2013 September

Tools of the trade: Blog planner template

09 30 2013

I started my first blog one evening in 2010 on a whim.  I’d suddenly ‘discovered’ the world of blogging and, as I’ve always loved writing, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon.  Little did I know how much I’d love it – sad as it sounds, opening up a blank post and letting the words flow onto my keyboard became the highlight of my day… and, in hindsight, totally therapeutic.  But it was a space just for me.  I was blogging for me, not for an audience.  (In fact, I wrote under a pen name and don’t think I shared my little online home for at least the first year.)  

When I realised that (shock horror) people were actually reading what I was writing, and having set up a new digital home, I started taking my little hobby a little more seriously.  It was when I started the Secrets of my Success interview series that I began to give my blog a little more planning-TLC.  I got organised.

I’ve been asked how I plan out my posts so thought I’d share with you today.  Whether your blogging is cathartic, purely for fun, or with bigger dreams and intentions, I hope this free blog planning template will be of use…

How I use it:

  • Now my website lives at WordPress I use the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin as the place where all my planned posts live.  I add in all my regular posts, such as Secrets of my Success interviews and the Behind the Scenes posts, and can see at a glance where I have post-less days.  It’s also easy to switch things around.
  • Each month I then plan out my content a little more.  (I like to work about two weeks ahead if I can – although I’m a bit more spur-of-the-moment with the more personal posts).  I like to plan my weeks with pen and paper so I print out the blog planner to use alongside my weekly planner – then I write out a rough plan for each blog post including what images I might use, what links to include and so on.

You can download it here

I’d love to hear what you think of this free blog planner and if you’ll find it helpful.  Share with me in the Comments below.

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Secrets of my Success: Camille Styles

09 26 2013

The path to Camille Styles’ business seems destined: from working as a fashion PR to event planning for a top catering firm to the tea parties she threw for her (impeccably dressed) dolls as a child, her experience was the perfect grounding for what has become a revered and desirable lifestyle brand.  Offering creative design and event production, as well as a gorgeous lifestyle blog to inspire her worldwide readers, Camille Styles is synonymous with creative design and inspiration.  Today, Camille shares the secrets of her success…

 

What is your title/position:

Founder & Creative Director of CamilleStyles.com

 

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  How did you get to where you are now?

There have been SO many little defining moments through the years, and I love looking back and thinking, “ahh, so THAT’S why that happened!” Working in fashion PR introduced me to the world of events, taking the plunge to start my blog as a creative side project, meeting a friend-of-a-friend who became my book agent and set me on this new path as an author. I really don’t have any regrets as I look back on previous experiences because it all really does have a purpose in the end.

 

camille styles1

 

Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.

My biggest goal for the immediate future is to make my book the most creative, best work of my career so far. And always, to continue to grow the blog, making it a more innovative and beautiful place for our readers to get inspired on a daily basis.

 

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality?  Where do you start?

Surrounding myself with smart people who encourage me, but also share wisdom and tell me the truth. Writing down my long-term goals AND the practical little steps to help me get there. Being unafraid to reach out to much more successful people for help and friendship.

 

camille styles3

 

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

Discovering beauty, whether it’s on Pinterest or at an art museum or in the design of a restaurant, never fails to inspire and excite me. Also, taking some time to define my vision for the future of the company and setting new goals always makes me motivated to get to work on Monday morning!

 

What has been your biggest lesson learned?

As an entrepreneur, confidence in who you are and what you’re doing is your biggest asset. If you truly believe in your heart that you’re offering something of great value, others will see that too and want to be part of it.

 

What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

As a blogger, there’s a constant comparison trap with others. There are always going to be bloggers that are more popular, wittier, more talented and successful than you so I’ve definitely had to make a choice to stop the comparison game and just focus on doing my thing to the very best of my abilities! When I stop looking at what everyone else is doing, I find that I’m freed up to do something new, and most important of all, to stay true to myself.

[Tweet “”When I stop looking at what everyone else is doing, I find that I’m freed up to do something new, and most important of all, to stay true to myself” @camillestyles via @emmagwillim”]

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

Focus and passion for what I do every day.

