Essential ingredients for tackling new projects // Do you ever wonder what your fellow creative entrepreneurs are up to? In between the big wins, product launches, and collaborations are the small steps (some forward, some backward) that lead to those turning points. Here's a transparent account of a week in the life of a gal in passionate pursuit of business growth, personal development and those magical milestones. // From MichelleHickey.Design
Diary of a Creative Entrepreneur

Essential ingredients for tackling new projects

Trying something unfamiliar can be exciting, but often comes with a dose of fear, and can leave you feeling exhausted. This week I experienced a rollercoaster of all those emotions as I took on two new projects that were outside of my comfort zone: publishing my first vlog and preparing to launch a Facebook ad campaign. Through patience and perseverance, along with encouragement from friends, I was reminded that with these three ingredients, no challenge is too great to conquer.

Do you ever wonder what your fellow creative entrepreneurs are up to? In between the big wins, product launches, and collaborations are the small steps (some forward, some backward) that lead to those turning points. Here’s a transparent account of a week in the life of a gal in passionate pursuit of business growth, personal development and those magical milestones.

Essential ingredients for tackling new projects // Do you ever wonder what your fellow creative entrepreneurs are up to? In between the big wins, product launches, and collaborations are the small steps (some forward, some backward) that lead to those turning points. Here's a transparent account of a week in the life of a gal in passionate pursuit of business growth, personal development and those magical milestones. // From MichelleHickey.Design

Monday, July 24

I kicked off the week by jumping into a task that I knew I could crush: crafting the copy and images for an upcoming Facebook Ad campaign, promoting the Enchanting Mondays Library. The “ads” part was new to me, but writing and designing are my bread and butter, which made this first step in the project, an easy one.

Based on the results of last week’s survey, I broke down my target audiences into three groups: Educators, Counselors and Home Decorators. From there, I wrote two sets of copy for each, so that Katie, the gal who is helping me with these campaigns, could choose the version she thought would be most effective.

Here’s a breakdown of the blocks I wrote copy for:
1. Main Copy, the text that appears above your Facebook Ad Image and links
2. Main Headline, what appears directly below your Facebook Ad image
3. Link Description, what appears below your Main Headline

Katie and I decided that testing videos against a still image (or carousel of photos) would be a smart idea, so I started by creating one, using Adobe Spark. I wanted to make sure that the specs and content were correct before taking the time to create videos for the other two audiences.

I have been experimenting with Adobe Spark for social posts and promotions and love the simplicity of the platform. While I typically prefer to have control over those details, the program has forced me to work more quickly and efficiently.

In the afternoon, I hopped on a Google Hangout to catch up with my friend Steve. There are only a few people in my life who match my level of enthusiasm for all things social media, technology, and creativity, and he is one of them. In addition to geeking out over Gary Vee‘s latest article, and picking apart the state of Facebook, we use these chats to share what we’ve been up to, and what we’re dreaming up. I’m so grateful for friends who simultaneously challenge and support me.

Essential ingredients for tackling new projects // Do you ever wonder what your fellow creative entrepreneurs are up to? In between the big wins, product launches, and collaborations are the small steps (some forward, some backward) that lead to those turning points. Here's a transparent account of a week in the life of a gal in passionate pursuit of business growth, personal development and those magical milestones. // From MichelleHickey.Design

Tuesday, July 25

One of the biggest perks of being an entrepreneur is the opportunity to take the morning off without having to ask permission. Also, to spend time with out of town visitors! On this Tuesday morning, I got to do both, as I headed to the airport to pick up Mr. MHD’s brother who would be visiting us for the week.

After a quick stop at Chick-Fil-A, I left my brother-in-law to relax and scurried up to my office to do a quick email inbox check and jot down some notes before logging onto a Skype call with my Mastermind partners, Lauren and Kalyn.

The three of us chat every other week, and each meeting gives me just enough energy and inspiration to last until the next! Typically, we each share what we’ve been up to, and ask questions, or for advice. In this meeting, I shared how I was struggling to figure out how to connect with influencers for the Enchanting Mondays Library.

After sending out twenty-five invitation emails last week, I had only heard back from one and was feeling a tad discouraged. The girls came up a smart idea to send personal Instagram messages to each potential influencer, reminding them about the invitation. Being personal is always the way to go.

In addition to our usual discussions, we also had the opportunity to plan our next in-person meet-up. I’m counting down the days!

When my Mastermind call was over, I hunkered down to work on this (Diary of a Creative Entrepreneur) video. This project was by far the most challenging part of my week, as it was completely uncharted territory for me.

I chose to work in Adobe Premiere Pro, which meant learning a new platform as I put my video together. I’m not sure if this is the best way to master a program, but sometimes you just have to dive in head first.

