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FREE WORKSHOP: Create Your One Page Business Plan

One Page Business Plan copy

 

The starting point to any booming creative empire is a clear + innovative plan. A model that’s simple + relevant + understandable enough to be shared in a snap over cocktails (with an umbrella), while not oversimplifying the complexities of what makes the business fascinating.

 

No wonder people want to skip over it. This task seems freaking impossible!

 

So you table it. You leave it for “later”.

 

Naturally, later becomes next Monday, and next Monday becomes never.

 

Who are you fooling? Really? Not me.

 

I see you. And I can see you are winging it 99% of the time. And you keep asking yourself, WHY is it getting harder? WHY did it stop being fun? I’ll tell you why. Because you don’t have a strategy.

 

You’re juggling 21 projects at a time just to pay for groceries. You start comparing yourself to strangers on the internet. All the sudden, it feels like everyone but you is having money fights on the beach, while you’re struggling to scrape by. And you find yourself asking if your dreams are even worth the hassle.

 

I’m throwing you a life vest superstar. This FREE WORKSHOP is it. Not as cute as strawberry frosted with sprinkled donut pool floaty, but very life saving indeed.

 

Today is the day you pick up the slack. You stop dreaming about it + start being about it. You cut the self-sabotaging loop. You grab a compass. You captain your Black Pearl like a boss.

 

Today is the day you sit your messy self down to write your business plan. But! Don’t worry. We’re ditching the outdated 75-page business model, and instead we’ll be crafting a One Page Business Plan (read: a business plan for people who are too busy to write a business plan).

 

So what the heck is a business plan anyways + why does it matter?

 

Good question.

 

A business plan is like a blueprint… a roadmap… a lighthouse that will help you share your story in a way that makes sense to the world, especially the people you are meant to serve + turn your passion to profit + design alternatives for growth (read: WORLD DOMINATION). Also, think of your business plan as shared language that will help you (and your team) systematically challenge assumptions about your biz model + innovate successfully.

 

Can you see why this is so important? A business plan is what differentiates the guessers from the save-the-worlders.

 

So, are you ready to write your business plan? Of course you’re not. Ready never comes. So you start before you’re ready. That’s the secret!

 

Your One Page Business Plan can be best described in 13 basic building blocks. Let’s break it down:

 

NAME

“I think I’ll call him Pinocchio.” What’s your baby gonna be called, Gepetto?

 

Tip: Check to see if the URL is available (in a site like GoDaddy.com). If it is, buy it! Check to see if the handles are available (i.e. @yourbusinessnamehere). If they are, open em’ regardless of whether or not you’re planning to use the social media platform to save your name + say something like, “My pajama party is over at Instagram” in the bio.

 

Also, be sure to talk to a lawyer to register your name + discuss registered trademarks + contracts + terms of operation or anything else you might need to use the name.

 

VALUE PROPOSITION

I you want your brand to be a success, you must learn to communicate to our prospects why they deserve their attention. In its simplest terms, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide + how you do it uniquely well. It describes your target buyer + the problem you solve + why you’re distinctly better than the alternatives.

 

People can’t read minds. As business owners, it is our responsibility to clearly communicate why our option is better.

 

Apple doesn’t have the lowest prices. Their value proposition is based on design. A simple glance at their website or store front is all you need to get it.

 

Developing a value proposition is based on a review + analysis of the benefits + costs + value your organization can deliver to its customers + prospective clients.

 

Create a one-sentence description about the value you deliver to your customers. Think about what you would tweet if you had less than 140 characters to describe the gist of your business.

 

Creating a value proposition will force you to hone in on what you do + what’s different/special about it + position your brand’s value in the market.

 

For example, Erin Glesson from The Forest Feast creates simple + beautiful + vegetarian recipes from her cabin in the woods. Recipes than anyone can make. But it’s not just the recipes. It’s the photos + the illustrations + the hand-lettering + the visual display + the simple handwriting describing the steps. It’s everything put together.

 

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The value proposition is in the unique blend of artbook + cookbook. It works. Can you see how + why this works.

 

What’s you’re unique contribution? Your edge? Your angle?

 

 

PROBLEM WORTH SOLVING

What’s the problem in the market worth solving or the absence in the market worth tackling? If there’s no market need or void, there’s no point in creating a solution.

 

Life-Blends

 

My dad + I, for example, co-founded Life Blends. In a world of artificial sweeteners + additives + preservatives + juices that have a longer shelf life than a Twinkie, we created a company that manufactures freshly squeezed raw juices using only fruits + vegetables.

 

Life Blends solves two problems:

  1. It’s convenient for people who don’t have time (or patience) to prepare their own juice.
  2. It’s a healthy option for people who suspect that theirs something wrong with their beverage if they can’t pronounce 99% of the items on the label.

 

What’s the absence in the market that you’re brand is filling? 

 

THE SOLUTION

Describe your product + why people need it. Think what you’d say if someone asked you, “What do you sell?”

 

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In 1966, businessman Rollin King was sitting in a bar talking about how to improve his regional airline.

