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my december intentions

November 30th, 2011   |   LifeThink About It

For the past two days I have been a bit MIA here on MML due to a migraine. In fact, over the past few weeks I also feel like I’ve been a bit less “me” on MML. And I am deeply sorry for this.

As I have mentioned, I am in the process of switching contractors for our bags in Chicago and the new level of business quite honestly overwhelms me and I have felt uncharacteristically timid about the process. I’m in deeper waters than ever before and when I feel the worries and doubts creep in, I tend to hunker down. I close myself off from friends, new opportunities, and I have less energy to pour into MML. This is hard stuff. I don’t have the answers and my faith is being stretched to a new level.

But you know what helps? Knowing that I can do hard things.

That helps, and the fact that the new steps I take with Jess LC increase my experience and advice for my Business with Intention clients. In fact, the Business with Intention client consults I have have had in November have been the highlight of my work life this month.

So today I’m drawing from my excitement in the consulting to help myself get out of my stress rut and get back in the saddle here on MML.

Though I haven’t shared my personal intentions much at all this year (except for a million that I created over the summer which resulted in a huge burnout), I am slowly getting back in the swing of things by sharing two meaningful and attainable intentions I am making for December.

As usual, my intentions are general, but the way that I then use them to design my life and time this month are specific.

This holiday season will be the second I have spent with Mr. Lively. Last year we began dating in late November, just before Thanksgiving. So we did a few couple holiday things together, but nothing too major. Which makes me excited to further develop our own traditions this year.

As you can see above, Mr. Lively helped me last night with the preparation of our stockings. I planned at first to buy them at Home Goods, but the selection was disappointing. So instead of buying, we are creating our stockings out of an Anthropologie table cloth that I have had for several years that has no great use due to it’s awkward size. Since I don’t have a sewing machine, I am doing them by hand. Which is turning out to be a relaxing project to do while watching tv or listening to Christmas music.

I am also going to prepare a “Christmas Day” for Mr. Lively as well. “Christmas Day” was established last year as a day other than December 25th, in which I devised a full day’s worth of activities that Mr. Lively would like. On “Christmas Day” it’s all about him (and don’t worry about me, I have “Valentine’s Day”). Last year we went to the Bongo Room for brunch, visited the Science and Industry Museum, strolled through the Lincoln Park Conservatory and checked out their train exhibit, ate treats at Molly’s Cupcakes, and watched Garden State while drinking a Belgian Triple. This year I am going to have to think up a new itinerary (but I can’t share it right now as Mr. Lively may be reading this).

Our other main tradition that we’d like to make is getting a Christmas tree! I have not had a real Christmas tree since I was a little kid and I’m very excited for Mr. Lively to take me out tonight and pick one out. As you can imagine, I have already been pre-decorating it in my head. My intention is to do large and small white lights, tinsel, and my childhood ornaments my mom has given me. I’ll be sure to share it here on MML once it’s complete.

Beyond these traditions, Susie, Melissa, Mr. Lively and I will be having a Jess LC holiday party, too. Wine, carbs, sugar, and The Nightmare Before Christmas may be in the cards.

Beyond the Christmas traditions I am also looking to add more reading and reflecting into my schedule. To be honest I have slipped a little on my Email Intervention. Though I still don’t check emails on nights/weekends 99% of the time, I have gotten into the habit of checking my email within about 15 minutes of waking up on weekdays.

I have noticed that this habit has at times increased my anxiety a bit in the mornings as my mind focuses on the tasks at hand for Jess LC while I get dressed or eat breakfast. So instead of checking my email first thing, my intention is to pick up a book. By nature, I tend to read spiritual books or other positive non-fiction. And reading these books in the morning help me set my mind on positive things that I can do daily to be my best self.

I also intend to take time to reflect on my little couch in my bedroom in the morning. I find that I tend to take a lot of blessings in my life for granted when I don’t take the time to sit down and focus my attention on being calm and peaceful. So my intention is to focus as early on in the day as possible on gratitude.

 
So how about you? Any December intentions in mind?

michelle’s formula to overcome fears

November 29th, 2011   |   LifeThink About It

Yesterday Michelle from When I Grow Up wrote about how she overcame her fears while pursuing her life coaching business. and I think the formula she came up with is brilliant.

We can all remember these attributes as we face the worries (aka Vampires) that surface when breaking out of our norm to fulfill our deeper intentions.

diy ornaments

November 28th, 2011   |   LifeStyle

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I had a great time over the long weekend in St. Louis with Mr. Lively and his extended family. Sleeping in, eating well, and recharging was delightful (and much needed). But now that I’m back, I am turning my attention towards decorating my apartment for the holidays.

My first order of business was to make these DIY ornaments inspired by Pugly Pixel’s sequin globes. They were simple to make and were a great craft to make while watching Modern Family.

To see pictures of the process, see Pugly Pixel’s tutorial. But here’s the list of materials:

  • Styrofoam balls(assorted sizes to your liking, mine are 3″ and 4″)
  • Sequins in whatever colors you want (I went for gold, of course)
  • Solid head steel pins (I found mine in gold in the knitting/sewing aisle)
  • Beads and seed beads (I had mine leftover from old Jess LC collections)

Though I haven’t made them to attach to a tree, I think they could be great baubles on a tray or tablescape.

They could also make great gifts as well!

maggie’s dream report: week twenty-five

November 25th, 2011   |   Life

Thankful

I briefly thought about writing a post on Black Friday, which gets its name from the stores finally making enough sales to consider themselves “in the black” for the year. But selling a service is a little different from retail, which doesn’t make me the best expert on that subject. Instead I’ll focus on yesterday, the American Thanksgiving, and what I’m giving thanks for this year, especially since leaving my job almost six months ago.

1. Support, particularly from my sweet partner Ryan. We’re the best team and he really believes that I can make it work and be successful. We’ve been together almost six years and I know I wouldn’t have had the guts to take this leap without his unflagging support. He may not know much about pillows or furniture or mixing patterns, but he’s the best thing to happen to Maggie Rose Interiors.

2. My health. I had been to the doctor several times with scary symptoms that ended up being chalked up to stress. Since leaving my job, my health has improved dramatically, even though I still get tension headaches every now and then. But since my worry is about the work that I love, it’s worth it. And until I can afford some real health insurance, let’s hope I continue to be healthy! Yay vitamins!

3. Word of mouth. I’m so touched by all the people who I know in real life or only on the internet who have recommended me to a friend. Whether it’s forwarding my blog on to someone they know or bringing me up to a friend who needs decorating help, it all helps my business. Referrals are the best source of new clients and I love to hear that someone I know or have worked with has recommended me. I’m endless grateful to those of you who may have done so.

4. Time to focus on what I love. This is huge. I know all you Midnight Hustlers know what I’m talking about. I’m still learning how to harness this extra time to work most efficiently, but I can’t be more thankful to have that problem!

