Finding a co-working space has completely changed my life as an entrepreneur! Between the endless free coffee drinks, the delicious breakfasts, fun parties, and great music playing. I don't feel like I'm at work I feel like I'm hanging out at the coolest coffee shop in the TV show Friends but the 2017 version!
A few weeks ago, I get this message from my friend Rachel Luna..
She wanted some girly business time because she literally lives 15 minutes from me in Oceanside.. and we wanted to decompress after the holiday.
(Side note: Check out her site, I designed it! And its the example I use in Launch Your Brand! So you too can design a site like it!)
First, we thought Mani-pedi's, then we thought SUSHI, then we thought why don't we do life maps?!
I thought about all the years I've done life maps and the process I have gone through. The most impactful life map I've ever done came to me from my friend Citt Williams.
We were living in Tokyo in 2009 at the time and she had me do this exercise. (She was a badass documentarian that did documentaries about climate change for the United Nations)
She said "go through this Excel spreadsheet and find the things that are MANDATORY and HIGH, write a very specific GOAL in relationship to the ones you've scored the highest with."
I had put on the map that I wanted to make $5,555 a month, and literally within 24 hours, I got a job that brought my monthly income to exactly that! I drew a dog with a spot over her eye that I wanted to adopt, and within 3 months I had a boyfriend with a dog with a spot over her eye. I wrote the kind of bedroom furniture I wanted for my fantasy bedroom and within 1 month I had that. I wrote that I wanted a website that would change the face of design and branding. And whelp, I'm sort of known for that now?!
Here is the Spreadsheet for you to use:
You take a piece of paper and split it into 4 quadrants one for each section of the map, and add a visual to each one that represents the goal.
I did mine in Photoshop Mix for Ipad (but I don't recommend this unless you have Adobe Creative Cloud, and the Ipad Pencil...and even then it's sort of tricky) the EASIEST way to do this is either draw out little icons or cut them out of magazines.
Or you can get on Pinterest and Print out images you find to add to the board. Remember this is for your personal use! (For business design this is NOT okay for personal use this is fine)
Then you post your map next to your bed or in your bathroom so you see it everyday and it reminds you of your vision. The images help with reminding you of the goal without you having to read!
I really hope you enjoy this exercise and once you do it please post your life map in the comments! I want to see what your goals are for this year.
Thanks to Rachel for filming half this video!
(Also note this before my lashes came off. Now that I look at them they do look sort of all over the place! Maybe this is a blessing!)
My Lifemap for 2017:
- Spend 6 months of year traveling in Europe, UK and Australia.
- Develop a "For Purpose" organization that gives to worthwhile causes such as Habitat for Humanity and foster care programs
- Consistently bring in $97,979 a month
- Embrace divine feminine energy through spirituality
- Create a pinup body that I love. (I superimposed my head on Marilyn's bod)
- Get more speaking engagements that make an impact.... maybe TED? But at least 3 workshops a year!
- Dance 3-5x a week
- Have enjoyable dinner parties with new friends
- Hire a team of rockstars to support my business: social media content dev, project manager, assistant
And find my Jason Schwartzman - funny, sweet, motivated, successful, (age appropriate 30-42) who loves me a tiny bit more and wants to start a family asap!
Tell me in the comments below what your goals are for 2017!
And if you create an awesome life map, post below and I'll give you encouragement!
Sometimes you don't know when the biggest epiphanies of your life will happen. As a supreme optimist (as I am) Sometimes it's easy to think of the positives in your life and block out negative self-talk. The truth is and maybe some of your faults are glaringly obvious to everyone else but you!
This life-changing experience happened to me at a conference called "Thrive" that I went to this last October.
I signed up thinking it was just going to be yet another marketing conference. Little did I know that Thrive was going to be all about connecting your business to a FOR-PURPOSE cause. Little did I know that there were going to be so much on self-development.
Here's a picture of me with the amazing Luis Ortiz (from MIllion Dollar Listing - New York!) I actually had met him in Positano Italy over the summer. "I lo' it! I lo' it! I lo' it!" (But he's not what we're talking about here today!) But this entry needed a little eye candy, don't you think?