 

At one point, King was just doodling while he talked. He grabbed a cocktail napkin + drew a triangle + wrote: Dallas/San Antonio/Houston. King realized it was neat + simple + not at all like the spaghetti of lines that depicted the complicated routes of traditional airlines. And it was from that simple drawing that King created Southwest Airlines.

 

For years Southwest went on to become the only airline in the industry making profit + it all started with one napkin.

 

If your solution can’t fit inside a cocktail, it’s too complex.

 

Simplicity is revolutionary. There is no space here for complicated terms or jargon only your colleagues understand. Make your idea so simple that it fits inside a cocktail napkin.

 

TARGET MARKET

Stop trying to make everyone happy. You are not Nutella.

 

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You are not Nutella. You are an artist… a maker… an innovator… an entrepreneur.

 

It’s the evil curse of our like-centered culture: People are trying so hard to fit in + to sit at the cool kids table + to gain a little recognition from others, that they involuntarily begin to sound like everyone else + be everything to everyone. The result: Crickets in da’ house yo’.

 

If you want to tell your story in this noisy world + create offers that sell like hot tamales + dramatically increase your chances of actually changing lives, you need to find your right people. Wait! Let me reframe that: You don’t need to hunt down anyone, you need to help your right people find YOU first + foremost.

 

But how will they find you if you’re trying to be someone else? If you’re trying to be like everyone else in the market? That’s exactly my point.

 

Be you. First. Then, narrow your niche. Go beyond the demographics. Create a customer avatar profile. Tell the story. Pin point hopes + fears. That’s how it’s done.

 

For whom are you creating value? Who are your most important customers? Who’s gonna love your product + buy it + tell everyone? Who’s it perfect for? Be specific. 

 

THE COMPETITION

Who else in the market is doing similar things + why’s your product better? Gimme your edge. Knowing your perceived competition is as important as knowing your customers.

 

The truth is, we’re not alone. And if we are, it won’t be for long. Our creative market is packed. There’s online stores + blogs everywhere you turn + the competition is ferocious. The only way to survive the competition is to sit down + strategize how we will make ourselves different from the rest.

 

A word of caution. You never want to compete on price. To be the brand that offers the lowest prices. You are not Walmart. And believe me, even if you could, you don’t want to be Walmart. Your clients come to you because they are willing to pay more for what they perceive to be uniques + valuable.

 

toms

 

In 2006, Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes. ¿How could Blake Mycoskie differentiate his product from the competition? He couldn’t compete on quality + price + design. And then the idea popped.

 

TOMS offer a simple, yet very meaningful cause behind their shoe business. With every purchase made, a donation of a pair of shoes goes to a child in need in another country. This concept provides customers the opportunity to make a personal contribution while receiving something in return.

 

TOMS mission is to transform everyday purchases into a force for good around the world. When you buy a pair of TOMS Shoes, you’re also helping to improve the health + education + well-being of a child. The company’s ultimate vision is to create a better tomorrow by taking compassionate action today.

 

Bingo! TOMS was not only able to developed a successful empire, but it was able to enter a highly competitive niche, and CRUSH IT!

 

Who is your perceived competition?

 

Money Planning

 

BUDGET + FORECASTING

How much money does it cost to produce product X? How many of them do you need to sell to break even, make a profit + pay yourself a salary? By the way, what’s your monthly salary? What are your sale projections for the year? How much money do you need each month to keep your business operation up + running? How much money do you need to grow your business? (i.e. learn a new skill + take a Skillshare course + hire an coder)?

 

Grab your cute Hello Kitty calculator + start crunching those numbers + sorting out your financials.

 

What’s your budget? What’s the money forecast like?

 

Lesson 12

 

SALES CHANNELS

Also referred to as “product distribution.” It involves the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by a consumer or business user. In other words, the places where you are selling or planning to sell your items.

 

Etsy, for example, is a channel. Amazon is a channel. Renegade Craft Fair is a channel.

 

Through which sale channels do your customers want to be reached? How are we reaching them now? How are our channels integrated? Which ones work best + why? Which ones are most cost-efficient?

 

REVENUE STREAMS

In which baskets do you have your eggs? What are your customers really paying for? How are they currently paying? How would they prefer to pay?

 

Here are some ways to diversify your revenue streams + generate more:

