Three Focuses

How To Choose Your Own 3 Focuses In 5 Easy Steps

We've already talked quite a bit about my 3 focuses... we've talked about my 3 personal focuses: makeup, acrylic painting, and music. And we've discussed my 3 business focuses: Pinterest, Instagram, and video.  But how can you decide on your focuses?

We’ve already talked quite a bit about my 3 focuses… we’ve talked about my 3 personal focuses: makeup, acrylic painting, and music. And we’ve discussed my 3 business focuses: Pinterest, Instagram, and video.

But how can you decide on your focuses?

Step One:

Scribble down ANYTHING that’s been on your want-to-learn list. To be clear, when I choose my focuses, they’re always a brand new skill for me… that keeps the excitement fresh, I think.

When I choose one of my 3 focuses, I like to pick something that's a new skill for me... it keeps the excitement fresh I think. Click To Tweet

For example, I was asked the other day if knitting was on my 3 focus list. No, it is not… not because I’m not down with knitting this year… I totally am! But because I’ve been knitting off and on for over a year now. Are there still skills to develop? Oh yeah… in fact I just got a set of circular needles for Christmas (and boy are they gorgeous!) But I have begun learning to knit already. Therefore it didn’t make the cut.

Same with Spanish… Spanish is hanging out with me again this year, and I plan to knock it out and move to my next language… but it’s not one of my 3 focuses.

Step Two:

Now, jot down any skills that you NEED to learn, for work or life. For example… my husband is building a forge… but maybe, he wants to add a little medieval flair to his business. So maybe he spends the year learning how to make chainmail.

Or perhaps you’re a chef, but you’re held back because you suck at desserts (for the record, if that’s you… don’t try out for Chopped just yet, cause that’ll sink ya!) So maybe you spend this year learning as many kinds of dessert recipes and techniques as you can!

Step Three:

Look at both of those lists… if there’s something that you feel very “meh” about… cross it off. Heck, scribble that mess out. Get rid of it. If it’s not exciting you, you’re not gonna wanna carry this through for the whole year.

If it's not exciting you, you're not gonna want to carry it for the entire year. Click To Tweet

Step Four:

If it’s something you can learn in a matter of a few days or weeks, that’s gone too. See ya! This is all about stretching yourself… that’s why sometimes it’s better to go with a broad category, than a really narrow one. For example, if you’re that chef… you probably don’t wanna say “I’m gonna learn how to make a blackberry pie”.

Now, my husband will eat the heck out of a blackberry pie, so I’m not knocking them. But odds are, you’re not gonna spend the whole year making just that pie. Do you have go as broad as “desserts”? No, absolutely not. If you wanted to just go with “pies” that would be just fine, cause there are zillions of pie recipes out there.

This is your game honey, so you can make it as broad, or narrow, as you please. Just make sure that it gives you enough space to play for the whole year. Pinterest is much more specific than “social media” but there’s SO MUCH to learn about Pinterest, and the platform is always growing and evolving… and for me that includes scheduling services like Tailwind, and learning how to improve my graphics in Canva… there’s a lot of room to learn here.

Step Five:

Look at your lists… whats left? Are there any skills that play nicely together? Last year, I chose watercoloring, doodling, and hand lettering, because I felt like they played together beautifully. I had a sudden realization that if nothing else, they all come together in a creative journal.

Are there any that you’re more excited about than others? Write them on a separate page, and then circle your top 3. Bonus points if a glitter gel pen comes into play somewhere in this, and even bigger bonus points if you take a picture of your final picks, and tag me on IG – @amandasuehowell (and it can be in a story so it doesn’t mess up your pretty feed!).

Now, here’s the really great news… I’ve got a worksheet for you!! Just click the photo below, put in your name & email, and it’ll be sent whizzing to you faster than Monk asking for a wipe after a handshake.

 

Click here to subscribe

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So What’s The Big Deal About Pinterest?

