Are you a small business owner, a hobby creative, or both? According to a recent poll in Instagram Stories, about 60% of the followers on my instagram account @thewildsweetpea also own their own businesses, and about 40% are hobby creatives. Whichever category you fall into, I hope this blog post inspires you to learn more about the creative pursuit that fires you up-- and if you're a creative enterprenuer, there are some added bonuses just for you! In addition to offers for FREE classes from skillshare + Bluprint, you'll hear from Jennifer Crain of Pearl + Ink, a local copywriter for creatives in Olympia, Washington and Kathryn Coffman of Fashionably Frank Marketing about her NEW class on online marketing.
Recently, my husband and I have been learning to make block prints. Since he works two jobs, I often watch online courses while I'm sewing, cooking, whatever, and then show him tricks and tips about carving onto rubber and linoleum at night, after we put the baby down to sleep and FINALLY get to spend some time together.
Sometimes, I think that if online resources like skillshare + bluprint + teachable were available when I went to college in 2009, then maybe I wouldn't have went to college. At the time, I felt like art school was totally unattainable and that I would have to take a bunch of classes in mediums I had no skill or interest in before I would be able to refine my textile arts skills. So, I chose a different route entirely, going on to earn an AA in environmental geosciences, a BA in environmental studies: policy and education, and an MS in environmental studies. And after all that, I'm a working artist anyway with only a small inkling of desire to ever be a scientist. Oops. And y'all, if I had access to these incredible online classes for quilting, sewing, online marketing, block printing, design, adobe suite, and SO much more... I wouldn't be in debt right now, and I wouldn't be a year into switching career paths. Oh well, you live and learn... and even if you aren't transitioning industries, it's really fun to learn new skills, right? Especially when it's free.
Below are two offers for free trials to Skillshare and Bluprint, my two preferred online skill-learning platforms. I'd like to think that since I spent so much time in academia, I can tell what good education is, and what it isn't. To be totally frank with you, no offense to my universities, there were some classes I took in college that weren't worth my time and definitely not worth the thousands of dollars I spent on them, but I had to tune in anyway. Imagine being able to pick and choose what you want to learn and create your own path. And no, I am NOT saying you shouldn't pursue a traditional education. I'm just trying to tell you, why not take advantage of affordable resources to become your best creative self?
With these free trials, you have nothing to lose.
B L U P R I N T
Bluprint Get Started Event: Watch All Classes + Shows For Free.
No Credit Cards. No Commitment. Just Pure Creativity. Ready to go from “I wish I could” to “look what I did!”? October 5th through 12th, we’re unlocking thousands of expert-led creative classes, plus projects, recipes, patterns and more to help you do just that. Explore 20+ categories, from quilting and knitting to art and more, and dive into all sides of your creativity. Everything’s FREE during our Get Started Event, on now!
And if you sign up for the free trial, I'll earn a little bit of cash at no cost to you.
Coupon Code: No coupon needed. Just click the photo below!
S K I L L S H A R E
click the photo below to learn more about skillshare (my fave) and sign up for two free months. This is where I learned everything I know about business marketing and adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
And if you sign up for the free trial, it extends my membership by one month!
K A T H R Y N C O F F M A N
This last online course is not a free one, but it's still a great value. If you’re a small business wanting to learn more about how to grow your content through meaningful engagement and modern content, I recommend this class! Kathryn is a new good friend of mine— we instantly clicked because of her genuineness + enthusiasm about small business and her generosity to share what she knows is magnetic. I can’t think of anyone better to teach you about online marketing.
PHOTO BY STEVIE ROTELLA
In Meaningful Online Marketing for Small Business: Nurturing Relationships the Modern Way, you will walk away with actionable tips and tricks to grow your small business authentically through intentional connections and content marketing (the distribution of content of value by way of social media posts, website content, blog posts and email lists). Save over 35% now through November 14, 2018 when you register during the early bird presale! Class begins November 15, 2018 and grants you LIFETIME access to move and learn at your own pace.
Sign-up for this amazing class here. See you there!
If you're a small business owner struggling to run all of the facets of your business, or simply want to delegate some of the workload, I recommend hiring a copywriter like Jennifer Crain of Pearl & Ink, and here's why--
Jennifer can help you:
find a clear front page message that crystallizes their work and reaches the right audience,
by writing clean web copy that effortlessly communicates the work, values, and vision of companies that specialize in positive, life-changing, or essential services and products, and
by becoming a member of a team, filling company blogs, brochures, social pages, and customer inboxes with high-quality content that establishes them as a positive industry leader and a source for indispensable goods.