  • Asset Sale: The most widely understood revenue stream derives from selling ownership rights to a physical product. Barnes & Nobles sells books. Cupcake bakers sell cupcakes. BMW sells luxury cars which buyers are free to drive + re-sell + even destroy if they wanted to.
  • Usage Fee: This RS is generated by use of a particular service. A hotel charges customers for the number of nights rooms are used. A package delivery services charges customers for the delivery of a parcel from one location to another.
  • Subscription Fees: This RS is generated by selling continued access to a service. A gym sells its members monthly or yearly subscriptions in exchange for access to its exercise facilities. World of Warcraft Online – a web-based computer game, allows users to play its online game in exchange for monthly subscription fee.
  • Lending/Renting/Leasing: This RS is created by temporarily granting someone the exclusive right to use a particular asset for a fixed period in return for a fee. The lender benefits for the recurring revenue. The renter benefits because they don’t have to bear the full costs of ownership. Zipcar.com lends its customers the right to rent their cars by the hour in North American cities.
  • Licensing: This RS is generated by giving customers permission to use protected intellectual property in exchange for licensing fees. For example, I have a collection of personalized whimsical characters which I license to stationary companies + most recently to a company that manufactures rain boots. Licensing allows rights-holders to generate revenue from their property without having to manufacture a product or commercialize a service.
  • Brokerage Fees: This RS derives from intermediation services performed on behalf of two or more parties. Etsy, for example, earn revenue by taking a percentage of the value of each sale transaction executed on their platform.
  • Advertising: This RS results from fees for advertising a particular product + service or brand. While this is a hard industry to get into some brands with massive value + traffic have managed to make it work – A Beautiful Mess is a great example.

 

These are all things to think about, specially if you have big financial goals.

 

So, how do you want to make money from your product + service? How much control are you willing to give away? How thin are you willing to stretch in order to go further?How much will or does each revenue stream contribute to your overall income? 

 

MILESTONES

Milestones will help you keep your eye on the prize. Remind you why you started. Why it matter to you!

 

What are your business achievements? What are you working toward? What have you accomplished so far? What other milestones are you shooting for? 

 

MARKETING ACTIVITIES

How do (or will) you market your products + services? How will the world know about your idea? Will you place Facebook ads? Will you rent a booth at a craft fair? Will you pitch an article to a local magazines? Will you reach out to a television network or a local radio station? Will you create a word-of-mouth reward system? Will you send discount coupons with each other to encourage return customers?

 

What does your outreach plan look like?

 

Marketing can be an incredibly effective way to build your customer base + make more money. It can also be a major time suck if you don’t do it with intention.

 

Need help with your marketing strategy? I’ve taken a maaaaaany marketing courses, but this one is hands down my favorite, because it’s tailored made to small creative businesses. Through short daily lessons, April Bowles-Olin teaches you how to grow your followers + get results. (By the way, that’s not an affiliate link. I’m sharing it because it’s thebomb.com + I can not help but spread her badass-ness.)

 

TEAM + ROLES

Are you a one women show or are you working with a skilled army of minions? No matter the size of your business operation, be sure to assign specific roles + clear expectations to each member.

 

By doing so, you might learn a thing or two about your biz flow. Perhaps it’s time to bring someone on board to take professional photos. Or a book keeper. Or a nanny on Wednesdays? What exactly will they be doing?

 

I quickly learned that in order to stay sane I needed:

  • Grandma’s help taking my parcels to the post office.
  • A web wizard on call to delegate all things code + all things broken.
  • Hubby to be the responsible member of the family that goes to the bank.
  • A professional product photographer because those pictures sell.
  • Help to do the laundry + clean the dishes.
  • A personal trainer to get my ass off the chair.
  • A Messy Coordinator to keep me on track + remind me of my passwords.

 

What’s your team comprised of? What are there roles?

 

Tip: Whenever you bring new people in, be sure to leave EVERYTHING in writing through a contact + confidentiality agreement.

 

KEY PARTNERS + RESOURCES

What key resources does your business need to thrive? What physical resources do you need (i.e. computer + office space + scanner + car + store front + manufacturing facility)? What about intellectual assets (i.e. brands + patents + copyrights)? Who are are your key suppliers + manufacturers? Are you making any strategic alliances with partners to bring cost down + revenue up? What financial resources do you need (cash + lines of credit)?

 

Partner

 

April Bowles-Olin + I are inseparable. It’s pretty obvious if you follow us online. We co-founded a company called Connecting the Gaps. We team up every year to promote Marie Forleo’s B-School. We talk every Tuesday on Skype to vent + brag + catch up + pick outfits for our photoshoots. We’ve vacationed together. We’ve ruined our mascara together. We share each other’s big wins + messiest dips. We champion each other just because we can + we care. We have pretty much re-defined what it means to be a “partner”.

 

I believe partnerships are whatever you need them to be. I needed a BFF that I could share all my secrets with + talk about the hard stuff that gets in the way. And that’s what we are, April + I. Because together we make each other even bettah!!

 

What does partnership mean to you? What are you looking for in your partner(s)? Where are you looking? What do you need?

 

homework

Time to put this puzzle together.

 

It’s your turn to mix all the ingredients in a blender.

 

DO THIS NOW: Download + print your One Page Business Plan printable.

 

One Page Business Plan

Click Here to Download OPBP

 

Now play close attention. As you’re thinking about filling in the areas, don’t think to yourself, “Oh I’m writing my business plan.” Think, “I’m pitching my business to Oprah… to Shark Tank… to Anthropologie.” The pitch conjures a much better image in one’s mind than a “business plan” does. Right?

