Business

PAPERCHAT Launch + A Giveaway + A Discount = OMG YAY!

Giveaway Time

I’m excited to announce the rebrand of PAPERCHAT. For those who don’t know, I launched PAPERCHAT back in 2012 on Etsy. I just finished my graphic design course and had some free time between graduating and looking for a job so I thought it’d be a great way to earn some extra money. I had no idea how much income it would actually bring in.

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When I first opened for business back in 2012 I had a few posters in my shop and didn’t really expect PAPERCHAT to become much of anything. After a few weeks of being open I had my first sale and it felt great. A few more sales followed and I knew then I was on to something. I continued to create new posters with some of my favourite quotes and my style really began to show.

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Etsy is a great marketplace, you can open a shop and barely have to do any promoting because it already brings in a lot of traffic. I have Etsy to thank for bringing in extra income, allowing me to pursue my freelance journey, and opening a lot of doors for me. While it’s great, there isn’t much room for your own brand to shine through. They give you a small banner to add to the top of your shop and that’s about all.

In 2013 I opened a Shopify store but was already working full-time and didn’t have much time to promote it. I gave it a few months and ultimately decided to just stick with Etsy. Now that I have some extra time on my hands I’ve decided to give it a go again, but this time I’ve decided to stick with Squarespace. I use them for my portfolio site, they’re awesome and cheaper than Shopify.

paperchat shoppe

I wanted the brand to have a fresh, airy, clean vibe. I’m really happy with how the site turned out. It’s a breath of fresh air and I’m happy to finally put a solid brand to my shop. You can also follow along with my adventures here and here.

 

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Paperchat Shoppe

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Now for the exciting part! I will be offering a 40% discount until Monday, February 2nd with code, LAUNCH40 at checkout. After Feb 2nd I will be offering a buy 2 get 1 free sale that is ongoing. And because I love my blog readers so much I’m hosting a giveaway! You can enter to win 2 posters from my shop, 12×18 or smaller, your choice. Check out the deets below.

paperchat shoppe

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note this giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. 

The contest runs until Thursday Feb 5th. The winner will be announced on Feb 6th. Visit my Etsy shop to view more posters to choose from.

Good luck!

M.

Creative Insights

Creative Insights – Kory Woodard

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Creative Insights is by far my favourite column on my blog. I love being able to feature a new creative every week and I’m especially excited for todays. Twitter is a magical place, a place to connect, share, and discover. That is where I met Kory. I stumbled upon her website and fell in love with her creative style and work. Her personalized hand lettered logos are my favourite. I’m so happy she agreed to take some time out of her day to answer my questions. So let’s get started.


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Tell us a little bit about your business and what it means to you?

I run a small design business where I help passionate bloggers and business owners create designs that will elevate them to the next level. Since settling into full-time business mode, it’s really been so amazing to work for myself. Design is something that can quite literally change someone’s business, so it really means a lot to me that I can do that for people. I truly love being able to do what I do.

What is one daily ritual you can’t live without?

Just one?! Okay, well, if I have to pick just one, it would definitely be my mornings before I get started! By the time I get up in the morning my husband is already at work, so I get the house to myself to have breakfast, enjoy a cup or two of coffee, and either read blogs or catch up on my favorite shows. Don’t get me wrong, I looove mornings when he’s here, but watching Pretty Little Liars without judgement is great, too! :)

Creative Insights

When you’re not creating where can we find you?

When I’m not creating, I’m just enjoying life! Lately for me that means reading more, decorating our new home, or just kicking back and watching tv. We try to explore our new city a little bit more or hang out with my husband’s friends when we have the chance as well!

What do you struggle with most when it comes to freelancing?

Probably what most people struggle with – getting a steady client base. Last year I was really fortunate to have a client who I ended up working with all year, which helps when things slow down. However, one of my biggest goals this year is to book myself out a little bit so I feel like I have a more comfortable stream of clients and income.

Creative Insights

What’s one business goal you hope to achieve in 2015?

Well aside from the one I just mentioned (oops! :) I am definitely just working on trying to build my business. I have a few ideas on new things I want to try this year, as well as hopefully launching a new ebook later this year. I had a really great year in business last year, so I just want to continue that to this year.

How do you treat yourself?

Starbucks! My husband probably doesn’t love that, but a few times a week I’ll go grab an iced chai or a green tea. I also just let myself relax instead of working nonstop. If I’m really into a book and I know I can afford to just hang out an extra hour or so for lunch, I’ll keep reading for a bit longer. I also will get pedicures every now and then. One thing I want to try this year as a treat is a massage!

