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INSPIRATION + SUPPORT

Movers & Makers Summit Photos

athens, gaGoodies bags!

athens, gaTons of goodies from the presenters and friends!

athens, gaLisa Jacobs talking about “If I Knew I Could Not Fail.”

athens, gaCozy and creative attendees!

athens, gaBonnie Forkner presenting “Pursuing Your Creative Dream.”

athens, gaWriting down dreams and business-building tips!

athens, gaMe sharing self-care techniques for creatives and dream-biz worksheets.

athens, gaThere is one of them!

athens, gaApril Bowles-Olin talking about “Creating Your Own Success.”

athens, gaMore creatives learning and relaxing!

athens, gaPaige French sharing photography tips.

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I had such an amazing time and am so grateful to all of the presenters and the attendees for making it such a wonderful weekend! I took a huge step and shared about self-care and also worked with everyone on some worksheets I have developed in the last year. Everything was well-received and I am so excited about it! You can expect to see some changes start to happen over here but I promise you will love all of them! XO!

The Most Important Practice for a Creative Business Owner

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Have you ever felt totally burned out in your creative business?

You are pulled in 15 different directions daily, hustling to make a sale, and spending time on NON-creative things (usually), all while taking care of your family and having some semblance of a normal life…It can be exhausting!

Running a business that’s both creatively and logistically draining is tough. 

However with a little self care, your creative business can be SO satisfying and fulfilling!

Carving out time for yourself isn’t an indulgence, it’s a necessity. You can’t properly run a business without properly caring for yourself.

That’s why The Most Important Practice for a Creative Business Owner is EXQUISITE SELF-CARE!

So how do you actually start taking care of yourself without the guilt? Here are a few ways…

Mindfulness

Just the word “meditation” scares off quite a few people! How is anyone who works full time suppose to ‘clear their mind’? We’re here to tell you that meditation doesn’t have to be all that complex. You don’t have to be a die-hard yogi to partake in what we like to call ‘mindfulness.’

Challenge time: Take five to ten minutes out of your day, turn off all your electronic devices, lock your door, sit down, and just breathe. Feels strange, doesn’t it? We’re not always used to taking a few moments out of our day to focus on just ourselves. You don’t have to clear your mind, you just have to remove all external distraction, sit down, and ask yourself “How am I doing?” You may be surprised by your answer.

Movement

Stuck in the same workspace everyday? We can relate. While we’re all about consistency, sitting behind the same desk everyday is just plain boring. And, news flash, sitting down all day makes your body bored too. How do you break the cycle?

First, walk it out! If you’re feeling antsy while working, get up and pace or walk around the block. Keep your blood circulating and give yourself a change in perspective. Secondly, giving yourself a change of scenery throughout the day. If you’re just answering emails, why not head to a coffee shop or your kitchen table? Finally, stay active! Just because you failed your unrealistic new year’s resolution to run a 5k every morning doesn’t mean you can’t get some much-needed exercise. Try a quick 30-minute pilates session a couple times a week, or even just going for a light jog around your neighborhood in the morning. Whatever tickles your fancy, commit an exercise routine that’s doable, and your body will thank you.

Celebration

Do you have a tendency to be a Debbie Downer? You wouldn’t call yourself a pessimist… but you admit to thinking the worst when tough times are ahead. Whenever you’re stressed out, take time to review and celebrate your most recent accomplishments.

Next time you are down, try this:: take a moment to list 15 things that are going well, either in your business or in your life. The smaller the celebration the better. It’s a daily reminder that we can often forget how blessed we are!

There. Things aren’t so bad after all, hm?

Reward

Be honest with yourself: If you’re the type of person who can penny-pinch and skip out on your morning latte, give yourself a pat on the back. But if you’re not, use your smarts to figure out a way to indulge in life’s small rewards. What does this mean for you?

Maybe it’s allowing yourself to laugh without worrying about wrinkles. Maybe it’s giving yourself time to spend time with friends. Or maybe it’s just allotting an hour out of your day to watch some Netflix. Or maybe it’s treating yourself to a small indulgence like a mani-pedi once in awhile!

Whatever your small rewards in life are, don’t deprive yourself of them!

Your ability to keep your spirits up directly affects the success of your business. When you’re not at the top of your game, it will show in your work.

Now it’s your turn to celebrate::

  1. Have you ever tried any of these methods before?
  2. Which one of these self-care necessities will you implement in your life?


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Tracy Matthews – Flourish & Thrive Academy

Tracy Matthews is an eco-luxury jewelry designer specializing in bespoke engagement rings, wedding bands and heirloom redesign. Her designs have been featured in Lucky, InStyle, Self and Real Simple, amongst others. Her passion for making the business of jewelry fun, led her to found Flourish & Thrive Academy  an online resource and community for jewelry designers. Her mission is to help designers get their work on more of their DREAM clients and raving fans.