5. My readers and clients. Including YOU! I still pinch myself that everyday, people come to my blog (or to this column) and read what I have to say. And bonus – some people PAY me to play with fabric and pick colors and shop for furniture and make their homes pretty! When it comes down to it, this is the most awesome job ever and I hope I am always aware of how lucky I am to be doing work that I love.

6. The people I’ve met. Something I didn’t expect when I started blogging was how many of these awesome people I would eventually meet in person. And since launching the business full-time, more people have heard about me and want to meet, and I actually have the flexibility to do so! Having coffee or a martini with another entrepreneur or design-lover is endless inspiring to me and one of my favorite parts of my new life.

Thank you all for continuing to read my Dream Reports each week. I’m grateful for each one of you and for what the future has in store for you (hint: AMAZING things!).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Maggie Morgan is an interior decorator in Seattle. Visit her website to see her work and read her blog, Maggie Rose.

i am thankful

November 24th, 2011   |   Life

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am spending the next few days in St. Louis with Mr. Lively and his extended family. In honor of this is a day of gratitude, I’ve decided to share the little things that I’d like to keep in mind on a more daily basis. Big things are easy to appreciate, but the small things can get lost in the shuffle.

My intention is to keep gratitude for the large and small blessings at a forefront in the year to come.

I am thankful for…

Mr. Lively’s wit.

My cute bookshelves.

My building’s indoor gym (hello, Chicago winter).

Working from home.

Susie and Melissa’s help, humor, music, and YouTube videos.

Oatmeal with cocoa powder and raisins.

Gumballhead Beer by Three Floyd’s Brewery.

My black polka dot blouse.

My hot pink shaving cream can.

My upcoming visit to friends and family over Christmas.

The client emails I get after consulting with them.

 

And your comments each and every day here on MML. Your support of MML is a huge deal in my mind, not a small one. So I also want to mention it here. Today.

Thank you.

new iPad case color combo?

November 23rd, 2011   |   Life

As I get ready to run a new order of iPad cases, I realized yesterday that I have the option of running the color combinations as usual, or add a new option and drop an old option.

And I would love your help to decide what to do.

Right now our gold/fuchsia, cocoa/coral, gray/canary, and eggplant/fuchsia options are incredibly popular and are selling at about the same pace. But the gold/graphite combo happens to sell a bit slower than the rest. So… I’m considering the option to swap out the gray lining in the gold/graphite case for aqua lining instead.

You can get an idea for what it would look like with my little photoshopped image above. And below, you can see the lining options in more detail.

Which would you order? The gold/graphite or gold/aqua?

 

recommended collaborators

November 22nd, 2011   |   Business AdviceLife

Since this week is centered on things we are thankful for, I would like to say thank you to the behind the scenes businesses who have helped Jess LC. A business is rarely as successful all by itself, it usually takes a team of professionals to lay the pretty on.

Though this list is not exhaustive by any means, it is a thank you to the graphic designers, web designers, and photographers who have helped me take Jess LC to the next level.

My hope is that those who are in the market for any of these skills for their own business will consider these wonderful people on their short list.

Herdah Warner, Herdah Design

Stef, Sonic Stef Design

Claudia, Fig2Design Studio

Alaina Kaczmarksi, LCY Gaphics

Danielle Moss, Danielle Moss

Website

Meghan Radke, Meghan Radke

Blog

Brooke, Oh Brooke (WordPress.org)

Alaina Kaczmarksi, LCY Gaphics (Blogger)

Danielle Moss, Danielle Moss (Blogger)

David Tuman, David Tuman Photography, (CA)

Danielle Moss, Danielle Moss (IL)

Kelly Stonelake, Kelly Stonelake Photography  (CA)

Jon Hamblin, Jon Hamblin (IL)

Bryan and Kendi Skeen, Photographers Skeen (TX)

business as unusual

November 21st, 2011   |   Life

If you’ve been following MML for any measure of time, you have seen Jess LC undergo a bunch of new changes in 2011. In January, I had the bolt of inspiration that led to growing Jess LC from a jewelry company to a lifestyle brand. It has been a string of challenges, one after another (and sometimes multiple challenges at once).

In the summer I almost had a break down.

In the process, I figured stuff out as I went and learned to create new products and work with contractors, business owners, and tanneries in Italy. Some things have been really easy, some things have been a challenge, and some have been nearly impossible. I had to drop a style I really wanted to launch, I had leather that was defective and caused a color story redesign, and I had a custom leather job get totally messed up.

That said, there was also some amazing high points like the popularity of our Lake Shore and Quincy collections. I am thankful that these new collections are so loved, as they are a personal favorite as well.

In fact, these new bags styles have been selling so well that the small batch orders we were placing were quickly pre-selling out before they even arrived. Due to the limited capacity at our first Chicago manufacturer, we have decided to find larger production in a new facility right here in Chicago.

The thing is, rather than ordering 10′s at a time of each style, we are now working with minimums of 200 units. 200 UNITS! It is hard to imagine, even as I type this post. I know that this is the best move for us, but at the same time, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. The sheer amount of material and labor that this new scale of production will require is at an unprecedented level. I am in unfamiliar waters in a field I’m still new to. I’ve managed to go from big-ish fish in a small pond to a tiny minnow in a large ocean.

But knowing how much better these new inventory levels will be for our customers (less delays or quick sell outs), I’m forging ahead despite the fear. I don’t have any guarantee that this will work out, but I am taking the steps any ways.

It feels kind of like walking in a straight line in a completely dark room, hoping that I am going the right direction. And I’m hoping that I don’t hurt myself in the process.

So with this in mind, I think this is a great time to fill in those interested in ordering Jess LC items during the holiday season. Because of the manufacturing transition, we are restructuring a few of our collections and some designs will no longer be available once remaining inventory sells out.

Quincy Collection – iPad 2 Cases and Coin Purses

The iPad 2 cases will continue to be carried. Our inventory of cases is limited right now (so order quickly for the holidays), but we will be restocking once our first order is completed by the new facility. We don’t have a specific due date thus far, but I expect it to be ready in January. I will keep everyone updated on this, and once we have a clearer idea of the turnaround time, I will open up pre-orders for any sold color combinations at that point.

The coin purses we have are no longer going to be carried forward with the new production. The inventory we have left is all that there will be. So snatch up these puppies quickly if you have your eye on one!

Lake Shore Collection – Handbags

Because of the large minimum orders we have now, we are not planning on carrying these styles into 2012. We will be releasing new bag styles this winter and spring however, so stay tuned!

And at the moment we do have a limited number of natural colored Lake Shore bags (the navy stock is sold out).

Jewelry, Scarves, and Stationery

These products and collections are still going to be available as usual. Our next batch of Webster Cheers and Merci cards will ship out to customers early next week and pre-orders are available now.

Our Classic jewelry is still available as usual. The Diversey, Franklin, and Division collections are selling out quickly and are still slated to retire when they are gone (as mentioned before, the costs of these collections have tripled, and we are therefore retiring them, rather than hiking up the prices).

And last but not least, our limited edition Belmont scarves are still available. But as styles sell out they will be retired as well.

