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CreativeLive Wrap-up

As promised, here is the third (and final) installment of my CreativeLive Review! Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2.

A couple of weeks before April’s courses were slated to start (and a couple of weeks after I applied to attend), I was contacted by Melissa at CreativeLive to see if I was still interested in being part of the studio audience – I couldn’t believe it! My heart was racing and I was SO excited as I read her e-mail! After some preliminary research on hotels and travel options, I confirmed my participation.

I flew from Arizona to San Francisco on Sunday, the day before the first class started. I was thankful I arrived early, because I was able to check out the CreativeLive studio location and attend a “meet and greet” April hosted for all of the audience attendees Sunday evening. For some reason, I was really nervous, but meeting the other participants helped ease my nerves, because several of them had already attended a CreativeLive course.

Monday I reported to the CreativeLive studio at 8:00 a.m. (filming started at 9:00 a.m.). The studio where the courses are filmed is modern and fresh and everyone we worked with was super nice and helpful. All of our meals were provided and they were delicious! After we ate breakfast, several of the audience members got “mic-ed up” and we headed into the studio.

Sunflower Paperie blog - CreativeLive Final Recap

The first course, “Create Digital Products that Sell Why You Sleep,” was filmed over two days (Monday and Tuesday) and included a total of 23 segments. While we were filming, the day was broken into 90 minute section of filming. Each segment, our host Chris, would introduce the course, encourage people to purchase the course and participate in the online chat rooms and then he would turn it over to April. April would then present the material, answer our questions and move through the course material. April also designed a beautiful workbook to correspond with the course. The segments were longer and went into each topic at length. One of my favorite parts of the course was the afternoon April spent showing us some of the tricks she uses in the Adobe Creative Suite.

The second course, “Make Your Creative Business Uniquely Irresistible,”  was filmed on the final day (Wednesday). It was different than the first course, in that it is designed to be watched in smaller segments. There are 21 total segments and students can opt to watch 1 a day or 1 a week and move through the prompts and activities. This course seemed to move super quick and was PACKED with information!

Attending the courses in person was AMAZING! Everyone at CreativeLive was so nice and I loved getting to see April both during and after filming. The audience members represented a wide variety of creative business owners, which was beneficial because it helped me “think outside of the box” regarding digital products. April is seriously an amazing teacher! I can’t even begin to imagine how much time she put into developing the course material. I am grateful that she is so willing to share her knowledge about and passion for creative business owners! 

Whew – that was a long (series) of reviews! Thanks for sticking with me! As I referenced in my CreativeLive – Part 2 post, I plan to expand on some of the topics that resonated most with me from April’s courses over the course of the year, so stay tuned! I am so thankful I attended these courses in November, because they helped boost my motivation and focus on the upcoming year! 

CreativeLive – Part 2

Welcome back! Make sure to check out my post “CreativeLive – Part 1” to learn about how I landed in the studio audience of 2 (TWO!) CreativeLive courses led by April Bowles-Olin.

As I have mentioned before, I am a life long learner who has always enjoyed school. Since opening my Etsy shop in May of 2013, I have read business books and blogs and streamed a couple of CreativeLive courses live. However, I hadn’t participated in any in-person or online courses. When I first read April’s call for applications, I was SO excited (and a little nervous) at the potential of attending a course in-person and networking with other creatives. Imagine my surprise when I was selected to be in the audience! I immediately started planning and trying to get my business in order.

Sunflower Paperie blog - CreativeLive Recap Part 2

Our wonderful teacher, April Bowles-Olin & I at the conclusion of the 2nd course.

A big takeaway from April’s first course was “starting where you are.” This theme was present in her subsequent courses and has been something I repeat to myself (and anyone who will listen!) frequently. When I left for CreativeLive, I had pending orders; products that were created, but weren’t listed; and a baby blog with no content. Honestly, those items were stressing me out, but I tried my hardest to “start where I was.”

Below are my biggest “A-Ha!” moments from my time at CreativeLive. My goal is to publish longer posts about each concept throughout 2015.

1. Develop multiple income streams.

2. Create a yearly calendar for all marketing goals.


4. The importance of building a network of similarly minded business owners and creatives.

Sunflower Paperie blog - CreativeLive Recap Part 2

Sage Grayson ( and I up on stage during a filming break.

If you are interested in any CreativeLive courses, I would encourage you to check them out NOW! They are running a holiday sale with some courses up to 50% for lifetime access. I tend to gravitate towards the “Craft & Maker” focused courses, but there is definitely something for everyone. Check all the courses out here!

