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The Antithesis of Your Perfect Client – Part 1

ideal client worksheet

 

I am greatly enjoying writing the current series on Self Care for the Creative Entrepreneur.  The resulting conversations that I have had with many readers around the world online and in person have enlightened and challenged me in my own journey in so many ways!  I am finding that this is one of those topics where the more time I spend, the more ideas and discussion there are to be explored.  I’ve decided to make it an ongoing series punctuated with other topics of creative entrepreneurship.  Currently on my desktop I have a document with 94 potential blog posts related to being a creative entrepreneur and creative business.   Every time I have a conversation with a client or think about a particular business success or struggle I feel like I add another topic to my list.  Now to just find the time to write about them all!

The Topic At Hand

Clients.  I’ve heard the topic discussed in hushed reverent tones, within paragraphs discussing hopeful dreams, desperate adventures, and sometimes even as a swear word! (more…)

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Self Care: The Principle of Creating Space – Part 2

Self care principles for creative entrepreneurs

Missed the first post in the series on Self Care?  Check it out here:
What is Self Care?  Stop Surviving, Start Thriving – Part 1

I am jumping into this week feeling more rested than usual after a relaxing weekend camping with my husband and daughter.  For me there is nothing like getting out in nature to refresh my perspective on life!  While I thoroughly enjoyed our short time away, I returned with a new appreciation for air conditioning, comfy beds, and NOT sharing a small space sleeping with a wiggly toddler!

Before we dive into today’s topic, let’s review the definition of self care that was introduced in last week’s post:

  1. Recognizing that you have a need.
  2. Discovering what that need is.
  3. Taking responsibility for making sure that need is met.

The Principle of Creating Space is the place where you give yourself space to recognize a need and then discover what that need is and how to respond to it.  It sets the stage for the journey into what self care is to you in the present moment.  It’s the foundation that you will return to in the cycle of self care.  What constitutes self care in your life is an ever changing application depending on your current needs.  Before we delve more into ways of creating space, let’s explore the topic of needs.

definition of c (more…)

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What is Self Care?: Stop Surviving, Start Thriving – Part 1

What is self care?  Stop surviving, start thriving

After blogging about my last few months of resting and recuperating following a procedure on my spine, I have been amazed by the feedback I have received.  It seems that this topic of self care is one that strikes a deep chord in many of us and goes much deeper than just remembering to take enough down time to recharge our physical batteries.  It’s about caring for our body, soul, and spirit.  At its core, self care is the commitment to value ourselves.

What does that look like as a creative entrepreneur?  If I look at the sphere of successful businesses around me, often it seems like being a driven workaholic is celebrated; sacrificing yourself, your family, and community are a given.  The mindset that if you are not working like a mad person from early to late you are not a ‘real’ entrepreneur.

For years I bought in to this mindset hook, line, and sinker.  Quality time with my husband looked like us working late into the night side by side on our laptops.  Dates revolved around business discussions.  Clients got used to emailing me at 9 pm at night, expecting a response… the same day.  I remember several days into vacation (I used that term loosely back then!)  I was sitting in my car sending files to the printer for a client before leaving on a cruise.  I believed my clients wouldn’t survive if I wasn’t constantly at their beck and call.  Consequently because I lived that way I shouldn’t have been surprised that they believed the same thing!  I survived on caffeine and felt constantly exhausted and wondered why I was overwhelmed as my business grew.

When I caught myself prepping my resume with the intent of getting a job working for someone else the week after logging my highest income generating month in business I knew that something was seriously wrong.  Shouldn’t I be excited that my hard work was paying off?  I was burning out…correction…I was burnt out.

What is Self Care?

Self care is:

  1. Recognizing that you have a need.
  2. Discovering what that need is.
  3. Taking responsibility for making sure that need is met. 

(more…)

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Self Care is not Selfish – Warning: Personal Post Ahead!


selfcare

Warning: Personal post ahead!  This post might better be titled “Lessons I’ve learned the hard way”, because boy, have I learned this one by doing it all wrong!  I have been absent from the blog for the last 2 months and it feels so good to be back!

Where I’ve been…

Eight years ago I was in a horrible car accident with an SUV, 2 cars, and 2 semis and it is a miracle that I am still alive.  Since then I have lived with almost constant severe back and neck pain.  I’ve seen 10 chiropractors, had physical therapy, taken muscle relaxers, cranio-sacral massage, deep tissue massage, myofascial release, kinesiology, acupuncture, strength and flexibility training, functional medicine, cleanses, more tests than I can count, and the list goes on with a heavy price tag attached.  While most of them offered a little relief initially or at least more information to add to my arsenal, none solved the issue… until now.  I had a procedure done on my spine (learn more here) that uses x-rays and then a manual adjustment to the atlas at the base of the skull to restore perfect alignment.  The results have been nothing short of miraculous.  For the first time in over 8 years I am almost pain free with the likelihood of being completely pain free by the end of the 8-9 month recovery period.  I’ve spent much of the last 2 months on my back letting the muscles recover around my spine.  My amazing mom came to take care of our toddler.  I had all intentions of using the time to do lots of blogging, but a few days into it I realized that my body was going to need a lot more rest to recover than I anticipated and when I was able to be up and around my attention and energy needed to be focused on my family and limited work commitments. selfcare2 (more…)

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5 Easy Steps to the Perfect Thank You Note (and the challenge that changed my life) – Part 2

thankyou2

In the first post of a 2 part series on thank you notes, I shared a personal story on how much a handwritten note impacted me as well as who to send thank you notes to in a professional setting, you can find it here: How a Handwritten Thank You Note Can Change Your Business

Today I want to talk about the 5 easy steps to writing the perfect thank you note and leave you with an inspiring challenge for the week!

