Chamber member Lauren Palmer, publisher of The Art of Living Beautifully, shares her business insights.

What inspired you to start your business?

I felt inspired to start TAOLB when I realized I had unintentionally “abandoned” significant parts of my life in order to focus on being a mother to my two boys, James and Caleb. I missed having a sense of self and I decided I could do both: be Lauren and their mom! I began writing about lifestyle topics such as fashion, cooking and entertaining--the parts of life I missed—in hopes of inspiring myself and others to recognize that creating a beautiful life isn’t as difficult as we think it is. Over the years it morphed into a culture-centric online magazine and blog that primarily focuses on McKinney small businesses, events and non-profit organizations.

What services or products do you offer?

I publish informative and inspiring articles three times a week on theartoflivingbeautifully.net and a quarterly digital magazine. It’s FREE to subscribe! I also host events to support and shed light on local businesses and non-profit organizations.

What is unique about your business?

I believe TAOLB is unique because I’m not afraid to share my love of Jesus in my work. I view my business as His and am thankful He led me to publish the only digital magazine that focuses primarily on McKinney, Texas. Plus I was born and raised here in McKinney and I think that is pretty rare these days.

How does your business give back to the community?

The entire goal of TAOLB is to inspire my readers to live beautiful lives by supporting what we have locally! I spotlight local artists, small businesses, events, products and services and encourage my readers to make supporting local commerce a priority. If we have it here buy it here!

What obstacles did you have to overcome to get where are today?

I think new entrepreneurs like myself often don’t understand precisely how difficult it is to make something from nothing. It takes every ounce of creativity, time, money, work, energy and support that you can muster, plus some. I think getting past discouragement and focusing on my mission has really helped me continue to move forward to get where I am. I once asked the Chairman of the Board of my previous company how to keep from getting discouraged, and he answered, “Lauren, get discouraged and then get out! Don’t waste time there,” and I have never forgotten it.

What methods have you used to grow your business?

I think the best practice to help TAOLB grow thus far has been consistency. My readers know that Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30 AM they will receive news from me in their Inbox. This type of consistency builds loyalty and keeps TAOLB fresh in their minds.

What is the secret to keeping happy customers?

I have two “customers,” my readers and my advertisers. Because I don’t work face-to-face with my readers, I take care to ensure that the words they receive from me are true, efficient and evoke joy within them. They are very curious. They trust me; hence we have cultivated a special form of communication. As long as I keep them in mind when I’m writing, TAOLB will continue to meet their needs. When working with advertisers, I am very respectful of their advertising budgets and restrictions. They are involved every step of the way and I do my absolute best to meet every single request. My advertisers know I’m on their side.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

I feel very passionate about women supporting women, especially in business, and have been blessed to meet many dynamite businesswomen throughout my career. In order to be successful as an entrepreneur, I think one of the most important lessons to learn is Be Bold, and I’ve watched my mentors and leaders put this practice into action with grace and fearlessness. Sharla Bush, Jessica Herrin and Amanda Embry have all been instrumental in inspiring me to make The Art of Living Beautifully great, and not to give up.

What is your most/least favorite thing about your business?

Business, in general, is all-consuming these days and technology makes us so available. It has become a habit on Saturday night to check/send emails and we are conditioned to expect a reply sooner rather than later. It feels good to go tech-free now and then and be truly present with my husband and our boys.

Where do you see your business going in the future?

I would like to see The Art of Living Beautifully find other small towns across America to bless, but honestly, who knows. As long as I have enough to produce content today, I will be content with that.

To what do you attribute your success?

Jesus Christ.

How are you involved in the chamber and what is the effect on your business?

I attend LINKS breakfast almost every Wednesday and am a member of WAM. LINKS has been incredibly valuable to my business as I have learned about so many other McKinney businesses, many of which I’ve spotlighted on The Art of Living Beautifully. WAM is a great place to meet other women in business, and as I stated above, we all need to support each other!

What’s the best advice you would give a new chamber member to get the most out of their membership?

Take part! Don’t just pay the money and wait for something to happen. Take advantage of the meetings, the networking events and the opportunities to connect with other businesses that the Chamber provides.