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.

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?

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.

IT'S BUSINESS TIME, YO

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!

BEFORE THE DESIGN BEGINS

before-the-design

Designing a new logo or website for your business is hands down one of the most exciting processes you'll ever go through as an online entrepreneur. Ya know, other than your first sale, your next sale - okay all the sales - and always having the freedom to take a nap after lunch. Cuz you CAN. Although I'm 3 years in and I never have! I'm such a mean boss...

While the design process is super exciting, there are two very key elements that must be worked out before the designing ever begins; before the pixels hit the page - ha! If the following puzzle pieces are in place for your business, the design process will be pure. magic.

Your WHAT: get clear on your vision for your business.

What is your dream for your business? Knowing what you do and how you want to turn your ideas into offerings is huge. I didn't find that clarity for a good 2 years into my business. I took the very organic, it'll-find-me route...

Your WHY: clearly define your brand.

What's your mission statement? What are your values? How are you doing it differently than the other guys? After you pinpoint your vision and what your business does, it's time to ask how to define your vision so that your ideal clients will take notice.

Knowing the answers to these seemingly simple questions is, well, everything right? Because the info above? Your what and your why? That's what makes your business, your business. It's the heart, the soul, the core. Only then can you tackle the HOW - the design and the website - in a way that truly resonates with you and that sweet, sweet biz of yours.

Boom shakalaka(the sound awesome design makes).

xoxo,
Erin

Images via one uh-mazing client's inspiration board.

If you’ve ever felt the call to start an online business but aren’t sure of the what or the why or the how, It’s Business Time is a program with myself, Tiffany Han, and Michelle Ward to help you figure out all of the pieces and turn your Big Dreams into a Legit Biz (complete with a website designed by yours truly) in 6 months.

On March 13th, we are hosting a free webinar called What We Want You to Know About Starting a Business. Sign up here to get the webinar deets AND priority application information for the program (only 10 spots available!).

it's business time
it's business time