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!

It’s November Already! 6 month goals start now!

Wow, where did October go? Heck, where did the rest of 2013 go?!  We are in fall full-force here in Portland–cold mornings, lots of rain, gorgeous bright leaves (Olivia loves to point them out when we’re in the car. “I see leaves! Red, brown, ye-woah, orn-age, green!” Cutest ever.) After a long stretch of amazing weather, it’s time for me to go shopping for rain boots.

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So the other day I was moping about feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything in October. Then I looked at my october post and… I accomplished EVERYTHING! Wow! I worked through my power sheets, I revamped my site (I’ll give you a tour this month!) and I launched my menu planner note pads! Hooray!

So this month–I’m doing more! This is my first real month putting my Lara Casey Power Sheets into action! It took me all month to really figure out my goals and why I’m making these goals and breaking them down into action steps. Not that I can even say I’m “done” with that. Goals are evolving. I was so excited to sit down on November first and fill out my first “tending list!” Talk about hard work! Thinking about my goals, figuring out how I was going to work on them daily, weekly, and monthly, it required some serious self-reflection. I’m really happy with my plan so far, though! And I left a few blank spaces to add action items as I think of them this month.

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What’s in store for me this November, you ask? Lots! Both professionally and personally.

I’m going to go ahead and put it all out there. Here are my goals for the next 6 months along with what I’m specifically taking action on in November:

1. Nurture my marriage – It is important to me to show our kids a strong example of what love looks like. And it’s just important to me to show great love! I’m committing to date nights and love notes in November!

2. Be a present and playful mother – This is something that’s really been on my heart for months. It probably deserves it’s own post. In short, I just need constant reminders that the whole reason I quit my job as a teacher and started my stationery business was to be home with Olivia and enjoy her childhood. So being present and playful instead of consumed by busy-ness and work is a huge goal for me. My action steps for November include weekly play dates and fun projects. We’ve also started having spontaneous dance parties, which was an unexpected little joy initiated by my little rockstar. My big big super challenging goal for myself is to look at my phone less. A lot less. Less facebook, less instagram, less checking emails. Just less phone, more family. Simple. (Simple, but HARD!)

3. Build a bright, bold, and beautiful brand that reflects my authentic self – my number one take-away from Stationery Academy was that I need to stay true to myself and my personal design aesthetic. One thing I loved about my middle-school self was that I wasn’t trendy. I actually couldn’t afford to be trendy, so I didn’t have much of a choice. But that forced me to find my own sense of style. I wore the craziest outfits and people totally made fun of me for them. It hurt at the time, but looking back I’m so glad I stayed true to myself. I was just ahead of my time. I was cutting edge and creative. I’d choose that over being a bully in Gap jeans any day. Fast forward a couple years (decades) and I’m realizing my brand could use a big dose of Emm. (Yeah. I went by that for a few years. People from my middle school still don’t realize that there’s not really an extra m in my name. But in a class of 7 Emilys I had to set myself apart!) When I look at my invites that don’t sell well it’s because none of them are me. They’re trendy or they’re standard or they’re comfortable. The invites that get noticed are the ones that are different, clever, unique. The ones I designed when I was just playing around with fun ideas and being me. So this month I’m making a serious effort to weed out the boring and inject some serious fun into my shop. Stay tuned for some brand new designs and some “redesigned” looks!

4. Get physically strong and nourish my body with healthy food – There was a time in my life when I was fit. And now I’m not. So… time to do something about that! I like feeling strong and healthy. I have more energy when I exercise and eat good food. I am great at jumping in to serious changes. I am terrible at sticking with them. So I’m trying a different approach–one small change at a time. This month: I’m aiming for yoga 5 days a week and I’m using my menu planner to plan healthy meals and keep the fridge stocked with produce.

5. Explore photography as a hobby – I don’t have a hobby! And I want one. I’m choosing photography because it’s something that’s always been really interesting to me and something I would never want to do professionally! (I admire and respect photographers and am so envious of their talent!) Since I have some other huge business needs that are taking priority in my budget right now, I’m putting off my goal of buying a new camera until December or January. So for November I’m going to play with and practice using my current (point and shoot) camera and my iphone. I’m also going to start researching cameras so I can pick one when I have the money!

6. Be a good friend – I love my friends! Friendships are something I need in my life to feel fulfilled. So this month I’m going to start writing letters (snail mail letters with postage stamps! Good thing I know where to get stationery.) I’m also reinstating a Christmas celebration I used to do with my high school friends! Should be super fun.

