Voyage + Heart

Business

Practicing Self-Care As An Entrepreneur

Slow/Sustainable Living, BusinessVoyage + HeartComment

Let’s talk self-care!

It’s easy to put self-care on the back burner — especially when you’re a business owner and have to do all the things! Taking care of ourselves seems like the last thing that should be on our minds. But slowing down to refresh and recharge our physical, emotional, and mental well-being needs to become a priority.

Running on auto pilot doesn’t do anyone any good. Your business is here to serve and offer value, but how can you expect give your best if you aren’t taking care of your health and happiness in a way that you deserve? Yes, deserve!

Voyage + Heart - Mail In Product Photography for Artisans and Conscious Brands - Notary Ceramics - Product Photography for Ceramic Artists - Practicing Self Care As An Entrepreneur

TAKE A BREAK

There have been too many times that I’d work on a single task for hours, only to later wonder when the last time I ate something was (and did I even have water today?). I’d stand up, stretch my achy back, and close my tired eyes, and wonder why I hadn’t so much as moved until now. It’s easy, when you’re taking care of a business, to forget to take care of yourself. All too often, this is the life of an entrepreneur, but it doesn’t have to be. Set a timer and take a break — several thought the day, ideally. They don’t need to long. Even 10 minutes here and there will do.

TAKE CARE OF THE NECESSITIES

I’m not talking about your to-do list. I’m talking about the basics of life. In the previous point, I mentioned how even simple tasks like eating or drinking sometimes get lost among everything else that needs to be done, but these are things that keep you healthy. If you’ve been sitting for hours on end, stand up and walk around. Keep a glass of water on your desk so you remember to hydrate throughout the day. Set alarms so you don’t miss meals. Make one of those breaks above a little longer, and get some exercise in.

NO SCREENS ALLOWED

For most of us, the first thing we probably do in the mornings or before bed is check our screens — we pick up our phones and browse social media to see what we missed, or we open our laptop to check our emails. Let’s break that habit. Instead of looking at a screen first thing in the morning, let’s use this time to set the tone for the rest of the day. Lay quietly for a few minutes. Wake up slowly, if time allows. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit in the stillness for a few moments before going about your daily tasks. Maybe spend a few minutes reading, or journaling, or meditating. When your work hours are over, close your laptop for the night. Give yourself this time to rest.

START SAYING NO

I love whitespace in design and in my calendar. Leonardo Da Vinci one said that “simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication”, and I couldn’t agree more. As a business owner, you’ll no doubt have people wanting something from you at all times — consultations and meetings, collaborations and partnerships, requests for speaking engagements. Saying “yes” to it all is a quick way to get overwhelmed and burnt out. Leave space in your calendar where you aren’t doing anything.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO INDULGE WITHOUT GUILT

Buy a new magazine. Brush on your favorite face mask. Light some candles and take a bubble bath. Or a nap. Go for a walk, or to that yoga class you’ve been thinking about. Get outside. Grab a coffee. Interact with other humans. Take time alone. Do what you need to rejuvenate, and make it a daily practice.

SHOW YOURSELF GRACE

Until you make a habit of practicing self-care as an entrepreneur, there may be days when you feel guilty. “Why didn’t I get this task done today” or “I have so much waiting for me — I shouldn’t be relaxing” or “I’m not successful unless I’m always busy”. Be kind with yourself and with your thoughts.


What are your favorite self-care tips for busy entrepreneurs? What self-care practices have you made part of your routine, to keep your mental, emotional, and physical health in tip-top shape?

The Ethical Line Between Inspiration + Plagiarism

BusinessVoyage + HeartComment

Something has been on my mind lately, and that’s the ethical line between inspiration and imitation, or to be more specific, plagiarism.

I think we can all agree that we live in a highly creative world, and that rarely do we reinvent the wheel. We consume what’s around us. Our creative process is influenced by many factors, intentional or not. We can’t walk around with blinders on, nor should we.

We’ve all heard the phrase “imitation is the highest form of flattery”, but I disagree. No-one enjoys being copied. It hurts to see something you’ve worked so hard on, put your time and effort and skill into, reappear as the work of someone else. It’s painful when something I’ve created is replicated or taken without my permission — part of me is taken with it, and it loses part of its value, uniqueness, and meaning. It’s disheartening when you see a peer trying to edge you out, when you’ve worked to build a genuine relationship with a client.

I’m very open about my processes and have been both an educator and mentor to other photographers. But experiences like having my work stolen, message and words blatantly copied, and clients poached, even after years in the industry, do sometimes make me feel hesitant to share.

What I know is that we can’t keep our creativity, work, or ideas locked away out of fear of being copied.

Voyage + Heart - Product Photographers for Conscious Brands - Product Photography for Sustainable Brands - Product Photography for Ethical Brands - Organic Handmade Candles - Creative Styling and Product Photography for Artisans and Conscious Brands.jpg

Need help finding inspiration, outside of what the competition is doing?

· Observe your surroundings — colors, textures, light — and learn what you’re drawn to.
· Instead of following peers, notice if your work becomes more original by following a brand outside of the field you’re in.
· Enjoy the process of creating.
· Remember that your work should reflect your passion and unique story (not someone else’s).
· If you do find yourself stepping into the grey area, dig deeper than surface level “admiration” and ask yourself why (creative rut? lack of confidence?), then challenge yourself to be different.

I’d love to learn your opinion on this topic. Share your input below, and let’s start a conversation!

It's Okay To Be Inspired. It's "NOT" Okay To Plagiarize.

BusinessVoyage + HeartComment
Voyage + Heart - Product Photography for Artisans And Makers - Product Photography for Slow Brands - Digital Storyteller - Visual Storyteller

Earlier today I learned that a brand photographer who follows me on Instagram and just recently launched her website has taken, word for word, text from my website and Instagram posts, no less than half a dozen times.

Truthfully, I felt very conflicted on what I should do: leave it alone and move on, or say something (knowing full well that she’ll deny it was intentional).

This is an obvious copy/paste job. She is using my message to attract clients of her own, reinforcing it throughout her website, repeating it across multiple pages… just as I have. Messages that not only set me apart from my peers, but that share my heart and even my personality.

As a storyteller, words hold so much meaning to me (perhaps even more than photos themselves). Every post I publish, caption I write, description I share on my website — even the words I use when marketing my services — have so much time, effort, and thought put into them. So to see it taken so easily, and broadcasted as the original idea of someone else is painful.

The internet makes it easy to compare services among multiple vendors, and being mail-in, I’m not restricted by location when it comes to working with clients. On the off-chance someone lands on both of our sites, I certainly don’t want them to think I’m the one who has stolen somebody else’s words.

But when it comes down to it, I’m not a confrontational person.

I wish success for everyone who has the courage to chase their dreams, and stepping away to actually process (because it admittedly wasn’t my first instinct), my hope is that as she grows in her brand, this photographer will learn to find her own voice, confidence in herself, and clarity in her own message. Because telling someone else’s story as your own will only get you so far.

Moral of the story: It’s okay to be inspired. It’s not okay to plagiarize.