The Journey To Believing In Yourself (It's Not Always An Easy One)

Belief-in-yourself

By Jenipher Lyn

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (and still have to do all the time) is to believe in myself. Life is a pretty challenging place, especially when you’re going after your dreams!

Believing in yourself with your whole heart is the only thing that will get you through the rejections, the setbacks, and the disappointments that come unexpectedly and often all at once.

Your true self is the part of you that dances when you think no one is looking and sings at the top of your lungs even though you might be a little tone deaf. It’s being the person you always felt you could be if the pressure of being someone else wasn’t so heavy.

Are you hiding your true self or doing things just because you feel like you’re “supposed to”?

When I was a teenager, I felt like I had to be a “girly girl”, so I had days where I played dress up. One of my friends would invite me out with her friends and I’d go.. but I felt SO insecure being myself. So I would wear my girliest clothes, sometimes even makeup, and try my best to emulate what I thought I was “supposed” to be like. It felt mechanical, exhausting, and I felt like a fraud.

At the time I think I really believed that if I tried harder to become someone different than myself, then I would... but I learned that’s not the case. After a handful of pretending adventures, I burnt out on not being true to myself, so I started figuring out what made me “me”.

Believing in your true self (and not the person everyone else wants you to be) will come more easily once you start to truly get to know yourself.

As an adult I now know my style is cute and comfortable, and I’m certainly not a make up girl. I’d rather paint than spend time doing my hair and feel confident in my messy buns and colorful mixed matched socks than trying to look sophisticated or trendy. And for me, this is my true self!

Here are a few tips to help you begin your journey to believing in yourself:

  • Keep trying new things. Then decide what you like the best. Once you know the answer, DIVE IN and learn as much as you can. DEVOUR your craft and you’ll FLOURISH! The more you know, and the better you feel doing things, the easier it will be to believe in yourself!
  • Throughout your life you will try lots of different things; some activities will stick, some will feel like chores. My creative journey took me to jewelry making, horseback riding, making dollhouse food, painting, food photography, fashion design, and FINALLY illustration.
  • Not everyone will believe in you, and that’s okay too!
  • I have been surrounded by naysayers many times in my life. Especially on my journey trying to find my purpose. Throughout each chapter in life, i felt lonely at certain points. (many points to be honest!)
  • When I finally figured out that I wanted to encourage people for a living, little sparks began to form around me. Until then, my family really didn’t trust my judgement to be an illustrator. Something changed in their eyes and perspective when I started encouraging others, though. My family began to tell their friends about me, and people were excited to share my work. Wanting to encourage others changed my life, it made me believe in myself, which made my family and others believe in me too.
  • Try and find someone who believes in you, even on the days you don’t believe in yourself. Someone that helps build you up and not people who make you feel bad about yourself. There’s something really magical when you find someone [a friend, family member, or significant other] who really understands all of you (both good, and messy you!)

My husband is the KING of pep talks for me. I’m very quick to freak out, pile in the cookies, or take a nap. He is often blunt, and very honest, but in a kind way, he builds me up often and I’m so grateful for him in my life. When I was growing up, my GREAT Aunt Kiki was my only 100% confidant. I felt comfortable to share every thought and dream with her and I’m SO grateful to have had her in my life.

My great aunt was my safe place and I miss her every day. She was the person I went to throughout my whole life. When I needed a trusted friend, a listening ear, and a comforting meal. She made me feel heard and loved. Calm and understanding, even when she didn’t understand.  Someone like this, even just one person makes ALL the difference in the world.

Remember that relationships take time, and just because someone isn’t your go to person right now, you never know what they will become, or who else you’ll meet in time. Give others a chance to believe in you, and show them who you really are.

Ultimately, you’re the only one who can truly believe in yourself. The only one who feels the flutters in your belly when you know things are how they are meant to be so trusting your gut is crucial. Over time, believing in yourself will be super easy!!! Except for on the days it isn’t. And those days are okay too! ;)

Jenipher Lyn is a self-taught artist who believes the more genuine encouragement in the world, the better! Her goal in life is to inspire as many girls and women that they are not alone! She accomplishes this with whimsical illustrations and vulnerably humorous articles.She can be found drawing and eating cupcakes in the middle of Florida with her amazing husband and giant cat, Baby.

Free Desk Wallpaper // Never Give Up

By Zoe Strawbridge

Each January and February I tend to get quite reflective. I’m the philosophical type, definitely an over thinker. 2015 was a tough one for me, probably the toughest of my life so far. It was my first full year working full time in my business which was a huge challenge on both a personal and professional level. I struggled with a lot of doubt, and I had to learn A LOT.