What’s Coming Up in 2012

Looking ahead into next year I am busy planning several spring collections that are bright, bold, fun, and very Jess LC. I’m excited to share them with you as we go! But for now, I will just say that we are continuing to release new bag styles, jewelry, scarves, and stationery. And who knows, there may be some surprises in there as well!

maggie’s dream report: week twenty-four

November 18th, 2011   |   Life

Strengths

I spent a week in Chicago and just got back on Tuesday, and yes I got to meet Jess and she is just as charming and friendly in person as you’d expect her to be! We had a lovely time visiting. At coffee, Jess asked about some of my past work experience, namely a job that I had really enjoyed and what about that job was I good at. The job was in fundraising, and at the time I thought I was good at fundraising and that it was the career path for me… with some time and distance I’m able to see that it was the people and work environment that I loved. My best years in that job were spent doing lots of project management, organizing, and training new workers the ropes and how to be successful fundraisers. I didn’t particularly enjoy asking for money, but I loved giving others the confidence to do so.

Jess suggested tapping into my strengths from that job and seeing if those skills are something that can be applied to the business. Teaching others is actually something that I’d been interested in for a while, and we brainstormed some pretty awesome related marketing concepts that combine my passion for design with that strength gained from my old job.

Since I’ve been home I’ve been thinking about how to practically apply our ideas and how to recreate that process with other strengths I have. I had a few friends that are also entrepreneurs that have had a few great opportunities come by recently, a few of which I had a small role in helping happen. My strength in those situations was connecting people. I’m no social butterfly, but I do cherish building strong connections with like-minded people and I LOVE to share my friends stories and talk them up to people. Why is it that I’m eager to do that for others but am shy about doing the same thing for my own work?

I’m also a strong writer, and yet I haven’t fully utilized that skill for my blog or in pitching story ideas to local newspapers and magazines. This is a strength that I spent quite a bit of money on developing (hello, student loans!) so I really should be putting them to work! It’s too easy to think “oh it’s just a blog post, no one is REALLY going to read it” and churn out a sloppy post. When actually, I could be posting better articles less frequently and I’m sure it would help my readership, not hinder it as I’ve feared.

Other strengths I can think of I’ve already been tapping into as a decorator. Beyond having a natural eye for design and color, I’m a great listener. Listening to and hearing a client is crucial to the success of a design. I also have a strong sense for attention to detail, and I believe that helps me bring special touches to a client’s home.

It was also helpful for me to reflect on my favorite work environments. I work best with medium to small groups or one-on-one projects. I don’t do well in groups larger than 15 people because I tend to let someone more outgoing take the lead. I do like taking a leadership position on group projects because I want things to be organized my way. I love to have someone to bounce ideas off of and brainstorm with. I’m easily distracted in large groups and get most of my best work done when I have alone time after a great discussion.

As much as I don’t like to think of “those days” when I worked in an office, analyzing my work history and where I excelled and where I faltered has really given me a better sense of how I can grow as an entrepreneur. Skills that I’m already using have helped get me to where I am, and I’m excited to think of new ways to utilize my other strengths and turn them into new and exciting opportunities for my business. And they aren’t skills that you’d think of automatically as helpful to an entrepreneur – but some of my more abstract strengths hold the most possibility.

What are some skills that you have in your current or past jobs that you could use as an entrepreneur? Think outside the box (beyond “I’m good with numbers”) and more abstract. Maybe you loved planning the office parties or out of organizing a file system. Maybe you got a thrill out of surprising the receptionist with flowers to say “thanks” or maybe you really liked keeping time during a meeting to keep with the agenda. How can you apply that in a fresh and creative way to your business?

Health with Intention: Foods You’re Just Not That Into [Exercise]

You know how sometimes you “forget” that you don’t really like a food when you’re hungry? Or when that food is right in front of you? I’ve found that a lot of people (myself included) don’t really know which foods they’re just not that into. I’m going to tell you about an exercise that will help you figure out which foods you don’t really enjoy.

First, start by making a list of foods you HATE. You know the ones I mean — foods you wouldn’t eat even if someone paid you. Those are the easy ones because you’ve probably disliked them all your life. There are only a few foods like that on my list (Brussels sprouts is the main one).

Then, move on to foods you just don’t really enjoy. You can tolerate them, but after you eat them, you don’t think, “Wow, I’m SO glad I ate that.” It’s more like, “Meh, that was just okay.” Often, those foods aren’t really worth eating! This is the difficult part of the exercise, but if you’re like me, you’ll find that once you get going, it becomes easy. Just think of any food you’ve eaten in the past week that wasn’t very satisfying and didn’t give you much pleasure. It’s okay if you can’t think of many, but make it a point to pay attention in the future. While you’re eating a food you know you don’t absolutely adore, ask yourself if this food falls into the “SO Glad I Ate That” category or the “Disappointing” category.

To inspire you, I’m going to share a portion of my “foods I’m just not that into” list with you.

  •     pretty much all candy except Almond Joy
  •     bottled juice
  •     Brussels sprouts
  •     doughnuts (except fresh ones from a cider mill)
  •     chicken wings
  •     grilled chicken breast (with rare exceptions)
  •     popcorn
  •     anything with lavender
  •     most things with heavy rosemary flavor
  •     hot dogs
  •     sourdough bread
  •     crusty bread
  •     pasta not made fresh
  •     store-bought cookies and cake
  •     plain ice cream (no chunks of stuff in it)
  •     canned soup
  •     pita bread (unless baked fresh at a Middle Eastern place)
  •     dried figs
  •     flour tortillas
  •     dried fruit, for the most part
  •     protein bars

You get the idea. It’s okay to make exceptions on your list, too. Like with pita bread, I don’t like the packaged stuff, but fresh bread from a Middle Eastern restaurant is delicious. Notice there aren’t many veggies or fruits on this list. I’m guessing that’s because I can always think of a preparation where I genuinely love any given veggie or fruit. For example, I don’t love asparagus, but roasted asparagus with olive oil and balsamic vinegar is amazing. There’s a lot of processed food on my list because I often have to remind myself that it doesn’t taste as good as I think it does.

And this isn’t to say I don’t enjoy these foods ever, it’s just that I don’t enjoy them enough to justify eating them, and don’t need to eat them except under extenuating circumstances (like if there aren’t any other options in the moment or in the foreseeable future) or really unique preparations (Brussels sprouts in an amazing casserole of other things I like, for example).

Your list shouldn’t make you feel restricted or limited, either. You can always change your mind. The point of the list is to act as a reminder to you that you can and should enjoy what you eat most of the time. It should remind you to pursue foods you TRULY love and skip the ones you’re just “meh” about. Most of us are blessed with a plethora of food options every day, so let’s take advantage of that. Even if I’m super hungry, I try not to eat foods I just don’t like that much. Let me tell you right now: it’s okay to be hungry for an hour or two! In this country, hunger is rarely an emergency. So if you’re faced with a choice between eating something you’re just not that into or waiting an hour or two until you have access to different food, try waiting next time.

