Over the last several years, I’ve had lots of random questions and survey responses that brought up great topics, but maybe not enough to write a whole blog post about. So I decided to throw them together into a 20-questions style post – except it’s 15 questions. Close enough, for this tired mama. So below you’ll find some answers to random questions about the interworking of my business, systems, apps, and resources I use, and a grab bag of topics like travel, motherhood, taxes, organization, and even TV shows.
My dad and I have always had this question that we throw back and forth to each other — and bear with me here, because at first it can sound like a dirty joke. We ask each other, Are you keeping all the balls in the air?
This year had tons of traveling, tons of momming, and tons of work on keeping this business chugging along. I started new projects that I’ve been putting off, and I cut old strategies that weren’t working anymore. This year was a season of pivoting and simplifying and getting real clear on what I do and don’t want to do in my business.
My last (and first) book update felt like a lifetime ago, but alas, it was just shy of 3 months ago. I had “Book Update #2” on my calendar for this week’s blog post, and thought, well there’s nothing new to say except: I’m still writing it. But then I jotted down some notes and it turned into paragraphs and it appears I have more updates than I realized, so here we are. Funny, that writing thing. It works.
I’ll be frank — in Abode InDesign, if you’re not using these 5 tools below, you’re doing it wrong. These are essential to making InDesign really shine, and allowing you to work faster + smarter than any other design program out there. (Looking at you Canva and Photoshop.) Let’s cut the small talk, and get right to the juicy tools that you NEED to be utilizing if you want to really get your money’s worth with InDesign.
So I’m gonna write a book. There, I said it on the Internet, so it must be true. This post is really different than my usual content, and this entire book writing process seems like it will be really different than my usual projects. And, spoiler: I’m not very far into the process! But I want to blog about the process (because writing a whole BOOK just wasn’t enough writing for me??), for two reasons.
In the last couple years, Etsy has added an advertising component to their platform, allowing shop owners to purchase paid advertising space to show up higher on search results pages. They’re called promoted listings or sometimes, Etsy ads. This can be a controversial topic sometimes – do they work or are they a waste of money? In this post, I'll share my findings after 9 months of experimenting and what strategies I'm using going forward.
Your personality spills into everything you do, that’s no secret. From the clothes you wear, to the food you eat, to the people you hang out with, to the place you go. So it must spill into your business, too, right? Have you noticed this with other businesses you follow? Someone with a big personality probably has evidence of this in their vibrant branding, their confident messaging, and even in the ways they choose to promote their products + services. Likewise, someone who is more reserved probably has a softer brand, more neutral messaging, and promotes themselves in more subtle ways. Some may call this introversion and extroversion, but we’ll get to that later… wink wink.
Here’s a common email I get: “Dear Kelsey, I want to start an Etsy shop but I’m afraid of XYZ,” or “I don’t have XYZ in place first,” or “I’ll never stand out in such a saturated market.” These are roadblocks. Hangups, fears, uncertainties that keep you from moving forward with your goal – opening an Etsy shop, and sharing your product with customers who are eager to buy.But good news! These aren’t real, they're myths. They’re fears that have no basis, because they’re flat out not true.
What does your day-to-day look like? How do you schedule work around being a mom? When the heck do you work with a toddler running around at home?! All questions I got in a recent mid-year survey I did for my email subscribers, and it got me thinking that I should do a second edition of my popular post that was published a little over a year ago – a day in the life of a single mompreneur with no babysitter.
Raise your hand if you’ve had a launch, are in the middle of a launch, are planning a launch, or have one on the back burner? I’m gonna guess your hand is up…? Thought so. Launching in online business is being talked about so much these days – things like strategy, and list building, and promotion, and all the things. But what about practical stuff that goes on during your launch period? Like, oh I don’t know, eating food and going to the bathroom?
Small business owners these days wear a lot of hats. We tend to be our own assistants, accountants, advisors, marketers, copywriters, and now even our own designers. When it comes to designing for your business, you’ve probably quickly learned that there are... 1 — there are tons of things that need designing within your business, and, 2 — there are tons of software options to make those designs.
Automation. It’s the buzz word being slung around the Interwebs as of late. It’s that thing everyone is striving for, it seems like, to make their business totally automated and hands-off. But… what if that might not actually be the best thing for our customers? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a convenient app as much as the next gal (or guy! hey fellas.), but I’m afraid if we go so far down the automation rabbit hole, our businesses will end up looking and sounding like robots. Cold, hard, emotionless robots.
Are you new to the world of digital products? Or, maybe you've been thinking about adding some to your shop but haven't quite figured out what to offer? In either case, I've got one word for you: ebooks. These little babies are the perfect segue into the digital product world. Never created an ebook before, you say? I gotchu. I've designed many-an-ebook in my day. To make it as easy as possible for you, I've compiled this list of pages to include (and helpful tips!) so you're not just staring at a blank InDesign file. Get excited, you're about to create your very first ebook! (And stick around til the end, there's a brand new mini-class to help you learn even more about our good friend, Ebook.)
If you’re creating a digital product to sell online, a big “ freezing” point for you might be choosing what platform to house it all on. I did SO. MUCH. research on this when I was working on creating my first online course. I got ALL the free trials and read ALL the reviews and clicked Next on ALL the Google pages. And lemme tell ya, there are quite a lot of options out there. They each have their pros + cons, and this is certainly not an end-all-be-all list, but I’ve rounded up some of the platforms I think are the best on the market.
