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!

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: Fear

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 Fear - SquareOctober 1, 2015 – Fear

n. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; concern or anxiety

The best part of this definition for me is the fact that it acknowledges that fear can be real or imagined. There are real fears like hearing a scary diagnosis. There are also imaginary fears that we convince ourselves are threats, such as telling ourselves we aren’t going to be successful entrepreneurs because we don’t know everything. (Spoiler alert on that one – you aren’t ever going to know everything and that’s okay!)

Fear is a natural human emotion and can keep us out of harms way, but it can also paralyze us. Starting a business, accepting a treatment plan, leaving a job, having a family; no matter what your situation is, there will be unknowns. There will be anxious moments. Even the most risk-averse people on the planet cannot hide from this distressing emotion. We can’t let these moments keep us from living, though!

Throughout the month of October, we will all be hearing the stories of those who have or are battling breast cancer. Take some time to listen to how these brave souls tackle their fears. You may not be facing a life-changing illness, but we can all learn from their methods and be inspired by the ways they live their lives. How have you overcome your fears?

We may not like to think about or talk about negative emotions, especially in a professional setting, but today’s free download is meant to encourage us all that we can overcome our fears! I know I need that reminder on a daily basis!

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Changing Fall Colors

Fall Colors 1 - traditionalWhen the temperatures drop and the breeze picks up, it’s hard not to jump on the fall bandwagon. As someone who loves the outdoors and natural decor, it truly is like a breath of fresh air! The outdoors are bearable again and there are so many beautiful ways to create a cozy home that embraces the season.

Now, I love the traditional autumnal colors and warm hues like red, orange and yellow, but as I began to bring out my harvest pieces, I realized that very little of it fits the mold for textbook fall style. That got me thinking, why should I feel limited to three colors? There are so many incredible ways to bring non-traditional colors into your fall look!

Fall Colors 1 - jewel tonesDo you love deep, rich colors? Bring some jewel tones into your space to complement the more natural neutrals that fall gives us! I love how Scout & Nimble incorporated navy into their tablescape through napkins and a burlap ribbon on the wooden crate. It adds a touch of class and refinement to what is otherwise a fairly eclectic design.

The porch scene arranged by Kate Riley manages to maintain a life and vitality that many fall themes lose. The gorgeous purple mums coupled with stunning coleus prove that while it may be harvest time, there is still lots of growing going on!

Fall Colors 1 - muted tonesMaybe you prefer a little more subdued color palette. Swap out the saturated jewel tones for muted earthy hues, and you have another amazing recipe for success. I mean, look at this beautiful mantel design by Michelle at Dandelion Patina. My rural Wisconsin roots make me immediately want to go out and buy a windmill, and those wooden candlesticks are a perfect complement for height! (I can’t not mention the squirrel! He’s adorable!)

Ok. Maybe after checking out Nothing Past Nine you’ve noticed that these are my kinds of colors. But can we just take a moment to enjoy the beauty of white pumpkins? I don’t say this very often, but *SWOON*! The combination of white and grapevine pumpkins looks unbelievable in the blue tinted crate! I want every bit of this design Laura put together over at Finding Home Farms.

Which way do you lean? Are you a traditional type with lots of warm colors? Do you go a little bolder with more lively jewel tones? Or are you like me and get excited about the soft, muted earth tones? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or better yet – share some photos of your fall colors! I can’t wait to see them!

Find more on each photo here: sunflowers, pinecones, tablescape, porch, mantel, coffee table

 

Creative Business Dictionary: Passion

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 Passion - SquareSeptember 24, 2015 – Passion

n. strong and barely controllable emotion; an intense desire or enthusiasm for something

What do you think of or react to this definition? It makes me feel excited and gives me a sense of energy. I start thinking about my passions and how excited I get about them; it makes me want to act!

