business · Creativity · Self development

Time out

Have you taken time this week to learn, grow, practice self care and just be in the moment ?

I am pondering something called ‘ethical ambition’…
The word ‘ambitious’ can be a dirty word for some, making them suspicious or embarrassed to be such! Like they are not worthy to seek and claim success… Yet what if we are ethically ambitious and so our path to our own personal success incorporates our morals and respects others ethics, something to think about and reflect on: how one associates success, ambition and growth can be key to limiting our potential or unleashing it….

Have a blissful weekend ūüôā

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business · Creativity · Money · Self development

if it’s not working what will you try?

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Since last October I have been working away on a business that speaks to my ethics, morals and interests. Having no business or marketing experience whatsoever but a toolbox of enthusiasm, hyperactivity, a shelf full of self development and business books, an internet connection and an empty purse I decided that now was as good a time as any.

Now I knew there would be ups and downs, a slow start like in a lot of start ups and days I questioned what the actual fuck I was doing…

There were also days where I would punch the air, celebrate with the dog and crack open a bottle of wine.

My little business is not anywhere near to where it needs to go, and there is much for me to do to push it in the direction I need it to go. I change things ALOT, as I read or hear something I adjust, sometimes for the better and sometimes at a big messy loss. Sometimes it is fun and sometimes it is lonely. I pray for a team, but then again, it is not the right time nor the right stage.

My stock photography is homemade as in taken at¬†home and made by me, pictures of my kids being bribed behind the scenes with chocolate and the outtakes are either¬†hysterical or just plain weird. My stock take is small and my budget smaller but instead of talking down about my little ‘project’ I boost it at every opportunity. Not all endeavours are get rich quick schemes, and sometimes we have to admit that we need another income or sideline to stay afloat to stay authentic to a start up that has ethical roots.

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That is ok, just be wary of how you spend your energy on each area and the time allocated, I found it is easy to neglect your main when a new sideline pumps new enthusiasm into you. At times like this review the roots and vision of your main business and schedule separate time to work at each role.

What I am trying to say is this… if you have an idea, just start.

Build your own website learning as you go, take your own shots and be your own personal assistant. Hey, my first ‘customer’ was my mum! It counts, I did not prompt her, so it counts!!

I hope in the next year it¬†can grow into something I initially envisioned but if it doesn’t go the way I planned and I have to change course so be it. Not that I am saying do not take actionable goals, but be realistic and review frequently. Have a positive driven outlook but if something is not working try something new.

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Lastly, just like a blog, when starting don’t overthink it, just begin. Get it out there and do what you can with what you have and the rest may follow.

Have an idea on your mind for business? What have you done this week to bring it to fruition? Do you really need all you are telling yourself you do to just begin?

 

Coming up:

Things that worked and didn’t work in my first 9 months of being a start up.

Why I approached and joined a direct sales company despite my apprehensions.

A list of must reads if you are in the ideas stage of life and business changes.

 

 

business · Creativity · Self development

Time blocking

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I want to make confession, I hope you don’t mind if I share with you as I sit typing in the dark next to a sleeping toddler…

I put things off, a lot! Like really adulty things, things I know are for the good of everyone but I get carried away with ideas, creations and pulled into Facebook discussions and what everyone wants for tea tomorrow and before you know it a week has passed.

At this point your to do list gets overpowered by a new to do list and this in turn leads to either overwhelm or just complete denial.

I have the solution but don’t always use it.

There’s no secret to it, so simple and effective, in fact so much so I’m on fire and can’t sleep. I’ve updated¬†my little shop¬†website (I am so not techy!) AND linked a new blog to it¬†and written 3 posts on my shop blog… doesn’t sound like much but you wouldn’t believe how much I have put this off!

We are bombarded with tasks and distractions and if we don’t use the right mindset tools we will continue to swim against the tide.

You probably know it already and honestly sometimes as much as we roll our eyes, tried and tested methods just work! Well they are tried and tested!! Use them! Don’t reinvent the wheel!

So 50 minutes time blocking right now! It was Brendon Burchard that whipped me into this habit! Laser focus for 50 minutes dedicated to each task, social media off, door shut, no interruptions!

Timer on and just do it! I am sure you will get into the zone and steam through what you have been putting off. See it as a mission! Go go go!

business · Creativity · Self development

3 easy steps for starting a product range for the procrastinating creative

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There is¬†always a way if you really want to do something, yet we often hear the words ‘if only’. ‘I would make those if only I could sew’, or ‘if only I had a photography degree I would be good at that’, and ‘if only someone would show me the easy way to¬†build a website, mine would be fantastic!’…

If only… just another excuse to¬†drown out what calls to your creative side and we all have one. Even a simple doodle on a envelope¬†nurtures your creative soul, or the guy that can fold a napkin into a cat, we all have a creative hungry bear we must feed with art supplies, textiles, a pen and paper from time to time, but what if you want to turn your creativity into a physical product but keep coming up with excuses as to why you just can’t?

You have the scribbles on paper, the visuals in your head but it’s all just too vague and getting from idea to launch is laughable as you just don’t know where to go to put your product out there. Not to mention the time it would take to learn all these skills to showcase a quality product. You have hit a brick wall and so now all your exciting ideas sit in a notebook gathering dust.