7. Organize my home and life – This is always on my list. I am not an organized person by nature, even though I love planners and organizers and clear boxes with colored lids and label makers and and and… I think I just love that stuff because I want to be organized. I dream of an organized life. I actually live a clothes on the floor, papers all over my desk, where’s Olivia’s left shoe? kind of life. Home organization is a source of major overwhelm for me, so I’m really trying to just take this step by step. I’m only focusing on the kitchen this month–and if I manage to get the kitchen organized before the end of the month I’ll start on the bedroom. Even if all I manage to get a handle on is the daily dishes, though, I’ll be giving myself 17 gold stars.

8. Streamline my business – along with not being organized… this doesn’t stop at my laundry habits. I desperately need to organize my business. Physically, I need to organize my office so things are easier to find and I can work freely without being buried by a pile of paper scraps. I also need to start writing down and streamlining my processes. Someday I would like to grow this business beyond my in-home studio. And if I’m ever going to bring anyone else into this business, it’s going to need to be easy to explain how things work. My first step is just writing down my current processes as they currently are. I’m thinking I’ll make a binder–a “Fresh Paper Manual” of sorts. Should be interesting! I’ll keep you updated.

9. Inspire other women–especially other moms–to pursue their dreams and make them happen – this is something that’s important to me at my very core. 5 years ago I could have never imagined that I’d be doing anything other than teaching. It was a job I loved and was good at and made me feel fulfilled. Then I wanted a baby. And my priorities changed. It was scary to leave my job–my secure job with a steady paycheck and health insurance and sick days and summer vacation and a retirement plan–but I haven’t regretted it for a second! I meet a lot of moms with great ideas and they’re scared to put themselves out there. I really feel called to share my story and what has worked and what hasn’t and help other moms  figure out what they want to do and then make it happen! So for this month, my goal is to blog about it. At least one post this month will be geared toward other mom-preneurs. I’d like to make that a weekly thing eventually and then branch out from there!

10. Nurture myself and my soul – This is always something I put very last. And what happens? I run myself ragged and I get overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m becoming more and more aware that the thinner I spread myself and the more frazzled I become, the less effective I am as a human being. I can’t do my best as a mom, a wife, or a designer if I’m stressed out and panicked and tired all the time. So I’m scheduling massages, picking out a book to read for fun, and giving myself 15 minutes of “me time” everyday! Everyone says it, but it’s hard to really put it into practice. Well I’m trying to do it for reals. Nurture myself so I can nurture others.

I’m excited about November. Fall always means change–sometimes I think it’s even better to work on goals in November than January! (Although I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to New Year’s resolutions!) We’re already a week in–can’t wait to start checking things off my list!

What about you? What are your goals this month? I can’t wait to hear what’s in store 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?

Stationery Academy Recap – Part 1

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I just returned from the best business investment I’ve made since my first pack of sparkle paper in 2009. Two weeks ago I joined 20 other amazing women in Dallas, Texas for Stationery Academy.  Hosted by the incredible Whitney English and fabulous Natalie Chang, I expected this adventure be worthwhile, and I was not disappointed.

I don’t think I can summarize in one blog post all I learned by being immersed in a room bursting with creativity and support. When I boarded the plane for Dallas, I thought I had my act together. That maybe I’d pick up a couple tips on where to buy paper and swap some stories with other like-minded paper-preneurs. I knew I’d learn some stuff, but I also thought I knew a lot. After all, I’ve built a business from scratch and make enough money to pay the bills. That’s success, right? But Stationery Academy was so much more than that. We delved deep within to find our core values. We explored our fears and dreams. We analyzed our personal styles. We questioned every design decision we’ve ever made. (Or at least I did!)

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I found myself in tears early in the two-day intensive workshop. Emotions run high in rooms full of women. It only took a short time for my classmates to become my friends. By the end of the workshop, I had 20 sisters. When one of my new sisters showed how vulnerable she was by sharing a fear of putting herself out there for the world to judge, I couldn’t help but cry. By the time it was my turn, I was a wreck.
 
This business has been my baby for over three years. So much so that sometimes I let it cloud my priorities. Sometimes I ignore my real live baby. I often find myself being a better worker than wife. A better marketer than mom. That breaks my heart. A lot. And at the same time, I know in my core that I am meant to beautify the world! If I ignore my passion for paper, I’ll lose a very important part of myself. Finding a balance between work and home is my greatest challenge. It may be every working mother’s. Nice to know I’m not alone. Sucks to know no one’s found the secret yet. But at least now I feel like I’m about to head in the right direction!
 