 

camille styles5

 

What 3 tips would you offer ambitious women reading this?

(1) Your endeavor has to start from a place of passion. As a founder or business owner, there WILL be days throughout the journey when you want to give up, but if you have a real passion for what you’re doing, you’ll be able to push through those tough times.

(2) My husband once told me that, when quoting a price to a new customer, “if you don’t cringe a little bit, you’re not asking enough.” As women, we’re often afraid to price ourselves or our products at what they’re really worth, so keeping this in mind has really helped me make our company profitable.

(3) Find a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, bloggers, designers, or whatever it is you do. Having a support system of people you can go to for advice, or who just keep you inspired and on your toes, is invaluable for continued growth.

[Tweet “”Having a support system of people you can go to for advice, or who just keep you inspired and on your toes, is invaluable for continued growth” @camillestyles via @emmagwillim”]

What book has most inspired you?

In my cooking, Alice Waters’ biography. In my mothering, Bringing up Bébé.  In my personal life, the Bible. In my professional life, Blink and Today Matters.

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4 tips to turn your fears into gumption

09 25 2013

What are you afraid of?  What is it that strikes fear into your heart? Often it’s public speaking, the fear of rejection, fear of failure… maybe just feeling like you don’t quite make the grade.

What if I was to try and change your opinion and get you to see fear as a good guy?  What if you could turn your fear around? Let’s give it a try:

– Fear is your survival instinct.  Unlike your ancestors, you’re unlikely to face wild animals any time soon but that chemical ‘fight or flight’ feeling is simply trying to keep you safe.

– Fear is a dead-giveaway that you’re growing.  Any time you’re moving out of your comfort zone, feelings of fear may bubble up: the unknown is scary, stay put and stay safe.  But, put another way, the unknown is the breeding ground of possibility and growth.  You know you’re onto a good thing when fear kicks in.

– Facing your fear can give you confidence. Have you ever been terrified to try something new, be it sky-diving, going on a blind date or giving a presentation to a large audience?  Whatever that scary thing was for you, when you faced it – and the reality wasn’t that bad – didn’t you feel like you could walk on air?  The euphoric feeling of facing into a fear and going for it anyway breeds massive confidence.

So, are you convinced yet?  Convinced or not, you have two choices: to let fear stop you or to face it and step forward with gumption.  Here are 4 tips to turn your fear into gumption:

Flip it: As best as you can, try to change the focus of the situation you’re afraid of.  Say, for example, you were afraid of putting your new business idea out there because you’re afraid of failing, you could flip it and focus instead on the opportunity to get valuable feedback from customers and be able to refine your product into something more amazing.  Change your fear into genuine curiosity.

Change the picture: When you’re afraid of something, you will most likely play out the worst case scenario movie in your head over and over.  Change the picture in your head to another outcome, a positive experience.  Again, play it out like a movie in your head and start to connect with the feelings of possibility, excitement or whatever comes up for you.

Break it down: Facing a fear head on can feel totally overwhelming.  Break it down into smaller steps: what is the first thing you would have to do?  Do that.  And then the second thing?  Often, making the big fear a series of smaller fears can make it easier to tackle.  One step at a time.

You’re ok: You’re absolutely normal to feel fear.  Even the most successful people feel fear.  The difference is, they don’t let it stop them.  They feel the fear and do it anyway.  

Have you faced any of your fears head on?  What was your fear?  What did you do to tackle it?  Is there a fear that’s still holding you back?  What can you do today to “break it down” and take baby steps towards beating it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

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7 habits to end procrastination and get more done

09 24 2013

You’re sat at your desk and an hour has passed and still you stare at the screen, mindlessly sorting through unimportant emails and checking your social media feed.   We’ve all been there.  Not only is it soul-destroying but it’s such a waste of our most precious resource: time.

