August – Month of Authenticity

August - Amanda Sue HowellWelcome to August! August is the last month of summer for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also one of our hottest months! Anyone else ready for autumn?

Coaching Focus

In this month’s coaching, we’re focusing on the concept of “authenticity”. How can you be your most genuine self in your business? What is that special something, that only you can give?

Work/Life Balance – Back to School

This month, many children are going back to school. This can be a source of great stress & relief all at the same time. If this will have any effect on your business, we can discuss that as well! We homeschool, so our schooling is usually off & on year ’round. This year however, we’re running mostly alongside public school schedules, because next year our oldest starts camp. Who gave her permission to get older? I’m sure my Mom wonders the same thing. Ha!

In Other News…

I’ve been privileged to be asked to write a chapter for a collaborative book. It’s coming out this month, so stay connected with me, so I can keep you posted.

 

What’s going on for you this month? I’d love to hear about it!

Make a Facebook Cover Photo Using an iPhone

FBCover

I uploaded the above Facebook cover photo to my Facebook page yesterday. And immediately, I started getting great feedback! When I thanked one of the commenters, I happened to mention that I’d done it almost entirely in my iPhone. Isn’t technology amazing? She asked for the details, and I almost typed them up, but I figured I’d throw together a little slideshow instead.

So in the video below (which is under 3 minutes!), I explain how I did my Facebook cover photo in under 20 minutes. And under the video, I’ll post the links, as well as a coupon code for one of the elements I used. 🙂


(All prices are current as of this post’s original posting date.)

PhotoJojo Macro Lens For iPhone
Coupon Code for $5 off PhotoJojo Products!

PicShop HD (the version I used) – $4.99 – http://bit.ly/PicShop-HD

PicShop Lite (alternate version you can use) – FREE

Typic Pro – $0.99

Picasa – FREE

I’d love to hear from you! What did you think?

What’s an Editorial Calendar (and How Do I Use One)?

Webcam It's All Good

Yes, I was having a little too much fun playing with the webcam after I shot the video…there’s other pictures, but I figured I shouldn’t overwhelm y’all with goofiness on the first video date in forever!

Everyone sounds funny to themselves, so y’all are gonna have to let me know if you like these, and if you want more. 😀 I’ve been getting some questions on how to do an editorial calendar, so I figured I’d just vlog it (such a weird sounding word….vlog?!) I’d really love to hear from you, so please let me know how I did, and if I covered all your questions, or if you have some sage advice!

Pssst…I even did my nails for y’all!!
Pssssssssttt….sorry…me again…here’s the link to that plugin!!!

10 Things I Wish I’d Have Known

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

No one told me that you can love your children to the ends of the earth, and at the same time want to send them there. No one told me that back labor exists. In life, there are many opportunities for an instruction manual, where no such manual exists. Oh sure there’s parenting books, birthing books, and business books galore. But do they really give you true insight? Are you any more prepared for what you’re getting into? I went into my business, thinking that all the blogs, books & webinars I’d soaked up had prepared me for my new endeavor. Boy was I mistaken! Here’s just a sampling of the dozens of things webinars did not teach me!

1. Your first business might not be your last business.

I wasn’t always a creativity coach. I wasn’t always a coach. It’s a journey.

2. Always (no matter how small you think you are) have a contract.

I made the big, big mistake of thinking my policies were clear enough without needing a contract. The second part of this rule? USE the contract. Later on after I’d added the contract, I took on a client & neglected to send them the contract. Things got a bit hairy, and I’ve never made that mistake again.

3. Make sure your kids know they are top priority.

Look up from your screen, even if it’s the one hundredth time they’ve interrupted, and make eye contact. Always. After all, we want them to look us in the eye don’t we?

4. If your husband is on board, he will be your biggest enabler.

Once I fully explained my business to my husband, he has defended me to family who don’t always get it. He’s bragged about me to co-workers. He’s kept an eye on the kids and told me to go work & shut my office door so they can’t ask me questions. He’s encouraged me to invest in myself, even when I was having second thoughts. He is my cheerleader, my helper, and my support.

