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

LIVE YOUR DREAM | CREATIVE COACHING GIVEAWAY

Live-your-dream-creative-coaching-giveaway As my favorite time of year approaches, so do new resolutions, ideas, goals, and ambitions. Starting 2014 with a clean slate, renewed energy and a whole new set of goals inspires and motivates me to get all of those things I've been meaning to do, done.

So today, I am giving away a 4 week Creative Coaching Package that will help you get organized, clarify your vision, make more money and achieve your creative goals.

What is Creative Coaching? We all know or at least have an idea of what life coaching is, right? Well imagine that, but instead of focusing on your life, we focus on your creative work. Another words, Creative Coaching helps you move forward and grow in the direction you desire with your creative work. So if you have a goal to make 120K in 2014, we work together to help get you there. Or maybe your goal is to start a new business or maybe even tour with your band for 6 months - whatever the goal - big and small - we work together to make it happen.

Who is Creative Coaching for? Creative Coaching is for artist, musicians, designers, photographers, writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, freelancers and creatives looking to grow their expertise, build an incredible career, connect with their dream clients, make more money and reach their goals.

What exactly will we be doing for 4 weeks? Beginning in January, we will meet for 1 hour each week, for 4 weeks (via Skype). Each session, I will give you my complete attention, guiding you through exercises and equipping you with tools that allow you to daydream, achieve your goals and clarify where you want to go.

How do I enter the giveaway? In order to enter, follow these 2 steps:

  1. Like my Facebook page (if you already like it, go to my Instagram and follow me there)
  2. In the comments below, share your business name and 1 goal you have for your creative work in 2014.

The winner will be drawn at random and announced on Monday 12/16/13. Good luck!

(PHOTO, PHOTO, PHOTO)

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!