Setting up your online presence is easy, but these days videos are the trend in social media engagement. That can stir up some anxiety (in women and men) when you think about stepping in front of the camera. That’s how Allison “FAB” Howell felt, but she didn’t let it stop her. Instead, she combined all of her passions to help other female entrepreneurs feel more confident in themselves. Here’s Allison’s story.
Welcome to Write Now Edits! Please, tell us about your business. Please include what you do, when you started your own business, and why.
My name is Allison “FAB” Howell- social worker by day, Life Stylist by night. As a Life Stylist, I empower female entrepreneurs who have been hiding behind old photos and stock images to work through insecurities about their appearance so they’re confident and at ease when it comes to sharing their FABulous business & gifts with the world. I do this through Life Style Coaching and online courses (using my background in fashion, makeup, psychology, social work).
However, I didn’t start with this clarity. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher, and artist, and a singer. I used to design clothes for my Barbies, and began making my own jewelry at the age of nine.
In college, the teacher interest morphed into psychology as I struggled with anxiety and depression. But I wanted something more hands-on, so I ended up changing my major to Social Work. I helped pay my way through school with retail jobs in fashion. After graduation and an internship, I got a “real” social worker, because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.
But my passion for creativity never went away. I was a freelance makeup artist and tried my hand at network marketing with a few cosmetics companies. I eventually began designing and selling my jewelry as a business while growing my family and continuing my 9-5 (which is really a 7:30-5, plus the commute… *go ahead an laugh, I do too each time I type it and dream of starting work at 9 a.m.).
But something always felt off.
I spent years trying to fit everyone else’s version of “trendy” or “professional,” only to feel out of place and insecure.
Living in a poverty-stricken small rural town for nine years, I knew the key to a successful business could be found online, but I was scared to show up as me, not to mention exhausted from everyday life. It seemed like SO much work to get all dolled up to record a video, and I feared that people wouldn’t take me seriously if I showed up in my pajamas.
Eventually I learned to feel comfortable in my own skin and stop living by everyone else’s style and business “rules.” I began teaching people what I had learned through my years in fashion, makeup, psychology, social work. A coach suggested Personal Appearance Branding, and here we are.
It’s SO important to me to share this message that God placed in my heart because I believe that true beauty is a gift from our creator and shines through our spirit. That’s why real beauty is not boastful, prideful or selfish – it’s the fullest expression of God’s light in our world. It’s not only about makeup, clothes, and accessories, but a strong connection with spirit and self, expressed through our smile, appearance, and personality. When we see our beauty as an expression of that, we can allow it to shine through us in all ways, and share it as service to others.
What has been your biggest struggle in launching your business/career?
Clarity! In case you didn’t notice from my journey above, I’m definitely multi-passionate! So I try to help everyone. But when I’m not clear on my own messaging, people don’t take me seriously as business owner.
How did/are you overcoming it?
I’ve worked with a few different coaches and have been in masterminds that have been very helpful. But one key piece has been learning to lean into God more and trust the process. It’s definitely something I’m still working on and probably will always need reminders/guidance with.
What’s surprised you the most about working for yourself?
How much accountability I need. I never realized how important it was for me in all areas of my life. As I’ve grown as an entrepreneur, I’ve also grown as a person and become more aware of what does and doesn’t work for me. Even though I need alone time (true introvert at heart) , it’s imperative that I share my goals/desires with others and have regular check-ins to keep moving forward.
What’s your favorite part of this kind of work?
Seeing the transformation! It’s my absolute favorite thing in all the jobs that I’ve had, but especially as a Life Stylist. The moment when my clients are filled with FABulous confidence to move forward and share their own gifts with the world is SO rewarding! Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face!
Is there any one event/moment that helped you move from starting your own business to making a living with your own business?
In full transparency, I am still working my full-time job as well. However, the moment I became clear on how I really (deep down inside) want to and am being divinely guided to use my gifts to best serve the world, everything began to fall into place.
If you could give a new freelance workers/entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?
Trust the small voice inside of you (you know more than you give yourself credit for) & find someone you admire to help guide you (as a coach) along the way.
If you could do one thing differently in your career, what would it be?
I would have gotten clearer/trusted myself/taken more deliberate inspired action earlier in the process instead of second guessing myself along the way. However, I believe that all things are working for my good (it’s actually a little song I sing to myself based on Romans 8:28) so I’m trusting the process.
What’s your favorite kind of work? Why?
I love helping my clients identify the themes/trends in what they want, especially when it comes to their style. When I see a Pinterest board full of different things that they love, my brain automatically starts connecting the dots of their style & seeing it come to life.
When I was little, my parents used to buy, restore, and refinish antique furniture. I’ve always had a eye for the potential (the beauty that lies in the midst of the chaos). So helping other people see it too (and then the lightbulbs that go off in their life) is incredibly rewarding!
What does your work space/office look like?
I have a desk in the upstairs loft/open area of our house (next to the kids’ TV). The desk is white and decorated with pops of color and glitter decor (glitter background on my vision board, a rainbow calendar, a hot pink mouse). Pretty much my business in a nutshell- haha.
What does your work day look like?
I get up half an hour before I need to get ready for work (between 5:30 & 6 a.m.) and start with a few minutes of gratitude. Then I begin posting/engaging on social media. I leave for my social work job around 7 a.m and don’t get home until about 5:45 p.m. While I’m there, I do as much Life Styling as possible on my breaks, and my lunches are often filled with connection calls or a Facebook Live.
When I get home in the evening, we try to have dinner together as a family and watch one of our favorite shows (pre-recorded of course!) before it’s time to prep for the next day (get clothes ready for everyone, check our schedules, plan lunchs, etc). Once the kids are in their rooms winding down to sleep, my husband often works on his studies (he’s taking classes online) and I do content creation, check emails, and follow up with clients before heading to bed around 9:30 or 10 p.m.. I’m a crazy person if I don’t get enough sleep!
What’s your go-to snack when you need one?
I really love something with crunch! My favorite is Flaming Hot Cheetos, but I also love tortilla chips. And I ALWAYS have a tall glass of water with me (wherever I go). I can’t stress enough how key water is to feeling FABulous!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for taking the time chat with me through these thought- provoking questions. If you’d like to know more (I’m usually an open book), feel free to reach out through my website or come find me in the Find Your FAB group on Facebook. It’s where I love to share my random quirks & insights about how amazing I think every woman already is and help them discover what their version of FABulous looks & feels like.