After you master the “foods you’re just not that into” list, make another list of foods you absolutely adore and are always happy you ate afterward. It’s important to know which foods you’re passionate about to remind yourself that it’s totally worth it to indulge in those foods when you get the opportunity! Be selective and specific with this list. Rather than just writing “cookies,” write something like, “my grandma’s homemade chocolate chip cookies with walnuts.”

Once you do the exercises, report back! Were your lists surprising in any way? I know mine was. I had no idea I didn’t really like plain ice cream or crusty bread. Did the lists change your eating at all? Since making my “meh” foods list a couple weeks ago, I definitely pay more attention when I come across foods on the list… and I’m much more hesitant to eat them without thinking about it.

… After posting this little phrase I tell myself this morning, I found a post by Seth Godin which explains how almost everything can be worth it.

 

(Also, congratulations to Maddie, Preethi, and Sarah for winning the Craftivore giveaway!)

stop expecting things to be easy

November 16th, 2011   |   Life

… Just a little something I remind myself when things feel really hard.

 

(Image and quote made by Jess Constable)

 

business in the city: december

November 15th, 2011   |   Business Advice

For those interested in the Business in the City events (which are happening monthly now), I have exciting news:

We are now going to be ONLINE and IN PERSON at our December 13th event!

The wonderful people at Next Door who are hosting these free events continue to support and improve this experience. Those in Chicago are welcome to attend in person on Tuesday, December 13th from 6:30-8:00PM. There will be snacks too – last time we had awesome Thai wraps and baked goods with free made-to-order coffee shop drinks.

And for those that don’t live in Chicago, Next Door has found a way to be a part of the action! Read on for details.

How it works in person

Over the course of the past two events we’ve seen the group take shape. In general there is a turnout of about 18-20 people. We talk in a large group about our businesses or business ideas (there is a 50/50 split between business owners and those who are thinking about starting one). We then open the group up to discuss anything and everything relating to  small business.

Accounting, company structure, work/life balance, “Spaghetti Numbers,” and product development have all been discussed at length in the past, but each meet up is completely unique and based on the people in the room and the discussion at hand.

All in all, it is a great way to stay motivated, get inspired, and keep growing a business dream.

How it works online

At 6:30 p.m. Central Time on December 13th, Next Door will be on the @NextDoorChicago Twitter account chatting about small business ideas we talk about. If you want to follow the discussion or have questions, include the hash tags #smbiz#AskND in your tweet and I will answer accordingly.

Feel free to comment if you plan on coming in person or online!

pumpkin dip

November 15th, 2011   |   FoodLife


Each year I look forward to the fall and Thanksgiving for pumpkin flavored dishes. One of my favorites happens to be pumpkin dip.

There is a delicious pumpkin dip on AllRecipies.com. But if you are looking for a lighter option, my mom has a healthier version that has a very similar flavor.

  • One 8oz cool whip
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg will work in a pinch)
  • 15oz canned pumpkin
  • Gingerbread men or graham crackers
  1. Thaw cool whip. Mix pumpkin, dry vanilla pudding mix, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Fold in thawed cool whip and serve.

pre-holiday Jess LC sale

November 14th, 2011   |   Life

Here in the Jess LC studio we are gearing up for the holidays. Since we are expecting a pretty big turnout in the weeks to come, we are offering a special discount a bit early to those who are planning on some gift shopping for themselves or others during this holiday season.

The 20% discount on orders of $150+ is good through this Friday online only. Enter code BOXESANDBOWS at checkout for the savings.

 

help wanted at Jess LC – this friday

November 14th, 2011   |   Life

I’m on the lookout for help with Jess LC!

This Friday (the 18th), I need an assistant to help with the set up and running of an evening event for the Junior League in the Chicago Cultural Center. It will just be myself and the assistant for the evening trunk show. The event runs 7:30p to 11:00p. But we will need to meet at my studio beforehand to set up and transport items to the event at 4:45p.

If you are interested in helping, please email me at jess(at)jesslc.com. The assistance is unpaid, but there will be Jess LC credit!

maggie’s dream report: week twenty-three

November 11th, 2011   |   Life

An update on the part-time job front

Several weeks ago I posted about my conflicted emotions over looking for a part-time job to help ease the financial burden of only having one steady household income. I didn’t discuss it at the time, but shortly after writing that post we were told that my boyfriend Ryan’s employer had been purchased by another company and there was a strong possibility that he would be let go in a months’ time. If he was not laid off, they were also offering temporary contracts to some of the employees. We didn’t dare plan on him being offered a new full-time position, but we certainly were hoping that would be the case.

Still, I was reluctant to throw myself back into any sort of office job. I was worried that the demands would prove to be more than part-time and that the gray cubicle and fluorescent lighting would be more than my spirit could take. This felt to me both as setting my boundaries and extremely selfish.

Several readers suggested retail, something that would expose me to beautiful products and learn more for the future of my own business. I looked into employment at a few of my favorite home stores but they weren’t hiring. I considered places like J.Crew and other clothing retailers I like, but kept dragging my heels. Nothing seemed to be the right fit.

Until an old friend from high school posted on Facebook about looking for a nanny for her one year old daughter. She was having trouble finding a day care that would take her part-time for the two days a week that she and her husband’s work schedules overlapped. I immediately felt compelled to contact her. The hours were right (about 10 per week over two days) and the pay was about the amount that Ryan and I had discussed I should be contributing Plus, singing the ABC’s and changing diapers sounded like a good break from sitting at my desk at home. I emailed her and we began discussing details.

The month of Ryan’s unknown future passed quickly — we squeezed in a doctor’s appointment and new glasses in case he lost his insurance during the merger. I had several client inquires to keep me busy. And on Halloween afternoon, Ryan emailed to say he’d been offered a full-time position with full benefits AND a title and pay promotion. Literally the best possible scenario.

But Ryan’s good job news didn’t mean I wouldn’t still take on a job. Earlier this week I had my “trial day” with my new little charge and we got along swimmingly. For a few hours I got to completely forget about the business, how clean my apartment was, and what was on my to-do list. I came back to my work unburdened by worry and with a fresh appreciation for my time. All in all, it feels like a win-win situation.

I feel like we have been extremely blessed in the last few months. Obviously some of Ryan’s coworkers did not make out so well and some entrepreneurs are forced into part-time jobs that they hate. So I’m very grateful for the way things have gone and it makes me believe that I’m still on the right path.

Maggie Morgan is an interior decorator in Seattle. Visit her website to see her work and read her blog, Maggie Rose.

accountability

November 10th, 2011   |   Think About It

Over the course of the summer Mr. Lively and I have started to run together and recently trained for and completed a 15k (9.3 miles) Hot Chocolate race here in Chicago last Saturday.

It was Mr. Lively’s first official race, and we had a great time training during the week and on weekends. Because of the shared training, we did most of our workouts for the last few months together.

Now that the race is over and winter is hitting Chicago quickly, I am focused on not losing the momentum and drive to workout that I have gained during training. I don’t want to coast into a lazy winter.

