Taking a break…

Raise your hand if you need a break! The life of a solopreneur is usually a busy one. On days when I need to take a quick timeout, I turn to my books—audiobooks, that is. Listening to a great story never fails to relax, inspire and refuel me. What about you? What do you turn to when you need to take a break?

Video Conferencing

I love technology! Video conferencing is not new by any means, but I’ve never used it this much before. I’m really enjoying how easy, practical and convenient it is. In the past four months, I’ve held one-on-one tutorials, colleague conferences, and client meetings—sometimes all three in the same day—from the comfort of my home office. And while I like getting together with clients in real life, sometimes due to the geographical location that isn’t possible. My current go-to video conference software is Zoom. What tech software or gadget is your favorite lately?

Adding Text Over Photos

Are you familiar with the Preview app? Preview is the default application on Mac computers to view image files and most people don’t know that it comes with a few practical editing tools. You can use these tools to add text over your photos… here’s how:

1 Open the App

Open your photo in Preview.

2 Bring up the Toolbar

Go to the View menu, and select “Show Markup Toolbar”

3 Use the Text Tool

Click on the text tool (at the end of the toolbar) and then click on the photo to create your text! You can also adjust the font, color, and size. 

4 Save

Once you are satisfied with how your text looks, go to the File menu and click Save. However, if you don’t want to save over your original image, then click Duplicate instead and that will create a new file.

It’s that easy! And there’s more… you can add shapes in any color. You can change the opacity of a shape to make it see-through. You can also crop or resize your image! If you’re interested in learning how to do any of those things, just let me know with a comment below and I’ll post about them soon! 

Google Fonts

Have you ever heard of Google Fonts? If you are in the design world, I’m 100% sure you’ve known about them for a very long time, so today’s tip is not for you… It’s for solopreneurs who are not designers, but who sometimes have to take that role in their own business because that’s what solopreneures do—everything!

So here’s the thing, Google has a huge collection of fonts that you can preview online, use on your website or download to use on print projects…. wait for it…. for FREE!!! So how does it work? 

1 Go the Google Fonts Website

Go to fonts.google.com and start searching!

2 Select Fonts

Click the red plus sign of the font(s) you like.

3 Use Fonts On Your Projects

Click on the black selection bar on the bottom of the screen to use.

For Website Use: Copy the embed and CSS codes you’ll need for your website. Don’t know how to use these? Click on the Getting Started Guide link at the bottom and Google will give you some examples.

For Print Use: Click on the top right download icon (arrow pointing down) and the font file will save to your computer. Install the font, and you’ll be able to use it to create any type of print project!

Productivity… how do you find it?

Productivity… how do you find it? We live in a world full of distractions. Whether you work from home or at an office, there are days where it’s hard staying focused. Today’s tip is all about being more productive. Here are a few ways that work for me:

1 To-do Lists:

I’m a firm believer in lists. Breaking big goals into small tasks and putting them in writing (or typing them out) makes it easier to accomplish them.

2 Ambience:

Make your office a place that you love to work in. Clean up, organize, decorate, and play some awesome upbeat music. Your environment affects your mindset, and it can either distract or motivate you.

3 Take Breaks:

This is the hardest one for me to do. Sometimes you need to detach from what you are doing to refresh your mind. Things, like taking a quick walk, a short nap or even reading a book can boost your productivity when you go back to work.

So, how do you stay productive? Share your tips and experience in the comments below!

Learning To Say “No” Is The Best Thing I’ve Done For My Business

Always Saying “Yes.”

I’ve always considered myself to be a people pleaser in my job — and sometimes in my personal life too. However, when it came to my work, what I once considered a strength was starting to become a significant source of stress and exhaustion.

What I once considered a strength was starting to become a significant source of stress and exhaustion.

I used to believe that always saying “yes” was an advantage because it kept work coming in and it made customers happy. I quickly became the “go-to girl” for clients, and it was great for a while, but eventually it started taking its toll on me.

Soon after I realized this path wasn’t working anymore, came the struggle with learning to say “no” — a tiny yet intimidating word. As a solopreneur, clients don’t have to go through assistants or project managers to be able to reach me. That means that all requests are brought directly to me, and I have to be the one who personally accepts or declines the tasks. The problem was that in mind, excellent customer service was based on always saying “yes” no matter how big or small the request. At first, with only a few clients, being consistently accommodating was doable. However, as my business grew it became too demanding and time-consuming. I finished most days stressed, burned out and feeling overwhelmed.

When I finally allowed myself to start saying “no,” everything gradually changed for the better.

Lessons Learned

The first thing I learned was that accepting projects I didn’t want to take on was not helping me, or the client.

Anytime I said “yes” to a project from a client that I felt was not a good fit, it turned into a long tedious and stressful process… for both of us. Whether it is artistic differences, personality clash, unaligned expectations, rocky communication, etc., you know when a client is not right for you.

When I said “yes” to a project I didn’t have time for, it would result in long days, late nights and working weekends. I would end up feeling overworked, drained and on the verge of a panic attack fearing I would not complete the project on schedule. I would be anxious about not delivering the level of quality I knew I could if I had had more time.

And last, if I said “yes” to a project where I felt I lacked expertise, the work took longer to accomplish, and I never felt confident about the end product. To be clear, I’m always honest with clients about my abilities, but some of them tend to push me into projects I may not be suited for to avoid having to start over with someone new. So, I found myself pouring hours of my time in learning whatever I needed to grasp to be better equipped for a project. While I am all for learning new skills, most of the time it required me to dive into areas of work that I simply didn’t enjoy and couldn’t possibly master that quickly.

The second thing I learned is that saying “no” doesn’t have to cause an overwhelming sense of guilt or self-doubt.

I used to feel like either I was letting down my clients, or I was missing out on a paycheck. Perhaps those feelings were there the first or second time I declined a project, but I soon realized that more often than not, I would experience a great deal of relief instead. Yes! It feels great not to take on work that you don’t feel strongly about.

It feels great not to take on work that you don’t feel strongly about.

The last thing I learned is that clients take note!

My clients started understanding what type of work I like to focus on, what services I am good at, what timelines I work with, and eventually they stopped requesting projects that were outside of those limits. As a secondary effect, the referrals I started getting from them were much more in line with the work I wanted.

Ever since I started being more selective on the projects I take on, I’m happier, more creative and more productive. Best of all, my business continues to grow every year!

I hope this article helps other business owners or solopreneurs with their battles between “yes” and “no.” At the very least, it might provide you with the comfort of knowing that there is no shame in making mistakes with your business as long as you learn from them and empower yourself to get better at what you do!

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