 A few months into the year I was hit with the worst bout of anxiety that I have ever had. I knew it had been brewing under the surface for most of my life but it all just seemed to come to a head. I was emotionally and physically spent. I couldn’t just keep going through the motions of life. The decision to follow my dream and work for myself had forced me to take a long hard look at what I truly valued in life and who my authentic self actually was.

The journey to finding my creative calling has been an interesting one! I have been a creative at heart as far back as I can remember but I didn’t acknowledge this for a very long time. Instead, a carved out a career in finance and pretended that everything would be ok if I just kept following that path. But anyone who has that creative fire burning inside them knows that sooner or later, it takes over and you’ve just gotta give in! For me, “giving in” took the form of night time study in the field of interior design. Over the course of about four years, I would work full time, renovate our home, study at night and craft on the weekend. This kept me sane but it was totally exhausting.

In 2013 my husband and I decided to study abroad. I took some extended leave and enrolled myself in a design course in Paris. This was a major turning point in my life. After returning home from that trip, I knew that I needed to leave my finance days behind and take a leap into the entrepreneurial world and mid-way through 2014, I took that leap - Gorjo Designs, a consultancy specialising in interior, event and graphic design solutions, was born.

The first 18 months in business has been a total whirlwind and I feel like I am only just now finding my feet. I’m getting used to wearing the many entrepreneurial hats - blogger, creator, maker, administrator, finance officer, marketer and visionary and am learning a lot about self-discipline! Despite last year being extremely trying, It was also very valuable. I have a wonderful support network and a very strong will and this combination helped me push through my mental barriers. The fact that I didn’t give up meant that the second half of 2015 was actually very rewarding. I accomplished things that I had dreamt of doing but had not previously had the courage to try. One of those things was holding my very first in person craft workshop which I enjoyed immensely. I had the privilege of working with some of the loveliest clients ever and I worked on some really awesome projects.   

So as I prepare to move forward in 2016, I take with me the notion to never ever give up. Maybe you could do the same. I have created a free desktop wallpaper for you to act as a constant reminder. Best wishes for the year ahead and may you create, prosper and do many wonderful things!

DOWNLOAD BELOW:

Zoe Strawbridge is inspired by: people who love their work, art, nature, heritage buildings and homes that tell stories. She love shop windows, science, the streets of Paris and sunny days spent in cafes. Her style is modern industrial/contemporary, clean lines with Scandinavian influence, earthy and monochromatic tones, pastels, texture and woods. Her favourite summer (ever) was spent in Paris studying interior design while my husband studied photography. That summer changed my life as I realised me and design were in it together forever. When she's not designing she's dreaming about design (really). You can find her on Facebook or Instagram

Are You Joining The Etsy Resolution?

It's already February and the question starts to pop up around those big, bad dreams for yourself that you set in January. Are you on the right path to make those dreams come true? I'm proud to be teaming up with Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, to help promote the launch of Etsy Resolution, a free four week online bootcamp that just kicked off last week.

The good news is they've extended the enrolment so you can still take part and learn from their stellar line up of mentors who are walking the walk and following their creative biz dreams. The comprehensive - and free - four week online program will give participants access to tried and tested tips, tricks and lessons, direct from the people who know best, walking them through the process of starting an Etsy shop and growing it into a thriving online business. 

I sat down with 2 of their mentors, Jess Van Den and Kristy Tull, to ask them 5 quick questions about what inspired them on their creative path..

 

 

Jess Van Den, Epheriell
Jess Van Den is a self­employed silversmith working under the Epheriell label. She's been making jewellery since 2008, when she opened her Etsy shop to sell her jewellery as a hobby, and turned Epheriell into her full­time occupation in 2010 ­ bringing her husband Nick on board soon after. She specialises in eco sterling silver wedding rings, and works out of her solar­powered home studio in the countryside north of Brisbane.

She's also the founder and editor of Create & Thrive, where people learn how to turn their handmade hobby into a full­time business from those who've done just that.

Five quick questions...

Why is Etsy Resolution a valuable program?
Through taking hundreds of fledging creative entrepreneurs through the process of setting up shop online, I've learnt that the biggest stumbling blocks to getting your business up and running are a lack of time, a lack of direction, and a lack of support.