On Tuesday we had planned to workout, but at the last minute we decided to skip the workout. Instead we drank wine, ate a cookie dessert for dinner, and played Connect Four all night. It was delightful.

But as you can imagine, I was also eager for the Wednesday night workout.

However, when Mr. Lively came to my apartment after work on Wednesday, he didn’t feel like working out. So I grumbled, and headed out the door to workout on my own.

For a while, I was actually a bit upset that he didn’t want to do the workout. After all, I didn’t really “want” to workout that night either; I would have rather cooked and watched tv. But instead, I got myself to the gym to do what I know was best for myself and my intention to stay on track with winter workouts.

Yet I have to admit, after the run I really did feel better physically and mentally. I was glad that I went on my own and completed my intention.

While in the shower, I had a breakthrough;

Having an Accountability Partner is not the same as holding your partner accountable.

My initial frustration over the fact that Mr. Lively didn’t work out was because I was holding him accountable for my own intention to work out that evening.

We had never shared an official plan or intention to help each other workout after the race, but I had been used to the previous routine and assumed that he would share my unsaid intentions. And therefore, I was leaning on him to help me get my butt out the door and workout, despite the fact that we had never discussed it.

I held him accountable for my intention.

Not cool. Not even fair.

The only person I am accountable to with my intentions in any area of my life is myself. I can seek help and support in what I do, but I cannot expect others to fulfill my intentions, without properly dicussing it beforehand. Furthermore, I should be able to craft a vision for my intentions and follow through on my own, regardless of other people. I can lean on myself for the internal motivation and discipline, rather than blame others on my lack of follow through or desire.

Ultimately, my accountability is to myself.

finance with intention: changing jobs

November 10th, 2011   |   Life

Hi, MML! It’s Cathy of Fiscally Chic. Last time I was here, I talked about my inner battle between epic and enough. Since then, I decided to go with “epic.” More specifically, I started a new job! It’s scary and exciting. While I’ll still be working in accounting, the position is a bit new for me. For the past 4+ years, I’ve been an external auditor in public accounting. Now I’ll be an accountant and in financial reporting at a private company. A company that makes products quite near and dear to me.

While public accounting was an excellent way for me to start my career, I’ve grown out of “like” with it. The first year was exciting, but each following year sucked more and more out of me. The pay was OK, but the hours were grueling. And I didn’t feel that my clients or managers appreciated my contributions. Plus, I felt all out of balance. I wouldn’t see my husband for about four months out of the year. And I became disinterested in running, cooking, and baking. It became a chore dragging myself out of bed some mornings.

There were days that I was so prepared to quit, but I knew that would put extreme financial pressure on everything: my husband, me, our relationship, the thoughts of a future family, etc. It would have been one thing if it was just me with an apartment, but we have been married for three years. We just bought a house 6 months ago! Quitting wouldn’t have been very fiscally chic without something else lined up. Yes, we have savings, but that would have been a big sacrifice for everything else.

I had been working with recruiters, but wasn’t very proactive because I didn’t really know that I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I had a laundry list of what I didn’t want. I’m not from Chicago, so I didn’t really know all the companies that might be hiring. I didn’t have a strong network to reach out to. To make things more complicated, my recent client base was completely different that my clients in St. Louis. And this industry and I just didn’t click. I wanted to go back to my industry “sweet spot” from St. Louis.

So I continued to field cold calls and random emails from recruiters. I interviewed earlier in the summer, but never heard back. I didn’t mind because I didn’t really want that job. It felt like I was settling.

Looking back, I wrote one of my first contributor posts about being happy with “enough” around the time I was struggling to find my way. Around the time of the financial blogger conference (FINCON11), it really hit me that I wasn’t achieving my full potential at my job. I was settling for someone else’s measure of my worth. And I sure as hell wasn’t happy. (OK, that last part was more for the last 2 years or so.)

Print from letterhappy Etsy shop

About a month ago, a few days before FINCON11, I received another cold call from a different recruiter. The position sounded interesting and met many of my criteria. I had a phone interview. Then I was asked for an office interview. And a second round interview. Within two weeks of the initial call, I had an offer.

My most recent MML post was about my inner conflict between epic vs. enough. Through FINCON11 and Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to be Rich, I started to figure out my worth. I realized it’s better to earn more income than you spend instead of cutting back on costs. Ramit was the keynote speaker at the conference and totally rocked it. His blog (plus emails and videos) are rock solid. They also contributed to my epic vs. enough debate. I emailed Ramit the other day to say “thanks.” One, for amazing material. Two, for the kick in the pants to know my worth. Three, to give him results.

I didn’t discuss the results in my MML post because it was still fresh, but I went back and negotiated my offer. They gave me $1K more for my salary and threw in a $1K signing bonus. I wouldn’t have thought about it if my husband didn’t suggest it or if I hadn’t been following Ramit. Seriously, don’t forget to negotiate!!

Also around that time, I started my Etsy shop. I love to sew and find beautiful fabric. I want to share these skills and finds with others. Plus, it’s a way to create some income. I’ve slowly started to monetize the blog. I attended Jess’s October “Business in the City” meet-up and walked away with some great ideas. I was able to help others with my accounting and business knowledge. It felt amazing.

So back to the new job. It’s going to be a big improvement over my last job. It’s an increase in pay (about 10% if you’re wondering) and the hours are much better. Which means my hourly rate has vastly improved. The commute will be shorter and the role itself will be a new challenge. And did I tell you the Company is in one of my favorite industries? Yes, I did. And yes, I gushed about that fact on my phone interview. And yes, I brought some Halloween cupcakes to work on my first day. Can’t beat heartfelt enthusiasm :)

While I am excited, I’m still approaching this new position with controlled optimism. I’m still a bit burned from the job search from two years ago. When I moved to Chicago, I had to change firms and industries. I wasn’t desperate for a new job, but 2009 was definitely a rough time for the economy. I knew enough that I didn’t want to be working in St. Louis while my husband was in Chicago.

This time, my job change is more for personal reasons. So I wanted to make sure it was a good fit. Is this new job my perfect or dream job? I don’t know. But I would always wonder if I didn’t try. During my exit interview last week, HR brought up an excellent point. He was supportive about my leaving the firm because he knew the only person that can make me happy is myself. The only person that really has my best self-interest in mind is me.

So here I go. Off to chart a new chapter in my life. And not just for me. This new chapter is also for my husband and hopefully the future family God blesses us with.

Originally posted on Fiscally Chic on November 1, 2011

[sponsor post] craftivore + giveaway

November 9th, 2011   |   Life

Today we have an interview by an MML sponsor (and Midnight Hustler alumni), Lauren of Craftivore.com.

Craftivore is a site filled with patterns, videos, and tips on how to create dozens of crafts like crocheting, knitting, and sewing.

Below Lauren shares how she took her previous job as a video game artist and translated her skills to develop her passion, crafts. She’s got some great insight and practical tips for those interested in starting up your own site as well.

Also… she’s offering a giveaway for three winners their own free package of their choice. Read below for details.

Tell us a little about Craftivore.com.

