FROM FEAR TO COURAGE

From Fear to Courage - how to be more daring, creative and successfull What if you could be more courageous and positive about everything in your life? Would you notice a difference? Would you accomplish your goals? Would you be happier and more successful?

I believe so. I believe that if you turn your fears into courage and your negatives into positives, you'll find endless joy, success, kindness, purpose and fulfillment.

Back when I was a kid I remember learning how to ride a bike. First I had a tricycle, then a bicycle with training wheels, then eventually - even though I still didn't know how - my parents removed the training wheels. I'd position myself close enough to our house to hold myself up with one hand, get my feet ready, then push-off. I'd last about 5 seconds then fall. I was young and wanted so badly to ride bikes like my older sisters. I'd get back up, lean against the house, get my feet ready and push-off again. Over and over again I'd fall but each time I got up and tried again because I knew eventually I'd get it.

For some reason, as you get older, we lose this determination and courage to get back up and try again even though you know it's likely you'll fail. What if you could be more like you were when you were a child? Perhaps you'd be more courageous, fearless, creative, daring and successful?

Today you're going to reclaim your childhood courage with a very simple exercise, developed Michael Michalko the author of Thinkertoys,  that helps you to identify your fears, substitute them with positive thinking then guides you to carve out your path to success with affirmations. It might sound a little heady, but I promise you it works. Print out the free exercise worksheet here

Change your thoughts and change your world - Norman Vincent Peale

Once you've filled out the worksheet I challenge you to affirm your beliefs; to make a positive statement that something is already so. It can be general or specific - the point is to actually write it out as if it's a fact.Take a look at your "Tock" column and jot down some affirmations. For example "I am successful and happy because I do what I love".

Once you have a few affirmations, remind yourself of them. I like to cut little square cards and write affirmations on them and stick them in my purse, on my mirror, in my desk, or in my notebook. They're nice reminders and the more you affirm your beliefs, the more they become reality.

Take it one step further and jot down all of the things you like about and have accomplished for yourself and your business. The more you practice remembering your successes and forgetting your failures, the more you'll experience success and happiness.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. - Eckhart Tolle

Today's blog entry is lesson borrowed from the Unlock Your Creativity Ecourse in session right now. To learn more about our Ecourses and to register for the next session, go here.

MY HOME STUDIO

My-Home-Studio-Desk-700 My-Home-Studio-Pencils-Brushes-Art

My-Home-Studio-Desk-Headphones-Glasses

My-Home-Studio-Books-Plants

My-Home-Studio-Plants-Art-Inspiration-Canvas

My-Home-Studio-Notebooks-Desk-Window

My-Home-Studio-Cat-Rug

My-Home-Studio-Paint-brushes

My-Home-Studio-Plants

My-Home-Studio-Painting-Art-Jump

My-Home-Studio-Paper-700

My-Home-Studio-Chalkboard-700

My-Home-Studio-Meredith-Bullock-Art-Markers-Pens-Canvas

Surrounding myself with things that fill me up with ideas, inspiration and energy and keep me moving throughout the day is vital to my business growth and something I take very seriously.

For a long time my creative zone was wherever I could find enough space and resources to get in the groove. And still, if I want to create when I'm on vacation or traveling, location or space will not hinder my flow.

Although sometimes you have to make do with what you have. When I lived alone, in a one bedroom apartment, my desk, artwork and supplies were scattered throughout my living room and kitchen. I created my first art exhibit paintings on my kitchen floor. My first art prints and stationery (that I sold on my first Esty shop) were photographed on the carpet against a sheet of white paper.

As my business and life grew, so did my space. When I married my husband, we moved into a 3 bedroom apartment where I - for the very first time - had my own studio space.

Having my own designated space to work and create was transformative to my creative in and business growth. 

Today I have a living-room-sized home studio where I create, meet and work with my dream clients, brainstorm, design and develop brands and websites, paint, write, email, read, daydream, and enjoy the majority of my day.

I have a huge painting that I created a few years back of someone jumping off a cliff to remind me of how scary life can be sometimes but that when you trust the process and have faith, you can take the leap.

I have a wall plastered with post-it notes and ideas and goals on my blackboard to remind of what I want to do. I have an empty white canvas on an easel waiting for me. I have a book shelf drenched with resources and ideas. I have pictures of family and loved to remind me how I got here and how I continue to go forth. I have plants everywhere to give my energy and life. I have nearly every supply, tool or piece of equipment I could ever need to create with. And I have this desk and computer to keep me connected to you.

