I have had a lot of thoughts about this past year and I really wanted to write about them for 2 reasons: 1- so I don’t forget these lessons I have learned/to remind myself of them in case my future self needs it which I think she will and 2- in case it can help you! In this post I am listing the top 6 things I learned in 2018 as a creative entrepreneur as well as sharing my favorite podcasts and podcast episodes that have really impacted my life this year. Although a lot of these lessons were discovered because of Atiliay and having a creative business, I think they also apply to life in general and can be relevant regardless of what your profession is. It’s not the shortest post and it’s literally taken me all day (and then some!) to write it so thank you for reading and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me! :)
This post will cover:
- The Top 6 Things I Learned in 2018 As A Creative Entrepreneur
- Mindset Matters…SO FREAKING MUCH!
- Remember Your WHY, INTENTION, and PHILOSOPHY
- SUPPORT / Mastermind
- Make Social Media A Positive and Happy Place For YOU
- Make a NO LIST
- Anything Is STILL Possible
- Bonus: Celebrate Your WINS and Acknowledge Your STRENGTHS
- Podcasts That Have Impacted My Life This Year
- New Year Wishes To You!
- Free PDFs for 2019
1. Mindset Matters…SO FREAKING MUCH!
I feel like I read and hear about mindset all the time, but it wasn’t until this past July that I feel like I TRULY understood its importance and power. It seems like every single summer (and during other times of the year too!) I get super slumpy and begin to question EVERYTHING. I lose motivation, I feel super uninspired and creatively blocked, and I start to wonder–did I make the right decisions? Is this the right path for me? Do I need a day job? Can I make a living from being creative? Will I ever feel secure if I am a creativepreneur? Do I need to pivot? What if I am not pivoting fast enough? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?
Somewhere in my own endless line of questioning myself, I stopped long enough to take a breath and put on a podcast to try to quiet my mind. I am a huge fan of podcasts! If at anytime you feel like you physically don’t want to do something (ie: I don’t want to get off the couch) or you are feeling sluggish or unmotivated mentally, stay where you are, put one on, and you’ll instantly be doing something productive (keeping in mind what you choose to listen to.)
I started listening The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes, Episode 635: High Performance Habits from Master Coaches, and it completely changed how I was thinking and feeling! By the end of the episode, my mood and attitude had switched gears. It got me curious again, I started feeling inspired, hopeful, and motivated, and it really helped me to begin to get out of that slump.
I think the most helpful thing was that there were actionable tips that I could actually implement. Even if I didn’t do something exactly as they were being described, it still gave me the basic principles so that I was able to create a version of it that worked for me. I also think it helped me to start DOING again instead of just wallowing and doing nothing. And I just don’t think you can stay in a slump when your mind is learning and growing.
At the end of the day, being a solo creativepreneur means having just one person to motivate, push forward, stay organized, and do the work–myself. If I start questioning everything and going in a downward spiral, I need to be able to pull myself back up and stop it (and the ideal situation is to not even go down that path to begin with!) If my mind isn’t strong, it’s easy to drown in that way of thinking. This is something I am still working on (I don’t think I’ll ever be done!) and while I think it’s normal and healthy to have doubts and question things, instead of just feeling slumpy, giving up, and being unproductive, I am trying to keep going, doing, and believing in myself and my pursuits.
2. Remember Your WHY, INTENTION, and PHILOSOPHY
This was also another big game changer for me during my summer slump. I was reminded of these concepts from the podcast I just talked about and this podcast episode as well.
Here is my why, intention, and philosophy I initially came up with:
I started making cards because I wanted a way to get people to help me feed kids at the EEC Preschool in South Africa! My intention has been to create a fun and easy way for others to give back with me. My philosophy is that we can all create small ways to make an impact. (I shared a little more about this over at this Instagram post.)
It’s been about 5 months since I wrote the above, and it’s still pretty accurate! I do think it will probably change and go through different iterations, but the most important thing is for me to not lose sight of it. It’s easy to in the daily hustle and bustle and grind but if there’s something I can do daily, weekly, or monthly, to center myself back to this, I think it can make all the difference.
