Here’s what I’m digging on the interwebs this week!
I’m loving all the pretty things over at I Heart My Dream Job. This new site by Andi from madebyandi.com is all about inspiring you to go “off road” and attain the life you dream about. Right now, she’s offering some great free resources via video and a fun inspirational printable to frame in your office. Can’t wait to hang mine!
I just enrolled for another free artistic business webinar starting on March 30 over at Create Make Money Be Happy. The site promises a lot of goodness will come out of attending this free telesummit, so it’s worth checking out!
This recommendation is not so much business-related as just good living-related! I’m currently reading The Power of Now and really enjoying it. It almost feels a bit like meditating as I read it. This book is all about how your mind and constant over-thinking can be your enemy, how to control negative thoughts, and how to really embrace living daily in the “now”.
This week I listened to this free recording from Launch Grow Joy all about Instagram and how to use it to build your business. Learning more about how to use and effectively utilize Instagram is something I’m struggling with right now, and it really helped to hear the basics of how to use the app and tons of tips on how to leverage it for business purposes.
Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us! This holiday has never been my particular cup of tea, and I know I’m notoriously hard to buy gifts for because I buy myself what I want pretty frequently. Here are some items that I’ve purchased recently (plus a few on my wish list) that I think are perfect gifts for the creative entrepreneur in your life…or, just buy one for yourself 🙂 I won’t tell!
lazy owl’s valentine’s day gift guide for creative entrepreneurs
#1. Hot pink maxi dress from eShakti // I recently discovered eShakti, an online clothing boutique that specializes dresses and skirts and customizes everything to your height, size, and style preference. I have an addiction to buying dresses…even though I am now a stay-at-home mom with few excuses to wear said dresses. However, I really love how most everything on eShakti is less than $100, plus they are always having deals (like right now you can get 20% off site-wide and $30 off for signing up as a first time customer). Now that I’m done gushing about eShakti, I’ll admit that I recently ordered this maxi dress. It’ll be cool and comfy for spring and easy to dress up for client meetings or lunch dates. Plus, it’s pink and ruffly!
#2. The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte // I love this book! It’s such a great kick in the pants, and as a creative person and a business owner, I tend to get stuck in ruts quite frequently…either feeling uncreative or just unmotivated. I need a kick start quite frequently, and this book does just the thing. LaPorte’s writing will inspire any creative entrepreneur to tackle their to-do list, get out of their comfort zone, find practical ways to actually achieve their dreams…the list goes on and on. I also really enjoy her writing style and the format of the printed book. It makes it more fun to read. This one is a must for the creative entrepreneur’s bookshelf, but you’ll probably be referring to it so often it’ll stay out on the table!
#3. The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau // This book was a game-changer for me. I read it before quitting my grueling job in public accounting. I highly recommend it to those just starting out on their journey as a creative business owner, especially anyone who is hesitant about going “off road” on the road of life. Reading it will help silence all those doubtful voices both inside and outside of your head and calm your anxieties about taking risks. The combo of this book and the Fire Starter Sessions is like having your own traveling cheer squad for your business. After reading both, you’ll feel totally inspired and ready to tackle anything!
#4. Spotify subscription // Most of us Etsy-preneurs and creatives spend a lot of time on the computer, whether you are blogging, listing things in your shop, or promoting your brand on social media. I love to listen to music while I’m online, and I also find it inspiring to have music while I’m creating offline. I love Spotify because I can have it downloaded on multiple platforms, like my laptop and my phone, so my music can travel with me in the car or while I jog. I have lots of different playlists for every occasion, and I don’t have to go through the process of downloading songs like back in my iTunes days. I personally use the premium subscription, which is pretty economical at $10 a month, has no ads, and allows me to listen to my streaming playlists in my car.
#5. Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner // Ahhhh. I know I’m not the only one who gets all excited by all things organization and colorful. I recently ordered myself a 2014 Simplified Planner. They’re on sale right now since they won’t be delivered til March, so I’m excited to see what all the rage is about. I have really tried to hold off on using a physical planner, thinking I could keep track of everything electronically, but after months and months of drooling over Emily’s lovely products I finally caved when I saw this deal. Some sort of planner and organization system is uber-important for creative business owners, let alone working mamas!
#6. Mini lucite tray by Pencil Shavings Studio // Let me start off by saying that I love everything Pencil Shavings Studio sells (again, organization + pretty colors, notice the trend?). Their lucite trays come in three sizes and can be personalized, and they will plain just look pretty on your desk! I’m sure you could use them for a multitude of things as a business owner…I plan to use mine as an inbox tray for paperwork. Maybe a prettier tray will inspire me to tackle the pile before it gets too large?
#7. Return address stamp by Empress Stationery // I’ve been drooling over Empress Stationery’s handwriting-inspired stamps for a while. As a new mom, I really would’ve loved a nice address stamp for sending out all those birth announcements and holiday cards. This stamp would make a lovely gift for an artist, whether you chose to use their family name or business brand. Another little something to add a special touch to the daily work of being a small business owner.
I hope you get some lovely treasures this Valentine’s Day! Don’t be afraid to be like me and gift yourself 🙂
Full disclosure! Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, but all opinions and recommendations are my own.
Business plan, schmisness plan. Who needs a business plan? You do!
Regardless of if your Etsy shop (or other online creative biz) is a creative outlet, a hobby, a part-time business on the side, or your full-fledged day job, you need a business plan. A business plan can help you hone in on what your shop represents, who your target market is, and what you want to get out of your business. Working on a simple business plan helps you both think seriously about your business and take it seriously. Your business has a higher chance of success if you have a business plan.
Spending some time thinking about your business and goals should be fun, not a challenge. Make your business work for you! Don’t be afraid; you can create a business plan that’s as informal or formal as you want.
I have degrees in both accounting and mass communication; that’s a lot of left brain and a lot of right brain. When creating my handmade jewelry shop on Etsy, Lazy Owl Boutique, I developed a business plan that worked best for me. It’s dynamic and simple. I need something that will make me think about the important stuff but not work too hard. Questions that I enjoy answering and thinking about. Based on the “5 W’s of Journalism”, my business plan has 6 W’s and 2 H’s. I’m sharing it here today in hopes that answering these questions will encourage you to get serious when starting your business.
These questions will help you get to know your products, your brand, and your purpose. You might be surprised at where the answers will lead you!
click the pic to download the printable pdf
The above questions serve as a guide to get your business wheels turning. Over the next series of articles, we’ll discuss each of the W’s and H’s individually. This series of articles will include free downloadable and printable worksheets that you can fill out and keep in a binder as your very own business plan!