Archive of ‘Sunflower Paperie’ category

Taking Care of (my) Business

Hello friend! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE reading about everyone’s New Years resolutions and goals! However, I am also aware of the very small percentage of resolutions and goals that are ever achieved. Something that dramatically increases a goals likelihood of being accomplished is the simple act of writing it down. I think you see where I am going here…

This year I am resolving to focus on improving 5 different areas of my life. Today I am going to kick off a week long series of posts about why I have selected these goals and exactly what I am hoping to accomplish. The first 2015 goal – “Growing my Business.” 

Sunflower Paperie Blog - Grow My Business

In May of 2013, I opened the Sunflower Paperie Etsy shop. I had made decorations for several friends parties and had toyed around with the idea of an Etsy shop of some sort for years, so at the prompting of friends and family I listed some products and opened my shop. Imagine my shock, when 3 days later I had my first sale! I still clearly remember my first customer and the joy I felt helping her plan her sons first birthday party. From that day forward, I was hooked! What is more fun than helping others celebrate birthdays, baby showers and weddings?!

Over 500 sales and almost 2 years in business later and I am ready to elevate my business to the next level. This coming year, I want increase the number of sales I have on a weekly and monthly basis in addition to expanding the line of products I offer. I want to grow my business, all while maintaining a high level of customer interaction and excellent customer service. In order to achieve these goals I am going to have to think strategically (what effort yields the most results) and consistently “work” my business like I do my day job.

Here are the mini goals I have identified to help me achieve the bigger goal of “growing my business”:

Work Sunflower Paperie like a part-time job. This means penciling into my planner a minimum of 20 hours each week to focus on my shop. Big thanks to my friend, Jennifer Kennedy over at Teach Good Stuff for sharing this concept with me.

Exceed 1,200 sales by the end of this year. This equates to roughly 52 orders per month. I averaged 23 sales per month in 2014, so I essentially want to double the number of orders this year (eek!).

Design a line of digital products for my shop.

Create a community on my blog. 🙂 

Implement a consistent and strategic marketing plan. I want to build relationships with business owners and brands I admire and spotlight them in this space.

Whew! I am both excited and nervous about putting these goals in writing (and on the internet!)! As I mentioned in my sneak peek 2015 goal posts, my five big goals for 2015 are going to guide the content I share on the blog with you, so be on the look-out for updates.

Not super interested in business related goals?! Never fear, tomorrow I am going to outline how I plan to “get healthier and take care of myself.”

Happy 2015!

Sunflower Paperie blog - Cheers to the New Year!

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but there is something that seems extra exciting about 2015 (perhaps it is my preference for odd numbers?!) or perhaps it is just the general excitement that comes along with the idea of “starting fresh”!

Overall, 2014 was pretty great, but I am definitely excited to see what 2015 holds. As I grow my blog, I would like to develop some common content themes. It dawned on me the other day, that perhaps my goals for 2015 could also help guide the content of my blog. Since these will be the items I am focusing on (and would like accountability in achieving), it seems like a pretty natural fit. Below are the 5 major areas I am going to be focusing on this coming year.

1. Growing my business

2. Getting healthy / taking care of myself

3. Having FUN / doing things that make me happy

4. Re-connecting (or staying connected) with family & friends

5. Being more creative

Next week I will be sharing longer posts about each of these goals and how I plan to achieve them. In the meantime, I am going to break out of my brand new paper planner and start sketching out the year!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If so, what are your goals for 2015? I would love to hear about them in the comments!  

Merry Christmas!

I am back in Kansas for Christmas and am feeling very grateful for this time with family. It snowed a bit earlier in the week – so Christmas came early for me (living in Arizona, I miss the seasons and specifically snow SO much!)!

I have spent quite a bit of time this week thinking of friends and family (far and near) and how grateful I am for all of the love and support in my life. I am also thinking about how I can extend that community to this space, so all those who visit feel appreciated and supported. Thank you for being one of my first readers – I appreciate you so much!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, food, fun, love and laughter. 

Sunflower Paperie blog - Merry Christmas 2014!

Kind of a side note, I always find the time between Christmas and New Years a little sad – post holiday blues combined with new year potential, creates a limbo feeling, I suppose… The Sunflower Paperie Etsy shop is closed for several more days (re-opens Monday, December 29), so I plan to use the time planning for 2015 and setting some exciting goals! Again, thanks for coming along on this ride, I am super excited to see what 2015 holds!

Lots of Love – Kate 

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! 

A Grand Adventure

Hello! Welcome to the Sunflower Paperie blog! Today marks the official “launch” of this creative endeavor and I couldn’t be more excited! I am SO very glad you are joining me on this adventure! I have big plans for 2015 that I can’t wait to share with you through this space. Side note: I am sure there is a blogging rule about the number of exclamation points that are appropriate in one post, but I haven’t read it yet, so let the excitement continue!!!

