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Start Before Your Ready // Increase Your Positive Energy

So our last post from Cassie talked about starting before you are ready in different aspects of your business.

Did it excite you and spur you into action?

Or scare you a bit and make you feel overwhelmed?

Or both?

If you answered yes to the any of those then let’s take moment to hit the reset button.

Today I want to share a simple way to increase your positive energy when moving forward into new territory.

First, let’s get you into the right frame of mind. If your mind is swirling with thoughts of all of things you have to do let’s get you back to the present moment with a simple breathing exercise.

Taking time to focus on taking deep breaths has the power to dramatically shift your life in a positive way. Breathing exercises can help you get rid of negative energy, give you energy, relax you, shift your perspective, and help you feel better about yourself. Counting the breath helps quiet your mind. This is a huge bonus as a creative entrepreneur!

This is called the 4-2-4-2 Breath

The exercise I am going to show you can easily be done anywhere. It can be particulary helpful to do this before you start working for the day, when you are done working for the day, and also at the end of your day.

Now say the affirmation below out loud.

“Even though I do not feel ready to start ________________________. I trust that the universe will support me and the next right steps will appear.”

Next, write down any ideas that pop into your head about the next steps to take or what area you want to focus on. Continue to notice ideas and signs that relate to moving forward in this direction. Tune into your intuition. You’ll know if something is not right for you or your business.

Some of you might want to make this a daily process so we made the image above a free printable that you can download and hang up as reminder. Feel free to edit the affirmation or even use one of the ones from our Using Positive Affirmations in your Business mini-kit!!!

Share below how this breath made you feel in the comments. Also, let us know what you are ready to start before you are ready!

Breaking Bad: A Digital Addiction

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A recent study revealed that the average American checks their smart phone over 100 times a day.  While that number may seem shocking, if the pool was limited to entrepreneurs, I am sure that number would double or triple in size. Since launching my own business, my cell phone has become my lifeline. It is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at before going to bed. I check to see how many likes my last Instagram post received. A little ding and I swiftly pick up my phone to see who favorited my Etsy shop. I refresh my email what feels like every ten minutes to see if an order came in.

While staying on top of my business, analyzing what’s working and what’s not, is important, my attachment to my phone had started to become a problem.  Many conversations with my boyfriend or friends happened while also scrolling through my Twitter feed or updating Faceboo. My phone is prominently displayed on my jewelry bench, so I can see every notification and alert that comes in, sometimes stopping mid-creation to check it. Because I am so anxious to see how the business is doing, I have stopped immersing myself in the creative process and it has affected the authenticity of my relationships. Without these two key components, my business is a failure no matter how many times one of my pins has been re-pinned or how many comments a Facebook post receives.

In an attempt to get a handle on my addiction, last week I experimented with a week long digital detox. For practical reasons, because my business really is reliant on email, social media and websites, I began the detox at 7 pm every evening. I promised that I would not look at my phone, except if a call came in, and would not open the computer. While I was somewhat intimidated by this prospect, I also felt that for just a week this would be a no brainer. Day one, I didn’t even make it a half hour before checking my phone. Day two, I had to put it on silent so I wouldn’t be tempted by notifications. By day three, I had to physically put the phone away to resist the temptation.  Although each evening was filled with that physical itch to grab my phone, just to see what was going on, I slowly began to appreciate the freedom of putting the phone away. It was a pleasure to awake the following morning to discover what I missed the evening before. Moments of inspiration happened more often, where I would grab my little notebook to jot down a new marketing idea or a new design. I began to feel liberated from the pressure of having to see how my business was doing at all times. I felt more engaged in whatever I was doing, even if it was catching up on the latest shows with my boyfriend.

