Hive Workshops Kansas City Blogging Workshop

Blogging Workshop : Hive Workshops Blogging for Creatives

I’m so excited to be teaching a class for {hive-workshops} this week all about blogging! This is a workshop for all creatives, not just photographers and will take the creatives through the benefits and how-to’s of blogging for creative businesses. The end goal is for the creatives to leave the workshop with the tools to either create their own business blog or to enhance their current blog and social media content. I will show real-time demonstrations and techniques for making your blog amazing! Worksheets will be provided for the creatives to keep for their own use. As with all {hive-workshops} open discussion is strongly encouraged!

Hive Workshops Blogging for Creatives

WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES

At the end of this workshop, attendees should be able to:

– Understand how blogging helps build their business

– Identify the top blogging platforms for creatives

– Understand simple HTML and CSS tricks and tips to help them create and design their blog

– Know easy methods for building story and interest through blogging

– Describe how to make content shareable on social media

– Identify the best social media platforms to focus on in order to build their brand

– Understand how to promote their blog, including SEO and hashtags

– Describe and explain the “3-and-3 Blogging Rule”

– Be familiar with programs/plugins specific to creatives that make blogging workflow fast and efficient

The Blog Salon is gifting one lucky Creative a free consultation and all the Creatives $50 off any design package. BlogStomp is also giving every attendee 20% off Coupon code!

I would LOVE to see you at this workshop on Wednesday, July 17th from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at {hive-workshops} fantastic new space in the West Bottoms in Kansas City! To sign up, click here!

Kansas City Rainbow Skyline

In Anticipation of Summer : A Work at Home Mom Dilemma

Can you guys believe it’s almost summer?! Me either. My preschooler has already ended his school year, and my third grader is done in two days! Ack. The summer months have become a little more challenging now that I’m a work-at-home mom. When I was in an office full-time, I used to lament the fact that my kids never really got a “summer.” I mean, sure, it was hot outside, but they still had to get up early and head off to daycare or camp in the morning. Actually, most of the time, summer felt just like the rest of the year. One of the things I looked forward to the most when I started my freelance life was getting to spend the summers with my kids. It’s so nice being able to let them sleep in a bit and not be so rush-rush.

KC Rainbow Skyline

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. I still have to work, but in the summer my childcare is seriously limited. I don’t exactly need full-time childcare, but part-time care is expensive and difficult to schedule. I have spent the last three months trying to find a summer babysitter that would be able to work part-time, but had several girls back out because they wanted or needed more hours. Which I totally understand, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating! Luckily, we have found someone awesome who will be helping us out this summer with the kids, but since she doesn’t start until June, I’m basically working around my kids for the next few weeks.

I think this is a challenge we all face, whether we are work-at-home moms, stay-at-home moms, or moms who work outside of the home. It’s easy to assume the other side has it easier, but in reality, we are all dealing with frustration, messy schedules and missed opportunities. When I worked in a corporate setting (which I did for most of my career as a parent), I would be so jealous of the moms that worked from home and got to spend more time with their kids. Now that I’m working from home with a flexible schedule, I miss the continuity and availability of full-time daycare. I hate putting the kids in front of the TV so I can take a conference call or having to turn down work opportunities because I can’t find child care. In fact, I’m writing this post from inside a local play place where I’m sitting on the floor in the corner while my son runs around to burn off some energy. It’s not exactly the most inspiring place to create!

But the trade offs will always exist, no matter what parenting path you choose. There aren’t any easy answers, and there are sacrifices regardless, so I try to focus on gratitude and the positives. I get to spend the summer with my kids. I get to work and create art. I get to be there on all fronts. I get to continue to grow, through different challenges and obstacles. And most of all, I get to choose. That is a complete luxery. When I worked in my corporate job, I didn’t love what I did for a living. I was unfulfilled and uninspired. The work was good, the people were great, but I wasn’t doing what I was born to do.

