What’s Going On Around Here – Random Updates!

So on Tuesday I wrote a whole post, outlining the process I’m going through to take my business to the next level. And while I was writing it, it started taking on a life of its own–it was forming into a little e-course of sorts! What? I never planned for that! But as I wrote and wrote it became clearer and clearer how great of an idea this was!

It would be different than any e-course I’ve seen because I am not a self-proclaimed expert or guru. I’m a student, just like you. I’d be learning along with you and sharing my notes. We’d be study buddies!

So I got super excited and my brain started spinning. I wrote and rewrote and started and started over and started over again.

Then I took a step back. Because this idea was getting away from me. And I tend to jump into things without a clear plan or a real direction. And while there’s something to be said for lovely spontaneity, if this e-course of sorts is going to be any use to any one at all, I think it should be real. It should be planned and thoughtful.

So here’s what I’m doing instead. I am letting you in on the behind-the-scenes reality of crafting an e-course. I’m going to spend some time working on my business. Making it better and bigger and more authentic. I’m going to let you know what I’m doing and how it’s going. Where I’m struggling and where I’m soaring. And as I go, I’ll be crafting lessons and organizing them so that I can launch something real and useful for you.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

Also, over the last few weeks it’s become clear to me that I really have two different blogs here. I have my “mompreneur monday” thing and I have my wedding stuff. (Which I’ve been neglecting! Sorry!) And while they’re both part of ME, I feel like blogging about both of them in the same place feels disconnected and weird. I want my blog to be cohesive and feel natural. So it’s time for a change! Are you ready?

I am moving all wedding- and product-related posts to my website blog. The blog is not beautiful, but it is functional. And it makes more sense to me to bring brides to that site. (Head’s up, there are two posts on there and they’re old!)

Then this blog, will be more of a passion project. Just a behind-the-scenes look at my business and life. What I’m making, what I’m working on in business and at home. My thoughts on mompreneurship. (So pretty much what it already is, plus a little more “lifestyle” stuff.)

I already know I’m crazy to think about taking on two blogs. But really I feel like this is a way to let go a little. I’ve been dropping the ball on “Wedding Wednesdays” and now I have permission to drop that ball completely and just pick it up again from time to time on my website. I also feel like this move gives me permission to blog and talk more freely and transparently on this blog because I’m no longer thinking about it as part of Fresh Paper. It’s just a part of Emily. Connected to Fresh Paper? Of course! But not a part of it.

Essentially, the Fresh Paper Blog will be geared toward customers (and potential customers) and this blog will be geared toward creative people who run or want to run their own businesses. And people who just want to read about what I’m up to because they think I’m so awesome.

Which brings me to a big big question! I don’t know what to call this blog! Now that I have a new focus, I really need a new name. (Well and let’s face it, I need a real domain name.) I want something short and sweet and easy to remember. Cute and clever and fresh. It’s more about me, so do I give it my name, or is that too self-involved? I’m stuck! So I’d love your help! If you have an idea (even if you don’t think it’s a good one!) I’d love to hear it. Comment below!

I can’t wait to take the next step of this journey with  you!
Emily

Calling All Mom-preneurs!

work at home mom fresh paper studios

I’ve always been a dreamer. As a kid I pretty much lived in my imagination–I had a thousand career ambitions (ok, still do). Artist, princess, spy, astronaut, actress, teacher, and author all seemed equally attainable and simultaneously possible. To a four-year-old, the future is vast and one can hold as many careers as she wants.

So dreams, dreams are not new to me. Living dreams? I’m a fan! For most of my childhood I dreamed of being a teacher. (And a princess spy, but mostly a teacher.) So when I grew up, I became one! And that was super rad. I was living the dream.

Then it was time to realize some of my other dreams–to be a mommy, to own a business, to create and design things–I went for it. I like living dreams.

But there’s a dream I’ve had for a couple years now and I haven’t been working toward it much. I have a dream of helping other moms live their dreams. On my mellow days I just dream of writing helpful blog posts, maybe even a little magazine article. On my wild days I dream of hosting conferences for mom-preneurs and raising up a generation of powerful women who juggle babies and businesses. I dream of book tours. I dream about what I’ll wear for my appearance on The Today Show.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to change careers. I love design, I love working with people embarking on new adventures in their lives, I love running a business. It’s just that I love it so much, I want to help other people find what they love and do it too!