My final review of CreativeLive, focused on what it was like “behind the scenes” will go up a little later this week! Thanks for following along as I document this awesome experience!

Edited to add: click here for CreativeLive Review – Part 1 and my CreativeLive Wrap-up

CreativeLive Review – Part 1

Do you ever stumble upon something really great, but you aren’t able to remember where you heard about it initially?! This exact thing happened to me this past summer and ultimately led to a chain of events that has changed my thinking about my creative business. Let me explain…

Last May, I tuned into a CreativeLive course taught by April Bowles-Olin of Blacksburg Belle entitled “Building a Successful Creative Blog.” For those of you not familiar with CreativeLive, it is a company that recruits experts from various fields to teach online courses in their area of expertise. Viewers can stream the courses live (for free) or purchase “lifetime access” for a reasonable price.

Sunflower Paperie blog - CreativeLive Recap Part 1

I had been reading April’s blog for awhile when I watched her first course. This is where the good fortune comes into play. I can’t for the life of me remember how I stumbled upon April’s blog, but if I hadn’t, I might have never learned about CreativeLive or watched her course. To say that she is a dynamic instructor is an understatement. While I have always enjoyed school (2 degrees worth!), I have never been particularly interested in online courses. April changed my opinion about online courses quickly. Her style is engaging, fast paced and extremely informative. Not only is she an expert in creative business consulting she is also an exceptional teacher.

Sunflower Paperie blog - CreativeLive Recap Part 1

Fast forward to October when she announced that she was accepting applications for readers to be members in the studio audience of her next two (TWO!) CreativeLive courses. I filled out an application and could hardly believe it when I was contacted by CreativeLive to participate! I traveled to San Francisco and spent 3 days in class with April and a studio audience filled with other creative business owners. The takeaways from this experience have already helped me set goals for my business and develop manageable action steps towards achieving my dreams!

In my next post I am going to discuss what it was like to attend a CreativeLive course and share my “A-Ha!” moments. Stay tuned!

Edited to add: click here to read CreativeLive – Part 2 and CreativeLive Wrap-up

Creative Spotlight – Jennifer Kennedy

You might remember that last November I traveled to San Francisco to participate in the studio audience for a Creative Live class (new readers can read my recaps here, here and here!). In addition to learning a ton, I also gained a generous friend and business accountability partner that I want to introduce you to today – Jennifer Kennedy from Teach Good StuffJen recently started working her business full-time (!!!) so I was super excited to interview her for my latest Creative Spotlight.

Sunflower Paperie - Jennifer Kennedy interview

1. What do you do?!

As of two weeks ago, I am working full-time on my own business (Teach Good Stuff). Woohoo! I help coaches and authors package their expertise into online courses and ebooks so that they can make an impact in the world all while making money.

2. How did you get into this line of work?

I’ve been in education for over 13 years. I can’t believe time is flying so fast. I started out as an elementary school teacher, teaching 1st and 4th grades. I was fortunate enough to teach in 3 different types of schools – public, international, and charter. So, I have a diverse perspective about education.

I then decided to get out of teaching and pursue a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I wanted to become a curriculum coordinator for a school district and design their learning programs. Well, my journey didn’t go quite as planned, and I landed a job as a trainer in a software company. I learned loads of skills there – training, video design, writing instructional manuals, etc. After working there for a few years, I realized that I had a lot to offer people. I saw that online entrepreneurs were building courses and workbooks. I just knew I could offer support along their journey! And from there, the dream was born.

Sunflower Paperie - Jennifer Kennedy interview

Click HERE to continue!

Creative Spotlight – Nicole Stormann

Hello! I am so excited to introduce you to today’s creative entrepreneur! I met Nicole Stormann way back in 2009 when she was an undergraduate student applying to be a Resident Assistant for the department I worked in. I can still very clearly remember the first time I met Nicole. Her enthusiasm and sweet spirit were contagious – needless to say, we hired her! I was so lucky to work with her for a couple of years!

Nicole S. - Full Wild Free blog

Fast forward 5 years and she is about to graduate from the same master’s program I completed and I couldn’t be more proud of her! She has become not only a dear friend, but also an inspiration to me.

She started her blog, FullWildFree, last summer and is also the owner of Nicole Marie Photography. Her blog is at the top of my reading list and I can never get enough of her photography! I truly loved reading her interview responses and can’t wait to share them with you. All of the photos in this post are courtesy of Nicole (they are so gorgeous!).

E&J - Nicole Marie Photography

Photo courtesy of Nicole Marie Photography


Click here for Nicole’s FULL interview (and LOTS of beautiful photos!)!