A little over 2 weeks ago, I posted about my business focuses for 2018, one of which is Pinterest. Right now, you’re probably thinking one of two things… a. Woohoo!!! Yeesssss girl, yes… LOVE me some Pinterest. or b. Well okay yeah, Pinterest is cool and all… but “business” focus?

If you’re in the first group… high five!

If you’re in the second group, let’s chat… cool? You go grab yourself some hot tea, and we’ll chat by the fire.. go ahead… I’ll wait.

Yay! Welcome back, and omg… that mug is SO cu… oh. Yeah. Sorry! Squirrel moment. Okay… Pinterest… here’s the deal… Pinterest has something unique that no other social media platform can lay claim to. People on Pinterest want to be marketed to.

Think about it…

Instagram, they want to see pretty pictures, or learn behind the scenes things about their favorite people.

Facebook, they want to keep up with their family, friends, and celebrities.

Twitter, they’re in it for the instant updates, or the snarking.

But Pinterest? They’re actively seeking out blog posts, articles, and products. For example, makeup is one of my creative focuses this year. I’ve looked for tutorials, inspirations, and makeup on Pinterest. So I’m not just finding blog posts, and videos… but I’m actively seeking makeup, brushes, mirrors, etc…. products… on Pinterest. I want them to sell me on these items.

As of January 1st of 2018, there are over 175 million users on Pinterest… over 80% of which are female.* So if women are your market, this is a gold mine… especially if your market is creative. But even if you feel like your product or service isn’t creative, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful on Pinterest.

Caitlin Bacher specializes in helping entrepreneurs run successful Facebook groups… she has 16K followers.

Pet Plan Insurance has 43K followers. And I know you’re thinking… but Amanda, the puppies… hello, who wouldn’t follow that? But that’s the thing… they’re not selling puppies. They sell insurance.

I mean, that’s about as far from creative/artistic as you can get. But they know what their people want to see… and in the meantime, they’re getting their virtual foot in the door, so-to-speak. And now, when they pin one of their blog posts, or run a promotion, it’s going directly to all of those 43K people who signed up because the doggies made them smile.

Okay, so now that I’ve piqued your interest… check this little nugget out. When you turn your Pinterest account into a business account, they send you emails about upcoming webinars for Pinterest.

I know, I know… you’re up to your ears in webinars… me too girl, but listen! (Said like Navi). On these webinars, they’ll give you insight into what things you should be pinning for upcoming seasons, and holidays. In September they had 3 webinars… these webinars went over trends for the 2017 holiday season, tips on how to separate yourself from your competition, and ideas for how to promote your products for holidays sales.

Not only that, but they’ll send you the slides from the webinar… which is kind of my favorite thing ever, because I don’t always have time for webinar, but I can always zip through some slides really quickly.

And if that wasn’t enough, their blog posts on upcoming trends are insanely helpful. For example, one of my clients pins things related to babies… baby gifts, baptisms, etc. In 2018, sprinkle showers* are predicted to be insanely popular. Knowing that, you can bet your boots that we’ll pinning the heck out of sprinkle showers in the next few months. It’s fun, it’s trendy, and it’s a shoo-in for her pinning strategy.

So there you have it… just a few of the reasons why I’m really amped about exploring Pinterest more this year. What are you focusing on for your business this year? (And if it’s Pinterest, stay tuned for something I have that will help you get your Pinterest off the ground!)

 

*These, and other fascinating stats can be read at Omnicore Agency.

(In case you’re curious, they’re baby showers featuring candy sprinkles, like for ice cream cones.. the idea being that you don’t have to be left out of fun shower theme if you’re letting the baby’s gender be a surprise… instead you can use rainbow sprinkles as the theme.) 

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My 2018 *Business* Focuses Revealed

Recently I posted about how I chose 3 creative focuses at the beginning of the year, and they created the path for my downtime, my creative time, my classes taken, etc. I briefly referenced my business focuses, but I didn't go into any detail, until a sweet friend of mine privately messaged me and asked why I didn't mention what they were. So, if you're also wanting to know what I'm up to on the business end of things, this is the post for you!