Now, defining your passion may be simple, but it’s been a work in progress for me. There are lots of items, tasks, responsibilities, etc. that I love. For example, I love food. At times I would say I’m downright passionate about it! But identifying what exactly it is that I have a “barely controllable” emotion for and something that I feel a sustained sense of “intense desire” for has been tough. I love working in sports, but I love my hobby-turned-business of crafting too. So I’ve been digging deep and establishing what it is exactly that makes me passionate about life, and I’m determined to live more for that purpose.

Over the next week, I challenge you to think about your passions. Have they changed over time? Are they changing now? I think that’s natural and 100% okay! Do you have a strong sense of your passion? Are you living for that? Share your thoughts so we can commiserate or brainstorm ways to make our passions more present in our lifestyles!

Need a reminder to find time for your passion? Enjoy a free download and have a beautiful reminder wherever you go!

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Creative Business Dictionary: Determination

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 Determination - SquareSeptember 17, 2015 – Determination

n. firmness of purpose; resoluteness; the process of establishing something exactly, typically by calculation or research

Determination is the fuel that makes success possible – be it over the course of a semester, a career or a lifetime. I cannot get enough of the phrase “firmness of purpose.” We each have a purpose and in my mind, to live fully, we need to conduct ourselves with a resoluteness toward that purpose; be it as a creative business owner, a stay at home mom, or the CEO of an international corporation.

I also find the concept of establishing something “exactly” through “calculation or research” to be highly intriguing. We’ve all heard the phrase, “come to the determination that ____,” but have you stopped to consider how you go through the process of determining? How do you calculate? How do you research?

This week I challenge you to re-think the word determination. Think about your purpose. Write it down. Share it with a friend. Maybe it’s your purpose for the day or the week or maybe your life. Regardless, keep this definition in mind this next week and maintain your determination! I’ll be cheering for you either way, but I’d love to have you share your purpose here!

Ready to tackle the week? Enjoy a free download and take that motivation wherever you go!

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Creative Business Dictionary: Creative

We are starting something new at Nothing Past Nine, and we’re calling it the Creative Business Dictionary! Look for more of these fun new posts each Thursday!

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 Creative - SquareSeptember 10, 2015 – Creative

adj. relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work

Art is everywhere and creativity is limitless. I think that’s what draws me in. There are no borders or boxes to hold back a creative business. What you are capable of is as big and bold as your imagination, and your imagination is unique to you. Use that tool to build a business – and life – that is original and authentic!

This week I challenge you to re-think the word creative. Are you comparing yourself to others? Do you try to do what others are doing? For business or pleasure, take some time and be creative! Brainstorm, doodle, create a new recipe – no outlet is off limits. Just get those juices flowing and appreciate your individuality!

Feeling extra creative now? Enjoy a free download and take that motivation wherever you go!

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Building a Brand

20150512_123925When I started my own business and opened Nothing Past Nine, I was confident that my education, knowledge and determination would make the business side of the equation easy! All I would have to worry about was creating products and taking pretty pictures of them! HA! If only it were that simple.

Building a functioning business is easy. Building a brand that stands for something you believe in is hard work that makes you question everything and always strive for more.

As an entrepreneur, you have the benefit of working for no one but yourself. Flip side is that there is no one else there to pick up the slack when you’re tired. There is no one to blame when something isn’t done, or isn’t done well. Everything you do is a reflection of yourself and as people judge your work, they are determining the value of a piece of you.

Going into my second year as a small business owner I’ve decided to dive into building this brand and this business to be something I’m proud of and not simply something I do to make money. I’m taking the time and energy to think about why I do what I do, and how all the different pieces of my brand align with that. They might mention the importance of this congruity during MBA classes, but putting your heart and your passion into words that resemble a mission statement can be daunting! Much less making sure that every post, tweet, image and description align perfectly with your vision!

If you are a business owner or thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, I challenge you not to neglect the hard work of laying a firm foundation for your brand. Not only will you be more content with the image you are communicating, but you’ll be reaching the people that you are aiming for; the people that want to do business with you.

When I started my own business and opened Nothing Past Nine, I was confident that my education, knowledge and determination would make the business side of the equation easy! Now I know that understanding my motives and the reasoning behind my actions is what makes decisions and next steps easier and easier. Which means I can enjoy more time creating and taking pretty pictures!

