Tag Archives: Creative business

Creative Business: Intentions and goals for May

May 15, 2019

INTENTION / WORK

I know it might seem a little late to post about monthly intentions may seem a little late given that we are already half way through May. However, I strongly believe that you don’t need to wait for a new quarter, the start of a month, a Monday or a new moon to set goals and intentions in your creative business.

“April showers bring May flowers”

Although last month was actually pretty decent weather-wise, this saying was speaking to me as we headed into the month of May. Working and living in tune with the seasons this year has meant I’ve had a slow start to 2019. No matter how I plan to steel myself against them, those long dark winter months take their toll on my energy, creativity and productivity. Towards the end of March, however, I could feel that shift in me as the natural world was also beginning to wake up to Spring.

The arrival of April marked the beginning of the second quarter of the year and my first full month of having regular childcare. I now have one day a week to fully devote to my business whilst Casper is with a childminder. This had me excited but also apprehensive, feeling the pressure of now having to really step up and make things happen in my creative business.

It’s been a month of settling into a new rhythm, with a fair bit of soul-searching but also knuckling down when needed. I’ve found that after gently gathering momentum I’m suddenly feeling ready to bloom with the Spring. Or at the very least unfurl and open up to new possibilities as the year marches on.

April reflections

  • For me, diving deep into the task at hand means I have to*really* give myself permission to focusing on one thing at a time.
  • Asking myself ‘what is the simplest way to do this?’ is always a good idea!

April high-fives

// I launched my newsletter.
// I had an Instagram post hit over 700 likes. The first time that has happened for me in a long time but people seemed to love the self-portrait above.
// I felt in a good place creatively.

May Intentions

// Show up more for my business. I’ve felt frustrated being in this relaunch/rebuild season of my business and this has meant I’ve not been showing up and doing the things my business need from me right now. Namely promoting myself, actually talking about my offering and putting effort into connection and outreach.

// Honour my ebbs and flows. As the month began I was enjoying feeling full of creative energy and inspiration as the new moon coincided with the ovulation phase of my cycle. I know that on the opposite side I’m also likely to experience a dip each month. I want to lean into that more, be gentle with myself when needed and know that it’ll come back around soon enough.

Goals for the month

// Send my first monthly newsletter to my subscribers.
// Talk about my offering and creative mentoring packages with my community (and potential clients) on Instagram at least once a week – in Stories or on the grid.
// Work on getting ahead with content – my newsletter, blog and podcast editing.
// Reconnect with my meditation practice. Especially to support me around both my intentions for the month.

So that where I’m putting my energy this month. I feel like there’s so much more I could say on a lot of these points. Leave me a comment if there’s anything you’d like me to expand on. 🙂

Four struggles I faced in my first year of business

October 14, 2018

WORK

Woman working in cafeWith my maternity benefit pay recently coming to an end, thoughts of returning to work have been occupying my mind. Before having our baby in December, I had spent just over a year working for myself. I’ve been reflecting on my first year of business and especially how I can try my best not to repeat some of the struggles I faced.

I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts folder, nearly completed, for a few weeks now but, for some reason, I’ve not quite been able to finish up and hit publish. It would be understandable to perhaps be feeling vulnerable in sharing about difficulties I’ve faced since becoming self-employed -but I could tell it wasn’t that which was getting to me. My problem was actually with what I had originally titled this post – ‘Five mistakes I made in my first year of business’.

Of course, it’s not as though I haven’t made mistakes whilst running my business.

When I set out as a fledgeling freelancer, having been made redundant autumn 2016, I dived headfirst into self-employed life without a whole lot of forethought and with no business plan to speak of…I think it was pretty inevitable that I’d make mistakes along the way!

But that’s just it – mistake making is such an intrinsic, and even integral, part of running your own business that I’m not sure it’s helpful to use that word at all. It just feels too judgey and I want this to be a judgement free zone. Whilst it’s good to be able to reflect on how things are going in your business it’s important not to beat yourself up for past decisions. Running your own business is a constant learning curve.

Anyhow, now that’s cleared up, on to these struggles (not mistakes) that I encountered in my first year of business. There are some that I have an inkling of how to overcome and others that I am very much still working through. I think they are all pretty common struggles for those who are self-employed or running their own business – maybe you can relate?

Cafe interior with wooden furniture and big cactus plant

Five struggles I faced in my first year of business

One // Not having a set offering

I think it’s a common tendency when you’re starting out freelancing to want to be all things to all clients. I know I worried that someone might not want to work with me if I didn’t offer a particular service they were looking to outsource. I took the attitude of doing any and all work clients wanted to pay me for. Never really stopping to think about what I specifically wanted to be doing and, more importantly, if there was any type of work I did not. This meant I ended up doing work that didn’t always play to my strengths and some that I downright didn’t enjoy.

