Interview

Sam Wong

Samantha Wong is a content creator based in Hong Kong. She began as a prop stylist working on ad campaigns and print editorial. With the rise of Instagram and mobile technology, she now focuses most of her time flatlaying for brands who need a constant flow of digital content for their social media channels. Her clients include Cathay Pacific, W Hotels, Cartier, Calvin Klein, and BMW, to name a few. She is also the editor of the blog, Sam is Home, which launched in 2010 embracing fashion, food and lifestyle.

Sam Wong | Content Creator | Freelance Wisdom

Tell us about your path to becoming a freelance content creator.

I was just starting an online boutique selling sustainable fashion but most of the money we were making was going right back into the business and I needed an income! I was blogging on the side (as a hobby) when my friend, who is a photographer, suggested I consolidate all my flatlay photos together into a portfolio and she'd pitch me as a stylist to clients. I had no idea arranging objects could be a job, but gradually I started taking on more prop styling work for advertising campaigns. Eventually as social media became a necessity, clients asked me to create monthly digital content specifically for Instagram and Facebook. That's when I saw a shift in the demand from seasonal campaign work to weekly digital content needs from brands and began focusing the majority of my portfolio on social.

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

Strangely my first clients were the good clients. It wasn't so much about how much I was making (which was very little), but they really respected and loved the work I was already doing. Nowadays, at times it feels like clients hire you based on the number of likes and followers you get which kinda makes me feel uncomfortable. I was trained to think like an artist and a creator, not like someone in PR or marketing, and having to explain my work away based on stats alone makes my work feel worthless because I know there will always be someone with a bigger following and I have no control over that.

Sam Wong | Hawa Mahal | Freelance Wisdom

Can you tell us a bit about your content creation process? What does a day in your life look like?

Ha, my day to day life is really random. Sometimes I'm on back to back shoots, on the plane editing photos and other days I'm just home following up on emails or exploring Hong Kong and shooting content for fun. Some days I don't wake up till 10am and I'm learning to accept that it's ok- it doesn't mean I'm lazy, my schedule doesn't reflect the norm. I've learned not to beat myself up over it and not feel guilty that my schedule isn't 9-5 — I'm productive, responsible and self-driven and that's good enough.

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

As a freelancer you will experience lulls in your schedule. But during those times when I'm in between jobs, I try to use that time to experiment and refine my craft. Since there's no pressure from clients I can be very free to have fun and take more risks than the paid work I get. Recently I dipped my toes into night photography and it became the most rewarding period ever! Personally I learned how to photograph and edit in urban artificial lighting and I received a strong response from my followers. As a bonus, I had some clients who also requested the same aesthetic for their own digital channels.

Sam Wong | Content Creation | Sam is Home Cafes | Freelance Wisdom
Sam Wong | Content Creator | Good Enough | Freelance Wisdom

You've successfully stepped into the influencer space. Do you have any advice for readers who would like to do the same?

  1. Copying and imitating your favourite influencers is a good starting point to learn basic skills but eventually you will have to evolve the work and make it your own.

  2. You have the most influence and power in the place you are based. I understand there are perks of being a travel influencer but luxury hotels will only get you so far with content and it isn't sustainable in the long run. Despite being a crowded, expensive and polluted city, I've come to be at peace with living in Hong Kong and the majority of my followers love seeing the city through my eyes.

How about advice for readers who would like to work with influencers?

If you are a brand, understand influencers spend time, effort and creative energy making content. I can't speak for everyone, but as a 30-something year old, I don't need another free watch or bag. I prefer to be paid for my services so I can save that money and invest back into my business. It's frustrating when I'm still asked to do things for free — I've learned to say no. Nowadays when I'm deciding whether or not I want to take on a project for no pay I ask myself, "if I wasn't working on this free project, I'd be (insert activity)". My answer is usually investing back into my own personal work and I think that's far more rewarding than being stressed out with non-paid work.

Sam Wong | Content Creator | Waldorf Astoria | Freelance Wisdom

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer / creative business owner so far?

Beside convincing clients that my work is worth being paid for, chasing clients to pay me on time. Last year I worked with an influencer agency that suddenly went bankrupt and I had been chasing them for payment of USD 1000 for half a year. Since they're not locally based, I had no power to take them to small claims court and just accepted the fact that I probably wouldn't get the money I was owed. Thankfully the brand who hired this agency found out and contacted me just last week wanting to make amends. But it's been a year since I executed this job and after this experience, I realized how little protection we have as freelancers.

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?

