For those of you who have been around here for a while, you know that I’ve been doing this for a really long time. Like 14 years. Jewelry has been in my blood since the first beaded bracelet I made and sold my Freshman year of high school to earn money for Spring Break. It’s such a joy hearing the stories of what you all have stamped on your items – memorials, celebrations, words that impact your lives.

Owning your own business definitely has its perks: you choose your schedule, you get all of the profits, the flexibility and being your own boss is amazing. But there are also some potential downsides to owning your own business: never knowing exactly what your income will be, sometimes having to work long hours during busy seasons, not being able to shut off your mind.

Three years ago I started a small side business, simply because I felt like God had allowed me to go through some things in my health so that I would share what I was learning about food and natural living with others. I have loved this business and it brings me such fulfillment during the slower times with my jewelry business. There have been months where my side business has picked up the slack financially for us when the sales weren’t coming in here.

As a result, I have felt led lately to share with you all a challenge – why start a side business? This can be beneficial for so many, but especially those who already have a successful business. How? The readers and followers are already there. If you choose a side business that coordinates with what you are already passionate about and sharing, those followers will transfer over to your new business. I’m not talking about bugging all of your friends all day every day. I’m simply saying sharing what you love about this new venture in a natural way that fits with everyday life. Here are some examples:

Against All Grain – Danielle is a cookbook author and writes about Paleo living. Eating clean foods is super important to her. She just started on as a consultant with Beautycounter (makeup) and it fits with her current feed because the company is concerned about non-toxic makeup.

Livy Loves to Run – Diane gained a huge following when she lost 100 pounds by exercising and eating healthy. She recently started selling LipSense, which is an all-day lasting lipstick line. She’s doing really well with that and is building a brand new house as a result. While losing weight doesn’t really coordinate with selling lipstick, she wears her lipstick in some of her photos, which makes an easy transition for her followers that are interested.

These are just two examples of people who have huge Instagram followings who started a side business successfully. What if you don’t have a huge following? You can be successful at this too. I know of many friends who are hardly on social media that have created successful side businesses – some that are paying off mortgages and retiring their husbands. My friend Eva just shared the other day this great article about having a side job with your day job.

those who kept their day job while pursuing a personal venture on the side — or what the researchers called “hybrid entrepreneurship” — were 33 percent less likely to fail than those who quit their jobs altogether.

My side business is sharing wellness products with others. I love being able to make someone’s life better and I love that I can do it from anywhere (i.e. at a stoplight or on the beach). I love that I don’t have to carry inventory for my side job.There is such joy in hearing the testimonies of lives changed. The relationships I’ve built in this new business are invaluable to me. This doesn’t feel like a “job” to me, it truly is fun and fulfilling. If you want to learn more about my side business (which soon will likely surpass my jewelry income), please send me an email. I’d love to talk to you more about it and see if it’s right for you. If not, consider finding a network marketing business that does fit with your passions – it could change your life in wonderful ways.

Startup Stock Photos

If you’ve been on Instagram already today, you’ve seen all of the chatter about Instagram changing their algorithms and making the feeds non-chronological. Nearly everyone is posting pictures pointing to those triple dots in the top right corner and asking you to turn on post notifications. Well, I’m telling you today to please don’t do that. If you really want to, you can…however I know for myself I have enough distractions throughout the day. I don’t need my phone to ping every time someone posts a picture on Instagram. I’m telling you right now that getting a notification when I post a picture of a new item is not important enough to distract you when your family needs you, when you’re at work or when you’re driving. You should just be able to come to social media when you’re able and see what you’d like to see.

The Instagram changes are a challenge, but here are a few things you can do to make sure that you’re getting the information that you want from the feeds that you love. The first is to ENGAGE. Like pictures. Be sure to comment. This goes for Facebook as well – the more you engage, the greater the chances to keep seeing those feeds that you enjoy. And on Facebook it’s a double bonus because when you do those things it shows up to your friends, which can help a small business like mine to grow organically.

Another thing you can do is to sign up for my e-newsletters. Chances are, most of you already subscribe. But if not, go ahead and sign up here and snag a 15% off coupon. I hope to send emails out a few times a week with coupons, sales, new products and other items that have value. If you have other small businesses that you love and don’t want to miss, see if they have an e-news as well that you can sign up for.

Lastly, clean up your “following” list. Maybe it’s time to clean house and make sure you unfollow those feeds that you no longer need to see. That way you’re free to see the ones you do want to see.

