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GET INSPIRED [Makers Monday Motivation 4.16.18]
 
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Let’s be honest, even the most creative among us runs into days - or even whole seasons - when we just run dry. You know, those times when you can’t come up with new ideas, when you open up a new blank page in a sketchbook and just stare at it unsure where to start, or when you find excuses to do anything but go to the studio and get to work. 

As the owner of a business that is currently a team of one, I can’t really afford too many of these uninspired and unproductive periods. So, to get ahead of future inspiration droughts, I created what I’m calling the “Creative’s First Aid Kit.” My “kit” includes a list of ideas and go to activities to have on hand for whenever I hit an inspiration dryspell and need some help getting over the hump. In my experience, Advil's never worked to cure a bout of writer's block! 

Today, instead of a sharing a Makers Monday Motivation challenge for the week, I’m simply passing along to you some of the ideas I’ve put in my Creative’s First Aid Kit, to hopefully serve as a resource for you the next time you encounter the creative blahs. This list is just the beginning, and I’d encourage you to make this list your own, by adding any activities you enjoy and know fill you with inspiration. 


THE CREATIVE’S FIRST AID KIT

Possibly treatments for the creative blahs: 

  • try to connect with people, see if there are any interesting events or meetups happening locally you could attend
  • go to a museum or see a new exhibition
  • get physically active
  • read a book
  • go to a bookstore or library and just poke around to see what seems interesting
  • find a neighborhood, or part of town you’ve never been to before (or spent much time in) and go just explore. 
  • go to a new coffee shop and people watch for a while
  • call a friend to catch up
  • take a walk and let your mind wander
  • mentally and physically step away from your work
  • do something completely different than your normal routine
  • cook a meal you’ve never made before
  • clean the house
  • watch a travel or nature documentary 

Things to avoid at all cost: 

  • scrolling mindlessly through social media
  • staying near your sketchbook, screen, studio whatever the source of your creative block is. 
  • accepting defeat 
  • beating yourself up
  • think you might as well just quit 
  • get on a shame spiral
  • doing mindless and unproductive, time wasting activities

Hopefully you have a week full of inspiration, but if not, don’t worry….it truly happens to all of us! In my perspective, the problem isn’t having the dry spell, it’s what you do once it hits you. Having a coach on your team is a great way to stay motivated and work through challenging seasons. If you’re feeling stuck, I’d love to support you. Schedule a free 30 min intro coaching phone-session today. 

We’re in this together!

Ashley

 

 

 
WORDS IMPACT [Makers Monday Motivation 2.12.18]
 
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You know that old saying, “sticks and stone will break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

Well, I think it’s flat out not true.

Words are one of the most powerful things we have.

They can motivate and inspire us to accomplish our dreams and overcome great hurdles or they can hold us back, weigh us down and limit what we believe to be possible. They can create stress and fear or even eliminate it and improve our health.

No doubt, the words that others say can have a profound impact on our self-esteem. However, in my opinion, the words we tell ourselves are even more important and have an even more powerful effect on our wellbeing. The good news is, these words we tell ourself are ones we actually can control.

So often I hear creative folks say things like, “I love to make ______, but I don’t think I could ever really make money selling it….” or “I make ______, but no one would buy it so I just keep it as a hobby.” Or, “I’m so busy, I don’t think I could ever find the time to grow a business.

These might not be blatantly self-defeating, but these subtle stories we tell ourselves become our reality.

If you don’t think you could ever make money selling your products...you probably won’t.

If you don’t think anyone would ever want to buy what you make...they probably won’t.

If you don’t think you have enough time to grow a business, you won’t make the time to make it happen.

Yet, if you turn those statements around and say: “I’m going to make money selling my products.” or “I know there are people out there who would love to have what I create.” “I’m going to commit the time to launch a business this year.”

You start to create a vision for your future that is filled with accomplishment.

Think of how a path gets made in the woods...over time the same path gets walked on, matting down the brush and making that one route an easy way to walk through. The same is true with our habits of thinking. If we are used to thinking a certain way, our minds will naturally go down that same path and keep thinking the same way. But, with effort, we can start telling ourselves a different story and train our minds to go down a different path. 

