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July 23, 2018

There isn’t a question I dread more from a taxi driver/fellow wedding guest/general stranger, than ‘So what do you do?’ Now of course I understand that this query comes from a good place of general interest and isn’t designed to catch me out, but despite what my job these days actually is, I’m not someone who likes to talk about myself that much. I know, I have no idea how I ended up here either. Given the nature of an internet job, I completely understand the interrogation-like questioning that usually follows my answer, but on the way to the airport this week a kind driver simply replied with ‘Good for you!’, when he asked and I answered with how long I’ve done this for. I’ve blogged and made YouTube videos as my full-time job for six years now and his sweet reply made me realise that that’s a darn long time, especially in an industry that’s still so new and fledging.

I love what I do and constantly count my lucky stars that I get to call this my job. One thing I have learnt from it though, is that even if it all went down the pan tomorrow I’d still like to work for myself if possible. The ‘being your boss’ thing is completely my crack and is something that over the years I’ve become more and more comfortable with as I’ve found my feet. Now it’s something I’m not sure I’d ever want to give up. So today I’m rounding up my top tips that I’ve learnt through this whole experience for the self-employed contingent, or just a peep through the keyhole for you nosey lot…

The Boring Stuff. It’s dry, often confusing and pretty expensive, but getting professional advice on how to set-up your business, is the best thing you can do when working for yourself. I’ll never forget my Dad traipsing me down to my Accountant’s when I got my first cheque from YouTube (It was £66 and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to cash in a cheque! I did in my lunch-break at work and I won’t ever forget that moment), and the whole set-up cost more money than I’d ever made through blogging and YouTube at the time. LOLZ – thanks Dad! But it was 100% the right thing to do and these days it’s a service that I’m always more than happy to pay the invoice for, because having the financial side of the business taken care of by people who know what they’re doing, takes such a large workload off my plate. If numbers really aren’t your style, a bookkeeper can be a great investment too; as they bridge the gap between you and your accountant – keeping a closer eye on invoices and expenses and leaving even less for you to do with the financials, freeing up more time for you to focus on the ‘getting shit done’ side of your business.

Establish a Routine. This idea won’t work for everyone, as there may be some businesses and some people who like to keep things more free and easy with their timings and workload, but personally I love a bit of routine in my day. It helps me to feel organised in what I do, which in turn helps to keep me relaxed and stress-free. At the very least I’d suggest setting your alarm for the same time every morning and aiming to close up your laptop at the same time every evening and leaving the house once a day (more on that below). I’m spinning the plates of a fair amount of projects these days, so it’s not always possible, but where it is I like the idea of doing certain tasks on certain days. For example, I quite like to get any scheduling, errands and big emails done on a Monday. I usually find myself filming videos on a Friday afternoon as that keeps me busy during my biggest procrastination peak of the week. Then if I have any high priority tasks I like to get them done in the mornings as that’s when I’m at my most efficient. It’s not rigid and it has to have a certain degree of flexibility worked into it, but setting up working hour parameters at the least, helps you to find harmony between your work and your home.

Your Energy Reserves. This is a good idea to think about whether you work for yourself, or someone else; but it’s working out how and where you get your energy from. Do you feel like it gets recharged when you’re in full-on relaxation mode, or do you feel it creeping up when you socialise with friends. I’m someone who loves to be social – a right chatterbox me – however I gain my energy in introverted ways whenever I’m on my own. So when I look at my schedule I know that I need to find both time with others, and time on my own to regain my energy in equal measures. Working for yourself means that there’s always a bit of pressure on your to be in tip-top condition when it comes to motivation, so spend some time picking apart this idea of where it is that you gain your energy for work from, and add it into your routine as much as possible.

LEAVE. THE. HOUSE. Ever since we moved back to Brighton three years ago now, I make sure that I leave the house every single day. When we lived in London I was TERRIBLE at this and often went stretches of three days just within the same open-plan one bed flat and it sent me a little round the bend. Back then I thought that adding any break time into my day meant that I was wasting time, but actually all I was doing was wasting time epically every afternoon when I’d procrastinate for two hours. The act of psychically leaving the house gives you a slap in the face of fresh air which instantly revives you and gives you a chance to focus on something else – whether it be for 10 minutes, or an hour. I either go to a Pilates class, or leave to do errands every single day and I’m a better, more productive person because of it.

