a Fresh start!

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Hello friend! Happy summer to you!!

It’s officially summer, a perfect time for a FRESH start to your business. Sometimes we start our business with the best intentions, but it’s extremely difficult to get it perfect when… well… we aren’t experts at starting a business in the first place.

We are creatives and we love what we do, so much that the rest doesn’t matter much in the beginning. We think we can tackle it all on our own, but pretty quickly we realize we would LOVE (desperately need?) some help.

How do we get more of those clients we LOVE and less of those kinds we’d LOVE to AVOID? Maybe we’ve spent time and money creating a brand we thought we wanted, but we’re still not HAPPY with it. It’s not a reflection of US. Whomp, whomp.

We need community. SOMEONE to chat with. Someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of. Someone who’s been there. Someone to ask – “Am I doing this RIGHT?”

We want to make our message clear. We want to tell our story and share our heart. We know that we can help people and there’s just a big disconnect on HOW to actually get there.

Oh friend. I HEAR you.

Business coaching can be expensive. We charge $150/hr for it, and there’s a lot of coaching that’s much more expensive. But it WORKS. We’ve seen it change businesses dramatically, when they are finally ready to bring someone on to HELP and guide their path.
So I’m trying something new that I’m SO excited about. It’s called the Styled Brand.

And I’m opening only 5 seats — like RIGHT NOW.

 

What is the Styled Brand?

The Styled Brand is a four week, intimate business + brand coaching program. The Styled Brand will help you relaunch your business with grace and style. The Styled Brand will help you get clear on money stuff and what to charge for it, and a rock-solid visual brand board and plan to make it all happen. Get real, personal help, to re-build the business you love.

What’s included:

  1. Weekly group coaching calls (recorded if you cannot make it live)
  2. Weekly coaching content, Video & Worksheets Weekly check in office hours email with Cathy
  3. Community for you to connect with each other & like-minded entrepreneurs
  4. A stylized Visual Brand Inspiration Board for you to keep you on track & share with other

Don’t just keep struggling with business issues and questions and indecision. You’re ready.

 

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” Karen Lamb

 

To find answers to all your questions, and to grab one of the very limited spots for July 2015, go here. Or, just email me directly and I’ll answer your questions personally.

I’m so grateful for you, and I’m excited to go on this journey together!

DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) WEBSITE DESIGN

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I still kinda can’t believe I’m going to teach this session. I never imagined myself teaching others how to do what I do.

It’s been on my heart lately to find ways to help others. I’ve felt a pull to help others no matter what, and no matter how deep the information is that I’m sharing. If I hear the need, I need to share it. A few months back I was toying with some topic ideas to pitch to speak at Amber Housley’s conference outside of Nashville, Tennessee, called Inspired 2015. I thought a lot about the questions I always get asked, the gaps in the market, and quite simply – what other’s WEREN’T teaching. I then thought about the many amazing entrepreneurs out there who’ve contacted me and said,

“I love your stuff so much, but it’s outside of my budget right now. Hopefully some day in the future I can hire you!”

Every time I hear that, it makes me a bit sad inside. I totally know my worth, and my cause, but it still hurts that I can’t help that person.

So I thought, that’s what people need. They need to learn how to do this themselves. They need that knowledge. Why don’t I teach DIY design for those who can’t quite make the commitment for custom design? I then thought… “No way! I’m not teaching my secrets!” And then I realized…

Those secrets aren’t mine to keep inside.

If I really want to help and connect to the 30 people at Inspired, I need to share. I need to open up and show people why and how I do what I do… How I use those gifts that God has given me.

