A Crazy Few Weeks

The prodigal daughter returns! Hooray!

It’s been a crazy few weeks my friends. Crazy. This Friday marks my official month at the internship and it’s daunting and amazing at the same time. There are incredible people who I am learning from and so many people I like. The office environment is unlike any that I’ve worked before and I can see myself both being comfortable and uncomfortable for a long time to come.

The past few weeks I’ve been both inspired and exhausted. More so exhausted, but it’s funny how exhaustion works. How even when feeling tired and crabby and uninspired, you can still rev the engines and move.  It’s also funny, how right when you’re in the thick of things and you’re on the phone after avoiding calling the credit counseling company, you break into tears and then feel the release of admittance and a feeling of new hope. And then it’s funny that you find someone who needs help walking his dog and is willing to pay you money to spend something like 15-20 minutes in the good, or bad, weather feeling good about getting time to work out your body all the while stopping a dog from dragging you around and attacking squirrels.  And then comes the moment you think, “I need to get a ticket to the 2012 Stationery Show”, and a woman you donated to last year emails you and tells you she has a ticket for you to the Stationery show and wants to take you to dinner as a thank you! It’s also funny, how just in the moment when you just want quiet and to sleep in your own bed, you find your house free of the one person you can’t stand the most, but busting to the brim with two of your favorite people (one roommate and her boyfriend), a dog that peed on your cable box and tore into bags, and two old friends: one from high school, and one not quite as old, but still an old friend who you met nine years ago in a pub in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day and have only had slight communication with thanks to social media since, but whose visit feeds your soul.

And then you add in all the other things (and also the first tense instead of the third)- the odd job requests I’ve gotten, even though they’ve fallen through. The fact that my business and my talent are on the radar of friends and Etsians.  The email and subsequent scheduling of dates to do sessions on paper and card making at the NY Public Library throughout the summer (more details coming soon!). Oh, yeah, working on orders in between all of this, having to rely on my printer for simple copies, AND having my products launched on a website called A8 New York, focused on style for men (more details coming soon, on this, too!). I also paid for advertising opportunities on two websites:The Mogul Mom and WeddingInviteLove and one eblast: The {NewNew} e-blast announcing our Calvalcade.   I also got word that I was accepted for my first market of the year: Spring Crafts in Chelsea and so I’m gearing up and thinking about new things to design for the show.  I’m also working with a photographer on my Etsy team on some new wedding invitations specific to NYC (more details soon!).  And there’s the blogging. While I haven’t been blogging here, I’ve made a few appearances on the Etsy team blog and I am writing a blog for this Friday on my friend Kerry’s blog. I’ve also been involved with various donation (I accept up to four donation requests a year) projects, tonight being one of the big ones, where I’ve donated custom stationery to be auctioned at a fundraising event for on of my favorite organizations, Earthwatch Institute.

And then of course, we have to add in even more personal things, like knowing that I’m going to have to move come July 15th and deciding what is the best option and where do I want to go. Oh, yeah, and I saw my friend’s apartment over the weekend because he thinks it is just too perfect that I need to move when his apartment becomes available.  There’s also the guy I like probably more than I should, yet he responds to it and so I’m happy about that. There’s the slight back pain, but still not as bad as it was during the other 9-to-5. There’s also my feeling tired ALL the time, but I think I may know why now- Vitamin D deficiency and the fact that I haven’t REALLY stopped moving since March 20th (I am taking Vitamin D now and trying to relax a bit in the coming days),  but over all my health is in good standing and I can’t complain.

I found out at the beginning of this month that I didn’t get into the grad school program I had applied for at the end of January. I’m planning to write a whole blog about this later this month, maybe even this week, but I can tell you this, for now, with everything going on, it was a relief to read my flimsy letter telling me I am rejected. It also opened a whole new door for whether to pursue Japan or not THIS year, or save it for next. This ties into the paragraph above with me trying to decide whether I want to move into my friend’s apartment, how confident I feel about landing a full-time gig at my current place of internship employment, and how positive I feel over all about the changes headed my way in the next 2.75 months.

All together now, “Whew, I’m/ she’s  busy!”

That, my friends is what has taken place in the almost month (3 days until it is official) since I’ve written on this blog and started this new adventure.  I am and have taken quite a few risks and I know that there are going to be more. Many, many more. For the first time though, I feel relaxed. I feel relaxed because even with the amount of changes going on in my life and the feeling that I could sleep for hours – I feel alive, happy, and determined. I even make sure I pick up flowers every Monday from the Farmers Market on my way into work to liven up my desk. That’s how good I feel. Still though, I wish I could run away from my fears, but I’m not; I’m calling them up individually and accepting what they say and am going to fight to prove them wrong. That really is ALL I can do now in regards to the fear. I can only knock them down and make shit happen.

