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1ST QUARTER CHECK-IN [Makers Monday Motivation 4.2.18]
 
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And just like that, we’re a quarter of the way through 2018…

This is a perfect week to take a few moments to check in with yourself and see how you are doing so far this year. 

Remember those goals you set back in January? 

How are they going?

If you are anything like me, “life” happened over the last three months and things you didn’t anticipate have come up causing some of your goals to be put on the back-burner, others to be forgotten all together, and new ones suddenly become top of mind. 

That’s why it’s so good to do quarterly check-ins so you can remember what you wanted to accomplish, re-calibrate where plans have changed, and get back on track to make this a year where you truly move your goals and dreams forward. 

As the April showers begin and the spring flowers start to push their way up through the dead leaves of winter, this week’s Monday Motivation is simply a reminder to help you tend to your dreams and give them the extra care they need so they bloom in the months ahead.


REFLECT:

  • Review your goals for the year. (Or if you didn’t write any in January...now is a great time to start!)
  • How are you doing on your goals? Have you made progress on any of them? Have you completed any?
  • Has anything happened in the last three months that has caused your priorities and goals for the year to shift?
  • How are you feeling about your productivity so far this year?

ACT:

  • Update your goals to reflect any changes you may have now that the first quarter is complete.
  • Prioritize your goals and start working on the one that is the most important to you.
  • Take action and start! If your goals feel too overwhelming, try breaking them down into smaller tasks and schedule the time to work on those activities.
  • Find a friend to share your goals with and ask them to help keep you accountable.

You’re goals and dreams are too important to not act on and I’m so excited to see you bring them to life in the months ahead. If you’re needing some help prioritizing where to start, or not sure how to break down your goals into actionable steps, I’d love to work with you, schedule a free 30 min intro coaching phone-session.

We’re in this together,

Ashley

 
BE THE BEST BOSS [Makers Monday Motivation 3.19.18]
 
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Prior to launching my own business I spent many years working as an employee for other managers and bosses. Some of these people were amazing mentors and leaders, while others made my life miserable. So miserable that I’ll even credit an experience of working for one of the worst bosses I ever had as a key motivator for me to launch my own business.

Like most people, when I dreamed about launching my own business I was motivated by the desire to no longer report to someone else, to make my own rules, and to have the autonomy to create the ideal life and work environment I wanted and knew I could thrive in. 

I took the leap to work for myself because I desired the freedom that comes with self-employment.

Today, over four years into this adventure I believe this freedom is possible. That said, in my work as a coach, working with hundreds of folks who have taken the brave leap to go out on their own, I will say this freedom isn’t simply a give-in. You have to be intentional to create the lifestyle you desire.

To much dismay, I’ve watched so many passionate, creative people end up creating unbearable work conditions for themselves, working insane hours, never taking breaks, not creating clear expectations and goals for themselves, and in the end ultimately become their own worst boss. 

My question for you this week is...would you want to work for you? Or, in your pursuit for success in self-employment have you become your own worst boss?

Do you never let yourself disconnect? Has your work become your whole life? Are you demanding and unforgiving? Do you create unrealistic expectations for what you will accomplish? If you currently run your creative business as a side-hustle, how are you as a manager of your part-time job?

For this week’s Monday Motivation Challenge I want you to step back and reflect on what type of boss you are, or want type of boss you would like to become for your own business.


THINK: 

  • What qualities do you look for in a dream boss?
  • If you were looking for a new job with a new employer, what criteria would you look for in the work culture and the leadership?
  • How many of those qualities do you believe you currently have or implement in your own creative business?
  • From the outside looking in, would you want to work for you? Be honest!

ACT:

  • Take some time to reflect and give yourself a 360’ review. 
    • What things are you doing really well as a manager of your own business? 
    • What area(s) is there room for improvements?
    • Can you make a plan to start creating your dream workplace?

Let’s face it, if you are going to be your own boss, you might as well be the best darn boss you ever had. You do have freedom in self-employment, that means it is entirely up to you to determine how you are going to treat yourself. ant some support getting there? I’d love to work with you. Schedule a free 30 min intro coaching phone-session.

We’re in this together,

Ashley

 

 
TIME TO RECHARGE [Makers Monday Motivation 12.18.17]
 
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I will humbly admit, this past week was one of those unproductive weeks. No matter how hard I tried, I struggled to get focused. Simple tasks I usually enjoy doing took me hours and I found myself continually checking my phone or finding things to do around the office to distract myself from my actual work. After months of pushing hard, my mind and body made it clear, I was in need of a break.