I hired a friend to help me set up a Google spreadsheet with all my finances on there — it's helped me a lot to keep track of who hasn't paid me to how much I'm making in a year. I'm a creative and not a numbers person so this helped me visualize my income and helped me make projections for the following year.

Sam Wong | Kintetsu Sightseeing Limited Express | Freelance Wisdom

We love you before/after stories on Instagram. Can you tell us about your motivation to create that series?

Thank you!! I just wanted to show people that even the ugliest photo has potential if you have an overarching vision for your work. I also find it very therapeutic to edit photos and seeing something change instantly before your eyes.

Are there any projects on which you're ruminating that you'd like to make time for someday?

More night photos! I'm waiting till the Christmas lights go up so I can run around Hong Kong capturing it all. Also I'm waiting to visit certain cafes and hotels within the city but it's always so busy in Hong Kong that we spend a lot of time trying to get an empty shot.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?

Always state your terms of payment, services and deliverables in your quotation and invoice. You are responsible for protecting yourself and having a strong stance on that from the get-go helps you to avoid issues after contracts have been signed.

Sam Wong | Bouncing Back | Freelance Wisdom

How do you stay creatively inspired?

I'm a huge advocate for personal work because it allows you to play and have fun without having to worry about pleasing clients. My work is 50/50 between personal and paid work.

Any music, podcast, or book recommendations that you'd like to share?

  1. Raw Milk podcast by Beth Kirby

  2. Reset by Ellen Pao

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

  1. Self driven

  2. Childlike imagination

  3. Flexibility

Sam Wong | The Peninsula Hong Kong | Freelance Wisdom

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Mattie Tiegreen

Mattie Tiegreen is the creative behind Green Tie Studio, a small design house with an affinity for minimal design and genuine connection. She has been a full-time designer since 2012 and has experienced meaningful shifts along the way including motherhood and maternity leave this past summer. We loved reading about her journey and don’t want to give too much away, so without further ado, enjoy!!

Mattie Tiegreen | Freelance Wisdom

Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance designer.

I have always been extremely creative but actually studied education in school. I graduated with a degree in Special Education and went on to teach middle school students with autism for several years before starting a “business” making paper goods to flex the creative muscles. I opened a small etsy shop with a handful of greeting cards and eventually added a wedding stationery collection. Within 1 year it had taken off and I had more orders than I could handle in my few hours after work each day. In January 2013, I turned in my resignation, and on a Friday in May I put my students on the bus on the last day of school and drove to New York City for The National Stationery Show. The rest, as they say, is history. My business has taken many different turns since then but I’ve never looked back and still can’t believe this is my job.

Mattie Tiegreen | Aboki | Freelance Wisdom

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

This is such a great question. I think it’s often overlooked that even talented designers start out designing for clients that aren’t necessarily ideal but that trust us to create. I have done my fair share of projects that didn’t align with my style but I’m thankful to those early clients for allowing me to hone my skills (and pay the bills!) while I developed my personal style. I started attracting my ideal client when I prioritized making work that I wanted to make, even if it wasn’t a paid project. The more personal work I created and shared, the more clients hired me to design work I was excited about.

You've been full-time since 2012, how do you continue to attract your ideal clients?

Connection, connection, connection. I share my mission, which is that good design is about way more than design. It’s about understanding your audience, building a strategy, and communicating and continually connecting with the people who need what you do. The only way for me to do this successfully with my clients is through genuine connection. I don’t just want to design a logo. I want to work with people who are passionate about their field, excited about growth, and want me to walk alongside them to strengthen their brand. Being clear about this mission has really helped me attract the right clients.

Mattie Tiegreen | Everett | Freelance Wisdom
Mattie Tiegreen | Green Tie Studio | Freelance Wisdom

Have you made any meaningful shifts in your business structure in the past 6 years that you feel were the result of "aha" moments?

Yes! From 2013 until 2015, I was designing paper goods - primarily wedding stationery. I loved working with brides and grooms to create paper to reflect their day but was tiring out quickly. The pace was too fast for me and no matter how many efficiency systems I implemented, I always felt frantic. I was losing sight of what I loved so much about design because I was working with so many different people on so many different projects. It occured to me one day that the business I had built on relationships had turned into transactions. Once I shipped wedding invitations and thank you cards, I never heard from clients again, but I wanted something deeper.

I had already been subconsciously “branding” weddings and realized branding businesses might be a better fit because I could work with clients to create strategy, meaningful design, and a lasting partnership. In 2015, I rebranded as a graphic design studio focusing on small business strategy and design solutions and it is the perfect fit for me.