A word from the Pearl and Ink website: "To help you bridge the gap between your marketing dreams and your time-limited reality, I can step in to help you get your site done and your ongoing content planned, written, and edited on time so you can get back to the core of your work. Let’s talk. I’d love to help craft your business message and create language that will make your work sing."
You don't have to take my word on it, even though I've met Jenni in-person and adore her. I've actually also taken a rad mini-workshop on messaging with her and it was SO helpful. She is the real deal, y'all. Read on to hear about her creative journey.
Running A Business Makes Me A Better Creative
photo by Christina Yem photography
When we moved back to the Pacific Northwest from Georgia and settled into our first for-real house, I started taking writing classes.
I pictured myself as an essayist, constructing witty pieces about my life as a stay-at-home parent of two young kids.
I had no idea what that meant, practically or financially. But I wanted to write things that were significant, comforting, and insightful. Things that would make readers feel good.
I wrote when I could, usually late into the night. Not about parenting, as it turns out, but about vegetable farmers and hot sauce companies and fish distributors.
I was a stay-at-home parent to my littles during the day—taking my son to baby gym (and to the big gym for me, when we could swing it), scheduling park play dates for my daughter, then launching each of the kids into kindergarten and helping them navigate elementary school.
That’s how it went for a while. I put my laptop away before and after school, wrote during the day, and volunteered in the classroom when I could.
After seven years, when my kids were more self-sufficient and I realized I needed to earn more for the time I was putting in, I hired a copywriting coach to help me make the switch from freelance food writing to copywriting.
That spring, I took on my first business client. This year, I re-branded my copywriting business as Pearl & Ink.
photo by Christina Yem photography
Every day, I help entrepreneurs and small businesses develop a conversational online voice that connects them with people who really need their services.
I love it so much more than I ever would have guessed. My services help independent entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits identify the kind of voice they want to have online, focus on the topics that draw in their most desired audiences, demonstrate how they can solve problems for them, and create an archive of valuable content that makes their online platform more robust. It is so much fun. (Three cheers for consistent, integrated, message-based content!)
photo by Christina Yem photography
Now that I’m humming along with a roster of clients, I’m learning how to balance multiple deadlines with the rest of it: the business stuff.
The hardest parts of my day are the tasks that don’t jive with my original ideas about the writing gig.
Writing copy for someone’s website, blog, or newsletter is kind of like writing an essay or an article.
But things like tracking the hours I put into my marketing channels (like my business coach says to do) or getting my financials ship-shape? That’s not writing. And I’m just not as passionate about these daily doings as I am about words.
But since it’s part of the deal, I’ve made it happen.
And the weird thing is, instead of dreaming of the day when I can hand off some of this stuff to a virtual assistant, I’m kinda getting into it. Stepping into these not-natural roles reminds me, for one thing, that I need other people, like a business coach, other writers, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
For another, these tasks invite me to see myself as a multi-dimensional person, someone who can learn to do new things. That part of me got pretty rusty during the years when I was battling sleep deprivation, scrubbing squished avocado off the floor, and reading the same board book aloud 11 times a day.
When I learn a shortcut in Quickbooks or implement a new marketing strategy, I feel like a kid putting my arm through the sleeve of a too-big sweatshirt. It’s all floppy and hard to control, but it’s also warm. It feels good to stretch myself into that unfamiliar space. And it’s weirdly affirming: Someday, this thing will fit.
It’s the same way it felt when I had to push myself to write every day.
Now I know how: Stop thinking, put my fingers on the keys, and go. Or leave the screen alone for 20 minutes and write something on paper with a good pen. There’s something about shaping the letters and looking at my own handwriting that releases my creative mind.
It’s funny, but the act of being a business owner makes me a better business owner the same way the act of writing makes me a better writer.
But there’s something deeper and more surprising going on. It’s the way the business stuff benefits my creative work.
That is, running a business is more than just a way to facilitate my skills. It’s made me a more disciplined, single-minded artist with skills that serve me every bit as much as a software program, sticky note, or felt-tip pen.
photo by Christina Yem photography
Jennifer Crain is the owner of Pearl & Ink, a copywriting business in Olympia, Washington. She writes a lot, gardens a little, and likes to photograph things like her kids, her dog, and fresh plums. Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn.
One last note-- Have you gotten your copy of the fleetwood quilt pattern yet?