But wait! It does not have to be this way! Just because you have no team or collaborators does not mean you run away with your tail between your legs. There are actionable options you must now take!

1. OUTSOURCE:

be it a graphic design PDF you need for a tshirt you have hand sketched or a prototype for a new invention that came to you in the shower, simply outsource the parts you cannot or will not do! Find the work/products you like, follow the trail from source to final product and reach out and get a quote. One simple step to making your own product come to life. It is an easy step too, you just find someone else to do it! No man is an island right?

The beauty of outsourcing is you don’t have to enter into a contract, choose a freelancer and agree on a set fee. Word of mouth, free ads, the world is¬†teeming with other creators/artists and skilled people!¬†¬†If the end result isn’t quite what you had in mind you can then move on freely!

2. TELL YOUR STORY

You are your product and your product is you. Merge now to avoid boredom or disassociation down the line. Regardless of your motives – be they money or recognition – whatever, it doesn’t matter. The important aspect is to be authentic and whatever you choose to produce make sure it adheres to your persona, your ethos and your passions. Work is not work if it is play. Don’t get me wrong, bringing a product into the world isn’t going to be a walk in the park for the most of us, but if you breath passion into what you are offering the world, the process shall be far less painful!

Describing the roots of your idea or the process allows your customer to really resonate with you and get to know you too. This leads to an ongoing professional relationship which could prove invaluable to future growth. Plus this can work both ways, by really getting to know your customer base you can begin to understand demand and preferences therefore allowing you to serve your target audience better and better.

 

3. YOUR ‘WHY’

Now this phrase gets thrown around far too freely these days and can leave a yucky taste in the mouth due to sleazy internet sales and over enthusiastic repetitive¬†life coaches BUT in all truth, you need to know your why!!! Why? Well, if you can’t analyse and weigh up why you want to product launch then you may face a bumpy road and give up at the first flat tyre. Asking yourself the pros and cons gives you a realistic idea of how far you will go to¬†make it¬†successful. No one likes a pessimist, I’m not suggesting you put yourself off before you have even begun, you just need to have a good hard talk with yourself regarding the purpose of what you are about to unveil. Long and short term profits, your edge that sets you apart from the rest of your niche and risk assessment are just a few of the factors that you might want to consider before jumping all in. On saying that, not all of us look before we leap and so if you feel in your heart you must put your idea into physical form I urge you to go do one actionable step towards making it a reality right now before the universe passes it on to someone who will send that email, make that enquiry, get a quote… are you still here?… GO…. GO NOW!

 

business · Creativity · Self development · Uncategorized

what are you about?

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I was approached today by an MLM… I have a lot respect for network marketing, sales and the like. I am not suspicious but look at these systems with an open mind and believe if you sincerely believe in the product go for it!

I politely but assertively declined however was then probed about my ‘business’. I don’t really class myself as someone that has one, although I do have various roles that earn me a profit I guess I am just not the sort to push and promote to an audience I feel will not be my target buyer… am I incorrect in this way of thinking? Very possibly! I do have a business, I just don’t feel the need to label what I do as such, I want it to evolve organically to a need rather than force it into a pigeon hole.

This conversation was a good lesson, as I am keeping no secrets just because I do not pipe up what I do in every conversation! I always thought a good conversationalist was someone who asks about others and listens but in this instance it was almost as though I was coming across as cagey!

I guess there is a fine balance between exposure and oversaturation when marketing yourself so I said my main roles are writer, blogger, homeschooler, online store owner and vintage/collectables seller! These roles don’t define me though, they are just a small portion of me.

It is funny to me the phrase ‘what do you do?’

To me it always refers to a job role, as if that is our label and it’s connotations define us and that is the depth of us. A one word descriptive ending the conversation dead.

What about¬†‘what are you about?’ instead? Maybe this question would get some suspicious glances !

But me, I want to know, what are you about?

Imagine the conversations comparing what actually makes us fellow humans tick. We gain a deeper understanding of each other rather than ‘oh that’s John, the guy who sells Herbalife’¬†instead becomes¬†‘I know John, he was telling me about how he turned his life around after his divorce, he read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, joined an MLM, started researching health and nutrition and now helps fathers get into the best emotional shape of their lives because he knows what it was like to be overweight, unmotivated and lonely! I really respect his get up and go!’

We are a suspicious species us human beings and yet we have no problems asking questions that could be taken as personal to skim the surface so we don’t have to venture into unknown territory. Just look at how conversations delve deeper under the influence of alcohol! We are not always comfortable revealing our aspirations, goals, plans. I think I came across as funny today when I explained I couldn’t promote a product as had my own goals to achieve and my efforts were directed to that path. It was the truth!

So I challenge you, the next stranger you meet, ask them what they are about, it might surprise you…

business · Motherhood · Self development

Get shit done (a quick rule of thumb)

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If you struggle to complete all your tasks in a day it is really important to be ruthless. At the end of the day getting SOME done rather than none, or worse all to a low standard, is far better than spending half your day procrastinating.

