Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Taking off & making time

I'm constantly on the look out for any advice I can get on the process of starting a small business. I just so happened to come across THREE great articles this morning - looks like it's my lucky day! They are all related to Etsy, the popular handmade item marketplace, but all are relevant to any business just taking off. This one and this one come from Design*Sponge guest blogger abbey goes design hunting about two great Etsy businesses. This one comes straight from the regular Etsy blog feature, Quit Your Day Job, and is a great look into taking the leap into a small business venture during these scary economic times. All great inspiring reads to start the day off!

As for me, my biggest challenge so far has been setting enough time aside to get things done for Lady Fleur while maintaining a full time job and various freelance projects at the same time. I think time management is a challenge for any business owner (and non-business owners for that matter!), and there really is not one solution that is right for everyone. It seems the key is finding what works for you. As for me, I know my solution has to be something that keeps me organized and motivated at the same time. Clutter is my enemy, and I get too overwhelmed to accomplish anything when I'm not organized. Enemy #2 is laziness. I'm a huge procrastinator and I will find every excuse imaginable to put off doing what needs to be done, so sometimes I need an extra push to keep me motivated. I've found what works for me is checklists. I feel organized by having everything I need to do written out, and checking off completed tasks gives me a sense of accomplishment that keeps me motivated. So there we go - organized AND motivated! Perfect, right? Not quite. I found that just writing down what I need to do TODAY doesn't quite take care of the motivation for my long-term goals as much as I'd like it to. What I've turned to for this is my handy Gmail calendar. My calendar is my lifeline. I have it emailed to me every morning in case I forget to look at it (because I do that sometimes - remember to write down appointments but forget to look at my calendar...) so I know for sure what I have set out for the day ahead. My newest trick is sitting down at the beginning of the week and scheduling specific steps towards my long-term goals. This is a variation of an idea I got from a HOW Design magazine article in January about using your calendar to schedule steps to achieving your marketing and self-promotion goals. They even have a great calendar you can download with their "Marketing To-Do List"a already laid out for you! It's really helped me get a grip on what I can actively do right now to work towards my long term goals, and that really gives me a deeper sense of accomplishment that keeps me focused on the big picture as well. So now, I have three ingredients in my personal recipe for time management success - organization, motivation, and focus! What's yours?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love is in the air

The week is just flying by - I hardly realized it was already Wednesday. That's a good thing though, because I am oh so anxious for it to be Valentine's Day. Mostly for the cute cards and the chance to bake these delicious red velvet cupcakes I found on the Better Homes & Gardens website:

Aren't they too cute? I knew I wanted to make something red velvet, but I really liked the extra touch of the heart shaped cookie on top of this one. I'll let you know how they turn out.

The holiday also has me itching to make some homemade gifts for my friends and family. I've seen so many cute ideas these past few days, but I'm really liking a few that I found on Design*Sponge (my favorite daily read) this morning from The Purl Bee. These Fabric Window Valentines and Valentine Heart Pins look so easy and fun to make - not to mention they are adorable!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Welcome to Lady Fleur Designs!

I must confess, I'm totally new to this whole blogging phenomenon, so bear with me through these first couple of awkward posts - I promise they will get better! :)

My name is Cristina, and Lady Fleur Designs is my developing brand for stationery, apparel, gifts and general design services. I am a graphic designer from the beautiful city of New Orleans, LA. I graduated from Louisiana State University about a year and a half ago and I am still living in Baton Rouge. It's really a great place to be as a young adult - it seems to be constantly growing and developing. I'm very excited to be here to experience all the positive changes and additions to the city while still being close to home (New Orleans is just an hour away). It's like I'm growing along with the city! That's pretty much what I have laid out for this blog - I want to share with you what it means to be a young designer in an up-and-coming city. I have to admit, it's tough at times! Sometimes it feels like a lot of people just don't appreciate design. It's hard to find a job that pays the bills (I saw a listing on CraigsList the other day for a full-time graphic design position that paid minimum wage!! I know of fast food restaurants that pay better than that!), and at the same time allows you the creative freedom to grow as a designer. As for me, I know a traditional 9-5 cubicle job is just not my thing. I have a great job right now as an Art Director at a small silk screen shop in town. It's a lot of fun, and it doesn't leave me so drained at the end of the day that I can't focus on my side projects like Lady Fleur, so I am really blessed in that aspect. I really love what I'm working on right now with Lady Fleur and hope I can expand it to what I want it to be. Starting your own business is a scary venture - I feel very green right now, like there's so much I have to learn. Hopefully, this will also help me meet others like me, who have been through this process, or are currently going through it. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail if that's you!

Anyway, I feel like I'm rambling... I wanted to leave you with a little inspiration I received in my inbox this morning from BCBGMaxAzria for their Valentine jewelry line. Clean, simple designs with sweet sayings - I am so lusting over the charm necklace right now!

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