*This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if you choose to click on them and/or make a purchase*
Breathing is definitely NOT overrated. I lost most of November to a sinus infection, and while sinus infections are nothing new to me, this one added a new twist: asthma exacerbation. My “mild” asthma became much less so, and pretty much any type of exertion left me breathless. This was especially annoying considering I live on the third floor, so just taking the stairs was an adventure. Add some truly excruciating joint pain to the mix and you may begin to understand why I haven’t been a very happy camper. Writing and typing are difficult when you have shooting pains in your elbow and your fingers are too stiff and sore to hold a pen. I have a speech-to-text program that I like to use for “writing” down my thoughts, but even talking was too much exertion for my poor lungs. So I haven’t been able to get much work done on my book, let alone anything else.
It’s extremely frustrating for me to not be able to do the things I want to do. I don’t like being told I can’t do something, and my body has been telling me “nope” for several weeks now. (Yes, I’ve seen a doctor. Yes, I’m much better, thus why I’m actually able to write this now.) I’ve been forced to slow down, take it easy, relax… and I hate it. Patience is not one of my virtues. But it’s given me a lot of time to think.
Obviously, the book I’m writing is much on my mind. Make that books. As I do my research and go over my notes, I realize this is a much more ambitious project than I originally thought. The good thing is that just makes me more excited about it. The bad thing is that excitement makes the frustration of not being able to work on it worse. I’ve had to constantly remind myself to just take a deep breath and let it go.
Since writing wasn’t working, I ended up doing a lot of reading and listening to audiobooks. I must admit, I love self-help books. I love how they can make me think about my life, hopes, and dreams, and get me enthused about them all over again. One that I recently finished and highly recommend is Jen Sincero’s *You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life*. I have the audiobook version, which she reads herself. I really like her style, though it’s quite different from the usual fare. She can be crass and vulgar (she was in a band called Crotch, that should really explain a lot right there) but to me anyway, that makes her seem more real and approachable. I’m seriously considering investing in one of her coaching programs.
You can check out some of the quotes from You Are a Badass on Goodreads, but there were two that I want to share in this post:
“Life often turns to shit before it turns to shinola.”
“Birthing your dreams is like… giving birth. Conceiving the idea is the fun part (hopefully), then you go through insane amounts of fear and excitement and dreaming and planning and vomiting and growing and thinking you’re crazy and thinking you’re awesome and stretching and shape shifting until you’re practically unrecognizable to everyone, even your own self.”
Following your dreams is not an easy path. As the saying goes, if it was easy everyone would do it. I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve been around enough pregnant women to recognize the truth of the second quote. I know that following my dreams has changed me considerably from the person I was a decade ago. It’s been a pretty wild ride, but I’m not about to get off the roller coaster.
What I found incredibly interesting and enlightening was the chapter containing the first quote. By really going for your dreams, you are basically trying to completely change your reality, but your reality doesn’t want to change, so it throws a tantrum like a threenager. It’s like Murphy’s Law on steroids and crack. But it also means you’re on the right track. So the sinus infection, my asthma now requiring a daily inhaler, the joint pain I’ll be seeing a Rheumatologist about in January, all but one of the headlights on my car going out, the flash drive with all my notes and references for the book getting corrupted (talk about leaving me breathless!), my laptop BSODing, my credit score tanking because I couldn’t pay my bills and my creditors were breathing down my neck, and what seems like a million other little setbacks are all because I’m finally on my way to making my dreams my new reality. I’m going to believe that anyway, it helps me to breathe easier. :)
Now, back to MY book. I think strategic planning is extremely important for any business, but it’s also extremely different for a one-person business than it is for a corporation. First of all, you ARE your business. You eat, sleep, and yes, breathe it. It’s very difficult for an artist to detach themselves from their art, as we pour our hearts and souls into each piece we make. So you’re not just planning for your business, you’re planning for your LIFE. Because of that, I will be incorporating not only the knowledge I’ve gleaned from my studies on corporate strategic planning, but also from the variety of self-development and life coaching books I’ve read. I’ll try to keep my rah-rah cheerleader tendencies to a minimum, and because I always put “none of the above” for my religious affiliation, you won’t be seeing any mentions of a specific religion. This book is about you, your business, and your dreams.