3. SUPPORT / Mastermind
This past year I was lucky to continue my friendship with Susan of Rae + Lily (we met on Instagram almost 2 years ago) and for the past several months, we started meeting up every other Fridays and having one-on-one Mastermind meetings (or “MM” as we call it when we are texting :)). If you haven’t heard of a Mastermind or weren’t sure what they are, it’s basically a group of people who get together to brainstorm, hold each other accountable, and provide support. For us, it’s dedicated time to talk about our creative and entrepreneurial endeavors, goals, highs and lows, get advice, and bounce ideas off one another (during this time we make sure we don’t talk about other things, like Terrace House lol). It’s about an hour long and at the start of it each of us has 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to speak followed by a response from the other person and then the rest of the time we discuss whatever topics we need to.
Having these meetings have helped me SO much in SO many ways. It has kept me accountable, helped me come up with new ideas, given me answers, are fun, and I always leave each meeting with new ideas and excited to get started on them!
Besides that Susan is amazing and I just think she is so wise and I enjoy her company, I think our MM has worked for us because of a couple of reasons: we truly care about the other person and want to see them succeed, we take our MM seriously, we are able to meet up and have face-to-face time consistently, and we are in the same type of industry but have taken different paths/had different experiences/do different things (we can relate yet provide a different perspective).
If there’s someone you think would be a good fit for you and vice versa to do this with, I think you should reach out to them and schedule your first meeting! I’ve learned that having support like this is invaluable.
PS: Your MM doesn’t have to be the same as ours–you can definitely structure it differently/however you’d like!
4. Make Social Media A Positive and Happy Place For YOU
If that means unfollowing people or muting posts and stories, do it! We have all experienced the negative side of social media and what an unhealthy life-sucking black hole it can be! If people you follow are making you feel bad about yourself, making you compare, or anything that isn’t good for your mental and emotional health, stop looking at it by removing it from your feed. It’s not to say that these people are doing anything wrong or intentionally making you feel that way–it’s more about us. For example, it’s weird but there are some people I am genuinely SO happy for and then with other people, their wins make me feel so bad about myself! Stopping myself from looking at their posts has not just made me feel better but helped me focus on my own path instead of worrying about what everyone else was doing. I fully support community over competition and I also genuinely believe there is enough success for all of us, but at the same time, I don’t ever want my support for someone else to come from a place that is not genuine or fake in any way.
On the flip side of things, I try very hard not to post things that I think may make others feel badly. It’s important to celebrate our successes but I also think it’s important to pick which ones we share and how we share it.
With ALL of that said, I know I am very lucky to have found a wonderful community on Instagram! Many internet friends have become real life friends and social media has been a huge part of my journey so I am very grateful for all the positives that have come from it!
PS: Some accounts I highly recommend you follow and make me very happy whenever I see their posts: @wolfgang2242, @owenthegriff, @scruffles_fatcat, @hotdudeswithdogs, @hotdudeswithkittens, and @overheardla ;)
5. Make a NO LIST
I heard about the No List on another episode of The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes, Episode 670: Building An Influential Personal Brand with Rory Vaden. A No List is exactly what it sounds like–it’s what you ‘re going to say NO to! We won’t be able to do it all and saying no to something gives us the chance to say yes to something else. I can have a hard time saying no (anyone else?), so this was a really good exercise for me that has eliminated a lot of stress and helped me stay on track.
I only had one thing on my No List in 2018 and it was to say NO TO CUSTOM PROJECTS. This might sound surprising but I decided that I want to be product and workshop based and in order to do that, I needed to stop working on custom projects (such as addressing envelopes or creating invitations or signs). Although I have loved aspects of every project I have worked on, they’d be more stress, time, and work than I had anticipated–EVERY SINGLE TIME! And accepting those jobs and sharing photos of them would only lead to more of the same work that I was trying to stay away from. This had nothing to do with my clients (who have all been amazing!) but more to do with me and what my own strengths and weaknesses are. I have found that I am much happier working this way. There are exceptions–if a dream job or custom project I was really excited about came my way, I am allowed to say “yes” to them but only because they made me super excited and not because I feel like I had to.