The art of SUBTRACTION allows us to minimise and simplify our goals and I truly believe keeping things simple is key to clarity and rapid productivity.

Now the ruthless part, once you have a list of ‘to do’s’ you need to scrap off half. You heard right, half.¬† Don’t think too much into this, I trust you are not silly and will instinctually know what to draw a line through. Remember we are not erasing them forever, we are just subtracting for TODAY. All we have is today so let’s continue to the next step…

PRIORITISE, gift yourself half the new list to take on, 25 % of your original list you will tackle head on in order of priority, ticking off as you go. No ifs or buts as it is only a quarter of the workload ūüėČ

Which leaves us with 25% that you need to realistically DELEGATE. Delegation is your new best friend. Now the important thing to know about delegation is it is not passing the buck or shifting the blame if your shit doesn’t get done. No, you are accountable¬†still¬†and you are the overseer of set tasks. What you must not do though is¬†loom over the shoulder of the delegated individual. The key points are to pick wisely who or how the task needs to be tackled, communicate expectations that MUST be within the realms of that persons abilities for example, and have a timely expectation verbalised and mutually agreed on.¬†Meaning I’m not going to let my 4 year old walk the 35kg Labrador mix! Or ask someone to make a phone call on my behalf but give no set limit to when it needs to be done by.

Once you delegate step back and only check in when it is necessary – when the task should be complete or you need to assist or clarify should a complication arise.

Remember if we are blessed there is always tomorrow and the more you practice this method of getting shit done the more productive you will become. It is far better to complete important goals with gusto than to skim over the surface of a mountain of things to do and chase your tail all day.

I really hope this helps if like me sometimes you¬† feel so overwhelmed with everything you must juggle to get what’s needed done.

Angie

 

 

business · Crafts · Creativity · Thrift

5 ways to sell clothing online

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If you are a mum you will understand children grow like weeds and letting clothing build up can provide a mountain of clutter taking up precious space in your home not to mention cluttering up your mind!  We try not to have ridiculous amounts of clothing, you can download my checklist soon for achieving a minimal kids wardrobe.

Each season I sort through clothes that no longer fit or get worn very little. For the record I genuinely cannot remember when I purchased brand new clothes from the high street (here’s why). All our clothes are either hand me downs, second hand bought or made by myself! We do however accept gifts from friends and relatives and in no way judge anyone’s shopping choices!

If you are interested in sustainable fashion though  here is a good place to start to get you thinking about alternative options to fast fashion and the ethics of the current industry.

 

So lets get started, all you need is a camera or smart phone (make sure your flash is off), some  good natural lighting and preferably a light clear background (I like a white painted wall) or some raw wood floorboards I always find compliment nicely, such as these boots I thrifted and sold on:

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As you can probably guess I am¬† in no way a knowledgeable photographer and we are never aiming for perfection here as time is our most valuable commodity so don’t get caught up in the details! Just take your shots, give a quick edit if necessary and upload.¬†¬†Speaking of edits, do not alter the filter – you need your pics to stay true to your item so as not to miss sell on colour or material for example.

If  you do not use Photoshop or any other professional editing tools (like myself, its on my to do list to learn though!) try PicMonkey. I find this a cheap, beginner friendly app with some really valuable filter and text tools I use for fun and also for blogging, Facebook, and Etsy posts. Here is a simple example of text layered over your photo:

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So! Here are five platforms for selling your unwanted clothing!

1. ebay Рa busy, BUSY online marketplace that sells just about anything you can imagine. Be mindful of your descriptions as this will get you seen if a buyer is searching a particular item. Size and brand is a common search detail and you have the option to auction your items or sell at a fixed price.

2. Etsy – handmade or vintage goods are featured here and at a small listing price can be displayed for a few months so not as fast paced as our last contender, which may be a good or a bad thing depending on how desperate you are to clear out! Very user friendly/learn as you go format.

3. Shopify – I loved Shopify, the professional look of an ecommerce store with all the trimmings you could possibly hope for. However, I personally couldn’t justify the running costs due to being a small scale start up. I am still a huge fan and if you are not techy like me you can still enjoy a polished and impressive looking store with bells and whistles at varying prices dependent on your needs and budget.

4. your local Facebook selling site Рusually free, usually local, there are loads of them, just use your FB search box. If you do not enjoy packing and post office trips this is a good option as buyers generally come to collect goods. Do note Р be sure of authenticity before dishing out your address to any Tom, Dick or Harry! Safety first!

5. a car boot/jumble or yard sale Рfun, gets you out for the day, your kids can get involved but if you have no access to a vehicle or do not enjoy the risk of low foot traffic on a certain day or the weather keeping your customers indoors then you may spend more money than you make on cups of coffee and your entrance fee.

I always have a time span for sales and what does not sell after a designated slot I donate to charity, if you do not drive there is plenty of charity pick ups that will happily come fetch your goods or ask around in your community, clothes swaps are always fun and you get to meet people too!

I would love to hear any tips I can use in future! How do you keep organised and what selling¬†platform do you prefer? What don’t you like about sites you have used so far?

I hope this encourages you to declutter, my mind is clear when my environment is ūüôā

Angie x