Everyday when I set foot in this room, I automatically feel energized, motivated and ready to begin my day. Check out some other seriously inspirational studio spaces herehere and here. And here some tips on how to make your space super creative.

How about you, what do you surround yourself with to fill you up with inspiration, ideas and creativity? What are some of your favorite things about where you create?

TOO BUSY TO BLOG

Too Busy to Blog I know, I know - taking a break from blogging is a big fopaux especially when it's how you attract your dream clients and connect with your tribe. But what happens when you really are too busy to blog?

The past few weeks I've been widely productive and living the dream (a term I've adhered to thanks to Kathleen). I've started several new projects - like website design and development for some crazy talented creatives, workshops in and out-of-town like this one and this one, hosting a bunch of family and friends and working on growing flowers and food in our own backyard.

My priorities push blogging to the bottom of the list, especially when the commitment to blog can sometimes take two or three hours.

The good news is not much has changed. I'm still reeling my dream clients, still connecting with my tribe (thank you InstagramFacebookPinterestMy Newsletter & Twitter) and still doing what I love.

It's ok to take a break if you need to. Sometimes that's how life works, you push one thing aside to make time for what's most important. 

My tip to you (if you want to stay connected with your peeps but don't have time to blog):

  • be active on your social platforms
  • send a thoughtful newsletter
  • respond to your messages and comments

If you want a temporary break from all online platforms (I did this for 9 days last Christmas and it was glorious):

  • be sure to let your readers/followers know it's about to happen
  • put an auto responder on your email
  • and let it go - because if they like what you have to say, they will be here when you get back

Anybody else experience moments when you can't find time to blog? How did you stay connected with your people?

10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BLOG

10 Reasons Why You Should Blog I always recommend blogging to any creative or entrepreneur who wants to grow their business, make money and attract their dream clients.

5 years ago when I started to blog, I had no clue that it'd be one of my favorite things to do each week. Blogging has helped me promote my work, build relationships, grow my expertise, find clarity, attract my dream clients and more.

Here are 10 reasons why you should blog:

1. To become a better writer I'm slightly embarrassed at how terrible my writing was when I started blogging over 5 years ago. But as the years passed and my reasons for blogging and expertise grew, I found my voice and learned how to write better and better. Not because I was forced, but because practice made it better. Writing is communication so the better we can communicate the better our relationships, life and message will be. Writing is also a valuable asset for future endeavours like writing a book, letters and public speaking.

2. To gain confidence Just like my skills for writing grew, my confidence did too. The more I shared my work, blogged about it, received comments and sales because of it, the more my confidence grew. I've learned that what I say here does matter and people listen.

3. To connect with others Everyday someone new reads my blog and gets to know me a little more than before. And every once in a while one of those readers will reach out and either comment on the blog or email me. Sometimes it's because they read something that really resonated with them, other times it's to simply say hello. No matter the reason, blogging allows me to meet new people from all over the world, building relationships and community that gives me purpose and support.

4. To find your voice Finding your voice is finding your take on things. It's what makes you, you. For a long time I didn't know how to write or how I wanted to sound or what I really wanted to write about. But over the years I discovered what topics are significant and meaningful to me and my opinions on them. This has helped me discover my writing style, why I wanted to write, who I am writing for and what exactly I wanted to write about.

5. To share yours and others work My third blog was to share my work. But after a while, I got bored with just my own work and started interviewing other creatives and showcasing my favorite music and artists. This was a huge revelation for me because I thought I should only share my own work. But once I started sharing other creatives work, I connected more with people who inspired me, felt good because I knew I was helping them promote their work and ultimately it helped me build my brand and my voice by showcasing only the best artwork and music I loved. To this day I still love to share other creatives work.

6. To position yourself as an expert Your blog is your zone, your platform, your classroom to share your expertise. Consider what you know how to do really well and what you love, then start sharing it on your blog. The more problems you solve for your readers, the more they'll come back again and again. They will view you as an expert in that particular field and you will build your expertise the more you write about it. It's a win, win.

7. To attract new clients Your blog is like a magnet in the ever-growing community of experts and online resources. If you're looking to attract your dream clients, then write about something they're interested in or help them solve a challenge they've encountered. With the right tags, social-media shares and title, your blog posts will float to the top when your dream clients are searching for you.