6. Anything Is STILL Possible
When I was younger and throughout my 20s, I completely believed that anything was possible. Like if a friend told me they were going to become an astronaut but had no previous education or training in this area, I would completely believe that it was 100% possible if they were willing to put in the work and make it happen! I also believed deep down that I had it in me to lead a different life, one that I wanted to live and to do things that would be special and leave an impact. As I got older (I am 34 now), without me realizing, that part of me slipped away and the reality of life and paying bills and being an adult set in. It’s not that I didn’t believe this anymore, but I just kind of forgot about the magic of possibility I had believed in so strongly before. I recently remembered this and realized that I shouldn’t let that part of me/way of thinking slip away! I truly do believe that no matter how young or old we are or how whatever, anything is still possible if we really want it! This also goes back to mindset and truly believing in yourself!
I think this quote sums up pretty well how I feel: “Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” — Charles Bukowski
BONUS: Celebrate your WINS and acknowledge your STRENGTHS
Most people don’t do this enough, myself included! I am sure there were SO many things we all accomplished these past 365 days but the things that pop into mind is what we HAVEN’T done. So this is a reminder to celebrate all the amazing things you have achieved and all the things you are capable of doing in the days to come. In the same vein, don’t forget to acknowledge your strengths. Instead of thinking “I wasn’t this” or “I wasn’t that”, acknowledge and celebrate the strengths you possess that have helped you get through tough times and allowed you to be where you are today!
A few of my wins for the year was teaching almost 50 workshops and I am really proud of some of the freebie PDFs I have included in my newsletter this year. And because of the workshops, I’ve realized that one of my strengths is being able to make people feel welcome and comfortable and it’s something I’d like to do more of in the future!
PODCASTS THAT HAVE IMPACTED MY LIFE THIS YEAR
Here are my favorite podcasts and episodes that have helped shape my year:
And some other podcasts I love:
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!
How has the past year been for you? What are some lessons you have learned? What are your dreams and aspirations for 2019? I’d love to hear! I also wanted to take this time to thank you for being here, for your time, and for your support–it really means so much to me. I am excited for what the new year holds and wish you lots of happiness, love, laughter, and success in the days to come! Happy New Year!
FREE PDFS FOR 2019
I have created 3 different PDFs to use for the new year and I wanted to share them with you! I have found in addition to everything that I mentioned above that writing things down and getting my thoughts on paper help me stay organized and help me keep my eye on the prize, whatever that may be! The 3 freebie downloads I have created are:
- The Hello 2019 is a PDF is an overview and outline of your year
- The Habit Tracker is a tool to be used daily to create new habits or maintain the ones you have
- The Mindset and Goals PDF is for you to organize your thoughts and goals on a monthly basis
If you’d like to use one or all of them, all of these PDFs (along with an entire library of free downloads) are available to my newsletter subscribers. I know how many emails we all get so I try to send just 1-2 emails each month to keep in touch and share things I think may be helpful! If you’d like to get on the list and receive these along with new PDFs every month as well as news and more, sign up for my newsletter by clicking here:
DIY Halloween calligraphy pumpkins has become my new favorite way to create fun and cute decorations for fall and Halloween! There’s so many different shapes and sizes that can be used for a variety of things from table top center pieces to porch decor to mini pumpkins to gift or top Halloween treats with–you can even branch out and letter on squash or apples! Here are all of my tips and directions on how to create your own lettered pumpkins!
BEFORE GETTING STARTED…
Here’s a few things to think about to help you get great results on your final lettered pumpkin!
PUMPKIN PICKING TIPS: Before getting your pumpkin, decide what color marker you’ll be using and what you want to write–this will help you decide what color/size pumpkin to get. Once you’re at the store, make sure to pick a pumpkin that has enough surface area to fit your text and that the portion that you’ll be writing on is smooth and blemish-free. Try to find a pumpkin that will sit flat on a surface so it’ll be easy to display.
WHAT TO WRITE: Short phrases work well because you can letter it large enough for people to read and it’ll fit on one side of a pumpkin. You can letter something that goes all the way around a pumpkin but that would work best if people are either allowed to pick it up to admire it or it’s a centerpiece for a table that can be seen from all sides. Otherwise, if this guy is going on your porch, it’s best to stick with someone that people can easily read as they are walking or driving by.