Last week I posted about how I chose 3 creative focuses at the beginning of the year, and they created the path for my downtime, my creative time, my classes taken, etc. In that post, I noted that I’m doing it again next year, and I want you along for the ride!

I briefly referenced my business focuses, but I didn’t go into any detail, until a sweet friend of mine privately messaged me and asked why I didn’t mention what they were. Really, it was 2 reasons.

#1. I was afraid I’d already rambled on long enough as it was. 😀

#2. I wasn’t sure they’d be interesting.

So, if you’re also wanting to know what I’m up to on the business end of things, this is the post for you!

1. Pinterest

One of my favorite things about working as a VA, was social media work. But not all social media work. Two social media platforms are my favorites by far… Pinterest is one of them. I’m in a few Pinterest classes right now, but I haven’t made my way through them, and I haven’t started implementing any of it yet. I’ve seen people talk about most of their traffic coming from Pinterest, and I’d love to learn how that happens.

2. Instagram

I know, you were ready for me to say Facebook right? Juuuuust kidding. I like Facebook, but I don’t “love” Facebook. Same with Twitter. But I love Instagram. The photos, the stories, the lives…. I absolutely adore every section of this platform. But my business changing means that I’m feeling my way into a new look, and I want to solidify that, and really create a community on there.

3. Video

I don’t do video very often… but every time I make a foray into it, I enjoy it so much, and I get a great response. I’m not sure if it’s because my enthusiasm really comes through on video, or if it’s because my snark is more obvious when it’s not written. Ha! Either way, I plan to do a lot more of video in 2018… pre-recorded and live. I also plan to do more on YouTube. Right now I’m in the process of creating new channels, to go with the new brand, and I’m deciding…. should I have one channel for book tube, and another channel for creative things… or blend it all under one channel?

I’m kind of leaning towards all under one channel, and just pretend that I’m a superstar and everything’s in one place under my name, but I’d love your opinion!

Do you think I should have one YouTube channel, or separate channels for different topics? And, what are *your* business focuses next year?
Recently I posted about how I chose 3 creative focuses at the beginning of the year, and they created the path for my downtime, my creative time, my classes taken, etc. I briefly referenced my business focuses, but I didn't go into any detail, until a sweet friend of mine privately messaged me and asked why I didn't mention what they were. So, if you're also wanting to know what I'm up to on the business end of things, this is the post for you!

Join Me In 2018: Together We’ll Make The New Year Our Most Fulfilling One Yet

Together We'll Make The New Year Our Most FulFilling One Yet

Almost 2 years ago, I tried hand lettering. I’d done calligraphy before, so I was confident that I’d really enjoy brush lettering. But I sucked… when I say that I sucked, I should take a moment to clarify that I’m not the sort of person who needs consoled with a popsicle. I’m not being down on myself, or having a comparison pity party… it was just ragged.

But that’s not shocking, because I’d never used a brush pen before. As it turns out, I didn’t have the muscle control to move it fluidly yet, and I was using the wrong paper, so I was tearing up my pen too. But, based on that one half-crap attempt, I decided that it was proof I just wasn’t cut out for brush lettering.

Makes sense right? I tried it, I stunk, case closed. Boy, am I glad my parents didn’t have that attitude about me when I was born! “Well, she tried to stand, and she fell….. what a failure!”

Well now you’re just being silly Amanda! Yup. Sure am… and I was being silly when I bailed on a potential new skill, because I wasn’t mind-blowing on my first attempt.

So at the beginning of this year, I chose 3 skills to learn through the year: Doodling, hand lettering, and watercoloring. Why 3? I just can’t handle only picking one skill… and 3 sounded like a good number.

Why limit myself at all? I could give you some very schmancy responses about how historically limitations have prompted some of the most long lasting things like Picasso’s blue period, or Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, which arose from a challenge to write a book in 50 words or less.

