2014: LEARN & HAVE FUN

keep-learning

Happy New Year, friends!!

I've never been a new year's resolutions gal. BUT I am always working on various goals and projects. As we move into the new year, the biggest goals on my agenda are to learn more and have more FUN. Like way more fun, all the time, in everything I do. Even whilst reading emails. How? Well I'll probs be listening to this for starters... but srsly, it's time to let go of stress and enjoy errthang a little more. This is the year.

And then there's LEARN. I want to learn as much as I can about this entrepreneurial journey I'm on.

There's so much to learn when running your own biz. Logistically - like what to say in your contracts, in your bio, on your sales page, on social media, oh and how do you want to get paid (old school checks, paypal, chocolate?). There's a lot to consider.

While 2013 took me soooo much farther than I ever thought possible and I've learned A TON, I'm now at a crossroads where more learning is necessary. I'm ready to take things by to the next level of creativity and professionalism, y'all.

Specifically, I think it's time to master illustrator and indesign. While I'm able to do an insane amount of work in photoshop alone - and I'm sure I'll always use photoshop, my first true love - I know it's time to learn the ins and outs of these legit design programs. LEGIT. That's officially one of my words this year.

I already started taking illustrator classes last month and I'm loooving it. I feel more legit by the second. Feels good to invest time and energy into getting better. Because we can ALWAYS be better... oh, and we can always have more fun, yes?

What are some of your goals for 2014?

Original photo by Simon PAPE via Unsplash.

JUST KEEP CREATING.

just keep creating My goal for December is to build up my graphic design portfolio. Collect my faves from the past few months and maybe create a few new amaaaazing graphics specifically for the 'folio.

Well here's the thing, creating with the portfolio in mind - the collection of your VERY BEST work ever - totally trips me up. I can't work that way. Thinking about the end result before a project even starts is, clearly, not the way to get the creative juju flowing.

I've been reading Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist (I know, I think I'm the last creative person on the planet to read this). SUCH a great read. As soon as I finished the last page, it hit me:

Everything you're feeling is okay... and valid... and others have felt this way, too.

Just keep going.

All the doubt (do I really have what it takes...), all the frustration (it seemed so much cooler in my head, now what?)... all the insecurity (does anyone else do it this way?) - it's all okay, it's all valid, and every creative person experiences these thoughts in some form or another.

The key is to keep creating. Everyday. Accept that those thoughts and feelings will be there - and, honestly, who cares if they are? We're in the arena, livin' our dream. And that's way more important than whether or not something is portfolio-worthy.

P.S. I do about 95% of my creative work in that beanie :)

Image by artsocial.

HAPPY, HAPPY

happy-thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving to youuu! I hope you're warm & cozy today with your fam, eating well and celebrating like whoa.

This year has brought so many wonderful things to be grateful for. Exciting business things. Fun travel things. Great friendship things. I feel like this year has gone by at 800 miles an hour, so it feels good to devote a whole day to giving thanks... and eating pie.

What are you grateful for today? Raise your hand if it's pie with extra whipped cream... awww yeeeah.

P.S. The Be Happy linkup will resume next week! So get that happiness post ready, girrrl.

P.S.S. Are you ready for my ultimate holiday gift guide?! More deets coming soon. Get excited.

Image: ginger pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust. I know. Classic.

 

WHO DO YOU LOVE?

ideal-client When I first started offering graphic design services, a good friend suggested before I get started, I should really think about who my ideal client would be. Visualize this person. Write down their traits. YES I thought, that's so smart. Then did I do it? Nope. Sure didn't.

I was so excited about the inquiries that were coming in that I put this important exercise on hold... to get to work! Cuz just diving in is so much easier when you're excited!

BUT. By not having a clear idea in my mind of who I'd like to work with, I was more impulsive, reactive, and less intentional when it came to accepting clients.

Now that I'm a couple months in, I realize how important it is to take this exercise seriously. To get crystal clear about who I want to work with. While I've REALLY lucked out and worked with some amazing people, there have been a few instances where I've had to say no. The project didn't feel right, the client didn't feel like my kind of client.

SO now I'm asking: who do I want to work with? I'll start there... and then I'll narrow, refine, and get specific. Right as I was contemplating this, I received an email from Amanda Genther's Power Play program talking about this EXACT TOPIC. Ok, universe, I hear ya. I'll start figuring all this out...

blogger

Ideal client numero uno: The Blogger

So you have a blog and you're totally kicking ASS. You love your site design, it's your brand + style all the way... but what about social media? Facebook cover photo + tabs? Twitter background + cover? Okay, they need a serious update. And those new series & programs you're offering soon? They could definitely use some graphics infused with your style.

Hmm and in a few months, an updated logo would be RAD...

