Starting an Online Business

Many of you know that I have not one, but two online businesses. The first, is my business as a Beachbody coach. The second, which is the one I will focus on today is on Etsy. I decided to start my Etsy business because I love knitting, and I spend a lot of money on yarn and I love giving my knitting away. Unfortunately, this is not profitable. Furthermore, I wanted a reason to create my own patterns and create them well. In a matter of about a week I went from deciding that starting this business was something I could handle to having all of the necessary requirements completed in order to start selling. I had to learn a lot about what to do in order to legally run a business online, and a lot of it wasn’t fun. But some of it was too.

Getting a DBA (Doing Business As)

The most fun part about starting this business was by far determining a business name. I learned that if I wanted to do business in a name other than my own (yes), I needed to have it registered with the state. This surprised me, and I took to Facebook to ask for some suggestions from my friends. The winner made me do a little happy dance. Mind you, I read the results of the poll while I was out for a jog. I loaded the page while I was stopped at a stop light and when I saw it I was already running again, so I am sure I looked absolutely ridiculous. The second best part about picking this name was the banker’s reaction when I opened my business banking account (more on that later). Name: Given Knit My All. Say it out loud of you don’t get it. If you still don’t appreciate the awesomeness, take a look at my last name. Mind blown. Thank you again, I can never repay you for making such an awesome suggestion.

Opening a business bank account

This was a suggestion that I read in a book and I knew I was going to do it before getting even halfway through the chapter. Before opening this account, I had three checking accounts at three banks. One of those is untaxed income, the other two split the rest of my income. Taxes are difficult with everything separated. The thought of adding business cash flow on top of that was not something that sounded even remotely like a good idea to me, therefore I opened another account. But wait! Doesn’t she already have a business with Beachbody? Yes. However, year-end reporting with Beachbody is easy peasy lemon squeezey. Etsy not so much. This is already proving to be beneficial, and I haven’t even really begun to use it.

Listings and promotions

As of now, I do not have any listings on my page. I already know what my first listing will be, I just need to complete it first. I also have seen a lot of discussion on the Etsy boards as well as in other locations regarding promoting your site on social media. I made a business page on Facebook, but it is currently private and I am not sure whether or not I will use it. I feel like I learned a lot about networking and promoting my business from being part of Team Beachbody, and I make every effort to continue to learn as I move through life.

Bottom line

This business is about having fun doing something that I love. I never want it to become a chore, or something that I cannot keep up with. At the same time, I want to make money because I feel like I have the skills that will help me make money. It would just be disappointing to see items go unsold. I have specific goals for this business, but they’re personal and I really don’t know if they are realistic because I am just starting out. However, I feel confident in myself and what I desire such that I will be able to succeed with this.


If you have any suggestions for me, want to check out my shop, or connect with me on social media, please do not hesitate to contact me. Let me know how you found me if you do wish to connect.

How Mentoring Stole My Heart

How did I begin mentoring?

I did not begin mentoring, or being mentored, by choice. I was a very head strong individual and I thought I knew everything so I wasn’t looking for the help. At some point, somebody said something that finally got through to me. I know who it was, but I don’t know what she said or why that was the time that made it make sense. I do know that I would not change it for the world.

What is the difference between a formal and an informal mentor?

A formal mentor is someone who is assigned to you whereas an informal mentor is a relationship that sort of happens on its own. I have both formal and informal mentors, and I still look to both with related and unrelated things. I feel like I have made a special connection with every mentor that I have had and every mentee that I have had. A friend of mine pointed something out not too long ago, and that was that the word “former” never truly exists in this type of relationship. Once a mentor/mentee, always a mentor mentee.

How do you set up a mentor-mentee relationship?

A mentee can request for somebody to be their mentor very easily. If you find somebody that you think will help guide you in life, you simply need to approach them with the truth. If they have qualities of being a good mentor (willing to give time, good leadership skills, life experience), then this should be no problem at all. At first, it may be difficult to read people. And you may find after a while that you do not get along with the person as well as you thought you might (although, this can come from either direction). That is a-okay too, you just need to follow what you think is right.

Who drives the relationship between mentor and mentee?

The mentor should drive the relationship, however, the mentor does not always drive the relationship. By being the elder, leader, and experienced individual, the mentor should be the one to tell the mentee how things are going to go. I don’t mean bossing someone around- but set the expectations for the frequency of contact. Listen to the mentee and see what he/she needs, but go with your own style to make it work. As mentee, you should make sure that your mentor is there for you whenever you need something. Chances are, it is one mentor per many mentees and they will not always notice when something is awry with you. You must have the courage to speak up when something isn’t right.