So here I am friends, open and vulnerable, and I’m going to be sharing ::GASP:: how I design websites. If this session sounds like something you need, come join us. I won’t be teaching this anywhere else. This is a one-time opportunity for me to share a piece of my heart. Here’s a video from last year’s Inspired to give you an idea of the experience:

Here’s exactly what I’ll be teaching in my session:

DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) WEBSITE DESIGN

Are you ready to take creating your website into your own hands? It sounds like a big feat, but it doesn’t have to be! I will show you lots of options, depending on your level of design ability. I will talk about total DIY, partial DIY or working with templates. This session will cover some basic web design theory:

  • Where (and why) to place things
  • What to include in your website
  • What programs to use
  • Choosing a platform and webhost
  • Finding & working with a programmer to bring it all to life

No coding knowledge necessary, but I will give away some of my best secrets and how I envision and execute a design from start to finish. You will feel empowered and in the know, no matter where you are in your website journey.

If this is on your heart to learn, I’d love, love, love if you’d join us. Early-bird registration ends this Saturday 2/28. You will also get $200 off with promo code LOVEINSPIRED.

This event always sells out, so reserve your place now if this feels like something that fits.

I’d love to encourage you today, to also step outside your comfort zone, and share something personal if you think it can help someone else. It’s worth it.

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Well-Designed Life Series interview

Recently I was interviewed by Whitney English and Mary Verett of the Day Designer®. See the original post here, and below for the interview!

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This week’s #WellDesignedLife interview is with the incredible Cathy Olson! We just adore this hardworking (and super sweet) lady! Whitney has not only had the privilege of getting to personally know Cathy over the past year, but also worked with her to start a community project called Go Inspire Love!

Cathy will introduce herself a little further down, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to express our admiration for all the ways she helps others and manages to get.stuff.done. We love her and know you will, too!

What accomplishment are you most proud of in life so far?

My family, hands down. I love them more than there are stars in the sky, and they make life worth living. Nothing I do in my business life will ever compare to building and raising human beings. But, in my business, I am proud of getting the opportunity to really connect and help others through my art and experience.

Tell me about your big dreams. Where do you want to go and what do you want to do and why?

I learned early on that you really can’t over plan your life TOO much. It’s imperative to have goals, and to work towards them, but it’s necessary to be flexible and to be able to roll with the punches of life. So I don’t plan too far ahead anymore. But I can say in my immediate future, I’d like to grow my team a little more (I’m actually hiring right now for a position), and I’d like to be open to growing my reach and helping more people.

Actually I think that can be my long-standing goal/big dream. To help others exponentially with whatever I have than can help. I want to leave a legacy and make a mark – even if it’s just one person.

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Do you face any struggles in achieving your dreams? What’s the scariest thing about them?

Of course I do! I struggle with a lot. I struggle with not being enough, not doing enough, not helping enough. I’m in a constant state of wondering if everything is ENOUGH. I have to remind myself that there is nothing to prove, only people to help. I remember that helping just ONE other person is enough.

As far as dreaming – it’s scary because I am a huge dreamer AND doer. So when something comes in to my mind, I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to get it done and make it perfect. It is SO fun and exciting but can be exhausting if I’m listening too much to the negative voices.

What three daily things can you not live without?

Jesus, Hubby, my kids Aven and Maizen, and my computer with dual Mac screens. Sorry that’s five things. :)

How do you design intention into your life?

Being present 100% wherever I am. No regrets, no time splitting.

BUT… forgiving myself when I make a mistake or fail at it.

How do you create balance in your life?

I actually teach a course on it! So I have a complete system but the basics are – Customizing your schedule to you, and leaving room to be flexible.

What does your daily routine look like?

Morning with kids, alone time to work or run errands, then kids + family again.

What checklist(s) do you live by?

I use my monthly and weekly calendars, and do a fresh to-do-list every day (in my Day Designer).

What do you wish you had more of in life?

I guess I could always use more free time. I’m still working full time hours. Maybe in the future I can work part-time. We will see!!

What do you wish you had less of in life?

Negativity, perfectionism, doubt.

Are you willing to share a story with us about a time in your life things felt out of control? How did you get things back on course?

I would love to – but it’s long. The story of my crazy tumor is a long read, but I PROMISE you won’t feel the same about LIFE after you read it.