8. To have documentation of your life Today we live in a digital world and rarely take the time to write anything down on paper. This is something I personally would like to change about myself, but for now I'm grateful I have my blog to look back on. It has pictures I've longed lost and thoughts relevant to each moment in my life and business.

9. To find clarity around your thoughts and intentions I have thousands of thoughts and ideas swarming through my head daily and find clarity by jotting them down on paper and writing about them here. Writing about my life, my business and the thoughts that shape it, allows me to think more intentionally about what I'm doing, why I'm doing it and if I like what I see.

10. To help and inspire others Perhaps one of the most important reason why I blog is to help and inspire others like you. I've dug deep and discovered my mission is to help creatives envision, start and grow their ideas, expertise and businesses so they can make money doing what they love. I want readers to know they can come to me to find answers, solve their problems and find inspiration.

Are you blogging and not sure what to write about? Check out this post here and here

WHAT'S YOUR CALLING?

whats-your-calling-1 Have you ever been asked "what's your dream job" or better yet "what's your calling" and been like "um...what". Yeah, me too. 

After realizing my business Hazel Wonderland, a wedding invitation design business, was something I was really good at but I did not love to do, I had to dig deeper.

I started looking at the things I LOVED to do. I knew I loved music, I loved promoting and supporting creatives, I love encouraging people and I loved inspiring people to follow their hearts.

So I combined that with my God given talent - hand-crafted art - and voila! Here I am a year later with my new self-titled business (because why would it be anything other than my name, right?) combining my love for helping encourage and inspire other creatives to live their dream with my hand-made art and I found bliss. 

That's right, I FOUND BLISS. I am living my dream and I want you to live yours too because it's pretty awesome over here.

Find your own bliss by printing off this PDF and following along with an exercise that will help you to uncover your true calling.

Let me know what you discover in the comments below or at my Facebook Page here. Read more about your calling with this article Career vs. Calling.

Are you living your dream or something close to it? How did you discover what it is you love to do?  And if you are living your dream, I want to meet you. Seriously, if you are living your dream job email me because I want to interview you on this blog. 

47 RESOURCES TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

47-resources-to-grow-your-business Today I shared 47 exclusive tips, books, blogs, articles, tools, materials and websites to help you grow your craft, expertise and business successfully with my newsletter subscribers. Receive your very own list by subscribing to my newsletter:

I AM NOT SPECIAL

i-am-not-special I am not special. Yes of course, my mom, my family and my husband (I hope) think so. But really, I'm not. I'm just like you. I have fears, dream, goals, aspirations, victories, failures, good days and bad days.

When I read other people's stories - on how they got started and what got them to where they are today - I get inspired and feel like it's truly possible to achieve that same greatness. So today, I thought I share with you my story on how I got to where I am today. And that you too can achieve the same success.

Growing up, art was always what I favored - well, that and music. I remember getting a pair of large headphones and locking myself in my room to bliss out to music and draw or paint. This was my happy place.

When it came time to decide what I wanted to do before graduating high school I considered arts. Maybe graphic design or communication arts (whatever that means) - but really those jobs sounded terrible back then. The idea of sitting in front of a computer all day was not glamorous or dreamy at all. I also considered becoming an art teacher. But the idea of so many years of school killed me - I hated school (for reals guys, the only class I liked in school was art).

Because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do and the idea of going into debt to study something I didn't even know I liked, was not an option.

So I chose Cosmetology school. A left field decision, yes. But I great decision for sure. I grew up with two aunts that were both self-employed hairstylists. The idea of being able to make people feel beautiful and working for myself sounded very desirable. That's when I really knew I wanted to work for myself.

For thirteen years I worked as a hairstylist and for ten of those years I was extremely happy doing it. Then I started pursuing art in my free time, moved to a more cultural, art-supportive town and found myself exhibiting art at local restaurants, shops and galleries. I was always drawing, sketching or painting in my free time and finally did something about it. I was creating because I knew I wanted a change, I knew I didn't want to do hair forever. 

After a few exhibits and opening my first Etsy shop, I began to experience what it felt like to make money doing what I loved. It was pennies but a huge boost and confirmation that I could do this.

