Why It Sucks To Be A Copy Cat

In the art arena, copying is such a gray area, or thin ice to tip toe on! We have to stay inspired in our field, right? But when does inspiration turn to copying?

I have definitely had my moments as an artist where I was a little too inspired by a particular idea, photo, or design. I have also had those moments where I got this great idea…and realized it DID seem a little too familiar once I rendered it out. Then there have been many circumstances where I have seen my own ideas copied and I thought to myself  “wow, that just doesn’t look very good”

As a professional, copying cheapens your brand AND the product. The book, “Rework,” by Jason Fried, knows what’s up. There’s a chapter in the book that says that if we copy, we’re missing the understanding. We’re missing the underlying process that makes it truly great. 

“So much of the work an original creator puts into something is invisible. It’s buried beneath the surface. The copycat doesn’t really know why something looks the way it looks or feels the way it feels or reads the way it reads. The copy cat is a faux finish. It delivers no substance, no understanding, and nothing to base future decisions on. Plus, if you are a copycat you can never keep up. You never lead; you always follow. You give birth to something that’s already behind the times- just a knock off, an inferior version of the original. That’s no way to live. 

How do you know if you are copying someone? If someone else is doing a bulk of the work, you’re copying. Be influenced but don’t steal.” 

When the book talks about missing the “understanding”, that is the magic behind a photograph,  piece of art, or design project. The magic is that invisible element that is uncopyable. Therefore, the original really captures and holds onto the magic that makes the project GLOW.  And here’s something I know for sure: As creatives, we were MADE to make stuff that freaking GLOWS. That has all the sparkle and bling of originality. Don’t settle for any less! 

How do YOU triple/ quadruple check that your work is all your own, while staying current by checking out other designs?! I want to know!

How To Start Outsourcing To Grow Your Small Business.

Starting your own business requires wearing many different hats: business strategy, marketing, design, administration, customer service, bookkeeping, etc. But as your business takes off, you’ll be drowning in a sea of daunting to-dos. You’re stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, and under paid. You just can’t do it all. Your business needs to grow and your stress levels need to shrink.

Enter Outsourcing: To obtain goods or services from an outside source. To contract out. To farm out. To get you started, here are 5 simple steps to start outsourcing to grow your business.

1. Track and Record
Write out your entire workflow from brainstorming to marketing, to emails, to sale, to support, to finances, etc.

2. Eliminate
Cross off the items that you LOVE doing, That ONLY you can do, and that you’re really good at doing.

3. Identify
Now, circle the one that takes the MOST amount of time. That’s the big guy….the time sucker, that little warthog.

4. Systematize
Create a process and a system for exactly how you’d like that task to be completed.

5. Share The Love
Off load that bad boy by hiring some help. Hire an online Virtual Assistant, find a friend that possesses this amazing skill (pssst…I always like trading skills to start off, if you know what i mean), Or hit up that company that specializes in your task.

It may feel like a big investment at first, but here’s the thing, by eliminating this task from your workflow, you’ll free up your time to focus on what you do best to get more sales for your business. And you’ll feel alive again!

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How To Make A Killer First Impression

Have you ever felt ON THE SPOT when asked about yourself? The truth is, you never know who you’ll meet and where, whether it’s hob-nobbing at a professional event, attending a conference, or workin’ those biceps at the gym. That conversation could potentially lead to: more business, new clients, a great connection, a new job, or YOUR BIG BREAK. So, you need to up your game!

Here are 5 ways to introduce yourself & make an impactful first impression:

1 - Be Respectful
Make your introduction brief 30-60 seconds. Max.

2 - Don't Make It All About you
Focus on how what you do HELPS other people.

3 - Be Confident
Write out your introduction phrase ahead of time and practice it so you’re confident delivering your message.

4 - Don't Make Them Feel Dumb.
Avoid technical jargon. Break your product or service down into relatable wording for people to easily understand.

5 - Be Passionate
Let your passion for what you do shine through… and you never know where the conversation could lead.

In order to be impactful, engaging, and memorable you have to be prepared, so when that moment comes along…All you have left to do…. is be yourself! 

How To Stay Focused & Get Stuff Done.

I used to think I was a multi-tasking pro.  But I’ve given up on that to make way for serious focus and productivity! Like a boss. Here are 4 ways to stay focused and get stuff done:

1 -  Pick Your Top 3 Tasks
Choose your top 3 MOST IMPORTANT tasks to complete before the end of the day. This small list helps you focus on what’s REALLY important for the day and helps you actually see progress. Anything else that you get done that day is a BONUS!!!

2 - Complete One Task At A Time
Feeling a sense of completion is extremely satisfying. So satisfying that you’ll find your productivity level boosted by your confidence that you’re TOTALLY KILLING IT. By focusing one one task at a time you’ll fly through your list without having to stop, find where you left off, and back track to again, move forward.

3 - Remove Distractions
Turn off, put away, or shut the door on anything that’s making your task take longer to complete than it should (minus any small children…probably shouldn’t put them away). I would MUCH rather spend an hour of focused time completing the task at hand and rewarding myself with an hour of my favorite TV show (guilt free watching)…Than watching my tv show for 3 hours feeling guilty that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to! :) 

4 - Time Yourself
Most things can be done faster than you think. The more time you allow for small easy tasks, the longer, bigger, and more complicated they can become. Set a timer and aim to beat the clock. 

I hope these tips were helpful. Ultimately, I want you to launch what you love, hustle hard, and cultivate that confidence deep within, because ultimately you were MADE to impact the world.

How To Get Helpful Feedback

Inspiration is a delicate state. It can make time fly by when you’re on fire with a strong vision for your project or it can be quickly de-railed with the wrong feedback.

In general, art is VERY subjective. EVERYONE has an opinion and everyone has a DIFFERENT opinion. Most people WANT to feel helpful and when given the opportunity they feel *most* helpful if they are “challenging you” in someway.

Many of us open our work up for discussion, feedback and critique; oftentimes the result can be disappointing or discouraging. The results of bad feedback might cause us to quit a project, give up on an idea or even abandon a dream. Bad input may even cause us to conform our creativity in a direction less than authentic to our true self. Getting constructive feedback can be an important part of the creative process, but, it should help not hurt. Here are a few tips to get helpful feedback from others that supports your original vision.

1 - Make It Timely
Before you begin the project, decide WHEN it will helpful in the process to have the feedback of others. Also, make sure there’s time in your schedule to revise your work (or the work of others) after the feedback is received. For example: You may prefer feedback in the initial brainstorming phase, or almost near completion of the project, or both. Decide this ahead of time so that you can prepare.

2 - Thoughtfully Select Your People
Getting all your friends, family, and strangers opinions is NOT helpful. More opinions is not better! Think about your project specifically and think of 3-5 people that can bring value to the topic of your project in some way. Maybe they’ve had some experience with your creative medium, maybe they’re your target demographic or maybe they know you personally and your project needs to be a reflection of YOU! For example: If I'm launching a brand new fashion line for teen girls, I'm not going to ask my 30-something year old husband (sorry Brian)…I’m going to ask my friend’s teen daughter for her thoughts and feedback.

3 - Ask Specific Questions
What are your goals associated with this project? What type of feedback are you looking to receive to push your project to the next level? Make a list of very specific questions to get the answers that are helpful for you. Example: “what words come to mind when you look at this”? As opposed to: “what do you think?”

Now, it's your turn....What do you need helpful feedback on? OR... what is your expertise where you could offer your feedback to someone else? Let's allow THIS to be a space where we can all help each other out. You don't have to figure this out alone! Leave a comment below.