PRACTICE YOUR WORD/PHRASE: Before lettering on the pumpkin, I recommend practicing your word/phrase on paper first so you know how you want your letters to look, your hand gets used to the movements you will have to make, and you can practice the word/phrase in the actual size it’ll be on the pumpkin.
If you’d like to write the word “boo” as shown in the image, DOWNLOAD MY FREE BOO PRACTICE WORKSHEET! Trace the word in two different sizes then write it on your own.
If you like the practice sheet and would like more in the future as well as INSTANT access to my free PDF library–which includes boo gift tags and an “eat, drink, and be scary” sign–join my newsletter so you don’t miss out BY CLICKING HERE TO SIGN UP!
DIY HALLOWEEN CALLIGRAPHY PUMPKINS
- Pencil (a #2 pencil works fine with a dull tip so it won’t pierce through the pumpkin)
- Permanent marker such as Sharpie or DecoColor Paint Pen
- Nail polish remover
1. Decide what area of the pumpkin you will be lettering on. Wipe that area with a damp towel to remove any dirt. Dry the pumpkin.
2. Before lettering, try to visualize where you want your word/phrase to start and end.
3. Lightly pencil in your word/phrase. If you need to make any adjustments, erase the area you’d like to change and pencil in your new line. Once you are happy with your light outline, go over it again in pencil, this time making the line darker.
4. Now you are ready to go over it with your permanent marker! Since this is a non-traditional surface, go very slowly! I’ve found that when you reach a ridge or dip, it works better to stop at the ridge, pick up your marker, and start again instead of trying to draw a continuous line through the ridge. If there are any gaps, go back and dot it in or draw a short line to connect it. Because these permanent markers do not have a brush tip, I used faux calligraphy to create my lettering. Faux calligraphy is manually making all the downstrokes you create thicker by coloring it in. I began by lettering the outline of my word first, then I went back to fill in all the downstrokes. Be careful when coloring to not scratch off the existing ink–it may help to fill in any light areas by creating small short strokes or dots to make that area darker. Don’t be afraid to turn your pumpkin upside down or sideways while you are lettering–whatever helps your hand and marker get to where it needs to go!
5. Make sure the ink is completely dry and erase any pencil lines that may be visible.
6. If you make a mistake, the ink can be removed with nail polish remover! If it’s in an area that is close to another letter, I recommend using Q-tips dipped in nail polish remover to erase your mistake. I originally made the dot of my exclamation point to high up and wanted to lower it. I was able to erase the original dot with the nail polish remover but it did take several tries and rubbing on the area pretty hard. So try to get it as close to how you want it as possible, without relying on being able to erase any mistakes. If you feel like you’ve messed up on a large area and want to start over, just turn to the other side of your pumpkin and start again there!
I hope you liked this tutorial and will try this project out and have discovered a new way to use pumpkins to celebrate the holidays! I love seeing what everyone comes up with so don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you post a picture or send me an email.
Have a fun and safe Halloween!
If you enjoyed the free “boo” practice sheet and would like 2 more Halloween inspired PDFs –one is an “Eat, Drink, & Be Scary” sign, the other is a “boo” goody bag tag–sign up for my newsletter to get instant access to download them! You will also receive access to my free PDF library! Sign up below by entering your email and clicking subscribe:
One of my favorite ways to utilize and practice my calligraphy is to create wrapping paper with it! This DIY calligraphy wrapping paper is easy to make, affordable, and so much fun to give to your friends and family! I love that you can personalize the text by adding the recipient’s name to the lettering (“Happy Birthday, Jessica!”), use the paper as a card and write your message directly on it (they can read it once it’s unwrapped–you might have to tell them not to rip it off though :)), or match the text with the gift (if you are giving concert tickets, write the lyrics from a song by the artist). There are so many things you can do with this so get creative with it! It’s also nice because this project is very forgiving–don’t worry about little mess ups or inconsistencies since you’ll be cutting the paper up, folding it, and also topping it with ribbon or other decor. I think what makes gifts special is the thought that goes into and this adds a lovely to touch to any present and occasion you are celebrating!