A few months later I got engaged and decided to design my own wedding invitations. I picked up a set of nibs and calligraphy tools I had from years ago and created our wedding announcements and stamps. I posted them on my Etsy shop just for fun and immediately I was being emailed by many for custom work.

I went with it. I started creating more calligraphy designs, receiving custom orders and posting more products. After my first month I was making more than just pennies.

After our wedding in August of 2011, I opened my second Etsy shop Hazel Wonderland. By April 2012 I was interviewed for the Etsy Featured Seller (for those of you who don't know, being asked to be an Etsy Featured Seller is a huge deal. The interview is opted on the Etsy homepage and viewed by millions).

A few months later, I quit my day job. 

Things were great. Better than great, I was on cloud nine. I was scheming ideas, daydreaming of what the future could look like, I was unstoppable.

Then a few months into designing wedding invitations and working with a couple that challenged me, I realized I was not doing what I was called to do. Yes, I was creating art and yes I was extremely grateful to have clients, to be making money and to be self-employed. But I was not passionate about working with wedding clients. Working with couples was fun and always beautiful to see how each project unfolded, but I was not happy, I was stressed. I still felt like there was more and this was not it.

I spent some time soul-searching and digging deep. Listening to the heart and imaging those moments when I felt the most alive, the most true to myself. I discovered I felt the most alive and heartfelt during conversations with other creatives, artists or friends. Conversations about how unhappy they were at their current job or position, how they dreamed of being more, accomplishing more but had no idea how to get there. They had a passion, a calling, a God-given talent, but no clue how to monetize it.

And that's when I knew what I really wanted to do, what I was called to do. I wanted to help others discover and grow their talents, personality and skills so they could make money and bring value to the world doing what they love, helping us find ultimate fulfillment. 

That meant working with people like me. Artists, musicians, woodworkers, designers, illustrators, photographers, printers, instructors, teachers... that wanted to leave their day job to make money doing what they really love.

When I realized I had to make the switch to start working with creatives and stop working with weddings, I came up with a plan. A plan to slowly phase out of weddings and into business coaching, branding and designing. This process took about eight months.

On October 15, 2013, I launched this blog (yep, the one your reading right now) and started talking more about what I was doing, why I was doing it and who I wanted to work with.

Fast forward to present day and here I am living my dream. I'm working with my dream clients, creating work I love and influencing others like I hoped I could. I create brands that tell others stories, I plan out strategies to help people get to where they want to go, I coach to help others find clarity and brainstorm new ideas, and most recently I teach to help inspire others to imagine, start and grow their business, expertise and craft.

I was put on this earth to help creatives like you. To help you imagine, create, find happiness and find ultimate fulfillment. What do you feel you were put on this earth to do?

("I am not special" was inspired by the talented illustrator Molly Jaques and her Instagram post here

BRANDING | IDEAL SCENE

ideal-scene-blog When you think of a brand, do you automatically think of a logo? Most of us do. But a brand is much more than just a symbol that identifies your product or business;  a brand is your story and promise - it's what makes you and your business, you.

A well designed and executed brand communicates your mission, your personal style and tells your story. If your mission is to recreate moments of love and strengthen the family bond through beautiful photography then coming up with ways to provide that promise and mission to your clients is part of your brand. That might look like a package that bundles together your photography sessions with prints and your mission statement written on a card (wrapped up beautifully with colors and textures that speak your brand of course).

So how do you identify your brand?

Grab a sheet of paper and dedicate 5-10 uninterrupted, relaxing and quiet minutes because I'm going to share with you 1 of several exercises and questions that I have all of my branding clients ask themselves. This exercise was adapted from this amazing book

At the top of the sheet of paper write IDEAL SCENE.

Imagine 3 years have passed, you've been incredibly inspired, you've achieved all of your goals, you've worked with brilliant teachers and clients, you've solved problems, you've made it to where you've always wanted to be and everything has gone as well as you could’ve possibly imagined with your business.

  • What does your life look like?
  • What is your ideal scene?
  • What do you do on a typical day?
  • What kind of person are you?
  • What have you accomplished?
  • What have you given to the world?
  • What are the most important things in your life and business?

Consider these questions and imagine what your ideal scene looks like and jot it down. It's not permanent and will change as you grow. The most important thing is your taking the time and energy to imagine and write out what your ideal scene looks like.