 

I know, I know… you will be tempted to skim through this lesson because you think you already know the inner workings of how your business operates. It’s somewhere inside your head, close to the hypothalamus. I know. And that’s why you have mental constipation + insomnia.

 

Write it down!!! Tattoo it to your forehead if you need to. Okay maybe skip the tattoo, but you should pin this to a very prominent board in your studio. Look at it. Helps to be reminded of your north star, especially on the days your website crashes + Juanita copies your course. Revisit it when needed. Paint over the ugly parts + recycle what works. But above all, have fun with it. That’s why you escaped cubicle nation in the first place to be an artist, didn’t you?

 

Too many people create business goals but very few really take the time to pause + consider + write down the full snap shot. For example, if you’re aiming to triple your income, What will that look like? How many people will you need on board? Will you still be able to work from you house studio? Will you need to travel more? Will you be home in time for super?

 

I confess, I used to hate this exercise. B-o-r-i-n-g! I’m that girl who buys a $750 Breville Juicer, but has no time to read the instructions. I want to make a Banana Colada, now! But until I sat down to write my One Page Business Plan, I was winging it + my bank statements made me cringe into a fetal position.

 

When sitting down to write your business roadmap, make yourself a hot cup of tea in your favorite mug + put on the Lord of The Rings Soundtrack, or whatever. Do what you must to free yourself of the day-to-day worries + visualize your business empire. If you’re stuck + feeling utterly uninspired, get out of your sweat pants + the house + your office. Go somewhere you can let your mind loose.

 

Mayi Carles Beach

 

I wrote my One Page Business Plan at the beach. Cheesy, but highly effective.

 

Wanna take a peek at how I did it? Here it is:

 

One-Page-Business-Plan-Filled-In

 

What is my secret to writing a One Page Business Plan? Turn off all notifications + hide your electronic gadgets while attempting this mission. No matter how much willpower you have, the temptation of e-mail-checking + web “researching” will be there. This is no time to for party-pooping or mind-numbing. Gosh, you’re writing your business plan. Anything less than outlandishly epic is plain silly.

 

Anyway. Enough talk. Get to work!

 

When you’re done, please take a picture with your One Page Business Plan + share it on social media using the hashtag #MessyBusinessPlan + tagging me @mayicarles or send it via e-mail at mayicarles@gmail.com. I’m gonna turn all your photos into a collage to show the world that we might not be perfect, but we’re the messiest + smartest + most beautiful community in the web. 

 

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done. Everything is progress.

 

From the messy desk of,

Mayi Carles

 

PS1: Next week I’ve got something super huge + super fun + super crazy pants planned for YOU. I’m dying to tell you all about it, but then I would have to kidnap you, so you don’t ruin the surprise for everyone else. I guess you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I’ll post about it there. But! if you’re subscribed to my mailing list, you’ll know about it before anyone else.

 

PS2: If you’ve enjoyed this FREE WORKSHOP, I really think you will LO-VE the full Life is Messy Planners pack, now available in English + Spanish + Portuguese.

 

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Girls Are Mean. But! We Can Totally Be So Kind, Right? (Inside: 40 Ways to Be A Little Bit Kinder)

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Girls are mean.

 

Sometimes.

 

Okay, more like a lot of times.

 

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When someone is mean, I get this sudden urge to release glitter into the sky above their head + watch it shower over them like a baptism of kindness.

 

When someone is mean, I’m also teletransported back to Art School.

 

Art School was brutal you guys.

 

My Master’s program at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago only accepted 8 graduates per year. It was a very competitive program. And there was this super mean girl. I won’t say who she is. I’ll just say this: Her name begins with “J” + ends with “ulia”.

 

When I think about the zombie Apocalypse, I think about her.

 

When I’m feeling inadequate + untalented, I think about her.

 

When I suck at something? You bet… JULIA! JULIA! JULIA! Her condescending Dolores Umbridge-like voice pops in my head. It’s terrifying. TE-RRI-FYING.

 

So that brings me here.

 

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It’s time. It’s time to end this mean girl epidemic, ya know? Kill these dementors once in for all. By the way, my patronus charm is a unicorn. Ahem, ahem, just thought you should know.

 

Alright so… what do we know so far? That girls are mean. But! Girls can totally be so kind if we had a little bit more faith in each other. Right? Deep down in my T-Rex heart I truly believe that. And I know you do too.

 

Imagine a world where girls aren’t passive aggressive with each other. Where girls don’t bully each other… call each other fat or ugly or whatever. Where girls don’t tear each other down.

 

Imagine a world where we all play nice. Where success is measured in selfless acts. Where kindness is queen. Where lifting each other up is the philosophy of life. Where we actively + aggressively believe in each other + praise each other + defend each other + think the other deserves the world. 

 

That’s the world I want to live in. That’s the world I want to help co-create. With you!

 

The ripple effect starts with one. One person to hold open a door. One person to leave a note on someone’s car complimenting their awesome parking skills. One person to write a thank you letter to a teacher. One person to be a spark of kindness when another really needs it.