Here's where the shift happened... I went to the VIP dinner with the speakers, and I sat at a table with Philip McKernan. I had no idea who he was, all I knew is that he was from Ireland and some sort of coach.
Apparently, he's known for helping people experience breakthroughs. To be honest, he completely rubbed me the wrong way. He also completely changed my life for the better.
For some reason, at this particular event, I had decided to hand out flyers for my business. Now this is something that I generally NEVER do. But as you know my branding is fairly visual and I thought "Well, I am paying $1,000 for this conference, if someone asks for a card, I should be prepared."
I had accidentally not gotten regular postcard size but a HALF page flyer with both The Course Launcher and Launch Your Brand on both. It actually looks really cool but they're sort of huge.
Anyway, we do this mastermind thing at dinner and the question is "What are you struggling with right now?" Each person goes around the table to talk about their challenge.
We introduce ourselves. I start off with showing my huge-ass flyer and stating what an amazing triple six figure year I've had. My questions was around finding a way to not feel guilty about all the things I wasn't getting done.
Philip's question to me "How would you rate from 1-10 your self-worth?"...
"My self-worth? In regards to business definitely a 10!"...
"That's not what I asked you..." He replied.
"Personally? I would say probably an 8?" (sheeplishly)...
"I don't believe you." he said.
My heart sank into my shoes.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel like someone has discovered something about you, that deep down you didn't even know that you knew, but you knew for damn sure you didn't want anyone else to know it?
Like eating 20 cookies in bed. Or secretly internet stalking an ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend might not be the healthiest thing in the world to be doing?
I felt like Philip had uncovered a dirty little secret, and I also felt like if he could identify that of me with only knowing me for 10 minutes, my next thought is... Oh my goodness EVERYONE knows this, and I didn't.
So I said to him "What should I do?"
"Go sit with it and you'll figure it out." he said.
"Should I pray about it? Should I meditate? Give me something here."
"Go be with it, you'll figure out what to do." he said.
I was heartbroken. I felt like he sledgehammered my existence, shattered my ego, and unveiled my dirty little secret to a table of strangers. But of course this is all my perspective, the reality is everyone was listening and supporting me lovingly.
I sat there stewing on the bomb that was dropped, the entire dinner. He asked me if I was okay. And I told him I just didn't know what to do!
Then I ran into him in the elevator about an hour later... and he's like "Are you still mad at me?" I replied "No but I wish you would tell me what to do..." he walked off the elevator and I jokingly (not-so-jokingly said "THANKS FOR NOTHING!!!!")
I went upstairs to my room and meditated on this. I took a bath and cried for FIVE HOURS. I felt this deep mourning of having this PROBLEM, that I didn't know how to solve. Here I felt so confident in everything happening in my business, yet I've been single now for 4 years, and just so broken.
Then it hit me. "OH. MY. GOD. HE IS RIGHT! Nooooo!"
"I seriously tie my entire existence, my entire VALUE on the success of my business."
I couldn't believe it.
"Who am I without my business?" I asked myself...I couldn't think of an answer. I felt like if my business didn't exist. This thing that gives me COPIOUS amounts of pleasure, of money, of freedom of excitement, of joy of love... without my business, I might as well not exist."
WOAH. This is not good.
It appears as if I have a bit of a co-dependent relationship on my business.
This sort of insight is the biggest shift I've had in years. And I knew instantly after sharing this sentiment with others, that I was not alone in this.
I also had this epiphany that you can have self-confidence AND have a self-worth issue.
I got to get up in front of 1500 people the next day and thank him for this insight. He said something along the lines that he was impressed that I actually did something since sometimes he makes people mad at him and they do nothing.
What is interesting about all of this is I've now made the decision to really focus on finding value in my worth, through other things than my business. I've decided to dive deep into spiritual practices through my higher power to find value. It seems to be working.
The best part of this is that I know if I continue getting self-worth outside of my business, my business were to fail tomorrow that my self-worth would not disappear with it.
So now it's your turn... Do you associate your worth with the success of your business? Answer this question? WHO ARE YOU WITHOUT YOUR BUSINESS?
Let's talk about it in the comments below! I will respond!
