Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology

Information Overload

The internet is too big sometimes.

There’s about a million articles on how to grow your business, how to market yourself, what to do and how to do it and when to do it and who to do it for or with and why you should do it a certain way.

It’s a bit overwhelming to say the least! Not to mention developing the actual craft of doing whatever it is you’re doing, especially anything digital. There’s  updates and changing trends, tips and trips, and just plain ol’ honing your craft.

Maybe it’s because everyone around me is in ‘Spring Cleaning’ mode, but I feel like I need to de-clutter my mind. And in the future, be more mindful of the information I pay attention to and trust.
Lately, I feel like my mind is too crowded with so much ‘guidance’, it’s difficult to hear my own thoughts and ideas. This is NOT a good place to be in as a designer since the goal is to create new things, new ideas and are expected to make unique connections.  It’s pretty much impossible to do that if those new thoughts and ideas always have to pass through a checkpoint of what the ‘rules’ say about it or what am I ‘supposed’ to do.

I’m pretty fed up with it.

So, I’ve decided to devote the month of April to tuning out all the chatter and tuning in to my own inner voice. How you ask? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. I’m not going to post a bulleted list out of pure spite and rebellion. 

Already, I can hear the inner protest:
“But the only way you can learn is to do what others do!”
“You need to seek out, hear and take advice all the advice you can get! Otherwise you’ll grow arrogant and egotistical!”
“Why don’t you think you need guidance? Do you know everything already?!” 

There’s a time and a place, friend. Only doing what others have done, doing what you’re told, doing what you have to, and following other’s advice only gets you so far. And, if that’s all you do, you become hollow with no real substance. Right now, I feel like a hollow shell lined with should do’s and need to’s without a real reliable inner source to connect everything.

I guess you just have to start somewhere and run with it until you can hear yourself again. 

The terrible irony about this post is it was inspired by The Honest Designer’s Show podcast hahahaha One of the hosts threw out the phrase, “Upgrade Yourself.” and my mind couldn’t let go of that thought. It’s time I upgrade myself – which means getting rid of the stuff holding me back.
Maybe that’s the trick – pay attention to the information that inspires you, not the kind that scolds you.
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Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology

March: Momentum

It’s hard to maneuver a slow moving bicycle. 

For a while now, I’ve felt like I’ve been peddling very slowly and cautiously in my business. Along the way, trying to avoid any foreseeable pitfalls or getting myself in too deep.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to gain any momentum at all that way.

At the beginning of this year, I made a goal to not say “I’m busy” or use “I’m busy” as an excuse not to do things, not to connect with people, and not to take on projects. …I’ve definitely still said, “I’m busy” but, less often and that’s progress.
And it’s been a bit of a red flag every time those words come out of my mouth that I need to step back and take an honest look at what I’m doing at that very moment. Not will be doing. Not thinking about doing  or hoping to do or, my favorite, maybe might be doing at some point.
I’ve been busier and more productive this year than ever.  And it’s been easier.

Back when I first started designing, I had a client who pushed me beyond what I thought I could do. I would get frustrated,  feel like my work wasn’t good enough, feel like I couldn’t do the work he was asking me for, and I wanted to give up. But instead, I compulsively said yes or “I’ve never done that before, but I’ll give it a shot!”
Several days ended in frustration, but that didn’t compare to the days that ended in – “Holy cow, how did I do that?” “I didn’t know I could do so much in one day!” or the even more rare “I’m really, really proud of what I did here.” 

That feeling of relief, pride, and success can’t be bought or manufactured artificially. It happens spontaneously without even hoping for it and that’s what so great about it. You can’t force it. It only happens when you’re completely focused on the job at hand, pour everything you have into it, and then let it go.

The stranger thing about this is, looking back on the work I did, it’s not that good! haha Which means I’m still pushing, growing, and developing as an artist. And that’s a good thing.

I’ve had quite a few clients that push me to do more, be better, and do things I don’t think I can do. A whole slurry of them in the beginning and I think that was a foreshadowing.

But, back to momentum.
I haven’t miraculously gotten more time, but I’ve become a TON better at managing my time and more important, my energy.