Creative Insights

Any tips for staying organized? Do you have any project management tools you can’t live without?

Um, several probably! I would start with write it all down. There’s been so few times when I’ve remembered to do something that wasn’t written down – either in my planner or on a sticky note – that it’s embarrassing! After that, I would say take a day to get digitally organized (your files, your emails, your hard drives, etc) and another day to get everything in person organized. On those days create systems for new files or paperwork, and then here’s the kicker.. stick to those systems. It’s hard to get something in place and then keep to it, but if you train yourself to work a certain way, you’ll eventually be organized at least most of the time.

Favourite part of living in Charleston. Any favourite coffee shops / restaurants?

My absolute favorite part so far is that it’s warmer here than where we were in Tennessee! I’m loving that it’s been 60ish degrees several days in winter, which can happen in TN, but it’s not common. We haven’t tried a ton of new places yet, but I really enjoyed Black Tap for coffee when I was here visiting before I moved over. I think we’ve only been to one restaurant around here that wasn’t a chain or something we had already been to, and that was Bubba Gump’s. It’s seafood, and it’s right downtown. It’s cute because it’s basically a place for Forrest Gump lovers!

Creative Insights

A genie grants you 3 wishes for your business, what are they?

01- Enough clients to be booked out for about three months
02- The chance to help more people through speaking or teaching
03- And someone to deal with my taxes so I don’t have to worry about it anymore!

Aside from your freelance job, do you have any special projects on the side that you’re working on?

Absolutely! Obviously I’m blogging regularly, which helps business but doesn’t pay, really. I’m also one of the co-founders of Postmark Society, a pen pal group exclusively for bloggers. Aside from that, I launched an ecourse, Brand Catalyst, late last year, that I’d like to rework and relaunch later this year.

Make sure to check out Kory’s links below!

 PORTFOLIO / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM / PINTEREST

M.

 

Freebies

Free Image Downloads

FREEDOWNLOADS

Hi friends! I’ve been a little quiet around here these past few days and I feel horrible for it. Life has gotten in the way but I’m trying to stay positive. When I first started blogging I just wanted to blog to get the posts up everyday, I wasn’t too focused on the quality. Now that some time has passed and my following has grown, I want to make sure my posts are meaningful and have value to the reader. I’ve learnt that good blog posts take time to write, sometimes a day or two. And while I feel like I have all the time in the world right now, I’ve been feeling really down which makes writing harder. January has been a tough month but I look forward to the months ahead. Gotta stay positive!

Today I have some fun images for you to download and use as you please. Check them out below!
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They would make great wallpapers for your computer, print them out, or add them to your site, whatever your heart desires.

M.

Office

Office: Candle Obsession

CANDLES
Lately I’ve been obsessed with candles. Not just any candles, but candles that smell amazing and look pretty. They make great desk accessories and help improve your mood. Living a 5 minute walk from Anthropologie is dangerous and I have to force myself to not walk out with $50 in candles. My favourite thing to do at night is sit at my desk, plan blog posts, light a candle and just relax.
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candles
Here are 4 of my current favourites from left to right:

01- Hopscotch Soy Candle 
02- P.F Candle Co.
03- Paddy Wax Tobacco & Patchouli 
04- Capri Blue Constellation Candle

The struggle of deciding when to light them or to just keep them as they are is real.

Do you have any current favs? I’m always on the lookout!

M.

Creative Insights

Creative Insights: Alexandria Smith

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I’m so happy to get my Creative Insights column rolling. It’s always inspiring to read about other people’s creative journeys and what keeps them inspired. Today I’m featuring a lovely lady named, Alexandria Smith. We met through the, Be Free-Lance course, and after visiting her website I fell in love with her work and creative style. I’m so happy she agreed to take some time out of her day to answer my questions. Her description of Portland, OR sounds like a dream, and I can’t wait to visit. So let’s get started!



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Tell us a little about your business and what it means to you.

Lx Design Co. is a design studio run by myself. I started about a year and a half ago fueled by my passion for design and art direction, I wanted to be my own boss. I started my freelance business from nothing, not knowing a thing about freelance or how to run a business. All I had was the drive to start, and my creative talent. I basically have been winging it ever since! (I’ve learned that no one ever really knows what they are doing.)

I started to blog for my business 5 months ago because I realized I really enjoy helping others and I have an emotional connection to the type of work I do. Being able to inspire and motivate people is what I thrive off of. Writing about things I care about, working on projects that have an emotional or moral connection to, and just overall sharing the beauty of things is what is so important to me.

