LIVE ON THE EDGE

Live on the Edge Are you living life on the edge: taking risks, exploring the world, living your dreams, conquering fears and doing everything you can (even the scary stuff) to live your dreams?

or

Are you merely existing: each day comes, you go through the motions, convinced this is just the way it is, things can't get any better, you can't accomplish your dreams - they're too big, tomorrow comes and you do it all over again?

For most of the world, it's the latter. But you can be different. You can do anything. You can manifest your dreams, change the world and have everything you've ever wished for.

I want you to take out a sheet of paper - or open your notes on your phone or computer - and write down your big, I MEAN BIG, dreams. Really imagine how you want to live your life, what it would look like, what you would have around you, who you'd be with, what you'd be doing and write it down.

This is a process I take each and every one of my clients through, I call it ideal scene. Because if I know what your big dreams are and what you want to accomplish, then we can work together to make them happen.

Writing down your dreams is the first step to accomplishing them. The next step is making your dreams into goals, then after that,  creating a plan to get the ball rolling.

So what can you do right now, tomorrow, this weekend to live on the edge and accomplish your dreams? 

 

I'M TRAVELING TO YOUR CITY

I'm Traveling to Your City Working with creatives & entrepreneurs in-person and face-to-face, sharing with them what I've learned about calligraphy, lettering, art, branding, business and blogging is a very big goal of mine. Currently, I work with creatives from all over the US, utilizing Skype as our main platform of communication. This works great for those "face-to-face" interactions, but I want more in-person and real face-to-face conversations and experiences. I want to work one-on-one with you, intensively, till we get the job done!

In order to make this happen, I'm traveling to your city!

Meaning, I now offer the option for us to work together in-person and one-on-one. The way this works is I either travel to you, or you to me, we work intensively Monday-Friday for 1 to 2 weeks on your project and execute all goals, plan and projects before I leave. This option is great for creatives looking for more in-depth guidance and one-on-one direction. This is also great for those who need their project turned around quickly.

You see, back when I was a hairstylist, I would have 8-10 clients per day that'd I'd meet in-person, have conversations with, develop relationships with and help them look and feel beautiful. I loved this - the connections I would make and the influence I had on their confidence and in their lives - it filled me up.

As the years passed, I felt drained and burned-out. Having meaningful moments and conversations with 6-10 people per day, all while standing for hours on end, was impossible. I realized I couldn't do this forever - it was unsustainable and life-deteriorating.

I shifted focus on other creative endeavors and eventually found success with my Etsy shop. I was able to quit my hairstyling job and focus solely on calligraphy and my Etsy shop full-time (hooray!!). I felt more energized and looked forward to the possibilities of being self-employed.

At first switching from face-to-face, in-person interactions to 100% online interactions was a shock and something I had to get used to. I had so much to learn - from how to write an email that captured my personality & essence to having a conversation on the phone that felt like an in-person interaction. It was tough, but eventually I got better at it and realized that I could utilize Skype to have more of those "face-to-face" conversations I desired.

I miss those connections. And in order to have more real face-to-face, in-person interactions, build relationships and to work one-on-one with other creatives, I'm traveling to you. Not only will I travel to you for projects, I'm also now booking workshops across the US for this fall, winter and spring.

I'll be offering the following workshops:

  • modern calligraphy
  • calligraphy as a business
  • watercolor lettering & painting
  • brush lettering
  • blogging & brand development
  • social media & online growth
  • any ideas - email me!

Here is a current list of cities I've been asked to travel to:

  • NYC
  • New Jersey
  • Ithaca, NY
  • Green Bay, WI
  • Madison, WI
  • Chicago, IL
  • Murfreesboro, TN
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Monterey, CA

Are you interested in having me travel to your city for projects or workshops? Leave a comment below or send me an email with what workshops or projects you're interested in and what city you live in. I can't wait to meet you in-person!

 

HOW TO TEACH A CLASS

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Are you thinking about teaching a class in your community and want to know how to get organized and prepared to do it? Say no more.

Teaching has helped me promote my business and build confidence in what I do. 

This January I taught my first calligraphy class. I had a little experience teaching - a few years back I taught some art classes to children and a few hair cutting/styling classes when I was in cosmetology school. But this felt different.