Who needs mentors?

Everybody! No matter how old or how young you are, you need a mentor. I began this post by stating that I thought I didn’t. I thought I could figure it all out on my own. However, even when you think about children who have role models, it’s the same thing, but with a much more intimate connection.

What’s in my beach bag? Books of course!

Hello wonderful people! I have a summer goal of one book finished per week. This could be an audiobook, ebook, book, whatever, but I want to finish one every week. I often read more than one book at a time, so I am hoping this is an achievable goal, but we will see.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I have owned this book since it came out. I was a big fan of The Secret Life of Bees and was more impressed than I thought I would be with The Mermaid Chair. However, I have not been able to convince myself to pick up the book and read it. At first, it was the tiny print that scared me. I knew it wouldn’t be a quick read, which her other two were for me. However, I believe that it will be a good summer read and there is no time like the present. Additionally, in June, Kidd’s daughter will be releasing her first novel, so I feel some kind of obligation to support an author that I know I enjoy.

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

More and more every day, I am texting my mother about all of the “adulting” that I am doing. I am now 25 years old, I have a car loan, I have a steady income, yada yada yada. At the end of the day though, I have NO clue what I am doing most of the time. So, I am looking forward to this humorous book to guide me a little bit. I haven’t seen a review of how useful the content is- and I would like to keep it that way for now.

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Let’s Get Lost is a coming of age novel about five individuals all connected to one person. I actually started the book last night while lying in bed trying to fall asleep, and so far so good. I don’t recall what originally drew me in to this book, but I definitely think it will be both a quick and fun read. The writing level is definitely young adult, and I cannot decide if I feel like the intended reader was male or female, from the description or from having already started the book.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I received Wild as a birthday present over a year ago from a friend who had really enjoyed the book. I am notoriously awful about reading books that I receive as gifts, and this was no exception. I haven’t even tried to start it, and I don’t have a good reason why. I just put it on the bookshelf and always know that it is there, but never pick it up and start reading it. I am excited to read it though, because I have no desire to see the movie (sorry), and because I feel like it isn’t a super hyped up book, but everybody who reads it enjoys it.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Between starting this post and finishing it up, I have actually gotten off the hold list and have the book downloaded to my Kindle, so it is my “up next.” Considering 3/5 books on this list I own… this seems like a good idea. Anyway, I decided to read this book because I do enjoy a good psychological thriller, and because I want to see what all the hype is about. I have heard from more than one reliable source that the audiobook isn’t that great, which is a shame since this is the sort of book I would prefer to listen to on audio. In any case, I’m looking forward to a binge reading session or two to crank this one out.

I’m a Hustla Baby

Many people choose a side hustle in hopes that one day it will be their main hustle. For me, I just don’t have that goal. My hope and dream for my future is to become a professor. My side hustle associated with that is being a GRE instructor for students undergoing summer research opportunities at my home institution. I mentor students at every opportunity that I get. I tutor minority children (ages 10 – 18, about) and show them what I want to do with my life.

My side hustles are being a Beachbody coach and selling my knitting. Neither of these is something I hope to make a full time job someday. However, when I think about my future and having children and a nice home and taking family vacations, the extra money these side hustles brings in can be put directly towards that. These are still two things that will make my future so much better, and more rewarding at that, but they will never be my main squeezes.

That being said, I recently read that you should work hard at what you want every single day. Obviously, I go to work Monday through Friday. But if I want my side hustles to be successful, I need to find time for them Monday through Friday as well. I also need to spend some extra time on them on the weekends because I am not working. So far, I think I am doing pretty well. I have a daily tracker in my bullet journal that allows me to mark these items off when I do them daily. I have updated my daily tracker for June compared to May to be more specific towards working at these goals. I am pretty excited for June, mostly because I think I will work harder with the satisfaction of filling in my boxes daily.

I have recently reached the very difficult decision of deciding not to make my coaching business a business priority. I have taken on a lot, even for my ever-busy self, and as a result, I need to make some decisions about my priorities and where my time goes. I will still workout daily because I feel amazing when I do, and because I feel like it is important to keep motivating people. I hear from people al of the time that I have motivated them to make fitness and health a priority again, and ultimately that is all I have ever wanted to do. So, although I am letting coaching be the thing that goes on the back burner for now, that does not mean that I do not care about health and fitness, it doesn’t mean that I won’t still be posting my workouts, stats, motivation, etc, but it does mean that my time and energy will be placed elsewhere.