Lx Design Co


“Sharing the beauty of things is what is so important to me.”


What is one daily ritual you can’t live without?

Writing lists. I make lists all day long on different topics like goals for the evening, preparations for projects, things I want to buy…etc. There are a zillion notebooks and post it notes in my workspace. I have like 8 planners, and I also write lists on my phone! It’s pretty crazy and seems unorganized from another point of view, but I find it always helps me to remember everything.

When you’re not creating where can we find you?

Hiking and going on adventures! I love the outdoors, especially the Pacific Northwest, SERIOUSLY the world is so freaking beautiful…I guess I am sort of a hippie in a way. My boyfriend Cody T. Cheng is a photographer and we are two peas in a pod when it comes to being creative. We go on these hikes spontaneously and sometimes we will just wake up one morning and decide to drive 7  hours away to go somewhere cool we’ve heard about. Then we take a bunch of pictures and shoot video footage. This video he compiled explains us specifically.

Lx Design Co

In all honesty I always find myself creating in one way or another, whether it’s cooking, writing, taking Instagram photos. It’s also kind of hard when the person I live with is just as creative, if not more, than I am.

What’s one thing you struggle with most when it comes to freelancing?

People have these dreams about being able to work at home in your pajamas and how you’ll get so much more done! Well its not true. I find myself needing to get OUT of my house to get things done and not be in my pajamas. I also go to school full-time and have a couple of other gigs that I am doing aside from freelance, so managing my time is always a difficult task.

What’s one business goal you hope to achieve in 2015?

Freelance full-time right out of college! I graduate this summer with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design, and I want to feel challenged and take the risk! I also want to launch many more items in my shop, I have so many ideas!

Lx Design Co
How do you treat yourself?

I LOVE sweets and going out to new restaurants in downtown Portland. Portland is like restaurant heaven! There are so many great and unique places to try. I also just love cooookies! I can’t get enough of them. My favorite is homemade oatmeal cookies (With no raisins..raisins ruin a perfectly good cookie.)

Any tips for staying organized? Any project management tools you can’t live without?

My tips for staying organized is writing to-do lists by hand. I think when you are typing it into your phone or computer it isn’t the same as making a list by hand! I use the Day Designer by Whitney English to organize my to-do list all in one day. (Plus those other lists I have posted everywhere.)

Lx Design Co

Favourite part of living in, Portland, OR? Any favourite coffee shops/restaurants?

My favorite part about living in Portland, OR is that it is so unique and beautiful. It’s lush with so much greenery. Oregon in general has over 250 waterfalls to get to by car, a bajillion hikes and hidden gems to find, and even has seven wonders to visit! It’s only an hour away from the mountains and an hour away from the Pacific Ocean. The city is so lively and artistic! Its the perfect place for any creative.

Portland is full of delicious food carts, hipster stores and coffee shops. One of my favorite coffee shops is Barista (their logo and design is to die for), and Lovejoy Bakers is where I love to go for lunch, as well as Stumptown Coffee.

There are so many design studios and agencies, its hard to lose your inspiration with so many creatives running around, such as Wieden and Kennedy. We also have The Nike World Headquarters.

A genie grants you 3 wishes for your business, what are they?

01. To have my own studio space with trees and waterfalls indoors. And maybe a slide instead of stairs.
02. To be able to help as many people as possible feel inspired and motivated to create.
03. To be able to work with a kick-ass adventurous people who think this world is as beautiful as I do.

Lx Design Co

 Any tips for someone looking to get into graphic design?

My advice is to get schooling, I recommend Portland State University to everyone! www.psu.gd There are so many things I learned in school that I wouldn’t have otherwise. All of our professors are highly talented designers who have connections to others in our design community in PDX. Learning from them has helped me immensely. If you do not wish to go to school I suggest you take online courses, check out design blogs for help, and read TONS OF BOOKS. It can only help. Another thing is don’t get discouraged because your work isn’t as amazing as some big-time designer you saw on Pinterest, you will get there! Just practice, find your unique sense of style, and you are well on your way.

Lx Design Co


Just practice, find your unique sense of style, and you are well on your way.


I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to bringing you new interviews every Wednesday. Make sure to check out, Alexandria’s links below, you won’t be disappointed. 