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

Put on a bra. Hot coffee. No TV. Sit at a desk.

As I type this, I’m sitting on the sofa drinking my twice-reheated-but-now-cold coffee so, you know, balance.

Mattie Tiegreen | TaylorDawn | Freelance Wisdom

You are a new mom, congrats! When you work for yourself it can be hard to imagine fully disconnecting from your own work. Can you tell us a little bit about your process planning for maternity leave?

Thank you! I worried so much about maternity leave.

  • What if I went into labor before a project launched?

  • What if people forget I’m a designer?

  • When do I go back to work?

  • What if no one hires me again?

I was due mid-June so I booked projects up until May with plans to launch and close out work by June 1. I obviously have no context for other strategies but this worked beautifully for me! I had from June 1 until June 18 to focus on nesting, time with friends and family, and preparing my mind and body for this big shift and it was so nice to “shut down” my work brain before becoming a mother. Then, I planned to begin easing back into work mid-August and see how it felt to use my creative brain again. Looking back, I actually wish I had given myself more time off. The newborn phase is both a haze and a dream and two months was really not enough time for me to get my bearings. Now, three months in, I’m feeling the fog lift and I’m excited about fleshing out new ideas!

Mattie Tiegreen | KnownProject | Freelance Wisdom

Are there any shifts in your work day/workflow that you're looking forward to post maternity leave?

I honestly had no idea how work as a mother would look. I have never envisioned myself as a stay-at-home-mom (BIG kudos to the ladies who rock it!) because I really need to flex my creative muscles. But when Zuri arrived, I suddenly couldn’t imagine being anything but her mother. I had been told that my creativity and itch to work would come back - and it did - but this gave me a new perspective on the balance of motherhood and entrepreneurship. We have decided to do a nanny share with another family for 2.5 days each week and I’m so excited about the set up. My goal is to be fully present with work for those hours each week and then fully present with Zuri the other days. No emails, no calls during nap time, no stress about deadlines. I know it will be a challenge, but it’s important to me that I don’t fill my plate with anything that doesn’t fit into those designated work days.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

Trusting that the right clients will always come. If I think too much about the future, I get wrapped up in the unknown of next year - even next month. I book projects out several months in advance but not more than 4 or 5 so I really can’t say with certainty that I’ll have income for the whole year. That’s a scary thing. Of course, there has never been a month I didn’t have the work I needed. I am constantly reminding myself that.

Mattie Tiegreen | Ashley Lauren | Freelance Wisdom

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?

I thrive on organization! I started using Dubsado last year and am completely hooked. It manages clients, projects, leads, email templates, invoices, automatic reminders, payment schedules, calendars, tasks, workflow, time tracking, and more. It has been such a lifesaver for me to keep everything in one place. I do have an accountant and leave all the “scary” things like taxes, legal structure, payroll, and returns to him.

You recently created Forth, a comprehensive resource guide for small business owners. Can you tell us a bit about your motivation for creating it, the process of creating it, and what the response to it has been like?

Forth has been such a fun passion project. I receive lots of emails asking for business advice and tips on successful freelancing and the more I responded, I realized I was sharing the same information and resources. Over the years, I have tried dozens of different business solutions and resources so I felt like I had a lot of knowledge to offer other entrepreneurs. There wasn’t really anything on the market that was a “one stop shop” for small business solutions - everything I found was a resource for one specific realm of business ownership. When I was starting out, I resorted to Google and a few trusted friends to answer my questions and I wish there had been something more comprehensive to invest in. So, I decided to make it.

I reached out to a handful of industry friends and asked them to share their top 5 business resources. Anything from accounting to inspiration. I then spent almost a year researching, compiling, organizing, and designing a guide with the most loved solutions in every single area of business. I launched Forth in January and the response was overwhelming! It was really important to me to offer something affordable and accessible to every type of business owner - even those just starting out with little to invest in education. I still can’t believe the support I received. Over 400 people have used the guide and I’m still receiving emails about how helpful it is. I’m really humbled and honored to have made something so needed.

Mattie Tiegreen | Apoyo | Freelance Wisdom

Are there any other projects on which you're ruminating that you'd like to make time for someday?

Yes! Hopefully putting the idea out into the world will hold me accountable ;) I have been thinking about making a branding guide for several years and ended up pouring into Forth before I got started on it. I would love to create something for business owners that outlines the strategy behind branding and how important the “under work” is before design begins. Not all business owners have the budget to invest in the branding process with a designer but that shouldn’t be a reason not to have a strong foundation.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?

