The past few months have been a whirlwind. But, finally, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I swear I do.
And honestly, I think part of it has to do with spring. It's getting warmer, and the sun is finally coming out, and I'm coming out of the winter haze and remembering what it's like to focus. Remember what that's like?
Moving into a New House
We've spent the past week moving out of our very tiny make-shift apartment into a house. Finally. When we moved back to Florence in August we moved into a small apartment that we planned on only staying in for a month or two. That was 7 months ago.
It feels amazing to breathe in our house, and move around without bumping into each other. It's only about a mile from the space, so I look forward to summer morning walks and bike rides. Ee!
Being Able to Take Time Off
With moving the studio into Indie Spaces I've gotten to do something that I haven't done in years: leave the office. I don't even take the laptop home with me anymore. It's a amazing feeling!
I even left my phone here one night last week. On purpose. And was able to take a whole night for real off. Oh-eff-eff, off.
Hiring Some Help
I have two guys coming in this week to test drive website management skills. Yup, it's true.
At this point in my website career, I have over 100 website clients. In any given month I'm contacted by as many as 25 clients needing updates to their existing websites. It's a lot to juggle.
So, I'm hiring some much needed help, whose sole purpose will be to handle current clients' maintenance requests. Freakin' stoked.
Transitioning into What I Love
In the coming months, as Indie Spaces becomes more self-sufficient, I'll be transitioning out of web design. Though I always plan to have a hand in web design (this girl does love to code), I do plan on turning a lot of my focus into helping our local entrepreneurs start and run their own businesses. It's proven to be a full time job, and one that I really love. A lot.
Going on Adventures
A few weeks ago I enjoyed a weekend away with David's mom. (Yes, David's mom. We're friends.) It was a perfect weekend in Orlando, playing around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and a whole day spent in an Irish pub.
It made me realize how few of those I take, and remember how important it is occasionally to get away from projects, clients, the space, paperwork and bookkeeping, and a gazillion other little responsibilities.
With that, I quickly booked a flight to Austin next month, will work to finalize a workshop (yes, a workshop!!) in Las Vegas in early summer, and am more excited than ever about a Yoga Retreat in January in Mexico. Now, to finalize a trip to the beach...
On top of all this.... I'm Going to Go Gluten-Free for a Bit
With things being so crazy around here lately, our usually good diets have been crap. I'm currently seriously addicted to the french fries from the restaurant across the street from the space. So, starting today I'm going to go gluten-free for a few. It'll be easier now that we have a properly-size kitchen. Woo, I need an apple.
So, I'm excited for a fresh outlook. And spring. And apples.
Even though I have been out of the studio for most of the past three weeks, it has proven to be possibly the most busy three weeks of my life.
Since signing our lease on 12/12 (at 12:12pm, I might add), we have gone non-stop. We began planning (and implementing said plans on) our space, my grandmother (who had been sick for several years) passed away, we celebrated the holidays, we launched the Silver Screen Project, and we found a new house. It's been intense, to say the least.
Honestly, it astounds me that it's only been three weeks. It feels like six months.
I'm just ever-thankful that I have the pleasure of saying 'we,' because I couldn't do it without all the people who stand with me. Always.
Over the next few weeks, things will continue to move rapidly. I have to wrap up some projects, answer a mountain of emails, begin a new project, finish developing our space, host a few events, plan more events, and spend several days with my favorite creatives in Salt Lake City at Alt Summit. It's such an exciting time in our lives, I want to make sure I just soak it all up.
If you're local to the Shoals, I hope you'll join me in some of the upcoming events I'm involved in:
I'm also planning a launch party of Indie Spaces. More info to come.
So, the next few weeks will be big, and I am overjoyed. This year is shaping up quite nicely, indeed.
And this weekend is my 3 year freelanciversary. Oh, how should I celebrate?!
This week is a big and exciting week for me here at Indie Shopography. I've taken the week off of usual projects for a very new type of project.
This week, I'm hitting the town.
Over the next few days I'll be skipping around downtown Florence meeting with shopkeeps and inviting them to lunch.
My 3 in 30 free consulting campaign has been such a fun success I've decided to extend it to local entrepreneurs with a free lunch and learn campaign.
Just imagine it: me, you, a yummy boxed lunch. Chatting for a few about your hardest online questions, like how do you reach your ideal audience? In what ways can you stay true to your brand in social media? And, what website solutions will work best for your business?
The questions are so numerous, and I'm here to help you.
There's a fun and new little part of the Indie Shopography site just for you locals, too.