At the beginning of the year I posted a sort of resolution list. To be honest, I’ve looked at this list a handful of times since I wrote it, but I guess it’s been somewhere in the back of my mind because I’ve pretty much conquered one of the hardest things I’ve struggled with : setting and sticking to work hours.
I’ve been working diligently Monday – Friday 8am-4pm and have gotten my mind in a nice routine where, this is just what I do. Even the partial month hiatus in January didn’t mess things up too much because I have the momentum to keep things going.
Coincidentally enough, I have a ton more energy now, too.

Also on that list was pumping up my Patreon. I just posted my first coloring page and I feel like it’s time for Spiderluf to really come alive. Feel free to poke around there from time to time.
This is a bit tied to my Drawing goal which I’ve been working on and posting things on instagram.

Another thing that’s really been nagging me for the past month or so is the live feeds or videos of some type. I posted a video on Youtube, let it sit for about a day and promptly took it down because it was just embarrassing. 😃 For all those people that say, “Set a date to accomplish your goals!”
Well, sometimes that works. This time it Very much did Not work.
But it’s nagging at me so I have a feeling the time will be soon for that.

And with all this momentum, the time may be sooner than I think. 

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

February already?! + Kolbe A Report Review

January absolutely flew by! I took a good portion of the month off to focus on my husband’s Retirement ceremony and to spend time friends and family who flew in to visit.

But man, as soon as the last guest was on the plane on Tuesday, things have already taken off and – somehow – I already have multiple projects in the works.

One of the friends who came to visit is a business whiz. He introduced sent me an assessment test he gives to his representatives called the Kolbe Test. The purpose of the test is to determine your MO (Modus Operandi) and figure out the natural way you work to accomplish things.

I can’t say my results were surprising, since I like to think I know myself pretty well – but it did help me understand that I should just stop trying certain methods because they’re just never going to work for me!

One of the first sentences in my results is, “You’ll say ‘yes’ before you even know the end of the question – then turn it into a productive adventure.”
I always was told this was a negative thing because “you should know what you’re getting into before you say yes.” But, looking back, all of these en devours have been profitable for me in some way – either by learning what to do and what not to do, pushing myself further, or the *best* result of it turning out even more successful than I thought.
Since I’m highly innovative and adaptable according to the test, I deal with risk and uncertainty extremely well.

Another thing I found extremely helpful was the “Do’s and Don’t” lists.
kolbe_dosdonts
So, there, I have it in writing. I work better the way everyone says not to work. 

This month I’m going full force Maximum Effort into testing out these results.
I’m not going to get immersed in complexities, re-read all the fine print (that’s a bad habit of mine, re-reading something until it doesn’t make any sense), avoid overly scheduling myself, stop second guessing myself.
I’m going to find shortcuts, actively pursue multiple projects, race the clock, and use props or photos for presenting information, and experiment!

My first experiment is going to be with my YouTube channel – I’m actually going to use it. I’ve read and research tons of ways to monetize on youtube, practiced my speaking and engagement abilities, I’ve just put it off because … video editing. Yuck.
But, no one says they *have* to be edited, so… they might just be raw and uncut.

I’ve been watching fellow ENFP-er Dan Johnson, Dreams Around the World and his videos have totally inspired me to give it a go and not look back. I’ll have my first video up by Monday, Feb 5th.

If there’s nothing up by then – feel free to yell at me in the comments!

**All images in this post are property of Koble Corp and I didn’t make any of them – but I think they’re pretty awesome.

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Uncategorized

2018 Goals

I feel like it’s a good start to stick to my word on things I say about 2018 – So, here I am. Outlining my goals for 2018 just like I said I would do on Tuesday.
Yep, that’s definitely a good start. 

2018 GOALS 

  • Dive into Passive Income Streams 

My store has just been sitting there collecting dust since I signed up I don’t even know how long ago. I see people making and selling Really cool stuff on this site all the time for other designers and non-designers all the time – I want to be one of those people!
Focus: Patterns, Textures, Objects, Business Card, Greeting Cards, Resumes, Stationary, Social Media, & Presentations …and Photography. …Maybe.
– Independent Artist Market sites (Zazzle, DBU, TeePublic
I’ve already become pretty active in a few of these,… actually, a few more than I listed, with very little success.
After investigating further, I see being interactive in the community makes a big difference. And I can’t be super active if I’m on like 12 different sites. 😃 I chose my favorites to be active in so I’m not spread too thin.
Focus: Tshirts, Stickers, Mugs, Notebooks, Cards, Packaging, Gifts