I’m also using the material I’m creating to take a good hard look at my own business. These last few weeks have given me a lot of time to think and dream and figure out what it is I really want. I’ll be doing a post about my BIG dream later, but there are three things that I want my business to be about: freedom, creativity, and passion, not only for myself, but for every small creative business. Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business will be all about discovering the passion behind your business and creating the freedom you want in your life.
For me, part of the freedom I want to create for myself and my business is the freedom from worry about money. Besides the sickness and pain, another thing keeping me from writing is the necessity to try and find ways to make enough money to pay the bills. Time spent listing items on eBay and Etsy or researching events I can vend at is time spent away from working on my book. This is one reason I created the Indiegogo campaign, to raise funds so I could work on the book without financial distractions. The campaign ends today (December 18), and I am nowhere near reaching the goal for the first book, let alone all ten. So I’ve been looking at other ways to make some passive income, and that’s why I’ve signed up to be an affiliate for some of my favorite companies and websites, like *eBay*, *Amazon*, *Groupon*, *Better World Books*, and *Jo-Ann.com*. Then I went a little nuts…
- Sites I WANT to shop, like *Sammy Dress*, *Chocolate.org*, *Her Universe*, *To Be A Pirate*, and *ModCloth*
- Services and products I really want to try, like *GoSmallBiz*, *focus@will*, *Makerskit*, *Start A Clothing Line*, and *Grow and Make*
- Online classes I want to take, from *CreativeLive*, *Everyday Genius Institute*, *Craftsy*, *Creativebug*, and *Coursmos*
- More books: *Leisure Arts*, *Dover Publications*, *eBooks.com*, *Thrift Books*, and *Booksfree*
- Craft supplies: *Fire Mountain Gems*, *8Seasons*, *Beads.us*, *Duck® Brand Duct Tape*, *Consumer Crafts*, and *Create For Less*
- Business Resources: *PicMonkey*, *PLR Products*, *LogoNerds*, *Brian Tracy*, *Self-Counsel Press*, and *Thrive15*
- Business Supplies: *ComboInk*, *iCustomLabel*, *Lightning Labels*, *Baumgartens*, and *Bulk Office Supplies*
- Geeky stuff: *Things From Another World*, *SuperHeroStuff*, *TV’s Toy Box*, *Easy Roller Dice*, *Betty’s Attic*, *Entertainment Earth*, and *I Love Science Store*
- Costumes and Cosplay: *Turtle Contacts*, *BuyCostumes*, *Costume Express*, *Frank Bee Costumes*, and *EZ Cosplay*
- Some of my favorite T-shirt sites: *80sTees*, *BustedTees*, *TeePublic*, *6 Dollar Shirts*, *Five Finger Tees*, *teeVillain*, and *Ript Apparel*
- Some new-to-me T-shirt sites that I discovered: *Better Than Pants*, *Sun Frog Shirts*, *Goodie Two Sleeves*, *Look At Me Shirts*, and *Sons of Gotham* (are those awesome names or what??)