If you’re ready to give procrastination the heave-ho and become super-productive, give these habits a try:

Work backwards: As a huge advocate for visioning, first and foremost have a clear idea of what you’re striving for.  Don’t wait for New Year to write your goals.  Make sure you have your top 3-5 goals written down and placed somewhere you’ll be reminded often.  From your big goals, decide what milestones are between your goal and where you are today.  Write those down and put a deadline against them.  Then dig a little deeper: for each milestone, work out all the baby steps you need to take and write down all the tasks that will move you in the right direction.  Any one big goal can seem overwhelming (and will remain untouched on your daily to-do list) until you break down into manageable chunks that feel achievable. 

You may find my free Big Picture Planner useful in creating a step-by-step goal visioning and action plan.

Free your mind: Stop wasting your brain-power by using it to store a mental to-do list.  Reserve its energy for the big tasks and goals and instead create a system that works for you. Have one place where you can ‘pool’ all tasks that you need to do.  That’s all tasks, great and small: from the dentist appointment you need to schedule, the anniversary break you want to book, to the business proposal you need to complete this week.  Have one ‘catch-all’ that you can access at any time.  It might be that a pen and paper works for you, or there’s a huge choice of online systems and apps you could use.  I use ToDoIst as the home for all my tasks: I love that I can group tasks by category (home chores, family, business projects), that it links with Google Calendar and that it has both an iPad and iPhone app version too.

Plan it: Have a plan before the day begins.  Know which tasks are your priorities.  Don’t be lured into completing only those tasks which feel urgent, often the priorities of someone else’s agenda.  Allocate some time to those non-urgent but very important tasks that will move you towards your big goals.

Listen to your body: Know when your body has the most energy and dedicate that time of day to your priorities.  If you’re an early bird, use the time before the day begins to focus on your biggest task at hand.  If you’re a night owl, use your energy stores to push onwards with your biggest project.  Use your less effective/creative time of day to complete the less mind-intensive tasks such as returning phone calls, writing emails, checking in on social media.

Turn off the ‘ping’: Simply put, don’t be distracted by the lure of distractions.  If you can’t resist the temptation of the alert to tell you an email is waiting, or the ‘pop’ of an instant message, turn off all alerts until your designated email/social media time. 

Know your strengths (and your weaknesses): Don’t spend hours aimlessly trying to do something if it is beyond your capability.  Yes, it may cost you money to outsource it but you’re spending another valuable resource ineffectively, your time.  Know your strengths and dedicate your time to using your time productively.  Where you can, delegate the rest. 

Take care: Make yourself, your wellbeing, a priority.  Working away until the wee hours may feel productive but it’s going to take its toll on your health and wellbeing.  Get the sleep you need, eat the foods that give you energy, keep hydrated and take breaks.  In short, all the things we know we should do, but often overlook. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  What tips for being productive can you share with us?  What’s the one thing that distracts you?  How do you avoid procrastinating?

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Behind the Scenes with Jennifer Jarrett

09 24 2013

If you too have a love affair with all things yoga, check out Jennifer Jarrett, a San Francisco-based Bhakti Flow yoga teacher.   Jennifer discovered the path of yoga while facing the pressures of a “real” job, loving how the practice was able to quieten her mind and feel more connected, and now leads classes, retreats and teacher training.  I’d recommend her Get Up and Go sequence – it’s 15 minutes well spent… (Don’t you just love the yoga leggings?!)

Tell me a bit about your business:

I am a yoga teacher, although it always feels a little funny to call myself a yoga ‘teacher’ when I’m not sure that I actually teach yoga so much as do my very best to share the gifts of a practice that has transformed and opened my heart and my life. My intention behind all that I do is to be of service to others and to do what I can to help and encourage others to live the lives they want to live. I believe in the practice with my whole heart. It is the way to stop existing outside of ourselves, to stop hovering without, and to instead take this incredible pilgrimage right into the heart of who we are. And, within that greater purpose, the practice is a place of incredible refuge and connection. It is a place where you don’t have to think about a thing and you can just be – I love that! I can’t believe how lucky I am that I get to lead yoga classes and witness people have even just a moment of reprieve from whatever is going on in their bigger lives. I am also a very amateur writer. I am so excited to announce here that I have recently decided to honor a commitment that I made to my mother and am going to begin writing my first book this year!