Last week, I went to a cabin in Whistler BC this last week to work and play! One of my amazing design students, Cindy, let me stay in her cabin! (Ahem, Brag Alert: it was more like a: A 3 story mansion with hot tub!!!) to write and work on updating the Launch Your Brand Program (to be released this week) Keep your eyes peeled for tons of fun goodies coming your way this week!
Can I get a high five!? Nothing like getting biz done, in style!
I seriously have the best relationships with my students... we really do become branding besties! Thank you again, Cindy!!!!
How to Find Color Inspiration to Use in Your Brand
I found an issue of Cosmo UK Edition and fell in love with the color scheme. So I bought the magazine to see what I could grab from it, decided to throw together a quick tutorial for you!
I thought it would be a PERFECT opportunity to show you how to get inspired by colors (and headlines for blog entries or lead magnets) you see in the world and then use them for your business!
First I take you through the steps of finding inspiration, then you photograph the inspiration with your phone, or with a scanner and you pull this into Adobe Color to pull a color scheme. It's quite awesome to start to find color schemes in the world and be able to use them.
Now, you want to be careful here not to create brand confusion, I am definitely not recommending stealing the brand colors of a competitor, creating a brand or website that looks like theirs and confusing the crap out of everyone. That would be wrong.
But you can find the color scheme of a beautiful photograph you find, a magazine cover, a photo you take, stock images or illustrations you find, etc. Just make sure they aren't brand color combinations. This cover of Cosmo did not use their brand colors.
Remember color + fonts + image style do make up the feel of a brand, so it also is related to a combination of those things for it to really create confusion. If you don't use the exact combination and make things VERY contrasted (very different), then you'll be fine!
In the book, "Stealing like an artist" By Austin Kleon (which is a really great book by the way) mentions in the book about "remixing" and the idea here is to take an idea already out in the world and make it better.
You want your own unique perspective, and you want to mix 2 + things to make something new, instead of stealing ALL of the things from one source.
Stealing from one source is plagiarism, stealing from multiple is research! - Wilson Mizner
Create a unique color scheme from something you find on Pinterest, or out in the world, and use Adobe Color to create a color scheme following the video tutorial from above. Then post a screen shot of this color scheme and explain what you'd be using it for in the Free Facebook Community!
Did you love this lesson?
It's called Google Keep, and it's FREE, it's been around for a while, and and now my life is totally transformed in ONE day! HAHA! I actually have gotten more done in the last 24 hours, than I have in a really long time. Why? Because it's everything on my brain in front of me.
A few days ago, we covered the beginning of the story of how I launched Gabrielle Carsala's brand "Badass Bliss," this last month, who was a super amaze-balls dream client that I worked with over the past few months. If you missed it, part one is here.
How to get what you want from a designer...
Design clients usually fall into 3 categories: the ones that know EXACTLY what they want (the "smarty-pants"), the ones that have NO FLIPPING IDEA, and the dream client (which Gabrielle falls into, and we'll get into that in a minute).
The "smarty-pants" and the "no-flipping-idea" category of clients can create major problems for the designer. The first kind will show up with the fun stuff done, colors and fonts picked out, look at someone else's website and say I WANT THAT...before they even meet with a designer or have a proper brand strategy.
These clients come to a designer almost as an art director with a "do this, do that" approach... without any real knowledge of why certain fonts and colors, style might not work...or why copycatting someone else's design style might not be the best idea. Their inflexibility generally gets them what they want, but is that really going to be the best thing?
This approach is sort of putting the cart before the horse, and not always the best way to get a best brand identity, nor one that feels like you (especially if they are copycatting someone else.)
What the "smarty-pants" client needs is someone to get to know them, understand their vision, their industry, and create a vision WITH them, and talk them out of all their bad ideas.
Then there is the second group of design clients, who don't know what they want at all, and they expect the designer to be a mindreader. They can't find anything they like because they just don't know. They say things like "I don't know-- just make it pop!"
A good designer, will take them through a guided process to help them figure out what they want, and justify to them why certain decisions should be made regarding things on trend, industry, and communication of adjectives that their ideal clients will resonate with.
A dream client, like Gabrielle, (falls into neither of these categories and the has best attributes of both) had an idea of how she wanted her brand to "feel", but flowed through the process with me to figure out what was going to work, with my lead.
