New Workshops (& a confession)

So it turns out I'm headed to Ireland in May to teach A WHOLE WEEKEND OF WORKSHOPS. 

*breathes into a paper bag*

First up, let me share those details before I clean pass out and then I'm going to reassure you all why it's going to be ok. There will be 3 workshops for anyone looking to improve their writing, photography and social media skills. The dates are 13th-14th May and tickets are selling, now. This is a weekend focusing on making the best of what you put out there in the world whether you're a blogger who really wants to take better photos or a business owner determined that you're going to nail online marketing. I'll be hosted by the good folks at This Is Knit, based in Dublin. I hear there will also be some sort of partying and such. This pleases me enormously. 

Feeling vulnerable online

So now you know the details, let's get back to that paper bag moment. Putting yourself out there, whether it's online or in real life, can be pretty scary. You tell yourself all kinds of lies that one day, it will be easier. You tell yourself a magic number of Instagram followers that will mean you've made it. You tell yourself that when that blogger snaps herself clutching your product, you'll find marketing a complete breeze. Landing a feature article in that magazine you love so much? Oh it will all be so, so much easier to be out there because by then, you will be A Thing. 

I hate to break it to you but that's not a thing really. Some of the most insecure people I've worked with are some of the most prolific, talented, well known and respected people. We are all still working at it and trying to make it through the day without digitally falling flat on our face. Heck, I'd settle for just not spilling coffee down my front most days. 

Coffee

So you know what? I'm saying I'm going to be in a room full of people who feel just like me and my paper bag and that's going to be great for all of us. I'm going to be listening to what really makes people tick and what makes them feel they can't ramp up. In return for that, I'm going to be sharing all my experiences as a blogger but also as a brand manager and freelance journalist. It is hard. We can make it easier to feel less vulnerable when we share online and I'd even say, feel good when we do.  

Just know I'm right there, still working at it too. 

(Then come book those tickets because that helps immensely in getting this feel good out there. Here's those workshops again: Discover Your Writing Style; Telling Your Story Online & Getting to Grips with Visual Storytelling). 

 

The Happier Path

I spent a lot of the past few days travelling across Europe so that I could teach a photography workshop at Scheepjes HQ. As is often the case when I travel, I feel a huge urge to write and this weekend was no exception. Sat on a train, bound for the airport, I stared thoughtfully out the window at frost covered fields, blanketed by mist. My mind was sifting through memories that I'd formed with an impressive group of female designers. As always I was enormously struck by the power we hold when we invest in one another. 

Hand lettering quote about women who support one another via  Simple Devine Creation

Hand lettering quote about women who support one another via Simple Devine Creation

I consider myself very lucky to have worked my way into a position that I can collaborate with multiple brands and business owners who believe firmly in the power of women and work with them to remove any barriers to their success. Over the past five years I've interviewed 100's of female creators and spoken in front of many rooms full of women determined to shape their own story. Each time, the women who truly impress me the most are those who lead the way.... and bring others with them. These are the women I seek out first when I'm looking for new opportunities or find myself in the position to offer opportunities to others too. If I've noticed you raising up others, I figure you're the kind of person I want to bring good things to. 

There is a lot of people offering business advice out there. They tell me what I'm doing wrong online. They tell me the social media I should be using. They tell me the methods I should be using to reach astronomical levels of followers. For the most part I ignore them and choose story and relationships over strategy every time. For me, when I remove the personal, I remove so much of myself that it's not my business anymore. What's more, I don't feel like I have any real people around me anymore. 

The incredible thing that has happened from this decision is that I have a healthy stream of work. Sure, there's been times I've feared whether or not I will make rent some months. I am, after all, a single parent and need to earn the equivalent of two parents whilst still making sure my daughter feels she has enough love and attention from me. However, I have now reached a point where I can work with some of the best women in the business because I value what they do. It's not always easy to carve out and establish your place in an online world but it is possible. What's more, we can make our businesses work without trampling over one another to grab an opportunity. 

Just a few of the Scheepjes crew this weekend. Image courtesy of  Dedri

Just a few of the Scheepjes crew this weekend. Image courtesy of Dedri

When we host our businesses online we can often fall into a trap of comparing ourselves unfavourably to others. We can experience a fear of missing out or being left behind. Dare I say it, we may even feel resentful and jealous of others seemingly effortlessly won success. Stopping for a moment though and reflecting on the valuable alliances we have formed and the way we have shaped our lives through the hands we held and doors we opened on the way? That's a pretty powerful thing. I will often decline an invitation to work for free in return for exposure. Yes I believe my skills should be valued but mostly I fear for the next woman behind me trying to earn from her online life too. 

So after a weekend of observing the loving nurture women can bestow on one another and how it has boosted their potential earnings, I am minded once again to take stock, be thankful for my girl gang and say, if you're reading this and trying to workout how to make it all work running your own business? You've got this and we're right behind you. Hold hands. It's the happier path  xx

New for September!

Busy, busy, busy, busy! Anyone else look up and realise that it was Friday? I forgot just how fast time moves once childcare hours start and work is back in full force. Pass the coffee?

I thought I'd pop in to give a quick update because things are happening. Here's the deal:

Telling Your Story online

Workshops- 

I have TWO confirmed dates for 'Telling Your Story Online', a workshop I run for creatives, bloggers, makers and businesses. This workshop talks you through finding your voice, your people and making your story really shine on social media, blogs and websites. This is about taking the time to reflect on what you want to say and how. Then to do it all in a way that feels authentic but gets the results you need, whether that's traffic or sales. 

Want to join me and plenty of other inspiring people to network with? You can do it here:

The Forge, Bristol- 7th October 2016

A Yarn Story, Bath- 22nd October 2016

Sad you can't make one? I'll come to you. Drop me a line if you have a venue and let's make the internet a more inspiring place to run our businesses on!

APD podcast

Podcast-

Season 3 is almost ready to launch and it's a beast let me tell you. I seem to have collected far more interviews than usual and am bursting with stories to inspire you. Make sure you're subscribed to itunes or your favourite podcast catcher as the first episode goes live 15th September 2016. 

Alex Collins Designs

Maker of the Month- 

Let's say hi to Alex and her incredible work. I first met Alex over a year ago and will confess to giving her project bag some envious side eye. I was utterly delighted to learn she made it by hand and is now selling them for us to enjoy! Alex is all about making handprinted bags for makers who need beautiful bags to keep projects and tools protected and organised. What's more, her commitment to the environment means that they're made with cotton organic and solvent free inks. Caring about people and making the world a cleaner place is kind of the way I think all things should be. 

 

Of course you could have got all this news delivered to your inbox along with some lovely inspiration that I've found to share with you via the monthly newsletter. I'm guessing you're already signed up to that though. Right? Right....?

More soon lovelies! x