That bigger is not better. When I started my business I was hustling to grow my client base - more projects, more money, more notoriety. I ultimately achieved all three of those but was also more exhausted than I’d ever been. I learned that I function best with margin. I’m not afraid of hard work but I also need space to rest and play. This means scaling back which projects I say “yes” to which sometimes means less money but to me, the breathing room is worth it.

Mattie Tiegreen | Quoin | Freelance Wisdom
Mattie Tiegreen | Bigger is not better | Freelance Wisdom

Any music, podcast, or book recommendations that you'd like to share?

Oh so many. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is my creative lifesong. Her podcast Magic Lessons is also super inspiring. I love anything by Seth Godin to give me kick-in-the-pants motivation to think outside the box. I’m also a huge fan of a good Spotify playlist when cranking out design - Shakey Graves and Tom Petty are my go-to’s.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

  1. Innovation

  2. Thick Skin

  3. Flexibility

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Betsy Cordes

Betsy Cordes is the art maker-director-lover, creative matchmaker, cheerleader, and strategist behind February 13 Creative, a business advising agency devoted to serving a special breed of creative professionals, one they call the “art brand entrepreneur.” We are so glad to have crossed paths with her through our Creative Lady Directory and excited to share her wealth of knowledge with you today. This is a in-depth and rich interview that is worth slowing down for, enjoy!

 Photo by Elizabeth Woollard

Photo by Elizabeth Woollard

Tell us about your path to becoming February 13 Creative.

It’s been a long and winding path, exploring lots of different attractions in the wider field of art—everything from art history, which I studied in college and grad school, to work for non-profits helping to place art in public spaces. I’ve been a publicity director, a graphic designer, a licensing artist, and an art director, and along the way I’ve worked in an old-school advertising department and for a handful of greeting card companies, as well as having a few different businesses of my own prior to this one.

To be honest, it took me a long time to feel like I’d found my calling. Now I can see that I needed this range of experience, combined with time, to work its magic. Ultimately, about six years ago, everything aligned. February 13 Creative is the perfect result of my lifelong interest in art, for sure, but more than that, in artists themselves. I have a lot of faith in artists’ abilities to do great things for our world, and I’m called to help them pursue their dreams with confidence, because I think we all have a lot to gain when creative spirits are empowered to do their thing!

 “Discovery” by  Meenal Patel  | When Meenal reached out to me, she had a distinctive style, a strong portfolio, 10+ years of experience illustrating and designing for other brands, and a desire to develop her own art brand vision and voice. Since our sessions together, she’s been steadily applying her signature look to themes and subjects that are personally meaningful to her, such as family, her Indian-American heritage, nature, and childhood wonder—with beautiful results!

“Discovery” by Meenal Patel | When Meenal reached out to me, she had a distinctive style, a strong portfolio, 10+ years of experience illustrating and designing for other brands, and a desire to develop her own art brand vision and voice. Since our sessions together, she’s been steadily applying her signature look to themes and subjects that are personally meaningful to her, such as family, her Indian-American heritage, nature, and childhood wonder—with beautiful results!

Betsy Cordes | on time and experience to settle in | Freelance Wisdom

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

It was through my work as an art director that my business as an art brand advisor took shape. I’d hop on the phone with an artist to discuss the details of an assignment, but our conversation would stretch on long after we’d taken care of that bit of business. We’d end up talking about other projects they were working on, questions about offers they’d received and whether the terms were fair, how to get a book published, or deal with clients, or balance administrative tasks with creative time, and on and on… pretty much the full gamut of things that come up in running an art-based business.

I loved these conversations. Through them, I finally had an appreciation for how all my earlier jobs had prepared me for this one. Even better, the artists told me over and over how helpful our conversations were, how they felt informed, focused, capable, and ready to get back to business after our talks.

Many of them asked if I’d consider becoming their agent, but I wanted to be able to help artists in a holistic and individualized way with their businesses, rather than only to represent them for licensing and publishing deals, editorial assignments and so forth. For example, I knew that some of these artists wanted to publish their own book, or develop an e-course, or their own product line—things a traditional agent doesn’t typically help with. Furthermore, I saw that technology was making it easier every day for artists to represent themselves and in many cases to do so far more effectively than an agent could.

So, long story short, my business started with one client: Katie Daisy. Katie was willing to explore and experiment with me and through our work together I developed the business I have today, which has grown pretty much entirely by word of mouth, one artist at a time.

