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Boot Camp Begins!

Boot camp.  It’s a concept we’re likely all familiar with…  but what do you think of when you hear it?  Probably the army or even fitness nuts, neither of which you’d find me anywhere near.  But Shauntelle’s sleaze-free self-promotion boot camps for creative types?  Yep.  That’s right up my alley.

Okay, so the timing could be better.  Between puppies, moving house, Halloween costumes, and my photography, I’ve got a lot on my plate.  As an involved parent I’ve always got a lot on the go.  It’s just (as my 18 year old sister would say) how I roll.  After all, when it comes to putting ourselves first, let’s admit it, there’ll always be reasons why we don’t have time.  So, I figure, it’s high time I MAKE time.

My photography is my work, my “day job”, and I’m very lucky that my business is something I’m so passionate about.  There are a lot of things I do (as you are all well aware), but I really do need to get better at this whole self-promotion thing.  Let’s face it.  It’s not fun.  And while I’m totally awesome – I really am.  LOL  I really am a fabulous photographer…  my work is unique, the experience I give my clients is superb, and I have a vision that is unparallelled in the market today.  I know it, and people who have worked with me know it, but I need to get over the sleazy feeling involved with self-promoting if others are going to realize it too.  That’s where Shauntelle’s boot camp comes in.

I need to learn how to better promote my work and my professional identity.  Her boot camp is designed to help me do just that.  To get over that near-prostitution feel of writing an “all about me” blurb, to know where to put my efforts, and how to get the most out of said efforts.  It’s not easy making your way through life as a professional creative – of any type.  What we really are selling is ourselves, and that doesn’t always feel great.  Seriously, if I could take the promotional end out of the photography, I’d be a happy camper.  But I can’t.  You can’t run a business without promoting it.  So that’s what led me up to today.

Wish me luck.  My first assignment is part way done, and due tomorrow afternoon.  Here’s to feeling sleaze-free while learning to promote myself and my photography!

 

 

Check out Shauntelle’s “Sleaze-Free” boot camps at:  http://sleazefreepromotions.com/you-me-4-weeks-action/

Domestic Goddess I Ain’t

My brain is swimming tonight, and I’ll admit, that makes it hard to decide what to write about.  I’ve just got so much on the go right now that it’s difficult to focus on one thing.  I spent the day on the phone with several different people.  I also spent a little while at the girl’s school – putting feathers in the hair of her teachers.  I worked on one of the scrapbooking kits I’ll be selling when my design studio launches at Polka Dot Plum.  And I thought my way through a couple things I’ll be needing to make decisions on soon.

Domestic Goddess

Domestic Goddess Image by MinxGrafix

When I look around the house, it doesn’t really look like I did much today.  And that’s the one curse of the work-at-home mom.  My day was incredibly full and busy, and I spent it almost all at home…  but looking around me?  You’d think I’d been eating bon bons watching stories on the tele.  😉  You know what though?  I’m okay with it.

I had a full day.  I have a full life.  And one day, when things are not so busy, when I’m not focused on being a mom, a professional, and an activist all at once?  Then maybe my house will look like a sanctuary of cleanliness…  probably not then either though.  ‘Cause I’m sure I’ll be busy just having fun with my man.

Photograph, Design, Organize.

Today my head has been filled with design.  I’m preparing to open my shop, and I’m frantically working to get everything ready.  Yesterday I finished up a Spring themed mini-kit.  Today I started a full sized kit all about the chicken pox…  I really do enjoy designing.  Well…  the designing part of it anyway.

I’m sure it’s a sentiment felt by many creative types who also run a business.  The creative side of things fuels us, keeps us going in so many ways.  The business side of things is simply a necessary evil.  That’s how I feel about the organizational side of design.

Creating elements, creating papers, designing overlays, and custom products…  it’s all a fabulously zen thing for me.  Photography gets me revved up, designing relaxes me – two sides of the creative coin.  But organizing my product so it’s ready to sell?  Ugh.  I wish I could hand that end of it over to someone else.  It takes me far longer than it should simply because I don’t enjoy it – and I end up putting it off and then have several products that all need work at the same time.  LOL  I won’t complain too loudly though.  I’m pretty blessed to be able to do what I do.