[Tweet “”My intention behind all that I do is to be of service to others and to do what I can to help and encourage others to live the lives they want to live” @jjyoga via @emmagwillim”]

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

Currently there is no typical to my daily/weekly schedule which, while offering a lot of room for spontaneity and creativity, also leaves me very dependent on my calendar to tell me where I need to be next. Because my teaching schedule of late has involved quite a bit of traveling, I have been spending a lot of time in airports and on planes; places which are always ripe with opportunity to really practice yoga and patience!

How do you plan and organize your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer? 

Because I do not have a set schedule right now, I must stay very disciplined in sitting down to work and staying with whatever project is at hand while resisting the temptation to just do it later. My biggest challenges are staying focused until I have reached an appropriate stopping point.  I am the queen of procrastination so having open time is a huge challenge to me! I can so easily convince myself that there is something more interesting that I could be doing and will just put things off until the pressure’s on, which definitely doesn’t do me any favours! I find it really helpful to break up my work into chunks of time and to commit to sitting down for an hour or two at a time and being completely focused on what I am doing. Sometimes I even set a timer for myself and if I am being really productive when the timer goes off, then I stick with it. Another really important thing for me is to just focus on one thing at a time. I am so inefficient when I am trying to multi-task and end up wasting more time.  I am also a huge fan of lists! They help to keep me focused and productive and I will always love the act of checking the completion box next to each item.

What are your essential office tools?

Really all I need is my computer, my yoga mat and some fresh air.

[Tweet “”Really all I need is my computer, my yoga mat and some fresh air” @jjyoga via @emmagwillim”]

Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style.  How does it motivate/focus your work?

It is very important to me to work in a space that allows me to feel calm and clear. My space needs to be clean and un-cluttered with really nice lighting and an open window. The space within which I work really impacts the kind of work I create. If my space feels cluttered and chaotic, I feel cluttered and chaotic and then my work becomes cluttered and chaotic.

What’s your typical working lunch?

A typical working lunch for me is meeting one of my friends or colleagues for a big, organic salad and discussing our current challenges, concerns, sources of inspiration, dreams, ambitions and just spending quality time together. So much goodness comes from that!

And how do you switch off once the working day is done?

Some days it is easier to switch off than others. There are many nights when I will lie awake analysing everything I said in class that day, questioning and doubting and critiquing; wondering if I did an OK job or if I just managed to turn everyone off me and yoga entirely. It’s amazing what we can do to ourselves when we allow our minds to run wild! To slow this down, and to eventually switch off, I will sit in quiet meditation for a few minutes, just watching the rise and fall of my breath.  Another really wonderful way for me to switch gears is to write in my Gratitude Journal, continuing the very long list of everything that I am grateful for in my life. If I am already in bed and don’t feel like getting up to put pen to paper, I will simply go through the day and mentally list everything for which I’m grateful.

[Tweet “”To slow down and eventually switch off I will sit in quiet meditation for a few minutes, just watching the rise and fall of my breath” @jjyoga via @emmagwillim”]

What makes your life sparkle?

This list literally goes on and on for me but some of my constants are… my huge and crazy family, my incredibly inspiring friends, my dog, my health and the health of those that I love, rainbows, boat rides, champagne, that someone was smart enough to combine chocolate and peanut butter, deep belly laughter, tears that accompany cleansing cries, French fries, travel, those songs that inspire you to sing as loud as you can, driving with the windows down, green juice, time together, backbends, long baths, hope, the promise of love, choosing love…

 

Jennifer is a yoga teacher in San Francisco who loves to laugh until it hurts, eat good food, travel to wherever the sun is shining, snuggle with her Labradoodle, Ruby, and spend as much time as possible with friends and family. She teaches in San Francisco and leads workshops around the country, sharing the practice of Bhakti Flow, the yoga of love and devotion.  Say hello to Jennifer at her website, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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How I created my website from scratch for under £200

09 23 2013

First of all I need you to know, I’m no techie expert.  Far from it.  I created a website for under £200 and with no technical skill whatsoever.