 How to be a Wildflower by  Katie Daisy  | Katie was my very first client and continues to be my art brand muse. I’ve helped her behind-the-scenes on many exciting projects over the years, but a sentimental favorite is her first book, the New York Times Bestseller How to Be a Wildflower, published by Chronicle. (Photo by Maggie Jane Cech)

How to be a Wildflower by Katie Daisy | Katie was my very first client and continues to be my art brand muse. I’ve helped her behind-the-scenes on many exciting projects over the years, but a sentimental favorite is her first book, the New York Times Bestseller How to Be a Wildflower, published by Chronicle. (Photo by Maggie Jane Cech)

What advice do you give someone who is interested in working with a brand strategist like yourself? What questions can they ask themselves to help them decide whether or not they are ready?

I can be most helpful when an artist has a very well-developed and individual visual style—a signature look. In addition to that, a sense of mission is important. By mission, I mean a guiding philosophy or passion for a particular theme or subject matter that is endlessly inspiring to them. This can be broad, but it really helps if it’s defined. These assets are at the heart of an art brand, and when an artist comes to me with a strong brand identity in this sense, I can help them achieve some pretty exciting things!

That said, I’m also pretty darn good at working with artists who want to go there. In other words, I can also be effective with artists who might not yet have a signature look or a clearly defined mission, but they can spot a strong art brand; they see the difference between their own art-based business and the businesses of artists that inspire them, and they earnestly want to develop their own brand story and visual identity. I’ve worked with many artists at this stage, helping them bring their brand to life.

Is there a theme to the challenges you see arising for your clients lately?

Part of what makes art brands so inspiring to us (as the audience) is the sense of connection we come to feel with the person behind the art. We see that there’s a real, live, genuine human being creating this amazing stuff, and that it’s a reflection of her bigger life and her values. When our identification with her brand becomes very deep and strong, there’s a kind of intimacy that can be challenging for the artist. The line between her personal and public lives sometimes blurs, and it requires ongoing sensitivity to manage it all in a way that serves the interest of her audience (and therefore her business) and her own boundaries, which will shift throughout her life.

So a strong art brand requires a fair bit of willingness to be the face of your brand, to share your personal story and to engage in a meaningful way with your audience. Some of my clients start off feeling pretty confident around marketing themselves, and their following grows thanks in part to their innate skillfulness in this arena. For these artists, the challenges can come later, when life changes find them reassessing how much of themselves they really want to be sharing. For other clients, there’s a natural reluctance to share more than their art, so they may struggle to engage their audience as successfully as the more “extroverted” artist.

Either way, this seems to be an unavoidable challenge for artists who want to develop a strong and authentic brand. But it’s not insurmountable! It simply requires ongoing self-awareness, self-compassion, and a willingness to reassess and adjust strategy when needed.

   Creative Watercolor   by Ana Victoria Calderón | Ana is a successful watercolor artist and a beloved teacher of watercolor technique, so it was natural that her popular classes led to a book deal. As Ana was evaluating the offer she received to develop  Creative Watercolor,  I helped her visualize the full arc of the book development process so she could be prepared for the collaboration ahead. I also explained the implications of certain publishing contract terms, suggesting changes she might want to ask for, and how to ask for them.

Creative Watercolor by Ana Victoria Calderón | Ana is a successful watercolor artist and a beloved teacher of watercolor technique, so it was natural that her popular classes led to a book deal. As Ana was evaluating the offer she received to develop Creative Watercolor, I helped her visualize the full arc of the book development process so she could be prepared for the collaboration ahead. I also explained the implications of certain publishing contract terms, suggesting changes she might want to ask for, and how to ask for them.

You work with your husband and your son! What do you love about this collaboration and what have you found to be challenging?

I do, and it’s really a dream come true. Chuck is an attorney, specializing in intellectual property law. Our son Henry is first and foremost a writer, but he’s pretty much genius at a lot of things (proud mom, much? ;)). We’ve always been a tight-knit little threesome, with lots of shared interests in the creative and entrepreneurial realms. Our skills and thinking styles complement one another very naturally, so the fact that my business has offered ways for us to work together feels like a real gift.

And yeah… it can be challenging. Henry is still finding his way in the wide world of work and he has a lot of interests. I want to give him the space to do his own thing, and at the same time I’d like nothing more than for him to work full-time for F13! For me and Chuck, the biggest challenge is turning off our business brains. We work together from home, and we’re both really intellectually engaged by our work, so it can be very hard to stop talking about it!