Craftivore came about in part because after spending so much time interacting with the public for my crochet street art (a.k.a “yarnbomibng”) crew, The Ladies Fancywork Society, I was hearing again and again about how much people wanted to learn to crochet, or knit, or sew, but didn’t have time to make it out to a class, didn’t understand books, or were intimidated by the idea of having to keep up with a group of people.

With Craftivore, you download videos, instructional booklets full of information like how to read a pattern and translations for all those crazy little symbols, and easy patterns you can complete at the end of the lessons. You can do it from home, or on your ipad on the bus, or on your lunch break. You can pause, repeat, re-watch, or skip ahead- it’s like having a completely non-judgmental private craft tutor. Learning a new craft can be frustrating enough on its own- I just want to make it easy for you to get to the fun part!

Hop over to see the free chevron friendship bracelet tutorial.

How did you get the inspiration for Craftivore and what parts of your background helped you make this a reality?

Well, I’ll start out by telling you what I was doing before this: I worked as a video game artist! Dream job, right? Sadly, it was someone else’s dream. My heart was in crafts. I’d been working in games and video media for years and even though I’d worked in all kinds of positions at all kinds of companies, I still wasn’t happy. I spent all my time outside of work either crafting for myself, or for the Ladies Fancywork Society. LFS was (and still is) a huge time suck, but it made me so happy that I didn’t care that I was spending all my waking hours outside of work on it.

So there I was on my lunch break, sitting under the lone tree in my office’s parking lot median (the closest patch of grass I had, where I spent a lot of time moping and pretending it was a real park) and thinking about how I just couldn’t do the nine-to-five office thing much longer, and if I wasn’t going to do that, what on earth could I do? I made a very short list of my skills: crafting, and making media. And I figured I had to somehow combine those two things. And so Craftivore was born!

And by “born” I mean, “went into an intense, nine month long labor process to get it up and running.” But still, now that this is my day to day life, I couldn’t be happier with it.

How has your intention for Craftivore evolved as you’ve grown the site and business?

Craftivore is pretty young still, and only barely starting to get it’s footing, but I have a lot of plans! It’s always been the intention to add more tutorial packages, in a wider variety of crafty topics, like beading, felting, even upholstery! Also, as I’ve been interacting with my users, I’ve found that they’re also looking for more feedback and interaction. So keep your eyes peeled for new account features like a help forum when you’re stuck on your pattern instructions, or just have an LOLcat to share, and user accounts with galleries to show off your work! It’s important to me to keep evolving, and listening to my users, to get Craftivore to where it needs to be to make everyone else as happy as it makes me.

Which products are most popular? Which project is closest to your heart?

The Knitting Level 1 Package is the most popular, along with the knitting patterns. But crochet is always closest to my heart- I designed all the crochet patterns myself, and some of them go back to pre-Craftivore days when I was just making stuff because I wanted to make stuff. I’m also really excited about the embroidery series- its’ a new craft for me, and it’s always fun to start something new.

What piece of advice do you have for those who are trying to create a sophisticated website, like Craftivore.com?

My main piece of advice is: Keep it simple! Fancy flash intros and animated buttons can be cool, but you have to use them in moderation, and remember that a lot of people who still have slow internet and computers are going to be discouraged with a slow load, or your site could intimidate them if it’s too complicated to use. It’s good to have a friend who is relatively computer-phobic too, to test things for you. (Hi, Tymla!)

Also, don’t feel like you have to throw down thousands of dollars all at once to get it done, especially if you’re just starting out. Your site is going to go through a lot of changes as you discover what’s popular, what you thought would be but isn’t, and what you didn’t even know you needed. Make a small list of what you want users to be able to do on your site, and get a basic template from themeforest.net, or use a wordpress one. There are so many templates out there these days, and at such affordable prices, it’s easy to find something that fits your needs and matches your aesthetic. Just don’t expect it all to come together in a day! Just like with crafting- everything good takes a while to accomplish!

To be one of three winners to get a free package of your choice, hop over to Craftivore.com and find the package you would like to win. Then, come back here to this post and comment, sharing which package you would choose if you are randomly selected as a winner. Entries will close Tuesday, November 15th.

Winners will be chosen and contacted next Wednesday, November, 16th.

 

dual purpose: fancy candles

November 9th, 2011   |   LifeStyle

Today I have a new use for those fancy candles that smell beautiful, but are less than rosy for the budget. Previously I shared how to re-use the pretty box. And here’s a new way to use the canister itself. (Like Martha says, to get rid of the leftover wax, put it in the freezer to help break up the scraps.)

Bedroom photo by Emily Anderson

business advice, sorted by category

November 8th, 2011   |   Business Advice

 

Since January of 2009, I have been writing here on MML, sharing my journey to design my life with intention. I realized quickly that many people wanted to learn more about how I designed my business with intention as well. So I have laid out much of what I’ve learned from growing Jess LC over the past twelve years.

Today I have compiled all the posts by category so you can easily search for topics that may be helpful for other desk job dreamers, midnight hustlers, or small-business owners.

Enjoy!

 

Overcoming obstacles – In the Past I Have

Motivation – Why Bags? (Or Any Other Dream?)

When you don’t feel like doing it any more – Confession

Crafting the mission – “Specialness”

Purpose vs. career – Removing My Career From My Purpose

Relaxing – Lively Says Relax

Excuses – Getting Off Your “But”

Failure – Success vs. Failure, My Perspective

Taking time to do other things – Turning Off Your Business Mind

Over-thinking – Don’t Trip Before the Start Line

Entrepreneurship – My Philosophy on Entrepreneurship

 

What to do – My Best Piece of Advice

Starting off – A Letter to Small Business Newbies

Starting a business – How I’d Use $100 to Start a Business

What to do – Why Business is Like High School

When you don’t know what to do – I Will Figure This Out

When things aren’t very good – Why Starting a Business is Like Having Sex

High expectations – Takeaways From the First Three Weeks of Re-Branding

Making connections – Pick Up the Phone

Common concerns starting out – The Biggest Leaps When Going Full-Time

The motivation – Lesson Learned: No “Plan B”

 

Inspiration from other industries – I’ve Knocked Off Another Company

Strategy – Produce Your Own Success Story

Strategy session – Strategy Session with Susan of Modcloth.com

How to grow your business – Designing a Business With Intention

Measuring success – Annual Review

Free business coaching – Your Very Own (Free) Small Business Consultant

 

Problem solving – Two Things Smart Business People Know

Launch now or wait? – When to Push and When to Wait

Product development – Focus on the Goods

Design inspiration – How to Steal Like an Artist

 

Web traffic – Understanding Google Analytics

Organizing online orders – Gmail Order Tracking

 

Getting into stores – Getting Into Stores

Trade shows – So You Wanna Know About Trade Shows

Everything Wholesale – Wholesaling Insider Interview with Jess LC

 

Marketing and selling online – How I Succeeded at Marketing and Selling Online

Marketing advice – Marketing Advice for Online Shops

Blogging and business – Blogging and Business Answers

Blogging TV interview – Blogging and Business TV Interview

PR – Designing a Business with Intention: PR

 