I meet a lot of moms who have great ideas and they haven’t implemented them because they’re scared. Or they work outside the home and they want to be home more, but they don’t want to leave the security. Or they’re stay at home moms and they want to find a way to pursue their passions, but they haven’t found the time. I feel like I can be a cheerleader for these women. A listening ear. A friend. Maybe even a guide. I also want to start conversations–maybe even a community–of people who are in the same boat. Juggling entrepreneurship and motherhood.

I’ve had this idea for Mom-preneur Mondays for a while. Kind of a long while. So… why haven’t I started? I guess I’ve been scared! I’m really not one to shy away from dreams. Or at least I didn’t think I was. Then I read this little gem by my friend Beth. When I first read it, I thought only about Fresh Paper and the things I want to do with it. What I envision for the company, what I might have to let go of to make those visions reality. Yeah, it can be scary stuff!

Then after a few days of thinking on it, I realized… there are a lot of dreams I haven’t pursued! And why not? I like to say it’s because I don’t have time, but we just talked about that. If I really didn’t have time, I also wouldn’t have time for facebook. And instagram. And Project Runway Allstars. Somehow I’ve found plenty of time for those things, so why am I choosing them over actionable steps toward pursing my dreams?

Maybe I’m afraid.

I mean who am I to be doling out advice? To be coaching or mentoring? What makes me so special? I’m no guru, no expert. I’m not doing it all right. In fact, I think that I’m doing it completely wrong about 87% of the time. So who am I to have this dream?

Well screw that! Who am I not to pursue this dream?! Or any dream? If a friend of mine said to me, “Hey Em, I have this dream of helping other moms start businesses, what do you think?” Would I say, “Wellllll, can I see your resumé?” Of course not! I’d say “Go for it girl! How can I help?”

So I’m going for it. Consider this the first Mom-preneur Monday. With no real advice other than… have a dream? Go for it. (Kind of a theme with me lately.)

And since I’m going to go for it, I need your help. I need to know what you want to know. What questions do you have? As moms, as entrepreneurs, as moms who are entrepreneurs, as people who are just in the beginning stages of thinking about starting a business… what do you wonder? What do you struggle with? What do you want to talk about? Leave a comment below!

*Just as a side note, I’m not trying to exclude anyone. Not dads, not moms who are not entrepreneurs, not entrepreneurs who are not parents! I’d love to open this conversation to everyone as I think we all have things to contribute!

There’s No Time To Lose

There's No Time To Lose

 

Olivia turned to me yesterday morning and said, “Come on Mommy! Let’s do this! We gotta get movin’ there’s no time to lose!” (Ok it was more like “Dare’s no time to woos” but you get the point.) It stopped me in my tracks. I mean she’s always been adorable, but when did she get so wise? The things that come out of that two-and-a-half-year-old little mind just blow me away.

I haven’t been able to shake this little pearl, and I don’t think I should. I’m making it my new mantra. There really is no time to lose. My sweet friend Megan just blogged yesterday about time and it really resonated with me. I’m always grumbling about needing more hours in the day. And that’s stupid. Because 1) No one ever gets what they want by grumbling about it. And 2) No one’s going to give me more hours in the day! I get 24 just like everyone else and I need to choose what to do with them.

So I’m choosing to get movin’! What about you?

 

Embracing Imperfection

Happy 2014! I feel like I haven’t come close to meeting my blogging goals. And they aren’t even that lofty! But new year, new start! (Ok 6 days into the new year and I’m just starting to figure out my goals, that’s not that bad.) One of the things that prevents me from blogging more often is that I feel like I need to do it perfectly. Time it perfectly so I’m posting when people are reading. Write something useful, poignant, funny… it’s a lot of pressure! I’ll come up with an idea for a blog post and then tell myself I’ll write it later. When it’s the perfect time. When I have more thoughts collected. When I can take a great picture to go with.

But no. No I don’t. I don’t have to be perfect. I’m pretty darn far from perfect in every area of my life and I accept that… so why do I think I have to be a perfect blogger? For someone who’s not even trying to be a professional blogger, that’s a pretty weird thing in which to demand perfection.

Know what’s worse than a less-than-perfect blog post? No post at all. So it’s time for me to get over myself and just blog. Just to say hi. Just to celebrate new designs. Just to share a tip I’ve come across. Just to ask for help. Just to give a shout out to my super talented friends. Just to connect. Just to be a part of the blogosphere.

So here it is. My perfectly imperfect blog post. About blogging. About being imperfect. And about being ok with that!