I had to come up with a description to sell the class so people knew what to expect, I had to create a step-by-step process to follow so my class had a good flow, I also had to source and order the materials in order for each student to participate. Basically, I was on my own to teach this class and that's what made it different.

I was excited to teach, especially to adults who were really passionate about learning, but a little nervous because this was a big step for me. 

I don't know if I would've known to prepare for the class without the help from The Skillery, a co-working community of classes and workshops for and taught by creative entrepreneurs. They helped me organize my ideas, create a class/workshop page online, organize a space to teach in, and promote and sell tickets to the class. Because I am new to Nashville, I am certain that I would've been teaching to an empty room if I didn't have the contacts and promotional help from them.

I'm now going onto my 5th class - DIY Brush Lettering - and want to share with you 10 easy steps on how to teach a class yourself.

Step 1. Identify what you want to teach, who you want to teach it to and why. Consider your skills and what you know how to do really well. What are those things? Maybe you're a photographer and you want to teach beginners how to use their first DSLR or maybe you're a songwriter and you want to teach how to write a song to children. Whatever it is you want to teach, consider who you want to teach it to and why you want to teach it. As Stephanie mentions in this article,

the best courses weave together four distinct areas -core skills or information, a strong sense of purpose, the creative process or philosophy of the instructor, and a great finished product or end result – to create a one of a kind course that is truly distinctive

Step 2. Write a brief description of the class.  In 3 paragraphs or less, write out what your students can expect, how long the class will be, what they will be given (worksheets, materials) and what they will leave with. Think about the materials that will be used and if they get to take them home or if they are theirs to use during the class only. Students will want to know what they're paying for. So try to be as specific as you can but keeping it simple so they can imagine themselves at your class, enjoying it, loving it and finding value in it.

Step 3. Decide if you'll be teaching it alone or through an organization. If you're just starting out, I recommend teaching your first or several classes through an organization. The reason why is because these organizations/businesses makes money through your class so naturally they want you to succeed. They will help guide you through each step and will also help you sell the tickets. If you're going to teach it alone, know what you're doing, how you plan to sell the tickets and be prepared. The upside to teaching alone is you get to keep all of the ticket sales.

Step 4. Name your price. Consider your time, how long it takes to not only teach the class, but to organize the class, set up and break down the class. Price out the materials you will need for yourself and for your students. Now combine your hourly rate with the material costs and divide into how many students you want to attend. For example, if you're hourly rate is $75 and the class is 2 hours long, that equals $150. Add 2 hours of class prep, promotion, organizing, etc that equals $300. Now add materials costs - let's say $200, that equals $500 in total costs. Now divide that price into how many students you want so in this case lets say 10 students. That would be a ticket price of $50. Now don't forget that when you work through an organization, they will take a cut of that or charge you a fee. Let's say they take 50% - this would mean my total profit would be $250. So again the ticket price would be $50, total profit would be $250.

Step 5. Nail down a date and place. When choosing a space to teach in, consider your audience and what they might like, think about logistics (is there enough space for me to walk around in), ask if they have equipment essential to class (do they have a blackboard to use, projector screen, etc), think about lighting (is there enough lighting for people to see what they're doing), pick a time of day that's best for your students, and so on. When considering a date, do some research. Check out what days other successful classes are being taught and do the same. For example, The Skillery suggests I teach on Tuesday or Thursdays because they have the best turnouts those days.

Step 6. Order materials. You've already done a rough estimate of what materials will be needed in Step 4. Now order/buy those materials making sure to give yourself enough time to have them shipped to you in time or to pick them up from the local store.

Step 7. Promote the class. Create a Facebook event, talk about it on your blog, tweet it, whatever you can, announce your class and all of the details that make the class great. Be sure to not sound too salesy, you want your potential students to find value in this class. So mention what they'll get if they come, why you love this class so much, how long you've been doing it, etc.

Step 8. Create a syllabus and checklist. Now that you've launched your class and people are buying tickets, create a step-by-step outline of exactly what you'll be teaching so that when your class comes and you're standing there you don't blank. For example, the first thing I do when I start a class is introduce myself and share why I teach, why I am passionate about teaching and how long I've been doing it for. Once you have your class plan down, create a checklist of things to remember to bring with you. For example, if you're teaching a painting class, you not only need paint brushes, paper and paint, you also need cups, water and rage to wash their brushes.  Try to really envision the class from start to finish and jot down everything you need to remember to say and bring.