 Photo by Elizabeth Woollard

Photo by Elizabeth Woollard

Do you have any advice for fellow creatives looking to enter into a familial collaboration whether it be with a family member, a spouse, or a close friend?

Agreements. Even if you don’t have an official written agreement between you and your collaborator (which, admittedly, might be kinda weird between you and your husband or child!), there’s something so powerful about taking the time to think through things as if you were going to memorialize it all in an official legal document. Maybe it’s because I’m the wife of a lawyer (and the daughter of a judge!), but this “agreement” business is something I drill my clients about when they tell me they’re thinking about starting something with a friend or family member. When your informal agreement is put into the legal form and language of a contract—and you imagine a third party having to interpret what the original intention of your collaboration was, with only that contract to explain it—you will discover potential problems and opportunities that you might not otherwise consider.

What has been your greatest struggle as a creative business owner so far?

There were a couple interrelated struggles. For one, it was really hard for me to trust that I would figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up! I’m 55 years old and it’s really only within the last six years or so that I’ve felt like “OK… This is where I’m meant to be.”

But to get here, I’ve had to reinvent myself a few times and the internet makes reinvention a very public process. I’m one of those introverted creatives that I alluded to in a previous answer, so the internet felt really uncomfortable for a good long while. I’m happy to say though, now that I’ve found my groove, it is so much easier and more enjoyable. It was worth the wait!

 Scenes from  Julz Nally’s  Hummingbird Art Camp | Julz and I worked together for six very fertile months recently, as she dedicated herself to several big brand- and business-building projects. Hummingbird Art Camp (a summer camp for girls aged 6-9) combines Julz’s passions for art, craft and nature with her love of teaching kids. It’s such a fantastic example of what can happen when an artist dreams big and brings her whole self to her business.

Scenes from Julz Nally’s Hummingbird Art Camp | Julz and I worked together for six very fertile months recently, as she dedicated herself to several big brand- and business-building projects. Hummingbird Art Camp (a summer camp for girls aged 6-9) combines Julz’s passions for art, craft and nature with her love of teaching kids. It’s such a fantastic example of what can happen when an artist dreams big and brings her whole self to her business.

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

This is a constant quest for me—the holy grail of ultimate productivity—but truth be told, at times I’m comically unproductive. I haven’t found any always-reliable method and I do think it’s a very individual thing that requires experimentation. We’re all such different creatures, with different things that motivate us, different ways of organizing ourselves.

Here are a couple things that work pretty well for me… I’ve been using Asana consistently now for a few years as my general project management tool and it’s the best thing I’ve found thus far. But sometimes managing my Asana becomes a huge distraction and time-suck in and of itself! When I find myself going down that rabbit hole, I whip out the sticky notes and write down each of the day’s tasks, one per sticky, then arrange them on my desk in priority order. There’s something super satisfying about finishing a task, tossing that sticky in the recycling bin and moving on to the next one. I don’t do this everyday, but when I catch myself in a rut, it’s a method that really works to keep me focused on my goals and takin’ care of business.

Any podcast or book recommendations that you'd like to share?

I believe that self-awareness—ongoing self-inquiry aided by a solid habit of mindfulness—is crucial to success as an entrepreneur. Running your own business can be, at times, a lonely and profoundly challenging endeavor. It really helps to know your values and to know what works to take care of your mental and physical health. To that end, two of my favorite podcasts are by psychologists with a spiritual bent: Tara Brach and Rick Hanson. For keeping myself “honest” (by which I mean, running my business and conducting my life in alignment with my most deeply held values), I turn again and again to Charles Eisenstein’s book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.

 Mandala Stones by  Elspeth McLean  | Elspeth came to me about a year after her beautiful painted mandala stones went viral on social media… for the second time! In response to that demand, she’d done a great job building and managing her business all on her own, but her existing website was not reflecting the full story of her art brand. In the years since, I’ve supported Elspeth as she’s completely refreshed her brand presentation and website, negotiated her first product licensing deals, and developed the content for her first book—which she’ll publish independently this year.

Mandala Stones by Elspeth McLean | Elspeth came to me about a year after her beautiful painted mandala stones went viral on social media… for the second time! In response to that demand, she’d done a great job building and managing her business all on her own, but her existing website was not reflecting the full story of her art brand. In the years since, I’ve supported Elspeth as she’s completely refreshed her brand presentation and website, negotiated her first product licensing deals, and developed the content for her first book—which she’ll publish independently this year.

Betsy Cordes | Success as an Entrepreneur | Freelance Wisdom

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