My ideal scene is living the simple life with a vegetable garden, chickens, honey bees and babies. My husband and I have a cabin in the woods by a lake and a loft in a bustling city. We spend time in the city at art and music shows, speaking at events, hosting workshops and sharing coffee with friends. The other half of our time is spent in the woods at our cabin, with our family, eating amazing food, going on long walks and swims and exploring nature, parenthood and life. I spend my days communicating with all sorts of people, guiding them to connect and manifest their ideas and dreams, inspiring them to grow successfully and finally helping them achieve their creative potential so they can find ultimate fulfillment in their life and in business.

A bit lofty, sure. The truth, yes. Possible, definitely.

So what's your ideal scene? Share in comments below or on my Facebook page.

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Letters from Meredith | Free tips & resources to grow your ideas, expertise and business

CAREER VS CALLING

career-vs-calling Do you have a career or do you have a calling? When you're asked what do you do - do you respond with shameless or defeated I-wish-I-was-doing-what-I-love tone or do you respond with a proud I'm-so-glad-you-asked tone?

I can't count how many times the response I get is the former rather than the latter. Whether you're the leading marketing consultant at a bigwig firm and believe it's too late to follow your dreams or you're an overworked waitress that feels helpless on making a living as a musician - the feeling is the same. Fear of failure, feeling unequipped, negativity and the unknown control you.     

Today you can change that. Just a shift in thinking and focus can help you start living a life bigger than yourself.

Here are 3 tips to make that shift today:

1. Positive Thinking - "Believe you can move mountains and you will" was a quote a read years ago and thought - yeah right, move mountains? I was missing the point - if you believe you can do something and that anything is possible then you have half of the game figured out. If you don't believe you can ever make money as an illustrator, designer, consultant, business owner or singer, than you never will. But once you start believing, something begins to happen. The universe hears you, it hears you're ready. Things begin to shift, mountains move, the path becomes clear and everything begins to fall in place.

2. Goal-Setting - Dreams are goals with a deadline. Do you dream of starting a business that allows you to work from home so you can be closer to your children? Do you wish you could make money creating watercolor paintings all day long? The only way dreams will over become a reality is if you get it out of the head and onto paper. Just writing your ideas down is a huge start, but following through is another. Easy-to-do tips on how to successfully goal-set here and here.

3. Grow - If you're not growing you're dying. Are you dragging your feet, wishing for more but don't know how to make it happen? The most successful people I know are constantly growing, learning and moving forward. Take a class, read a book, attend a conference - anything to keep you growing, expanding, learning and inspired.

So would you rather live a life full of impressive titles, promotions, long hours and salaries. Or live a life doing what you love, that professionally fulfills you, that's intrinsically rewarding so you feel like you're contributing to a higher purpose?

WHAT IS A CREATIVE COACH?

what-is-creative-coaching When people ask me what I do and I respond with I'm an artist, designer and creative coach. Without fail, the followup question is what is a creative coach? I'm happy to answer a creative coach is an expert/teacher/mentor that helps guide creatives, artists and musicians to achieve their goals. 

Think back to all of the teachers that have taught you something. In my experience, there are two types of teachers; one that guides you through each step, and the one that does the work for you.

Back when I was a teenager attending cosmetology school, there were two classrooms (each with their own teacher) that us students were divided into. One teacher that was rumored to be sweet, nice and easy and the other teacher was rumored to be a hard ass. I had the latter and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Because although at the time it seemed harder to be with this particular teacher and way scary to mess up a haircut, my teacher never leaned in and finished my work just to make things easier. She would stand next to me, guide me through the task, remind me of my knowledge, give me confidence to complete it. Eventually her style of teaching allowed me to feel confident enough to teach a few cosmetology classes while I was still a student. As for the students in the other classroom, lets just say most of them never went on to cut hair professionally.

So when I say I am a creative coach, I mean I am your rock standing next to you, supporting your ideas, reminding you of your courage, helping you over hurdles, empowering you with confidence and equipping you with the tools to successfully accomplish your goals.

Whether you need a single session to get over a creative hurdle, or a 6 week session to prepare you for your big business launch or brand overhaul, I am here for you. Email me today  meredithcbullock@gmail.com to find out how we can work together to accomplish your goals and start 2014 on the right foot!

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MY GOALS FOR 2014

my-goals-for-2014   writing-out-my-goals-for-2014     2014-goals-teach-cursive-and-calligraphy

Do you follow me on Instagram yet? If you do, you would have noticed a peek into my yearly goal-setting ritual and an announcement of one of my 2014 goals - to teach calligraphy and cursive.