What I did have was a desire to create a website that looked a little sleeker and more professional than the blog I’d been hosting on the Blogger platform.  I knew hiring a website whizz was out of the question so it was just me and the help of Google that got me started.

Here’s a list of the tools I used to create my website:

Domain name: I’d been writing under a ‘pen name’ for a while and decided to come out and buy a domain in my own name.  A quick browse around 123-reg and EmmaGwillim.com (and .co.uk) were all mine. (£31)

Domain hosting: I’ve been using TSO Host and it’s been really reliable so far (touch wood!).  On the odd occasion when there’s been a hiccup, no matter how trivial, the customer service team has been really speedy in helping me out.  (And not making me feel daft!)  (£25)

Publishing platform: I’d heard great things about WordPress and I’ve not been disappointed: quickly and easily I had my WordPress site set-up and then the fun began.  The beauty of WordPress is that there are huge numbers of themes and plugins to transform your website into a design that really represents you and your brand.

The look and feel: There’s no way I wanted to be playing around with code and there was no budget for a web developer so Thesis themes really was like manna from heaven.  It’s so easy to customise the basic theme and, after a bit of practice, I got to grips with making changes to get my website design to reflect the vision I had for it.  (£56.67)

Graphics and logo design: I was a total novice on the design front too but I didn’t want to be reliant on outsourcing logo and graphics design left, right and centre: the time and expense both put me off.  I wanted a basic skill-set of my own to be able to create basic but visually-appealing graphics and marketing materials.  I plumped for Adobe Photoshop Elements – I still find it a little bit awkward to use but  I’m getting quicker!  (£61)

So, there you have it: my website was out in the big wide world, all for under £200.  What do you think?  Do you fancy giving it a go?  Or would you prefer the hassle-free option of paying an expert?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Office Inspiration: Rosa Beltron's design studio

09 16 2013

Browsing the visual wonderland that is Apartment Therapy, I came across the home office tour of interior designer Rosa Beltron.  I love the industrial look of metal alongside the pops of vibrant colours in her studio space (which is converted from a former garage!).  If you’re short on space in your office, this lady has got to be the inspiration for creative storage design!

Image: {Main} {Light} {Bar stools} {Storage boxes} {Noticeboard} {Chair}

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Secrets of my Success: Nitika Chopra

09 12 2013

Through her online magazine Bella Life, Nitika Chopra is doing her bit to encourage people to make happiness a habit and, to coin her mantra, to “let go and live big“. And she’s a living testament to that mantra. Nitika excitedly shared her story with me, how the concept for Bella Life was born and how her big dream of having her own talk show has become a reality. Ahead of the premiere of Naturally Beautiful, which airs on September 24th, Nitika shares the secrets of her success…

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  How did you get to where you are now?

So, four years ago I started trying to figure out where my passion lay.  I realised that I really love to take care of people, I really love to be creative, creating new concepts and ideas, and I also really love the camera and expressing myself through film.  I tried to figure out how these three things came together, how they might become a career.  What I really uncovered, through a lot of meditation and working with a coach, was that I really wanted to have my own talk show.  It felt like an ‘out there’ dream but I decided that I wasn’t going to give up.  I decided to take my dream and work out what I could do with it, what I did know.  I realised that I could create the concept, that I could have guest interviews like they did on the talk shows I aspired to and I could be on camera with my own YouTube channel.  I asked God to let someone see this concept as a show one day.  I started with no idea really of what I was doing and I did it anyway.

[Tweet “”It felt like an ‘out there’ dream but I decided that I wasn’t going to give up” @YourBellaLife via @EmmaGwillim”]

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality?  Where do you start?