Enjoy the Benefits. I can hand on my heart say that over the past six years I have taken way less than my 28 days holiday that I’d have in your average job. Partly because I love what I do so my work trickles pretty much into every day of the week; whether I’m at my desk or away, and partly because I’m a one-girl-band, so if I’m not getting a task done – no one else is. In the early years this hustle is completely understandable and taking time completely off may not be financially feasible. But when you think that it’s possible to take a week away and leave your laptop at home – DO IT. It’s only in the past two years that I’ve felt comfortable to do this and it’s made all the difference in how I approach my work and the balance between it and my life outside of what I do. Heck, I took almost a month off for my honeymoon over December and it was GLORIOUS. The break made me excited for my return and I was able to pick things up from where I left off, just with added spring in my step. Now taking a whole month off in one go every year isn’t on the cards for me, but I am trying to factor more ‘proper time-off’ holidays into my calendar these days and I’m trying to be a bit more flexible with my working hours. It might not always be this way, so I’m making the most of it and trying to lean into reaping the rewards of my current role. Have the morning coffee with your mate! Clock off early for drinks and just start earlier tomorrow! It’s your honeymoon? Take off as long as you can! We could always be doing more, but we’ll do it even better if we’re happy, relaxed and well-rested.

Photos by Emma Croman

Original Content courtesy of the Anna Edit, which can be found here. 

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July 9, 2018

Let’s be honest, checking your social media networks can sometimes put quite a damper one your self esteem. Even the most experienced and confident users are guilty of posting a gorgeous image of their work or a life event only to second guess it as soon as they see another accounts carefully curated and well thought out feed.

It is incredibly easy to fall into a comparison trap, becoming obsessed with how your life appears to others and overly conscious of every move you make online. And, even though your feed is be getting a good amount of followers or likes, you may still be concerned that it’s not as good as the others out there. We know, we know. We’ve all been there at one time or another.

So, what can you do when you love the thrill that you get from viewing and sharing posts with users from around the world, but you also get a pit in your stomach the minute you start scrolling through the perfection that is your follow list? These 5 tips will give you the ability to fulfill your social media craving while keeping your self esteem perfectly in tact.

5 WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA & PROTECT YOUR SELF ESTEEM

  1. DETERMINE YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC – When you are looking through your newsfeed, it is easy to forget that you may be “speaking” to a different demographic than someone else who posts only color coded, pre-planned perfection. Think about the purpose of your feed and who is meant to see it? If you are a Mama who loves sharing pics of your kids with far away loved ones, you absolutely should not feel the pressure to do it the same way as the Mommy Blogger with 60,000 followers and multiple sponsors. Keep in mind that the Mommy Blogger more than likely has an extensive knowledge of photography and photoshop due to YEARS of curating their content. Some of these users even have professional hairstylists, makeup artists and photographers that help them with each and every photoshoot.
  2. DEFINE YOUR CONTENT STYLE – Now that you know who your demographic is, start thinking about the best way to reach them and to have them take notice of your content. Some followers adore a heavily photoshopped image with a magical format and gorgeous colors, while others truly want to see raw, real life. For instance, a travel blogger may have the goal of giving their followers a glimpse into their lives, the good and bad, so they will most likely opt for a less edited and more realistic photo collage. But, a children’s photographer who specializes in fine art or creatively set up portrait photography may have a much more planned composition and a more defined edit. Determine which works best for your personal style and the purpose of your feed and run with it. Don’t worry about what another user is posting if the style doesn’t line up. (Master Tip: Check out these social media planning tools that will help you to style your content as needed!)
  3. TAKE A BREAK  – This may seem counterproductive to your ultimate goal, but trust me, it’s not. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “take care of yourself first”, and it absolutely applies to social media. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, are in hardcore comparison mode, or are just exhausted with the whole thing, take a little break. When you make the conscious choice to return to tending your feed, you will feel replenished and revived, and you will make better choices about how to handle and manage your networks. Sometimes, you need to listen to that little voice telling you that it’s time to step back.
  4. ENGAGE – The more that I engage with others on social media, the better I feel. There is nothing more confidence boosting than giving a compliment and making someone else day, so I try to do it often. See an instagram image that blows your mind? Tell the user! Can’t get enough of the design work you came across on a business feed? Let the user know that you are obsessed! They will appreciate the boost and before you know it, you’ll have built a community of like minded friends on social media that will take care to send positive vibes one another’s way!
  5. CREATE VISUAL CONTENT THAT YOU LOVE – It is hard to hear, mainly because we all want to fit in and hang out with the popular crowd, but at the end of the day, your parents were right. The only person that has to like it is you. Don’t feel the need to share everything with everybody, but make sure that the content that you do post gives you flutters in your heart. If you love it, there is nothing to compare. Just do you and let the others do them.

