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Manual Focus

Note: The images below link to a book on amazon.com. This is not a paid promotion or review. Any opinions expressed are entirely my own and do not reflect upon the author of the book.

So freelancing fell by the wayside in the last year and a half. OOPS! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the work. I got caught up in landing a day-job that I turned out to absolutely love. That turn of events actually reinvigorated my desire to sell what I make. If it means I need multiple platforms then that’s what I’ll do. Jumping further in, unsatisfied with free resources online, I found a book – while working said day-job – and it’s going to be another tool in my arsenal to keep trying and making this thing work.

No lie: I’ve been a failure a great deal on this journey. Go back to the beginning and count them. I’ve had two day-jobs in that time and discovered that I am actually really good at customer service! That’s a very good thing since it’s been a weakness of mine since I was born. Treating my depression was the beginning of my new life. I wouldn’t give it up even if I go broke trying.

I don’t want to actually go broke. Please, Powers-That-Be, save me from THAT. 😛

The book I bought, was gifted by my mom, is called Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion into a Full-time Gig by Ilana Griffo. What I like about it most is the focus on creatives. It’s not a “business book” (it totally is though). It’s a guide that says, “Here’s something to think about, and then do it!” I’ve only read the first few pages. It’s written in plain English with very little jargon to get in the way.

Not only that, but it’s written by a typography lover, so there’s always something interesting to look at. That’s really how I found it in the first place: the beautiful cover!

Just paying through it, I can tell there’s a lot of exercises and thoughtful nudges in the form of list-making, brainstorming, and graphics that illustrate business ideas visually. YES! A CREATIVE AUTHOR THAT GETS IT! I mean, check out this glimpse of a cake diagram to fill in about branding:

Anyway, I’m going to read some more and hopefully learn something new!


Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Officially Open: The Silver Stitchery Stand-alone Shop

You may have seen notifications from me if you follow my blog the last few days. That’s because I upgraded my plan and opened a store!

The Silver Stitchery

I wanted to see if opening a separate store that I run myself would add to my profitability. Etsy has the advantage of being a well-established, large business who can play as middle man when things go wrong. However, competition there is so steep that it’s difficult to get started. Etsy charges fees for their service as well. I want to grow. So it makes sense to branch out and try all the different options open to me.

Take it easy and remember to smile. And visit my shop. PLEASE!?

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Journeys Have Many Paths

It’s ok to be on a path different from the one you start out taking. My experience in the last 2 years has underscored just how unpredictable life is. While I still love design work, The exact type of work I do has shifted.

I recently started a 50 Day Logo Challenge. By subscribing to an email list, I received 50 prompts to design logos. The challenge has made he think differently about what’s good or not because I had to work with so many ideas but only for a single day at a time. I’ve been enjoying it and considering taking the idea a step further. I want to take those prompts and make a series of logos for each. I want each concept to have about 5 different choices, just like I’d show to a client.

I have largely stopped using Upwork, but not because it isn’t a useful resource. I just had to decide how to spend my time. I want to freelance more with logo design. I still think I have talent to offer the field. With this challenge I’ve noticed my execution improving!

My Etsy Shop is helping me out too. I’ve made sales of SVG files, and I’m going to continue to put out listings there. I think it could take off and if it does then I’ll focus on that and leave other freelancing aside. I just have to get there first, so until then, just keep trying all paths until one becomes disentangled from the others.

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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Client Clarity

I’m trying to get back into design contests as practice for my skills. Sometimes, several in the last few weeks, I think clients simply don’t know what they want enough to really ask for a design they will like. One contest holder asked for a refund. Two others never picked a winner. It’s not like these contests are cheap at $300+. Or is that an amount most businesses can throw away? I know I can’t!

By the time this publishes, I’ll have been in Savannah, GA for my first anniversary celebration trip. I’m looking forward to it, but the work to get there has been brutal. It’s my own choice. I think it will be worth it in the end. A 4-day weekend after cramming 80 hours into only 9 days. My hard work is paying off. We all know how this goes. Hard work + learning new things = big payoff! My next post will probably be talking about my trip.

Until then, take it easy and remember to smile!

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Unnatural Disaster 

This past week has been bad. Everything that could go wrong did. Too many projects due at once, printer screw-ups, and difficult to weed designs made my work schedule horrible. Due dates had to be flexible whether or not they actually were. 

I survived it. My employer even gave my coworker and I a $50 bonus for getting through it mostly. We did save a couple of due dates! Ok, so it wasn’t a disaster, but it was stressful and changed my schedule to accommodate it. It felt worse than it was I think. And this was a pay week. Silver linings…

Take it easy and remember to smile. 

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Indescribable Inertia

I grew up in a house. My parents owned houses my entire life. When I turned 30 I was finally able to move out with my then-boyfriend to a very nice 1-bedroom in Wheaton, IL. It was a lucky find and I love it here. I don’t want to move away from Wheaton. But there’s nothing we can afford but studio apartments, which would be a huge step down in room for us. 

It should be air in the wind compared to the journey I’m on trying to work full time and make time to freelance. It’s stressful with so much up in the air in the next 3 weeks. I’m doing my best, but I’m floundering a little right now. I’m being pulled in different directions and the net force feels like zero, but I know I’ll still keep moving one way or another. 

I managed to send out a proposal for a job on Upwork.com tonight. That felt nice. I’m also trying to make a t-shirt design for my husband. On top of that, my husband won some plane tickets at work. While that’s nice that we have a flight to use sometime between now and next February, it’s really hard to even think about that. It’s the final straw on the camel’s back. I want to focus on work, our lives, and my own happiness. Trip planning will have to wait until September. 

Take it easy and remember to smile. 

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Short and Long

First the short story: the apartment my husband and I are currently renting is going to be renovated and the new price is more than we can afford to pay every month. We love the apartment building we live in, but money is money. We have to be out by August 31. 

Now for the long bit.

As anyone who is reading this blog knows I started a new job a week and a half ago. Most apartments want 2 pay stubs to prove how much you make. Well there’s a caveat. I’m self-employed. That means my pay stubs and taxes aren’t straight forward like the W2 checks you get through a corporation. I have to take out 20.25% on my own for state and Federal taxes. It’s a lot less than typical taxes, but it’s also not paid to the government until next April (tax time). So how do I prove that I have a full time job that pays enough to prove that my husband and I together make 2x’s the rent? 

Here’s my plan

Im going to draw up an excel sheet showing my voided check and the amount set aside for taxes. I’m lucky since I have been paying taxes for at least 10 years now so I don’t have to worry about estimated payments. I just use the current Self-employment rates and pay when I file my taxes. I’m hoping that will be enough to prove that I started part time and have moved to full time. Also I’m going to tell them to call my boss because she can confirm that I’m full time at $10/hr. I will have a second heck next Friday. Maybe we can put down a security deposit to hold any apartment while I get paid and can send them my second check. I’d hate to miss a good apartment because I happen to be new at my job. This can’t be a strange circumstance on the whole. I have enough for a security deposit but my husband and I will have to share the first month’s rent for that to work out in the timing. I hope the security deposit will hold the apartment until At least mid-August when I’ll finally have the money for the first month’s rent and then have the same deal I had before. Where the second month is going to be like 10-15 days before the third-twelfth months go back to die on the first.

Man! This stuff is confusing!!!

Take it easy and remember to smile.