PODCAST Launched!

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Happy Little Business Diary was launched last night! I was going to wait for a new microphone… I was going was going to wait for new software… I was going to wait… but decided I didn’t need to! I just jumped in!

So here it is! The new handmade business podcast. Please bear with me while I figure it out… BUT! I am dedicated to bringing you your handmade tips and tricks. AND, answering any questions you have. Please send me an email at happylittlebusiness (at) yahoo (dot) com with your questions, tips to share, and you success stories.

It can ONLY get better from here.

ALSO: If you have a recommendation for any local/unsigned bands or musical artists, I’d love to hear them! I want to share the love and feature these wonderful undiscovered talents on the new podcast!

Happy creating, all!

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Are You Taking Care Of Yourself?

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We are lucky enough to have the drive to pursue our passions and art.

However, we also have the tendency to run ourselves into the ground and most of the time, we don’t even know it.

Taking care of yourself is essential. It helps you avoid burnout, which can lay you up for days/weeks/an indeterminate amount of time.

Here are 9 questions to ask your mind/body just to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

1) Is your to-do list too long?

Making your to-do list super long can make it hard for you to feel like you accomplish anything. Sure, you’ll get a few things done but will you feel like you put in a good day of work if you never finish your lists?

Be kind and make your to-do lists actually doable. The sense of accomplishment will feel wonderful. And, if you really want, you can add secondary tasks after you finish the important stuff.

2) Are you taking regular breaks every day?

Maybe you feel guilty taking breaks. Or you feel like you need to live the whole “keep your nose to the grindstone” thing. Working this way may actually hinder your productivity. Over time, the longer you work without a break results in your brain absorbing and processing information efficiently. This article from the Science Daily notes that while we may always be paying attention, our brain stops registering it as important.

3) Have you moved your body recently?

We all hear how important exercise is, and yes, it is. But in general, when was the last time you moved your body at all. The newest trend in office furniture is the standing desk and there’s a good reason behind this.

Sitting for too long can lead to a number of health concerns. Mayo Clinic has noted that some of these may include “increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels.” So while you’re on your break, get up and MOVE!

4) How long ago was your last meal- not snack?

If you’re like me, sometimes you’ll work for 8 hours straight and forget to eat. Or maybe you’re in the mindset that skipping meals means cutting out calories. This needs to change.

When you’re working, your body and mind will need the fuel that food can provide. And if you’re struck by hunger pangs, this can be very distracting and also hinder productivity.

If you’re worried about calories, consider the fact that frequently skipping meals may slow down your metabolism.

5) What was the last fruit/veggie you ate and how long ago?

This point goes hand-in-hand with the last point. You may be really good about eating regular meals, but when was the last time you put fresh fruits and/or vegetables into your body?

Harvard’s School of Public Health makes a well reasoned argument for eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. And it’s really all what we’ve heard our whole lives. Fruits and vegetables help your body fight off sickness and keep you healthy.

6) Have you had any water today and how long ago?

“Water is essential to good health,” says Mayo Clinic. Are you drinking enough?

Your body depends on water to function and even being slightly dehydrated will lead to a drain in your energy. And like hunger, the sensation of being thirsty is distracting.

Bonus! Live Science suggests that drinking water can lead to a mental boost.

7) When was the last time you smiled?

Owning your own business can be stressful. Maybe right now, you’re struggling with something. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to smile about. Surely, there’s something.

And if there isn’t, fake it!

Sounds awful, I know, but Forbes released an article stating that even faking a smile can result in less stress and help improve your mood. Also, putting a smile on your face can help boost the mood of those around you as well! Then they’ll smile at you and then you’ll receive a boost as well!

8) When was the last time you hung out/called friends or family?

Depending on where you are in your small business, you are probably flying solo most of the time. This can be an incredibly lonely experience. And while you might not notice it now, the loneliness will strike when it’s least convenient. Feelings of self-doubt and sadness are just a few of the emotions you will experience with loneliness.

Being around your friends will instantly alleviate those feelings. They help celebrate the good times and support you during the bad. Friends give you a sense of belonging and purpose. You know that they’ll boost your happiness. And laughing with your best friend? I can think of few better stress relievers.

9) When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep?

The National Institutes of Health will tell you that getting a good night’s sleep is essential to not only our physical health, but our mental health as well. We may feel like less sleep will give us more time to work, but in reality, lack of sleep impairs brain functions and hinders our productivity.

Getting a good night’s sleep helps us not only feel rested and happy, but gives our bodies time to perform vital functions while resting. Sleep also affects our stress levels, immune system, appetite, blood pressure, and heart health.

If you feel like you’re sleeping 7-8 hours a night but don’t ever feel rested, or if you find yourself waking up frequently during the night, you may need to consult your doctor. These might be signs of a sleep disorder.

After answering these questions, you’ll get a better idea on how you’re doing with the self-care thing. It’s hard because we love our business so much we want to just keep going. But we must love ourselves as well. You’re worth it, afterall.

