK IS VERY AUTUMNAL, IF YOU ASK ME. PLUS PAIR IT WITH PINK SNAKESKIN SHOES AND I'M ABSOLUTELY MADE UP. 

You'll see I also posed with our new car (excuse the fact that it was already dirty) - it was 'born' only a few days before our holiday. While it may not be the most exciting model or colour, it was the next size up from our little "looks like a red toy car" Aygo. And one of the main reasons we got a bigger car was because of Riley... yes, we bought a bigger car for our dog. The Aygo had almost zero boot space so we couldn't have fitted in a large dog AND our weekends bags plus food and essentials for the week, so we ordered a new car in time for our holiday.

The things we do for our pets, eh? (To be fair we would have been changing our car in March anyway - we just brought the purchase forward by six months.) He now has a ton of space in his hammock on the back seat, it's so lovely to see him all stretched out.

Which neatly brings me onto my weekend bag:
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