  • Keep Working Out my drawing, writing, and crafting skills

  • Set actual “Work Hours” 

– I hate saying, “I’m busy” when my family or friends want to do something. This year I constantly felt like I should be in another place, if I was outside my office, I felt like I should be in my office and vice versa. It’s a terrible feeling that I’d rather get rid of entirely.
Setting work hours would help me focus more on what I need to do because I’d have a limited amount of time to do it in (I.E. *Really Working* and not surfing facebook or watching Oxhorn’s Fallout 4 walkthroughs. I use this same technique with exercise – exercising “until I’m done” isn’t nearly as effective as “AAAAHHH I ONLY HAVE 30 MIN!

I’ve had a Patreon account for some time now (I’m a boss at signing up for accounts, setting up my banner and avatar, and then letting them sit there until the end of time), it’s only been until recently when I saw how my sister was using hers that I finally thought, “Oooh, so THAT’S how it works!” And it’s pretty awesome. AND I can actually use it to help keep me on top of the first two goals among other things.

  • Go Live 

My facebook live feed did a lot of great things for myself and others. It gave me more confidence, made things more ‘real’, and inspired some pretty great conversations. It even motivated one of my friends into pursuing her thought of opening her own store! It’s also possible to go live on Patreon. …which would be better in my opinion, because facebook is a black hole of distraction.

And that’s all I’m going to commit to because it’s 11:59 right now which means it will *technically* be Saturday when I post this.
One of my biggest obstacles with keeping to a time table is being legalistic about it. The Second biggest obstacle is the “all or nothing” mentality.
At least I know what I’m up against. Speaking of…

Goal Crushers to Fight/Ignore: 

  • Procrastination
  • Perfectionism
  • Comparison
  • Confusion
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

A Long Road Ahead

It’s all too easy to forget how far we’ve come when we’re striving for something.
It’s even EASIER to do that when there’s no hard and steady target at the end.

I’m a big believer in the milestone and accumulative goal strategy. Like a lot of people, it’s very difficult for me to visualize what my ‘ultimate goal’ looks like, or even to verbalize. How in the world do you visualize something that doesn’t exist yet? 

I’ve never been the first in my class in anything. In fact, I was much more likely to be the kid who had to stay in on lunch, afterschool, and staying up late trying to finish a project so I could get a barely passing grade. I’m very familiar with failure and all the disillusion it brings. 
And I’m somewhat grateful for it. It’s the reason why I’m experience oriented and can appreciate the lows just as much as the highs. I always have fun along the way.

With the New Year fast approaching and resolutions spreading like wild-fire, I feel pressured to nail down some goals and reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far. I started thinking about this a few days ago when I read this post from a very insightful blog I read. Up until very recently, I haven’t been results driven at all. A results driven mindset is something I’m aiming for in 2018. I’m not thinking of it as a ‘new’ mindset, more like a complimentary one to my experience driven mind.

A Results mind is a puzzle – An Experience Mind is a freehand drawing.

When drawing or learning any new craft (or really anywhere in life) – the best way to learn is to be curious, try different things, copy, and make lots and lots of mistakes along the way. This is where I feel like I’ve been for the past several years – and now it feels like the time to put those pieces together. ...and still keep the curiosity alive.

I usually takes the slow route to something, inspecting and dissecting a thing from every angle before putting it to use. I love processing an idea until it’s mush. In a way, I almost dread actually achieving a goal because that’s the end of analysis – what if I’ve overlooked something? What if I didn’t understand something thoroughly enough? What if I missed a connection? These are the haunting thoughts I have to fight with faith that I’ll be enlightened along the way even after it’s over.

I’ve progressed quite a ways in design since the beginning – definitely not any where close to being at the ‘top of the class’, but enough so that I’m proud of myself and confident in my skills and even more than that – my ability to learn and keep learning. 

