Overcoming Obstacles & Productivity

Obstacles & Productivity for Business - Studio 404

During Monday’s newsletter, I shared some tips on overcoming obstacles. In the age of connectivity, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed when your business is your priority. I don’t think I’ve logged onto Twitter without seeing peers being overwhelmed by the inboxes or client demands that seem to never end. Owning a business is hard work, parenting is hard work, having a social life is hard work, and on top of that, there’s that marriage thing. When do you find time to be able to get things done in a way that’s healthy and allows for diversity in your schedule.

I do so many things, which isn’t always a good thing. I always say I’ll blog about it but I decided against maternity leave and started slowly working around week two postpartum. I had an easy labor and recovery. A is sort of an easy baby so it hasn’t been difficult for me to jump into things and sometimes too many things. So today I’m going to share some ways I handle being overstimulated and how I can still end each week successfully.

Obstacle: How to Put a Hippie on a Schedule

I’m sure if you divulge into any of my old posts, especially from 2013, you will know how much I hate the idea of having a daily schedule and routine. I could not identify with bloggers and business owners who forced themselves into a steady schedule. I really work best when I’m in tune with how I feel. Babies do not. How do I mix in my crazy brain while still raising an infant who needs 12-15 hours a sleep a day?

  • Schedule meetings and social events early. I’ve talked about how my husband and I share a Google calendar. This is the basic foundation of how I navigate the week. Having important functions set in stone early allows me to see how much wiggle room I have to work and head out.
  • Prioritize. Knowing what’s important is key to getting things completed in a timely manner. I still work with clients who have insane (less insane these days) deadlines. I have to prioritize social time, work time, and family time. Decide every day what needs to be done and work on those things. Do not allow yourself to be stressed over things that you cannot get done.
  • Need a timeout? Take the baby out. My kid is only eight months old and goes insane when she’s inside of the house too long. We were out and about really early and it’s always been that way. Having regular outings (baby workouts, library storytime, mommy walks) allow for some prime bonding time while allowing me to hit the rest button on my creative brain.

Obstacle: Nothing Seems to Get Done

We all know that feeling? Something is happening, a big project, a newborn, a family crisis and we just cannot win. You are struggling every day to keep up and it seems like you haven’t made a dent in progress. How do you keep on going when it seems easier to give up?

  • Where is your to-do list? If you are not writing down the things you are doing, it will seem like you haven’t done a single thing. I always write a to-do list for every day so I can know what I’ve accomplished. The days I feel the laziest, I’m surprised at how much I managed to work on.
  • Break your block. Find out what is keeping you from solving the problem or just moving forward. Do something to get yourself moving. Try something new or move onto something else so you can continue to be productive.
  • Everything is a phase. We are all going through phases and parents can co-sign. Your baby isn’t sleeping at night, won’t give up the pacifer, etc. Those things are temporary. Look at everything that happens as something you can overcome and you will! You’ll be surprised at how much time you can waste wishing something were over already.

Obstacle: I’m Falling Behind While Everyone is Getting Ahead

This is a BIG one for me personally every day. I see my friends doing amazing things and then I remember, they weren’t pregnant for ten months and they don’t have kids. #FOMO is real but don’t allow it to take you out of the game.

  • You can always start over. Never think that you’re too far removed to be able to contribute, especially if you are a creative. Your voice, your work, and whatever talents you have are always appreciated. Start where you are not where your friends are.
  • Everyone has their struggle. While you are worried about only having 1,000 daily page views, the person you are comparing yourself to is comparing themselves to someone else. Get out of the comparison game. It’s time to worry about yourself and what you can do. Everyone is struggling with something today.
  • Find your inspiration. At the end of the day, you have to find your drive. As much as I have tried this year to come back to this space, I just found my drive and that’s ok. I am reading new blogs, learning new things, and finding my groove every day.

How do you overcome obstacles and stay productive?

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Inspiration: Draw Me A Song

Happy Monday! If you’re subscribed to the newsletter, you know I shared some tips on overcoming obstacles. I’ll be sharing more this week on things you can do to be productive in times of hardship.

However, to start off your Monday, I have some fantastic inspiration from a very talented designer and illustrator named Nour Tohmé. Nour currently lives in Paris and creates beautiful work. I’m such a huge fan of her style and thought I’d share her Draw Me A Song project and shop here today.

Draw Me A Song fuses music and art in a delightful way. Using the lyrics and the stylistic approaches of different artists, Nour creates beautiful prints and postcards for the music fan or the lettering junkie like myself. I can’t write enough words to describe how awesome this project is so see for yourself.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Draw Me A Song
Single Ladies - Draw Me A Song
Rehab - Draw Me A Song
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - Draw Me A Song

Be sure to visit the Draw Me A Song shop today!

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Ask A Freelancer: Marketing

Ask A Freelancer - Marketing

So excited to start this Ask A Freelancer series back up for the end of the year. I’ve got some great ladies lined up for the next few months with some topics that I really find helpful.

