LTB – With Force!

I’m really having to force myself on this one.  Every time I think about what to do to grow my business, I find myself becoming overwhelmed with a feeling of exhaustion, and it’s very hard to avoid feeling like all I want to do is lay down and take a nap.

I took some time this morning to examine why this is happening, and what I’ve come up with is that I need to just get down to it.  I have to stop looking at my new logo, website, etc. as a destination, and instead think of it as a journey.  I won’t get anywhere on my journey by laying down and wishing it was over already.

So, my progress hasn’t gone much further with my logo, but I did start putting together the images for my Etsy shop.  The plan is to begin selling custom-designed marketing components through Etsy, and eventually move on to having my own ecommerce website.

This could take some time, because I have a lot of little nitty gritty images to make, pricing structures to set up, descriptions to write, etc.  But, today I took a few more steps and feel like the journey is still being experienced!

Here are the links to my previous posts related to this journey, in case you’re new to the blog or haven’t visited us in a little while:

Let’s Talk Business – Because That’s All I Can Think To Talk About
LTB – Step One
LTB – Step Two
LTB – Comfort Zone

Until next time!

LTB – Step Two!

Mere!

I’ve always been a very fast girl.  OK, that was a cheap ploy at getting your attention, sorry.  All jokes aside, I will rephrase:  I’ve always tried to do things in a big hurry.

I got engaged and married at 20.  I would have married him sooner if he’d asked sooner.  I couldn’t wait a year to plan a wedding so we did it in 6 months.

I took a two-year bachelor’s degree program.

I started my career as a web designer by reading “Dummies” books because I didn’t want to have to wait for some professor to teach me.

Surprisingly, I’ve never had a speeding ticket.

My point in telling you this is that I’ve done OK by not over-thinking things.  Sure I’ve made PLENTY of mistakes in my hasty decisions, but overall I’ve been fine.

Lately I’ve been slowing it down a bit, however, and that’s cool.  It’s a very new sensation, and one that has been giving me a feeling that I’m somehow wiser than I used to be.  Time will tell, I suppose. 🙂

So where a few years back I would have made a declaration that I was going to work on my business, and within a week I’d have a new name, logo, website and 3 new clients. Now, I find myself a week later with a hint of an idea for what I want my new logo to look like.

I’m hoping to take an hour or so tomorrow to sketch that bad boy.  I’ll be posting it as soon as I can.  Telling you this helps make me accountable, and therefore makes it easier to get it done, so thanks for that!

I’m just curious, does anyone reading this have a small business that you run?  I’d love to hear what you do, drop me an email at mk@goodkoi.com, or leave a comment, I could use some entrepreneurial mojo!   😉

LTB (Let’s Talk Biz) – Step One

New head shot, thank you Instagram!

OK so I promised myself to take some time to work on my business in the ongoing effort to create a greater sense of fulfillment.

Step one?  Figure out exactly what I want.  I asked myself this, and initially I came up with a few things:
– Create more time to devote to illustration
– Take more pictures
– Set up my ecommerce store so I can have a little more control over where my clients are coming from, and have an easy system for payment

Then I read my horoscope (Pisces), which said

What if the thing you wanted most were given to you – would you know what to do with it? Think about what that would mean. What would you want? A new job? A new relationship? A new house? All these things are material and thus prone to change and disappointment. If you have your health you have something that is immaterial and thus more precious. Use the favorable aspect of the day to focus on what you really want. (Hint: focus on your health!)

And I was inspired to add:

– Take on less at once, have a waiting list because my work is worth the wait.
– Have more time to rest and relax, and concentrate on being creative

I often tend to focus on really tangible things, like more money, friendlier clients, etc.  But it’s true that all tangible things tend to wear around the edges over time.  So it’s good to have some detailed goals, but also keep in mind the ultimate, overall goal, which is a sense of pride, health and fulfillment.  I feel like I’m already much closer to achieving my goals.  Now, to think about my next step, but not before I finally check out that digital painting tutorial I’ve been meaning to read for so long!
(It’s http://www.imaginefx.com/02287754329710396959/liberate-your-colours.html)

Let’s Talk Business – Because That’s All I Can Think To Talk About.