Lessons of 2017: 
  • Dedicated more time into hard skills like drawing and writing
  • Better organized myself and my projects using Trello and Wunderlist
  • Strengthened my skills in InDesign (aka – my ‘spider’ of design software)
  • Strengthened my speaking skills by doing a slew of Live Streams on facebook
  • Teamed up with a webdesigner friend to develop my website
  • Explored being a Project Manager for a Print Company 
  • Earned Around $8,000 via UpWork, LinkedIn, and Personal Outreach
  • Developed a personal fun project to keep myself motivated for all the boring projects that pay bills
  • Connected (and kept connections) with more people in my field
  • Developed stronger connection with family and friends thanks to my live streams, Glide, and reaching out

Goals for 2018: 
  • Adopt schedules and set/meet deadlines
  • More TBA on Friday 😉
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

The Inside vs The Outside

I recently took some ‘glamour shots’ for my professional profiles thinking it was no big deal – but the feedback was really interesting and spurred on this analysis:

It wasn’t until I was around 25ish I started to come in to my own look and just go with it. I realized it was much less dramatic than I thought it would be – actually, downright boring. I was addicted to the struggle, the fear, the anxiety of trying too hard. In a morose way, I liked the drama of obsessing. When I decided to say, “Okay, I’m just going to do this and trust the process.” No beating myself, no self loathing, no constant comparison to other people, no standing in the mirror over analyzing every bit of extra flesh. Just cause and effect. I toned up, extra weight fell off, and there was nothing left to do.

The most anti-climactic win Ever. 

Then what? I’ve always gotten compliments because I smile all the time, so compliments were nothing new. I felt better in my own skin, but after about a week I was over it. It was Extremely disappointing to not have habitual goal to think about all the time. I knew I didn’t want to lose more weight or build muscle because I had done that before and didn’t like it. Chest bones are not pretty. And then you go from compliments to people openly saying rude things like, “Eat a sandwich.” So I had found my happy medium. But now what? I missed the drama, the obsession about a process.

Success is less dramatic than the journey there – and sometimes, even the journey there is boring. I believe this is part of why so many people don’t achieve their goals – especially physical goals. It can be highly disappointing when you get to the top and find there’s no where else to go, but down the other side.

About the age of 30, I decided beauty wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. All you really get with being beautiful is compliments from the outside world and being confident in yourself (okay, so, that last one does help quite a bit!). I realized that unless I was going to be a model or something where I’m in the spotlight, good looks is really inconsequential. And I want to be more than just a pretty face. 

The process is the real treasure. Developing attributes like Patience, Will-Power, Focus, Resilience, and Determination. These ideals are easy to transfer in to any area of life once you have an area to relate.

Coincidentally, around the time I was having this epiphany- I took a challenge to do 2 weeks of live videos on Facebook saying one thing I’m thankful for. And I realized, I do Quite enjoy being in the spotlight! I don’t believe looks are completely under our control, a lot of it is the genetic lottery – so I can’t take credit for most of it. But I also don’t believe in squandering gifts, so I’m working on ways to incorporate where I already have my confidence to other places I’m working on building up. 

Turns out, looks do matter in this world despite how unimportant it can seem, so it’s good to be wise about it. And just like how you dress and look can attract/repel certain people in your personal life, the same is true when making a portfolio. I realized the “Look” of my portfolio doesn’t appeal to those projects I really want to work on. So, I’ve decided to re-design my portfolio. And no, the irony isn’t lost on me that my mind is still focused on the look of things. I’ve just re-routed the means and the end goal to be a marketable skill.
In creative fields (and other fields that use the mind as the main tool), there’s no ‘top’ to reach because imagination is endless and always growing.

A few years ago, I would have thought that would be disheartening, but now, it’s encouraging to know there’s no disappointment at the top and the journey will never end. 

A man’s reach should exceed his grasp. – Robert Browning

Posted in Attitude, Design, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 26: It’s not a Fail if you’re still Trying

Notevember is MUCH more challenging for me than Inktober was – Obviously.
But as usual, even though I’ve fallen far, far, FAR from my goals – just aiming my intention towards a specific direction has brought me a lot of clarity.
I’m experimenting with quite a few different shops to see which one has the best user interface + best prices for customers.  Society6, Design By Humans, Teepublic, RedBubble, Customized Girl, and Threadless
(Some of these don’t have anything on them yet…Patience. Use it.)
And, I’ve decided to split my spider loving self away from my Hello Holly business self – which means a lot more work for me, but a lot less confusion for everyone in the long run! Now if I can figure out how to split myself into more people to manage it all…hmm… 
I’m fortunate to have a lot of people in my life supporting me. I looked at the people I feel I know best develop some ‘Market Personas’ to determine which style of design goes on which T-shirt site.
Here’s the breakdown: 
Persona: Christy (Sister)
Style: Quotes, Typography, Illustration
Site: Threadless
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Rachel (Stepdaughter)
Style: Glamorous, Elegant
Site : Society6, CustomizedGirl
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Dad (Male)
Style: Masculine, Quotes, Typography
Site: RedBubble, Teepublic
Store: Hello Holly
Persona: Mom (Female)
Style: Hippie, Whimsical, Colorful, Gypsy
Site: Society6, CustomizedGirl
Store: Spiderluf
Persona: Brian (Husband)
Style: Superheros, Comic book, Fantasy
Site: TeePublic, RedBubble
Store: Hello Holly
Persona: Jamy (Music Enthusiast Sister)
Style: Whimsical, Abstract, Geometric, Ethereal
Site: Design by Humans
Store: Spiderluf