Customer Service – When There is a Wait, Be a Good Hostess

Tricks of the trade – Make it Happen: Realistic Business

Staying Productive – 12 Ways Successful Bloggers, Entrepreneurs, Stay Productive

Budgeting – Finance with Intention: Business Budgets

When things are tough – In the Middle

Email – Email is a Privilege

Email burn out – Why I Didn’t Like Going to Work

Credit cards at trunk shows – Processing Credit Cards at Trunk Shows

Burn out – If You Want to Love Your Job, Leave It

Distractions – Makeunder Your Workday

Extra free time – 16 Things to Do With Extra Free Time

Productivity – How I Get Things Done

Hiring people – When to Hire

Business culture – Creating a Business Culture

A must read – The E-Myth Revisited

Get some rest – Give Me a Break, Every Ninety Minutes

 

Personal saving – Saving While Self-Employed

Family and career – Be the Best You Are With What You Have

Perks – Field Trips

Health insurance – The Price of Good Health

 

Who are midnight hustlers – My Small Business Heroes

Boring day job -  Turning Shit Into Fertilizer

Meet the midnight hustlers – Meet the Midnight Hustlers

Hating your job – Why it’s Good if You Hate Your Job

Midnight Hustler – JoJo of Dancing Classrooms

Midnight Hustler – Piper of One Sydney Road

Midnight Hustler – Kendi of Kendi Everyday

 

Why I started Business in the City – Live (Free) Small Business Workshop

What it’s like – November Business in the City

 

All time high – A Pilgrim’s Progress

Where I used to be – Flashback to Jess LC Circa 2001

Why MML exists – Why I Started This Blog

Getting Into Macy’s – Jess LC is Now in Mayc’s Designers of Chicago Collection

How far Jess LC has come – The Progression of Jess LC

 

saving while self-employed

November 7th, 2011   |   Business AdviceLife

One of the intentions I have which has been hard to implement has been saving for retirement… or just about anything else. As I’ve grown Jess LC, I find that the larger investments into marketing, product development, and inventory can drain cash quickly. So the idea of saving while I still have no real idea as to what I’ll make each month, leaves me confused and full of excuses.

Though I have managed to save chunks of money in the past, I do want to have a more regular saving strategy. And I finally think I’ve found the method that will work for me.

I now intend to automatically deposit $25 a week into my savings from my personal checking account.

In the past I had wanted to put $100/month into savings, but thought that there was a chance I would need the money for bills, and so I never took the step.

But here’s the thing. By putting $25/week, I will deposit a total of $1300 each year, which is $100 more than the original $100/month goal (which would only result in $1200/year).

The main thing I needed to recognize clearly in order to take this step is that I will still be able to withdraw money from my savings account, if needed. But at least my actions and habits reflect my goal to keep the money in savings.

Over time, I hope to increase the weekly deposit to lead to more significant savings. But until then, at least I’m starting where I am and continuing to move forward.

 

 

stepping out of the box

November 5th, 2011   |   Life

Because I’m always thinking intentionally, I generally plan things out, buy what I know I’m going to love, and stay pretty safe with most decisions when it comes to beauty. But two weeks ago I took the plunge and did two things that pushed me out of my comfort zone.

  1. I bought a furry vest at Urban Outfitters.
  2. And I got my hair cut and colored by Salon Sanjoy (they have a blog, too) and Nick Arrojo (from What Not to Wear) without telling them what to do [they had invited me to the salon for this awesome treat].

And the best part is that by stepping outside my usual intentions, I grew a little.

I love the the new, darker hair color and the layered cut that Nick, Sanjoy, and the salon team picked for me (I never would have thought to go darker). And I am so happy that I trusted them to work their magic. I’d definitely recommend trying them out if you are looking for a great cut and color in Chicago.

And my furry vest… it’s awesome. I had always admired the people that wore them, but I was scared that if I got one myself I would feel too silly or tire of it easily. I also thought that Mr. Lively would hate it.

And at first I did feel a little silly and Mr. Lively wasn’t the biggest fan right off the bat. But we both grew to really like it and now I’m so happy to have taken the plunge.

Sometimes you gotta surprise yourself and challenge the limitations you put on “who you are.”

maggie’s dream report: week twenty-two

November 4th, 2011   |   Life

Business Bucket List

The “Bucket List” is that list you have (formally or informally) of all the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” It might mean climbing Mt. Everest, learning the violin, or something more attainable, like skinny-dipping. For my business, I think of the bucket list as all things I dream of for my business (the bucket is handy for alliteration!)

In my personal life, I’m of the informal bucket list variety… meaning I don’t have anything written down. But when I’m having a rough day, sometimes it helps to reflect on the future of Maggie Rose Interiors. I don’t think of how or when or “impossible!” when dreaming up these ideas. Just “what if…”

I’ve talked about purposeful daydreaming before… this is related, but not exactly the same. My bucket list is short items, my daydreaming is filling out one of those idea items into a full vision and then identifying related action. Both help me grow and focus. And I don’t call my bucket list items “goals” or even “intentions” because at this point, I’m not moving forward on these ideas directly. They are just someday.

Some of the items on my business bucket list…

1. Write a book
2. Have a project published in a big-deal magazine
3. Win an award
4. Design a line of furniture and/or fabrics
5. Have a project photographed by a famous photographer
6. Design a boutique hotel

What are some of your big out-there dreams that are there for someday in the future? Does thinking about them help you stay creative and inspired (like me), or does it stress you out?

Maggie Morgan is an interior decorator in Seattle. Visit her website to see her work and read her blog, Maggie Rose.

How to Shop Home Goods

It’s hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t a fan of Home Goods. When I first started my decorating business, Home Goods was my go-to shop for accessories because it was so convenient and inexpensive. But even now that I have access to trade vendors, I still find myself going to Home Goods and finding great pieces for less.

This article isn’t necessarily only about Home Goods and isn’t in any way endorsed by them.. the tips I’m about to share can easily be applied to any discount store such as Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ross, Tuesday Morning, etc.

Even though I am a huge fan of these stores, there is a dark side to them. And that is the fine line between a great, inexpensive home accessory and CLUTTER. I’ve stressed this before – when designing your home with intention you must be very selective, even down to the $10 accessory. I went to my local Home Goods and took some pictures to show you exactly what I mean.

When considering a Home Goods lamp, I always select the ones that have a simple and classic shape and style. Something that has been around for years (like the silver urn) and won’t get dated. If you choose something trendy or over the top, it will surely become dated and you will hate it after a while and then, you guessed it, it will become clutter! Not a good use of your dollars.

Take It:


Leave it:

When it comes to mirrors and picture frames, faux is not the way to go. You’ll find a LOT of mirrors and frames that have been painted to look distressed or like wood. These are not the types of pieces you want because they look inexpensive and the quality is not great. Pick mirrors that either have a solid painted finish or are actually distressed like the “take it” example below.

Take it:

This mirror is beautiful and looks much more expensive than it really is. The wood and distressing is real, no faux here!