A good way to not fall into the previous two traps, is to have a clear idea of how you want your brand to "feel" let your designer guide you through a process with mood boards so that you both can get on the same page. Mood boards become a necessary (and fun) part of the process! This is because it's a way to communicate with your designer visually, and your designer visually with you.
WHY COMMUNICATING VERBALLY WITH A DESIGNER, DOESN'T WORK...
The problem with communicating verbally versus visually with a designer, is that for example, the definition or idea of luxury to a designer might be different than your idea of luxury (which might be traditional, classic, and the designers might be modern.) Hence why mood boards are SO important, so that you are communicating to each other with visual examples instead of verbal ones.
Before getting any photography done, designing a logo, or picking out colors, there is a very systematic process you should follow...
Before you do any design, these must be decided:
- Concept - What is the message you are communicating for this parent brand (this many times turns into the name of a biz or a tagline)
- Theme - What possible visual themes could support that message (designer will generally come up with some, and you should too with designer guidance)
- Mood Boards - They refine your ideas in a visual way. Seeing this can help you eliminate ideas before you invest in a designer, or any time designing anything.
To have a super strong brand you NEED to have a strong concept (message) and a variety of visual options via mood boards (visual theme) to decide the best route to go.
Concept (The Message) : Badass Bliss
Theme Ideas: Badass Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz), Badass Lifestyle, Badass Luxury, Badass Vintage Neon Dorothy
Mood Board #1: Badass Dorothy from Wizard of Oz
Notice Dorothy with the machine guns, spikes, etc. The badass part is being communicated with those items. The bliss part is the end of the yellow brick road. Every single image either says Dorothy or Badass.
Mood Board #2: Badass Vintage Neon Dorothy
Same philosophy as above, but this one integrates vintage and neon elements for a different spin on the badass element!
Mood Board #3: Badass Lifestyle: (THE CHOSEN ONE)
This one was the chosen concept because it was most closely aligned with the realistic vision that Gabrielle had for her clients, which was to live their best lives through having fun, being confident, adventurous, stylish, care-free, and being able to get over shit and get things done! So girlfriends, sparkles, cotton candy, private jets, all became the inspiration for the photography shoot.
Now what do we do with these mood boards to use for the brand photography..... Whelp, that's in the next part of this series coming next week!
In the comments below, share which of the three client categories you fall into, and what your biggest take-away from this blog entry was!
Extra HELPFUL CRITERIA FOR FINDING A DESIGNER: When trying to find a designer-- find one that has a distinct branding process, go through that process with them, and be as flexible as possible. It's a team effort, you need to be guided out of your bad ideas and into the best version of your vision. Also keep in mind, a designer will NEVER hit it right the first time, and sometimes it takes quite a few times before you are speaking the same language, so be patient. I call this "Failing Fast!" -- gotta get to the bad ideas first before the good ones emerge. Same thing for those who are DIY'ing their brand.
...If you want to start design your brand, check out:
Gabrielle Carsala, who has a dream to bring happiness to women in the world....and I knew that this would be the perfect kind of client for me.
She had a dream, and I helped make it come true.... with my art direction, my photographer, her ideas and dream put with my technical power and creative prowess and BAM her, dream website was born..
Lesson 9 - "The World Will Be Saved By the Western Woman" - Dali Lama
After roadtripping with some of the strongest, most independent, fabulous entrepreneurial women, it has become apparent to me that we are in a serious transition happening in the world. Women entrepreneurs are stepping into their power, living the lives they want, and not apologizing for it.
We are truly becoming the leaders in our communities, and in our families we are becoming more of the bread winners. We are in a time where women have more possibilities and opportunities than ever before. We still have a ways to go, but the message to get here is if you want anything in this life you can have it, (not even if you are a woman, but ESPECIALLY because you are a woman.)
I feel so blessed to have met Nicole Marietta (one of my most brilliant LYB students) on this road trip, because her positivity and talent in writing and design, is so inspiring to me. I feel so excited that I inspired her to start designing, and she has inspired me to keep teaching women like her on how to live their "bliss" through doing things that thrill them.
I feel so thankful for people like Angelica, for introducing me to her amazing family and reminding me to let loose a little bit (like any 21 year old should!), and she taught me that you can get upgraded to the Presidential Suite of any hotel if you just are willing to ask firmly for something you deserve.