So that’s it. That my way of explaining where I’ve been. It’s my way of sharing the ups and down and the excitement and fears. That’s my way of getting back into blogging about S2 Stationery and Design and myself.  Let’s roll!

Oh, and wherever you’ve been or are this past month, please know I’m sending you positive energy and hope for many good things to come. It’s the moment that counts (even though I lose focus of that daily) and how you process the moment.  It’s good to be back writing. More to come!

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January Articles

Last month, I did a round up of the articles I found most helpful to me through the year.  I’ll be the first to admit that it was kind of shoddy. Mostly because I wanted in some way to spread a bit of the people who have helped me in the past couple of months.  While I think that was a good thing, one of my goals for this blog and for potential readers moving through the new year is to instead space the helpful articles out a bit more.

So, having said that, sometime within the last two weeks of each month I will post the articles that came out in the month that I found the most helpful, complete with links. Should you choose to read them, you can.  And this way, I’ll be better at organizing the many thoughts that get sent my way without scrambling to find where I read that one really great article.

Here my friends and readers is my January listing:

Seven Steps to Understanding Online Advertising, The Mogul Mom:om: http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/01/understanding-advertising/

Build a Community with Social Media: 3 Things You Must Know, The Mogul Mom: http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/01/building-a-community-with-social-media-3-things-you-must-know/

I just can’t get ENOUGH of The Mogul Mom!

**How to Manifest Money, Steve Paulina: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2010/11/how-to-manifest-money/

Will come back to this one a few times, I think.

20 Personal Money Practices that Got me to a Place of Grooving Prosperity. (Part 1), White Hot Truth: http://whitehottruth.com/business-wealth-articles/20-personal-money-practices-that-got-me-to-a-place-of-grooving-prosperity-part-1/

17 Money Practices for Business that Cost Me A Lot to Learn. (Part 2), White Hot Truth:

The Declaration of Deserving, White Hot Truth: http://whitehottruth.com/white-hot/the-declaration-of-deserving-just-because-youre-here/

Qualified Requests: How to Ask for Stuff, White Hot Truth: http://whitehottruth.com/business-wealth-articles/qualified-requests-how-to-ask-for-stuff/

Um, Danielle is on FIRE!

Bullet Proof Your Goals, Heartmade Blog: http://www.heartmadeblog.com/blog/bullet-proof-your-goals

How to Keep Your Creative Space Inspiring, Mayi Carles of Heartmade: http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/2011/contributors/how-to-keep-your-creative-space-inspiring/

Mayi is awesome!

That is it. I think. Any articles/links that come my way in the next two weeks will be included in the Feb list.  Please let me know if there are any articles YOU think I should read. I’m open!

Articles That Moved Me in 2010

As I weave my way into the whole online business world and dunk myself further into the world of Etsy, I’ve managed to find some great websites/blogs of other Etsy sellers, crafters and a few self-made business people that provide not just positive energy and thoughts, but advice on being an online-vendor, crafter, business person.  I have  say, I have found many of these articles helpful, but I’d say 75% of the time I agree. The other 25% of the time, I spend scratching my head. I know everyone is different.

Either way, I’m sharing my favorite articles of 2010. This isn’t complete and I know I’m missing a few, but here they are:

Etsy – Etsy has a newsletter that publishes GREAT articles about quitting your day job, being an entrepreneur, etc. I have been a subscriber for a while now and I’ve been very pleased by what they dish out. They scour the web looking for interesting blogs that will help inspire their sellers and community. I find the range very helpful. Here are a few that have stood out in the many…

http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/random-acts-of-kindness-kind-over-matters-pursuit-of-positiv-11048/

http://www.imaginativebloom.com/2010/11/24/how-to-identify-your-ideal-customer-by-april/

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/11/where-do-ideas-come-from.html

http://www.fastcompany.com/1691558/5-takeaways-marketers-could-learn-from-mr-rogers

http://www.copyblogger.com/creativity-killers/

http://www.jonathanfields.com/blog/the-moment-you-speak-to-the-world-you-speak-to-no-one/

http://www.longerdays.com/blog/2010/09/3-step-process-for-quickly-overcoming-burnout/

http://www.thebusinessofbeingcreative.com/2010/09/07/the-4-ps/

http://www.jonathanfields.com/blog/55-quotes-creativity-innovation-action/

Craft MBA – Megan Augman

http://www.craftmba.com/2010/12/06/etsy-community-commerce/

Women In Business – I think everyone should have this on their wall!