When I first heard of yet another change, I did get scared. This business is a good chunk of our livelihood and income. I am my only employee. Instagram has been integral to the growth of my business. But you know what? If people love my items, they’ll come shop with me when they need jewelry…regardless of if they see me in their feed. I just trust you all to share your love for my items with your friends and direct them to my site. It’s okay. I love and appreciate all of you for the support over the last 12 years…and the continued support in the future.

unfollowLast Friday was a crazy day for me – just super busy and putting out fires for the market and working (etc, etc). That evening someone was at my house and she said that a friend told her that my life was perfect. In that moment  it made me really upset. Of course my life’s not perfect. Blessed? Yes. Perfect? Absolutely not. Sunday at church I stewed over that. People thinking my life is perfect. Why does that make me mad? I really don’t know, but I do know I never want to make anyone feel bad with the things that I put out there. I talked it over with Dave and he basically told me to take it as a compliment (hard to do when I figure it wasn’t meant that way). He said to let it go, which I probably should but just had to get this out today.

In the past few weeks I’ve come across a few blog posts about social media. They’ve been about the reality of it and how people show you the snippets they want you to see. People don’t post everything that happens in their day (thank goodness)! You see what they want you to see. We all know that. I’ve said it many times – I want this little corner of the internet to be a positive, inspirational place. I want my shop, blog, instagram, facebook – I want it all to give glory to God and inspire others in various aspects of their lives. Whether that’s using our gifts, becoming healthier, encouraging others. That’s not to say that I don’t have bad days or days that I raise my voice at my children. Days that I nag my husband or there’s a crazy amount of dirt on the floor. Days that I eat too much chocolate or gluten even though I know I’ll feel sick after. We all have those days. But who wants to see them in their newsfeed? Maybe some do, but that’s not my thing. Thankfully, God has made us all different – so if that is your thing, you can find it.

If my space is not encouraging for you, if it’s not uplifting you and encouraging you (and sometimes challenging you, which is not a bad thing) – there’s this wonderful little thing called the unfollow button. You can do it most anywhere. On Facebook if we’re friends, you can hide my posts. You don’t have to unfriend me, you can just choose to hide my posts. I’ll never know. Or you can unfollow on Instagram or other social media. I don’t check to see who unfollows me – because that will give me a complex and I don’t need that. Truth be told, I follow and unfollow people all the time. It depends on what’s going on in my life right then. One day I might want to follow a photographer with gorgeous nature pictures, then a few weeks later maybe I don’t want to see that as much. Maybe one day I want to see a really talented crafter, and later I realize that those posts make me feel bad that I haven’t taken time to craft in a really long time. It’s okay. Things change. Our needs and wants change. I hope that I can be an inspiration to you but if not, that’s okay. You won’t hurt my feelings if my style isn’t for you. We all decide who to follow. If you are a follower and continue to be, I appreciate you and your encouragement in that way.

I’m coming into the busiest time of the year so it’ll be a little quiet around here as I focus on fulfilling orders for the Christmas season. You can always follow along with what I’m doing on Facebook, Instagram or if you’re interested in wellness you can follow my new site and Instagram. Love and appreciate you all!

planning

Last month I shared how to get out of a creative funk. This month I wanted to share how I plan my days because it was requested that I share what I do. What I do obviously won’t work for everyone, but it’s something that works really well for me. I’m the type of person that if it’s not written down, it doesn’t get done. I can go to the store for a dozen eggs but if it’s not on my shopping list, I’ll get everything (that I don’t need) and forget the eggs. I’m a mess that way. So much so that when my mom asks me to do something she tells me (every time), “write yourself a note.” At least I know I’m this way, right? So here’s how I plan my days, because with three businesses (this, this and this), two kids, a hubby and house to take care of I’m feeling spread pretty thin these days. I know you all can relate. Life’s hard. Life’s busy. Life’s expensive. This method helps me to be a little less crazy. A little.

monthly planning

Before the nuttiness of summertime, I was doing great making Monthly, Weekly and Daily goals with the help of Lara Casey’s Power Sheets. I plan to go back to using them as soon as I make the time to set some goals again. (you can see previous goals here when I was diligent about them). Basically you set a few monthly goals – I did mine by categories: business, spiritual, physical, relational, finances. When you go through the power sheets she walks you through what your big goals are and then how to split them into smaller goals in order to help you better accomplish them. It’s a really great system…you don’t have to use power sheets to complete your goals but this sure helped me break them down. After monthly goals you set weekly ones (something you do once a week) and then also daily goals (shown below). As you can see already from my checkboxes in the picture, there were days when my goals didn’t get done. And I’m okay with that. Progress, not perfection as Lara says!