Thanks again to the lovely ladies who make the amazing Day Designer®! If you don’t have one, make sure you get on their mailing list to be updated when they go on sale!

Have a lovely day friends!

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Confidence in Business

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How can you be confident in your pricing? Confident in your offerings? Confident in your niche or confident in even your TALENTS?

Is it about faking it? NO.

I believe that we are all WORTH it and so we don’t have to fake it.

Since this is such a deep topic, we decided to do our monthly premium webinar on gaining Confidence in Your Business.

I would be so thrilled if you would join Whitney English and I TOMORROW, October 15th, live at 12pm PST/ 3pm EST.

 

Can’t make it live? Missed it and still want to watch? You can purchase the recorded version instead (Go Inspire Love members – no need to register).

 

Plate overflowing? Overwhelmed? Burned out? Let’s fix it.

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  • Ever feel like work and life is just a juggling act?
  • Never feeling very present wherever you happen to be?
  • Do you feel so overwhelmed that you don’t even know WHERE to start to fix it?

I have been there friends. I had gotten myself into the overflow too many times and I finally decided it needed to STOP. I needed to find a way out of the cycle and a way through. I want to share it with you.

As business owners, we all are feeling the pressure of “too much to do and not enough time.” When you’re with family and friends, you feel like you should be working. When you’re working, you feel like you’re missing out on family and friends.

(Do you ALWAYS feel like there are not enough hours in a day?)

We all need to not feel guilt and be more present when spending time with our family and friends. We are always seeking balance, and it almost seems impossible some days.

 

Do you ever wonder if this is just what life is supposed to feel like, or is there some way to adjust and make life seem more fulfilling instead of fast?

 

THIS TUESDAY I will be presenting Finally… Balancing Work and Life, a 1 hour webinar with Stationery Academy, to help you start balancing RIGHT away with simple strategies and roll with it when crazy strikes.

Please join me so that we can clear out overwhelm, and find balance, so that you can live your life. You will learn how to really balance life and work and friends and family once and for all.

(Sound like a plan?)

 

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:

My developed plan for implementing boundaries and systems that will help clear up your overwhelm immediately, so we can get the MOST of our time and stay productive.

When you’re balanced, you are happier, your clients or customers are happier, and YOU are doing your BEST work.

 

Reserve your seat for Tuesday Sept 30th. 
Only 50 seats available before this Masterclass is full.

 

Don’t waste any more time being overwhelmed.

It’s yucky and it does no one any good. Start clearing it now, and be able to look forward to a fresh 2015 free of guilt, over-scheduling, and overwhelm!

Excited to see you there! xo!

Grow your audience

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Who’s wanting to grow your audience, but doesn’t want to compromise yourself and what you put out there to get it?

:: Raises Hand ::

We’d love for you to join Whitney and I next Wednesday for our Grow Your Audience webinar. If you can’t make it, you can purchase the recorded version instead. AND this webinar is totally FREE for Go Inspire Love members! Register: GoInspireLove.com/grow

what does it mean to love on your clients?

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Recently in the Facebook group for the Design Life Project alumni, Alicia Sturdy wrote,

“Thinking about what it means to help & love our clients. Helping I get. But loving? How do you love a client well?”

I was kind of stumped by her question. We are told to love on our clients, but yes, what DOES that mean, when you are thinking of it in step-by-step terms? I’m finally just now formulating an answer to this question. I think loving on clients looks different on everyone, perhaps it is semantics, on how we as individuals show our love to others. So then, I can only say how I strive to love on clients. When thinking about it, I found 3 major ways that I try to love on my clients:

Come from a place of love

This means to always be on the positive. Brighten their day. Always give clients the best of you. Come from a place of pure intentions and come to them with a full heart. Serve them and their needs with joy in your heart. I hear you – this can be tough sometimes. I get that people have junk going on behind the scenes. I have my fair share of junk going on, but I try my best not to dump my baggage on my clients. I come to them from a place of love, of wanting to help. I check my ego and my problems at the door and I clear my head, if I need to. They deserve the best of me, I’m grateful for every one of my clients and if I’m having a bad day, I cast my cares on Him and pray about it, effectively dumping the garbage, so that I can approach them with a clear slate. Come from a place of love.