PORTFOLIO / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM / BLOGLOVIN

Business

Business: 8 Tools I Use Everyday

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Today I thought I’d share my top 8 tools I use everyday for my business. Does anyone else get overwhelmed by the amount of choice you have these days for project management tools? It literally took me months to decide on Podio to use for client work because there are so many options out there. It’s a good idea to do your research, even if it takes months, and decide on a few select websites/apps that you can rely on and trust. So let’s get started!

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01- Evernote
I’ve been using Evernote for about four years now. I started using it in college for taking notes and now I use it for everything!  I love using it for my blog. I have a ‘Blog’ notebook which then has a bunch of notes including, blogging ideas, instagram post ideas, to-do lists, blog feature ideas, etc. It’s also great for planning projects. You can create lists, clip images from the web for inspiration, take photos of receipts, and they now have a chat option which is perfect if you are sharing a notebook with another person. It makes collaborating a whole lot easier.

02- Death To The Stock Photo
I signed up for, Death To The Stock Photo last year but never really found the need to use it. Now that I blog regularly sometimes I find myself needing a photo that I don’t already have in my library which makes DTTSP perfect! Every Saturday a fresh pack of stock photos is delivered to your inbox ready to download. I recently decided to try out their premium option for $10/month. It gives you instant access to all previous packs and special packs that are only available to premium members. I’ve glanced through the images and can already tell it’s worth the monthly fee, considering how expensive some stock photos can be a piece.

03- Podio
After spending months trying to decide on a project management tool to use with clients I finally came across Podio. Most project management sites cost money and can get expensive, but with Podio the free option is perfect for me. What sold me on it is the nicely designed interface, the ability to add apps that work for you, and you can integrate Freshbooks, Dropbox, email, Evernote, and a whole bunch more. I highly suggest checking it out if you’re looking for a PM tool and with the free option you can play around with it and find what works for you.

04Adobe Creative Suite
Being a graphic designer I use Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign CS6 daily. My computer hates me for running all 3 at once. If you’re not familiar with using these programs there are always sites like, Canva, PicMonkey, Inkscape, and more.

05- Buffer
Buffer is great for batch writing social media posts. I’ll spend some time writing tweets out and adding them to my queue. Buffer will then spread the posts throughout the day so I don’t have to think about it and can focus on other more important things. You can upgrade to a premium account which allows you to add 100 posts to your queue and add more accounts to your profile. However, for me, the free account is more than enough.

06- Day Designer
I mulled on whether or not I should get this planner for at least 2 months. I came so close to hitting the “complete order” button at checkout but always decided against it. Thankfully I didn’t go through with the order because I got one for Christmas! As much as I love Evernote, I LOVE writing stuff out with pen and paper, especially daily tasks. There’s just the satisfaction of crossing stuff off your list with a highlighter that no app can provide. The planner is laid out in such a way that it’s easy to keep track of daily tasks, appointments, meetings all while tracking money, planning dinner, and writing out what you’re thankful for each day. I highly recommend it!

07- Spotfiy
Spotify is new to Canada and is now open to everyone without an invite so I suggest checking it out. They have a free 30 day premium trial which is nice because the occasional ad gets annoying after awhile. I never really liked iTunes so this is perfect for me, and takes the time out of downloading new music.

08- Pinterest
I probably don’t have to go into too much detail about how amazing Pinterest can be for collecting inspiration. Whenever I’m working on a new project I will create a “secret board” so that only I can see, which allows me to pin freely without it ruining my look and feel of how I want my Pinterest boards to come across. You can check out my boards here.


please note I have not been paid to talk about any of the above services. I just truly believe in them and think they will make your life a little easier. 


Do you have any favourite tools you use daily?

M.

Friday 5

Friday 5

Friday 5

Happy Friday! It’s been quite the stressful week for me, but I’m glad it’s over. As usual, here is, Friday 5.

01- How to have the worst year ever
02- 5 tips on how to reduce bounce rate on your website
03- How to be organized each and every week
04- Would you buy these candles?
05- Have you listened to any of these podcasts yet?

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! I have to get a blood test on Monday so I will be stressing all weekend. I do not enjoy being poked by a sharp needle. Do you have any tips for getting through it? I’d love to hear them!

Font Finds

4 Favourite Brush Fonts

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Hi, friends! Recently I’ve come across some super cute and affordable brush fonts on, Creative Market. I’ve listed my 4 favourite brush fonts below. Handwritten fonts are huge right now, so these are perfect for the days when you’re feeling too lazy to pull out the brush and ink. Enjoy!

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brush2 Manhattan Darling $12

gergiuos-font-1-obrush1The Georgios $12 (40% off right now)

valerie-new-display-1-obrush3.jpg Valerie $15

wanderlust-1-obrush4Wanderlust $14

Manhattan Baby is my favourite from the list. What fonts are you crushing over right now?