Hi my name is Kelsey, and I’m a workaholic. How does that saying go – entrepreneurs work 80 hours a week for themselves, so they can avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else. Couldn’t be more true! I’ve always been a workaholic, whenever it’s work I’m passionate about. So when Paper + Oats got off the ground in 2013, the workaholic in me was in overdrive. The day I became a mother (and a single one, at that) was the day I knew my workaholic schedule was about to change forever.
ConvertKit has a lot of pieces to it, and honestly it took me a long time to get used to it. But I seem to learn new things every time I get in there, so I thought it would be fun to share some quick tricks to help you work a little smarter. And since I get other nicely designed CK emails from some fellow creatives, I thought you might be fun to invite a few of them to join in and share a hack or two that they have up their sleeves!
Etsy has it’s quirks, that’s for sure. It can be intimidating for new (or even seasoned!) sellers to figure out the logistics of even seemingly simple things. And selling digital products, rather than physical, can come with it’s own set of challenging logistics to sort through.
I’ve seen this question asked about a thousand times in about a thousand places, so I figured it was time to shoot straight. This topic can have some varying opinions, sometimes controversial about which way is better. But after trying both methods in the last couple years, I’ve discovered it all boils down to a few different factors to consider.
Last week I posted a picture on Instagram of my computer as I was planning out aaalllll my 2017 tasks in just a few days. Yes, that’s right, an entire year’s worth of projects in about one week. And people freaked out. Rightfully so! I know how crazy it sounds, 12 months of work scheduled out on a calendar is a little control-freak-ish right?! It’s okay, you can say it. But this method helps me brain dump all my ideas + plans for the coming year in an organized way so I can actually accomplish the things I set out to do on January 1.
Wow, I have derailed on the blogging train the last few months. Sorry about that. Honestly, I was running low on content ideas and just wasn’t feelin’ it. At first I felt guilty for not keeping up with it, and then I sat down and wrote this quick year-in-review, quickly got over the guilt, and just decided I’d recommit to the blog in the new year. And that felt much better 😃
I’ll cut to the chase: sharing your story with a bunch of strangers on the internet can be down right scary. A little over a year ago, I had no blog and had just opened my business Instagram account with my teeny tiny following. No one knew my name, much less what I had been through in the two years prior. But I had an inkling to write, and I knew I needed to finally start blogging. Not just for my business, but for my own journaling of sorts – to keep a record of this wild journey of entrepreneurship and motherhood.
You guys. A note in Evernote has been sitting, unwritten in, with this title for a good 6 months. I’ve been unsure about writing it. Unsure about sharing things. Unsure about people reading these things. But here we are, and we’re talking about dating. Oh boy. (Literally.)
Online courses. Er'body's making them. They're a great way to share what you know about specific topics, while earning some passive income in the process. But online courses can be beasts. I've said it before – "passive" income is a bit of a misnomer because it glosses over the amount of work that goes into creating the product in the first place. For each of my online courses, I spent a good 4-6 months creating the content + promotion that went into those product launches.
All morning I’ve been fighting with a toddler to eat her breakfast. Just eat. the dang. toast. She’s a little stubborn – like her mama. And her mama’s mama. And her mama’s mama’s mama. The little stubborn thing celebrated her second birthday last weekend, and as she spent most of the day with her dad, it was a bittersweet day for her mama. These early birthdays are more of a celebration for the parents than the kids, right? Celebrating the fact that you’ve kept another human alive for 2 whole years. Celebrating the fact that you’re still somewhat sane and standing upright.
Last week, I talked about a few reasons why Etsy is a good option for selling digital products online. But what’s the number one reason people shy away from selling on Etsy (at least from my unofficial research)? I’ve noticed that most people who are hesitant about selling on Etsy are worried that their product, whether physical or digital, will get lost in the shuffle. And by shuffle, I mean the literally millions of other product listings on the site, thousands of which show up every time a customer types something into that search bar.
There’s no doubt digital products are on the rise, and a common question among newbies looking to break into this billion dollar industry, is where the heck do you sell them? That question elicits tons of answers, and it all depends on your personal preference, your product type, and your selling style as to which one you should host your products on. When most online entrepreneurs list off the best digital product websites, there’s one that doesn’t get included very often but deserves a spot on the list – Etsy.
There can be a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism. It’s a gray area that a lot of Etsy shop owners (and even just creative entrepreneurs in general) are afraid to go near. With such a huge platform like Etsy, it's not hard to come across products from different shops that show eerily similar aesthetics or content. When you're just starting out as an Etsy shop owner, or just a creative business, it's easy to look to successful shops and try to emulate their style or ideas. But try to refrain – because there's a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism, and you don't want to be on the wrong side of it.
This has been a rough week for my hometown of Springfield, Missouri. We lost a good one over the weekend. A guy who moved to town about ten years ago, opened a coffee shop, and changed the entire community. His name was Tom, and everyone loved Tom. Literally, everyone. In the days since his sudden and tragic death, friends have described him as unbelievably generous, impartially kind, and an undeniable connector of people.
Digital products are a way of creating passive income for your business. They are basically any type of information product you deliver electronically rather than physically ship. Some popular examples in the creative entrepreneur world would be online courses, video workshops, e-books, PDF guides, worksheets or printables, or design resources like icons, illustrations, stock photos, templates, and more. (See the mega list of digital product ideas included at the end of this post!)