SECRETS OF A BIZ OWNER 04

secrets of a biz owner

I learned this secret over time. At first I didn’t believe it – or maybe I just thought I could do everything myself, gosh darnit.

When I first started out, I often felt like it was just me back here behind the computer screen. I was a loner, a rebel! Out on my own with nothin’ but my ideas and a selfie stick – ewww kidding! I’ll never own a selfie stick… unless someone gets one for me, then I guess I’ll try it.

But the truth was, collaborations were happening all the time. It was never just me. And the best, most fulfilling, most exciting projects I’ve ever done have been collaborations. Remember Eat Drink Create? It’s Business Time? Ah! The best.

Sure, you can accomplish a whole hell of a lot on your own. But the real magic happens when you team up with the right people. Note: very important to find the right people to collab with. Those who share your vision, your work ethic, and dreams of starting a rap duo. That always helps ;)

Secret bottom line? Your best, most scary-exciting ideas will probably require other people. While sometimes, from the outside, it seems like creative biz owners are simply logging in and killin’ it all on their own. The truth is, there’s probably a whole team behind them. Pushing them, creating content, and sharing their zones of genius.

So don’t be afraid to reach out to that person about your collaboration idea. Or finally hire an assistant to help you send out all those orders. It can be scary to branch out and bring others on board. I mean, our businesses are important to us! We’ve worked so hard! But trust that urge to grow.

Don’t work in a vacuum. Go find your team. They’re probably looking for you, too!

xoxo,
erin

Want more secrety biz secrets? Catch up on this series here!


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SECRETS OF A BIZ OWNER 03

if it don't make dollars, it don't make sense

Money is a topic that comes up from time to time (ahem A LOT) when you’re freelancing and solopreneur-ing. How much is your time worth? How much are your skills worth? Should you trade exposure for a project instead of money? Is it smart to say yes to a project to get “experience” even though you’re making nada and spending hours and hours on it?

It’s tough! Don’t get me wrong. I’ve battled (and still battle) with those money Qs. But I think 98% of the time*, DJ Quik had it right: if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense. This is your business after all. Respect that and others will, too. Put on your business hat and ask for what you deserve. No more trades. No more discounts.

Because at the end of the day, if you can’t make ends meet, your business isn’t working. And that doesn’t mean you should close up shop. It simply means you need to reevaluate your money-makin’ plan. It’s not selfish or greedy, it’s smart. It’s business. It’s supporting your family. Having a money plan and creating a spreadsheet for income projections are important. Sure, it’s not the most exciting thing in the world, but don’t shy away from it. Get up close and comfortable with your finances. Love your money and it’ll love ya back.

* Of course, there can be exceptions to this rule. Sometimes it is worth trading your services or doing a project for exposure. For me it comes down to: am I excited about this? If you’re excited about a project, do it. I’ve done projects that didn’t pay a ton but I either had a blast or I really believed in the work. In those cases I’m glad I said yes. Like we talked about last week, listening to your intuition / gut / inner GPS is the only way to figure out if something is right for you.

Now go make that money, boss!

xoxo,
erin

SECRETS OF A BIZ OWNER 02

biz secret number two

Oh my gosh, guys, I had so much fun chatting with you about my first biz secret. I LOVE that I can be 100% honest and transparent about this kind of stuff. And the fact that it resonated with so many of you makes me the happiest little entrepreneur in the universe. I knew I loved you guys. Plus, phew! I’m not alone :)

The next secret I want to share is a big one. It’s something I practice on a daily basis, and something I feel I haven’t fully mastered yet, if I can be honest – and I CAN. Cuz you guys are the best.

Biz secret numero dos: Trust yourself.

Artsocial wouldn’t be a thing if I hadn’t listened to my gut, my intuition, my instincts. Whatever you wanna call it, we all have an internal guidance system that’s trying to communicate with us every moment of every day.

It’s been one of the hardest and biggest lessons for me. Really listening to my feelings about that offer, that idea, that collaboration, that next client who’s well, not a perfect fit but I know I could do it…

I find I always get an instinctual feeling as to whether or not something is right for me. Have I always listened to it? Nope. Especially in the beginning when I was wanting to say YES to anything and everything to get experience. While there is value in practicing and building up your skills, if you know in your heart of hearts that a project isn’t right for you – DON’T DO IT. I’ve learned that the hard way… more times than I’d like to admit!

Secret bottom line? When you’re making a decision about your business (or your life!), get quiet and pay attention to how you feel about it. Does this decision give you butterflies? That’s GOOD. Does it make you feel a little sick and your mind starts spinning with worries and doubts and questions? That’s BAD.

If you have a feeling it’s not right for you – for any reason – that’s your answer. You don’t have to explain it or justify it to anyone – even yourself. It just doesn’t feel right. That’s enough. Move on.

There will always be more work. There will always be more opportunities. Be selective and trust that you know what’s right for you. Cuz you do, Bosslady.

xoxo,
erin

BEHIND THE SCENES

yesthat

When a project first starts, the possibilities and ideas are endless. Ah! Guys, it’s so exciting.

Ultimately though, with every client and project, I’m always working towards that moment. When you see a design and you know immediately: yes. that. You can feel something click. We’ve got it. That’s a wrap.

This was one of several fonts I chose for a client recently. We ended up going with a different script, but I still have such a crush on this one!