In this tutorial, I will be using brush lettering with brush pens to create the wrapping paper. If you do not know how to brush letter, it’s OK! Try faux calligraphy or using your own cursive or print on it–you will get the same effect. I also decided to go with a neater look with the lettering and having it go diagonally across the paper. I am using Marvy Uchida’s Le Plume II Brush Pen which I really like for medium to larger sized lettering.
For the kraft paper, I am using Goodscery‘s kraft paper roll. Their paper is 100% recyclable, biodegradable, and is available on Amazon Prime. I also like that the paper is not coated so it has a very nice and natural hand feel to it. The roll comes with a free ball of jute twine as well! Goodscery is offering 20% off to Atiliay readers– just enter the code 20OFFATILIAY when checking out! Click here to check out Goodscery kraft paper on Amazon.
I hope you and the recipient of your gift enjoy this tutorial and I’d love to see pictures of the DIY calligraphy wrapping paper you create– tag me on social media if you’re sharing it there or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)! If you’d like to see more versions of this gift wrap as well as other brush lettering ideas and projects, be sure to follow me on Instagram, @atiliay.
- Kraft paper roll
- Brush pen of your choice (the larger you’d like your writing to be, the larger the brush tip should be)
- Invisible tape
- Items to decorate your gift with: twine, ribbon, washi tape, sprigs of flowers or greenery, etc.
Step 1: Cut your kraft paper to size. Always add a little extra so you don’t end up with too little and don’t have enough to go around your box/gift! You can also save the larger scraps to wrap smaller gifts with.
Step 2: Decide on your lettering for this gift wrap:
1) What do you want to write?
2) How large/small do you want your lettering (which will help determine which brush pen to use)? Do you want it to be neat or a messy scrawl?
3) What is the layout of your lettering? Straight, diagonal, random, etc.?
For this tutorial I decided to letter “happy birthday!”, medium sized, and wanted to text to be written diagonally across the paper.
Step 3 (optional): Draw a light pencil outline of the lettering. If it’s a more complicated design, you want to have an outline to follow, or you are a perfectionist like me, draw a light pencil outline of the lettering first for placement, size, and to make sure your letter shapes and forms are how you like it. I made diagonal lines across the paper that are 1 3/4″ apart and lettered within them to help keep things looking neat and consistent.
Step 4: Start lettering! Go over your pencil lines or freehand it. If you used pencil, let the ink dry COMPLETELY, then erase any lines that weren’t traced over in the ink. (If you are impatient, set a timer and give your ink time to dry–it is the saddest thing to erase too early and smear your beautiful work!) The nice thing about the Marvy Le Plume II pens is that the ink dries quickly! I still will only erase a corner to make sure it’s smudge proof before starting to erase a bigger area.
Step 5: Wrap your gift up! I love this part and seeing the paper you just created come to life.
Step 6: Add the trimmings–I love this part as well and you can get really creative with this! One of my favorite things to do is add some fresh greenery to the gift (try to do this the day of so it stays fresh). You can use different twine/ribbon/lace, add a gift tag, top it with homemade pom poms, stick a bow on it–just to name a few ideas.
Step 7: Enjoy your new creation and have fun giving it away! :)
Happy 2018! I love the start of a new year and the clean slate and new beginnings it represents! I hope yours has been off to a great start so far. To be honest, the end of December and start of January was kinda rough for me–I got sick right before Christmas Eve and continued to be under the weather all throughout Christmas and into NYE and New Years. At first I thought I just had a cold but after a week, I still had no energy and could barely force myself to do anything! It took me longer than usual to recover and I am glad to finally be back on my feet. If you also caught the flu or whatever else is going around, I hope your new year is germ-free and that you are feeling much better!
Now that I can actually think clearly, I’ve gathered my thoughts on goals/resolutions/habits and set some intentions for the remaining 365 days. It inspired me to create this PDF so I’d have a place to write these things down, have something to serve as a reminder, and help keep me on track. This sheet is up on my bulletin board by my desk and I haven’t filled it out completely so that I have space to add things in throughout the year.
I actually create PDFs every month and send them as a freebie to my newsletter subscribers! As a subscriber you not only get new PDFs but you will also have access to the PDF library so you can download and use any of the PDFs I have sent out previously as well. If you’d like to join in on the fun, click here to sign up.