The camaraderie of your tribe / followers, the people who love and support you help make you your best self! I am so thankful!.
Lesson 10 - Let's Break a World Record at The World Domination Summit
Not even one day after my sweet new lady friends went back home, one of my favorite people in the world Gary Ware, who was a close friend from San Diego, came for a visit to Portland for five days for The World Domination Summit, put on by the famous writer / blogger Chris Guillebeau.
Gary is such a sweet, kind-hearted, and thoughtful person... He is mid-process of launching his own info product called Breakthrough Cocktail, for youth who are just graduating from college and who need soft skills to get a great job, utilizing their degree. He builds confidence, and guides them to achieving greatness first through preparation versus learning by failing first.
Because I was allowing him to stay with me the entire trip, he booked a bunch of fun things for us to do during his stay. one of them being breaking a world record of the world's largest yoga chain.
The World Domination Summit was unbelievable, the speakers were fabulous. If you have ever thought about going, the best way to describe it is like a perfect mashup of This American Life podcast with a Ted Talk. We heard some of the most inspirational speakers in the world share their stories of struggle and triumph. Every part of it was fascinating and incredibly inspiring.
Back to San Diego to Close Out My SD Life....
So after five glorious days of breaking records with one of my besties, eating my way through Portland and playing hostess with the mostestess, I had to fly back down to San Diego and pack up all my things to ship them.
I did a five day juice cleanse, and got SUPER clear about what I want out of this little thing called "Life." I got myself some Pinup bangs, I had a birthday party for Picasso, (he just turned 1) and prepared myself.
I then flew back to Portland to start my new life and start writing this blog series. And you'll never guess what the first full day as a Portland resident was...
Amelia Earhart's Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The End. (Well actually it's the beginning...but you know!)
Don't be a stranger! Big things are coming this way....
We are at the end of this five part series... but of course just the beginning of our journey together. Whether it's related to me helping you learn graphic design and branding through my Launch Your Brand Program... or following my dating adventures through the soon to be released WanderLover.com (you can sign up for notifications if you click on this link)
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to follow, support, learn, laugh and love with me. I feel your energy and it keeps me so excited to keep going and building bigger and better things. I also hope it inspires you to do the same!
Launch Your Brand in 30 Days or Less Starts Aug. 4 -- Prices are going up after this session! Registration is cut off as of Sunday Aug 3, 4pm PST. Space is limited and has sold out twice before. I have a few spots open!
I'm taking less students for this Aug 4 session, (so space is super limited) because I am also working on a beta program called Launch Your Design Biz. This is because 15% of the people who have taken LYB Program, put their businesses aside and have started freelance design careers. I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN!!! SO EXCITING!
I'm then taking those aspiring designers and have started giving them leads the come through my company. This is soon to be released and it's called The Student Design Agency.
Sometimes I get to art direct with them, and it's amazing because I am giving my students business, and also generating revenues doing more of what I love which is working with aspiring designers to develop amazing brands.
It's amazing seeing people who have never touched Photoshop or Illustrator before, end up leaving my program and getting clients. Nothing thrills me more than this! When I created the program to help entrepreneurs DIY their brand and design, I had no idea this was going to happen and it's thrilling to see them start to surpass even my own abilities. (albeit a bit humbling too!)
Here is one student's Before and After shots!
Post the class, here is what she did on her own! EMPOWERMENT!
Lesson 7. When You Figure Out What You Want in Life, You Want Your Life to Start as Soon as Possible
We picked up Nicole Marietta in San Francisco, and jetted off on 10 hour drive we did in one shot on Sunday afternoon. We made it into Portland about 1am. We spent this very long car ride telling stories and listening to This American Life podcast, and Radio Lab. (If you have never heard of either of them, check them out at once!!)
The next day, was Angelica and Nicole's first true Portland brunch experience and we went to Slappy Cakes for breakfast. Slappy cakes is yet another brilliant concept for a business.
The graphic design / branding / interior design of this chain of "Make your own pancakes" place is quite amazing. It has the fun factor for people with kids, but it has fancy cocktails, a super cute retro modern 70's vibe for the adults. In the Portland location, the staff is very hip.