As I've mentioned here, a huge piece of successfully accomplishing your goals is sharing them with others. So I am taking my own advice and sharing with you my goals. From now on, I will be sprinkling in my 2014 goals on Instagram, from business goals like teaching calligraphy and cursive, to personal goals like saving money to travel overseas.

Have you written out your goals for 2014 yet? Check our these dream catching and resolution accomplishing tips here and here to help you get started.

So lets' hear them, what are a few of your 2014 goals (remember - sharing them will help you hold yourself accountable)?

( PHOTO OF ME )

4 WAYS TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION

4-ways-to-accomplish-your-new-years-resolution Writing a resolution is like a contract to myself that I will live my dream and accomplish everything I set my heart to. So when the end of the year approaches I get all giddy about writing my next year of goals.

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a resolution is actually identifying your goals and writing them out. But to me the hardest part is following through with them.

So to prep for the New Year here are 4 tips on how to write a killer resolution for 2014 so you can reach your goals, grow, make more money, find balance and live your dream.

1. WRITE IT DOWN

Probably the most important step of all is to write your goals down. If you don't write it down, it'll never get done. It will swim around in your head with all of the other ideas you have until you inevitably forget about it. For the past 5 or so years, I have a dedicated journal where I write out my resolutions, That way every year I can look back and see what I've accomplished. Get some more tips and download a goal-setting worksheet here. 

2. SET S.M.A.R.T. GOALS

Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals.

Specific: Be as detailed and precise as possible. If you're looking to grow your expertise, how do you plan to do that? Sign up for a ecourse or read for 30" a day? Whatever the goal, be specific.

Measurable: If you can't measure it, you'll never know if you've reached it. For example, when you set a goal to write a book, include the amount of pages you want to write, how long you want to write per day and so on.

Attainable: Our goals come from our daydreams, brainstorms and ideas and sometimes they can be lofty. In order to reach your goals, they must be attainable. For example, if you want to blog 4 times per week, but really only have time for 3 days a week, set a goal that's more realistic for you.  You can always over achieve your goal.

Relevant: Always make sure your goals are aligned with your vision. If you're accepting new wedding clients, but your goals is to work with creative entrepreneurs then you find yourself off course, bitter and burnt out because you're doing work irrelevant to your vision.

Time-bound: I religiously use google calendar, iCal, my iPhone and my notebook to track all of my goals with their specific dates. Over and over again, if I add a goal to my list without a deadline, it never gets done. So when you write a goal down, give it a date of completion and try to stick with it.

3. PLAN IT OUT

Starting with your last goal of 2014, work your way backward. Imagine you have accomplished all of your goals for 2014, ask yourself how did I get here? Begin by writing down your last goal of 2014, then asking what did I do just before this, and what did I do just before that and so on. Continue to work your way backward all the way to the present. Here's an example:

5. Become a best-selling author (last goal for 2014)

4. Tour the US promoting my book

3. Publish my book

2. Write my book

1. Create outline and gather ideas for my book

Once you have those steps in place, you can fill in even more steps in between each one, like:

3. Publish my book

  • submit draft to editor
  • identify my readers
  • research how to publish a book

2. Write my book

4. SHARE IT WITH OTHERS

Being held accountable by others is powerful. Several studies like this one proves that when you share your goals with others, you're more likely to follow through with them. So talk about what you want to do in 2014, share it with you friends and family, on your blog, email, newsletter or social media. Maybe once a month or every other month you want to share your goals and how you've accomplished them. Whatever makes sense to you, share wherever you can. That way when you're feeling doubtful, fearful, unsure or uninspired you have your tribe to hold you accountable.

I have just a few slots left for the 4 week Creative Coaching Package for $275, normal price is $550. Treat yourself to this 4 week plan that helps you get organized and plan out your resolutions, create a strategy for success and hold you accountable so you can make more money and start reaching your goals. Learn more about the package here  and email me for more information and to reserve your spot. Price is good till January 1, 2014.

What do you want to accomplish in 2014? Writing a book (if you couldn't tell) is one of my goals.

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WHY I BLOG

why-i-blog I started blogging nearly 5 years ago. I found my voice, my tribe and my style through blogging. I read this blog post and was inspired to share why I blog.