planning3

Once I knew my goals, I could start putting them into my planner. In 2013 I used an Erin Condren Planner and this year I’m using Emily Ley’s. I haven’t decided what I’ll use in 2015 – I like to try new ones so I might try the Day Designer. Or I might make my own planning sheets. Jury’s still out on that one. I’ve gone back and forth with a paper planner vs. just my phone. I do keep my schedule in my phone, but I still transfer it to my planner weekly. There’s just something about me and paper.

blog calendar

On the monthly view of the calendar in my planner I plan my blog posts. Yes, I color code the calendar so that I can see which posts are for Amy Cornwell, LLC and which are for Natural Living Real Life. Plus I love colorful pens. And really any office supplies. I digress. So the month is all planned out with my posts, then I check off when they’re complete. That way I know what to start thinking about when I have time on my calendar for blogging. I also put extras on that calendar like photo shoots and freebie fridays. Just to keep my eyes on what’s going out to the world on the blog and enews.

daily planner

Once I have my blog planned for the month, I can start planning my days. Normally I like to plan my days on Sunday – I put all of my appointments in then plan out production days for the jewelry business. It takes priority over anything else, I want people to get their orders in a timely manner. After I plan production days, I plan what days I need to focus on getting my blog posts done and other tasks. I simply fill in the week. If something doesn’t get done on a certain day, it gets bumped to the next (see above where orders have a little arrow…apparently I didn’t get them all done with everything else so they were finished the next day). As I look at my tasks for the day, I refer back to the monthly calendar to make sure no blog posts get forgotten.

planning2

For me, there’s something so gratifying about checking things off the list. Some days I only have one thing to do, other days I have 10 little things to do. But they all go “on the list” so that I can make sure nothing is missed and I can also look back and make sure that I actually did something I was supposed to do. Now it’s your turn – how to do plan your days? Do you plan them at all ahead of time or just take one day at a time? Weigh in below and we’ll learn from each other!

photo-3Hey y’all. So it’s been an interesting week for me. The kids are on spring break and while they’re super excited about it, the reality is that I still had to work. Thankfully my kids are old enough to play together (somewhat nicely, while sometimes too loudly) but the mom guilt is still there that I have to work instead of playing games or doing something crafty with them. I’m knee deep in B-school, feeling like my to-do list is getting longer and longer instead of things getting checked off. I’ve got a bad case of overwhelm going on. This is partly because my website is being updated completely and hopefully launched in May meaning that some of my tasks can’t be done until that time. To put it lightly, I’m overwhelmed and halfway considering quitting my course, throwing away the to-do list and just doing life the same way I have for the past 10 years.

Earlier this week I read this post from Hayley. She talks about where she is in her blogging journey and so much of it resonated with me. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and it’s evolved and changed so much in that time. This year, I’ve consistently blogged on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in an effort to put out quality content without tying myself down to everyday posts. My posts focus on 5 main areas: inspiration, how-to’s, sharing others, shop updates and random posts (like book reviews and such). My focus has gotten right down to my color-coded calendar so I can make sure that I have a good balance of each one throughout the month.

In creating categories to focus on each month, I think I’ve made myself try to seem like I’m an expert at all of these things when really the one thing that I’m really good at (and make money with) is making jewelry. There are so many DIY experts out there with gorgeous pin-able posts. There are so many awesome bakers out there sharing their recipes. And on and on and on. Why do I feel like I need my blog to be all the things to everyone? I really don’t know. My blog should just be an extension of Amy. I don’t need to be everything to everyone because I can’t be.

Hayley says,

“Are we all so connected that there is no mystery or suspense anymore? Isn’t Instagram easier and Twitter quicker? How can we bring back the stories of our mundane lives? Because, those are the things that I’m inspired by. I don’t need another Pinnable post from another blogger–although, I understand why we all write them.”

So, I don’t know where this leaves me. Until B-school is over and my website is complete you might not hear much from me besides what I already have scheduled (which includes an amazing giveaway this month for all you momma’s of young ones!). I might blog randomly here or there about something that strikes my fancy. But until I have a hold on what I want this place to be and what it should be, I’m going to let go of that pressure on myself and focus on my to-do list and growing my business (while taking time off to love on my family). I feel like I go through this every 6 months or so…my blogging identity crisis. Someday I’ll figure it out.

Oh yeah, I guest posted on Aleks’ blog earlier this week about cultivating our strengths, I’d love if you’d check it out and hopefully be inspired. Maybe share it with a friend to encourage her to cultivate her God-given gifts instead of focusing on her weaknesses.