These days, I love what I’m doing. Is it perfect? No. Not at all. It can be frustrating, scary and stressful at times. There are days when I want to give up and just be at home with my kids, with no client obligations. There are days when I want to go back to an office full-time. But most days, even when it’s hard, I know I’m in the best possible situation for myself and my family’s unique chemistry. And now, with long summer days looming ahead, I know I am making the right choice for me. Am I doing it all? Hardly. But I’m doing my best, and that’s got to count for something.

NYC

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Last week I was fortunate to travel to New York City for a work trip with a little fun added in! I had originally planned to try and visit my best friend (and the other half of the NYC + KC project) this spring, and when I mentioned it to one of my freelance clients, they asked if I could add a couple of days to my visit and spend some time in of their NYC offices. It all worked out perfectly, and thanks to my husband who took over the homestead while I was away, I was able to head off to the big city for five days.

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This trip was so needed, and I feel so lucky to have been able to go. I have been a working mama for most of my motherhood career, and it isn’t always easy. So it was actually pretty nice to take a little break from serving as a human Kleenex and just focus on my work for a few days. I rode the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan each morning, and after a long work day, I headed back out to my friend’s house with no worries about what I was making for dinner or if we were late for soccer practice or if everyone had done their homework. The day before I left for New York, I completely lost my cool with the kids, and I knew we all needed a little break from each other. Sometimes the pressure of parenthood can be much for even the best of us, and some distance and space only makes the heart grow fonder. A few days in New York City helped me remember who I was before I was “mama” and also allowed me to actually MISS my own life. I believe every mom or dad needs a little break now and then to recharge and regroup, and for me, NYC was the perfect place to do it.

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It didn’t hurt that I got to spend some good, quality time with my best friend and her family. I hadn’t seen Theresa in person in almost three years (!!!) so it was just lovely to be close to her for a few days. We rode the subway together to work and talked late into the night. On Saturday we wandered the city for 12 hours, walking 11 miles as we talked and laughed. It was a perfect New York day. I love seeing New York with actual New Yorkers, because they introduce me to things I wouldn’t have tried without them. We ate pizza by the water in DUMBO and drove out to Coney Island to look at the roller coasters. We walked the Highline and visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. But mostly we just walked and talked and experienced the day together.

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I am so grateful for this time and for this trip. I came back to Kansas City tired, but recharged creatively and mentally. I am ready to get back to my real life and live it to the fullest. And when I saw my smiling family at the airport, I realized how much I really did miss them while I was away. New York was fun, but my heart is wherever my family is. And since my family is in Kansas City, that’s where my heart belongs.

Day in the Life : Behind the Scenes

Last week was crazy, and I mean that in the best of ways! Lately my life has been full…so full of good and lovely and wonderful things, both in work and in my personal life, and while it’s amazing, it’s also a bit exhausting. Sometimes, as I’m running from task to task, I find myself getting anxious and I lose sight of how incredible this little life of mine is these days. My kids are finally old enough to be much more independent, I’ve started my own business, what used to be a hobby is now my JOB, and I have the flexibility to have the life I’ve dreamed of…and yet I can get stuck in the hectic busy-ness of it all. I know this is just a phase of life, and I won’t always feel this crazed, but it’s easy to get lost in the list of things to do and the little amount of time I have to do it all.

Day in the Life on Instagram with @crazy_bananas

So last Wednesday I looked at my calendar and decided I needed to find something to be grateful for every, single hour. I had a huge day scheduled. It was April Fools Day, I was hosting Tate’s school Easter party, I had my first newborn photo session of the year, and we had both piano and soccer after school. In between I had deadlines and daily work I needed to get done. I was overwhelmed with all of it, but I had an idea that I thought would help.

Day in the Life on Instagram with @crazy_bananas

I’m a huge fan of Instagram, so I decided it would be fun to do a “Day in the Life” series, where I would post a picture every hour of what was happening in my day. I started when I got up in the morning, and went until my head hit the pillow that night. I posted a photo as Tate exchanged plastic eggs with his buddies and as I arranged a sweet baby in a prop for our session. I shared as I helped Lulu with piano and as I edited late at night when the rest of the house was asleep. I wanted to share my day, but this project was also a bit self-serving. You see, I know the arguments against sharing photos of the “good stuff” on social media. I get it. It’s not realistic to think that every great photo of a beautiful kid smiling in the sunshine is indicative of someone’s entire life. Of course there are bad moments and tantrums in the grocery store. But I decided a while ago to try and focus on the good things in my life, and posting about those happy moments on social media (especially in photos) helps me cultivate gratitude and joy. So, for me, sharing the good moments doesn’t feel inauthentic. It feels like an act of thankfulness.