5. If your friends aren’t visionary, don’t share your dreams.

Cause your friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance, well they’re no friends of mine. Okay okay, sorry. It’s out of my system now (maybe). I’ve told friends about my future goals & plans, only to have them shut me down. I’m trying to do too much. I want to make too much. How will I deal with….blah, blah, blah. If they’re not visionaries, keep it to yourself. (Just let them be impressed by how awesome you get 😉 )

6. Don’t discount yourself, because you’re newer than other entrepreneurs.

Someone will always have been in business longer than you. Just get over it. If you know your stuff, be confident and rock it!

7. Don’t sit on an idea for a service or product. Just do it!

I’m working on a creativity refresher. If I had started working on it, when I first thought of it, I’d have been helping people for almost a year now. (See, I’m still learning!)

8. Take time for you.

In the beginning, I was putting oodles of pressure on myself. I felt like I needed to be working non-stop. Get up? Check email. Doing lunch? Message a client. The kids are in bed? Back to work. It’s the weekend? Work, work, work. One day I woke up & realized that if I continued, I’d be burnt out on my business before I even got to the 1 year anniversary. Not cool!

9. Don’t be scared of being different.

I’ve thrown ideas out there, and had people who have been in business for years, tell me why it’s not a good idea. And to a degree, I want to listen. They’re experts. They know what they’re doing. That having been said, someone has to the innovator. Someone had to invent the light bulb. Someone had to create Apple. Someone had to figure out how to roast beans & brew them into coffee (thank you Jesus for that person!). HG Wells wasn’t considered a “real” writer. Elvis was told “stick to driving a truck”. Get my point?

10. Don’t give up, just because it didn’t work out.

If I had given up when I first hit struggles with VA work, I’d never have gotten this far. I’m insanely happy with coaching creatives. I love the work. I love the clients. I love the community. Just because your first business doesn’t suit you, doesn’t mean that you’re not cut out for business at all.

Now it’s your turn! What do you wish you’d been told before you started a business? Or became a parent? Leave me a comment, and then create your own post & link up with us at Many Little Blessings.

Welcome to my Work Space!

I love seeing where someone spends their creative time, so after a recent revamping of my own creation destination, I decided to share mine! The pictures were taken pretty quickly, without a lot of time for playing with settings or composition. I wanted to keep this real & authentic, so I didn’t move things, or neaten up. I should have closed the blinds so the lighting would be a bit better, but here it is! You can see the weights under the desk, and the pictures that hadn’t been hung up yet, and the frame that was drying.

It was a long day! We were switching my daughter’s room with my office, so we had to work quickly or they wouldn’t have had a room to sleep in that night.

Drop me a line & tell me what you think!

3 Ideas For Recapturing Your Creative Mojo

Playing can release your creativity!

This time of year can do major damage to your creativity. The kids are getting out of school soon, which means graduations, proms, etc. In addition to that, it’s summer vacation season. All of this spells major changes to your normal schedule, which can put a kink in your creative flow. Here’s a few ways to get the magic back.

Be a kid again!

Play with play clay, finger paint, watch cartoons, color with crayons, read silly books…whatever you enjoyed doing as a kid, or whatever your kids enjoy doing…revel in it! Take it all in…the smell of the clay, the feeling of the paint…be inspired by it all. You may get ideas for a new medium, or it might just relax you enough for inspiration to come back.

Take a day for you!

Maybe you need a spa day – nails, massage, hot tub. Maybe your idea of relaxing is a day at home – good book, hot bubble bath, glass of wine. Maybe you want to get out in nature – camping, gardening, or hiking. Whatever your preferred mode of relaxation is, take the whole day off. Don’t think about your work…don’t look for inspiration…just soak in the day & enjoy yourself.

Give up!

If  nothing is working, just stop trying….at least temporarily. Take the week off, or go on your summer vacation, but leave your cares behind. Don’t seek creativity, let it find you. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the to-do lists, schedules, sick kids, meal-planning, that it’s hard to even think about being creative. Our brains & our souls need a break from the madness.

 

If any of these methods worked for you, I’d love to hear about it. What is your go-to method for releasing tension, and getting back in the swing of things?

Photo credit: makelessnoise / Foter.com / CC BY