- Speaking of awesome names, I saw these and checked to see if their products were just as awesome (answer: yes): *Misfit*, *Tipsy Totes*, *Unemployed Philosophers Guild*, *Marbles: The Brain Store*, and *Bacon Freak*
- Awesome individual products and product lines, like *You Can Hide It*, *FontBundles.net*, *Direct Portrait*, *Couponing Binders*, and *Mermaid Swim Tails*
- Products and services for a great cause: *War Foodie*, *Gifts With Humanity*, *fashionABLE*, *Hero Giveaways*, and all the *Greater Good* sites
- Fantastic gift baskets and monthly subscription boxes: *Smart Art*, *The Bro Basket*, *TeeBlox*, *Gourmet Food Clubs*, and *Bonjour Jolie*
- More great places for gifts: *Official Merchandise*, *The Lighter Side*, *Things You Never Knew Existed*, *VJ Books*, and *GiftCards.com*
- Because this post is about breathing: *Breathing Center*, *Aeroflow Healthcare*, and *Air Purifiers America*
- And many, many more…
Yeah, I went a little overboard. You can see them all on the Referrals and Recommendations page (still a work in progress, but let me know if you have issues with any of the links or you can’t find what you’re looking for). As you’ve probably figured out by now, I am putting an asterisk on either side of any affiliate link. This ensures that it’s completely obvious that it’s an affiliate link, and also helps me to find them when I’m done writing a post if I don’t put the links in as I go. And links without the asterisks are non-affiliated. Anyway, I’ll be seeing how these do and likely will pare them down in the coming months. I’ll also be doing some specific posts giving more details and reviews of certain products and services, and using some to illustrate some of the other posts I have planned. Speaking of which, you can get a sneak preview of possible themes by checking out my Pinterest boards. I’ve been adding products I find on Etsy for each of these “vision boards” in hopes of giving those sellers a bit of extra exposure, plus I may use some of them for illustrative purposes like I did in my last post. Note that I have no affiliation with these Etsy shops and am not receiving any compensation for sharing their products. I just think they’re neat and I want to help other artists and small businesses like myself. Of course, I will add my own products to these boards as I make them, as there are dozens of inspirations running through my head thanks to this process. “Vision boards” indeed.
I’ve also been looking at other ways to express my creativity and passion. Several years ago, I set up a Zazzle store that I called Badly Drawn Designs, a play on the Jessica Rabbit quote I play at the beginning of my shows for The Cape Radio and the fact that all my designs are text-based. I haven’t added anything to it in years, but it’s still generating a little bit of income for me. I have an Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of other ideas, so I really want to start creating these again, especially now that I have PhotoShop. Here is my most popular product of all time (42 sold so far!):
I’m also using PhotoShop to create images like the one at the top of this post. The background image is from Pixabay, a site of royalty free, public domain images that can be used for commercial purposes. I add the word art, using fonts from dafont.com which are also free for commercial use (not all of them are, so make sure you look for ones that are public domain or 100% free). I really do enjoy playing around with fonts and words, and I’m thinking of creating word art images for sale in my Etsy shop. These would be digital downloads, so another great source of put-it-up-and-forget-it income. What do you think of this one?
You’re probably wondering how this all fits with the rest of my business. Remember those three words I mentioned earlier? Freedom, creativity, and passion. The affiliate links offer me the freedom to work on other things while still potentially generating income, and the companies and websites I choose are ones I am passionate about, related to creativity, or speak to one of my other passions, like helping small business owners and saving the world (even if it’s just *feeding animals at a shelter*… it all adds up to a better world eventually). Badly Drawn Designs gives me the freedom to create something without having to reproduce or ship it myself. I’ve always had a passion for words, and playing with fonts and images provides a creative outlet. I love making jewelry and sewing, but it’s not always possible for me to do so. And of course, writing Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business gives me the freedom to creatively share one of my passions: reworking big business concepts for one-person businesses.
So much of the literature available to us “little guys” seems to be based on our desire to either become one of the big guys or sell our business to them. But what if that’s not our goal? A lot of small, creative business people just want to keep their business something they can handle on their own, maybe with a little bit of help now and then, but they don’t have any desire to deal with employees or investors or IPOs. I am designing Painting the Big Picture of Your Creative Business for the individual artist and crafter who wants to define success on their own terms. Strategic planning can help you whether you want to make a million dollars a year or just want to help put food on the table. In fact, I would say that strategic planning is vital to the success of your business, however you define success. And it doesn’t have to be hard, or confusing, or frustrating. It can be an extremely fun process! Plus, you can pre-order today for as little as $5, so what do you have to lose? Take a deep breath and click that Contribute Now button. ;)
I couldn’t resist adding one last thing… who knew bad breath could be so cute?? :)