Interested in learning how we curate, manage, and plan our own business and personal social media networks. Check out our online course here!  We would love to see you there!

 

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June 5, 2018

I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have at least one Kate Spade wallet or bag in my rotation, so I was incredibly sad this morning to hear the news that the designer had passed away inside her Park Avenue apartment. While the investigation into her death is brand new, and other than the tidbits of information that are leaking though the press and gossip networks here in NYC, we do know one thing. Her death was more than likely suicide.

As a creative, I have a special place in my heart for those who “make” and “share” their work. Why? Because it can be torturously difficult to do, both internally and externally. We spend most of our days with our ideas, striving to find the best and most honest ways to turn them into tangible items. That transference from thought to finished product in itself is difficult, time consuming, and can be exhilarating, but also exhausting.

“If I were a fictional character I’d be Alice from Alice In Wonderland.” – Kate Spade

Add to that sharing our work with the world, opening ourselves up to praise, but also criticism.  And, I am actually of the mind that we need the criticism. How would our work evolve if we didn’t have a reason to adjust it; to better it? It would remain stagnant and boring. Getting hard to hear feedback, over time, helps to build the creative backbone, and makes us think more about the way that we create and present what we are sharing.

But, as much as the criticism is needed, I think there is a also a solid fact that we must recognize. You never know what another person is going through or how they are feeling. Shouldn’t it be expected that we give feedback and criticism to those around us constructively? Should we not take care to be sensitive to the mental health of other individuals? In my opinion, this should be incredibly important.

“Listen to others, but follow your own instincts.” – Kate Spade

More importantly, if you are feeling on the edge or are struggling mentally, please remember that better times will come. What you are going through right now, whether inflicted personally or by someone else, it will not be forever. You can get through it, and you will be better for it. Let yourself learn from your experiences and then use it for good. And please, please, don’t try to do it alone. Talk to someone, get help (HERE), and practice self care. This too, is important.

I leave with the words of Kate Spade herself; “Listen to others, but follow your own instincts.” I think we could all benefit from that advice.

 

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June 4, 2018

The Lust List by Sally Spratt, the gorgeous and talented illustrator behind the popular style series, has us absolutely swooning at The Art Of. We are obsessed with her gorgeously laid out, boldly colored watercolor illustrations, featuring all of your favorite styles and brands, from L’Occtaine to Vogue Magazine.

Based out of Sydney, Australia, Spratt creates her illustrations from inspiration she finds in her environment, including her awesome girl clique.

“Now I draw & design for a living, surrounding myself with inspiring and talented friends that become my every day inspiration. ” – Sally Spratt of the Lust List

Spratt says “I have been drawing and creating since I can remember…….I grew up drawing on strong everything, making all manner of things from scraps & in general always trying to design, style & make things visually exciting. It hasn’t changed too much over the years, however now I draw & design for a living, surrounding myself with inspiring and talented friends that become my every day inspiration.”

 Find Spratt and The Love List series on her Instagram here and her website here. You deserve it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more of our Artists & Makers Series here!

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