Dudes. I've been there. I am there. I totally get the bloggers, yo. I can help.

solopreneur

02 Ideal client numero dos: The Solopreneur

Your business is boomin' like whoa... but it's just you and like that quote floating around on pinterest - you can do anything but you can't do everything. SO buttons + banners + headers for your programs, eye-catching & pinnable images for your blog posts, customized thank you cards to go with your products - yep. You need to hire out.

Contributing to the success of a fellow entrepreneur is THE BEST part of what I do. Double hooray for working together to achieve something amazing.

growing-business

03 Ideal client numero tres: The Growing Bidness

You're kicking major ass in the business world and you've hired a few employees - whaaaat, high five. Even with your crew, there are still SO many day-to-day graphic design projects, there's no way you can keep up. Daily facebook posts specifically marketing your brand, new visuals for promos, pinnable graphics to help drive traffic back to your site. OH yeah, time to get a graphic designer on board.

Hooray for some client clarity! And guys, this is just the beginning. I'm planning to get even MORE specific about clients. There will be questionnaires. Maybe even a mad lib or two... stay tuned, you know I'll share everything with ya.

It’s Thursday and that means a whole gang of rad bloggers are talking about happiness. Join the movement below and on twitter with #BeHappylinkup!

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Image found: one by artsocial | two | three | four

BE HAPPY LINKUP, YEAR TWO

be-happy-year-deux That's right, baby! I'm starting another happiness project and the Be Happy linkup will continue. Can I get an hells yeeeah?

After taking last month off to reflect on my happiness project, the blog, my sanity - I decided that my very favorite posts have ALL been on Thursdays. They've all been for the Be Happy linkup. Those posts made me think, they connected me with amazing people, they made me get shit done. Starting another happiness project became an obvious choice.

So I updated the Be Happy page and planned out the next 6 months with new goals and even bigger dreams. I hope you're ready for another adventure! I couldn't have come this far without you.

Here's what I have planned for my happiness project, year deux!

01 NOVEMBER Clients. Get super clear about who I want to work with. Who is my ideal graphic design client? The clearer I am, the better. For reals.

02 DECEMBER Portfolio. Build up an amazeballs portfolio and create a portfolio page on my blog.

03 JANUARY Learn more skillz. Because I learned graphic design through experience (and on photoshop), I want to take some classes to expand my knowledge of design programs like Illustrator. I love you photoshop, but I gots to keep learnin.

04 FEBRUARY Set some serious and mind-blowing financial goals. Hmm is this late to be focusing on financial goals? Anyhoo, I want to set some goals that will blow me away if – nay when! – I reach them. A plan will be devised and followed, yo.

05 MARCH Take Eat Drink Create to the next level of awesome. This month I’ll be co-hosting our 4th event!! Each EDC has been bigger and better than the last. I have some dream locations & dream sponsors, I think this is the month to call on those dreams!

06 APRIL Expand my services. I always love branching out and going bigger. I’d love to start offering full website design. Or open a shop full of awesome blog graphics + templates! That would be BOSS. This is the month I take things up a notch.

Let's do this! Ya with me?

It’s Thursday and that means a whole gang of rad bloggers are talking about happiness. Join the movement below and on twitter with #BeHappylinkup!

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Original image found here.

MAKING ROOM FOR THE NEW

be happy Each Thursday for the past year, I've written a post about happiness and hosted the Be Happy linkup. While it's been truly amazing and I've fallen in love with the whole Be Happy crew, lately I've been feeling the need to take a step back and make room for the new. Do you ever feel that way? Even if you have the best routine ever, it helps to shake things up a bit every now and then, right? After all, if we don't try new things, our senses can dull and we can lose our sparkle... and THE WORST thing you can do is lose your sparkle.

This community is so important to me, I've been reeeaally hesitant to take a break from the linkup. I know, I'm sure I'm being silly. Everyone will do just fine without this linkup each week. But it's become important to me and everyone who links up has become important to me. SO what to do?

Well... ask for help. I'm learning I don't have to carry it all on my own, in life or in bidness. While I'm traveling a bit this month, setting some new goals, and exploring new sparkly ideas, I've asked Louise of Laid Off Mom to host the linkup. Because she's the best ever, she said yes.

So head on over to Laid Off Mom, link up with Louise, and then pour yourself a drink for being so damn awesome. Cuz you are. At the end of the day, the Be Happy linkup really is about this community. Lots of love to all of you!

Image found here.

A YEAR OF HAPPINESS

a year of happiness // artsocial Wow it's been a whole year of the Be Happy linkup and my blog happiness project has officially come to an end. I collaborated, I grew my numbers, I hosted events (!), I worked with brands, I launched services (!!)... crazy how much can happen in a year, huh?

