+ The 10 essential items in a creative freelancer's bag.
+ You waste time at work. Seriously. (Me too.)
+ You've heard the term "think outside the box" - here's how to actually do it. (Read the question at the top of the post. It totally stumped me, and then I felt so silly when they explained the answer!)
+ There's something better than coffee or naps for alertness - COFFEE NAPS.
+ "Learning how to start something creative is more important than learning how to perfect it". BOOM.
+ How jealousy can be a teacher.
+ Jessica Hische's Ultra-Schedule. I love peeking at how other creatives schedule their time.
+ This post by Erin Loechner is just so...real. Love her. (I left a looong comment on her post with a little bit of my story, if you're interested.)
+ Beautiful (and painful) thoughts on being a Christian from my husband Nate.
+ I'm thinking of joining this Dietbet - but I'm intimidated! Think I can lose 4% of my weight in 30 days?
Want more? Check out past Lovely Web Links here.
Image: Free People
Creativity takes courage - isn't it so true? Creating art and putting yourself out there takes such strength and vulnerability. The deepest tender bits from your insides are out on display for the world to see, to judge, to critique, to praise. I'm slowly learning to separate my work from my worth. Even if my art doesn't work, I still work. I'm not a failure.
You hear that? Even if something you do doesn't work, you still work.
If you need some courage too, you can find prints of the collage above in my Etsy shop. (And psst...if you sign up for my mailing list at the top of the page, you'll get a $5 coupon towards anything in the shop.)
+ I just discovered the artwork of Leigh Viner. LOVE.
+ Have you heard of Skillshare? They've got online classes in design, business, photography, and more. (I'm currently taking this class.) If you want to try it out, click here for a free month!
+ This is such a fun DIY idea. I'm thinking about making these for my Etsy shop with mini versions of my collages. What do you think?
+ Mae Chevrette's art always inspires me.
+ How to be a graphic designer (ha!).
+ So interesting! The beginner's guide to getting a better sleep.
+ It's not okay to be late.
+ "But ladies, we know what real life looks like. We live these moments daily. And they are not meant to be measured against the collective society." Beautiful.
+ I'm intrigued by essential oils. Do you use them?
+ This cracked me up. (The cereal one!)
Image: Leigh Viner
Hands in the air...how many of you have ever received an email like this?
"Hi there! I’m from Company, and we have a great opportunity for you! We’ll provide you and an elite group of other bloggers images of our latest products - declare your favorite from the different styles, then create a moodboard designed around it! From there, simply share your design and creative insights on your blog! We look forward to sharing some our favorites of yours on social. Interested? Then, just email me back ASAP, and I'll supply you with the images you’ll need to get started."
The email above is an actual email I received from a home decor site - edited, of course, to remove identifying details. It's always flattering when a company or brand reaches out - goodness knows as a pretty small-potatoes blogger I'm generally tickled! But if you read between the lines, what this kind of email is asking for from bloggers is free promotion. No compensation for your time or efforts. Only the potential of exposure to their social media audience.
And, well, that's NOT okay.
Creating self-initiated original content and sharing it is one thing, but when a company is requesting that you share about their product, that's a partnership and compensation should be included.
I wasn't certain from their initial email if they were asking for something for free, or if this email was just their way of putting out feelers to gauge interest. So I responded asking as much:
"Hi Name, thanks for reaching out! Love many of the products you carry. Just wondering what kind of compensation is being offered in exchange for this promotion of your brand? I'd be happy to promote Your Company in exchange for either product or store credit. Let me know - thanks!"
Shocker: they were willing to ask bloggers to provide something for them, and not willing to provide compensation to these bloggers for something that they clearly see is of value to their business. Here's the response I received:
"Unfortunately, at this time we are not in a position to partake in sponsored posts. We are truly inspired by creativity, and are interested to learn how you would add your design flair to our products. Our social team is also looking forward to featuring their favorites from this campaign on our Pinterest page!"
This response points to a dangerous trend - that bloggers underestimate their influence and value. Brands would not be soliciting us to post about their products and services if they did not see real value and results when we share with our blog and social media audiences! The potential of a mention on their social media channels is hardly compensation for your time, efforts, influence, and access to your audience. If a brand really values you as a blogger, they will compensate you. And let me tell you, companies do have compensation available for the right blogger, whether the compensation be in the form of money or product. But why would companies pay bloggers if they're always willing to work for free for potential "exposure"?
Here's how to say no gracefully to blogs or brands that want you to work for free. Feel free to copy and paste this script, or share it with others that might find it of value:
"Hi Name, thanks for your response. Unfortunately, I won't be participating. It's one thing for a blogger to mention brands and products organically in a blog post (which I often do in roundups when an item resonates with me), but when a company is requesting their product be included, there needs to be compensation involved that's mutually agreeable to both parties. Essentially what Your Company is asking for from bloggers is free promotion, and that's not fair. I assume that you personally might not have anything to do with this decision, but I think it's important for brands to be aware that asking bloggers to do this sort of thing is not right. Clearly Your Company sees value in what bloggers can offer - a new, targeted audience that would likely be interested in purchasing their products - but are not willing to compensate the bloggers for their time and efforts. The promise of potential (not even guaranteed) mention on your social media channels is not enough. I hope this information is constructive and helpful."
There are times when it's appropriate to work for free. But there are also times when it's not. By saying no gracefully to blogs and brands, we bloggers can work together to communicate that what we do matters, and what we do deserves compensation.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Have you received a similar request from a big brand? How did you respond?
Image: via Lifehack
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Have a wonderful long weekend! Shine on, baby.
Image: via Pinterest, original source unknown