My first blog was to explore and share work I loved and work I was creating. In 2010 I started blogging. I had no clue what I was doing, but remember reading my friends blog and thinking how I wanted one of my own. She gave me the advice to be myself, to choose a name that was short and memorable. Looking back at those posts, it's clear I was finding myself. I was discovering my personal style, my art, my voice and my inspiration. I blogged a lot about music and how it inspired my artwork. WOW, has my style changed and what I write about, but It's fun [and embarrassing] to look back at my first blog MUSIC = ART.

My second blog was created to attract clients. 6 months after starting my very first blog, I started a secondary one to blog about my new business venture. I don't talk about it a lot - but I used to be a hairstylist (I plan to share more about this soon). So this blog The Brides Hairstylist was created to attract brides seeking on site hair styling for their wedding. This blog was very successful having 200-400 visits per day. It helped grow my business extensively and connect with brides from all over the world. In 2012 I retired from hair and took down the blog to discontinue the inquiries.

My third blog was made to share my latest work and musings. In 2012 I launched the Hazel Wonderland blog. I remember asking my friend (who was developing my website and blog) to complete the blog first so I didn't feel like a fish out of water - because at that point I had taken down my second blog and had no way of blogging. When this blog was launched, I had 2 years under my belt and was used to release of blogging. On this blog I shared herbal tutorials, recipes, music, art and a lot of interviews. I loved the interviewing part (and will start featuring some here soon) but wasn't connecting with my readers as much as I'd like. Plus I had outgrown my brand and was launching my new business name and brand.

My current blog is for you. October 15, 2013, I launched this blog to answer your questions, solve your problems, teach tips and skills and connect with creatives. Yes, I've shared my secrets, my work and my observations but this time I'm doing it for you. It's only been a few months since this blog launched and already I feel like this one is the best yet. I feel more connected to you, more intentional, and more purposeful.

My mission is to help creatives live their dream, making money doing what they love and this blog is helping me reach that mission everyday.

How about you, what's your blogging history? Why do you blog? And how am I doing - am I helping you solve problems and learn new things?

( ARTWORK )

5 WAYS TO PAVE YOUR OWN CREATIVE PATH

how-to-pave-your-own-creative-path People often ask me how I learned to be a successful business owner, a money-making artist, and a girl who chose to pave her own creative path.

Growing up in a family full of entrepreneurs helps, but mostly I pay homage to lots of reading, watching and planning.

After briefly attending one semester at a community college, I realized that I was disinterested in paying thousands of dollars for an education when I already had everything I needed in order to educate myself. Don't' get me wrong, I loved that I was learning when I was in class. But I couldn't help thinking, I could teach myself this and not pay all of that money.

So that year I dropped out of college with a commitment to grow, read, observe, plan and most importantly to always believe anything is possible.

6 years ago I started that trek and today I am sharing with you 5 ways that help me make it happen:

1. LEARN - although I chose to discontinue college, I never stopped investing in ways to learn new things. I truly believe that a constant stream of fresh and new ideas is the best way to stay on top of your game. When I first opened my Etsy shop several years ago, I had no idea how to scan images onto my computer, edit them, then print them as high quality pieces of artwork. It took a lot of time and a lot of practice. A year or so later, I learned how to navigate the Adobe Creative Suite and now have several years of experience translating beautiful hand-made art into graphic art. The easiest and cheapest way I learn new things on my computer is to google it. But googling things does not give you all of the answers and advice you need. When I need more thorough explanations and more inspiring people teaching it - I go to my monthly lessons, podcasts, blogs, magazines and newsletters. My top 6 fav's are:

  1. Braid Creative (newsletter + ecourses) - have you guys seen their new website? it's amazing!
  2. How (magazine)
  3. Fast Company (blog)
  4. Be Free, Lance (blog series) 
  5. Music Business Radio (podcast)
  6. Entrepreneur on Fire (podcast)
  7. Lesson Learned (blog)

2. GROW - Self-growth can only happen when fears and obstacles are diminished. So what fears or obstacles are keeping you from growing? Is it failure, is it a past experience, is it the fear of losing money? So intend of imaging how you can grow, think about what is keeping you from growing and start eliminating it from you life. To me, self-growth isn't just about learning and making money, it's about being the best version of yourself. It's about finding balance, peace, happiness, love and diminishing those fears and obstacles that get in the way. One way that has helped me get rid of fears is working with a coach. I offer creative coaching and recommend it for anyone looking to overcome and conquer those hurdles.

