Why Creative Entrepreneurs Need a Community

 

Starting a creative business endeavor is hard work. A lot of times, entrepreneurship can feel like an individual journey, as you struggle to understand your market and grow your business as best you can. However, in order to really succeed in your business, I gotta tell you, you need people! You need people who are like you, who get you, and who can help you. Let me tell you a few reasons why…

  1. You need people to ENCOURAGE you. Starting your own creative business is hard! You need people who see the good in your work and will be enthusiastic about it. You need people who can help you take an idea and work it into something actionable. A community can do that for you.
  2. You need people who will PUSH you. Praise is always nice. But you also need people who are able to constructively tell you where you need to grow. You need people who can take you out of your comfort zone and help you see your potential. A community can do that for you.
  3. You need people who have ANSWERS. One of the beauties of a community is that inevitably there will be people who are farther along in their businesses than you are – and that’s a great thing! That means that they have been there and they understand what you’re going through now. They can answer questions you have about almost anything. And that will invariably foster faster growth of your business. A community can do that for you.
  4. You need people so that you can GIVE BACK. See all those things that people are doing for you? Now you can do that for others! You can take your success and share your knowledge with others. You can encourage and lift others. Giving is just as important as receiving. And that’s something you can do for your community.

When I first started learning calligraphy a year ago I was lucky enough to have been introduced early on to a few people and communities who have helped me learn so much. They give me so much encouragement and support that I know I couldn’t do it without them.

So don’t be shy – go find your people! Find those people who will help you feel like a million bucks and give you the support you need to accomplish your goals!

If you need a little direction, a few of my favorite communities are The Rising Tide Society, The Modern Calligraphy Summit, and the Sean Wes Community.

 

 

 

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A few people from my new local calligraphy community. Love them already! Photo by Design House of Moira

 

 

 

Tips for Working at Home with Kids, Part II – The Kids are Awake!

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Last week I gave a few suggestions for how I utilize naps and bedtimes to get my most important work done. But we all know that naptime is not enough time to run a creative business. While we love the flexibility working from home can bring, we can’t accomplish everything while the kiddos are asleep.

So here are a few ways I have tried to synchronize my kids’ needs with my work demands.

The most important thing for me is to  stick to a schedule! I have always been a type A personality. I love making lists, itineraries, and schedules. But for some reason, that all kind of went out of the window when I had kids. Children have a way of turning all schedules on their heads, so I sort of gave up on schedules for awhile there. However, I have found that a well-thought out schedule can be sooo helpful for both the children and the parents in a work at home situation. Here are a few scheduling tips that have worked for me:

  1. During breakfast, while the kids are safely occupied chowing down their oatmeal, I will quickly post a previously prepped and planned update to social media. I find I get better responses on social media if I post in the morning, so this is the perfect time. Because I have already taken the photos and done the legwork during nap time, this will only take a few minutes (unless I get caught in the rabbit hole that is Instagram!).
  2. I set aside thirty minutes each morning for “craft time”. I set my kids up with an array of coloring books, crayons, watercolors, and stickers. I let them go to town making anything they want, and I will be creating right along with them. Because this is a short period of time, I use it to practice flourishing or mix sample watercolors for a project I’m working on. Nothing too big, but something that needs to get done. It’s a great way to spend time with my kids and encourage creativity, while still getting something done. 😉
  3. Return emails during lunch! Again, my kids are generally ravenous wolves at mealtimes so I have a good chunk of time to use the computer without fear of some little hand accidentally erasing my entire document (not that that’s happened before…).

These things probably seem small, but it is amazing what a somewhat consistent schedule can do for me, my kids, and my work.

Now, if I could only hire a maid for everything else that needs to get done… 😉

I would love to know how you manage everything that needs to get done while working from home! Leave a comment below and let’s help each other!

 

4 Tips for Working at Home with Kids – How to Maximize Nap Time!

 

If you’re a mom and a creative, you understand that mixing work and family can be a delicate balance. It’s hard to feel like you are getting anything done or doing a good job in either aspect! Flexibility and self-forgiveness are key.

While I by no means have everything figured out, I am always interested in seeing how other people do it. So in the spirit of community, here is a “typical day in the life of me.”

My day is basically divided into two categories: 1) the kids are asleep, 2) the kids are awake.  Those two factors drive my schedule.

The hours when the kids are sleeping are precious! This is where the real productivity happens so I know I need to work smart! Here are a few ways I try to maximize this time:

  1. Style and photograph product for use in social media. While styling social media photos I have stuff all over the place! So there definitely can’t be little hands stealing my ribbon or crawling into the picture. I find it’s best to style and take as many photos as possible during nap time while the light is good. That way I can do a little editing and posting while the kids are awake but playing by themselves.
  2. Make high priority phone calls. More casual calls can be made while the kids are playing, but for those really important calls, I find it best to have no distractions.
  3. Write! Writing doesn’t come naturally to me so takes a lot of concentration. If I try to write while the kids are awake I get so lost in my thoughts that I don’t notice them emptying my entire box of Kleenex or getting their head stuck in the chair. I like to write early in the morning before the kids wake up or during nap time. This hour or so gives me enough time to get all the thoughts swirling in my head down on the page.
  4. Work! That seems a little obvious, right? I will be the first to admit that when my kids are awake, not much work is getting done. If I try to work on something that takes longer than 10 minutes, there is a 97% chance that my productivity will be thwarted by their suddenly urgent need of fruit snacks. So I use the evenings after the kids go to bed, when I have the longest chunk of time, to work in the more permanent mediums (ink, paint, watercolor, etc).

While my days are far from the world’s ideals, for me, they are perfection. I love being able to be an active part of my children’s lives while still pursuing the things I’m passionate about.

I would love to hear what you do to stay organized and productive while working from home! Leave your thoughts below!