Processing a week’s worth of footage that contained poor audio, less than ideal lighting and the discovery of face wrinkles that I didn’t know I had, was painful, to say the least. Learning the ins and outs of video software was a struggle, but the hardest part was letting go of all the imperfections and trusting that the heart of the content would be worth it to publish anyway.

It was one of those work-until-midnight evenings as I let the video render while I worked on writing the accompanying copy and prepping the images for the blog post. I pushed to my limit but ultimately was unable to wrap things up on Tuesday as I had planned. Tomorrow is a new day!

Essential ingredients for tackling new projects // Do you ever wonder what your fellow creative entrepreneurs are up to? In between the big wins, product launches, and collaborations are the small steps (some forward, some backward) that lead to those turning points. Here's a transparent account of a week in the life of a gal in passionate pursuit of business growth, personal development and those magical milestones. // From MichelleHickey.Design

Wednesday, July 26

I jumped in right away on Wednesday morning to put the finishing touches on Diary of a Creative Entrepreneur, despite feeling worn out and a little discouraged that the process was taking so long.

My energy returned with gusto after I hit that publish button and shared my imperfect but completed premiere vlog. Video editing was indeed challenging, but there’s something so satisfying about tinkering and figuring out how to make things work— at least for me, when it comes to technology. Don’t ask me to build you anything with my hands!

In the afternoon, I shifted gears and took care of all the tasks that I had abandoned the day before— namely my email inbox. My new approach to answering and processing emails is to do it swiftly, without overthinking or saving them for a time when I can write back with “the perfect” response.

I haven’t gotten the chance to try it out yet, but my friend Lauren has been using a tool called “The Email Game” which helps you to respond to your messages in a more efficient (and fun) manner. Let me know if you decide to try it out!

Thursday, July 27

With my email inbox under control, I switched back into ultra concentration mode to work on Stage Two of my Facebook Ads project. Based on Katie‘s feedback, we decided to combine two of our three audiences (educators and counselors) into one, which was another point for simplicity.

Taking a little bit of time to prep and outline a game plan for everything that was left, proved to be fruitful as I headed into yet another project riddled with unfamiliar tasks.

Katie loved the initial video ad I created in Adobe Spark, targeting home decorators, so I duplicated it and replaced the artwork so we could use it for our educators and counselors. After completing the creation of that video, I moved onto still images.

Katie suggested creating a carousel of photos for each audience, so I played around with adding text, only to find that Facebook isn’t really into that. Creating ad images was a bit of a challenge considering that the content of the artwork that I’m trying to sell is all typography. It took a little experimentation, but I finally got them to pass Facebook’s test. Heh!

Once the artwork was complete, I moved down my check list to the task that I had been dreading the most: creating landing pages. Since this campaign is targeting my existing email list, who already know, like and trust me, I’m not sending them through an email funnel before presenting my offer.

Instead, I’m giving them a limited time opportunity to purchase membership to The Enchanting Mondays Library at a discounted rate. The links in our Facebook Ads will lead directly to these landing pages, reminding them of all the benefits of signing up.

Once I had logged into Leadpages (the platform I use for landing pages), I was reminded of how easy it is to use their “drag and drop” system. Since I had already taken the time to research what should be included on a successful landing page when I created this one earlier in the year, I just duplicated and modified the content.

Once I finished the first landing page (targeting home decorators), creating the second (targeting educators and counselors) was a breeze. I wrapped up this project by sending Katie a detailed email with links to the landing pages, the final copy, videos and carousel images.

Thursday felt like a marathon, but one that I completed, so I’m chalking that up as a win.

Essential ingredients for tackling new projects // Do you ever wonder what your fellow creative entrepreneurs are up to? In between the big wins, product launches, and collaborations are the small steps (some forward, some backward) that lead to those turning points. Here's a transparent account of a week in the life of a gal in passionate pursuit of business growth, personal development and those magical milestones. // From MichelleHickey.Design

Friday, July 28

I arose earlier than ever on Friday morning— not for work, but because I was giving myself the day off!

As we often do when our siblings are visiting, we drove a couple of hours south to Orlando to enjoy a long weekend at Walt Disney World. Knowing that I had knocked off not one, but two challenging projects during the week made it easy to leave my laptop at home, and enjoy some much needed down time.

Lesson of the week:

Any time you take on something new, it becomes a test of perseverance. Those projects will challenge you, but with thorough preparation, patience, and support from friends who believe in you, you will have what it takes to make it through, and come out triumphant on the other side.

What I’m reading:

Will it Fly?, by Pat Flynn
The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz

What I’m watching:

Mr. MHD and Brother MHD launched into a superhero Netflix binge, and somehow I got sucked into watching Jessica Jones.

What I’m listening to:

More Bruno Mars than I care to admit!

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