Instagram: @flourish_thrive and @tracymatthewsny

That small thing that made a big difference

unnamed-2Have you ever had something like that happen to you? A single question asked or a simple change of plans that made a big difference in your life or career? I have had it happen many times and usually without any plan or expected outcome. But I can look back and think of that moment and appreciate (or chagrin!) the difference it made. And actually, there was a very specific request/question that I once made that made a really big difference in the success of my handmade business. This was a request that might help give your handmade business a boost too.
It was late summer 2011 and my kids were getting ready to go back to school. My 2 older children were in school all day but my son was still going to preschool. I drove him 20 minutes to preschool, he was there for about 2.5 hours and I drove back to pick him up. This was 3 days a week. Not only did I hate that drive (although the chit chat with my four year old was precious), it gave me about 1 hour at home if I went back and forth. I usually just went to the store or ran errands instead. I had done this drive for years with my daughters and it was just the way it was in our family. You know- like you always make the coffee, load the dishwasher, and pack the lunches and your partner always takes out the garbage, empties the dishwasher and walks the dog?  That was our routine. UNTIL… I simply asked my husband to drive my son to preschool. He thought for a minute and then said SURE. No biggie, friends. He adjusted his work schedule a little and it was a done deal. He actually loved the time they spent together!
There was some more to the asking though. I told him I wanted the extra time to work on my business – I shared my plan of blogging more and devoting time to building my customer reach. I showed him the new patterns I wanted to develop and the craft shows I wanted to do that year. I explained how I needed more time. I had squeezed my handmade business into nap times and evenings (a horrible time for me personally to be creative) for years and it was exasperating. I had always thought of us as an equal needs relationship but I realized that I never even bothered to ask for his help! This small ask gave me an extra 7.5 hours of work per week. That is a ton when you go from about 7 hours a week. Having involved him in my plans, made me feel more accountable too and I really did work during the hours. My business grew at a steady pace during those years and it all started with a simple request for help.
If the drive to preschool had not worked, I’m sure he would have done something else to help once I explained my plans to grow my business. We could have found a sitter or found him a ride to preschool with a friend. Here is the thing- your loved ones want to help you but you need to ask. Some of you are already good at this, but many of us are not. We are crafty DIYers and used to, well, DIYing. If you get some resistance, try to explain that this will not only be monetarily beneficial but also satisfy for your need to create and contribute more. It might be that your partner can come home early a day a week and that will be your special time. He might be happy to work a few hours of overtime at his job so you can leave your job a few hours early a couple times a week. OR- your friend might take the kids one afternoon a week so you can work and you can pay her with handmade beauties.  The point is to reach out and ASK FOR HELP. The worst that can happen is that they will say no!
The other side of this is actually making sure you have a plan and work when you have this extra time. But that, my friends is a topic for another day…
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Virginia Lindsay — Gingercake Patterns and Design

Virginia Lindsay designs sewing patterns for Gingercake Patterns and Design. She loves the to sew practical, fun, and stylish things! Several of her patterns have been published by Simplcity and she has also written 2 books. Sewing to Sell and Fabric Stash Cuties:  Pretty Little Birds.

3 ways to find your community as a maker

ccBeing a full-time maker is a wonderful thing. You have the freedom to shape your business and decide how to spend your days, all while doing something that you love. However, with that freedom comes a small price. Working by yourself can be quite lonely. An entire day can pass by without having a single interaction with another person. There are no colleagues with whom you can chat during your breaks, to ask questions when you are unsure about something, or to vent when you are having a tough day.

Finding community as a maker when you are self-employed is just as important as knowing the ins and outs of your business. These people can provide support, serve as a sounding board, or just be people who “get” what it means to be in your world. (Which, let’s be honest, may look like to some like you’re just having fun all day!) Whether you live in a bustling city or a small town, community can be found both locally and globally, in-person or online. It’s just a matter of seeking out those connections. Here are just a few ways to find community as a maker.

Find a local group

Do a Google search to see if there are any local groups for makers. It can be a neighborhood artists’ association, a craft guild, or just a group of people who like to get together to talk about their work. If you can’t find anything, start your own! Meetup.com can be a great way to connect with other like-minded people, or you can even put an advertisement out on Craigslist.

Join or start a Facebook group

Regardless of your feelings about Facebook, groups are a fantastic way to connect with others. The group can be as small or large as you want it to be, and you can adjust the privacy levels to let in everyone with a Facebook account or keep it invisible and invite-only. What’s great about Facebook groups are they allow relatively easy communication: you can post a question or a comment and everyone can see all of the responses and you can search for past posts. If the group is private, you can talk about just about anything without the whole world seeing it! I am part of several Facebook communities, one of which is a regional group for crafters to share information about shows, ask questions related to our businesses, or even to vent when we’re feeling frustrated.

Read & comment on blogs

You may wonder how reading a blog can help you to build community. I have found through commenting and sharing blogs I have formed real friendships, some of which have turned into even in-person ones as well. I feel that many people who are in this world truly want to help each other and connect with other like-minded folks, and if you are genuine in your comments and sharing, then people often want to connect back with you.

The most important thing to know, regardless of how you build your community, is to give back. Communities form from people helping one another. Pass on the wisdom you have gained through your own experiences and invite in people who are also seeking community. It can be a lonely world working for yourself, but with an open mind and little bit of effort, you can easily connect with others.

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Bev Feldman – Linkouture

Bev Feldman is jeweler and blogger in the Boston area busy juggling her small creative business with caring for her young daughter. You can find her work at Linkouture and can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. She loves connecting with other creatives, so be sure to say hi!

Your February To Do List

IMG_0005What are you working on this month? What do you need to do to get it done by the end of February? We are discussing self-care this month on the blog and part of that is taking the steps you need to hit your goals. I am co-hosting this retreat at the end of the month and have a lot to get done to be prepared for it properly. I printed out one of the new To Do lists (I created the heart ones to match The Etsy Business Planner) I have in my Etsy Shop and have written down everything I need to do for this retreat. It is a long but exciting list!

I want you to grab a to do list or pick up one of mine, choose one goal to dedicate the whole list to (maybe write it at the top) and start writing all of the to dos that need to get done to reach that goal. If you have an accountability partner maybe you can let them know that you are shooting to hit this goal by the end of the month. Any extra accountability or encouragement is helpful!

If you want, share your goal in the comments below and I will follow up with you at the end of the month! Now let’s go be productive!