3. GOAL-SET - You've heard me say it before, and I'll say it again goals are dreams written down with a deadline.I know you have thousands of dreams swimming in your head and heart, you're a creative person, of course you do. But until you write them down and give them a deadline, they will only ever be a dream. So get yourself a notebook and start jotting down your dreams and when you'd like to achieve them. Grab some tips from this blog post on how to get your dreams on paper.

4. READ - I can't say enough about how much reading books has helped me grow my expertise and guide me through running my own business to managing my day-to-day routine. At first I read more instructional books on how to screen-print, how to paint with acrylics, etc. Then I found a deep passion for self-help books. Books that shared techniques on how to prioritize your goals, how to dream big and how to make money doing what you love. Some of my favorite books are:

  1. Focal Point
  2. Manage You Day-to-Day Routine
  3. Launch
  4. Start Something That Matters
  5. The Magical Path

5. BELIEVE - None of these tips matter if you don't' believe. To achieve your biggest dreams, you must believe that it's possible and that you have the power to make it happen. Otherwise, it will never happen. Sometimes believing is hard because of fears, but what if you didn't have those fears, would you believe? Fears are only hurdles in our creative path. Jump over them and keep going, I promise you that your biggest dream are on the other side.

Are you paving your own creative path? If so, what tips you do have that have helped you? Any recommendations on resources or blogs, I love a good blog!

MY DAILY ROUTINE

my-daily-routine Do you find your days full of emails, meetings and the requests of others leaving you no time for yourself and what matters most?

This was me less than a year ago. I would check and send emails at any hour of the day, I'd work until my husband dragged me out of office (metaphorically, not physically). I would fill my day with work projects and let my personal projects and goals slip yet again. There were even moments that I found myself so busy and stressed out that days would pass before I went outside. I was too stressed to go for a run, hike or do yoga - all I could think was "if I just spend one more hour on this or that, then I can get it done and I not think it about any more - or If I take on one more project than I can make that extra money - or If I just check my email one more time, I could do...". I was a victim of my own terrible self-discipline and I felt drained and a slave to my work.

Something had to give, I couldn't let work rule my life. So, I made a conscious effort to plan each and everyday with my work goals AND personal goals. I wrote down what I wanted to do for myself, then what projects I had to work on, then how long each goal would take, and it's rank in priority. This more simple and precise, the easier and more accomplished my day was. I use a very simple and approachable technique that I talk about HERE and have a free download for HERE.

I started to make time for meditation and reading each morning, I scheduled in time for exercise, I made an effort to get outside at least every other day, I scheduled in my personal projects and I stopped working on the weekends - no exceptions.

I feel pretty lucky to have the ability to make my own schedule, especially now that I have a handle on it. I feel more accomplished, clearer and healthier.

I started to read this book Manage Your Day to Day and have found some great tips and inspiration - like creative triggers. As Mark McGuinness suggests in the book "Stick with the same tools, the same surroundings, and even the same background music, so that they become associative triggers for you to enter your creative zone." That's all I needed to create a Morning Routine mix on Spotify, you can listen to it here.

Here is an example of what my daily routine looks like:

  • 8:00am - wake and make tea
  • 8:15am - mediate
  • 8:30am - read and drink my tea
  • 9:00am - confirm my day
  • 9:15am - go for a run or do yoga
  • 10:15am - shower
  • 10:30am - eat breakfast (which usually is a nutrient rich shake)
  • 11:00am - I start my work day with the most pressing projects (this is a recent change in my schedule that I am testing out, typically I blog before I start my projects)
  • 1:00pm - write & blog
  • 2:15pm - return emails
  • 2:45pm - lunch with the hubby
  • 3:15pm - meetings
  • 4:30pm - social media
  • 5:00pm - personal projects
  • 6:00pm - return and send any last emails
  • 7:00pm - finish work, start cooking dinner
  • 7:30/8pm - dinner
  • 9:00pm - my hubby hangout and typically t watch some TV or movies
  • 11:15pm - I start to wind down and head to bed

I am so inspired by reading other people's daily routines, especially this one here. So what does your daily routine look like? What can you do today to make your routine better? What tip or victories have you discover that make your day-to-day awesome?