Easter…….done and dusted.





My sister introduced this iphone app to me on the weekend and I have been obsessed with it since.


It turns ordinary photos into something aged and wonderful.

Amusing how cutting edge technology has me yearning for the past.


the two photos above were taken at homewares boutique – Fly Home Nicholson Rd Subiaco).

HAPPY EASTER

A little change ….can go a long way.

The mere thought of change can sometimes immobilise us into doing nothing.

Not realising – it could be the key that unlocks a whole new world of possibilities beyond our wildest dreams.  I am the first to admit that change does not come naturally to me.  Give me a bucket of sand and I will gladly bury my head in it ( actually…… thinking about it I will happily go and fetch the bucket…..fill it with sand…..and then stick my head in it!)  The thing is,  I am aware of this debilitating condition – and yet I still struggle to overcome it.   It has got me thinking that if a little change can go a long way then where can the big changes take me?  To the moon and back?  I guess there are two possibilities – get on board or get left behind (stagnant) and here’s the kicker, by pure definition it moves on regardless of whether you jump board on or not.

However acknowledging it, I am slowly attempting to push the boundaries and step outside my comfort zone.

I hate to go on about social media, but for me it is the most relevant example that is such a massive industry and social evolution and relates to a broad range of businesses. (although there are so many other recent examples that I am sure I can and will be sharing.)

Of course I was reluctant – “I am gen x so it’s just not me”, “I am no good at it”, “why would people want to listen to what I have to say”, “I don’t get it”, “I don’t have time”, “my customers don’t use it” and on it goes.

So after the encouragement of the savvy business powerhouse that is Perth Upmarket (and with their expertise and guidance) cookie dough was launched on facebook and I was forced into a world that was unfamiliar yet surprisingly friendly and welcoming- not to mention incredibly valuable.  Then a workshop, a sisters spruking and many discussions later I knew I had to master twitter.  So this week my “allocated” time has been dedicated solely to researching, reading, studying and practicing the art of tweets………and I think I have it.  Albeit I still have my training wheels on – but I am riding and it doesn’t seem the least bit scary.

The point is change can be exhilerating.  Resisting change can make us dated, lose touch and eventually obsolete.  They say that this is the age of the small business and being able to adapt and respond quickly to our given target market (let alone the most invaluable tool of being able to ask what they actually want!) is what is giving us unprecedented power to take on the big guys.

So embracing my “inner metamorphosis” and inspired by the lyrics of Baz Luhrmann I have started with the small things.

I have given the market mill a mini makeover (hope you like)

will be changing my facebook profile pic for cookiedoughbisc everyweek

will be continuing to master twitter  themarketmill   cookiedoughbisc

and will attempt at least a week of doing “one thing everyday that scares me”

how to ‘shut down’ when it is imperative to stay open longer

In business for yourself, and especially a new one, it can be all consuming to say the least.   Being a mum and working from home the lines between working and living can sometimes become a little (ok a lot) blurred.  Even when your attention is on something else your thoughts can be preoccupied.  Then introduce the age of social media (social media – the new corner store) – the ultimate excuse to be “open all hours” and I am sure most of us would be happy to create, type, like, click, tweet, shout-out until the cows (children and hubby) come home (ask for their dinner).

I am the first to admit that sometimes it is the momentum – that physical action of doing – that drives things forward but even I am questioning can being on permanent hyper-drive be both constructive and positive 100% of the time?  Here am I grappling with the exhileration of creating, running and building a business whilst maintaining a happy, calm and organised household – and have come to appreciate that things must stop…..in order for them to progress.

So in writing my new mantra for creating a healthy and happy balance I have decided to list the things that are non-negotiables and those things that, temporarily, could make way for ensuring the best possible outcome to succeed ………for everyone.

Can’t compromise – even a little

Quality family time (an obvious one)
Healthy eating
Exercise (at least 1 hour 3 times a week)
7-8 hours sleep
Routine for the kids
A night out – once in a while
Staying in touch with my beautiful friends

Willing to part with (at least for a little while)

TV (well that went quite some time ago)
Perusing the shops (ditto)
The cinema (oh I will miss you cinema)
surfing the net for fun

Now in order to fit all of the must do’s in and focus enough time and energy on creating a structured work life I have come to realise some harsh truths.

1. I need to get up earlier (ughhh)

2. I need to get more done in the time allocated – focus!(ie less distractions, switch off the computer, wear headphones – my sister swears by listening to podcasts when doing her housework)

3. I need to work out what is consuming most of my time – and is it used effectively?  (yes talking to you mac & FB – my shiny new timer will be watching…and ticking..loudly! )

4.  I need to set clear boundaries/routines and stick to them.

4. I need at least 3  days completely switched off-unplugged-zoned out from the business.

5.  and somethings can be outsourced for sanity’s sake.  (my gorgeous mum is writing 3 menu plans each week to stop that time wasting question “what’s for dinner”.

It is amusing to think that working for ourselves may be giving us less freedom than working in a “job” we hated for the very same reason.