I “could” give you that answer, but honestly it’s because I suffer from a crippling condition… FOMO. Yes ladies, get well cards can be sent to me at… okay seriously though… Fear Of Missing Out. It kills me to miss out on things, and I want to take *flinging confetti* all-the-classes!!! So I limited myself to 3 areas, so that if I saw a class and I really wanted to take, I could analyze it in the scope of those 3 skills, and determine if the class was a good fit.

And it worked.

I started off the year by creating a Pinterest board for 2017, and I dumped anything I could find… books, YouTube tutorials, blog posts, tools, classes… just to get my brain going.

I chose these 3 things on a whim. My whims are few and far between, so I usually follow them when they come along. I’m not a capricious person by nature. But this was definitely a whim. And I ran with it as hard as I could. What I didn’t realize, is that it would change everything. *dunh dunh da dunhhhhhh*

Phillip would come home, to a bed covered in lettering drills. Because once I started learning how to properly do it, I loved it. And I would do page after page of drills… waves, swirls, v’s, m’s, n’s, circles… anything to learn the motions and build that muscle control.

Slowly, I added in watercolors, and to my surprise I fell in love with that too. You see, what all 3 things had in common, was that I’d previously tried them, and decided they must not be “my” thing. Lettering was rough looking, watercoloring was difficult to control (and I love control), and doodling was too whimsical for me.

But slowly, all of them grew on me. And as I learned them, my art became more unique, and more interesting. Meanwhile, my writing on my blog was getting harder and harder. I had a chat with a friend about it one evening, and she said “is it possible, that you’re struggling because you’re writing about what you think people want you to write about, instead of what really excites you?”

Uhm. Yes. More than possible.

So basically over the weekend, everything changed. I updated my domain, my graphics, and everything… I had one more hiccup… turns out not everyone knows what a curmudgeon is ;), but I rallied and here I am.

Here I am, and it’s one year since I made that decision… and now I’m doing it again. Last year, it was a secret… only a handful of people had any clue what I was doing… my own personal safety net in case I got bored. But this time, I’m going public with it for a very special reason.

I want you to join me.

Don’t worry, I’m not pointing my finger at you like Uncle Sam, and I won’t draft you, or voluntell you. This is completely up to you, but the things is… a drive by yourself is nice, but a road trip with friends is fun! Are you game? Awesome!

Join me and @amandasuehowell in choosing 3 creative skills to grow in 2018! Click To Tweet

Here’s how this works… you’ll pick 3 things. I’m picking 3 for personal, and 3 for business… that doesn’t mean that the personal won’t end up in my business, but for now, these are just being learned and explored. Anyway, you’ll pick 3 things, and revolve your world around them. Let them create a laser focus for the classes you take next year, the tutorials you watch, your tax time splurges… all of it.

At the end of each month, I’ll do an update post, and I’ll share what I’ve been up to (although odds are, you’ll see glimpses on my Instagram, and possibly YouTube), and what classes I’ve been taking… what skill got the majority of my attention that month, and what my progress is.

I totally want to hear from you in the comments of those posts… link to your own update post if you choose to go that route! Share an Instagram photo that shows what you’ve created so far! Update us with what class you loved the most… invite us into your world.

Without further ado, here are my 3 personal focuses for 2018:

Acrylic painting – I explored watercolors this year, so next year I’m playing in a different medium.
Makeup – I have always adored makeup, and I’d love to really learn some new fun looks, and learn how to do them quickly… I’m just not a 4 hour contour kinda girl.
Music – Another longstanding interest of mine… I’ve been dying to learn how to play several instruments, and really sharpen up my singing.

Now it’s your turn! What focuses are you choosing for 2018? Will you be making a Pinterest board too?

Here’s how this works… you’ll pick 3 things. I’m picking 3 for personal, and 3 for business… that doesn’t mean that the personal won’t end up in my business, but for now, these are just being learned and explored. Anyway, you’ll pick 3 things, and revolve your world around them. Let them create a laser focus for the classes you take next year, the tutorials you watch, your tax time splurges… all of it.