Small Affirmations

Don’t the proverbial “they” say that the first step is the hardest? Or…getting started is the toughest part? Something along those lines? Regardless, I’ve been thinking back on how much work it was to set up Nothing Past Nine, and the anxiety I felt before getting my first real sale. (Sorry friends and family, you didn’t count!) It feels similar as I begin to build a foundation for working from home.

There are so many aspects of creating a new career for myself that I can control such as which jobs or tasks to apply for, how many hours to agree to, etc. I’m a recovering control freak so these are the pieces I live for! What I can’t control, however, is the stuff I dwell on and fret about for hours on end. Will I be able to make enough to support a family? When will the right opportunity present itself? Will my “big idea” take off? Ultimately, my fears boil down to “What makes me special?” and “Can I do this?”

I read a lot of articles/books that tell us we can’t be too hard on ourselves; we need to be positive and see the good. So, I am trying to find these small victories and moments when I feel confident. Such as…my first article was recently published on Goals.com and while it only had 14 views after being live for two days (8 or 9 being me, my husband, and my friends….), I am a published author!

It is a small affirmation that I have talent that someone will pay for. It doesn’t matter how long it took to hear back, how much money I made or how many views it gets – I DID IT. First step taken, and I didn’t fall down. I may be impatient and need to adjust my expectations to be a bit more realistic, but I CAN do this and I WILL do this.

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Welcome to Entrepreneurship!

You haven’t heard from me in quite some, sorry! My goals, my business and this blog have taken many turns over the last few years, but I am excited about some recent developments and hope to start a shift that will make a big difference in my life.

As my husband and I slowly inch our way closer to possibly, maybe, considering the potential of thinking about starting a family, I’ve had to take stock of where we’re at. Myself in particular. My best friend recently lost her baby boy, Jonah, at 30-weeks pregnant, and if that doesn’t shake someone to the core, I don’t know what would. Her experience and thoughts of my future family put different lenses on my view of life – my career, my schedule, my values.

In nearly three decades of living, I can’t say I ever thought I’d be, or want to be, a stay at home mom. It wasn’t that I thought the role beneath me or didn’t want to spend time with my children, but that I truly love what I do and always want to be a contributing partner in finances. There wasn’t even a dream that I could do both.

Now, I see potential. I have inspiration from my courageous sister who changed careers, my brother-in-law who left a lucrative position to find happiness, and as usual, my best friend who is a pillar of strength and light in my life. If I want to eventually work from home while continuing to contribute to finances and the well-being of our family, I can do it!

So, as this blog and site take another turn, I hope to create a place that promotes me, my story, my talents and my interests. Sound selfish? It kind of is! BUT, I do it because I know I’m not alone and because I know I’ll need support. I’m starting to hone my skills and figure out how I can support myself without the comfort and stability of a “normal” job. There will be struggles I want to share, learning moments that I hope will help someone else, and hopefully successes to thank you for participating in!

This bumpy road of on-again, off-again blogging and sporadic social media presence has lead me here. I’m not “special,” but I’m willing to learn, to try and to work my tail off. I think I’ve finally turned the corner from being a hobbyist, and am excited to step into being an entrepreneur!

Hobbyist vs Entrepreneur

Calendar with MiscIf you haven’t noticed, I love words and digging into their meanings. My husband would probably say I just overthink everything. Can’t really argue that point either…but I digress. Names. Titles. Positions. To some people they are just words, but as I started this business, built up my Etsy shop and made my first few sales, I really started thinking about whether I was a hobbyist or truly an entrepreneur.

Initially, my motivation for the shop was to share my talent and have a direction for my many projects. Just as a hobby farmer raises animals for enjoyment and (not usually) for profit, Nothing Past Nine felt like an extension of my hobby – something to do for enjoyment. As the months went by, however, I started to notice that even with Etsy’s user-friendly platform and minimal sales, I still had to do a lot of “real business” tasks to manage. At first I brushed that off thinking that even a child running a lemonade stand keeps track of their sales and money. And then, of course, I started to think on it more, and more, and more…

Merriam-Webster defines “entrepreneur” on their website as: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. No, I’m not dreaming up the next Apple computer in my craft room, but I organize, I manage, and I assume the risks of my little shop. People have expectations of me as soon as I list an item. To continue this metaphor filled post, I had a lightbulb moment that is similar to when you realize that there is no magical moment when POOF! you feel like an adult – it just happens! Never did I dream that I would be an entrepreneur but that is exactly what I am.

It can be hard to take ourselves seriously when a project, idea or business is in the early stages. Heck, it can be hard to yourself seriously at any stage of business ownership – cough, or life, cough, cough! What I find to be consistent among the entrepreneurs I see succeeding, though, is that they believe in themselves. Even when it’s a little risky! If you want to take your passion from hobby to business, don’t be scared to consider yourself an entrepreneur! I certainly wish I would have told myself that a couple of years ago.

Have you found yourself in this situation? Did you have plan for your life and when it strayed, you didn’t want to acknowledge, or maybe just didn’t realize things were different? Maybe you have a different take on this topic! Whatever your thoughts, I’d love to hear! Leave us a comment, or share on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Creative Business Dictionary: Friend

As a journalism major in college, I developed a strong affinity for words. They are deep, complex, and have the ability to convey multiple messages. Now, as a creative small business owner, many words have taken on new meanings, and I am constantly catching myself seeing the world from a different angle.

Each week, we look at a word that impacts creative businesses and share a free download to view, print, frame, ponder, or shred. We’d love to hear your stories of how these individual words have impacted your business or your life!

