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.

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!

be-happy-banner

Original image found here.

TO COLLAB OR NOT TO COLLAB

do-what-you-want For my blog happiness project, February was all about reaching out to brands I love. I definitely started that one early, I'm such a happiness project cheater. I was just so excited!

I’ve collaborated with some really amazing brands over the last few months. Big hugs and numerous thank yous to these companies and shops. I lurve them all.

I've learned a lot from the collaboration process... With the right brand, collaborating is so fun, the inspiration comes easily, and I want to shout from the rooftop (aka twitter) that I'm working with them. Good collabs are magical and reaffirm my love for this blogging game.

But what about when brands aren't quite the right fit? Well that's not as fun. If you're feeling unsure about working with a brand - well that's kind of your answer right there, doubt means don't! If you're still unsure, consider these questions: Is this a brand I'd normally share with my readers? Would I be excited to collaborate with them for free? Would I be excited to collaborate for 3x what they're offering me? Those questions usually help me reach an answer.

I've learned that nothing is worth compromising that trust you have with your readers... and absolutely nothing is worth compromising your integrity and your vision for your blog. Sometimes the brand just isn't the right fit. There are plenty of other brands to work with and plenty of other blogs that will be a better fit for them.

I've definitely rushed into a few collabs due to sheer excitement and quickly realized: waaaait a minute, this doesn't feel right. But I already said yes... this is when I force myself to be a grown up and write a very nice I'm-sorry-but-actually-no email (following all these tips). I'm sure these collaborations would be fine, but they wouldn't move my blog in the direction I want to go in and that's important to me.

Finding the right brand fit is a lot like dating, huh? You have certain expectations and you don't want to disappoint anyone or hurt anyone's feelings. But in my experience, I know right away whether or not it's a good fit. The way I feel when I first start reading that email pitch is a surefire sign of whether or not it's the right match. Usually if you're feeling uncomfortable, there's a reason you're feeling uncomfortable. Pay attention to those feelings. They know.

How do you feel about brand collaborations? Have you ever said yes when you wish you would've said no way, José?

 

Be a part of the happiness movement below and join the convo on facebook!

link up. be happy.

Image by artsocial.

JUST ASK

just-ask Wow, guys. It's the last Be Happy linkup of 2012! This has been by far my favorite series on artsocial. I can't wait to continue it in 2013 with the added awesomeness of the facebook group... next week, everyone - it's on.

December has been all about redesign for my blog happiness project. The new artsocial logo is almost there, I cannot waaait for the big reveal + the new site design launch next month...! This process has made me realize a.) how important it is to find a designer you mesh with (when you do, the branding process is crazy awesome) and b.) it's okay to ask for help.

That second part is a big one for me - someone who loves controlling every single detail. I'm slowly, over the course of my 26 years, realizing that it's ok and better to ask for help. I grew up thinking Oh I'll just do it myself, I'll teach myself, I'll figure it out. Result of a divorced family and being the youngest of 5 independent sisters? Probs.

Yes, I can teach myself how to do everything... but that's so much harder. It doesn't have to be hard. I don't have to learn html or channel my inner graphic designer to create business cards. I can ask other people to do that for me! People who are passionate about that stuff and 100x more talented than I am. That option is so. much. easier. and less stressful in the long run.

New be happy commandment for 2013? I don't have to do everything myself. Ask for help.

link up. be happy.

 

Image one | image two