I have this video called ‘The Girl Who Cried Entrepreneurabout my experiences of starting Bella Life as I had been searching for a long time for my passion and what my future might be and I kept trying a lot of things.  It felt like every week I was having a new epiphany of what my future business was.  I look back now and I have compassion for that part of me because I did all this to work out what my passion truly was.  To the outside world it looked like I wasn’t really doing anything – I would create business cards and invest money in different ways but I would never actually do anything with these ideas.  So when I started Bella Life I made a promise to myself to not invest a single cent for a year.  I told myself if I could focus for a year, do the networking, do the research, work on the business for a year without spending any money on it and still want to do it then I’d allow myself to invest and go for it.  And I did it.  I spent my time researching the format, looking at what I liked and didn’t like about other websites, and looking for the person that was going to build the site for me.  I was really starting from scratch.

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

I lean towards positivity more than some people.  I realised at a young age that you have two choices: you can either be miserable or you can be happy.  I know being upset and miserable affects my health – my body is my biggest teacher and so when I get upset I know within 24 hours that I’ll have a physical manifestation of that.  So, although things obviously upset me at times, I choose to listen to my body instead.

How do you deal with fears, challenges and obstacles, and how do you overcome them?

My approach is to have massive compassion for myself.  I know we can have a tendency to go straight to problem solving – get it done, get it figured out and deal with the feelings later… but I really don’t agree with that.  I believe all those feelings will show up in your body, in your conversations, in your spirit eventually.  I try to have the courage to go to the real problem, to the root, to choose compassion.  To do that I usually ask myself: “what is really going on here?”.  I look at what’s triggered me, what’s really bothering me.

[Tweet “”I try to have the courage to go to the real problem, to the root, to choose compassion” @YourBellaLife via @EmmaGwillim”]

Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.

Oh my gosh, it’s really big.  It’s hard to say out loud.  When I had the vision for a TV show, I also had a vision that Bella Life would become a global lifestyle brand – a brand that women go to for happiness, positivity and healing.  At the time I put it on the backburner as it felt too big a vision, the TV show was big enough. I’m still formulating what the brand really could be and how it could be different to what’s already out there, and still be true to who I am.  I’m still unfolding the vision…  And, of course, I want my future to involve lots more television.

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

I am one determined little sucker.  My dad used to tell me I was really determined – if I had my mind set on something I just wouldn’t shut up!  When I get passionate about something I cannot NOT work on it, I can’t let it go.  It takes over me.

[Tweet “The secret of success? “I am one determined little sucker” @YourBellaLife via @EmmaGwillim”]

What tips would you offer ambitious women reading this?

There’s a part of creating your dreams where it’s brilliant and beautiful to not have a plan.  I didn’t know how I was going to get my own TV show.  Hold your vision and go with your gut instinct, your intuition.  But don’t be foolish.  I only stopped working in my full-time job in January when I started filming the TV show.  I’ve been holding down a full-time job and building my business at the same time – it was exhausting BUT I knew that I was going to be fed and pay my rent so all my creative energy was not weighed down by the pressures of my daily life.  I think there’s a balance: be free and follow your passion because that’s what you’re meant to do BUT also give yourself a secure foundation to do that.

[Tweet “”Be free and follow your passion because that’s what you’re meant to do BUT also give yourself a secure foundation to do that” @YourBellaLife via @EmmaGwillim”]

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Behind the Scenes... A Tiny Arrow

09 10 2013

A Tiny Arrow is all about creating clothing and accessories for a magical childhood.  The collection of feather crowns and clips are so beautiful – what little girl wouldn’t look adorable with one of these creations in her hair.  Inspired by her own daughter, Janis Wales began A Tiny Arrow just this springtime… and already demand for her intricate creations are rightly on an upward trajectory.  Janis kindly shares a peek behind the scenes of her fledgling business today…

Hi Janis, please introduce yourself to the Glitterati Girls…

I’m Janis Wales, owner and designer A Tiny Arrow

Tell me a bit about your business:

My business is all about fun and whimsical creations for little ones. Right now I am mainly focused on feather crowns and clips, but I also have a few other accessories…and moccasins are coming soon! I plan on expanding to clothing sometime next year

Describe your typical day/week schedule.