Strawberry Scraps - my design business

So watch for me soon.  I’ll be setting up shop at the Plum.  Opening day will soon be upon us.  🙂

Government sanctioned discrimination, way to go Canada!

So, it appears Canada is again on the chopping block thanks to Harper.  Our flags once waved proud, but now are just as often full of disgrace.  This newest measure allows discrimination based on gender, going so far as to allow airport security the right to allow or deny access to individuals based on their gender.

Under section 5.2(1)(c) of the Aeronautics Act:

“An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if:  the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

Why is this an issue?  Because for many Trans individuals the sex on their passport may not coincide with their gender.  There are very strict rules in place for changing the sex on your international identification that only a very small segment of the populace qualifies for.  These rules make it impossible for non-operative Trans people to have the M or F on their documents changed to reflect their actual gender.  A better solution, if this wording is to remain in place would be to allow for an “Other” designation.  Gender is, after all, a social construct that has nothing to do with an individuals sex (which, lets be honest, also has more than two possibilities).  Alas, we are stuck in a society that appears to enjoy this incorrect, yet entrenched, gender binary.

This goes even farther though.  The instant we allow those with limited power the ability to select who qualifies as female and who as male – based on how they present, we are opening ourselves up for all sorts of abuses.  Gender is a social construct that changes with time.  It used to be that we dressed our long haired little boys in pink dresses, while the girls wore blue.

What happens when the thirteen year old girl, with short cropped hair, wearing low rise baggy pants and a jersey is denied access to a plane to fly home to her parents after spending part of the Summer with her grandparents?  This policy gives airports the right to determine who is female enough, or male enough to board their planes.  The potential abuses this brings forward are downright scary.  Don’t think for a second that because you are not a genderqueer, or trans individual, or because you don’t have a gender creative child that it won’t affect you.  This is something that has the potential to harm us all.  Will we all have to don a dress and kerchief in order to be female enough to avoid speculation?  It’s a scary idea.  Men, don’t even think about wearing that salmon coloured shirt, you too may be pulled for questioning regarding your gender presentation.  Is this really a slope we even want to start on?

There is a petition here:  http://www.petitiononlinecanada.com/petition/tell-harper-to-allow-trans-people-to-fly-on-airplanes/758  Add your name, and let Harper and his yes men know that you are saying NO to this government sanctioned discrimination.  And for more information and ideas on what you can do to combat this, check out what Chris Milloy has to say here:  http://chrismilloy.ca/2012/01/transgender-people-are-completely-banned-from-boarding-airplanes-in-canada/

female enough to fly?In 1930 Amy Johnson finished a record-winning solo flight from England to Australia.  Would she be “female enough” to be allowed on a plane in Canada in 2012?  I wonder.

Long day…

Long day…  tomorrow 13 discs will be added to the pick-up bin, and the day after another equally large sum.  Too tired and sore to share more.  LOL  Hopeful that the majority of the shoots will be ready for the end of the month.  🙂

What happened to the “Joy Journey”?

Some days I have to actually stop and remind myself that this year is about personal joy.  With some of what is going on politically, some of my choices, while ethical, aren’t exactly joyful.  I am exhausted.  I’m being pulled in too many directions.  I really do wish I could just “poof” disappear with my daughter and husband for about a week.  Then come back refreshed and get back on the fast track again.  Anyone have a magic wand?  Anyone got a genie?

My mantra right now is “October is almost here”.  How the heck I’m going to get everything done that needs to be done BEFORE the end of September, I’m not sure…  but come October, my life should go back to being at least partially mine.  “October is almost here.”  Say it with me: October is almost here.  😉

Starting Your Own Business – Biggest Concerns

A friend of mine posted on facebook asking those of us who run our own business(es) what our biggest concerns were.  An entrepreneur herself, and a writer, she’s currently beginning a series of articles for a client on starting your own business.  As someone who has both failed and succeeded in this arena I was quick to chime in.