 

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Here’s 40 ways to be that person:

  1. Bring your co-workers a special treat.
  2. Write a poem to someone special.
  3. Give pretty flowers.
  4. Help fund a Kickstarter project.
  5. Leave a generous tip.
  6. Plant a tree.
  7. Introduce two people who should meet.
  8. Call your mom.
  9. Gift a book you have read + enjoyed for someone else.
  10. Don’t gossip.
  11. Send a gift card.
  12. Surprise someone with balloons.
  13. Do the dishes.
  14. Make pancakes (extra bonus for bringing them to bed).
  15. Give a bear hug.
  16. Really spend time with someone without your smartphone.
  17. Thank the police for doing their job.
  18. Treat someone to fresh fruit.
  19. Organize a lunch date with da’ girls.
  20. Leave sticky notes with inspirational messages.
  21. Arrive on time.
  22. Buy dessert for someone else.
  23. Donate _____ you no longer use.
  24. Make a new friend today.
  25. Mail someone a hand-written letter.
  26. Lend a hand to a gal pal.
  27. Listen to a friend’s problem without trying to fix her.
  28. Send a thank you note to a blogger you inspires you.
  29. Keep a gratitude journal.
  30. Book a mani + pedi date with yourself.
  31. Call someone on their birthday, don’t just congratulate them on Facebook.
  32. Bring wine to your next dinner party.
  33. Help a friend think bigger with words of encouragement + pom poms.
  34. Pay the toll for the person behind you.
  35. Greet people with name tags by their name.
  36. Invite others to join a conversation.
  37. Write a letter to someone who made a difference in you life.
  38. Help change a tire.
  39. Leave quarters at a candy machine.
  40. Add yours here: ___________.

 

I challenge you to be that person.

 

Use the hashtags #BringingKindnessBack #KindActivist to document this much needed revolution.

 

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How we make others (especially other girls) feel about themselves, says a lot about us, our femininity, our sisterly superpowers, our womanhood.

 

If you think a girl is pretty… pretty smart… pretty strong… pretty funny, for God’s sake tell her. Say so. “Dang girl love your shoes.” “My gosh your skin is glowing.” “I see what you’re doing + you are rocking it.” Do it! Because you will probably make her really reeeeally happy for like 21 days.

 

You know who else will be happy for like forever? You! It’s true, the best way to make ourselves happy is to make other people happy. Works. Try it!

 

This is our mission. This is why we are here. To leave the world a little bit better than we found it. What else could it be? This is it!

 

Do good. Feel A-MA-ZING!

 

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Do you remember the last time you felt a happiness boost just for being generous + providing support + giving presents or contributing to make the world a little bit better? Share your story in the comments bellow to help inspire more and more and more random acts of kindness.

 

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Here is to kind girls everywhere. May we be them. May we inspire them. May we raise them.

 

Mean girls, take note or STICK IT!!! Life is way too short to condensed. Share stories that inspire other than gossip to trash. Pull up other than push out. Plant other than pain. Give other than suck the living life outta people. The world really doesn’t need your bitchin’.

 

Which reminds me…

 

Oh Julia! Julia who made me cry every single day after Visual Critical Studies: Creative Criticism class. Julia who really took the “criticism” part to heart. Julia who was so busy hating on people that she forgot to live. To be radically happy. To matter. Apparently. At least according to Google. She’s not even in the first 5 pages #karmaisabitch.

 

Oh Julia! My arch-nemesis. The PC to my Apple. The Darth Vader to my Obi Wan. The Magneto to my Professor Xavier. THANK YOU for being so hard on me that you made me want to be kinder that much badder.

 

We all have a Julia in our lives, don’t we? I know you’re thinking of her name right now.

 

By the way, to all other Julias in the galaxy, please forgive me. I promise it’s only this ONE Julia I don’t like. I don’t think y’all are trolls, or anything. Pinky promise. What? Of course you’re invited to my pajama party. So are you Julia Roberts.

 

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These are my final words of wisdom:

 

Dear Girlfriend (yes, YOU reading this),

Should you ever find yourself the victim of other peoples bitterness + smallness + insecurities, remember things could be worse. You could be THEM! 

 

And with that out of my chest I say, Let’s bring kindness back ladies! Cuz we can.

 

Don’t forget to use the hashtags #BringingKindnessBack #KindActivist to track our quest + find each other.

 

It’s time.

 

From the messy desk of,

Mayi Carles

 

*This post is sponsored by Kate Spade NY. All content + ideas + words are my own.

 

Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

 

Flowers

Boutique Flowers

 

Location

Uber House

 

Turning Life’s Messes into Creative Triumphs

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This is a very special post. But! Before diving in, I really think you will dig the back story.

 

Let’s rewind to 2011 for just a second.

 

I was drinking spa water + wearing stretchy pants + listening to my girl April Bowles-Olin’s interview on BlogcastFM. And I remember thinking to myself, “Damn, my friend is wicked smart. How does she do it?”

 

“How does she do what?”, you may be asking.

 

“How does she NAIL IT every freaking time?”, I mean.