Day in the Life on Instagram with @crazy_bananas

I shared my day on Instagram under the hashtag #dayinthelifeofmeg, and found the whole experience to be uplifting. It helped me take a crazy day and turn it into a series of beautiful moments. There is a lot of calm amidst the crazy! I also loved being able to share a bit of what my life looks like as a work-at-home mom and freelancer. I think there is a misconception that freelancers spend most of their time in coffee shops, leisurely writing their memoirs or something…and that couldn’t be further from the truth in my case! I work very hard so that I can be flexible and be with my family when they need me. It’s certainly not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Freelance Life : An Update

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It’s been a little over two months since I left my corporate world to join the freelance universe, and I figured it might be a good time for a little update. The transition to full-time freelancer has been fairly smooth, all things considered. I think I’d been freelancing on the side for such a long time, it was actually a relief to be able to take it on more seriously. I know I am lucky, because we have my husband’s good salary to support us, but at the same time, he has been able to build his business because I spent years supporting us while he was starting up, so it’s not all luck. I’d say going for it included a mix of good fortune, hard work, sweat and laughter, because this life is so silly, you have to laugh sometimes.

My biggest struggle has been balancing work and my kids, which is obviously very unique and has never been discussed on the internet before! (I hope the sarcasm was inherent in that statement, but if not, here’s a clue…) Lucy is in third grade, so she’s in school five days a week from 8:10 until 3:10. Tate is in preschool, and goes three days a week from 9:00 until 2:30. This means I have 15 hours per week kid-free. Squeezing everything in during those 15 hours is so very challenging. And that’s not taking in to account my other obligations, like volunteering at school, running our household, service work and watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix! Also, there have been many (many) weeks where there are government holidays or in-service days so the kids don’t have school. Yesterday was Tate’s last day of school for two weeks due to Spring Break, and today is Lucy’s last day for 10 days. Deadlines don’t seem to realize that it’s Spring Break, the party poopers, so that is something I have to deal with and work to overcome.

Now, I’m going to be real about this…it’s hard. But it’s temporary. And really, it’s not that big of a deal. One thing I’ve learned is I like working as a freelancer because I control the amount of drama in my own head. When I was in an office, I had a hard time staying out of the fracas when there was drama or issues, and I found myself constantly stressed out. I think since I’m working alone in my own space, even if it’s on a project with a team of people, I’m better able to keep that drama at bay. So the stress levels are lower, even though I’m probably working harder than ever. Also, I’m doing work I love! The work fulfills me creatively, so when I look at my to-do list and feel overwhelmed, I look again and actually READ the items on said list. And you know what? I have a really fun job! I immediately feel better when I look at things from that perspective.

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So, that’s where I am, 60 days into this crazy new adventure. Yes, there are days when I work at IKEA (see photo on the right) because they have child care and free wifi. Yes, I am that lady at the gym who drops the kids off in the play area and then sets up my laptop in the cafe to work. Sure, I have to trust the Power Rangers to distract my kids long enough so I can send an email or jump on a quick conference call. But for the most part, it’s amazing. I’m learning new tricks every day. My biggest one? From 3:00 p.m. to 8 p.m., I do my best not to work. That’s family time, and the whole reason I am doing this is so I can be there more for my kids. So from when I pick them up from school to when they are tucked in bed, I am all theirs. Sure, I hire a babysitter once or twice a week for evening photoshoots, but if I’m with my kids, I don’t want to be on my phone or obsessively checking emails. Am I perfect at this? Hahahahaha. No. But I’m trying my best and I’m aware, which is a huge part of the battle. And I think, at least for now, I’m on the winning team.

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