I’ve been majorly MIA, mentally for weeks now.  I love this little blog and it’s hard when I’m so busy that I can’t give it tons of attention.  It’s not that I’m too busy, really, it’s that when I’m really busy at work, I’m not doing lots of cool DIY and cooking projects, so I feel like there isn’t enough to write about.  So, because of that, I’m going to write about work, and you’re going to like it. 😉

Right now I’m going through a long phase of recovering from having 2 acute cases of “the babies”.  When a lady has a baby, she generally doesn’t want to work, she wishes she had enough money to stay home with her new baby(s).  If she has to work, she’s probably not doing it all that whole-heartedly.  What might happen then, is that she starts to develop a crazy complex that her work might not be worth much money, and she falls into a self destructive spiral of accepting work that doesn’t pay much.

This might be all fine and good for some, but it happened to me, and it’s not OK.  So, I’m realizing I need to restructure how I think about myself and my business.  There was once a time when I charged a high hourly rate, and had clients who didn’t bat an eyelash when I told them what it was.  Somehow I’ve slipped into a realm where I have some folks telling me what they’ll pay, and it ain’t what I used to charge, and instead of telling them to take a flying leap, I get scared to turn away work because, hey, we need money.  Then I end up giving them the same high quality service, and feeling down on myself and them for not paying me enough.

The other part of this tricky situation is that I spend so much time working hard for not enough pay, that I end up failing to design the stuff I need in order to go out into the world and getting higher-paying work.  I am a web designer, and my website hasn’t been updated since 2006!  What kind of crap is that?  Would you hire a roofer whose own roof was caving in?!  Look at this, check out the About page, I was blonde!  http://meredithkstudios.net/.

Because telling the whole world that you have a goal is a great way to shame myself into achieving it, I’m doing that.  For the next few weeks, I’m going to work on my business.  I think I’ll need to do some of it in the evenings, and that’s OK.  I’m going to keep you updated on the progress.  Please feel free to offer constructive criticism along with way!

Enjoy your Monday and don’t forget to make an effort to love your job, even if your boss is being a huge piece of shit!

 

Let’s Talk Business – Hell Week

I feel like it’s such a cliche to say, but this week was so freaking busy!!!!  I’m reeling from it, and it’s not even over yet.  Working as a freelancer is wonderful, but one of the things a person needs to be prepared for is the inconsistency of it.

I have about 5 steady clients.  Normally things run smoothly, and they’re patient about when things get done.  But about 5 or 6 times a year, 3-4 of them need me to finish stuff up IMMEDIATELY!!!!

I put a lot of pressure on myself to please everyone (which is futile) and a lot of pressure on myself to go easy on myself (do-able!), so it’s a very tricky, stressful paradox.

When I first started out in this career, and really up until just this month, I’ve allowed this phenomenon to eat me up inside, make me hate my job, and make me question my own capabilities and beat myself up about why I ever thought I’d be any good and/or make any money.  In short, I have acted like a psychotic, self-destructive lunatic.

Now, my goal is to achieve inner peace, love my job, love my work, and maintain the trust of my clients.  It’s so freaking complex!

Basically, I have to take things slow, be honest with my clients about the time things take to get finished, and find time to work late.  The working late part is really the hardest.  It makes me really scared about the affects of over-doing, over-working, etc.  But something that helps is to think about how my hard work is going to benefit the kids (giving them a comfortable, safe home, hopefully a good education, etc), and as long as I take some time to myself in the midst of it, (I have to have at least a half-hour of time to meditate or stare at a tree or something peaceful like that, little breaks in between each project, and decent food, and good music) I survive, the work gets done, the client is pleased, and money comes home.

So, that’s where I’m at this week, and probably next week as well.  I’d better get to grocery shopping so I’ll have my decent food.