Sunflower Paperie blog - A Grand Adventure

Me at my very favorite place – the Grand Canyon!

If you haven’t already, please see my sidebar to sign-up for my weekly updates. I promise I will only share the very best information with you (every week or so), plus, I have lots of fun giveaways and freebies on tap in the upcoming months, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on those! If that isn’t enough to convince you to share your e-mail address with me, your kindness will also be rewarded with a promo code for FREE shipping on your next Sunflower Paperie Etsy shop order!

I also love connecting through social media, so if that is more your speed, check out the buttons to the right.

Thanks again for stopping by!

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.

3. DO WHAT WORKS 🙂

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

Sunflower Paperie blog - CreativeLive Recap Part 2

Sage Grayson (http://sagegrayson.com/) 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

December Goals

Whew! Where is December going?! It is hard to believe we are half way through the last month of 2014. Even though I am very excited for the new year, I am also focusing on enjoying these last few weeks and starting some positive habits that will move me towards my 2015 goals.

First, a quick recap / update regarding my November goals:

1. Blog at least 3 times each week. – Didn’t accomplish this goal. In fact, my last post was about my November goal – oops! I am going to roll this goal over into December.

2. Create (or hire out) an effective e-newsletter opt in function. – Figured this one out on my own (admittedly after November ended)! I love Google, WordPress, and fellow bloggers who write about their experiences, enough said. I would also love for you to sign-up for my e-newsletter (see sidebar). 🙂

3. Send my first weekly e-newsletter to subscribers. – Rolling this one into December as well (see confession in goal #2 above).

4. Join a gym / start working out 2-3 times per week. – Done & done! One of my good friends and I joined a gym and have been doing a Step and Aqua Fit class each week.

5. Read two “for pleasure” books. – Sadly, I didn’t finish any books.

December Goals:

1. Blog a total of 10 times.

2. Send my first weekly e-newsletter to subscribers.

3. Exercise 3 times per week.

4. Finish 2 “for pleasure” books.

5. Write & mail our Christmas cards.

What are your goals for the end of 2014? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear what you are working on! 

November Goals

Sunflower Paperie blog - November Goals

My view from the walk to CreativeLive!

We wrapped up the final day of “Creating Digital Products that Sell While you Sleep” earlier this evening over at CreativeLive! My head is currently filled with tons of ideas about growing my business. I will be honest, at the moment I am feeling very overwhelmed (and also very thankful that I will receive a copy of the course, so that I can re-watch it to my hearts content!)!

One of my biggest takeaways has been the importance of creating a year long calendar where I intentionally map out all aspects of my business (product launches, social media posts, etc.). I would also like to start setting specific goals, both personal and professional, that correlate with my master calendar.

So, starting this month, I am going to post a handful of goals that I will be working on in the upcoming weeks. At the end of the month, I will follow-up with status updates and set new goals for the next month. Without further ado, my November include:

1. Blog at least 3 times each week.

2. Create (or hire out) an effective e-newsletter opt in function.

3. Send my first weekly e-newsletter to subscribers.

4. Join a gym / start working out 2-3 times per week.

5. Read two “for pleasure” books.

What are your goals for the end of November or the end of the year? I would love to hear about them in the comments!

Starting Now!

Sunflower Paperie blog - Starting Now!Hello and welcome to the Sunflower Paperie blog! I have dreamed of starting a blog for YEARS, but didn’t know where to start or what I would write about. In the spring of 2013, I opened an Etsy shop and continued to fall in love with the idea of building an online community of people who were interested in the same things that I am passionate about.

This past summer, I watched an online course on CreativeLive facilitated by April Bowles-Olin entitled “Build a Successful Creative Blog.” April’s enthusiasm and knowledge convinced me that a blog related to my creative business was the next logical step towards growing my business. One of concepts that resonated most with me from this course was the idea of “starting now.” I tend to be a perfectionist and want to have everything in order before starting something, but April insisted on starting now. Where ever you are, whatever your talents and whatever your goals, just start now.

Fast forward several months (clearly “now” can be interpreted several ways!), and here I am! I plan to have an official blog launch soon, but in the meantime I wanted to tackle an obstacle that has seemed daunting for almost a month now – my first post.

I am currently in San Francisco participating in April’s newest course, “Create Digital Products That Sell While you Sleep.” I am feeling motivated, challenged and excited about this new blog space and new products for Sunflower Paperie. A full review of my experience being in the CreativeLive audience along with many other exciting topics are on tap for the upcoming weeks, so stayed tuned!

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