Posts Tagged ‘advice’

08/06/13

Take a Break

This contributor post was written by Tiffany Han.

When was the last time you took a day off?

I’m not talking about a day off where you only check your email a few times throughout, or where you go somewhere and try to stay present but keep checking in on your phone justincase.

I’m not talking about a day off where you managed to do it all! by entertaining your kids at the zoo, making dinner for friends, and fitting in a (super quick!) skype call during naptime.

I’m not talking about that vacation you took where you forgot to tell all of your clients that you’d be away and thus had to log computer time every day to stay ahead.

I’m talking about a real break, a screens-off, lounge around decadent kind of day off. When was the last time you had one of those?

Sometimes, in running a business, you have to hustle. And you have to multitask, and you have to be constantly connected. Because you’re trying to create something. And it’s all on you.

But you don’t have to be that way all of the time. You get to take a break. You don’t need anyone’s permission (but here it is, just in case!). You don’t even need to let anyone know.

You can simply answer the emails tomorrow.

And it can really be that simple.

Challenge: Schedule a screen-free day off sometime this month. Let us know in the comments when you plan to do it! (I’ve got mine planned for Thursday.)

Tiffany Han, CPCC is a coach for highly-creative people who want to wake up happy. If you’re feeling the growing pains of running your creative business and are ready to STOP spinning your wheels and actually get stuff done, her blog is sure to light your fire.

07/02/13

tips for online engagement

This contributor post was written by Tiffany Han.

My last post, Stop Eating your Virtual Lunch Alone, got such a good response that I decided to do a follow-up post with a few more tricks to making (and keeping!) internet friends.

While the tips I offered on my last post will help give you a good framework to operate in, these hints will help you be more effective in building these friendships.

  • Reach out when someone is being active online.

This one might require some stalking, but (work with me here!) pay attention to when one of your friends-to-be is online. If you notice that she’s super active on twitter during her lunch break, that is the perfect time to strike up a conversation. Obviously you can’t spend all of your time online waiting and watching, but if you notice activity, reach out.

  • Ask questions.

Questions beget answers. Worried that you don’t have anything to say to someone or don’t want to just send another “Great post!” tweet? Ask a question. Get curious. If someone is posting about all of her great Target finds but your store never has anything good, ask if she’s shopping in-person or online. However, when asking questions, be sure you…

  • Do your research.

Asking questions can be a great way to strike up conversation, but make sure that the questions you’re asking are relevant and previously-unanswered. Before you tweet someone asking how they got their start, check out their website and see what you can learn from their bio. I’d much rather be asked about how my experience as a cocktail waitress in my early 20′s helped prepare my for my coaching career than the oft-heard, “How did you end up doing what you’re doing?” which is covered in detail on my About page.

  • Don’t send crazy long emails.

We all get a crazy amount of emails these days. If you want to reach out to a stranger about something, keep it short! Explain what you’re working on, how they can be involved and what you’d need. Bonus points if you can keep it under 5 sentences! I promise that your short email is much more likely to get a response!

  • Don’t just go for the big dogs.

I know that there are world-famous bloggers who you’d love to be besties with. That’s part of what makes them so good at their jobs. They are relatable. BUT when venturing into the world of online friendships, remember, it’s not just about wooing Jordan Ferney or Joanna Goddard with your witty repartee. It’s about you connecting with people that make you laugh and inspire you.

If the idea of reaching out to people online still feels super intimidating, start small and slow. Pick one person who’s commented on your blog who seems really nice and start there. Or think about that one blogger who you feel like you have so much in common with. While these internet friendships don’t happen overnight, they can turn into real relationships. Remember: it’s possible that you have much more in common with strangers on the internet than with the people you spend most of your IRL time with!

Hop to it! If you want to be friends with me, I dare you to tweet me a question!

*Design by Brittni Mehlhoff

Tiffany Han, CPCC is a coach for highly-creative people who want to wake up happy. If you’re feeling the growing pains of running your creative business and are ready to STOP spinning your wheels and actually get stuff done, her blog is sure to light your fire.

06/27/13

WTF

Have you ever had a week (or even a month) where you felt uncreative, uninspired, and generally unimpressed with everything you are doing?

We’ve all been there. For me, it usually happens after I finish a big project (and sometimes when I am in the middle of one. uh oh.). You never know when it is going to hit. But it will. Trust me. EVERYONE goes through periods where they feel a lack of creativity. Even in the people you admire most- you know, the ones that you think are immune to that sort of thing because they are so dang awesome. Yep, it happens to them too.

But not to worry. I happen to think that the slumps are part of the process. The downturns are what allow for upturns. Right? So, with that in mind, here are a few suggestions I have for making it through a creative slump…

1. Let it go.

Holding onto the fact that you aren’t feeling especially inspired isn’t going to make things any better. So once you’ve acknowledged that you have a little somethin’, somethin’ to work out, do your best to let it go! Freeing yourself from that bogged down feeling you get when you are in a slump might be the very thing that clears your mind up for inspiration again. And if not, no worries- move on to tip #2.