Breaking things down this way helped me narrow down what to put where so that everything in a store looks the same. I’ve had problems in the past setting up a store because everything looked so dang different from each other and that irritated me! In keeping with my consistent avoidance of consistency, I want to try different styles – but putting them all in one place is super confusing for the general public.
It’s probably like someone trying to find something in my kitchen.
Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Psychology

NOTEvember 14: Aiming for Anything

Thanks to Inktober, I have a good bit of artwork to use for my tshirt shop! Two uploaded today and they look pretty dang good if I do say so myself. I already have plans for the second round which will feature watercolor elements to these designs.

I’ve noticed that when I’m trying to get one thing done, a whole lot of other things get done in the wake of anticipating that one thing.

Today, I opened my UpWork profile up for proposals again and within 5 hours, received 7 invites for projects. Business wise, it was a pretty good day all around. … despite me not making my 5 Design Goal of the day. 

This is what happens when I set my sights on something – I feel like I should be busy doing Something at any given moment – even if it’s not what I originally intended, I still get interesting things done.

This is probably how serendipity finds me.

And tomorrow I’ll try again to reach my goal.

Posted in Attitude, Design, Personal Life, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 13 : 01 Spiderlove

There are a Lot of online shop platforms out there.

And I have at least 6 accounts that I can remember : Zazzle, Society6, Design By Humans, Threadless, RedBubble, StoreEnvy, and Etsy.

There’s a lot of questions to ask when publishing to any of these: “What kind of quality is it?” “What’s the community like?” “What’s most popular in these stores?”  “What percentage do I receive?” “What seems to be most requested?” 

I chose to go with Design by Humans for my upload today because the marketplace is more ‘my style’…or the style I’m going for, at least.

Society6 is a close second favorite of mine – neither of these give very good pay outs… but, the ones that give better percentages either a.) are crappy quality or b.) terrible buyer/customer interface or c.) all of the above (Here’s looking at you Zazzle and Threadless!).

So…aiming for 5 designs uploaded was a bit ambitious when I hadn’t made my mind up about which store to go with… But I did get one up! The idea is to do a series of ‘Spiderlove’ featuring some of the artwork I made during Inktober. Check it out!

Let’s see if I can get 5 designs up tomorrow. …I’m not very good at setting ‘easily attainable’ goals apparently. But I’ll keep trying!

Which one of the online stores I mentioned have you heard of? Ever bought anything from an online independent artist shop? I’d love to have your input! Comment below!

Posted in Attitude, Personal Life, Psychology, Uncategorized

NOTEvember 12 : Weekend Bust

I mentioned before that I never get anything done on the weekends.
And what do you know?
No posts over the weekend. 😃

I did manage to fulfill my goal of 5 crochet spiders and they turned out quite nice. I’m still tweaking the design a bit since it’s a bit difficult to get them on the pencil.
Once I iron out the kinks, maybe they’re something I can sell through my site. …or give away. People always like free things.

Once I get in the zone of doing something, it’s very difficult to get out of that zone.
I crocheted all weekend and now have quite a few crochet spiders and a new cat toy. That made me think, maybe I need more than just a day to focus on something, maybe I need to ride the wave until it dies down.

Maybe I need to stick to a plan for more than 5 seconds! 

With all this Christmas stuff being advertised, I feel an urgency to get my shops up and going with new designs. So I’m going to switch focus to my online stores this week.

This weeks goal: 5 new designs in at least one store per day. 

That seems achievable. I’m lumping the whole week’s goals into one thing because… I hate thinking of a new goal every day. Maybe I’ll be more successful that way.