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!


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.


event-planning-tips Workshops. Par-tays. Eat Drink Create events (woot woot!). They're all so much fun. I've received a few emails asking about event planning tips. What works? What doesn't work? While I've done a few Eat Drink Create events, I don't consider myself an expert. Not at all. BUT I wanted to share a few things that have helped me turn our EDC ideas into full blown celebrations... cuz if I can do it, so can YOU.

01 TEAM UP. It really helps having another person on board. I couldn't do any of these events without Lexy. Her skillz, expertise, and brilliant ideas are invaluable.

So gather your peeps. If there's an aspect of the event you're not 100% confident about, like decor or styling the tables, find someone who loves decor and styling. Delegating can save you time and save your sanity.


02 TIME, TIME, AND MORE TIME. Give yourself plenty of time to plan, fo sho. When working with sponsors and vendors, you have to give them enough time to plan and carry out your requests. Like making 75 mini cupcakes (I'm still dreaming about those Happy Cakes cupcakes from the holiday EDC!). Plus some folks might say no. And that's okay. Why? Because you've given yourself enough time to contact other awesome folks.

We usually give ourselves a solid 2 months. Make a list of everything that needs to get done and then each day do a few things on that list. It may seem (IT IS) overwhelming at first, but it all comes together, I promise.

03 GET A PHOTOGRAPHER. Very important. I always think I'll have plenty of time to take photos. Nope. Never do. With setting up and then, ya know, actually talking with our guests, there's really no time to take photos. I barely get a few instagrams in! So having a photographer there is crucial. If you really wanna take things up a notch?? Get yourself a videographer. You won't regret it.


04 DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK. I'm always so grateful for the positive response from the local community when planning EDC. I've found that local stores and restaurants want to help! They want to be involved! So don't be afraid to ask that local bakery if they'd be willing to donate cookies. Or your favorite shop if you could host your party at their awesome store. Chances are, they'll be interested.

This goes for online asks, too. Reach out to that amazing etsy shop or online store. It's always worth asking. I mean, for our first event donated pom pom flowers for everyone!! What the what, I'm still excited about that one. So ask, k?


05 THE DETAILS. Food, drinks, decor, goodie bags, music, activities. These are the little things that really make an event come alive. The details are my favorite part. They shape the whole experience. AND as a blogger, it's what you'll share and what you hope others will talk about and share, too... and take instagrams of :)

Needless to say the details are important. Think about them, plan them with care, think outside the box. Oh and HAVE FUN. Cuz that's the whole point, right?


So tell me... do you plan events? Do you want to? What are some of your event planning secrets? I'd love to hear from you!

Check out more photos + videos from all of our Eat Drink Create events!

Photos by Kate Donaldson Photography.

Live on your own terms

I think I need this awesome sauce screen print, Cubicles Aren't For Everyone, by Crawlspace Studios. This is usually how I feel by Tuesday...

Need advice on getting outta that cubicle and living by your own rules? This post from Design for Mankind is the perfect nudge in the right direction.

And one last motivational find from Pinterest.

Image found here.