I look forward to meeting my local shopkeeps, inviting them for lunch, and guiding them through their online strategy. Here I come, Florence.
One of my very favorite parts about my relaunch has been finally being able to see myself in my business. There's no more website or brand shame. I'm really where I want it all to be, and I love it.
Here are just a few of the ways that I have put my own personality into my brand, ultimately creating a business brand that really is me.
1. If my choices were badass or cute, I'd choose badass.
When my design was reevaluated, it became clear to me that my own design was being dictated by what I thought my clients wanted to see. It was a bit cutesy and colorful, and ultimately did not reflect me at all.
At one point I remember saying something to the effect of "If my choices were baddass or cute, I'd choose badass." And so, we made sure my design aesthetic reflected that. My own wardrobe and interior design is a bit utilitarian. I like simple design with pops of cool. My brand design now reflects my personal style. Perfectly.
A little bit badass.
2. Working with only my dream clients.
Before my relaunch I would pretty much accept a job from any type of client. Speakers, accountants: pretty much anyone who asked. My brand as a web designer was broad, and I felt a bit guilty turning down anyone, because I had been so unclear with who I wanted to work with.
Now it's crystal clear that I work with creative entrepreneurs. It's a path I've chosen for myself for many reasons, but really, I just love working with people in a similar field as myself. Those connections are my favorite to make. I literally do it for a living.
3. Asserting myself in design decisions.
If you know me in "real life," you know that I'm a pretty honest person. Almost painfully honest. Making this a part of my brand has meant that I'm much more assertive with design decisions than I once was.
My expertise is in creating simple, brand-true, and very functional eCommerce websites for creatives. It's not going to be easy to have me on board for removing search forms or using Papyrus as body typeface. I'll use my expertise to veto design decisions that could compromise the dignity of a brand or functionality of a design.
All designs that I create will be something that both myself and my client can be proud of.
4. Using the oxford commas.
This is a really small one, but one that I've secretly had fun applying to my brand. I'm pretty OCD about using the oxford comma, and have been for years. Applying it throughout my site has been fun.
Need help putting your personality into your own brand? My master branders from Braid have a new eCourse doing just that. Check it out >>
Sometimes I wonder if creative entrepreneur and workaholic are synonymous for everyone. They're pretty synonymous for me.
A few weeks ago I touched on my feelings of separating life and work, and how being a creative entrepreneur usually makes this impossible. We eat, sleep, and breathe our businesses. Daily. My studio is part of my living room. We can't simply walk away.
Or can we?
One of the things that I've always really loved about my job of working for myself is being able to take time off whenever I need to (within reason). I even made a commitment to myself at the beginning of this year that I would take at least six weeks off, an idea that is nonsense in the traditional workplace, but I'll make it happen, plus some.
And, I'm still running a successful business.
I will be taking the next two weeks off from creative projects for the longest break that I've taken since Christmas. Why is taking so many days away from work so important to me? I'll tell you why:
1. I'm more creative when I don't have to be.
Stepping away from your work is the best way to work well, especially when you're a creative. Even on the non-creative side of my business, developing websites works best after I walk away or sleep on problems. Just refreshing your brain makes it all easier, and sometimes you need more than a run to the coffee shop. Sometimes you need a whole week.
After coming off of a line of large projects, taking some days off to refocus will only make me better for my upcoming projects.
2. Sometimes taking a break gives me a chance to actually work on my business.
It is so hard for me to switch my focus from helping a client's business grow to helping my own business grow. This is a problem that I've chatted with several creatives about in similar fields. We're so focused on helping our clients that sometimes we even feel a bit guilty turning around to help ourselves.
So, for me, I just disconnect them entirely and spend a few days just focusing on my own business. I'm excited to spend a couple of days over the next two weeks implementing some new things on the local front of Indie Shopography.
3. Remember what it's like to use my living room as just a living room.
Since moving into a smaller place, I can't separate life and work in my house as easily as I could. My studio used to be a separate room in the downstairs of our house. I could essentially go days without seeing anything regarding work. Now, it's a bit different, as my studio is an out-of-the-way alcove in our living room. I see it when I enter the front door.
This has taken some adjusting and some serious willpower when it comes to things like hearing the ding of incoming mail while sitting on the couch. It makes me twitch. I look forward to spending a few days with my mail app off, my computer shut down, and no need to wander to this side of the room.
Taking breaks are just part of my business plan, like paying for domains and buying paper clips. Honestly, I believe it helps me run my business better. And there's no down side to that.
What about you? Have you made taking time off a priority in your business?