The host at the restaurant kept smiling and giving me oogly eyes, and I was SHOCKED. It had occurred to me, that I hadn't had a guy inadvertently check me out randomly, in the entire 2 years I lived in San Diego.
Then we sat down with Portland's weekly free magazine, and I looked at the listings for concert after concert of some of the best indie bands you could think of, fun art shows, street fairs, and while San Diego has some of these things, there was this whole vibe that was focused for the 25-45 year old creative that was really speaking to me. I had lived in Portland for almost a decade before my two year stint in San Diego, but I had this whole new appreciation as Angelica and Nicole were saying --- WOAH Portland is amazing!!!
And I thought to myself, yes, this place is incredibly cool, why am I denying myself to come back here and start my life?! The design work here is incredible. You have Wieden + Kennedy one of the most creative ad agencies in the world. Nike and Adidas headquarters are here. The competition might be fierce for graphic design, but I've never had problems finding work here.
My biggest revelation is how can I collaborate with some amazing graphic designers and illustrators to improve my Launch Your Brand Program (Starts Aug 4.) because there are so many that live here! Look at the cover of the weekly magazine for crying out loud, good design is EVERYWHERE here, and is so important for finding examples to blog about!
It was becoming PAINFULLY obvious to me that I needed to move here. To make things even more amazing, we went to some free concerts that night, and a very cute hilarious guy bought me a drink. Also something that never happened in the entire 2 years in San Diego.
I was sold. Portland wants me back!
I called my mom, the next day "I'm moving back to Portland" -- She was like "WHAT?!?! NOOOOO!!!!!" And I proceeded to break her heart. I think she thought I was going to live with her forever, or at least secretly hoped, and here I was having to put her through empty nest syndrome all over again.
That's when I realized the only reason why I was staying in San Diego was to be closer to her. This really isn't the right reason to live somewhere, when you end up sacrificing your own inspiration and dating life just to make your mom happy. (I just love her so much!)
We had a wonderful 8 months of living together, it was time for me to go, so I literally got an apartment in the Mississippi Ave neighborhood the very next day. I could afford the fanciest apartment, in the hippest neighborhood because Portland prices were so much cheaper than SD.
I moved in 5 days later, had the entire apartment furnished in 48 hours. Shit was happening fast and I couldn't have been more excited. The place that I moved into was like a fancy dorm for 35 year old entrepreneurs with exceptionally cute dogs. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven.
I am still in heaven. I am home.
Lesson 8. Putting Together Ikea Furniture on First Dates is a Great Way to See If Your Compatible
After living in San Diego for two years, and one of those years being single was probably the worst year I've had in my life, regarding love and dating. Just to give you an idea of the type of men Portland vs. San Diego, I did a quick snapshot so you can see the difference.
San Diego Men
This is literally a random sample. This doesn't mean that there aren't great men in San Diego, this just means the style of men that live in San Diego aren't the kind of men that I'm generally attracted to, nor are they attracted to me. There are more conservative points of view, I'm fiercely liberal. There are more military men, or guys who have normal jobs, I want to date an entrepreneur.
Let's face it, I've got more curves than a circle, and a great majority of these men they want a blonde marathon runner. And I want an artistic, entrepreneurial nerd, who thinks my body is fantastic. Potato....POTATOE.
So I moved into my amazing apartment on July 5th. I furnished in 48 hours, and started to get asked on dates. So what did I do? I bribed men to put together Ikea furniture for me, by cooking them steak dinners for a first date. It's the single best social experiment, I've ever done to find out compatibility.
If you have enjoyed this series so far, and want more fun stories.....(YouCanBrand.com really isn't the place to talk about this dating stuff)
I'm launching a new site called WanderLover.com to talk about dating, traveling, food, and social experiments. It hasn't been released yet, but enter your email below if you want to find out about what happened with the Ikea experiments! The site is set to launch in the next few weeks!!
One of the upcoming experiments is to fly to San Francisco to hire a "ManServant" for the day. This has got to be one of the best business ideas I've ever seen!!!! I will have him feed me grapes, sing to me with a guitar while I take a bath, and dote on me all day. Cannot wait for this fantasy (it's not a gigolo service, but instead a G-Rated pool boy / errand boy/ sort of experience and I cannot wait!)