Creative Spotlight – Madison Lytle

When I decided to start my blog, one of my big goals was to feature creative people who I admire and respect. That is why I am SO excited to share the first installment of the “Creative Spotlight” series today! First a little background…

As many of you know, I work full-time in Higher Education Administration. I always joke, that I liked college so much, I decided to make a career out of it! Before moving to Arizona, I worked in the Design Department at The University of Kansas. I loved my job and espeically LOVED working with all of the talented design students, whose majors included: Illustration & Animation, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design and Photo Media. When I started brainstorming Creatives to spotlight, Madison Lytle immediately came to mind! Madison graduated with a degree in Illustration and Animation from KU (where I met and worked with her) and recently opened an Etsy shop (merrylittlepaperco)!

Okay, enough from me! Let’s meet Madison! You will want to read all the way to the end, because I am sharing another Sunflower Paperie “first” today! 

What do you do?

I am a designer for a company called PaperSnaps that designs and produces wedding and social stationery. After my day job ends, I go home and try to focus on how to further my personal illustration career. Right now I’m focusing a lot of energy on trying to rediscover a process for making images that fills me with joy. Long term goals involve a paper-goods brand and licensing my work.

Sunflower Paperie - Madison Lytle interview

What’s your favorite part of your business?

I love how it is an extension of my personality and the potential it has to grow into whatever I choose.

What 3 words best describe you?

Goofy, Down to Earth, Dreamer

If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and why?

This isn’t exactly historical, but I would love to meet Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. and learn how she gets so much done in a day.

Besides illustration, what are your other creative interests?

Hand-lettering, Surface Design, Stationery Design, Package Design. I love designing things that are functional– having my work licensed and manufactured into toys, children’s bedding, home decor, etc. would be the coolest thing ever.

Sunflower Paperie blog - Madison Lytle, Illustrator

Top 3 Instagram accounts that make you smile.

@augustwren – I love how she is relentlessly painting in her sketchbook.

@elizabetholwenxo – Surface design crush

@katieisadaisy – She’s 27ish, has a baby, mega-productive, lives in the woods, and all of her work is filled with joy.

What are you currently reading (blogs, books, magazines)?

I just finished re-reading one of my favorite childhood books, Redwall. It’s woodland animals meets Lord of the Rings. I also have a typical group of blogs I check in on each day– ohsobeautifulpaper, print&pattern, DesignSponge, papercrave.

Describe your ideal day.

A lot of my musings involve my dream studio that is potentially an extra room in my house, a cozy backyard cottage, or a lovely space above a storefront. It would be filled with light, flowers, plants, and calm. I’d know exactly what kind of work makes me happy, and I’d fill my days building up a paper-goods brand and licensing work to the Land of Nod, Chronicle Books, and Anthropologie.

Sunflower Paperie - Madison Lytle interview

What business tools do you depend on daily?

The internet for research, lots of paper for list making, some how-to books, my OCD “big binder of ideas”, and the advice of my boyfriend and parents.

What one piece of advice would you give to a new creative business owner?

Tap into what really makes you happy. Lilla Rogers says “People buy your joy” and I really connect with that idea.

If someone gave you $1000 (after taxes) how would you spend it?

I would spend it on a drawing/painting/research trip some place exotic.

Sunflower Paperie - Madison Lytle interview

Seriously how sweet and talented is Madison?! Click here to check out her Etsy shop – Merry Little Paper Co. or here to visit her website – (and see even more of her beautiful work)!

Madison has generously provided some of her darling greetings cards as part of the first ever Sunflower Paperie blog giveaway! See the giveaway details below and enter (up to 6 entries per reader!) for a chance to win a box set of 8 greeting cards (entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. MST, Monday, January 12, 2015).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is NOT sponsored, I very truly love Madison’s work! 🙂

End of Year Goal Recap!

Hello friends – long time, no talk! 🙂 Am I the only one who is simultaneously excited for the new year and a little disappointed about not quite getting everything that I wanted to accomplished in 2015? Even though I have these conflicting feelings, I am trying to focus on the positive “clean slate” feel of 2016. Since I missed my 3rd quarter goal review altogether, I wanted to make sure my last post of 2015 was a final review of this years goals.

Sunflower Paperie Cheers Banner

In case you missed them: 1st Quarter Goal Recap and 2nd Quarter Goal Recap. For this end of year recap, I have listed all of the mini goals I started the year with in pink and then a summary of how I did in black. You can click the link following each number to see my full original post about each goal category. You might want a beverage of some sort before you start this! 😉


2015 2nd Quarter Goal Review

We are officially half way (plus a week) through 2015! How did that happen?! I found my 1st Quarter Goal Review post to be helpful as I was reflecting on my 2015 goals several months ago, so I wanted to share my progress through the 2nd quarter of this year as well.