…..roll on tomorrow…

two of my favourite books at the moment

How to get things done. David Allen

Cut the clutter.  Cynthia Townley

Harvesting with Jo Kealley aka Curly Jo Design

A perspective from someone who followed their passion. (passion….. are you still there?)

I am thrilled to feature the very first Harvesting session with the highly talented Brisbane Artisan glass maker – Jo Kealley,  whose stunning jewellery pieces are described as “one off wearable pieces of art”.

Brisbane’s South East Advertiser proclaimed   “her stunning and innovative creations guarantee her a place among the leaders of Brisbane’s new generation of Jewellery Designers.”

Here is a little insight into how Jo left her day job to follow her dream.

What were you doing before this?  What was your last “regular” job?

My last ‘regular’ job was in retail management – series of ‘postings’ within a large up market department store chain. When a change of ownership presented a unique  opportunity, my husband & I decided to throw in the towel, sold the house, the car and went back packing around the world, many months and thousands of dollars later it was time to ‘get back to reality’.

On returning, I accepted an offer to open and manage a Designer Homewares store as a ‘stop gap’ to opening my own design business. 3 months turned into 3 years in the blink of an eye, a daughter & sea change later I found myself in downtown BrisVegas wondering what on earth had happened. After a year or so of dabbling in various crafts I tried my hand at Glass Fusing after following a suggestion from my parents. “Light bulb Moment” ~ could this be it? As I watched my raw glass creations morph into an amazing combination of vibrant colours and textures in the kiln.

I spent 6 months putting together a few collections and then after some research decided to take the product to market – quite literally. Initially trying to keep overheads low I trialed my work at Brisbane’s best known Art & Craft Market- ‘Eagle Street Pier’. An exhilarating and terrifying experience, but after the initial trial-it was addictive

How did you know this was what you were passionate about?

For the first time in my working life 9-5 didn’t feel like work, to the point of feeling guilty for being able to tell people that I love what I do. This was a turning point to be doing something I loved, making the rules and earning a dollar or two along the way-who could ask for more?

Another big hint was the fact that the whole concept was keeping me awake at night…thinking up new creations, ways of merchandising etc etc

I couldn’t switch it off

How hard was it to make the transition to do what you were passionate about full time?

For me it wasn’t difficult to make the transition mainly because I didn’t leave full time work, with a giant leap of faith and try to start up from scratch.

I know many people who have done this and don’t envy the precarious financial positions some end up in to chase their dream. I also have a very supportive husband and family who helped and encouraged me along the way. The ‘clincher’ of the deal was being able to work from home and balance being a full time Mum along with pursuing a creative endeavour

How long did it take to fully support/replace your everyday job?

That’s a hard one, I have been formally set up as a business now for going on 5 years, like anything it has it’s peaks and troughs, but if I were to measure success it in terms of job satisfaction, it replaced it overnight.

What gave you the courage to make this your “job”?

I think the initial response to my work from the public was such a ‘buzz’, that and the fact that I proved a few critics wrong in the early days. To have a customer so delighted to be purchasing a unique wearable art piece directly from the artist…and hat artist being you…there’s nothing more encouraging

How do you manage your time effectively?

It does have it’s downsides – time management is something I work at all the time. ‘Clocking off’ for the day can be a real problem when ‘work’ is “just” through the door, and inspiration tends to strike at the strangest of times. It is such a temptation to always be finishing something off or checking out new supplies or answer a few emails between cooking dinner or after reading my daughter a bedtime story.

What do you miss about having a “regular” job?

There are certain aspects of having a ‘traditional regular’ job, – the camaraderie of work colleagues, the team feel of having peers and just occasionally the directive of upper management…sometimes being the one to make ALL the decisions is a burden & I just wish for someone to say “Right those are the top 5 things that need doing – get to it!”

I have found the ‘Blog-O-sphere to be a wonderful forum to seek out like minded people and inspiration along the way, sometimes it can feel like attending school via correspondence as my ‘classmates’ are in cyber space…does that make sense?

It can be a very solitary pursuit when I am working in the studio, which is why I enjoy the balance of taking my ‘wares’ to market and chatting with the real people…it keeps me grounded and gives me an outlet for my social side.

What do you love about what you do now?

All in all I’d find it VERY challenging to conform to the regular 9-5 grind again…for starters my Studio ‘uniform’ would raise a few eyebrows in a conservative workplace, along with my choice of music to work by…(that and the volume it gets played at when things are really going right.) I don’t think I will be dancing to the beat of anyone’s drum but my own for a long time…if ever.

I love the fact I make most of the rules…

What qualifications did you have to run your own business?

My formal training includes a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Graphic Design, and a Retail Business Management Program, but by far the best teachers have been the clever folk I have met along the way, I have had some amazing employers who have given my wonderful opportunities, taken risks for me and allowed me to experience things that opened my eyes in a way formal education never could have. Sixteen LONG years in retail have given me a great insight into the business from both sides of the counter.

What did you have to give up in order to follow your dreams?

Oh that’s a tricky one…coz right about now I don’t think there’s much…


Thank you Jo

Find Jo

ONLINE STORE www.madeit.com.au/CurlyJoDesign

FOLLOW www.facebook.com/curlyjodesign

BLOGSPOT www.curlyjodesign.blogspot.com

EMAIL curlyjodesign@bigpond.com



flow – are you getting it?