Step 9. Show up and crush it. Now all you need to do is show up. Keep in mind you might need to show up a half hour or 45-minutes early to set up. And a tip from The Skillery Teacher's Handbook is to surpass your students with something. So every class I come up with some way to surprise them. My last class, I surprised the students with a blank envelope with a stamp on it, challenging them to write a hand-written note to someone they know. Other times I've shared cookies or cheese and crackers with them.

Step 10. Build relationships. One of the most important things I like do when I teach is share my story, how I got to where I am today and then ask the students the same. Some are a bit shy at first, but once a few people break the ice, most join and share what they do, why they do it, how they heard about time and my class, and more. I do this not only because I selfishly want to learn all about them, but

I also do it to help build a community. I want these students to be friends with each other.

My last class, I jotted down any websites or blogs that the students had onto the chalkboard for everyone to check out. I encouraged them to stay in touch the other students and to email me anytime. I also put my social platform info on the chalkboard for them to share any photos they may have taken during class. This step was a gift that I was not expecting and is now one of the major reasons why I love to teach.

What's your experience teaching a class? Do you have any steps or tips to share for us? Have any classes you want to share? Wanna take a class with me but not sure if I teach it or will travel to where you are? Email me to see meredithcbullock@gmail.com

NASHVILLE FOR GOOD

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You know when you run into a friend randomly that you're in a familiar place. This happened to me last week for the first time here in Nashville. And again this week.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably watched the slow transition of us moving from Ithaca, NY to Nashville, TN. Digging up your roots to replant them in a new city is scary, exciting, crazy, stressful, amazing, hard and beautiful. But things are finally starting to feel like home.

We've got our Tennessee tags and licenses, we're navigating the city without our GPS, our guest room has had 3 visitors, we've hosted 2 house parties and several dinner parties, we've sang karaoke with the locals, we've danced to bluegrass while they filmed a music video, we're going to live music that never came through our small town, we're getting to know our super creative, talented and ready-for-big-things community, I started to teach art classes with The Skillery, I attended my first conference as a presenter, I starting collaborating with these talented Nashville ladies and was just asked to contribute illustrations and lettering for a local magazine. Nick's manifested his music into vinyl, is recording with some really talented musicians and bands, formed his own band, has his first show next Tuesday (!!!) and has even played bass in a recording session with Jars of Clay members.

I'm proud of us. We did it.

We're growing and accomplishing dreams we hoped we could moving here. We're pretty darn happy and grateful we took the big leap of faith to move to a new state, so far from home. It couldn't be clearer how right this move was for us.

We're home, in Nashville for good.

MY 10 SECRETS

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A few months back when I was planning to launch my blog, I realized one of the key steps to updating my brand was to get some updated head shots/photos of myself. Because I have a nice camera and my husband has a good eye, I asked him to take them for me. While we were at it, I took some of him too for his new blog and brand we worked together on.

Naturally, I spent a few minutes posing in front of the mirror attempting to find the best angle/pose/smile/stand to make before the shoot. I was prepared to look a certain way, the way I thought would look nice and professional. I looked at several other creatives head shots and kept those in mind for the shoot.

All of that posing and practice went out the window when my husband started to take the photos. He made me laugh, loosen up and relax. But most of all, he allowed me to show my true self, the side of me that sometimes you don't hear about or see. The side of me that I am sometimes afraid to share. 

Recently I participated in a "share your secrets" Facebook post. Some of you may have heard of it, or even saw my "secrets" on my Facebook page. The way the challenge goes is if you read someones "secrets" on Facebook and comment on their post asking for a number, the person who posted the secrets would roll the dice and give you a random number. That number determines the amount of secrets you share.

So, I did exactly that (but unknowingly). I read one of my friends posts - her secrets. It was so touching and beautiful that I commented on it. She then replied with a number and said if I wanted to participate, I could. I immediately thought, no way. I am not going to share my secrets with Facebook. I am too private for that.