For me, the biggest draw in working for myself is also the biggest drawback.  Generally I’m far from typical in almost every respect – except one:  I’m your textbook Type A perfectionist.

I love having things done MY way.  I love doing things in MY time.  I love being in charge.  I love having no one to report to.  I love being 100% responsible for my own success.  The down side then?  I am 100% personally responsible for my own failures.

Having things done my way, in my own time, means that no matter what is going on, I need to be able to work through it.  There is no-one else.  If I get sick, if something goes wrong, if there is a family emergency?  I can’t pick up a phone and call in sick, there’s no-one who can fill in.  It’s just me.

For me though, it’s worth it.  It’s worth it to be my own boss.  To set my own hours.  To be at home with my daughter.  To work in a creative industry under my own steam.  I really do love it.

Sure I have fears.  Who doesn’t?  It isn’t easy not having a steady paycheque.  Knowing that what I bring in is completely reliant on how much I can put in (and that for the longest time, putting in hours didn’t always mean that there would be any money at all).  But in spite of it all, it really is worth it.

There’s a ton that I could go into.  This is a topic area that is ripe with potential, especially for someone like me who has had both successes and failures in the area.  Trust me, this hasn’t been a simple or easy road.  I may be experiencing a fair amount of success now, but it’s taken a long time to get here.  I actually had a brick and mortar boutique for about a year and a half, and had the $15,000 debt to prove it after it went under.  LOL  So, like I said, I’ve got a fair amount of experience in this area – and have a wealth of knowledge based on that.  Expensive lessons.  😉  I think I’ll leave it to Kim though, it saves me the pain of rehashing all my failures in a public forum.

Once Kim knows exactly where her client will be publishing this series I’ll be sure to share a link.  This is bound to be one of the best sources of start-up information on the net.  Kim is a smart, savvy, business owner, and writer.  So it’s one you won’t want to miss.

In the mean time, check out KAF Creations!  Kim’s jewelry business.  Her chainmaille pieces are absolutely gorgeous!!!  Seriously, it’s chainmaille so delicate, refined, and feminine that it would be perfect as bridal frosting.  You’ve never seen anything like them.  Honestly.  From the garden to the altar – these pieces can go anywhere.  Paired with jeans or paired with a gown – either way they are right at home.  (can you tell I love her stuff?)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/KAF-Creations/88651541131

http://www.kafcreations.blogspot.com/

And, yeah…  keep watching.  I’ll let you know when her entrepreneurial series hits the web.  🙂

Photography Website Burnout

Yep.

The title about says it all.  LOL

I LOVE photography.  The process of capturing life.  Small perfect moments that we might have otherwise missed.  Gifts.  Vital and full.  Real, transparent, true.  Honest.  Beautiful.  It makes my soul sing.  I truly, truly love capturing life.

What I don’t love, is building a photography website.  I don’t like that I need to market myself and my skills.  I don’t like discussions of price points, and packages.  I don’t like the BUSINESS of photography.  LOL  But apparently it’s one of those necessary things that you just deal with so that you can have as much of the JOY part as possible.

So today I’m a little burned out.  Not on photography.  But on the website I’m building to share the business end of photography.

One thing I did do today that I am kinda excited about (and that IS part of the business end of things) was to come up with a really cool photography package.  I’ve called it the “Make it Right” package.  And it’s all about giving people what they hoped for to begin with, when they ended up with generic, boring, cookie-cutter family portraits from an in-studio photography sitting.  Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/tdfoto.  And make sure to give me a “like” while you’re there.  I’ve already given away one portrait sitting, and plan on making many more draws in the days to come.  All you have to do is “like” my page to enter…  and there are prizes for local AND long-distance folks.  So I do hope you’ll drop by and give me a “like”.  🙂

Night all.  Gonna go watch my baby sleep for a while.

me... face burned and pixelated from staring at my computer.

Oh hey!  I still haven’t told you about all the awesome stuff coming up this summer with the Green Party of Saskatchewan.  We’ve got some great things in the works that I hope you’ll all be a part of.  It’s going to be a great year, and this summer is going to get it kicked off right.  But I guess you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out all the details.  😉  hehehe…

Night all.  😀

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