 

Ever wondered why some days are spent in a flat spin accomplishing very little, if anything at all, and other days you are like a whirlwind, achieving with ease at lightening speed?  (and goodness help anyone that gets in your way).  No task is too big or too small and complexity is of no concern – everything just gets swept up in the path of accomplishing.

It might all be explained by a theory called flow.

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.” Wikipedia.

Totally focused it can bounce you around from one task to another with simple ease and natural progression, completing, solving and finalising projects that have otherwise been languishing or not even on your radar.  Frustratingly I always seem to achieve this magnificent state  – the day before I go on holidays.  A time limit is a sure fire way to ignite your inner being and set you on your way to super-hero status of achieving.

Other ways that you may find flow works for you are:

A purpose. Having clear goals and a step by step plan.

Being toally un-interupted or distracted. (headphones are a good aide)

Experiencing a taste of success.  The promise of what can be achieved is a great way to rocket you to “getting things done”.

Just begin – sometimes starting with an easy task and one that you find enjoyable will set you on the path to completing others.

Whatever your strategy there is no denying that the momentum of accomplishing is intoxicating and purely addictive not to mention totally fulfilling.  Next time you experience flow, make a note of what it was that enabled you to get it and repeat often.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi- Hungarian psychology professor best know as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic.

Reading:  Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

winning, is it losing it’s sheen?

Ok…. it’s a cheap gimmick.  But on a serious note (not that a very public meltdown is not serious – or incredibly sad- it is!), it has prompted me to ask what is winning and is winning at any cost still an ideology people subscribe too?

Winning of course means different things to different people and can constantly change as life progresses.  What once was important may no longer be the case and learning to adapt and consider what is “winning” can be challenging to say the least.

For instance a mum starting a business from home,  because her previous employer was inflexible to her new situation or she no longer felt the career path engaging, winning might start out being

flexible hours,
spending time with your children,
spending quality time catching up with loved ones and friends
all while engaging a creative and rewarding passion and connecting with a like minded community.

So being an at home business mum, when do I decide to become a business women who happens to be a mum at home?

business plan, business plan, business plan!  Work out what is important to you and why you started on this adventure in the first place.  Then refer to it regularly to see how the changes in the business are affecting  your plan and goals for yourself and then make adjustments as you feel you need to.

Without you even being aware a business can morph and change so often it is hard to keep up.  But a business plan will keep you grounded and on track to ensure what you are wanting to achieve from it at a certain time in your life. It will keep in check your goals and aspirations and make sure you are making decisions that suit both you and your business.  A business can be both an exciting and stressful time so making sure you are always “winning” is paramount.

the 5 REAL p’s of marketing – and how they can make you standout in your field.

Ok ok ……so we all know the basic fundamentals of marketing right?  Product, price, promotion and place……. blah blah blah.  Sure they are still the foundation for defining and marketing your product or service, but in this ever changing and evolving world it is no longer enough to get by with just the basics.  In my experience -the need to stand out has given rise to a whole new crop of p’s.

1.  PRESENTATION – Marketing is seemingly more and more about the visual.  The summation of your product, your business and you at a GLANCE.  Visually what you present speaks volumes about you and your business.  Everything from your logo, image, catalogues, web, facebook to those supposedly unimportant presentations to industry such as banking institutions, buying professionals and leasing agents.

TIP – when presenting to industry professionals make sure you do your homework.  Think about what information you are sending through emails.  It needs to be enough so that they can gain a summary of what you do and whether they would be interested in talking to you further.  An email simply stating I have a brand of gorgeous accessories is not going to cut it! And if you are one of the lucky ones to get face to face time- make the most of it. Ask what information are they requiring, what is the best format to present it in and would they like to see samples?

2.  PHOTOGRAPHY – nothing is more of a quick summation than an image.   Online or in print it is imperative you get the best quality photos (and models) you can afford.

TIP – if you can’t afford much, attend a workshop or seek out a short course to learn the tricks the professionals use and practice everyday. You won’t regret it.

3.  POINT OF DIFFERENCE – know your point of difference and USE it.  By coming at it from another angle, it can give you a whole new spin. Buyers, magazines and publicity professionals love a new angle – and it helps you to stand out from the crowd.

4.  PITCH – you have a limited amount of time (sometimes seconds) to grab attention.  Spend time polishing your pitch.

TIP – hire the services of a professional to help you articulate in a succinct way.  If that is out of the budget, ask a close friend to jot down some words about you or your business.  It can sometimes be difficult to put a hard hitting, enthusiastic marketing spin on something you are so close to.

5.  PROFESSIONALISM – in tying all these elements together, it is your professionalism that may get you over the line in that wholesale account you really want, that bank finance your need or that shop position you desperately desire.  People need to see you are committed, capable and worth investing in.  They are quite often accountable to others and don’t want to look silly by taking a risk on someone that may not last the distance.

TIP – ALWAYS be courteous (even if you are devastated inside).  Be early and organised and if you are not successful leave on a pleasant note and ask what areas could you work on for next time.