You can make a new way!

For this week’s Monday Motivation Challenge, consider the way you talk to yourself. Your words are powerful - they are also free, take some time to think about if you are using them to your benefit or disadvantage.


Consider the following:

  • What things do you tell yourself that are holding you back?
  • Do you speak to yourself with words of empowerment and possibility or limited beliefs?
  • What is one story you keep telling yourself that you could really benefit from shifting the narrative?

For many of us, the paths of thought we’ve created in our minds are well worn and have been made over many years of defeating thinking. Regardless, it is still entirely possible to create a new story for yourself. I hope this week you start to tell yourself some new, empowering, motivating, live-giving words.

As always, if you could use some support to help you realize what is possible and help craft a better story, I would love to work with you. Coaching is one of the most powerful ways to make big changes to launch, build and grow your creative business. Schedule a free 30 min intro coaching phone-session.

We’re in this together,

Ashley

 
IT STARTS WITH US [Makers Monday Motivation 11.27.17]
 
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Imagine a Black Friday where folks skipped the big-box corporate retailers and instead there were lines out the door at your local holiday markets. Imagine a holiday where people tried to give meaningful, high-quality gifts instead of stressed about the quantity of items under the tree. Imagine a December where you and all the local makers and creators and mom and pop store owners you know hit your sales goals.

I think a holiday season like this is possible, and it starts with us.   

As makers and creators, we are also consumers and gift givers. No matter the size of our pocketbook, the decisions we make on where and how we spend our money over the holidays matters. By choosing to shop for gifts from other local makers at a craft market or small business, instead of a chain retailer this year, you will directly make an impact on your local economy and community. When you buy from a maker, your money doesn’t go to some executive on Wall Street or anonymous entity oversees, it goes to your neighbor or to a hard working creative small-business owner like you.

Together, we can further the handmade economy, empower creative individuals, and set an example for our friends and family by giving meaningful gifts purchased direct from an artisan, instead of a corporation.

This week’s Monday Motivation Challenge is simply this, commit to buying at least one holiday gift from another maker this year. If you prefer to shop online, there are a number of great places to buy handmade goods directly from individuals. Here is a great list to get you started.:

What if this holiday shopper chose quality over quantity, craft over convenience, and one-of-a-kind over mass produced? What if you had a record month of sales?! I don’t know about you, but this really get’s me in the holiday spirit! It starts with us, let’s help make it happen!

Make sure you get on my mailing list so you get a Maker Monday Motivation email sent your inbox every week, CLICK HERE!

We’re in this together,

Ashley

 
BREATHE MORE [Makers Monday Motivation 11.20.17]
 
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This week is the official start to the holiday season, or, as it could also be called, the “more-of-everything” season. Think about it, between Thanksgiving and New Years, our lives become supersized. We typically spend more money, eat more sweets, drink more wine, travel more than normal, do more celebrating, and we likely see more of our friends and family than almost any other time of the year. It’s both a wonderful and crazy time.

On top of all this “more-of-everything,” for those who run creative businesses, the holidays also mean there are markets to prepare for, weekends devoted entirely to selling at fairs, the excitement of more sales made and the pressure to package and ship last minute gift orders out the door to your customers.

All that said, the one thing there isn’t more of during this more-of-everything-season, are hours in the day. We still only get twenty-four of them. In turn, the holidays often lead us to feel more stressed and worn-out than usual, at a time when we would ideally like to be our most productive and social-selves.

If we aren’t careful, the joy and excitement of the holiday season can quickly be hijacked by more-of-everything-induced-stress - but we don’t have to let this happen. For this week’s Monday Motivation Challenge I didn’t want to add anything to your plate, rather, I wanted to share a very simple exercise you can do regularly over the next month to help you stay calm, creative and hopefully more sane this holiday.


TRY IT: Just Breathe

  1. Find the ‘Reminders App’ on your smartphone.

  2. Create a new reminder that simply says: Breathe

  3. Set the reminder to go off daily at a certain time of the day that makes the most sense for you. (I like to make 3-5 different  “Breathe” reminders and schedule them to go off at different peak-stress times throughout my day.)  