CBD Friend - SquareOctober 15, 2015 – Friend

n. one whom one knows, likes, and trusts; one with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade

I could talk about the importance of this word for days. Moving to a new city, in a new state, and more than 400 miles from nearest family means trying to find new friends. Getting older means maintaining relationships despite growing apart. Progressing through life’s stages means letting go of people who bring you down, and finding people on the same page who support you and encourage you! Being human means seeking companionship and camaraderie.

The two keys to this definition for me are the words “trust” and “allied.” I have many people that I know and like; I may even call them comrades. What I have found to be difficult is finding true friends that I trust unconditionally and who really feel like allies in the struggle I like to call Life. Whether it’s going through treatments, planning a wedding, throwing a baby shower, or simple coffee dates to let off steam, friends are gifts from God that make life much more meaningful (and bearable!).

This week I am determined to be a better friend to those who consider me one! I find it’s easy to be consumed by our own situation, but tough to put that aside to connect with someone else on a deeper level. I am so grateful for the friends I have and all they do for me, I want to make sure I’m giving it back and sharing it with others!  Let’s be honest, it takes a lot to put up with a crazy gal like me, and as a small example, there is no way Nothing Past Nine would have gotten past the dream stage without UH LOT of support!

Check us out on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for behind the scenes looks, product information and more!

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What I’m Reading

Some people chuckle at the fact that my library card was one of the first things that made me feel like Charlotte was home, but I have devoured books as long as I can remember. Even when it meant Mom had to read “just one more chapter” before I would consider sleeping! I am a huge fan of our metro library system and almost constantly have something checked out. Usually multiple somethings!

20151013_205530Lately I have been rather selfish in my book selections, choosing to read a lot of “self-help” and personally uplifting materials. Currently on my nightstand – amongst the Bible, devotional, study book, puzzle book, Sudoku book, lotions and glass of water! – are The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman.

Before I wrap up this post, let me remind you all that I am no superwoman. (Case in point – this post is going out at 9:30pm my time!) Reading is one of the first activities that takes a hit when I am tired, behind schedule on posts, or feeling overwhelmed. That’s actually part of the reason I’ve chosen to read these books!

As we work at things and get involved in various capacities, it can be hard to say “no” and to enjoy the journey that we’re blessed to be on. I know I have been so focused on growing Nothing Past Nine that I hit a wall and wanted to quit. The Happiness Trap talks about the stories we tell ourselves – like the idea that we aren’t good enough – and how to accept the thoughts without letting them consume us. For the Love discusses living gracefully in a world of unattainable standards like those we women tend to create for ourselves. Cough, social media cough, cough! Lord knows I need to give myself a break on some things! Finally, Simply Tuesday focuses on small moments when life is beyond fast-paced. I cannot believe how fast the last few years have gone, much less the last week! Appreciating the small moments takes me back to enjoying the journey.

Enough talk for now! Need to save a few minutes for reading before bed! What’s on your nightstand? Are you a non-fiction or fiction reader? I LOVE good book suggestions so please share!

Cross Country Inspiration

imageLast year, my brother got married in wine country in October. Growing up in the midwest, an outdoor ceremony in October could mean a threat of snow! Even here on the East Coast, we get a lot of cool, wet weather that can dampen the excitement (pun fully intended!). As you can imagine, packing for 90° was a bit of a mind bender!

imageMaking my first trip to California was exciting for so many reasons, not the least of which was watching my brother marry his beautiful bride! The creative side of me was enthralled with all of the fall decor that greeted us at every turn. My sister-in-law did an incredible job complementing the natural beauty with her floral and design choices. I mean, look at this bouquet (and her delicious signature drink)!

imageIf you caught our post when we talked about non-traditional fall color palettes, I could have done a whole separate section on Californian Fall. The tans, browns and grays provided by the scenery are punctuated with pops of green and deep oranges. It reminded me of the stereotypical Californian vibe, stylish and polished, but also relaxed and casual. Each venue and winery we went to was stunning, but maintained a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.

This post has me thinking. What look do people see when they come to my neck of the woods? How about my home back in the midwest? How would you describe the style your region uses when decorating? What colors, what feelings, what motifs do people use?

Creative Business Dictionary: Courage

As a journalism major in college, I developed a strong affinity for words. They are deep, complex, and have the ability to convey multiple messages. Now, as a creative small business owner, many words have taken on new meanings, and I am constantly catching myself seeing the world from a different angle.

Each week, we look at a word that impacts creative businesses and share a free download to view, print, frame, ponder, or shred. We’d love to hear your stories of how these individual words have impacted your business or your life!

CBD Courage - SquareOctober 8, 2015 – Courage

n. mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty; the ability to do something that frightens one

Do you consider yourself a courageous person? I don’t! I like my comfort zone and playing it safe. There are not many people who take fewer risks than I do! At least…that’s the story I’ve been telling myself for years.

You and I each have a tremendous amount of courage, but we may not be giving ourselves enough credit. It took courage for me to start Nothing Past Nine, and it takes courage each day I continue this path of entrepreneurship. It takes courage to get up and go to the office, to the doctor, even to step outside in today’s world. One of the thoughts that struck me while reading this post is that it does not say that courage is the absence of fear. It says that courage is dealing with fear; whether that’s withstanding it or moving past it.

This week (and hopefully beyond!), I have challenged myself to see my own courage as many ways as possible – in my personal and professional lives. There are going to be things in life that we are scared of; we even talked about fear in last week’s post. It does not matter whether the situation scares us a little or a lot, we all have courage to overcome what frightens us!

Check us out on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for behind the scenes looks, product information and more! Today on Facebook you’ll even see how I use the free download below to remind myself of this week’s challenge! How do you use your free download?

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