Leave it:


When it comes to accessories, I live by this rule: Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. Also, if you go simple you are less likely to get sick of it, you will use it more and you will keep it longer. These vases are an example of this:

Take it:

Leave it:

You can’t go wrong with the first simple, clear vase.. you can use it for ANY occasion by switching out what you put inside (sunflowers in the summer, glass baubles around Christmastime, etc). The second red vase is very specific and you’ll most likely only use it on Valentine’s Day or Christmas.. if you remember to pull it out!

Right now you are probably seeing a ton of holiday items. If you purchase an entire set of holiday dinnerware, that’s a LOT of pieces to store for only one day of the year. Instead, I like to find patterns that could be used for a number of different uses. Here is an example:

Take It:

Leave it:


The first set of dishes have a beautiful, simple lace motif. Even though they don’t scream “Holiday!!” they would be beautiful on Christmas with red and gold and could be used again on New Years with metallic accents. This way you’re only having to store one set of decorative dinnerware but it still allows you to set a beautiful themed table.

When looking for accessories in general, I am always drawn to simplicity. Home Goods has so many great, simple pieces that will stay in style for a long time and can go with any types of decor. But usually you have to weed through all the “craziness”.

Take It:



Leave it:

In short, when designing with intention… search for the pieces that are simple, especially in discount stores where there is an overload of “crap”, and you’ll be sure to find pieces you’ll love for years.

business in the city, tonight

November 3rd, 2011   |   Business Advice

I hope to see you tonight! 6:30-8:00 at Next Door Chicago.

PS – There will be treats!

desk job dreamer discussions

November 3rd, 2011   |   Life

From the years that I’ve been writing here on MML, I’ve been amazed at the amount of people who want their own business as a part of their life intention. And I have been honored to be able to share what I’ve learned from Jess LC to help people via business advice posts, one-on-one consulting, and now Business in the City (which is tonight!).

I’m also happy to have a place for Midnight Hustlers (people working on their start-ups after work) to share their passions and meet one another in our Midnight Hustler Hall of Fame.

But, what I haven’t done before is talk directly to Desk Job Dreamers about their business visions.

So this November, I plan to change that. In order to help the MML readers who still have a day job and the dream to start a small business, I’m making room in my schedule this month for ten readers to talk one-on-one about their business ideas with me over the phone or on Skype at a special discounted rate from my normal consulting hourly fee.

I will field any questions, concerns, worries, fears, and hesitations that are stopping Desk Job Dreamers from taking their first steps towards their Business with Intention. It will be low key, a simple one hour conversation followed by three first steps to take.

For those interested in the special rate for a one hour call this month, please email me at jess(at)jesslc.com with the subject line DESK JOB DREAMER by Saturday, November 5th. As I mentioned, I’m saving room for just ten people. So it’s first come first served until Saturday, that way I can schedule the calls in the month accordingly.

 

my life intention statement

November 2nd, 2011   |   LifeThink About It

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have been working my way through The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey for about the sixth time in six years. At this point I feel like I should practically be an affiliate for the book since I mention it so often. But seriously, this has become the foundation for so much of my intentional life that I cannot help but bring it up and relate to the content.

Interestingly, though I have read through the book completely a few times, for several years I have been only focusing on the first three habits. I just read them over and over and over. They are about the personal victory that comes with becoming a proactive person, beginning with the end in mind, and putting first things first.

Like Covey, I do believe that if I am able to really internalize these three habits, the fruits would be amazing. And I have made a ton of progress, but I also still have room to grow.

During the early chapters, Covey emphasizes how important it is to make a mission statement for your life to help guide your time, decisions, and priorities. And when I was in college reading the material, I did make a mission statement and used it pretty regularly (I kept it inside my vanity cabinet door so I could see it each morning and night).

But in recent years I haven’t taken the time to make a mission statement. After this summer, when I made over one hundred intentions and got very perfectionistic and critical of my life, I have been gun shy when it comes to setting any major or minor intentions.

However, I have recently made a lot of headway in working towards being optimal rather than perfectionistic, while re-reading another favorite text, The Pursuit of Perfect. And I think I now have the mindset that can handle intentions without making them mandates or scary laws with internal corporal punishment.

So yesterday I sat down and drafted my life intention statement. I expected it to take several hours and tons of soul searching.

But it only took 20 minutes.

You see, to get inspired for my statement I figured that FranklinCovey.com (Covey’s company) would have examples on their website. But they were much more “effective” than that, they actually have a free Mission Statement Builder that asks you 12 thought-provoking questions which can become fodder for your actual statement.

I answered the questions and was given the following personalized content to work with. I saved a screen shot of my answers to the questions and how I turned those answers into overarching intentions for my life.

Once this exercise was done, I had pretty succinctly summed up all that is truly important to me and guides me in my life.

My Personal Intention Statement

To take bright and bold steps in my life.

To live life expecting God to provide the things I need.

To stay connected and present with Scott and continue to be energetic and present with one another.

To live optimally – doing the best I can in each situation, given reality.

To use the principles of honesty, patience, encouragement, kindness, potential, integrity, excellence, and growth in my actions.

To keep God and principles first place in my life, to look there for answers, guidance, peace, and completion.

To create a life that is conducive to a loving, safe, happy, and fun home.

To be actively engaged in many projects that relate to my interests and contribution to others, financially and with my unique talents.

To be loyal, consistent, striving to be better, and reliable. To continue to strive to build the best relationship that I can.

To look at what I really want out of life and design my life and career around those things.

To share my life and business lessons with others so they may learn, relate, and know what is possible in their own lives.

Do my best and leave the rest to God. Be still and in the present moment when things get tough. Pray.

To remember Ben Franklin. I too am capable of much in my life.

Start right here and just keep going.

I plan to continue to modify, edit, and evolve this statement as I grow in life, but for now I will use these intentions to help guide my life and actions. I know I’ll never be perfect 100% of the time, but I still can return back to the intentions and begin again each day.

 

Today I’m happy to introduce one of MML’s newest sponsors, Easy Canvas Prints. Their specialty is taking digital photos and turning them into stretched canvas wall art. Which is pretty brilliant because I think they make the perfect personalized wedding and baby gifts for my friends coming up. And when I finally get my own little puppy, you can bet this is going to be on my mind.

Or, this could be a great way to get a high quality sign for your business to take to upcoming holiday art shows…

So many options!

Ana shared a wedding client’s canvas print.

And here is a great example of how great they look in Allison’s home.

As you can see, the process is pretty simple.

Easy Canvas Print Giveaway Details

For a chance to win an 11×14 canvas, hop over to the Easy Canvas Prints Facebook page and LIKE them and come back here to comment and let me know that you’ve done so (giveaway ends November 8th). 

Plus, just by liking the Facebook page you get 50% off your next order.

Winner must be a U.S. resident (excluding Hawaii and Alaska).


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© 2014 Jess Lively Creative Inc. // I'm an Amazon Affiliate - Which means Amazon items (like books) I genuinely recommend may earn me a commission. //