The anatomy of a ‘Thank You’

  1. Be professional

Being professional is not just about the way you conduct business or the words that you choose but also the way you present your business in person and on paper.  It doesn’t cost much to have professionally designed and printed thank you notes made to match your business colors and style, I have mine printed in sets of a few dozen at a time to be more cost effective.  Contact me if you need help with this!

  (more…)

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How a Handwritten Thank You Note Can Change Your Business (and the one that almost brought me to tears) – Part 1

Using Handwritten Thank You Notes in Your Business

I make a practice of sending thank you notes to clients often; thank you notes for projects completed, referrals made, gifts received, and appreciation for their business.  I am continuously amazed by the reactions a handwritten thank you note elicits.  Recently I had a new client send me a thank you note in response to mine.  She was so surprised to receive one that she had to respond in kind.  My intention was to express genuine appreciation.  The benefit I received was a happy customer.  She not only received the best service I could possibly give, but the personal touch of knowing I appreciated her and her business.

When I was young I remember my parents requiring that I write thank you notes for everything.  We wrote notes for birthday and Christmas gifts even when it was a gift from a well-meaning relative that we really didn’t like.

The gift, not the relative that is… 😉

Looking back, I realize their intention in those handwritten notes was to teach us to approach life with gratitude and to verbalize our appreciation to those around us.  What a powerful and important tool to also apply to our businesses!

(more…)

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What I’m Reading…

Reading for Creative Entrepreneurs and Leaders

 

One of my goals as a creative entrepreneur is to never stop learning; ever expanding my horizons and challenging my current perspective.  I love that learning comes in so many technological forms in the 21st century, many of which I can enjoy while multi-tasking!  In the last week I’ve watched online training seminars while working out, listened to podcasts while cleaning the house, read articles on my Kindle after arriving early to a meeting, and caught up on favorite blogs on my phone.

While I appreciate the current technology that keeps information at my fingertips, my favorite way to learn is by reading.  What I enjoyed the most this week was curling up on a chilly evening in front of the fireplace with a glass of my favorite red wine and a real book in my hand.

One of my ongoing goals is to read 4 books every month, one from each category below.  Here’s how I usually choose them:

Practical Business Application: (more…)

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3 Steps For Setting (and Completing) Goals in your Creative Business – Part 3

Setting and Completing Creative Business Goals - Part 3

We’ve spent the last week exploring goal setting in your business, today is our final day but maybe the most exciting because it’s go time!  If you missed Part 1-Create, or Part 2-Organize, check them out before today’s discussion!  Download the final worksheet here, and let’s get started!

EXECUTE!

For many creatives the idea of a schedule and a plan can seem counter creative and limiting, but I really want to encourage you to try out executing a plan if you are the type of person that feels that way.  The word ‘plan’ is a 4-letter word, but it is not THE 4-letter word.  The hardest part is done, you figured out what you need to do when, how, and in what order, now it’s time to actually do it!  Being dedicated, diligent, and disciplined is hard work but as creative entrepreneurs we didn’t sign up for easy or average.  We want the best in every area of our lives and the reason that we are who we are and do what we do is because we believe in our heart of hearts that we are here to bring something to this world in a way that no one else can. (more…)

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3 Steps For Setting (and Completing) Goals in your Creative Business – Part 2

3stepstosettinggoalspart2

Yesterday we talked about the first step in setting and completing goals as a creative entrepreneur – scheduling time, brainstorming, and making a list – if you haven’t read it yet you can find the post here!  The next step?  Organize!  If you’d like to work through the post with today’s worksheet you can find it here.

ORGANIZE

1. Prioritize objectives

 

Start organizing and prioritizing your list by coming back to your overarching business goals and which items on your list will aid you in reaching those.  Think of your objectives as the concrete steps you are taking to reach your goals.  What order should they be in?  Do they build on each other?   If you aren’t sure where to start, step back from your list and look for categories you can put the objectives in and then prioritize within those categories.  An example category as you’re prioritizing goals in marketing your business could be ‘Social Media’ and within that would be all of your items that pertain to social media such as creating a Twitter account, how often you’re going to post on Pinterest, or your Instagram hashtags. (more…)

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3 Steps For Setting (and Completing) Goals in Your Creative Business – Part 1

Setting and completing business goals for creatives

One of the topics that comes up over and over again as I talk with other business owners is that they have big dreams but don’t necessarily know how to achieve them, or are overwhelmed with what action to take first.  Many are amazing at their craft but have no idea how to run the business side of marketing, developing a brand, accounting, or organization.  Have you ever caught yourself thinking any of the statements below?

  • I want to feel like I own my work instead of my work owning me.
  • I want to quit my current job and be a full-time _________.
  • How do I start my own business?
  • Maybe this will be the year my business explodes in growth and I can finally buy _______!
  • I would love to have the type of business that ____ (insert the name of your favorite business owner) has!
  • Where do I start in getting clients?
  • How do I keep the clients I have?
  • Why do I feel like I get stuck in so much office busywork and never quite have time to get everything done and on to what I really want to do?

(more…)

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The creative entrepreneur's guide to marketing, design, branding, and business development