I found that another issue with not having a clear offering is that, of course, everyone wants something slightly different. And whilst tailoring your service to a client’s specific needs may be important, having a different package for every individual is pretty unsustainable. I realise now that through trying to people please I was actually diluting my output.

Moving forward… I know there’s always going to be trial and error in business when it comes to offering. I think the key is to keep it as simple as possible, constantly honing in on what works best and not being afraid to change things up if I recognise that something isn’t working.

Two // Undercharging and over-committing

I think you’d be hard pressed to find any self-employed folk who haven’t struggled at some point with how to price their products or services. In that first year, I had some clients on an hourly rate and others on a set monthly price; honestly,  my pricing structure was all over the shop! As with my offering, I pretty much let my first few clients dictate how much I charged based on what they were looking to pay. This inevitably led to undercharging. And along with that comes overcommitting, because reducing a service and rate to meet a client’s budget often doesn’t actually reduce the work-load.

Moving forward… I think it’s important to start by getting really clear on your numbers. How much do you need to charge to cover your costs and time? How much do you want to make? Then there’s the mindset work needed to feel able (and confident) to charge your worth. This is all very much a work in progress for me!

Cafe interior with wicker furniture and house plants

Three // Not having faith in my experience

One of the (many) ways my self-doubt likes to show up is to give me bouts of amnesia when it came to trusting my previous experience. Sure, I might have been working as part of a team in the past, but that shouldn’t negate the years spent working on some pretty awesome creative campaigns and managing clients accounts day in day out should it? Nevertheless, working for just ‘little ole me’ really rocked my confidence in my ability at times. Why was I suddenly so anxious about even replying to email enquiries?!? Going it alone can be downright scary, that’s why.

Moving forward… Things to do to help to build confidence – gather client testimonials and customer feedback, talking things through with a coach or co-mentor, doing guided meditations to cultivate a positive mindset. Also, remember that even the most badass lady bosses you admire have days when they feel like they don’t know what the f⚡️ck they’re doing.

Four // Lack of self-promotion

Ironically, even if you work in marketing it still feels really hard to market yourself. I wasn’t totally awful at putting myself out there but the fact that the majority of my clients came through already established relationships or word-of-mouth connections tell me there was a lot more I could’ve been doing in terms of outreach.

Moving forward... Ultimately I want to create content that will resonate with my dream clients and establish relationships that will lead to people wanting to work with me. I will be doing this by showing up consistently on Instagram and sharing my story and learnings here on the blog. The consistent part is definitely something I need to work on. I also have podcast and newsletter launches in the works too!

***

Do these struggles resonate with you and your business? Or perhaps there’s something else that you struggle with even more? Goodness knows I’m about to encounter a whole new set of struggles as I navigate being a working mum. Come, share your struggles with me on Instagram and let’s figure this shit out together!

Introducing my new website…

August 23, 2017

WORK

Holding iPad with hanging leaves | charlieswft.com

Hello lovely readers, I would like to introduce you to my newly launched website charlieswift.com: digital marketing & social media for creative businesses.

I’ve been working self-employed/freelance for almost a year now and felt the time was right to have a separate site for my services and offering. I specialise in providing social media, content creation and online marketing for small independent businesses, creatives and bloggers.

On the site, you’ll find full details of the services and packages I offer. I can also put together a bespoke offering that is tailored to your requirements and budget. If you happen to be looking for help or advice with marketing your business or project online then check out my site and get in touch if you’d like to chat about working together. Or if you know anyone who might be interested in my services it would be awesome if you sent them my way!

Screen shot of charlieswft.com

For now, I just wanted to share the link with you guys and continue with the task of putting myself out there. However, there’s a lot more I’d like to share in upcoming blog posts about the whys and hows of creating my own website. The practical stuff, such as how I created the site and got ready for launch and why I want to keep it separate from my blog. And also the deeper stuff like how I’ve been feeling stuck and creating a new site has helped me find focus in my business.

In time I plan to include a blog on the site featuring tips and advice for marketing small business online. If there’s a particular element of social media or digital marketing you’d be interested in learning about as a small business owner, a creative or a blogger then do let me know and I’ll be sure to feature it in my content planning. Also, keep your eye on my social media for a launch giveaway I’ll be running soon.

If you would like to get in touch about working together I’d absolutely love to hear from you. Drop me a line at charlie@onceaglimpse.com and we can arrange a little virtual chat over a cuppa.

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