Here are some of the things I am adding to my “Hello 2018!” worksheet…
Words + Ideas to Focus On: DEVELOPMENT. This year, I really want to make development a priority–product development for Atiliay, developing my skills and interests, and self-development mentally, physically, and emotionally. These are some of the actions I have been taking to make the above happen:
For product development, I have made a commitment to dedicate at least 30 minutes 5 times a week to work on creating new products. This can mean taking an idea from start to finish or just having time to sketch and come up with new ideas.
For developing my skills and interests, I am keeping an eye out for different lettering challenges and prompts. I’ve found that I really respond to the structure and accountability of public group challenges like these. It seriously worked out perfectly that Lauren Hom just started her #homwork series where she provides a lettering assignment every week. I joined immediately and the first assignment was to letter your name surrounded by your favorite things. I had SO much fun making this and Lauren’s video of how she created hers was super helpful! It did take me awhile to figure out how to fill up the spaces but I so enjoyed making something just for the fun of it and feel like I learned several new things. Here’s what I ended up with:
For self-development physically, I have made a commitment to go to my trampoline workout class 10 times per month. (Having a paid membership also helps get me to go because I don’t want to waste that!) Mentally and emotionally, I am trying to meditate for 5 minutes every day.
I’ve found that putting these goals on a habit tracker (another free PDF I offer) has really helped to keep me accountable! I like being able to see how I am doing for an entire month and it’s really satisfying to color in each square when I have done something! It’s also a really good tool to see the things I am getting done and what has a bunch of white squares next to it (insert grimace emoji here). When nothing is filled out, it’s time to re-assess the situation to see how I can change that!
One thing I have really found to be true is that there is no better time than right now to start to build your new habit or reach your goal–meaning even if you fall off the band wagon, you don’t have to wait for a new month or a new year to pick things back up. Start right now! I will admit I am not so good about being consistent with things–like I filled in my tracker and was super gung-ho at first but mid-month I missed a day, then another…I thought to myself, maybe I’ll just leave the rest blank and pick it up again with a new sheet next month. But I decided against it, because I want to finally fill out an entire tracker for a month! I went back and filled it out as best as I could, and am continuing to use it again. So if you’re like me, don’t give up! We can do it! :)
3 Things I’d Like To Accomplish This Year:
1) Teach 4 workshops per month
2) Start blogging again, at least 2 entries per month
3) Streamline my processes
Places To Go: Animal Place, Harry Potter World at Universal Studios
Things To Learn: Different styles of hand lettering, how to better utilize MailChimp my newsletter needs
Books To Read: I have several books that I have either started and not finished or have been on my “to read” list for far too long! My goal is to read 1 book every quarter and these are the books I am focusing on (in no particular order):
1) Contagious – Why Thing Catch On by Jonah Berger
2) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
3) Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
4) Tell Me About Yourself: 6 Steps For Accurate and Artful Self-Definition by Holley M. Murchison
I’ll let you know how they are as I finish them!
Recipes To Cook: I have so many I want to try! I really love a good cookbook, especially one with beautiful photos, so I am hoping to work my way through the ones I have this year. This coincides with another resolution of mine which is to cook more and eat out less! I actually love to cook and would like to do it 5 times a week and eat out only twice. The cookbook I am currently focusing on is The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. My mom gifted it to me many years ago and I use it fairly often although it’s been awhile since I’ve picked it up. So far I’ve tried a pasta recipe and I made risotto for the first time! After watching Hell’s Kitchen for many years, it was cool to finally make this particular dish, something that Chef Ramsey has yelled about starting from day 1 lol.
What about you? Do you have a word or phrase for 2018? What are some of your resolutions and goals? How do you make sure you keep those resolutions going all year round? Any tips / advice? I’d love to hear and/or see how you’ve used your “Hello 2018!” PDF!
Thank you for being here and reading my first post for 2018! :) (Another goal of mine is to keep up with the blog this year! I think it’s such a great way for us to connect even more–there’s only so much I can fit into an Instagram caption or newsletter lol)
May your year be filled with joy, creativity, adventure, and laughter!
Happiest new year to you!
To get access to the downloads mentioned in this post, sign up for my newsletter by clicking here.