A few weeks ago, I stumbled across an Instagram post by my friend Val Woerner asking for questions from her followers that she’d love to answer on her blog. It’s so interesting to me how social media can keep us so connected to one another, but somehow so disconnected from the people we follow. Instagram has been hugely beneficial for my business, but I never want to be a distant presence that no one can relate or talk to. I’m a people person, y’all!
I love Val’s idea so much, I decided to follow her lead. Some of you asked THE BEST questions – some deep and meaningful, others that made me giggle.
Have a question you’d like me to answer? I’d love to! Either leave a comment or email me (email@example.com) and I’ll add it to the list!
Q: “My girlfriend is a photographer and all-around creative. How can I, as her significant other, best support her? What are the best things I can do to encourage her on her bigger dreams and also her day-to-day endeavors?”
A: Such a thoughtful question! The fact that you’re even asking it tells me that you’re probably already very supportive of her. The ways I feel most supported by my husband (as it pertains to my job) are:
— When he takes a genuine interest in what I’m working on. It’s so far from his realm of interest, so when he looks at a new website with me or takes time to say that he really likes something I’m doing, that means a lot.
— When he tells me he’s proud of me. The creative world is a tough place to navigate. Hearing him say he recognizes my hard work really motivates me.
— When he asks me thoughtful questions about my work or creativity in general. Having a meaningful conversation about something that’s not naturally interesting to him is very selfless of him.
— When he tells me something reminded him of me. The other day, he brought home a magazine that he saw at Barnes and Noble because he said the design on the Table of Contents page reminded him of me. Sure enough, it was a geometric pattern that I love. How thoughtful!
— Listening when she complains. It’s important, I think, that you don’t confuse frustration at a certain creative/work situation with her desire or need to quit that project or job. Just let her talk through the stress and maybe end the conversation with reasons why this is still what she’s called to do.
She’s a lucky lady to have you!
Q: “HOW DO YOU GET YOUR HAIR LIKE THAT? Real Question.” (this one made me giggle)
A: Lots of practice and lots of product! I have naturally curly, but very fine hair, so I use a thickening shampoo and conditioner and then a root booster. I spray in a sea salt hair spray (I love Herbivore’s Sea Mist) and then blow dry, combing through it with my fingers and giving my hair texture. When my hair is completely dry, I spray a little more salt spray and then “scrunch” it with my fingers and let it dry (I put my makeup on while it dries).
Then, I separate my hair into two sections (half up/half down) with a large clip. I take small 1″ sections of the bottom layer and wrap around a very hot 1″ curling wand. I go all the way around the bottom layer, alternating which way I turn the curling iron (this gives a more natural look). Make sure to curl the pieces on either side of your face away from your face. Repeat for the top layer.
Then, I give it a good spray with R+Co Outer Space and mess it up a little with my hands so it’s not so perfect. I add a volumizing powder to the crown of my head and rub it in to add a little life to my roots. Voila! Easy, messy curls. And, on the second day, I can usually pull off a good curly pony tail.
Q: “Who is your printer?”
A: So, I’m going to be honest. There was a time when this question would have irked me a little. In the stationery industry, it’s a little taboo to ask people for their resources. Some people (including myself at some point) feel threatened because they work hard to research and vet their manufacturers. It’s a personal relationship and most people hold this information closely.
Having said that, I really value transparency and realize that sharing my resources doesn’t mean another artist can create exactly what I create. It’s not the paper or the envelope that make your product – it’s you!
So, I have lots of printers: Mama’s Sauce, Smoky Road Press, Gilah Press, Bel Jean, Stationery HQ, Art Laminating and Finishing, just to name a few.
Q: “How did you manage teaching (a time commitment) with trying to branch out on your own (also a time commitment)?
A: The short story is: I didn’t sleep.
The long story is that when my business was in the infant stages, my creative work was a welcome reprieve from the day as a teacher. But, as things picked up in 2012, I was still excited about all the work that was coming in (and what the potentially meant for the future), but was exhausted at the end of the day, like all teachers.
I believe there is a season for all types of work and time management and my time as both a teacher and a creative business owner was the season of hustle. I know that term is veeeeeery widely used these days, but really.
hus•tle (/ˈhəsəl/): “to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction“
I was tired, frazzled, hurried and oh so unceremonious. I drank A LOT of coffee and my husband and friends showed me A LOT of grace. I’m thankful for both of those. I kept a lot of lists and asked for help when I needed it, both as a teacher and a creative. I have a bad habit of saying “yes” to everything and then drowning in the tasks that come along with that answer. Though the season was tiring and a bit overwhelming, the most important part of the story, I believe, is that I eventually took the leap to give 110% to ONE THING instead of 75% to ten things.
It was not an easy decision, but it’s the best one I’ve made for my business. I accepted the fact that I may fail, but I needed to see what I could do if I had 8-9 hours to focus instead of trying to pull together my creative thoughts at 5PM. I realized that I may have to get a part time job (which I then viewed as taking a step back – which it most certainly is not), but didn’t care. It’s amazing what kind of effort you’ll put in when you have no other options. And, by the grace of God, it all worked. No second job, no business loan, and very few tears.
So, if your season of balancing a “real job” and your creative ideas is looking quite unbalanced, it’s okay! Keep plugging along, but make sure to have an end goal in mind. You’ve got this!
Stay tuned for a lot more blogging, including the second part to this series!