 

We all have that perfect friend + colleague + sister + relative. That person in our lives who seems to have it all figured out.

 

It’s tempting to stay there. In admiration land. Just gazing in utter awe from the sidelines of the ring. Clapping. Hercules, Herculeeeeez. Eating popcorn. Getting fat.

 

But! I’ve never really liked the cheap seats anyways. Or expanding my waistline with fear calories. The worst kind.

 

So…

 

Half intimidated by April’s ability to answer every question so eloquently, half inspired by her courage to put herself on the line like a BOSS, I decided to get over myself + e-mail the podcast host, Srinivas Rao.

I basically waved my hands real high up in the air + exclaimed: “Pick me! Pick me too!”

 

Yeap. I literally invited myself to someone else’s party. Who does that? Apparently, me.

 

That year, my little interview slowly made its way to the “Best of 2011” list, alongside Danielle LaPorte + Seth Godin + Tim Ferris + Ramit Sethi. It became the most watched + most clicked + most shared + most downloaded episode of the year.

 

And there I was, sitting on the top of my #1 hit single. Feeling like I had just won a Grammy. For showing up. For trying. For channeling my inner April, the most badass girl boss I know, and realizing, “Hey! Maybe I have something to say too.”

 

Fast forward to present times.

 

Srini knocks on my inbox. Invites me for a second interview.

 

“It’s been quite some time since we’ve spoken. Our brand is totally different. In fact so much so that I think our audience would love you even more now. And of course I’ve done about 300 interviews since you last spoke with me so I’ve gotten better at it. Would you be up for a second interview? Would love to have you back.”

 

I wanted to throw up.

 

Cuz that’s what we do, right? Flake. Duck. Get sick.

 

The first time around I had nothing to lose. I was no one.

 

This time, I felt everything was on the line. My shiny crown with the invisible #1 on it. I didn’t want to give that up, you know? My prestige. My recognition. My badge of honor.

 

“Go away Srini!” That’s what I wanted to say. So I said “Yes” instead.

 

Cuz isn’t that the ultimate goal? Commit to the act of showing up, in spite of being afraid? Dare greatly, before we feel ready?

 

It’s tough. But so am I. So are we.

 

So without further ado…

 

Here I am. Back. Talking about how to turn life’s messes into stories of triumph.

 

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Highlights:

  • Letting go of the fear that nobody will show up.
  • Putting ourselves out there.
  • Dealing with unwritten cultural dogmas.
  • The tensions between what we want + what’s expected.
  • Why we need at least one biggest fan.
  • The rocks that life puts in our journey.
  • Embracing screw ups as part of the creative process.

 

Click here to check out my interview on the Unmistakable Creative podcast!

 

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to beat my own record, but if I don’t at least I’ll have the perfect story for Oprah.

 

Enjoy!

 

xo,

Mayi Carles

 

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A Revolutionary Concept That Will Change The Way We Live + Love + Make Babies + Parent + Adopt Puppies + Work + Build Business Empires

MSF #5

Despite your best intentions to downgrade our awesomeness with things like comparing yourself to strangers on the Internet or worrying about all the things in the world that “might” happen: You still pretty AMAZING, you know that?

 

And talented. Ridiculously so.

 

I’m actually beginning to think you’ve been here before. Past life: Walt Disney. This life: You.

 

Wait a minute! You don’t fantasize about this sorta’ stuff? Oh. Yeah. Me neither.

 

All I’m trying to say is: I know you’re smart, but I also know you’re struggling.

 

I know you know how-to make better choices.

 

I know you know how-to make more money.

 

I know you know how-t0 rise above the mess + change the world.

 

We both got access to more information + more books + more websites + more apps + more scientific research than ever before. We know the how-tos, yet… we keep hitting brick ways… keep falling… keep feeling overwhelmed by all the “incompletes” in our live.

 

Why is that so? Why do we still feel so inadequate? I’ll tell you why. Because we don’t talk about the stuff that gets in the way. That’s why. We don’t. We don’t talk about what keeps us eating Doritos until we’re sick + numb.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I would love to skip over the cacophony bits… the embarrasing stories… the poo in the middle, but life doesn’t work like TiVo.

 

Instead of fast-forwarding over our lives crappy commercials, today I want to invite you to practice a revolutionary concept called: ASKING FOR HELP!

 

Here’s how it works: Anytime you’re full of anxiety + self-doubt seek out a friend who deserves to hear your story + have an honest conversation.

 

Is that simple.

 

Sure, you can drink wine. Or limoncello.

 

I promise you, it will change the way you live + love + make babies + parent + adopt puppies + work + build business empires.

 

Cuz, sometimes all we need is a little reminder that:

  • No, it’s not just us.
  • Crap is universal.
  • We all have it.
  • Yes, and we’re all afraid to talk about it.
  • The more we hide it the more control it has over our lives.

 

Let’s heal. Together! Because sometimes all it takes to start a revolution is a small army of confidants.

 

xo,

Mayi Carles

 

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Is Blogging Dying? This Is What I Think!

