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!

SECRETS OF A BIZ OWNER 06

secret-no-six.png

Ch-ch-ch-changes. Oh yeah. If you're an entrepreneur, things will always be changing. You'll change your mind, your tagline, your main offer, all your offers, your social media handles, your entire business.

And it doesn't mean you're a flake. It means you're evolving. It means you're paying attention to those whispers that say this isn't working anymore so it's time to try that.

You HAVE TO change as your business grows, as you grow. If you hang onto ideas or plans that just. aren't. working. simply because that's what you set out to do, you're gonna be miserable. FACT.

I remember feeling like a total flake when I decided "oh wait, actually I don't want to be a pro blogger like I declared 6 months ago, I want to be a graphic designer."

Oh my gosh, I could feel the eye rolls from certain folks and their inner dialogue "I wonder what she'll be up to next week..."

But guess what? Who cares. People probably didn't even think that - and if they did? WHO CARES. I knew what I needed to do.

Secret bottom line: you KNOW what you need to do. Don't be afraid to make changes. It's the only way you're gonna get to where you really wanna be.

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


Need a new logo ASAP and don't want to spend your summer vacation fund? The artsocial shop has gotcha covered.

SOCIAL MEDIA + COMPARISON TRAPS

RYHSY

You guys. I had the honor of being on Tiffany Han's podcast, Raise Your Hand Say Yes, last week! I'm starting to feel like a little celebrity over here. *brushes shoulder off*

This time we talked about social media and the dreaded comparison trap that can suck us in when we least expect it. Tiffany also somehow got me to share all of my deepest darkest social media secrets - ah! - and we talked about tips for handling social media for your biz without burning out or, ya know, wanting to throw your computer / phone / any social media device into a lake.

Take a listen here, episode 39!

Thank you, Tiffany!! You're the greatest. Let's do this EVERY week, k?

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!

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.

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.