What changes will you make to ensure that you’re taking good care of yourself?

Rejection Dejection: Get Over It

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Let’s face it.

You’re not going to get accepted into everything you apply for. Business masterminds/groups, craft shows, art walks… eventually, someone will say “no” to you.

It’s going to hurt. It’ll burn and you might want to cry the moment you see that rejection email/letter… even if you’re at Starbucks. Trust me. I know.

Here are some things to remember when you get a rejection letter:

1. It was not personal.

Sometimes, our immediate reaction to rejection is, “They hate me.” Unless you know who the coordinators are, there is no way they hate you.

And even if they DO hate you, do you really want to be in a show run by people who have negative feelings toward you?

2. Maybe you weren’t the right fit.

Another thought that crosses your mind might be, “I’m not good enough.” Stop that thinking right now.

Take a closer look at the show/group you applied to. Are you a jewelry designer trying to get into a comic book convention? Or are you someone just starting out in the handmade business world trying to enter a business group/mastermind for established business owners?

Neither means you aren’t “good enough.” It means you have to find the right fit. And once you do, it’ll be that much sweeter.

3. Honestly, they may have just run out of room.

There is absolutely no way a show or group can accept everyone who applies. These people may have received 100 stellar applications, but if they only have room for 20 vendors, that means 80 rejections.

And keep in mind, if you’re applying to a craft show, they want to have a nice variety of vendors.

You may want to give up after a rejection. You feel like a failure and wonder if applying is pointless.

Stop right there. Don’t listen to those negative voices!

If you want to do craft shows, keep applying. You’ll learn with every rejection and will eventually get into one.

If you decide you don’t want to do craft shows, then you’ve STILL learned SOMETHING from your rejections. And you’ll need to find an alternative revenue stream.

These are all opportunities for growth. Opportunities for learning and improvement.

Take your rejections and discover your strengths and weaknesses.

You are an amazing, savvy business owner and you can either choose to dwell on the negativity of a rejection or turn it into something awesome.

How do you deal with rejection?

Why You Should Track Your Social Media Marketing

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You may be spending hours on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter; marketing your business in the hopes of drawing more traffic and customers. If you’re not tracking your growth or what you’re doing, you are wasting your time.

Without a record of your efforts, you won’t really know what is working. If you don’t know what works, you might be implementing practices that waste your valuable time.

The next time you work on your marketing, take out a sheet of paper or a social media tracker and follow these three steps:

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1) Write down your current numbers for the day.

How many blog views do you have? Do you know how many likes your Facebook page has? Write it all down. I track my blog views, FB page likes, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest follows.

If you want to get in depth, you can list how many likes, hearts, or retweets you get in one day.

2) Keep track of what you do.

What time of day are you doing your social media? Are you scheduling interactions ahead of time? Are you hopping from blog to blog, commenting and following? Whatever you’re doing, write it down.

Bonus: Write down what hashtags you’re using for the day. Some hashtags bring more views/faves.

3) The next time you go into your tracker, make note of any growth or reductions in numbers.

When you’re ready to play with your social media again, write down all the following numbers you’re tracking. If you’re tracking your likes, hearts, or retweets, make note of that as well. If you do this long enough, you’ll notice patterns. You’ll find out what hashtags draw more traffic, whether scheduling at certain times of day draws more views, and what doesn’t work.

If something isn’t working, eliminate it. That time is precious and can be spent implementing new strategies or creating products.

Do you track your social media growth?

New Instant Downloads- Project Life Cards

New printables available in the Etsy shop.

Looking for Project Life cards? Instant downloads available today.

Just print and cut. Decorate with washi tape, hole punch, and add it to your binder or planner! on tap journal cardsglitter circle journal cards

Love bright colors!

Do you use journal cards?

How to Make Your Goals Achievable

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Now that you’ve shifted your thinking from making resolutions to setting goals, how are you going to move forward?

Let’s take your goals and make them achievable.

Here’s how:

1) Write out all of your goals

Writing out all of your goals, including deadlines, shows you that your goals are real. You can put them in chronological order if you’d like to give yourself a timeline to follow.

2) Post your goals somewhere visible.

Whether you print out your goals or hand-write them with pretty paper and washi tape, stick your list up on the wall where you can see it every day. A great place is the bathroom mirror. The list will act as a reminder and help you keep your focus.

If your goals are monetary, maybe print out a little card and stick it in your wallet.

3) Track/journal your progress.how-to-make-your-goals-achievable-tracker

What are you going to do to make your goal? Write out your plan. Then, track your progression.

You can do this by typing up your progress in a document on your computer, print out a ready-made tracker, or start a scrapbook. Journaling your progress shows you how awesome you’re doing, how close you are to achieving your goal, and if you need to tweak anything.

Another great thing about tracking your progress is you can see how even small steps can make a big difference in the end.

4) Make note of your weaknesses and strengths.