This course ticks all those boxes! It's not super­ time intensive but the lessons cover the absolute fundamentals that every beginner handmade businessperson needs to get a handle on in order to get their shop up and running. With SO much information floating around out there on the internet, it can be super ­overwhelming, and you can be tempted to give up before you even start because you don't know which way to go. Etsy Resolution narrows it down for you to the most important stuff. Finally, Etsy Resolution includes that all­ important element of support. Not only from me, my fellow mentors and the Etsy team, but ­ even more importantly ­ from your peers. Learning alongside other people who are passionate, creative, and in the same boat as you is invaluable. So often, people starting a handmade business struggle to get support from family and friends ­ so having the friendship and help of other creatives is absolute gold.
Why is the new year a good time to start a small creative business?
We're all bursting with energy and enthusiasm when a new year comes around ­ it's naturally a good time to embark on a new ventures and capitalise on all that momentum! The New Year is a fresh start ­ a time to look at what went well in the previous year ­ and what we wanted to do but didn't. Each year rolling around is a reminder that life is short, and if we have a dream, we should dive in and give it a crack ­ because if we never do, we'll never know what might have been! If you've been dreaming of starting a handmade business, but held back because of fear or lack of knowledge or support, Etsy Resolution is the perfect thing to help you kick­ start your biz in 2016.
Why is Etsy is good place to have a small creative business?
I’ve written about this before but here are a few compelling reasons why you should start – and continue – your business on Etsy.

  • It’s the world’s premier online marketplace
  • It’s the first port of call for many people wanting to buy handmade
  • It’s easy to set up and use, and has excellent ‘behind­the­scenes’ tools – stats etc
  • It’s an excellent ‘training’ ground – to compete on Etsy you have to play a stellar game with fantastic photos, good descriptions, excellent customer service, etc
  • It engenders immediate trust – people know that if they buy on Etsy they are protected if something goes wrong
  • There’s transparent feedback – do a good job and people will see that and buy from you
    What inspires your creative business?
    I'm never quite sure where the inspiration for Epheriell comes from. Sometimes ideas grow out of old designs, sometimes I just draw and see what appears on the page, sometimes I am inspired by a customer who asks for something new! When it comes to Create & Thrive, I'm inspired by both my passion to help other people create a business and lifestyle they love ­ because I know how happy that has made me ­and by my readers and students. I learn so much from them, and their questions, enthusiasm, and gratitude spur me on every day to keep going.
    What advice do you have for those who are hesitant to get started?
    Start now, today! Don't wait until things are 'perfect' ­ because things are never, ever perfect.
    One of my favourite quotes, from Arthur Ashe, is: "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you ca." Just start. I'll let you in on a secret ­ no­one is watching you yet! Get started, learn, experiment, grow, and as you do, your audience will grow with you. Businesses take time to become profitable ­ they are a marathon, not a sprint ­ so the sooner you start, the sooner your business will grow and gain momentum. Don't let fear or uncertainty hold you back. You will always be afraid (though a little less as time goes on and you gain confidence!) You will always face uncertainty ­ every day in business is an adventure (that's half the fun!). Just step onto the path ­ and take one step at a time towards that mountain of dreams in the distance.

Kristy Tull, Fox & Ramona
Fox & Ramona is a Melbourne based homewares brand offering hand crafted concrete products. The business started as a creative outlet for maker and mum­of­one Kristy Tull who initially made resin and polymer jewellery before falling in love with concrete as a medium. Tapping into a “a serious love of accessories, interior design, homewares, art and fashion” and a background in the architectural industry, Kristy has grown her creative business into her full time occupation.

Five quick questions...

Why is Etsy Resolution a valuable program?
It’s a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of Etsy directly from sellers who are making a successful career from their craft.
Why is the new year a good time to start a small creative business?
Any time is a good time to start a creative business if you ask me!
Why is Etsy is good place to have a small creative business?
Etsy has such a large audience, it’s a great platform for global exposure of your small business.
What inspires your creative business?
I’m inspired by artwork, fashion and other designers and makers. I love seeing other small businesses be successful ­ it inspires me to work harder and think outside the box.
What advice do you have for those who are hesitant to get started?
What are you waiting for? One more day that you wait, is another day of online sales missed. You won’t regret opening your shop on Etsy, but you will regret NOT opening it.

Get started on the next creative chapter in your life by joining the Etsy Resolution here.

What Will You Make Of 2016?

Etsy

I'm not a huge fan of New Year's resolutions. I find that slowly easing into 2016 is my preferred way to tackle the new year but when the team at Etsy told me about their Etsy Resolution idea which asks makers and designers around Australia and the world to turn creative dreams into reality I couldn't resist getting behind such a great cause. 

Kicking off today, Etsy.com, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, is helping makers and designers around Australia - and the world - turn their creative dreams into a reality in 2016 with the launch of Etsy Resolution, a free four week online bootcamp kicking off on 25 January. 

Mentored and led by four Australian makers and small business owners who have succeeded in making their own creative business dreams come true on Etsy, Etsy Resolution aims to harness the momentum of the new year and help creatives make the most of 2016. 