Respect their decisions

A lot of times clients come to me having had a less-than-stellar experience with another designer or coder. Sometimes I hear from them is that the last designer did not AGREE with their vision. While I think it is amazing to have a personal style, I still believe that the ‘customer is always right’ in this scenario. What separates designers from a traditional artist (painter, etc.) is that we are solving a problem FOR a client. It’s NOT about us. You have to let go of your Diva and respect your clients decisions, visions and wishes. You lovingly give your input and your feedback, but you need to respect when they don’t agree with you, or if they want something else. I also find a lot of clients apologizing when they don’t like or agree with a design that I’ve chosen. I tell them, hey – do not apologize for your thoughts – it’s NOT about me. YOU need to love it. What YOU think is the most important thing of all. MY version of success comes from a client feeling WELL REPRESENTED and authentic. I’m not painting the next Mona Lisa. I solve a visual design problem. Period. Respect their decisions, and listen to them. Which leads me to my next point….

Listen to them (and hear what they aren’t saying)

Of course I mean this in the literal sense, but I sort of mean it in the hypothetical sense too. Hear not only what they say, but what they aren’t saying. Hear their needs, but also think about what they really need – those things that they are NOT asking for. Going through a re-design is NOT an easy process, and we as professionals OWE it to them to fully utilize our experiences. We know things that they will need, that they have not yet thought of. Listen to what they are asking for, and calculate what else they may need. Pretend it’s your loved one that you are proving this service for – you would make sure they knew all the tips, tricks and helpful hints so that they would be truly successful. THAT’S how you go the extra mile to love on them. You are truly helping them to the best of your ability and hearing their needs whether they state them or not. Invest in them.

Bottom line, if you are genuinely caring for your clients and you are coming from a positive place, they will feel the love. We won’t always be perfect at it, we are human and inherently will make mistakes. But we get back up and try again. It’s loving on others that makes our job fun.

Have a lovely weekend friends!

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REGISTRATION FOR CPP IS CLOSING SOON!

Tired of trading time for money? Need to develop a system of passive profit that doesn’t depend on you? Have no clue what to offer or how to start? This is exactly why I developed the e-course, Create Passive Profits. This course will help you to develop the idea and hit the ground running with it. I’ve also added a coaching portion this time, so I’ll help you one-on-one to help you get started.

Class starts on Monday! Grab your spot now!

register now for free webinar from cathy + whitney!

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I am thrilled to announce that the lovely and super talented Whitney English and I are collaborating on a fun project together for faith & love based women entrepreneurs, called Go Inspire Love. Mark your calendars – we are hosting a FREE insider Webinar on August 21st, at 12pm PST / 3pm EST, for those who’d like to learn more. We’ll be talking about the vision for Go Inspire Love and how we think this will be a game changer.

We hope you can join us!

Hop over to http://goinspirelove.com to register for the free Webinar. We’ll be sending out a reminder the day before, and the details and link the morning of, via email, on where to go to participate.

Till then, Go Inspire Love!

 

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from idea to launch

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to follow-through, and what separates those of us who JUST dream, and those of us who dream AND DO.

I’ve fortunate to meet some big dreamers, and some big doers. I do think this is a part of a bigger conversation about human personalities and such, but I do think being able to execute ideas is something we can learn, if, we aren’t automatically blessed with that ability. I’ve had success with bringing dreams to fruition and it’s not necessarily one of my strong suits – I used to be a total procrastinator and horrible with follow-through. So, I’d like to share some helpful tips that I use bring a dream to life.