2. Skip out.

Skip out on work early one day (if you can) and do something fun. There are no rules as to what ‘that thing’ should be. Just something that makes you happy and preferrably something that is unrelated to your work. Go to an afternoon movie. Take a hike with your dog. Go shopping. Just do something. Getting out of ‘work mode’ for a bit can really help and the change of environment is good for your mind.

3. Make a date with friends.

Invite a friend out to lunch and get chatty. Don’t be shy. Let her know your situation and ask her what she’s been inspired lately.  Who knows. It might just spark something in you too. FYI - A phone call (or google hangout) will work just fine if you can’t meet up in person. I schedule online hangouts with long distance blog friends at least once a week. It really helps! Your friends will always be there to help lift your spirits. And when you’re happy, your mind won’t be feeling all anxiety-ridden, making room in there again for new ideas.

4. Go with the flow.

The best way to explain this one is by telling a personal story…Tuesday, I finished up a series of large, time-consuming projects for a handful of sites. I loved doing them, but they were all due at the same time, so it was a bit stressful. I decided though, that when I turned in all the projects and everything was done, I would celebrate with a little break, for the rest of the day. Small, I know. But I thought it would be a nice reward. Well, I quickly realized that that wasn’t going to be possible because aside from the projects I had just turned in, I had plenty of other obligations that I couldn’t just put on hold. So I kept going…feeling a little defeated, admittedly.

Then the next day, I started writing this post, which actually began as an Interior Obsessions post and eventually turned into the post you are reading right now. Kind of a completely different direction, right? But, I just rolled with it.

Interestingly enough, I had been thinking, days before, about how I haven’t written any biz tips posts lately (luckily Tiffany does an amazing job bringing you her tips and biz inspirations every other week), and I was starting to feel guilty about the fact that I hadn’t contributed to that side of the blog in what felt like too long. Then, BAM! Just like that, a post like this one flows through my fingertips. On accident.

The point here is, sometimes it’s okay to fall down the rabbit hole. It may just lead you back to exactly where you want to be.

So those are my tips. At least for now…I have a handful more, but it was starting to get too long. So I’ll make a part II in the coming weeks.

Now it’s your turn.

What are your tricks and tips for overcoming a creative slump?

06/04/13

on feedback

This contributor post was written by Tiffany Han.

I’ve written before about getting feedback from the right people, but today I want to address another feedback conundrum that I see frequently: becoming a feedback junkie. And letting it hold you back in your creative business.

It’s natural to want feedback. It’s normal to seek out reinforcement for an idea before you see it all the way through. BUT we often get stuck in the feedback loop of getting one more set of opinions about an idea that we forget to ever take action and launch!

There will always be one more person to ask. There will always be one more helpful article to read. There will always be more available help than you can take advantage of.

If you’re wondering how successful people got where they are now, they took ACTION.

This is not to say that some feedback isn’t good. It can be. It’s also not to say that every single action you take will lead to success. It won’t.

BUT every action you take will lead to learning. And doing things differently next time – which also implies action. (Are you sensing a theme here?)

Today’s Challenge:

1. Identify three things that you’re dragging your feet on or still in the process of seeking feedback.

2. Stop it. Now.

3. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Imagine what you want this to look like when you execute.

4. Act.

It can really be that simple.

Your turn: Are you going to take the challenge? With what? Have you found yourself becoming a slave to the feedback monster?

*Design by Brittni Mehlhoff for Paper & Stitch

Tiffany Han, CPCC is a life & business coach for highly-creative people who aren’t living the highly-creative lives they want. Just yet. With provocative questions & hard-edged encouragement, Tiffany helps skittish someday-ers become fiercely focused creators — and proves that dreams do come true. But only when you demand it.

05/21/13

get-out-there

This contributor post was written by Tiffany Han.

In creative business, we spend a great deal of time looking to other people to tell us what to do. We take courses, seek out gurus and watch to see if we can figure out everyone else’s secret weapons.

What if there is no secret weapon?

What if the actual secret to success is hard work? And relationships? And that little bit of luck (that will come from perseverance) that your products show up at the right place at the right time?

What if you already have all of the information you need to move forward?

Hint: you do. Right now.

Because, no matter where you are or where you’re headed, you were trained at the School of Life. We all were.

And while our How to be a Successful Human Being degree may not be quite as impressive as your friend’s shiny MFA, it means something. It means a whole lot of somethings.

Life will teach you more than you could ever learn sitting in a classroom.

Remember in high school when that boy broke your heart and you said, “hmmm…next time I’m going to listen to my gut.” I knew he was trouble.

Bingo. School of Life.

Now this isn’t to say that you never made boy mistakes again (I’m speaking for myself here), but if you were to look back at all the lessons you’ve learned throughout the course of all of your relationships (romantic or otherwise), you could write a book. A smart one. A compelling one.

And yet we are so quick to discount what we’ve learned from our everyday experiences. No more of that!

In the comments, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned (and applied to your creative business) from the School of Life. We can teach each other!

Tiffany Han, CPCC is a life & business coach for highly-creative people who aren’t living the highly-creative lives they want. Just yet. With provocative questions & hard-edged encouragement, Tiffany helps skittish someday-ers become fiercely focused creators — and proves that dreams do come true. But only when you demand it.