The comprehensive - and free - four week online program will give participants access to tried and tested tips, tricks and lessons, direct from the people who know best, walking them through the process of starting an Etsy shop and growing it into a thriving online business. 

According to Etsy’s Managing Director for Australia and Asia, Helen Souness, confidence, time and fear of failure are often barriers that Australian creatives encounter when considering selling their goods online, all of which the Etsy Resolution program aims to tackle. 

“We know there are so many talented creatives out there who have long considered sharing their work with the world and starting an Etsy shop, but need a little extra information, inspiration or just some encouragement,” she said. “Etsy Resolution aims to deliver all that and more, making the whole process simpler with fun, practical and collaborative lessons for anyone from aspiring full time creatives to those looking for a creative outlet or just a little extra income.”

The program comprises a series of self-paced online lessons released over four weeks with participants also invited to join a dedicated Facebook group where they connect with mentors and others taking part in Etsy Resolution, share their progress, ask questions and get feedback.

Etsy Resolution 2016 builds on the success of the inaugural 2015 program which saw thousands of creatives around Australia connecting with mentors and each other to learn how to turn their creative ideas into successful Etsy businesses. This year Etsy Resolution goes international with online programs running in France, Germany, Japan, Canada and the UK alongside the Australian cohort. 

Etsy Resolution 2016 starts on Monday 25 January. Anyone interested in participating can find out more and join at etsy.me/etsyresolution - AND as a special New Year's gift from me to you, simply by using the code: blogsociety2016resolution when signing up you will get 20 free listings!

Etsy
Etsy

The Seriously Fun Way To Boost Your Blog

By Hipster Mum

There is a brilliant scene in the recent film version of the Great Gatsby where the main character, Nick Carraway, walks through a spectacular celebration. “Gossip columnists alongside gangsters and governors exchanging telephone numbers,” he describes marvelling at trays piled with cocktails, feather-plumed movie stars in shimmering frocks and glitter falling over everyone like snow. “All weekend, every weekend, the whole city ended up at Gatsby's.”

A great party is like that: something that everyone wants to be part of. And looking around at the success of party blogs like Hooray, Party With Lenzo, A Subtle Revelry, 100 Layer Cake and more - it’s clear that right now the pull of a great party is stronger than ever.

But what makes a stunning celebration? And how can you throw one that looks ah-mazing in a teeny space without breaking the bank? This is where bloggers come in. Where magazines and large websites might have big budgets to throw grand soirees, real people don’t. Real people look for inspiration and solutions that are, well, real. As bloggers we’re in the perfect position to experiment and document the secret sauce behind a celebration that works IRL - and thanks to the popularity and timeliness of the topic (hello Christmas and summer holidays!) - any content we create has shareability built-in. I know, because this month it happened to me.

Earlier in October through Instagram I connected with Kate and Ashley Lawrence - two sisters with an expanding tribe keen to launch their own children’s fashion website, billieandkate. When we were brainstorming how to promote their brand I suggested we throw a Halloween party and they jumped right on board. A few key elements to set the scene:

1.    Food

Collaborating via Pinterest, we stumbled across some delish inspiration - props to Kate and Ashley for bringing the ideas to life!

2.    Decorations

decorations - 1.jpg

We put the word out to local party supply shops and were so excited when the brilliant Shannon Kilford from Born to Party  and Alana from Poppies For Grace came on board. These guys are the decoration masters - their work made such a difference to the look and feel of the shoot!

3.    Clothes

I left this one to @billieandkate - and they killed it. Particularly when it came to the accessories. Often it’s the extras - think hats, sunglasses, etc - that take a good shot and make it remarkable, compelling and ultimately, viral.

4.    Photography

It might not be something you think of first, but great photography is an essential ingredient for blogging any party celebration - hell, it’s an essential ingredient to blogging in general! Not only does a good photographer know how to snap the little details that will make great pics on social, they also know how to collaborate and cajole guests, to encourage and coach them to get the best shots possible. That said, while a good photographer will show your amazing work as it is; but a truly rad photographer will make it look even better. I love snapping parties - and have a special fondness for kids celebrations in particular - so if you have a project in mind, get in touch!

Happy Halloween! (With big thanks to Billie (12 months), Valentine (15 months), Winifred (7), Willis (8), Hutch (10) and Eden (11), Kate and Ashley)

Jade Warne is a photographer, writer, mum of two and blogger at Hipster Mum. Through her blog she offers a creative guide to parenting and features two parts Tina Fey, one part Amy Poehler plus a pinch of Louis C.K! Check out Hipster Mum on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and and hit her up for collabs, freelance work & tacos anytime! hipstermum1@gmail.com