http://www.womeninbusiness.com.au/_blog/Style_and_Substance/post/manifesto/

Duct Tape Marketing –

http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2010/12/10/accentuate-the-negative/

Whitehot Truth –

http://whitehottruth.com/business-wealth-articles/ode-to-the-entrepreneurial-spirit-an-apology-to-9-to-5rs-everywhere/

Heartmade Blog –  I recently stumbled on this site and it was because of this newsletter posting that I keep returning (although I still don’t know what to make of the blog or whether I will be a loyal reader); Don’t get me wrong, I do like Mayi a lot and respect her for being out there doing her thing. Whether I remain as a reader or don’t, here’s what inspired me…

http://www.heartmadeblog.com/

You Don’t Need Magic to Run a Successful Shop

Believe it or not, successful online shops don’t happen overnight. I know, I know, we would all like to think otherwise, that a Fairy God Mother can suddenly appear + fix all our problems + transform our shop’s into a hit. That would be pretty sweet, but since that probably ain’t happening anytime soon (or in our lifetime), let me share with you a pretty awesome plan B that will seriously impact your shop’s success fast!

Now, come closer. Just a little closer please. I’m about to reveal my top 5 tips to running a successful shop, right here on this newsletter. Call it my secret weapons if you will. These tactics have really worked for me + I’m confident they can work for you too. Plus, I just love success stories, especially from hard working + passionate creative folks like yourselves.

I don’t want to keep you waiting so let’s get right to it, shall we? Drum roll please!

My top business success secrets disclosed:

  1. Listen to the little voice inside your heart. Yeap, I typed that correctly. I didn’t mean head, but heart. Be aware about your feelings + ask yourselves the hard existential questions “Am I happy, really happy doing what I’m doing?”, “Am I doing what I was destined to do?. The rush of the everyday tends to dilute our emotions. Tip: Don’t be an android + don’t be afraid to feel + listen to your heart. I promise it will take you far when you embrace it.
  2. Be a real person. Doing business online can sometimes feel a little cold, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Allow your customers to “see you”. Put a picture of you in your profile + write a heartfelt about page + tell your story. Allow your customers to easily identify with you, the person, not the shop, but actually I real skin + bones + heart pumping human being. Tip: The more your customers can identify with you, the more likely they will buy from you.
  3. Brand + brand + brand. It must be the communications major in me or all that marketing jargon I learned in college, but the point is I’m a strong believer in the power of branding. Everything you do must support your brand + big idea + story: your logo + business cards + blog + boutique + craft booths + tags + note cards + packaging + bags + anything + everything that your potential customers see must be branded. Your clients should be able to see + feel + smell + hear your brand from a mile away. Tip: branding is very very powerful. Use it! It will be your biggest ally!
  4. Take yourself seriously. Get yourself an office space + buy the best supplies you can + hire a professional to help you do what you can’t + seek help + open an online shop. Don’t wait for your big break. Don’t wait for anyone to approve of your less than common career path. Don’t wait until Oprah invites you on her show to take yourself seriously. Give it all you’ve got! Turn off the “I’ll do that when I’m rich” mentality. Tip: take yourself seriously + have the gut to make the important decisions your business needs to grow.
  5. Surround yourself with love + support. I’m not good at asking people for help. Luckily, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have a loving family + boyfriend + friends around me to take care of me even when I didn’t even know I needed to be taken care of. I really couldn’t have gone this far without having loving people around me. Tip: Surround yourself with loving + positive + inspiring people. They will be your fortress when you are weak + your cheerleaders when your triumph.

These are just simple things you can do for your business that can really REALLY make a difference + no bibbidi bobbidi booo magic is actually involved.

xo,
Mayi Carles

The Mogul Mom – I am NOT a mom, well there’s a child I adopted in Ecuador, but I’m not really a mom. However, that doesn’t mean that this blog doesn’t ring true for us non-moms. She’s smart and with a few businesses under her belt, I’ll take her word for it any day!

http://www.themogulmom.com/2010/10/strong-brand-image/

AND finally, drum roll please…..

The Art of Non-Conformity – anything on this site really, but I discovered Chris Guillebeau earlier this year and he’s been one of the greatest forces in my life…

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/how-to-get-paid-for-what-you-love/

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/if-you-love-something-you-have-to-protect-it/

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/transitions/

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/get-excited-and-change-things/

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/the-four-burners-theory/

There are  A LOT of writers that I’m leaving out and there are a lot of articles that I’ve read this year and marked or saved because they just rang true with my thoughts and my wants, but I don’t have them at hand. The articles above have all made a mark and I suggest you check them out.  I think moving forward I’m going to work on doing a monthly list of articles that I’ve enjoyed so that maybe you will enjoy them as well. What a plan!