So here’s your call to action. Whether you’re a blogger or a mom or an entrepreneur or a designer or all of the above or none of the above, I want you to think of something you want to do and just do it. Imperfectly. I don’t want you to open facebook first and get sucked into what your friends are doing. I don’t want you to empty the dishwasher or fold the laundry. I don’t want you to find a million other things you can do almost perfectly so that you put off the thing you can’t do anywhere close to perfectly. Whatever it is that you want to do, I want you to stop and do it. Right now. Even if you know you don’t have time to finish, I want you to start. Even if you know you can’t possibly do a halfway decent job, I want you to try.

Then I want you to comment below and tell me what it was so I can cheer for you!

Happy October!

It’s October! I can tell because Christmas decorations are filling the aisles of the grocery store and I don’t know what I’m going to be for Halloween yet. Plus I have an immediate craving for pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin beer. When the leaves change and I start buying sweaters, I’ll know it’s autumn for sure!

There are good things in store for Fresh Paper this month! September was my chance to let my brain process everything I learned at Stationery Academy. I’ve been doing some soul searching and working on my “core.” (My values, my passions, the things that make me feel alive! Not my abs. I should work on that core too.) One month of randomly working on things here and there is enough, though–it’s time to get serious. Here’s what’s going on with me this month!

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I’m working through Lara Casey’s Power Sheets. If you have some goals to set (and who doesn’t?) you need these. I don’t know Lara personally, but I know some people who know her, and I’m super grateful that I came across her Power Sheets. I suffer from what I think every creative entrepreneur suffers from–BigIdeaItis. I have a lot of big ideas. They all rattle around in my brain and have a big party up there. Then they get tipsy on champagne, pass out on the couch, and forget to go to class. Follow through is not my strong suit. Sometimes I even get to the goal-setting stage, but then what? Life gets in the way, orders get in the way, my dreams go by the wayside. Lara’s Power Sheets give me a place to do the core work I desperately need to do to move this business in the direction I want it to go. She’s also walking me through goal setting and then gives space to keep track of progress! There’s just something great about a good workseet that helps keep me focused on the task at hand more than using a journal. And everything comes hole-punched to put in a binder (I’m using my super fab Stationery Academy binder so that all of my businessy goal stuff is together.) And it’s just FUN! I read business books and time management books and goal books often. But… most of them are written by men. Not that I have anything against men! It’s just… they’re usually writing for other men. For business men. Who work in toddler-free offices with water coolers and colleagues and button down shirts. Their needs are different than mine. Lara Casey is a creative entrepreneur with an adorable kid. So we’re pretty much soul sisters, even though I’ve never met her. I’m sure we’re going to be super awesome friends.

fresh paper new website preview

I’m giving Fresh Paper a website makeover! I thought about waiting until I was done to announce this, but I can’t hold it in! This decision is two-fold. First of all, it’s necessary. A couple months ago, my current e-commerce platform did an “upgrade.” Since then, there have been several bugs making the site function less-than-optimally. (Customers! Do not be alarmed! You will still be able to place your orders safely and securely! But if you run in to any trouble at all with checkout, feel free to email me so I can help you out!) It doesn’t look like those will ever be fixed. I never want my customers to feel frustrated when shopping, so it’s time to switch platforms. (If you are a business owner and would like to talk with me about e-commerce and how I chose a platform, feel free to drop me a line!) And secondly–I’ve been wanting to update my “brand” ever since I got back from Stationery Academy. I’m not doing a major “rebranding” or anything, I just want to clean things up a bit and give my site a look that speaks to what I’m all about–celebrating our fun, bright, and bold lives! So this is happening! I’m working day and night to move everything over to the new platform and I plan to launch the new site by Halloween!

I’m introducing a new product! Should I tell you what it is? Should I keep it a surprise? I can’t decide! Ok, I’ll give you a hint. It’s based off a “fan favorite” from my facebook page and it sticks to the fridge! I think that’s enough of a hint for now. But I’m super excited about it, and I can’t wait to show you! Stay tuned–I’ll be announcing pre-orders sometime in the next few weeks.

I think those are my big updates for October! I’ll also be buying new jeans, searching for cute rain boots, getting a hair cut, and possibly trying a pumpkin spice latte. I love fall. Well I love every season! I love fall because it means change. Leaves change, the weather changes, and I feel like big life changes always happen in the fall. It’s a good reminder that change will happen with or without us, so we might as well embrace it. I’m taking charge of my fall!

What’s on your list for October? What great things do YOU have in store? Let me know in the comments! P.S. I’ve been keeping up with my daily yoga! Are you giving yourself 10 minutes a day to do something just for you? If so, how has it changed your day?