1. Get past your fear

This does not mean be absent of fear, but to not let fear stop you. I wrote a post on conquering fear, in which I broke down a verse in the Bible, that calls us to instead have a spirit of courage and power in the face of fear. Once the fear is named, examined and conquered, we can truly get our idea rolling.

2. Research and Learn

Knowledge truly is power. If you have an idea, take the time to educate yourself about all things relating to your idea. I’m a business book junkie, but I’m also a learning junkie when it comes to something I don’t know. I know what I know, and I know enough to know I don’t know much. When I have a new idea, I hit up Google and books to figure it out. It empowers you to get going.

3. Help and love others

I’ve said this probably 100 times here on DLP and in my classes, but the key to really succeeding in any new endeavor is to clarify HOW you are helping others. When you have your goals in mind and you can SEE how they are helping, your motivation does not wane. If you have the right frame of mind and strength of mission, nothing can stop you.

4. Plan your attack and START

Write down the steps, small as possible, and get started. Baby step your way there if you have to, but just start somewhere – start anywhere. It sounds so simple, but once you get past the fear, have equipped yourself with knowledge, and have the right goals in mind, all that’s left is to just do it. Nothing is standing in your way at that point. Go get it EntreHustlers!

 


TODAY IS THE LAST DAY FOR EARLY-BIRD REGISTRATION
(use code EARLYBIRD to save $50 off)

Tired of trading time for money? Need to develop a system of passive profit that doesn’t depend on you? Have no clue what to offer or how to start? This is exactly why I developed the e-course, Create Passive Profits. This course will help you to develop the idea and hit the ground running with it. I’ve also added a coaching portion this time, so I’ll help you one-on-one to help you get started.

Don’t forget to use your promo code if you have one! Early-bird promo code is: EARLYBIRD

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behind the screens interview: starting my business

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Recently I was interviewed by Australian web developer Em Winch from Morris Bear on work and life balance, as part of her new Behind the Screens series. See the original post here, and below for the interview!

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business:

Oh goodness, it’s so hard to talk about yourself right? My business is Love-Inspired, a graphic and web design studio. I blog and teach about the life/work balance and business at Design Life Project.

So about me? Here’s the highlight reel: I was artsy from a young age, found my calling as a graphic designer pretty young. I went to school for design, moved to San Diego out of college, got a job right away as a senior graphic and web designer, met my husband, started my stationery business, quit my job, started my graphic + web design business and closed my stationery business, had a daughter, had a crazy tumor that almost killed me, changed my entire outlook on life/business/family, starting teaching the Design Life Project, had another daughter, became an S corp and hired employees, and just bought a house. Phew!

Why did you decide to work for yourself?

Let me just tell you, I was NEVER the entrepreneurial type. I distinctly remember telling my husband, “I would NEVER want to have my own business.” I liked working for others, without all the responsibility or the risk. Becoming an entrepreneur just sort of happened, it really was God’s plan for my life. I wanted to make some extra cash on the side to help pay for our wedding, so I started a small stationery business and I met with clients at home in the evening. It ended up being surprisingly successful, and once I tasted the entrepreneurial waters, I was never the same. I was working crazy hours and I needed to make a choice between day job and my business. I quit my job at the height of the recession, and if I’m being honest, everyone thought I was a bit crazy for doing so. Here I was… a salaried, senior graphic designer at a cool design firm, while a lot of highly educated, skilled people were jobless. But… I knew something had to give, and I couldn’t bear the thought of quitting my business. My coworker (senior to me) ended up getting laid off only 4 months later after I quit. I left at the perfect time (God’s perfect timing), when *I* was ready. I realized then, that we all have a false view of stability in a day job/working for someone else. The only real stable business is the one that YOU run. I’ve redefined my definition of success. It’s not in a big ad agency making $$$$$$$ – it’s working from home in my small business. It’s having my family just a few steps away, in case we need an impromptu dance party in the middle of the day. It’s being able to employ others who also work from home. It’s being respected and paid what my creativity and experience are worth. It’s being me, and being okay with the fact that I’m not the right fit for everyone. It’s developing beautiful design, using my gifts to glorify the beauty and creativity of my creator. It’s sustaining my creative soul. It’s helping other businesses succeed in bringing their gifts to LIFE. It’s making enough to provide for my family. It’s being THERE when they need me. It’s living a life that has purpose. That’s my version of success.