Follow along on social media (especially Instagram!) @nothingpastnine to see how this small business builds its brand. Share your story too! We’re in this together, my friends.

Light Bulb Moments!

I wish I could pull off saying, “ya’ll” because….. ya’ll, I’m so sorry! I haven’t kept up with my summer series, and the relaunch is now a week away! While I feel awful for not executing the adage of “under promise and over deliver,” there are a couple of silver linings that I’m dubbing Light Bulb Moments.

If you’ve been following along for behind-the-scenes information and insight into life as a small business, it’s about to get real!

First Light Bulb Moment

All the talk about having a purpose behind your business, and a purpose behind everything you do, has finally hit home. No, it’s not a new idea. Yes, I’ve heard it a thousand times. Someway, somehow, the concept just clicked in my mind over the last couple of weeks. I learn a lot from the beautiful souls behind With Grace and Gold, and have been working on their latest project Signature School. Thoroughly recommend it if you’re looking to define who and what you are as a business! (Early stages or late!) I’ve also been reading The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. Among others, these two sources have got my wheels turning.

Second Light Bulb Moment

Less truly is more. Again, I know you’re shocked by this original revelation! All my life I have been a “yes man.” Disappointing people and failing are two of my deepest fears. Haven’t gotten over that completely by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m coming around the idea that saying “no” is ok. In fact, it’s a good thing! Not only are you taking care of your sanity by saying no, but you’re actually able to do more with the things you say yes to. And those things you say yes to…..are the things that mean more and align with your purpose!

Alright, alright. These might not be earth shattering concepts, but they are rocking my world on a personal and professional level. I would challenge you to look at what you’re doing and how you’re feeling and ask the simple question, “Why?” As I’ve started to do that, I find myself learning a lot about myself and what I want out of this special life I’ve been given.

So enough of the sappy stuff. What does all this mean? Most notably, I’ve abandoned my original plan of finishing the three summer series on this blog, and the site will be temporarily offline for updates leading to the relaunch. How/when posts will be added is also going to change. In general, you’ll probably sense a scaling back that is wholly intentional. I did not set out to create Nothing Past Nine in order to blog or create a website. I founded the business to create. These additions will help grow the business and I enjoy doing them, but the pressures can become too great very quickly. I am excited about this relaunch and re-energized to give more to less!

Land of the Free

l30154aI am a sucker for free stuff, but who isn’t?!  In my crafting world, there are three types of free “stuff” that I cherish: free patterns, free ideas, and free items.

Free patterns are everywhere if you look for them (or subscribe to emails that send them directly to you!).  Some, like the American Flag pictured, are provided by companies looking to sell you something.  Others are provided by crafters who just love sharing their passion and spreading the joy of creating.

Pinterest is the Mecca for free ideas, but truthfully…any magazine, home design show, or friend’s living room can do the same thing – inspire.

I think its safe to say I don’t go a day without being inspired.

Sharing ideas leads to modifications and tweaks that develop new ideas and promote innovation.  I worry that I may use someone’s idea too literally without due credit, but by the same token, I hope that I can provide ideas to the world in the same way and expect no credit. (NOTE: I do try my hardest to list sources and do not condone stealing/piracy!)

Finally, there’s found items; things you come across – whether in nature or a dumpster or grandma’s closet – that just scream “I’m useful!”  I tend to horde many of these such items in my craft room, which my fiance is fine with…as long as they stay in the craft room.  I’m pretty sure I could walk past pretty much any pile of rubble and feel the wheels start turning.

So why this post today?  I told myself my email folder of promotional messages needed a scrubbing tonight and I can’t just delete things without looking at them…right?  The next hour flew by looking through free patterns on Lion Brand’s website which lead to many, many new project thoughts and money saving schemes.  Do you have this problem too?  Or are you able to keep your projects in check?  I mean…I still have wedding crafts to do before the fall hits!  How does one “pause” creativity?!