Today I have the amazing Jessica Suhr of Lovely Day Atelier and Kaylee Nicole of Bright Colors Happy Things here to chat about marketing as a freelancer. I met both of these ladies through Nesha’s Shelancers Club which has been a Godsend in need help, asking questions, and being motivated as a lady-boss. These ladies are full of great information so let’s get started.

What has been an effective marketing strategy for you?

Kaylee: Effective marketing is such a difficult concept to understand. I am constantly changing the way I market to see what works best. With how fast marketing is constantly changing and evolving, things don’t stay the same for long. What I’ve found to be the most effective is constantly and consistently interacting with your audience. It doesn’t sound super fancy nor is it anything near what you pictured a marketing director might be doing, but that’s the best way to grow your audience organically – interact often. Don’t try to be phony either. People can sense when you’re saying things just because it sounds good. They know when you’re not being authentic. If you post and interact often, but are not authentic about it, it can be worse than not posting at all.

What have you learned about marketing yourself as a freelancer?

Jessica: Marketing is difficult, multi-faceted, and – second only to doing great work – it’s the most important part of the freelancing puzzle. I’ve found that I need to work on marketing everyday to keep my backlog of work full and to stay relevant and prominent to potential clients. And for me, building relationships is the most important part of the puzzle.

Marketing for a service-based business is very different than a product-based business and I’ve found that developing relationships with people via Facebook groups, Instagram, and even the old IRL networking groups is key to getting the word out about your skillsets and services. You never know if that random lady you’re chatting with has a friend that needs exactly what you provide. And you might be able to refer her to your friend that needs exactly what she provides.

What’s your official “title” and how does it fit what you do?

Kaylee: My official “title” is marketing strategist and virtual assistant. It fits what I do almost to a ‘T.’ I help small business owners, freelancers, and bloggers break down and understand the big, scary concept of marketing. I also assist these passionate people in getting these tasks done by encouraging them to outsource their work to someone who knows more about it – which happens to be me.

What is your favorite social media outlet for marketing?

Jessica: Instagram is my favorite for following others, but for me Pinterest definitely brings the most traffic. I recently started using Buffer to schedule pins and that has helped me be more regular with sharing my content and other people’s content to continue to grow my followers. And I’m toying with the idea of promoting some pins on Pinterest in the future.

Also, networking via Facebook groups has been instrumental in turning up leads and making it easier to warm up a lead before I ever reach out to them directly.

So, Facebook groups and Pinterest are my two favorites, if I’m allowed to pick two. :)

Have you booked a project directly from your marketing efforts?

Kaylee: I’ve booked several projects from my marketing efforts. It may sound like I am declaring anything that I do marketing, but participating in small, focused Facebook groups can be the best thing you’ve ever done for your business. I’ve heard many people say that Facebook is dead and that the future is in Instagram or Twitter or even Periscope and while building a following on Facebook may not be ideal or even easy, I have built such a large following from participating in Groups that are focused in my industry. These groups are exactly where I can find my potential clients.

What has not worked for you in terms of marketing your business?

Jessica: Every marketing effort works to some degree, even if that’s just increasing visibility and not leading to instantaneous conversions. For example, some of the local networking groups I’ve checked out didn’t really have any ideal clients for me or didn’t lead to ongoing relationships but I’ve had some useful conversations. I will say that I’ve joined some Facebook groups for business people that I was really excited about, but ended up just being places for people to complain. I quickly left those groups because who needs any more negativity in their life!?

Please share any of your favorite marketing resources:

Kaylee: My favorite marketing resources are Buffer, Canva, and any stock photography website – mostly Death to the Stock Photo, PicJumbo, and Unsplash. I’ve also used Hootsuite, which works just as well as Buffer; I like their interface and layout more.

Jessica: I’m loving Latergram.me to schedule Instagram posts directly from my computer and Buffer to schedule Pinterest posts. And of course there are a ton of fantastic bloggers out there writing about marketing. A few of my favorites, Elle & Co., Nesha Designs, Amanda Genther, and the Nectar Collective.

Jessica Suhr

Connect with Jessica: Site | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Kaylee Nicole

 

You won’t find anything about the things I do on my own to better myself and work towards becoming a better more skilled worker. You won’t find anything about my hate for math classes or my love for personal development challenges. You won’t find any testimonials from friends, past clients, or past employers thanking me for staying late, arriving early, or going above and beyond to help in any way that I can. You won’t find anything about my belief in there always being hope – no matter what the situation. You would have to meet me to be able to find all of that. Reach out to me kaylee@brightcolorshappythings.com to be able to experience all of the imperfection that is me. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn off the light.” Albus Dumbledore

Connect with Kaylee: Site | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | Periscope: @brighthappyplnr | Pinterest | Twitter  | YouTube

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