I think every business owner's story is an underdog story. Most of us worked for someone else, spent our days dreaming of working for ourselves, and usually through a significant change in their life – either forced or voluntary – they finally take real steps towards that dream being a reality. It’s rarely a smooth road, it’s usually a bumpy, curvy, pothole-laden road that can take a long time to get down. Lots of people have asked me about my own journey, so I thought I’d share it in a fun, timeline-style post – showing you that the big transition from day job to self-employed is not a quick or easy one. It takes time, work, and a whole lot of patience.
People in the online space are sometimes surprised to hear that I’ve only ever been to one creative conference. There’s a million great ones out there, and lots that I would love to attend, but I’ve actually only attended one single conference, and it was a pivotal one – the Society for Creative Founders. SCF taught me the basics of running a thriving creative business and connected me with countless other creative women who were in the same boat as me – learning the ropes of this whole business thing, and looking for some friends to figure it out with.
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.
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!