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With the rise of new social media platforms like SnapChat + Periscope, adding to the already exciting parade of options (like Facebook + Twitter + Instagram + Pinterest to name just a few), it’s no surprise people are questioning the power of blogging. Is it really necessary? Is it worth the hard work? Is micro-content enough or is a main HQ still important?

 

Do you want to know what I think? Do you? Do you?

 

Well I’ve thought long n’ hard about this one + I’ve come to the following realization: The internet is basically one BIG High School cafeteria. 

 

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There’s the nerds table + the mean girls table + the artsy kids table + the football team table + the book club table… and all the drama in-between. And every table has its unwritten instruction manual with rules of what you can + cannot do.

 

Instagram, for example, let’s you share pictures but the only active link allowed is the one on the bio page. Twitter let’s you share no more than 140 characters at a time. If you wanna hang out at their cafeteria table, you gotta obey their social code.

 

In a way these platforms are basically saying, “Sure, you are welcome to seat with us, but we get to call the shots.”

 

Maybe it’s agreeing to let the Periscope gang remove your videos in 24 hours. Perhaps it’s agreeing to let the Facebook folks use anything you post in their own advertising or charge you to interact with the audience you’ve built and fostered. Oh! And have you heard the news about Instagram’s new curated feeds?

 

And think about it. There are no guarantees. The luncheon dynamics can change. Anytime. People might get tired or disillusioned + decide to eat at the bus instead. Or the gym benches. This happened to MySpace. Closed shop. Forever. Gone. In the middle of the game. You can’t sit with them anymore, because they are no longer there.

 

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I get the pro’s of sitting with others. I do. Eating your sandwich (or empanada) in good company is nice, especially if you’re the new kid in school who doesn’t know anybody + nobody knows you. Picking a table is not only a smart option, it’s survival. It can help you gain traction + popularity, or at the very least, be heard by a few who will listen. Your cafeteria entourage can even help you rise from oblivion into stardom. Think of all those YouTubers who became famous overnight. The platform helped them do that.

 

Now this idea of becoming a celebrity is so appealing, so tempting that people often forget about the drawbacks of picking a table at the cafeteria.

 

The downside for me is so obvious thou. It’s not your table. Your cute lil’ touchie might be sitting there, but it’s not your table. It’s not. You don’t own it. You don’t make the terms + conditions. You can get kicked out anytime without a 30 day notice. You + your meal + all your fans. Out! And the honey badger doesn’t care. The honey badger doesn’t give a damn if you were counting on that revenue stream or marketing outlet.

 

People somehow miss this important piece of the puzzle. Why? Consider why you tell yourself blogging isn’t worth it? Ask yourself why you convince yourself to stop trying?

 

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I’ll tell you why. Because:

  • It’s more convenient to blame someone else. Your Kickstarter campaign failed miserably? It’s easier to say, “Kickstarter doesn’t work” than to say, “I was not able to recruit enough supporters to fund my project.” Thin line. Easier to complain + dismiss + procrastinate than to assume responsibility.
  • It’s less work. Sure, posting a pretty picture of your breakfast with a cute caption is easier than putting together a thoughtful + valuable post about morning routines. Whereas the first option is cheaper + faster, the later is much harder + scarier + more time-consuming. So our monkey brain encourages the easier + seemingly better option.

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Social media is easy + fun + gives you instant gratification. In the animal world that works just fine. If you are a monkey, for example, who spends all day doing nothing but eating bananas, you’re a huge success. But unfortunately for us humans, we have a big ass brain that allows us to recall the past + make decisions in the present + transform the future. Being a homo sapiens is a hard gig. So is blogging.

 

Blogging comes with a huge deficit because it takes planning + effort + momentum + guts. It might seem less pleasant than scrolling social media all day, but epic things happen when you don’t let your monkey brain take the stirring wheel.

 

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I’m not lobbying for a riot at the school cafeteria. I’m not an anti-social media billboard. All I’m saying is that it’s dangerous to solely exist + build buzz in someone else’s ground. That’s all.

 

Anyone… any place… any thing  that makes you check off a terms and conditions box to hang out with them shouldn’t be your number one hang out, much less your business strategy.

 

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And there’s no excuse. These days, the internet let’s you build your own site in minutes, affordably.

 

I set up a basic blog on WordPress. Got my own mailing list up n’ running. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because this way, I get to keep my power + my work + my voice intact. But more importantly, there are no Illuminati censoring my content + editing my ideas + gatekeeping my gigs. It’s MY intellectual properly. MY audience. And the best part? I get to call the shots. Heartmade, this blog, is not a democracy. I decide who plays + who doesn’t. What? You’re a troll who spams the comment box with links to fake Kate Spade bags? Expelled! You’re too cool to be nice to my virtual family? Fired!

 

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Sure I still hang out with my friends at the cafeteria. My besties over at the Instagram table are so much fun to be around. And don’t even get me started on my Pinterest gals. They are the bomb. But I always make sure to come back home, to my HQ + give clear directions with links or call to actions to where people can find me if they want to know more.