You may be wondering, am I happier? Happier in life? With my blog? With my career? I can wholeheartedly say that I AM. Not in an annoying Susie-Sunshine-every-second-is-rainbows kind of way, but in an I'm-genuinely-excited-and-fulfilled way. Last year at this time I knew I had a lot of growing to do and, more importantly, a lot of soul-searching to do where my career was concerned. This project has helped me immensely. It took a major commitment on my part, but it was SO worth it. Having goals and focusing on them one at a time for a year? Amazingly effective and satisfying.

If you're trying to figure out the next steps in your career, make some serious long-term goals. Take the time to make plans. I know it can feel frustrating and even silly to plan out an entire year in advance, but I'm tellin' ya, friends, really thinking about the future and where you want to be is KEY. The more clarity, the better.

Now the question is: do I start a new happiness project? With new goals and even BIGGER dreams? What do you think? Have you enjoyed hearing about my happiness project and reading the Be Happy linkup posts each week? I wanna know!

Also, I've been thinking - the best part of this linkup is community, right? Right. So guess what? I'm passing the Be Happy linkup baton to Louise of Laid Off Mom for the entire month of October! So starting next week, grab your happiness posts and linkup over on her uhmazing, gorgeous blog. Wahoo! High five to Louise and to everyone in the Be Happy crew! xoxo

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Image by artsocial.

VISIONBOARDING

visionboard The first time I made a vision board was in middle school. I sat down with my Teen magazine and cut out words and images I loved; things that represented who I wanted to become. I put everything into a collage and framed it (this was serious bidness).

Since then I've made a few attempts at visionboarding, nothing quite that hardcore... I do have a folder in my office that I fill with things I want... and if it's something I reeeally want, I'll tape it somewhere I'll see it all the time. Is that cray?! Well I don't care, it works...

Anyhoo, I've been thinking about making a vision board for a while now. While I'm surrounded by inspiration (via Pinterest) everyday, lately I don't take the time to print things out and truly focus on what I want to bring into my life... so I decided to make one and print it out. This is a peek at just a few of the things on my board... things that remind me where I want to go, who I want to be, and what I want to wear (hey, nothing is too big or too small for the vision board).

You should make one, too! Here's why:

+ They keep your goals literally right in front of you and act as constant reminders of the bigger picture. Next time you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed with to-dos and emails, spend a couple minutes looking at your vision board and boom. All of those to-dos and emails seem A LOT less important.

+ Vision boards encourage daydreaming on the reg. Who doesn't want more daydream breaks?

+ They're fun to make and arguably the best decorations ever.

Happy visionboarding, friends.

It’s Thursday and that means a whole gang of rad bloggers are talking about happiness! Join the movement below, on facebook, and on twitter with #BeHappylinkup!

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IT'S OKAY TO LET GO

reading by Kelly Nicolaisen I'm not one to shy away from hard work. I'm usually always willing to go above and beyond, and do what needs to be done to reach my goal.

But that mentality can also make me supremely cray and stressed out.

With blogging, planning Eat Drink Create events, and doing more and more graphic design work (yay!), my weeks are pretty full lately. Throw moving into the equation and holy craziness... I'll admit, there were definitely some tears this month.

Believe it or not I'm actually really grateful for this supremely stressful month. I realized something pretty major - BIG thank you to the Glitterbomb Your Biz crew! I realized that I need to give myself permission to let go...

Let go of my crazy high standards. Let go of posting x number of blog posts each week. Let go of tweeting and facebooking and instagramming everyday to keep up my "online presence." Let go of feeling like I have to attend that big blogger conference in January... you know the one.

Release it all. Cuz at the end of the day? It's okay. Better than okay. Everything is unbelievably amazing. Why would I add unnecessary stress to all this amazingness?

We're settled into the new casa. It's almost a new season. It's time to start fresh, yes? Okay. Starting fresh... NOW!

Shout out to artist Kelly Nicolaisen by the way. I'm obsessed with her photos! Seriously, I want them all.

It’s Thursday and that means a whole gang of rad bloggers are talking about happiness! Join the movement below, on facebook, and on twitter with #BeHappylinkup!

be-happy-banner

Reading by Kelly Nicolaisen.

WE BE MOVIN

hangers via designlovefest Moving day is almost upon us! I'll keep this short, as I've only packed 3 boxes and we move in 2 days...

August has been a wild ride, y'all. I'm so grateful for this community. All of you have kept me sane, offered me much-needed encouragement, and kept me focused on what really matters - the happiness! Oh and a home filled with lots of natural light. Damn straight.

You're all amazing. I can't wait to catch up on your comments and posts when I get settled in my new office! Woot woot! Margaritas for everyone.

I'm hoping September is calm and boring... yes, I welcome more boring.

P.S. how great are these spray-painted hangers from designlovefest? That Bri is so dang creative. Love that girl.

P.P.S. it’s Thursday and that means a whole gang of rad bloggers are talking about happiness! Join the movement below, on facebook, and on twitter with #BeHappylinkup!

be-happy-banner

Image via designlovefest.