Sometimes, goals can be hard. There are reasons why we think we can’t achieve them. But I believe you can. Write out your doubts and weaknesses. And then, write out your strengths. Because you have them. Many of them. And when you feel like you’re failing, look at your strengths and remind yourself that… You. CAN. Do. It.

5) Add in a reward.

Give yourself something to look forward to. There are some who say that achieving your goal should be reward enough. And while reaching the finish line is going to be a wonderful experience, who says there can’t be a new purse or boots waiting for you? If it’s something that makes you happy and works, go for it.

What are you doing to achieve your goals?

Artist Interview: Kelley Frisby of Kellsworth Ink

kelley-frisby-artist-interview-blog-title Kelley Frisby is an artist and illustrator from Southern California. I’d describe her work as uniquely adorable. All of her illustrations, cake toppers, wine stoppers, ¬†jewelry, and everything in between has a touch of whimsy, a pinch of vintage, and a whole lot of style. Kellsworth Ink is her side business for now, but it won’t be long until she’ll be running it full-time.

Thank you, Kelley, for sharing your firsthand experiences and tips!

kelley-frisby-painting1) Describe what you do in 15 words or less.

I’m an illustrator who dabbles in everything from cards & prints to custom wine-stoppers and cake-toppers.

2) What was your biggest struggle starting your creative business?

I think for me, time management. I’m freelance, so this job is still a side job. Working full time and then coming home to the job I really want after a long day is tough. You get tired, you don’t have the same enthusiasm at the end of the day you started out with, I think that’s usually my biggest hurdle.

3) Is this something you still struggle with or do you think you’ve moved past it?

I think I still struggle with it from time to time. Some days the “other” job takes it out of you and you just have trouble feeding the creative beast. I always end up getting it past it, it’s just some days are tougher than others.

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4) What are some ways you feed your “creative beast?”

My creative beast loves movies. During the holidays, while painting and prepping, prepping and painting, I must have made my way through two seasons of Supernatural, LOL! Normally I pick visual movies that inspire me like, Amelie or the Labyrinth. Other times, I just want something on in the background that I can pick my head up, laugh at what’s going on and then continue forward. You know, something I’ve seen eight million times, the Goonies or So I Married an Axe Murderer.

5) Handling a day job and your side job can be tough. Do you have any time management tips to share?

My time management tips are probably terrible. I tend to do a lot of sketching on my lunch break. Generally working only on things that I can easily transport. Carrying paint supplies back and forth just wouldn’t work. So sketches, brain storming, things of that nature are done during my breaks. When I get home and unwind a bit, then I try to work on messier projects. Pulling out paint supplies, varnishing finished pieces or cutting and scoring my cards. Plus, it helps that I can borrow the Boyfriend’s hands to help package cards and apply tags to things, hee hee.

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6) Where does the majority of your revenue come from? Example: online sales, craft shows, consignment deals, special orders/commissions.

The majority of my sales right now are from craft shows and consignment. The mass of that being craft shows. My online sales are super minimal at the present time because I think I spend too much time making new things and not enough time listing them on my Etsy or website…again, my own fault and bad time management.

7) We’ve all had craft shows that stunk. When the sales aren’t pouring in like you want them to, how do you keep from diving into a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream?

One of the things I do is look at what DID sell. Was it only my cheaper items? Was there a specific piece everyone stopped to look at but didn’t purchase? If so, then maybe my pricing was off or maybe I just didn’t “fit” with this crowd. If a show truly stinks, I try to look at those factors first before I give myself a belly ache with the ice cream.

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8) How do you know when you need to take a break?

From drawing? Usually when my neck or back hurt from sitting so long, hee hee. I’ve never really been one of those people who is constantly sketching in their sketchbook or making things daily. I mean I have my spurts when that happens, but it’s not constant. I tend to get my creativity in waves. But when I’m really into working on something, it’s almost like you have to drag me away.

9) Any big goals for your business this year?

My biggest goal this year for my business is to get EVERY item up for sale online. I have so much stuff that I take with me to craft shows, but only a smidgeon of those are up on the website. For example I have literally 4 different types of birthday cards, a few thank you’s and get wells, and a huge assortment of every day blank cards but I have 4 things listed on Etsy and a handful on my personal site. My focus this is year is to get it ALL up online. My goal for myself personally is to make more art, try to exhibit more, go to shows and just get things FINISHED.

10) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years, I would hope that I am making art full time. That Kellsworth Ink makes enough to pay my bills and allow me to focus solely on creating new content and doing what I love.

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11) If there was one thing you could tell yourself when you started working toward your dream, what would it be?

Honestly, I think I would have told myself to start sooner. I wish I’d started showing my stuff years ago instead of just last year. My focus previously was in polishing up my portfolio and trying to get my illustrations ready to sit down with a publisher or agent. While I still want that to happen, I’ve realized that this side business I love so much has potential as well. Granted I’m not able to quit my day job just yet…but hopefully, some day!

Thank you again, Kelley, for sharing your journey with Happy Little Business.