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:
- Optimal Living Daily
- TED Radio Hour
- The Chalene Show 10 Mental Exercises To Fortify A Positive Attitude
- The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes Episode 635: High Performance Habits from Master Coaches
- The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes Episode 670: Building An Influential Personal Brand with Rory Vaden
- The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes Episode 695: Your Throughts Will Heal or Kill You with Marisa Peer
- The Tony Robbins Podcast Do You Ever Feel Like A Fraud?
And some other podcasts I love:
- Getting Curious With Jonathan Van Ness
- How I Built This
- The Moth
- This American Life
- This Is 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: