One Year On – What have I learned?

One Year On – What have I learned?

Learning the hard way - EXPRESS - Trench Coat

Hi everyone & happy Monday! Today is actually an extra special Monday for me as it marks 1 YEAR since setting out on my own and going full-time with Retro Flame here in New York. Before that, I was working with as a social media manager at a fashion brand here in the city, but as Retro Flame began to grow here in the US, I knew I had to make the leap. This day last year was the first day I properly sat down at my desk (a couch at the time) to work for myself and I will never forget how happy it made me – it truly has been my proudest accomplishment to date! It was actually Kaelin who reminded me of the anniversary today and being totally honest, it actually scared me half to death! Where in the world did that year go!?! And how has it already been one full year? It’s probably been both the busiest & most exciting year so far and there’s no doubt that I have learned A LOT.  I definitely still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn, but I wanted to do a quick post today to share a few lessons which have really stood out to me over the last 12 months….

Louise et Cie

1. Structure

When you go from having a 9-5 to having a 24/7, you SERIOUSLY have to learn how to structure your days in the most efficient way possible. There’s nobody to tell you what to do and when to do it, so you have to start figuring out what works best for you. It’s definitely taken me quite a while to really understand the times and days I’m most productive. For example, Friday was never a productive day for me. It’s the end of the week, I’m always a little tired and so instead of sitting at my desk being 50% efficient, I turned Friday into my ‘meetings day’. In my industry, getting out there and meeting with people & brands is all part of the package and so instead of spreading these meetings out throughout the week, I now schedule them all for  the same day. I LOVE meeting with people, it gives me the energy and motivation to keep going, so I love having this to look forward to on a Friday. Of course, there are weeks where I’ll have to take meetings on other days too, but 90% of the time, that’s what my Fridays are for. It’s all about figuring out what works for you and making sure that you’re using your time in the best & smartest way possible.

2. Expanding The Team

Want to know my biggest regret in blogging/my career so far? Not expanding the Retro Flame earlier. Ever since my sister, Kaelin, joined Retro Flame back in October, I’ve been the most productive I’ve EVER been. I just can’t understand why I tried to do it all by myself for so long. Of course, expanding a team comes with added expense, but it’s an expense that is worth every single penny. I honestly don’t know where I would be without Kaelin now!! I literally will be inconsolable if she ever decides to move jobs, haha! Having help in certain areas has helped me achieve so much more. I used to spend hours & hours on admin and email work but now that I have help with that, it allows me to use my extra time to work on more videos & blog posts for you guys. With Kaelin’s help, there are now 3 new blogs posts here on the blog every week and 2 new videos over on my Youtube channel. Bringing Kaelin onto the team has undoubtedly been the best decision I’ve made so far! She’s crazy hard-working and we’re both more excited than ever to keep expanding the team over the next year. Be sure to watch the video we did together about living & working together – you’ll definitely get a few laughs out of it :)

Givenchy Antigona - Patent Boots

3. Learning When To Say No

Ever since I went full-time with Retro Flame, I’ve 110% said NO to more events, projects, collaborations, etc. than ever before. You would think it would be the opposite though, wouldn’t you? But the thing is, time is money. And when you work for yourself, time is the biggest asset you have and you start to learn to use it very very wisely. I also think since deciding to go all in with Retro Flame, I’ve become extremely fussy about what I work on. I want everything I do to be amazing. I didn’t quit a great full-time job to do ‘average’ work for myself. So unless I’m absolutely obsessed with working with a brand or obsessed with a blog post/video I’m creating, I won’t do it. It’s all or nothing.

4. Downtime

And finally, if I’ve learned one thing this year it’s been about the importance of being able to switch off. Running your own business undoubtedly brings quite a bit of pressure with it. If you don’t work hard enough, you won’t pay rent/wages. It can definitely be stressful and almost make you feel that you literally need to work every minute of the day. But what I’ve learned is that when you do actually give yourself a proper break, you come back the next day more motivated and productive than ever. Each week, I now try to take one weekend day FULLY off (it doesn’t always work out but I’m getting better) and then when I’m back at my desk on Monday, I feel ready for the new week again. Nobody can keep going at 100% ALL the time, so it’s important to listen to your body and mind and make sure to give it the rest it needs.

Learning the hard way - EXPRESS - Trench Coat

Learning the hard way - EXPRESS - Trench Coat

All I ever wanted to do was work for myself. I truly do believe that everyone is different when it comes to career choices, but for me, I always knew the path I wanted to take so being able to do what I’ve been doing over the past year has made me the most grateful girl in NYC. Thank you all so so much for joining me on the journey so far.. I promise it’s only the beginning :)

Oh and just incase you missed it, I really did an interview for RTE 1 (an Irish TV channel) and it went live today!! You can watch it back HERE.

Have a great week everyone,
Erika x



  1. Kelly Lund

    6 March

    Congratulations on 1 successful year out on your own! I honestly think you’re going to be successful in the long run and am so thrilled that I discovered you this year and have gotten to know more about your through your YouTube channel. Anyone who watches you can see your commitment and dedication to working hard and it’s so great to see it paying off for you. Very excited to see where Retro Flame goes in the year ahead!

    xoxo – Kelly

  2. Congrats, this was a great read and the photos are beautiful x

  3. Sophie

    7 March

    Congrats! I can’t wait to see what happens for Retro Flame in the next year.

  4. Great post and congratulations on one year! :) Look forward to see what this upcoming year has in store for Retro Flame which has quickly become my fav blog!!

  5. Caroline

    9 March

    Happy Anniversary, Erika. What a driven and motivated woman you are. I hope you’re really proud of yourself. I agree with being honest with yoursel in terms of productivity and tuning into figuring out when you’re most productive and keeping specific days for specific tasks. Switching off is hugely important, and as a mental health professional, it’s something I advocate for constantly. If we don’t get time to be alone and doing nothing “Il Dolce Far Niente” (The Sweetness of Doing Nothing) then we’re inhibiting our consicious mind to flow free and preventing any creativity.

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