Now that I am back on the wagon, my phone has resumed its position on the coffee table next to my laptop. But the temptation to check it is reduced to maybe one or two times a night. I may now see an email roll in around 9 or 10 pm, but I don’t feel obligated to respond and I usually don’t until the following morning. I feel re-invigorated creatively. I feel less attached to the happenings to the digital world and more connected to what’s happening in real life, in that moment. While it may seem like a daunting challenge, I invite all small business owners to explore what happens when they put the phone and computer away, even if for just a moment.

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Maya Ahluwalia – Crusoe Jewelry

Maya Ahluwalia is the designer behind Crusoe Jewelry, a fashion jewelry line inspired by nautical motifs, but interpreted into stylish designs. Crusoe Jewelry is created for the fashion-forward consumer with an appreciation for quality with an artisanal approach. Each design is hand-crafted in her Brooklyn-based studio.

In addition to creating Crusoe Jewelry, Maya is a marketing consultant with expertise in jewelry, fashion and luxury. Clients include Michael Aram Jewelry, Shawn Ames Fine Jewelry, Wells House Bed & Breakfast, and the LOU Lookbook App.

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

How to take care of yourself & your business to help you grow

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Who hasn’t been told: you need to take some time off, you work too hard, you really need to put your feet up and relax, do something for yourself….? Yes, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? But how do you do that? First, we need to find the time in our busy life. Usually our “free” time is used to grow our business, such as working on our blog, keeping up to date with our emails, sending newsletters, selling at craft fairs…. So really how can we take a break from what we love doing?

The real first step is to consider “taking a break” as part of your work. Being self-employed doesn’t mean not deserving to stop for a while. You don’t need a long break, you just need a useful break. You need to “break” your routine to go back to your work invigorated. Ok, you got the point, so now what? What is a useful break for craftsellers and small business owners?

Here are 3 things I recommend could help you :
  • Take a walk in the countryside or in the forest to reconnect with nature. Breathing pure air will help you to “let it go.” Make sure to pay attention to all details around you, use all your senses: try to see what can’t be seen at first sight, listen to every little noise, touch and pick up wild flowers or branches to bring home so you can remember this “wild” we miss when we work online. Go out in the rain even! That would make your home feel cosier when you return. I recommend you to visit this very floral and inspired blog to encourage following her path and find your own: http://frokenskicklig.blogspot.fr
  • Enroll for a course or sign in for a conference: creative people need to be “fed.” We love discovering new subjects, exploring new paths, getting new skills, meeting new people. That doesn’t happen like that unless you choose to. Finally take that e-class or that online workshop you have been dreaming about (even ask them if they accept multiple payments so you know how to finance it more easily). Or alternatively, take part in a retreat, I would love to go abroad by myself and sit on the seaside, just looking…. Check out this hut, who would not like taking a break there, just for a day (or 2 !): http://www.littlebeachhutofdreams.com
  • Be grateful: choose a notebook for 2015, in which you’ll write down 3 sentences every night before going to bed. The exercise is easy: choose 3 positive things which happened to you during the day, even the most little simple thing, it doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be true. From a nice cup of tea, or the smile of your baby when you go to his/her bedroom to wake him/her up in the morning (before he/she burst in tears!), to a nice thank you email from a client, write all that made you happy. You will then be able to go to bed “lighter” knowing that your day was good. Leave that diary on your bedside table with a dedicated pen to be sure to do it every night! Mine is shown above in the picture I took of it to inspire you.

With those 3 simple and affordable ideas, you should be able to take care of yourself for real and start now! So what would you chose first ?

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Sophie Chapman — Ma Petite Valisette

Sophie Chapman lives in Normandy and has graduated 10 years ago from business school. As a mother of 3 franco-english kids (8y, 6y & 2 months old) and with a husband that travels a lot, Sophie decided to work from home by launching her online business. She worked at a famous Parisian ad agency before she became a professional trainer.

She now offers online courses for female entrepreneurs and craft sellers. You can find different downloads in her shop and you can also subscribe for online trainings and online entrepreneurship workshops. Most recently she also co-published a business book for french craft sellers. It was the first book in the french market that covered this topic.

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