  4. When the notification comes up on your phone reminding you to breathe at the scheduled time you’ve set, stop and take a moment to check in with yourself and recognize how you are feeling (frazzled, tired, etc.), take one (or more) big, deep, belly-filling, healing breaths in through your nose and a relaxing, audible, releasing breath out through your mouth. (If your reminder goes off and you are around other people, such as in a meeting, or out with friends, you can still take the time to check in with yourself and breathe. No one will even notice ;) .)

  5. That’s it. Just remember to breathe more.

[If you need some tips on how to do a good relaxing breath check here.]


It may seem silly to encourage you to remember to breathe, but the busier and more stressed we get the more shallow our breathing can become, and this contributes to an overall sense of feeling on-edge. No one wants that!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. Know that I’m grateful to consider you a part of the Makers Megaphone community and wish you a holiday season full of sales and celebration.

Make sure you get on my mailing list so you get a Maker Monday Motivation email sent your inbox every week, CLICK HERE!

We’re in this together,

Ashley

 

 
JUST START [Maker Monday Motivation 10.23.17]
 
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I hadn’t exercised in well over a year. For one reason or another, I’d fallen off my routine and just never got back on. Even with the best intentions of starting, I couldn’t muster up the motivation to put on my shoes and hit the pavement. Then I saw an article in the NYTimes about the 7-minute workout that included scientific proof that you could get just as much benefit out of this short workout then a longer run.

Seven minutes?  

I realized I had just spent about 7-minutes scrolling through my Instagram feed, so there is no excuse that would be able to successfully argue that I didn’t have at the time to at least try it out.

And so I did...in the middle of my day, I moved the furniture in my living room aside and I launched the app that included a timer and step-by-step guide and I worked-out for seven minutes. After the timer went off, I felt sweaty, slightly winded, and like I’d accomplished something.

So I did it again the next day, and the next day, and pretty soon I’d done the 7-minute workout for a full week and was ready to try doing it twice in one day, pushing my 7-minute workout to a full 14-minutes.

This little routine got me back into shape and into running again. It worked.

What I realized is I needed a smaller first step. Going on a run felt bigger than what I was ready for so every time I’d consider putting on my running shoes, I’d sike myself out and make excuses.

The same is true for our creative ideas. We may tell ourselves we don’t have the time, or we don’t have the energy, or we will start tomorrow.

My friends, the most important part is simply that we start.

Are you stuck because it feels like there is a mountain ahead of you?

Does your creative dream feel simply too big, and you just don’t have the time?

I want to help you get a jump start today toward growing a profitable creative business.  

This week I challenge you to try my 7-Minute Maker Challenge. It's only 7-minutes...YOU CAN DO IT!


Here is my 7-Minute Maker Challenge for you:

  1. Get out a notebook and a pen.  

  2. Select ONE of the following challenges:

    1. Social Media - brainstorm as many ideas for post content as you can before the timer runs out. For example can you think of image ideas, copy ideas, contest ideas, product shots you could take that relate to an upcoming holiday or event, etc.

    2. Product Creation - brainstorm as many ideas as you can for new products you would like to create. Is there an upcoming holiday that you could develop a product for? Are there new materials you’ve wanted to explore using? Could you repurpose a product into a gift-box option?

    3. Marketing - brainstorm as many ideas for ways you could engage your customer through marketing. For example, could you send out a newsletter, run a contest, partnering with another business, design new postcards, etc.?

    4. Organizing - brainstorm as many ideas as you can for ways you could get your business more organized so you can be more productive. For example, could you organize your shipping supplies so you’re ready to go when online orders come in, could you import your email lists from the recent craft fair to a spreadsheet so you are ready for promotional mailings?

  3. Set a timer on your phone for 7 minutes.

  4. Press Start.

  5. Complete the challenge you selected, writing out as many ideas as you possibly can before the timer goes off.


Great work! How did that feel? Did it get your gears turning toward some smaller steps you could take to start moving forward?

I know you can grow a profitable creative business, it just takes making that first step.

JUST START!

If this challenge was helpful, make sure you get on my mailing list so you get a Maker Monday Motivation email sent your inbox every week, CLICK HERE

Together we MAKE MORE,

Ashley