What do you think? Are you loving the hand-written font trend as much as I am?

xoxo,
erin

SECRETS OF A BIZ OWNER

secrets of a business owner

Hello you! You guys know I love keepin’ things real. I love running artsocial. I love sharing. And who doesn’t love secrets (pretend I’m whispering it to you). Well this series is about all of those things.

The first secret I want to share with you about running your own business is…

*drum roll*

It’s not always a party. Sometimes it feels HARD.

I’m not being a Debbie Downer here, I promise. I actually think it’s a good sign, bear with me :)

I think there’s a misconception out there that running your own creative business – one that’s based on your passion and excitement – is all fun and ease and doing whatever you want cuz you can! And while it is those things – a lot of the time, if you’re lucky – sometimes it’s soo not. Sometimes it feels hard.

I love design and am fairly certain me and graphic design will be in love forever and always. BUT even though I love it to the moon, some days I really have to work at it. Having a passion for a particular area – writing, design, painting – doesn’t always mean the ideas flow easily to you all the time. Sometimes things ebb. Sometimes things flow. It’s natural.

I blame the whole “creative genius” idea. It’s easy to think that: oh, well Van Gogh was a genius, that’s why he was a famous artist. He was inherently brilliant and being an artist was easy for him because it was his true calling. Well guess what? It so wasn’t easy for him! He was self-taught and struggled with his desire to be an artist. It didn’t come easily to him at all. He worked his ass off. He even drank his paint water in the name of creativity. Clearly, NOT a good idea. But he sure was committed.

Secret bottom line? Sometimes running a creative business feels HARD. But that’s not a sign you’re on the wrong path and that’s never a sign or a reason you should give up.

My solution? I try to tap into why it’s feeling hard. Maybe I need to make a change, shift my attitude, let go of some clients, hire someone to help me. Once I pay attention to the feels, I usually know exactly why it’s feeling hard and what I can do about it.

Just remember – WORK isn’t a bad thing. If things are feeling hard, it means you’re in it! You’re doing it! You’re creating something important. The obstacles are a good sign. You just gotta learn to let ’em teach you.

xoxo,
erin

TRUST YOUR HEART + GUT

trust

As you guys know, I recently launched It’s Business Time with the uhmazing Tiffany Han and Michelle Ward.

It has me thinking and reminiscing A LOT about when I first started artsocial and how terrifying and exciting the whole experience was. Yesterday I started looking through an old journal and found an entry from September of 2011. I had started a day job I already knew I hated and artsocial was just an idea – we didn’t even have a website yet! I wanted to share it with you guys:

This is month 2 at [my day job] and we’re on the brink of launching ARTSOCIAL.* A lot is happening. So many wonderful things I never thought possible. I just moved in with Kevin and couldn’t be happier about it. My stress is getting in the way though. I know I know better. The stress isn’t what’s real, it shouldn’t be my focus.

Magnificent things are happening. I don’t want my work stress to overshadow our new home or the excitement of ARTSOCIAL. That stupid [day job] is not that important. Everything I’ve learned tells me it’s never worth it to worry. It’s a waste of time, but here I am. I know I am not that job. I’m grateful to be there but it is not who I am or what I’m supposed to be.

I must trust my heart and gut that tells me there are greater things – I don’t need to worry myself over that job. I will be fine – better than fine. I am in control of my career. I must remember what’s important to me. I am not my job. My real work is not a job.

I am letting good things into my life, incredible things, fun things, bursting-with-joy things. That’s what IT IS. Find your fun in each activity, that’s the only thing that matters in the end. Following my truth from here on.

Man, high five, 25 year-old me. Isn’t it wild to go back through old journals and see how everything turned out? I am SO grateful I found the courage to leave that job and trust that there were indeed greater things, just waiting to meet me on the other side.

xoxo,
erin

* I doodled little hearts around artsocial, ha!


 

its-business-time-550x300

P.S. If you are ready to go all in on your vision of having your own business, applications for It’s Business Time are open through Friday and there’s only 1 spot left! Let’s make this dream of yours a reality.

IT’S BUSINESS TIME, YO

its-business-time-550x550

You guys. Big news to share today: IT’S BUSINESS TIME!

What does that mean, you ask? Do you need business socks? Well lemme tell you:

Tiffany, Michelle, and I are SO thrilled to announce we’re now accepting applications for It’s Business Time, our 6-month coaching, branding, and design program dedicated to helping you claim your biz idea and create the platform to authentically offer it to the world.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a biz or you have a business but it’s just not quite working (yep I’ve totally been there, guys), It’s Business Time will give you the clarity, structure, and accountability to make it happen. No more messing around.

After spending 6 months with us, you’ll walk away with everything you’ll need – a mission statement, offerings, a custom logo, and a website – to bring your business to life and hit the ground running.

I am crazy excited to be a part of this and help others start an online business. I mean, I was there! I am there! All three of us walk the online biz walk. Three years ago I didn’t even think owning my own business and creating my own success was possible. But here I am. It’s humbling and exhilarating and I cannot wait to help others do the same. Ah!

The program starts March 30th. There are only 10 spots available. Our acceptances will be on a rolling basis, so get your application in sooner rather than later. There’s no obligation to apply. So why not, eh?

This is the year for BIG things. I can feel it. And I can’t wait.

xoxo,
erin

P.S. if you have any questions at all, leave a comment below or hit reply. Woot! Let’s do this thang!