I’m a nerd, and one of my favorite things to do when I’m faced with a big project or a big goal is to map out a plan and work that plan until I accomplish it. I know, that’s some serious nerd alert there. So when it was finally time to re-record my entire online course, The InDesign Field Guide, I knew I needed a good plan.
Ok, that title was maybe a litttttttle click baity, but I couldn’t help it. Because it’s true — I’ve been needing to write this blog post, to kick off the new year with a solid blogging game, and yet there’s only one thing I seem to be doing instead: procrastinating. I’m like really, really good at it.
My word in 2018 has been hone. I wanted to hone my business as well as my lifestyle. Refine it, simplify it, get super clear and intentional on what I wanted both to look like. This past year was less about growing my business, and more about stripping out what wasn’t working so I could focus on and improve what was working.
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.
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.
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 😃
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.
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!)
I’ll be honest, 2016 has gotten off to a rough start. I try to be transparent in my corner of the Internet, not to glamorize anything I do (because trust me, it is rarely glamorous), but to be totally honest about what the life of a single mompreneur actually looks like. And so far this year it’s looked like a strong-willed toddler, an unexpected breakup, and one very worn out mama. Post-divorce dating is a whole blog in itself, #amiright?! Someday. As much as I’ve tried to be prepared for this new year, I’ve had a lot of other things on my mind and frankly haven’t had the energy to poor into elaborate business goals and strategies to reach them.
Babies. Babies are hard. Babies are sweet and precious and cuddly and a blessing, but babies are really really hard. Add maintaining a business, and babies get even harder. BUT, the cool thing about babies is they give you some lead time before they get here. My pregnancy, albeit an emotional one, was an instrumental period of time for my business. I knew I had nine months to build P+O into something that could help sustain a life for my daughter and me.
Online courses — they’re so hot right now. Interactive, self-paced online learning seems to be the way of the future, and how cool is that? You can learn anything from anywhere from just about anyone. Watch someone practicing the exact skill you want to master, and learn from their secrets. But if you’re an entrepreneur who’s considered diving into the world of online courses, beware it can get overwhelming. There are tons of new resources and services popping up daily, and all this content can make it tough to actually get started on creating that course idea you’ve had stuck in your head.
As a creative business owner, I’m guessing you have a million ideas shooting through your brain at all hours of the day. Don’t worry, you’re not alone :) I can't seem to get my brain to shut off either, and I recently found myself feeling scatterbrained and unable to move forward with business ideas or decisions because there was so. much. stuff up there. Google Drive was overflowing with random, unorganized notes and lists, and my desk was overrun with scraps of paper and post-its. Enter Evernote.
I don’t know about you, but as a creative entrepreneur, my mind is always planning and dreaming about the next project for Paper + Oats. I lay in bed at night thinking of ideas to make existing products / services better, ways to collaborate with other business owners, and lofty dreams I have for this little business of mine. To be sure I don’t let a single task slip my mind, I use two tools every single day to keep my projects, ideas, and tasks organized.
If you’ve been following Paper + Oats anytime in the last month or so, you’ve probably heard of Batch Day – it’s a quick little idea I had to create community around productivity. In a nutshell, Batch Day is a one-day productivity challenge for creative entrepreneurs. Here's the plan: you’ll dedicate an entire day's work to one topic, eliminating all distractions so you can make the most of this hyper-focused time. Hold yourself accountable, learn from your peers, and get a healthy dose of motivation throughout the day with other creative business owners using #POBatchDay on social media.