If we are honest with ourselves, no matter how much we love our work, or how motivated we are, we simply are not made to work all the time and at some point we run out of gas. Weekends exist for a reason. Our mind needs time to recover, our eyes need time away from screens, and our soul needs time connecting with friends. If we put this off for too long, continuing to push ourselves to do more, we end up unproductive and making careless mistakes, producing less-creative work, and possibly getting burned out - even from work that we really enjoy to do.

So today, I’m here to remind you and myself, that we aren’t meant to always have our foot on the peddle. If this week you find yourself feeling worn down, or catch yourself losing steam for the work you love, the best thing you can do for your business is to give yourself permission to unplug and let yourself recharge.

Gratefully, we’re in the last weeks of the year and the holidays present a perfect time to step away from our work. To help get you started, this week’s Maker Motivation Challenge includes a list of ideas to help you recharge.


Take a few minutes to review this list and try to commit to doing one or more of these recharging activities over your holiday:

  • Put up an away message on your email and commit to not checking it till you return.
  • Go screen free for at least 24 hours (all screens!)
  • Make plans with friends and family.
  • Take an actual vacation.
  • Take a staycation, and commit to not going in your studio or office.
  • Do something active, like taking a hike, riding a bike, or going on a long walk in a place you’ve not been.
  • Read a whole book - preferably a story you can get lost in.
  • Spend an afternoon baking or cooking.
  • Play a board game or cards.
  • Go to see a play or visit a museum.
  • Make something: music, art, craft.
  • Do something completely out of your routine.
  • Volunteer and spend some time using your energy for others.

I’m excited to share that writing this email inspired me to take my own advice, and I will be taking a break the week between Christmas and New Years to step away from my computer, recharge and connect with friends and family. With that, I plan to return energized and ready to dive back into work in the new year and I would love to work with you to help your 2018 be your best year yet. Today is a great time to sign up for one-on-one coaching, book before 12/31/17, and get 15% off your first session by using code ‘DEC15’.

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

I hope you have a wonderful Holiday!

We’re in this together,

Ashley

 
Something to Celebrate [Makers Monday Motivation 12.4.17]
 
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We're officially in December, the last month of the year. With that, I'm taking an unofficial poll with only one question:

How you are feeling about your 2017? 

I spoke with a few friends this week who run creative businesses and asked them this same question. To my surprise, they all sounded a bit discouraged. When I pressed into it to see what was going on, they each said a similar version of, “I’m working so hard, but it seems like everyone else is doing better than me.” As we chatted further about their businesses, it became quite clear that they each were overlooking so much of their year’s successes. Sure there was room for improvement and things might not have all gone as they had planned, but we didn't have to talk long for me to see there was far more to celebrate then criticize.

My conversations with my friends made me realize just how often when we are working for ourselves, without the support and encouragement of co-workers, or a team, we may look externally to places like social media to gauge our success. This causes us to spend too much time comparing ourselves to how we assume other’s are doing and use this as a benchmark for our own success. We also may focus too much on the things that didn’t go as we had hoped, as a result, we quickly overlook just how much we have to be proud of. 

Which is why I wanted to ask you this same question: how are you feeling about your 2017?

Are you overlooking your successes? Are you benchmarking based on what you see in your social media feed? Are you being your own worst critic?

As the calendar year begins to wrap up and you start to review your 2017, I’m here to remind you that you’re likely doing better than you think you are. It's so important to realize that success comes in many different forms, and regardless of your year's accomplishments, it’s a good business practice to be kind to yourself. Even if you haven’t reached all your goals yet, it is still a worthwhile exercise to acknowledge what you've done while trying to get there. This week’s Monday Motivation Challenge will help you take a few moments to recognize your accomplishments and encourage you to stop and celebrate yourself.


Take some time this week to reflect on the following questions. Journal your answers.

  • What is one thing you have accomplished this year that you are really proud of?
  • What is something you have accomplished this year that you might not traditionally consider a "big success" but that you are proud of making happen or figuring out? Ex: I figured out how to set up online scheduling, pretty unglamorous, but a HUGE win for my own productivity!
  • Can you find a friend or family member to share these accomplishments with and take a moment to celebrate with them?
  • Share the love. Do you have a friend with a creative endeavor that you could reach out to and pass along some encouragement to tell them they are doing a good job?

However you feel you’ve done in 2017, I'm confident you have something to celebrate. I want to encourage you to be kind to yourself this month and give yourself the permission to be proud of the little things you are tackling every day. This isn’t self-centered, it’s self-care for your creative business!

As always, I’d love to hear from you with an update on how your year has been and what you are proud of making happen so far in 2017. If you’d like an outside perspective to help you review your year’s accomplishments, please don’t hesitate to reach out, I’d love to work with you.

I can't wait to see you find something to celebrate this week!

We’re in this together,

Ashley

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

 
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