Then a few days later, her husband, another friend of mine, bared his secrets too. Just like his wives, they were moving and inspiring me to share mine.

I have secrets. Secrets I have been afraid to share with you because I thought I might lose your respect, I might offend you or that I might even lose potential business. 

I shared my 10 secrets on Facebook and had some incredibly supportive, loving and heartfelt responses. The entire day I checked my Facebook at least a hundred times. I received messages from old friends, woman, and family who applauded me and thanked me for my bravery, honesty and for sharing my true self. I was overwhelmed with love, joy and gratitude and felt a weight lift off of me.

Sharing my secrets helped heal me a little more. 

With the hope that you'll still be here after you know my secrets and with the faith that if I be myself and share even the hard stuff that good thing will come. So here are my 10 secrets:

  1.  After 8 months of RCIA I was baptized in 2011, only a few months before I married my darling Nicholas Bullock. Getting baptized was a moment that I was so afraid of and hated the idea of getting water poured on top of me in front of the entire Easter Mass. When the day came to get baptized, I was surprised at how lucky and grateful I felt to be the only one at the church that day to receive such an amazing honor.
  2. My dad passed away when I was too little to remember him. Most days I wear a locket around my neck with a photo of him and my deceased grandpa's (his father) within it. Sometimes I wonder what it would've felt like to have him here.
  3. This spring I was pregnant for 12 weeks. At my first exam (at 12 weeks), I learned the baby stopped developing (at 6 weeks) and I, in fact, had what they called a "missed miscarriage". A missed miscarriage is when the baby no longer is alive, but you still continue to grow and experience symptoms of a normal pregnancy. I was giving a choice to surgically remove the baby, wait for it to naturally expel, or take drugs to force out of my body. I chose to have the baby removed surgically. It's been several months since that day and I never really knew how to share it with everyone till now. There is so much to say about it and I plan to share more about it in someway. Nick and I believe our baby was a boy, so we've named him Julien, whom I pray to often.
  4. I'm one of four siblings (3rd one down). My family calls me by a nickname my [step] dad proclaimed, Dippy. FYI Ive always called my step dad "dad". I've included the step to maintain clarity of who I'm speaking of.
  5. When I was a teen, I was the last one out of my families home when it caught on fire after our furnace blew up. My bedroom was the closest to the furnace, but I had my headphones on and my door locked. My [step] dad somehow got my attention and got me out of the house before I could get hurt. Thanks Brian Keefer!
  6. I've been playing softball for nearly 20 years. When I was a teen, I was warming up to bat and was caught in the face with our home run hitters bat. Only a minor fracture under the eye was a result.
  7. As my friend Tom mentioned in his "secrets", I too was uncertain I'd ever get married. Then I met Nick and he changed everything.
  8. I've always wanted to sing and play music in a band and had the opportunity to do a little of that with some pretty talented ladies PurpleHenry IshMarie ButcherAmanda Marie and Erin. I have some ideas and plan to write and perform my music someday and share my recordings too (produced and engineered by Nick of course).
  9. I believe that every one of my dreams and goals will come true.
  10. I was a hairstylist for 13 years until I finally made the leap to entrepreneurship. Both my mom and dad were business owners, so I had some great role models.

HOW MAY I HELP YOU?

how-may-i-help-you As I begin to hash out and mold my vision for my blog, a million ideas of what to write about and how it should look and feel come to mind. Like how I want to talk about the music industry, living as a full-time artist, learning how to find balance with work and life, my creative hurdles, the best brainstorming session ever, films and artwork that inspire me, how to stay focused, and how I don't know if I love my logo yet … etc, etc.

But you see, my mission for this blog was not only to find clarity within my own journey, my mission is to also connect with you and help in anyway I can to solve problems, share and grow. That's right, this blog is here for you too.

I want to hear from you, hear about what you're doing, what struggles you're facing or what victories you're accomplishing.

So, I ask you this: How may I help you?

Here are just a few ideas:

  • What have you accomplished lately that you want to share?
  • What struggles are you facing that you need direction and clarity around?
  • What topics would you like to see here on my blog?

Ask me anything in the comments below, on Facebook or Instagram or email me at meredithcbullock@gmail.com

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