What was your biggest fear (if any) that you had when starting your business?

I deal with fear on a daily basis – because I’m constantly making big, bold, scary decisions. If you aren’t afraid – what you’re doing isn’t big enough. Truly. The most amazing things I’ve done in life have come after I’ve pushed through the fear. I was afraid of no sales, of rejection, of my clients being unhappy, of not being GOOD ENOUGH. Even after 6 years in business on my own, those fears still sit in my head. But… they are not paralyzing fears – they are empowering fears. You cannot let fear stop you. I see fear as healthy – it keeps my on my toes and keeps me from getting complacent. I’m always combating those voices in my head and I use them as fuel to grow. They will always be there. There is no “other side” or end to a rainbow – we are constantly growing, learning, adapting. It’s a beautiful part of life. Fear has it’s purpose. Use it!

What does a typical day in your life/business look like?

I struggled with overwhelm for a LONG time – going back and forth between a totally free, organic schedule and a tightly organized + scheduled one. Neither worked, but then I found a balance there – a mix of schedule and freedom. So, part of my day consists of a schedule (things I need to get done that day) and then part of my day allows for freedom (the ability to do something when it comes up). I also have schedule and freedom on a weekly and monthly basis. Therefore, it’s always different, but what I developed for myself, is the basis of what I teach in the Design Life Project. I designed my life/work to fit me, my rhythm of creativity, to allow time for all the things I love, and to let go of the things/commitment/clients that I don’t love. For me, that looks like early breakfast with my daughters, emails and business planning in the late mornings, creativity and movement in the afternoons, nights and weekends for rest and family ONLY. I have clear office hours and I stick to them. My clients respect them always. I make time for what matters the most.

Do you have a five year plan for you business? If yes would you like to share?

I actually don’t. I find long-term plans restrictive and almost always they are wrong anyway. If there’s anything I’ve learned in business – it’s that you have to be adaptable. Actually, I do have a plan for me/us in 5 years. I will be grateful and thriving, I will be serving others and I will be putting my family first. That’s all that matters. Whether I’m still running Love-Inspired, or if I’m a CEO of another company, or if I’m a stay at home mom – I will be true to myself, my needs & wishes for the future Cathy. You’ve got to listen to your heart and stop listening to your head sometimes. I never could have planned this for myself 5 years ago (impossible really) – I just followed what God had planned. I never thought I’d be public speaking, or teaching classes – but I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned in hopes that it helps others, so I went for it. And… it’s okay to stay small. Big isn’t the only picture of success. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to switch gears and head down another path. There’s no point in wasting time heading in a direction you don’t love. Allow yourself to be flexible and to roll with the punches instead. It’s a LOT easier and you will be a lot more successful. :)

What are your top three tips for anyone wanting to start their own business?

  • First, I’ll repeat what I said above: Always be adapting.

If you find another hobby/passion/love – find a way to infuse it in to your business. Is something not working/selling? Get rid of it. You make the rules, and you can choose when to break them and when to make new ones. Grow. Always be learning and getting better and better. Thrive.

 

  • Second: Be in the business of Helping Others.

Love them. Help them succeed. If you are helping others with your business, you will be truly fulfilled and the clients will find you. Enjoy serving them, and give them the best of you.

 

  • Third: Respect yourself.

Charge what you are worth, create boundaries, let yourself rest and be authentic. Don’t apologize for who you are. Don’t be afraid to share your faith or beliefs with the world. Be open, but be grateful and full of grace. Work smarter and not harder. Create what YOU wish existed.

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