I think everyone who attends Stationery Academy leaves with some sense of, “Oh my gosh, there’s so much to do! I’m going to do it all right now right away on the plane. Watch out world!” Then we get home and take a hundred-hour nap. Then we open our email and we’re slammed back to the daily realities of running a business. Well that’s how it was for me, anyway. So I need to somehow break down the crazy to-do list I wrote in a manic, caffeine-induced, brainstorm session on the plane. (In my swagalicious Jonathan Adler notebook, obviously.) I let things simmer for a few days. Then I broke it all into 3 parts:

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My Core – This is where I have to start. I have to get at the heart of who I am and why I’m doing what I’m doing. Not just in business, but in life. What are my values, my strengths, my passions, my purpose? Whitney talked about finding the white space in her life. I love this idea so so much. As artists we all know about the importance of white space in design. I forget how important it is to have white space in my life. I tend to do a lot of running-on-empty. My first goal is to get my white space back.

My Brand – The timelessly elegant Emily McCarthy spoke to us about defining our Signature Style. At first I took it to just mean in our stationery designs. But it’s way bigger than that! I had a huge epiphany on Day 1 of Stationery Academy. I have lost my style. Those of you who know me pre-pregnancy know that I used to be cute. I was the go-to girl for fashion advice. (This is not hard when you’re a teacher. Any competitors for best-dressed were wearing embroidered vests and stretch pants.) I was actually a cute pregnant lady, too. Changing size means getting to buy new clothes. But I do not consider myself to be a cute mom. I am a tired mom. I am a mom who wears pajama pants. And it’s not just my clothes that suffer, it’s everything. I don’t decorate the house anymore, I don’t surround myself with pretty things, I’ve sort of just let it all go to hell. I think this has spilled over into my design work. My true style is clever, surprising, bright, and well-taylored. Lately I feel like I’ve fallen into creating designs that are easy, comfortable,  and kind of boring. Brand goal #1–ditch the sweat pants. Figuratively and literally. It’s time to get my cute back.

My Business – At first glance, it’s difficult to separate brand and business. But I needed to separate them to make things manageable. So for the sake of this post, when I talk about my “brand” it’s the overarching style of fresh paper and of my life! When I talk about my “business” it’s the nitty gritty details of running a business. Choosing an e-commerce platform, refining the order fulfillment process, bookkeeping, stuff like that. I feel like this is the area where I have my ducks at least somewhat in a row… but as my business grows and thrives, I’m at the point where I need to make some changes. I’m running at full capacity right now. I can’t really take on more than I already do. Plus, I’ve totally neglected social media! (So thank you Rachel Shingleton for being incredibly inspiring and motivating me to start up blogging again!) I was blessed to sit next to Jen Fraught during our first dinner who so generously shared her sales tips and organizational strategies. She was a student of Stationery Academy last year and came back to present this year–a true inspiration and a blast to hang out with! (If she wasn’t so busy running her own amazing business, I’d hire her to come run mine!) She made me realize that if I’m ready to take this business to the next level, I need to simplify some processes, outsource some busywork, connect with customers in new ways, and probably find myself a cool assistant!

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The tricky/beautiful thing about all of this is that these categories are not isolated from each other. Each one spills into the next and swirls together to create one big, gorgeous being. It’s always tempting to start with the nitty gritty stuff. I think because that stuff is tangible and more accessible than doing serious soul-searching. But I think it’s wise to start on the inside and work my way outward. I mean what’s the point of editing my website if I make huge branding decisions later that require me to redo everything on my site? And how can I make real branding decisions if I haven’t figured out who I am at my core? My hope is that if I get the whole “core” thing solid, everything else will start to make so much sense.

That said, it’s not perfectly linear. (Which is good because I’m not perfectly linear!) There are processes I want to improve immediately, brand work I can do now, details that need to change so I don’t lose my mind. So I’ll be working on every area a little bit here and there, while trying to simultaneously improve Fresh Paper from the inside out.

First task on my To Do list? Follow all the blogs of my new stationery sisters  so I can support them as we grow together. Stay tuned for updates on all the great changes that are happening around here!

What about you? What have you learned lately that has changed your life? Comment below!