M.

Creative Insights

Creative Insights Vol. 1

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Hey, friends! Today I’m excited to launch a new blog series called, Creative Insights. My hopes for this series is to take a peek into the lives of other creatives and learn a little about them. I will be launching it with yours truly so you can get an idea of what to expect while learning a little about me. The plan is to feature a new creative every Wednesday. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Creative Space


1. Tell us a little bit about Forth and Wild and what it means to you.
Forth and Wild is a design studio run by one gal, me. It was born last August after I decided to take the leap into freelance. The name, Forth and Wild is meaningful to me, it’s all about taking chances and living with intention. My main goal for this company is to create meaningful brands for small businesses, and collaborate with other creatives.

2. What is one daily ritual you can’t live without?
Working from home is awesome! But it’s easy to fall into the trap of not leaving the apartment at all during the day and missing out on getting some fresh air. If I don’t get fresh air I usually find myself restless and grumpy come nighttime. To avoid this I make sure to get outside at least once a day. It’s always a good idea to get out, take a walk, get a coffee, and give yourself a break from the computer.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.09.55 AM(The Handsome Bean project)

3. When you’re not creating where can we find you?
When I’m not working away on Etsy orders, portfolio items, or blog posts, you can find me either in front of the tv watching Netflix, reading a new book, or hanging out with friends. I made it a goal this year to check out more coffee shops around Toronto, and explore the city a bit more.

4. What do you struggle with most when it comes to freelancing?
My biggest struggle right now is finding a steady stream of clients. I need to work on promoting my brand as much as possible. When I don’t have any client work I’m constantly reading about freelance, taking courses, and working on my own projects to add to my portfolio. It’s a slow process but with some hard work I know it will pay off in the end.

5(Tendr Brewhouse Project)

5. What’s one business goal you hope to achieve for, Forth and Wild in 2015
My main goal for 2015 is to feel confident enough to know that I can continue on with freelancing comfortably.

6. How do you treat yourself?
I recently treated myself by creating a new creative space where I can work. Sushi nights, and Starbucks trips are also on the list.

2eb05c41f7cfaf1e71b2511e8c15cdc3 1.27.05 PM 2(Treat Yo Self Poster)

7. Any tips for staying organized? Do you have any project management tools you can’t live without?
Staying organized is not one of my strong suits but it’s something I work on daily. Keeping your files clean, organized, and most importantly backed up is key. I use Evernote almost daily, for taking notes, writing out goals, and planning blog posts. I’ve been trying to find a good project management site to use for client projects. Having a client portal where we can talk and upload files all in one place is important to me. I recently came across, Podio and so far it looks promising. Best of all there’s a free option and seems to fit all my needs. I definitely recommend checking it out.

8. Favourite part of living in Toronto. Any favourite coffee shops / restaurants?
Toronto is a great city to be apart of. I love the culture, the endless options for a night out, being able to hop on the transit and go just about anywhere easily, summer days walking around, or hanging out in a park. One of my favourite spots for a beer and food is, Bellwoods Brewery. Aside from the great beer, it’s a great place to hang out in the summer, especially with Trinity Bellwoods Park so close by.

Bellwoods Brewery

9. A genie grants you 3 wishes for your business, what are they?
1. iMac, because I would love to have a desktop computer with a larger screen while working.
2. The ability to travel and work with clients and creatives in other countries when I want.
3. Job security and brand growth.

PORTFOLIO / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / PINTEREST

 M.

Snippets

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Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend.

01
- This month I have given up all alcohol and I’m trying to drink more freshly squeezed juice. I will be writing a post at the end of the month about my booze free month broken down week by week. It’s been 12 days so far and I don’t miss alcohol at all! Have you decided to give up anything this month?

02- Earlier this month I put together my own creative space. I absolutely love sitting there and I get so much more work done compared to trying to get work done while sitting on the couch in front of the tv. Go figure. You can see the tour and shop the look here.

03- The weather this weekend was cold, cold, cold! I stayed in for most of it and kept warm, however I did manage to sneak out on Sunday and pick up a new book. I’ve heard really good things about, Creative, Inc and I can’t wait to learn some valuable tips from it.

The Be-Free Lance course starts today which should make this Monday a little better. I can’t wait to learn from the freelance queens, Bre and Jen. I will also be starting a new blog series on Wednesday called ‘Creative Insights’ so stay tuned!

M.