  I am incredibly fortunate to have the most supportive parents and extended family in the world. My parents have supported every crazy idea I have ever had, and encouraged me to pursue them. Most recently, I was telling my mother what I had put on my plate for the summer and she said, “good for you. You never do anything that you can’t handle.” She’s right, of course. She could have told me that I was in fact crazy, and that it would never work. She could have tried to talk me out of one or several of my ideas. Instead, she encouraged me. She even followed up with me in a later text and asked for more details about my endeavors. I don’t always see eye to eye with my parents- or anybody for that matter, and that is completely natural. However, I know that I will always have her in my corner, and that is all that matters.

So, on that note, here are some posts that you can be guaranteed to look forward to in the month of June! 

My blog theme for June will be all about my side hustles- those things that I do that are 100% extra and voluntary, but that I hold so dear to my heart. Here’s a list of topics for June!

  1. What’s in my beach bag? My top anticipated books for summer
  2. What does a mentor do? A reflection on everything that I have learned from my mentors and as a mentor.
  3. Starting an online business in the social media age. Focused mostly on Etsy, with some knowledge from Beachbody
  4. Weave your story: What would your memoir say, and are you happy about that?
  5. Lessons my parents have taught me. In honor of Father’s Day and my belated realization that I owe my parents everything, this will be a tribute to them.
  6. Passion versus Talent: A showdown; what happens when something you are passionate about is something that you aren’t good at and vice versa?

You 2.0 Reflection (50% Done with Book)

“You’re more likely to feel passionate about something after you get good at it.”

Okay, so why has nobody said this before? So true! Oh my gosh, okay, let me rewind a bit for you.

Back to the present now. So I’m reading this book on the bus on my way into work. I am coming in an hour later than usual because I woke up, worked out, started a load of laundry, showered, and did everything else I normally do in the morning. And then I read this and I just wanted to stand up and “YESSS!” right there. Each chapter of the book has exercises to help you kill the old you and develop the new you. When I was reading about killing the old you, I sat down, thought for about five minutes, and realized that I really didn’t need to kill any part of Brittany because it had already been done. However, now that I am on the reinventing part, I am realizing that I can still change. I can still improve myself, and every time I remind myself of this, I get really excited.

Here is my list of things that I am good at (in order that I thought about them):

  1. Research- designing experiments, carrying them out, and writing them up
  2. Writing- both scientific and leisure
  3. Running- I am not the fastest nor the strongest, but I am stronger than yesterday
  4. Working out at home- I keep my appointments with myself because I made a commitment
  5. Knitting- I am not the fastest nor the best, but I am mostly self taught and know many skills

Are you ready for what I’m about to say next? Every item on this list took practice. I was terrible at research when I was a sophomore in college, but now that I have five years under my belt, it seems pretty easy. I am writing right now (duh), I enjoy doing it, and I know that the more I do it, the better I will get. When I don’t run, I feel lost. When I do run, I feel strong. I feel accomplished. I think reaching new goals in running brings me the most joy. Working out at home has been bringing a lot of sweat into my day lately. I am doing cardio every single day of the week right now, and I have never felt better. I try to knit every day. I try to learn new things when I knit. I use new yarns, and I learn new stitches, and I make my own patterns, and in doing so, I am building on my skills and improving my talents. Plus, it’s relaxing (mostly).

Here is my list of things that I am passionate about (in order of importance to me, right now):

  1. Working out
  2. Knitting
  3. Research
  4. Running
  5. Writing

Yes, you read that correctly, writing is last, and working out is first. Why? Because I think that I have learned to find my own voice with my workouts. I follow the calendar, I follow the schedule, I do the workouts according to the trainers, but I put my own spin on it. I have fun with it. I reach out to other people and try to help them with their goals. I work hard to be successful. Knitting is a logical second because I just opened my (still empty) shop on Etsy. But I also have yarn coming in the mail, several patterns for my first products, and I am very excited because I knit to relax, and I learn new techniques to keep myself from getting bored. I have decided to take my hobby to the next level, same with working out, but it feel different. The other three are kind of necessary to me right now, I get paid to do research. I paid to run in a marathon. I have to write to advance in my career, and blogging reaches a lot of people in a lot of ways, which is incredible.

In conclusion, these words are the best thing I have read in a while. I am excited because the exercise I couldn’t do on the bus was walking through the scientific method, and if you were paying attention, you would know that that’s my jam. I am feeling energized because I know what my strengths are, and I know how to build on them, all that’s left is taking the leap and doing it. It sounds so simple, but it rarely is.

If you want to know more about the books I read for personal development connect with me on Goodreads, use the comments on this post, or the shoot me an email to get in touch with me. Happy reading, readers!