My overarching goals for 2015 are listed first and if you click them, you can read my original posts that outlined the mini goals I would be pursuing over the course of the year. The “successes” and “areas of improvement” listed below focus specifically on my progress in April, May and June. 

Sunflower Paperie blog 2nd Quarter Goals

2015 Goals:

1. Growing my business

2nd Quarter Successes: I collaborated with one of my favorite bloggers, Tina from Carrots ‘n’ Cake for her sons 1st birthday party. This collaboration helped drive some traffic to my shop, plus Tina was super fun to partner with! I also launched a new “Party in a Box” line of products.

Areas of improvement: I am at a point with my business that I get enough orders to stay busy (which is awesome!), but it also means that it is tricky to carve out time to develop new products. Starting a digital product line has been at the top of my “to do” list all year. I have several items started, but I need to focus on finishing and launching them. I also need to start consistently sending out and promoting my “weekly” newsletter. Sadly, these last two items are identical to what I wrote in my 1st quarter review. My first digital product is slated to launch this week (!!!) and then I am going to focus on finishing and launching several other digital products that are almost complete by the end of July. Hold me to this, o.k.?! 😉

2. Getting healthy / taking care of myself

2nd Quarter Successes: Weighing in here weekly. Although now that I am looking back, I realize, with the exception of June, I only weighed in monthly this quarter (eek!). Let’s call this a half success.

Areas of improvement: Making sure I weigh-in here weekly, the accountability and reflection does help me (even if I am not always posting losses). I also need to stick with my low carb eating. The summer heat makes it difficult to get outside for exercise, so I need to come up with a new indoor plan to get more activity into my days. My current “mini-goal” is to lose 20 pounds by mid-August (I set this goal in June and am currently on track to do this.).

Click to Continue!

2015 1st Quarter Goal Review

Hello friend! Can you believe that the first 3 months of 2015 have already passed? I want to take this chance to look back and see what progress I have made towards my 2015 Goals so far (and to look at what I need to focus on over the next 3 months).

A quick note before I dive in… My overarching goals for 2015 are listed first and if you click them, you can read my original posts that outlined the mini goals I would be pursuing. The “successes” and “areas of improvements” sections are my recaps of the progress made towards my mini goals.

Sunflower Paperie blog 2015 goal review

2015 Goals:

1. Growing my business

Successes: Product feature on Sage Grayson Coaching and participating in the Bonnie Christine Ribbon Tour. I feel like both of these items helped me reach new audiences and I loved getting to work with other creative entrepreneurs. I have also been posting regularly here, so I am happy with the community that is developing in this space.

Areas of improvement: Starting a digital product line has been at the top of my “to do” list all year. I have several items started, but I need to focus on finishing and launching them. I also need to start consistently sending out and promoting my “weekly” newsletter.

2. Getting healthy / taking care of myself

Successes: Weighing in here weekly.

Areas of improvement: Well, basically everything. I have been weighing in here each week, but I haven’t made my health / wellness a priority (thus I haven’t seen any results!). I have a whole list of excuses that I could share, but the bottom line is that I need to get focused (and stop making excuses, haha). I have been thinking of some additional tracking tools that will help me focus and plan to share those with you next week.

Click to read more!

Sunflower Paperie Product Feature

Remember that really cool collaboration I mentioned awhile back?! Well today is the day I can finally share all of the details with you!

Last November I visited San Francisco to be part of a studio audience for a CreativeLive course (you can read all about my experience here, here and here). In addition to learning a TON about developing digital products and growing my online business, I met some awesome creative entrepreneurs. Sage Grayson, of Sage Grayson Coaching, was one of the entrepreneurs I met last November.

Sunflower Paperie blog - Kate and Sage at CreativeLive

Sage and I at the CreativeLive Studio

Sage is a Life Editor / Coach who offers a variety of services for her clients, that you can learn about HERE. Several of her services include AMAZING quarterly care packages, so I was super excited when Sage contacted me about including a Sunflower Paperie product in her first care package of 2015. “Grateful” is a term that resonates with her clients, so that was the inspiration for this banner! You have to click on over to Sage’s site to see the banner “in action”! 🙂

Sunflower Paperie - Grateful Banner

A big thank you to Sage for working with me! If you are interested in purchasing a “Grateful” banner for yourself or as a gift, you can access the direct listing link here. Or you can view the entire Sunflower Paperie shop collection here!

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