Well, up until a week ago I had a full time job so a typical day meant waking up at 6am to reply to emails, update my shop and despatch orders from the previous day. Then, my daughter Arrow would usually get up around 8am. I’d make her breakfast, play for half an hour and then get myself ready and it was off to work. I was the Director of Merchandising for an apparel company for 11 years. When I got home around 6pm, I would make Arrow dinner, play, give her a bath, read a book, sing a song and she was off to sleep. Then around 8:30pm it was time to start working on my business, often until about 1am. This would repeat every day. A Tiny Arrow was growing so quickly that I could no longer keep up with both so I made the decision to quit my day job and focus all of my attention on my business instead. It’s only been a week so, right now, I’m playing catch up. Now, my day starts at 6am.  I answer emails, update my shop and make Arrow breakfast…then get to work.  I’ll take little breaks throughout the day to play a game, go outside and draw or spend time with Arrow but I am pretty much working on my business all day. Unfortunately I am still working to about 1am until I can get caught up..I hope!

customHow do you plan and organise your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?

My time is not really organised at all right now! I wish I could say it was. I started this business about 5 months ago and have been really fortunate to have it grow so quickly…but with that has come plenty of challenges. I just moved into a new office in our home and I have slowly been organising all of my supplies. I know I need to make the time to get organised because, in the long run, it will make my process more efficient but I am so busy I haven’t set aside the time to do it. It’s also a new challenge working from home. It’s so tempting to stop what I am doing and spend all day with my daughter – and it doesn’t help that she can see me and doesn’t understand why I’m not playing with her. (This is why I am moving to a new office in the house!)  I think the only tip I can give right now is to go easy on yourself. You can’t do everything all at once. Set goals and come up with a plan that is realistic. Don’t try to be everything to everyone – as long as you are passionate about what you are doing, people will notice! 

[Tweet “”Don’t try to be everything to everyone – as long as you are passionate about what you are doing, people will notice!” Janis of @atinyarrow via @emmagwillim”]

What are your essential office tools?

I absolutely need tweezers, tiny embroidery scissors and lots of containers. I have so many little odds and ends that I work with… I have to have all kinds of different storage containers to house them in so I don’t lose my mind.

Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?

I don’t know how they do it but every time I get an email from Paper & Stitch it’s like they were reading my mind.  There is a great section on the blog that is dedicated to the business of being creative and I swear every time I’m thinking of something or wondering how to do something…they’ll suddenly have a post about it.

I also cannot live without the app Afterlight. I use it to edit every last one of my photos.

Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style. 

I am just transitioning into my new home office and I couldn’t be more excited about it. It’s a nice wide open space surrounded by windows and lots of natural light. It’s a small separated building from our home so I will be able to work uninterrupted. The biggest plus is the room is wired up for playing music…loud, which is key for me. Music keeps me motivated and inspired!

lolaHow does it motivate/focus your work?

Having this space separate from our main home is huge! It was really hard working inside the house since Arrow didn’t understand why I wasn’t playing with her all day. I felt horrible. I started this business to hopefully be able to spend more time with her…but during this transitional time I really need to focus and get my business functioning on a true schedule.

What book has most inspired you?

I used to read all the time.  Now I barely have time to read my own mail. I wish I had a book to tell you about…but I’m not even going to try to make one up.

What’s your typical working lunch?

Lunch is a luxury right now.  Lately I’ve been making fresh fruit and vegetable juice every day for lunch. It’s quick and I feel energized again after drinking it.

And how do you switch off once the working day is done?

My working day doesn’t end until about 1am so shutting off is falling asleep…and it is the best feeling ever!

What makes your life sparkle?

My daughter is definitely the sparkle in my life. She is what motivates and inspires all that I do. She is the reason I started this little venture and I am so excited to see where it goes!

If you want to see more of Janis’ beautiful work, visit A Tiny Arrow shop on Etsy or say hello on Facebook.

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Office inspiration: Dotty over Sugar Paper journals

09 09 2013

It must be the years of conditioning.  September = back to school = new stationery! Oh yes, an excuse to overhaul notebooks, pens and pencil cases. A time to don your best handwriting as you write on that precious, first clean page.

I have my eye on these Sugar Paper journals.  Chic and fun in one.  Now, just to decide what colour…

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