 

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The charm of the High School cafeteria is obvious. It’s entertaining. But if you want to make sure you always have a safe space to eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich + an open mic to share your brilliant ideas with the world, you’ve got to build your own playground. An online headquarters for your content that Google can easily find. A place where you can try out your coolest tricks + make meaningful stuff. Make it a friendly place for people to come visit. Often. Let them wear their paint stained pajamas if they wish. Bring your heart, your humanity, your value.

 

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The reality is this: You only get out what you put in.

 

I’m not here to endorse hype-y fantasies around being your own girl boss, like working 4-hour weeks while dipping your feet in warm sand. That sh*t ain’t real. I repeat: that sh*t ain’t real.

 

Wanna make a living online? Put in what you want to get out. Simple as that. And I’m not talking about busy busy busy work – the kind where you pull all-nighters + skip breakfast + cancel lunch dates with your girlfriends to browse Pinterest and call it research. I’m talking about committing to the act of creating + sitting down to write when you don’t feel like it + hitting publish in spite of being afraid.

 

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Not everyone is willing to do it. But then again, you are not everybody.

 

This lil’ blog is still the heartbeat of my business. Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that blogging isn’t for lazy people. Trying to keep up the pace of posting regularly + creating original content (not just echoing what the entire blog galaxy has already said) can wear out anyone who’s not built for this. Those of you who have blogs know exactly what I mean.

 

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So if you’re pondering: “Oh! boy, but I’m already too busy running a shop + updating my about page + doing the laundry + perfecting my skills + inventing my new product line + preparing for a craft show + invoicing, do I really need to have a blog?” Here’s why I think you should give it your best try:

 

1. Blogging helps you build strong relationships with clients. Through your blog you let your personality + charisma + passion shine. This helps your customers relate + connect with you on a deep human level. And a customer that has empathy is a customer that connects with you + trusts you + befriends you. This is a rare + beautiful thing.

 

2. Blogging lets you show you’re a pro. It’s an opportunity to showcase your abilities + skills in a non-braggy kinda way. If you make the best brownies in town, give your clients an inside pick into how you prepare the dough + how you cut the brownies + how you package them the way you do, without giving away all your secrets of course. It will show customers that you sure know an awful lot about brownies + chocolatey things + baking without burning things in the kitchen + etc. And people love to buy from shops that they feel confident about.

 

3. Blogging helps you document your creative life. I love looking at my blog archives to see where my mind + heart were at 5 weeks ago, 3 months ago, 7 years ago. This time last year I know I was a lot more afraid. I dunno when I changed, or how, but I know at some point between then + now I built wings + set myself free. It’s like having my own little time machine to travel back in time + navigate through my creative stages + access my virtual diary. Helps me learn + grow, ya’ know?

 

4. Blogging lets you share updates with your fans. You just released an awesome new collection? You’re having your annual Everything Must Go sale? You were featured in US News? Sure, social media let’s you shout the news through the roof tops, but these channels go by so fast, that important information typically falls through the cracks. Your launch can be easily missed. Your TV appearance missed. And that’s just sad. Blogging gives you both a space to inform your clients about all the wonderful things that are happening, and most importantly it lets you archive them so they never go by unnoticed.

 

5. Blogging connects you with the indie community. When you blog, you become part of a cult of artist + designers + crafters + freelancers that get it without much explanation. When people ask me, how to do advertise your products, they’re shocked to know I don’t do ads. I don’t buy followers or run promoted posts. I let my customers do the talking. They are my brands true ambassadors, and in my humble opinion, the best kind of marketing there is.

 

6. Blogging gives you VIP access to Google. Blogs are built for search engines. They are indexed faster + more frequently than your shop is. They also have this cool optimization feature that reads your keywords like “business tips” + “planners” + “mess”, and connects potential fans to your site via those tags. This brings targeted traffic from people who are searching for exactly what you have to offer. Pretty neat right?

 

7. Blogging is so freaking awesome. When you get in the habit of blogging + write about the things you are truly care about, everything just clicks. It stops being hard. Blogging flows. And you become hooked. Our career choice as creators + innovators can sometimes be a solitary path, but blogging lets connect with readers all over the globe + start a conversation with people with similar interests + get instant feedback. All the sudden you realize, “I’m not alone in this”. It’s a comforting + uplifting + energizing feeling.

 

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Yes, blogging is more difficult + requires work, because teaching + inspiring + launching is hard. But, it’s also how we get to do what we love for a living using this amazing tool called the internet.

 

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So the next time someone asks, “Is blogging dying? Are blogs a thing of the past?” Will they not survive another month? You can tell them what I think. I’ll be sitting at the messy table by the corner with my vintage typewriter if anyone asks.

 

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What do YOU think? Are blogs dying? Are they becoming diluted in a sea of social medianess? Drop your insight in the comment box. The best discussion always happens there.

 

xo,

Mayi Carles

 

*This post is sponsored by Kate Spade NY. All content + ideas + words are my own.

 

Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú