16 items found
- Journaling prompts to get you started
If you've never kept a journal in your entire life, starting one can be a bit daunting and scary. There are so many tips and ideas out there and quite a bunch of misconception about what journalling really should be about that it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused before you even buy your first notebook. This is where you could benefits from using journaling prompts. Not everyone has been gifted with the ease of writing, and let's face it, introspecting is hard, really hard. If you read my previous post "Journaling for self-growth" You already know one good way to get started is to simply write about the life you want to have if there was no obstacles, financial or otherwise in the way. But, it can still feel a little vague to many of you, especially if you are scared of dreaming big or are an over-thinker plagued by all your one self-limiting beliefs and blocks. If you aren't the type to just pour down your feeling freely on paper, journaling prompts are a great way to broach a topic. They are bite sized questions that let you explore a theme or specific issue freely without having to stress out. Just pick one every day, or as often as you feel the need to journal (doing it once a week is fine) and see where it takes you. Here are some journaling prompts you could try, simply write them at the top of your journal entry and then answer them as freely as you want or can. It's a good idea to re-read your entries later and if needed re-use the prompt for a fresh entry at a later date, or use the original entry to introspect further whenever you are ready to do so. Easy journalling prompt you can try today: - If money was no issue, what would my life be like? - What fear from my childhood still affect me today? - What happy memory still fuel me today - A list of all the things you achieved in the last 12 months - Your biggest achievements of all time - What struggle did you overcome and how did it change you? - What beliefs around money, work, life or emotion do you have from your childhood upbringing? How do they serve you today? Are they limiting your growth? - What dream you woke up from still impacts you today? - If you could visit your past self from 10 or 20 years ago, what would you tell them? - Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now? - How would you feel if you could live your dream life right now? - Write about a challenge or fear you overcame and how it made you feel. - List your goals and dreams and come back to thick them off once you achieve them - What quotes motivate you? - What does your dream job looks like? Contrary to what a lot of people think, you don't have to keep a daily journal. These days I usually journal about once a week because I marked the time to do so in my schedule. If I have more to say or if I am reading a self-help book with homeworks at the end of each chapters, like it is the case in the book I'm currently reading : "Rich as F*uck" (affiliate link), then I journal more often. Don't keep yourself under pressure to journal often if you are not ready just yet we all have very personal needs and for some, the processing time between journal entries could be longer than for others. Journaling is a form of therapy, you must be kind to yourself and allow yourself time to grow in who you are supposed to become, and it's ok not to even know what you are supposed to do or where you are going. Enjoy the journey, you will get where you are supposed to go, at you own pace, in your own time. Liked this post? Want to stay in the loop and get all blog and shop updates? Sign up for the Home Cyn Home letter today. We've got cool printable coming every months. Click on the picture below :
- Art story : Cherries pattern
Not all designs have an interesting story about how they came to be, but some are a great testament to the learning curve of being a surface designer. The cherry pattern is one of these and despite it's humble beginnings and the fact it's never been a strong seller in it's original version, it's still a favourite of mine, and still has potential, especially with the cottagecore trend that is so popular with the Gen Z. Back in 2017, when I decided to take the plunge and explore the ideas of selling my art on Society6, I knew exactly NOTHING about pattern making and fortunately for me, Society6 and Redbubble did not insist on artists uploading a seamless tile. It was easy to just create a big file that would not repeat and call it a day. While I was familiar with Photoshop, I still didn't quite go for the creation of assets that I would manipulate at will digitally later, beyond color correction that is. So, it should come as no surprise that I would draw every single items of a pattern on an A4 sheet of paper, and scan it at 1200 dpi so it would fit on most products S6 had to offer back then. I clearly hadn't learned to save time by creating just a few assets, and scatter them all over an art board in Photoshop just then, but I learned it quickly after that. Those cherries were one of the very first design I ever did with the intent of selling it on print on demand, I think I created it even before I opened the shop and still have no idea about...well...everything. The original was just a bunch of cherries on a white background and is still available on Society6 as "cherry dream". I also created two stripes version around the same time, a green stripes, and a purple stripes. For some reason, I deleted the two stripes files but thankfully kept the original which I used to create variations on the theme over the years, including a medallion design with the quote "Have a cherry on top kind of day" which had quite a few sales over the years. Recently as I was putting together the theme of the June Patreon rewards, I came accross a printable stickers set I had once created for Etsy (but no longer sell) and decided to go with the cherry theme. After all, June is the month I always associate with cherries because my grandmother had tree in her garden and it was always loaded with fruits around my birthday (June 24 if you were wondering). When the time came to create the tiers 2 rewards, phone wallpapers, I had to dig out the original file from my external drive to create them. That's when I realised the stripes files were nowhere to be found and had to create new ones. One thing led to another and I found myself creating a cute pink stripes version and a navy blue one. So much so that I decided to make the pink one available as a full size artwork and sell it on Society6 and Redbubble. And since I think I'll plan on making more versions, I decided to apply my now greatly improved pattern making skills to make a seamless pattern tile as well...because I've got to stay current. This pattern not only reminds me how far I got on my designer journey, it also is a classic pattern that will always have some popularity, especially now with my print on demand offerings tapping into the kitchen and dinning decor items with aprons, table cloths, placemats and more... It's also a great reminder to myself and all new designers out there to NEVER delete a file because you think it's sucks or is dated. You never know when you'll want to explore it again and give it a new breath of life. If you enjoyed this blog post and never want to miss and update, please subscribe to the Home Cyn Home newsletter, you'll get cool printables regularly, and will be kept in the loop about all discounts, blog posts and new launches. Simply clickthe picture below to sign up
- When to upgrade basic art supplies for professional grade ones?
Thanks to influencers, YouTube and Instagram, it has never been easier to jump on board and try a new hobby, or embarking on a journey to become a good designer or illustrator. There is really no shortage of tutorial, classes, videos and inspiration pictures to get you started, and that is really awesome if you ask me. BUT!!!!! There is one pitfall to all this, and one that makes me cringe to no end : the great art supplies snobbery. Many of these professional artists tend to let you believe that you will ABSOLUTELY need this and that brand to really get started and more often than not, they are advertising or promoting really expensive brands they use everyday. Nothing wrong about favouring quality markers, or watercolor paint, we artists all do it. There are tools we love and some others not so much. The problem is when these professionals tend to forget that not everybody is ready to afford a whole set of Copic markers, and that no, you really don't need to have those if you are just getting started. The same goes for every single art mediums out there, there are the professional grade ones, and the beginners grade ones (aka students grade), but, that doesn't mean you are a sucker for using cheap paint and it's seriously wrong to make people feel like they should break the bank on something expensive just because you as the influencer get paid to promote it. There! I said it! What a lot of artists and influencers tend to forget is that at one point in their past, they too started with cheap art supplies and that they gradually upgraded themselves as they grew better at their craft. We all started drawing and painting as kids, and I'm sure you all have had a watercolor set from a cheap brand, or picked up at the local supermarket to go crazy with. I know I have gone through quite a few just in my childhood, I can't even deny the fact I had fun with these, and that it's what started making me love colors and doodles and artsy crafty stuff. Then I went to high school in an art major class.From there onwards things not only got serious, but very snobby (I hated that time by the way). We had a long long list of "basic" art supplies to buy, all from reputed artist brands : I think the whole thing set me off about 2 or 300 Swiss franks at the time : Dry pastels, premium gouache paint, expensive Japanese style brushes, acrylic, oil pastels, ink, and paper, with serious hints to always buy more. And you know what? I HATED most of those mediums and the only one I favoured back in those days was gouache. When you are a student, cost really matters. But I had an art teacher who was really a big jerk (and a pervert...different story). He kept going about how we should spend all our savings into art, that artists do not go cheap on supplies, and there was those brands that were worthy, and that we should really only really buy these if we ever really wanted to be great artists one day. This outright snobbery HAS TO STOP! No seriously folks! Can we for one minute stop putting aspiring hobbyist and artist off by asking them so sell their firstborn child for a few markers? If a tutorial is geared toward beginners, it is a good idea to let them know what alternatives they have to the premium art supplies being used in the video. Not everybody will have the budget for expensive stuff, or even know that they will keep up with the hobby. As I said, back in art major high school I only really enjoyed working with gouache and none of the other mediums we explored. So when do you know it has become time to upgrade for better supplies? When you are a beginner at anything, the quality of the supplies matter a whole lot less than the techniques you are going to learn on your creative journey. I'm not going to lie, super cheap material will have their limitations, it's part of the game, but that should not stop you from trying to get the best out of what you have before moving on to something better. Right now there are 3 mediums I favour above any other: Watercolor, acrylic paint, and markers, so I decided to break it down for you and let you know what is entry level grade and what is professional quality grade and what it means in term of budget and availability in India. The links below are all Amazon affiliate links, this means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I'll get paid a commission at no extra cost to you whatsoever. This is by the way what most influencers and YouTuber do too, it's a way to earn an income like any other but it doesn't have to be only about promoting expensive brands. acrylic paint I use acrylic paint mostly on canvas and for my dot mandala paintings and classes. For that reason, I haven't really felt the need to go for super expensive brands. In India, you really can get a lot done by using Camlin Acrylic paint It's basic, it's fairly affordable, and I haven't yet come accross a reason strong enough for me to stop using this brand and favour another more expensive one. I have a few Pebeo paint tubes, but only because they come in colors that were not available in the Camlin range. If you are a professional artist working with Acrylic more than I do, chances are you are favouring more expensive, more pigmented and smoother paints like the Windsor & Newton paints. watercolor Watercolor is what I used to use for most of my commercial artwork between 2017 and 2019, and as result, I did upgrade to pricier brands simply because the quality started to matter whole lot more when the work I painted needed to be scanned and the product needed to meet much higher standard of quality. Back in Switzerland, I had a good quality but basic artist set that got damaged and lost in the one too many moves across India. So for quite sometime, I made do with a very very basic "school kid" set from Camlin. It's basic, and the colors aren't really vibrant, and because it's cheap, the paint is quite chalky, but if you have nothing else or are a total beginner, it will serve it's purpose more than well enough. In fact that is the set I used to create the 2016 and 2017 calendar illustrations like the apple one in the picture above. It has it's limitation, and as my style evolved, I realised I needed an upgrade. That chalky paint doesn't let you achieve a good "wet on wet" watercolor painting. For this you are better off with either a much more pigmented water color cake set, or watercolor that comes in tubes. I have used several different brands over the years, including a still very budget friendly set of Camel watercolor tubes. Then as I needed more specific colors I got myself a Prima marketing set of watercolor pans. I would NEVER recommend these to a beginner because they are epensive but when you make being artist your living, you end up needing more art supplies and you can afford them too. That palette it the one I used to paint the iconic "Groovy Rickshaw" and a number of other designs in my portfolio. The marked advantage of artist or professional grade paint, and even the Camel tubes is that because the color is more saturated it tends to stay put. The drawback of the chalky paint was that I needed to add a lot of water to loosen the pigments in the cake, and then add a lot lot lot of layers of paint to get it to where I wanted. This meant the paper would bloat, and the paint fray. It's not noticeable on paper to the naked eye, but when you scan your work at 1200dpi to turn it into a commercial product it will require you to do double the cleaning work digitally...not fun. So in watercolor alone, you can go from about 70 rupees a set to way over 3k, that's a big difference right? So now imagine how lousy it would feel if I went on an on about how you must invest into a 3-4000 set with just 12 shades as opposed to a set with 24 shades at a fraction of the price? Not so good right? Yet this is what I've seen done on YouTube. And guess what? I still use that type of cheap watercolor with my young students. There is no point in launching a beginner on an expensive palette if they don't even yet know how to blend and nuance their work. It would be like asking a complete beginner at tailoring to make a dress out of the most expensive silk fabric on the market. Markers Ok so let's dive into the world of markers, which is by far the most contentious territory as art supplies go. In the artist and designer world, or even the bullet journal world, there seem to be many very divided camps about what is worth using and what is garbage. And it makes it for a VERY intimidating ride if you are a beginner at it. A serious war of markers is happening out there : water based vs alcohol based, brush pens vs normal pens, Copic vs anything else, Tombow vs Koi...and it goes on and on and on... More than with any other mediums, the proponents and opponents of one type of markers are very vocal. As an artist, I already knew what I wanted to achieve with markers, and I already knew that at my level, basic sketch pens that most kids use were a no-go. Since I was more familiar with water based pens, I went for these first, my first pick was a set of "Sakura Koi" in purple and pink tones. The minimalist blossom design was created with these pens and has since then been selling as many color variations out of my shops. If you believe the influencers on social media however, Koi is considered low quality and you should always go for "Tombow dual brush" markers instead...sigh! Most basic sets cost around 1400 or so rupees in India, for 10 markers that is roughly about 160+ a marker (not all sets are equal in price). I own a few, all purchased as single pieces at my local arts and craft supplies store and I'm going to be super frank here, I find them overrated. Tombow fanatics grab your pitchforks and vow to hunt Cyn down and burn her at the stake! Tombows did gather quite a crowd of enthusiasts in the Bullet Journal community but seriously, there are many cheaper sets of equal quality, even if you don't like the Koi pens, one set I love and also use with my art students is the Ohuhu brush pen sets, they are dual tip, with one side being a brush pen, and the other being a fineliner tip. They have sets of 36, 60, and 100 colors and the 60 and 100 sets comes in a neat storage box or pouch. Unless you are going to dive deep into professional illustration work, my advice is to stick to water based markers because the next category of marker, Alcohol based ones, will require you to put a serious budget into them. Alcohol markers are the choice of illustrators, graphic designers and professionals in the design field because, unlike water based markesrs, they are non destructive and won't put a hole in even a newspaper. They also blend better and again no matter how many layers you put on even the thinest paper, it would tear it, ghost through? Yes, damage the paper? NOPE. With the manga illustration trend, these markers have gained a lot of popularity and often, influencers and YouTuber will have you believe you CAN'T create manga art without alcohol based markers, which is super wrong. There are several big brands of alcohol markers out there, the most famous and the professional industry standard are Copic Sketch markers, the complete range has 358 colors, which is not something everyone need in the first place unless they breathe, eat, drink and sleep design. More affordable for beginner is the Ohuhu markers set, I'll let you peak at the price difference between Copic and Ohuhu for a 72 markers set. Another big brand that is making wave are Chameleon markers with their unique blending chambers cartridges. Copic is professional grade, Chameleon pretty close to it, and both are refillable and you can replace nibs over time. Both also thankfully have the option to buy them in smaller sets that are color or tone specific, and back when I was working with alcohol based markers a lot, I bought them either per piece or per tone sets. Ohuhu are not refillable, so once your marker is dry, it goes in the bin and as far as I know you can't buy them per piece, always in sets. But if you are a beginner who really wants to draw with alcohol pens, then they are the best to start with. Of all the mediums I work with, alcohol based markers had the biggest learning curves and there is a solid chance of many of you hating them, so do not invest in Copics right away, it's not worth it. to summarise it You don't need to start with professional quality supplies right off the bat, and maybe you'll never feel like doing it and it's fine. Know that a lot of influencers on YouTube, in blogs and on Instagram are actually paid to make you believe a specific brand is the only way to go, and in an ideal world, they should disclose that fact, but some don't. With this post I wanted to let you all know that just because one option is poopooed by a renowned artist doesn't mean it's crap and that no you don't have to switch to a better quality or a different brand of product right away. The most important for you to know is what you plan to achieve in your hobby or medium of choice and know when the supplies you are using no longer meet your expectation. This is usually the sign that you need to upgrade has come. When that moment come, you also need to assess your budget as well and see how you can make it work. Is it more practical to invest in a full set of markers or just buy them per pieces, a few good quality ones at the time? As you grow as an artist, you'll understand your needs and style better, and buying more expensive supplies will be easier to figure out. For example, I know myself well enough to know that I use a palette or mostly blues, purples and pink, so buying earth tone markers in more than a few shades makes zero sense for me but might make more sense to someone working in sepia tones in their illustrations. As a result I know that I can safely invest in that one more shade of Aqua because I know I'm very likely to use it but that buying a full marker set with several shades of brown and yellow is going to be a waste of money. Ditto with watercolor, I know artists that swear by the pastel tone palette or the more earthen tone one, I don't see myself buying them because I prefer working in bolder colors, which makes the Tropical palette I bought a useful expense. What I hope I achieved with this detailed post is to make sure none of you feel inadequate using basic supplies on a budget. 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- Everything you need to know about selling your art online
I am a commercial artist, illustrator and surface designer and sell my design on several print on demand websites, Society6 and Redbubble being the to main ones but am not limited to these. I've been at it for 5 years now, and I also teach art classes out of my home for kids, write this blog, and spend a few hours a week answering questions about selling on print on demand and making art on Quora. I even have a dedicated space called "Selling on Print on Demand - your guide to success" where I write content geared toward helping new artists making the most of selling their art online. There are several questions about selling your art online that keeps on coming no matter where they are asked, Quora or elsewhere which prompted me to do an in dept blog post to answer them all in one space. Hopefully to help new artists to approach making money from their craft better. Is selling on Redbubble/Society6 a quick and easy way to make money? I can't tell you how many variant of that question you will find on Quora and in forums all over the internet! The answer? A big fat huge and definite NO Seriously if there was even a thing such as making a quick buck wouldn't you think it would be well known by now? People often see the work and life of a handful of artists who sell on those sites and make a solid income, and think "Geez it sounds easy". What they ignore, is that these big artists didn't get there overnight and their financial success is the product of years of keeping at it and most importantly, diversifying their portfolio. None of the big artists I know stick to only one source of income. What a newbie needs to know about PoD platforms is that it's free to join, you can upload your art immediately, but you enter a saturated market, your work will be in constant competition with thousands of artists and hundreds of similar designs. If you aren't prepared to promote your work, and your brand and make a presence for yourself on the internet, this will amount to nothing. These Print on Demand platforms are technically sources of passive income because you only create and upload the art once and have the potential to earn royalties from it for years to come, but it really doesn't mean one can just upload the work and then sit and relax waiting for anything to happen. So, if you haven't already, focus on marketing, and if you don't quite know how to do it, dedicate some times to learning all you can about the art of selling yourself and creating your own brand, this is as much part of being an artist as creating art is. Which platform is the best to sell my designs on? I am absolutely amazed at how many people believe that you must only have a presence on just one platform and must pledge your allegiance to it forever. The first rule of art licensing : DIVERSIFY Or if you prefer, do not put all your eggs in the same basket. All the big designers I know, sell on several platforms, they might advertise 2 or 3 but they do have a presence on minor ones as well. Why? Because if you limit yourself to just one platform, you also limit the size of your potential customer base. As an artist, I of course know about all the big players in the PoD field, and I have a presence on a couple of them. But I know that my potential customer might only be loyal to one shopping place. I'm pretty sure those who buy my art on Society6 aren't the same who frequent Redbubble. I also know that different items sell on different platforms. on Redbubble I pretty much only sell stickers, on Society6 I sell a lot of different things and a lot of those things were art prints. Limiting myself to one platform I would miss on many sales. Though I get from where that question stems. I think a lot of people still have this idea that the art they upload end up belonging to the PoD site and therefore they can't just go on selling it elsewhere. This is a huge misconception, as far as I know most PoD platform do not demand exclusivity over the designs you upload, they let you retain all rights to it, so you are free to sell the same artwork on as many as you want, what they do is pay you a licensing fee (aka royalty fee) each time they sell one of their item with your art on them. Selling on PoD is a waste of time This is the kind of statement you usually get from a dejected, beaten artist who thought they would make a huge income from it in a short amount of time. They didn't sell much, so nobody can, and they will be very vocal about it. My advice? Ignore them If you know full on that you will not become a best selling sensation overnight, what is the harm of making a few sales a month and see those numbers go up overtime? It's still a form of passive income, that frees you to pursue other ways of earning from your art so that alone is no waste of time to me. What having a presence on PoD also does is help you build an audience, and do so without having to invest tons of money in inventory or building and hosting a website. Those PoD platform handle everything for you and in exchange you get 10-20% of their sales price as a royalty. Put that into perspective against starting your own business, keeping your inventory, having to worry about production, shipping and all the IT stuff...pretty neat no? That said, you will need to show up everyday, put in the work and pull your share of promoting and making sure people know you exist, don't expect the PoD platform to do EVERYTHING for you. How often do you need to upload new work on those Print on Demand websites? There is no perfect answer to that one, because in theory, you are free to upload just one and then sit and wait for sale to happen. In reality though that is a very lousy plan, because even though I am yet to come across a print on demand platform that will openly acknowledge it, they want to have active users. They aren't really going to favour the artist who uploaded 3 designs and disappeared off the face of internet when they can instead favour an artist who's been uploading new work regularly and does make an effort at maintaining a presence on social medias. A few years ago Society6 did write a blog post sharing their "Curation process"and one of the point they shared that influence their decision to get an artist featured in a collection or a seasonal trend on their site is this one : 4. YOUR ACTIVITY AS AN ARTIST (ON & OFF SOCIETY6)Are you creating consistently? We pay attention to Artists who take their creative work as seriously as we take the responsibility of sharing their work with the world. Naturally, we like to support and elevate Society6 Artists who are actively developing a business around their art on the same tenets of curation in this article. Yep! You read it right, they will favour artists who are serious about their work and actively participate in the artist community. How can you get their attention? Simply tag them when you share one of their products on social media, participate in forums they moderate. Oh and just for the record, I have been featured in a Christmas collection on S6 two years in a row. All in all, if you plan on selling your art online, you need to be serious about it. Aim at uploading at least one artwork a week and resist the urge to upload 10 designs on one day and then disappear for two weeks. Making it on PoD is a marathon, not a sprint race. How big an audience do you need to start getting sales? This question is often asked about not only to sell on Society6 and Redbubble, but on Etsy as well. There is still that common belief that you need to have a large audience in order to drive sales. Well......Not necessarily so! Don't get me wrong, it never hurt to have a big following, but it's not what is going to make you get those sales rolling in by default, not with the changing algorithm on most social media that now have switched to favour engagement over a big number of likes or followers. What you need to aim at is an engaged audience over a huge passive crowd. In short, it's a re-hash of "Quality over quantity" I think the prime example I can give is on my Etsy shop. It's no longer what it once was but hear me out. I opened that shop in 2018 but didn't actively sell anything there until April 2019 when I uploaded the first few stickers known as "India Vibe" they were stickers based on the artwork that sold the most in my Society6 and Redbubble shops and which I felt safe keeping an inventory for at home. I made 5 sales in the first 2 days of going live and announcing to the world that my shop was open for business. Why? Because I already had a handful of very loyal followers that knew me, knew my work and loved those designs. I also did sell quite a few of those in my offline circles pre-pandemic because I KNEW my market and knew what worked with them. Never underestimate the power of a small but dedicated audience, and certainly DO NOT under any curcumstances underestimate the power of your family and friends, even if they don't buy anything from you, they will gladly spread the word and help you expand your reach. Still not convinced? Here is how it went with Society6 : I started in April 2017, made my first sale in June 2017 a few days short of marking my 2 months anniversary on the platform. Back then I had less than 400 followers on Instagram and i'm pretty sure that if my Facebook page was an actual physical room, I'd hear my footstep eco pacing it all alone. I definitely didn't have the huge mythical following one think they should have...I still made sale. Need another point in favour of your family and friends circle? When I first started promoting myself and my art as an artist, after years of feeling chicken not doing it or wanting to even consider doing a career out of it, I got several message from close friends who said "Hey I didn't know you were an artist". Here is what it led to : A friend asked me if I was game teaching illustration art to her daughter, then another friend asked me if I wanted to join them on their homeschool group as an arts and craft teacher for 4 toddlers. From there more people came to know about me as a fun, talented art teacher and artist. I currently have a full week schedule of evening classes for kids, conducted a few adult workshops, take in commission work, all the while continuing to create work for my portfolio and online shops. So to sell, you need an audience, make no mistakes, but it doesn't have to be a big one, just one that is dedicated to you. And to get that kind of audience, you need to put in the work. Interact with your fans, comment on posts by other artists you like, just be an engaging human being on all platforms you have a presence on. Don't push your products on them, just be that fun person they can joke with. To connect with people you need to let them into your life, and usually people will buy from people or brands they can relate to. The magic formula to sales hasn't changed much over the centuries huh? Is paid advertisement worth it? In the past few years, Facebook, who also owns Instagram by the way has made it clear that if you want to be seen by a wide audience, you will have to pay to get that privilege. This has lead to many small business to just go and give paid promotion a try, myself included. Back in 2018, I fell prey to the whole "This post is performing 95% better than other post, boost for a wider reach". At the time a 5 days promotion was 600 rupees, so I thought "Hey why not". The post in question was the one above, the pink Christmas tree phone case. It was a new design, it was around Christmas, so reaching more people sounded like a good idea. Except that it was a MONUMENTAL waste of time and money. Here is how it went : Being new at this whole Instagram promoted post gig, I let it decide for me what kind of audience should see it. I selected "Show this post to followers of my followers". The problem was that apparently Instagram decided that the people most similar to my audience were Indian guys in their 20's probably because I am based out of India. A few hours only seeing a few likes and a disturbing amount of message requests from hopeful Romeos, I cancelled that campaign and decided to target the 15-50 female demographics residing in the US and UK who liked Lifestyle and Home Decor. In 5 days, this post got 280 likes, just a handful of visit to my feeds and ZERO engagement, not to mention ZERO sales on S6. The only thing that the paid promotion achieved is inflating the amount of "Likes" that the post got, but nothing more. This is an experience that I heard from many other small business owners, promoting a post or a listing doesn't really translates into more sales, it just give a boost to your exposure, but in the end, exposure doesn't really translate into sale because lets not forget that people tend to buy from people or brands they can connect with. And to be fair, when I scroll down my IG feed, I don't go visit the sponsored post page I just looked at either. It's probably a very viable solution for a big brand, but for a small business, better invest that money elsewhere until you become bigger. What happens if I set a higher markup on Redbubble? Redbubble is a print on demand platform that unlike many others let you set your profit margin on all their products. Society6 only let you do that on art print and only gives you 10% of the maximum retail price as a royalty. This is leading people to wonder if they should crank their margin as high as they want when they are allowed to. If you are a small artist, I strongly advise you keep within the 20% markup range on all products except stickers on Redbubble. Why? Because, again, you are in competition with thousands of artists, and a customer might end up viewing your work after entering "Donut t-shirt" and see hundreds of designs competing for a sale. So unless your Donut design is completely and utterly out of this world there is little chance the customer will agree to pay 7$ extra when all the other t-shirts are cheaper because the majority or artists didn't go beyond the 10-15% margin. Remember on most PoD the customer also end up having to pay shipping charges on top of the retail price for the item they buy so it could add up to an insane amount just for t-shirt. A lot of people complain that 10% on a 20$ t-shirt is low, but then, again, you don't have to print it, ship it and pay hosting fees on your own website. So just take it as it is, in time you make more sales a month and those small royalty fees will add up to big numbers. The only product I advise hiking the margin on are stickers, because Redbubble calculate your royalty fee based on the actual price at which they sell it, not the MRP. And because shipping cost a bomb, they offered a very interesting permanent promotion on stickers, enticing people to buy any 10 stickers across the site and get 50% off the total price. This means that your sticker that would sell for 2$ at full price will only be billed as costing 1$. If you keep the markup at the standard 10% you only make 10 cents a sale and that is really not worth it. I put the margin on my stickers at 50% so that I make 50 cent per stickers sold since most people really only buy them in bulk to avail the promotion. And I still sell them very regularly at this price, as I said earlier, the bulk of my Redbubble sales are stickers. What is the difference between Society6 and Etsy? Or Etsy and any print on demand website for that matter....The difference is significant enough that you should pay attention to it. Etsy is a market place that gather designers and makers of handmade items. As a rule what you sell has to either be a craft material or a finished hand made product. The handmade part means it has been in large part conceived and made by you. This means that if like me you are designer, and sell your art on stickers, or other products, you don't necessarily have to manufacture the product from scratch, but the product has to be yours in concept. In my case, back when I was selling physical products on Etsy, I worked with a printing service who printed my designs on stickers and notepads, but the artwork has been physically made by me. As per Etsy policy, the moment you outsource a part of the production to a 3rd party, you must list them in your shop as "Production partner" You also can't rely on drop shipping, the product has to be shipped by you. To sum it, on Etsy, you are responsible for keeping your inventory, shipping the orders and interacting with the customers. In exchange for letting you list your items on the site, Etsy charges 0.20$ to list an item, and if I remember correctly a 6.5% commission on each sales. They total the amount you owe them at the end of each month and send you an invoice to pay it on the 1st of the next month. If you don't pay it, they close your shop. On Society6 or any other PoD, you only upload the artwork, decide on which products you want it featured and sold and they take care of everything : manufacturing, shipping, and interacting with the customer. You never even get to know who bought your art, just know what they bought and how much you earned. These sites do not charge you a listing fee, or membership or anything, they only pay you when sold a product with your art on it and then pay you a royalty fee. On most PoD it's between 10-20% of the retail price that goes in your pocket. It's passive income at it's best, and a great way to start selling when you can't afford to keep an inventory, or pay hosting fees for a website. In both cases, I'll say that the earning is really proportional to the amount of work you put in. My margins wer significantly higher on Etsy but I was also responsible for everything, including taking a rickshaw to go to the post office and ship those orders myself. And because inventory was all on me, I had to think very carefully about what I wanted to sell in the first place. On PoD all my 200+ designs are available as stickers, because the job to print them and ship them isn't on me. On my own I can't afford to place an order for a minimum of 30 stickers with my production partner on a design that might not even sell in the first place. In conclusion... Do not expect to make it big overnight, on any platform, heck even offline. What nobody really tells you upfront is that being an artist means you need to learn how to sell yourself as well as your art. It's a package deal, you can't just do great work and hope it'll sell for itself, and you can't just promote your work without putting yourself in the spotlight as well. If you want to really understand what being an artist means in our time and age, and what myths about the vocation you MUST kill once and for all, I highly recommend you read "Real Artists Don't Starve" by Jeff Goins. This link is an Amazon affiliate link by the way, if you click on it and make any purchase on Amazon, I get paid at no extra charge to you. Like this blog post? Please share it if you have an artist friend wants to start earning money, and subscribe to my newsletter to never miss an update and get cool printables, simply click on the picture below :
- Society6 steel water bottle review
Back in March, when pools reopened and I found myself need a new water bottle, I decided to order one of my Society6 water bottle to celebrate. Now after a couple of month of using it, I can give you guys a full review of it, and yes! Society6 does deliver to India, and they are quite fast at it too, so don't let where you live stop you from ordering from them (hint hint, they shop worldwide). Having a sturdy bottle that is easy to clean, and keeps my water cool are two of my main requirement when I look at buying a water bottle, along with of course having no harmful BPA and being as plastic free as possible. Because I don't know about you guys, but plastic bottles all end up really stinking after a while, no matter how often you clean them, and that is a HUGE turn off for me. Society6's water bottles have been on my radar since they released them toward the end of 2020 but with the pandemic raging and the fact India had so many restrictions in place, I didn't want to order a bottle that could get stuck in transit so I waited for things to settle, and then 2021 hit, with the Delta wave and a whole renewed level of madness, so it was on the back burner again, beside a water bottle wasn't something I needed right away being stuck at home and not having access to a pool anyway. 2022 gave us some relief, pools reopened, life went back to almost normal, and when I went back to swimming regularly, I realised I forgot how stupidly dehydrated one can be right after a good swim, this is when I knew it was tine to FINALLY get one of my water bottles! The most difficult things was to CHOOSE a design, because my shop currently has 429 designs (and counting) to chose from and a vast majority of them are enabled as water bottles. I knew I wanted a summer vibe design that would be perfect for the pool and I ended up narrowing it down to my retro sunglasses design and my synchronized swimmers. I ended up choosing the sunglasses because it was less pool specific and I could carry it around without having to explain why my bottle has a bunch of ladies in swimming costumes on it. Plus I haven't done any synchro since my 20's! Those bottles come in 3 different sizes : 12, 18 and 32oz and with 3 different lid options : straw, sport or handle lid. I went with a 18oz bottle with a handle lid because years of experience with my daughter's water bottles told me that anything with moving parts tend to have a shorter life, and straws are a pain in the butt to keep clean in this hot and humid climate where things take time to dry. Ordering from India is pretty easy, and from the day I ordered to the day it was delivered it took 15 days, the first 5 days the bottle was in "production" since Society6 is a print on demand company that holds no inventory. This bottle wasn't the first thing I ever ordered with them, and 15 days is pretty much the standard for all ordered I placed with them. When I received the bottle, I did an unboxing reel on Instagram to show you all the quality of the bottle as I took it out, no filters, no edits. The print quality with Society6 has always been excellent and the colors are ALWAYS as close to the on screen design as possible which is a huge plus when you shop with them, you know you won't be disappointed with the colors. The bottle came packed in a fabric drawstring bag that was packed into a snug cardboard box so your bottle stays safe in transit and reaches your scratch free. The bottle has a nice matte finish which makes it easy to hold grip even with sweaty hands. This bottle is not going to be one you'll drop because it slipped through your wet hands which is a big HUGE plus for me, I can be a bit clumsy, and the last thing I need is dropping my water bottles on my toe because it slipped through my fingers after getting out of the pool. The other thing I am completely sold on with this bottle is the wide neck, it makes it super easy to clean and air dry, which means it won't smell off because some water pooled in it while you washed it. If you have kids and have spent a significant amount of time and money replacing their school's water bottle, you know how real the struggle of cleaning a narrow neck bottle is. With this bottle it's GONE, no more hassle, no more stinky bottles! One of my friend bought one for herself and said she prefers wide neck bottles because it's easier to put ice cubes in it, which I never thought of but is another valid point in favour of wide neck bottles if you ask me. It's a double walled steel bottle, which means the liquid you put in it will stay hot or cold a long time. Society6 claims cold water can stay cold for 24 hours and hot water stay hot for 12. I haven't used it to put anything warm in it, and I usually pack fridge cold water in it before heading to the pool and usually empty it after my workout. I'll say that though : A few times I had no choice but to leave my stuff in a sunny spot at the pool, 11am strong an sunny at that, and my water stayed fridge cool even with the outer wall of the bottle feeling hot for 2 hours. I have no difficulties believing the claims on S6, it is a properly insulated bottle, the kind you could pack hot tea, coffee or soup in if you need to in the winter. My bottle being a handle lid, is probably not the best option if you plan on using it WHILE working out, unscrewing it to drink can be a bit cumbersome if you are taking a quick water break in the middle of a Zumba class and will be impossible doing while running on a treadmill, so if you do a high intensity workout and need to hydrate fast, pick their sport or straw lid option instead. When you order from India, it seems the order will be fulfilled and shipped out of Korea where Society6 has a production partner that is probably in charge of delivering to all of the Asia Pacific region. Back in 2018 when I ordered last it was shipping out of US and there was no custom duty then, but I'm guessing that now with custom being levied on US parcels, Society6 must have found a better way around it. I ordered this water bottle and an Apple watch band in 2022, both shipped from Korea and attracted no custom duty. That said, I would still recommend not ordering anything in bulk, the bigger the order, the more likely you might have to pay some custom on it. Both parcels shipped to me this year had been opened by the custom office in Mumbai, so play it safe. Loved this blog post? Want to stay updated on what's coming next and know when a Society6 sale is coming? Sign up for the Home Cyn Home newsletter, you'll get a cute printable stickers set as a welcome gift, and get the calendar printable and a new stickers set every month as well. Simply click on the image below:
- Archer & Olive Blackout notebook review
As and avid bullet journal keeper, I always wanted to try the famous Archer & Olive blackout notebook and 2022 is the year I got to do so. Now 5 months into it, I can give an in depth reviews with all the pro and cons of keeping a journal on black paper and give you all the details about my experience so far and where to buy it, or find alternative to it in India, along with the supplies you WILL need to write in one. I have been a fan of Archer & Olive journals since 2019 when Bigger Dreams Co. sent me one to review, and I've since then kept my 2021 journal in a white page A&O and KNEW I had to get my hands on a Blackout book next because I had been in love with how it looked in Instagram posts. Finding a site that sold the Blackout in India took me time, unfortunately Bigger Dreams was out os stock (and still is), but thankfully, thee is another BuJo supplies store in India that has them : Paper Planning and More. If you live outside of India and aren't sure where to start looking, the Archer & Olive website is where you need to start. Archer & Olive is known for their quality thick 160gsm paper and quality binding and is te kind of journal artists favour because this paper can take watercolor, pigment ink and gouache like a boss without much of a sign of ghosting or bleeding. The downside of them all being that you are limited to 160 or 192 pages depending the notebook, so if you want to fit a whole year in just one book, your spreads are going to have to be fairly simple. Black or white, the paper is the same exclusive quality one can expect from Archer & Olive, and there is no compromise on that one. Quite frankly though, the ghosting is not going to be mush of an issue at all even if it were thinner paper in the Blackout. Ink bleeding through is really a white page problem and will never quite be a black paper thing. you will need special pens to write Black paper comes with the unique challenge of requiring pens with an opaque ink, you won't be able to write with your regular fine liners and pens and you won't be able to draw in it with regular water or alcohol markers. The ink will simply not show on dark paper. this means that if you don't have opaque gel pens like the Gelly Rolls, or Posca pens (affiliate links), you will need to invest in those first. You will also need a black sharpie or copic marker to erase your mistakes as correction tape only comes in white and won't do in a black paper notebook. The biggest drawback of these opaque pens, is that as you reach the end of the cratridge, the gel ink inside become sticky and it becomes harder and harder to get clean lines. I currently have 2 white gelly rolls that are completely useless while it still shows they are about half full. It's a problem I never had with regular black and blue gel pens, so be prepared to have to replace these pens a lot more often than your regular white paper proof gel pens. Black paper is a LOT more forgiving You might be a bit limited with what you write and draw with, but black paper has the HUGE advantage of being a lot more forgiving than white paper and that is probably the biggest pro point in favour of a Blackout book. No matter what you use, you won't have to worry about ghosting happening with black paper. In my white paper A&O books, there were certain pens and inks that would still bleed through and Stabilo Boss highlighter are actually quite infamous for that...they bleed through 160gms paper!!!!! The blackout puts and end to that issue, because opaque pigments do not bleed easily to begin with, and then even if you use gouache, you won't see the wet spot on the other side of the paper. Heck you can correct a mistake with a sharpie or alcohol based marker without seeing it spoil the next page. So, if you are really 100% against the idea of ghosting or bleeding in your journal and are creative enough to use opaque mediums, go fo it. It's not ideal for washi tape I love using washi tape in my journals, and unfortunately, black paper is not the best for it. Washi tape is a bit translucent, and the black paper will show through and dull the colors a bit, unless you stick to metallic tape or tape with enough metallic accents to make you forget about the dull colors. It's also less than ideal for transparent stickers, but it's fine with white background stickers, so plan your spreads accordingly. For me, quite frankly, this is a bit of a deal breaker, and I now KNOW that the 2023 journal will be back on white paper because I don't like my washi tape use to be that restricted. All in all, writing on black paper has been fun so far, it's definitely different and gives a really cool vibe to my 2022 journal, but with all this in mind, I much prefer white paper because it's less limiting in terms of what I can use to draw, paint and write with and DEFINITELY better if you are a washi tape lover. Archer & Olive notebooks are also quite expensive, and fortunately there are black paper BuJo alternatives in India (not to mention white paper but that will be for another post. The Obsidian Paper press seems to have quite a few options of black dotted grid journals, and so does Onyx Printing Don't want to miss a blog post? Subscribe to the Home Cyn Home newsletter! You'll get a printable stickers set as a welcome gift, and additional stickers set on the first Sunday of every months, plus a printable calendar page and the scoop on all the shop discounts. Simply click on the image below to sign up : This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate links, this means that if you click on them and buy anything, I'll get paid a commission at no extra costs to you.
- Art story : The groovy rickshaw
Sometimes, an artwork or illustration is born out of a strong story. It comes as a flash of inspiration striking at random that triggers an urge to create. This is certainly how the most iconic of all of Home Cyn Home's design came to be : The groovy Rickshaw. This adorable watercolor rickshaw, has had many avatars and variant created over the years but how the original came to be is one of those stories that proof you can get inspired just about anywhere at totally random times too. See, I live in Mumbai, in India and I tend to rely on rickshaws to get around (also known as "auto"). They are small 3 wheeler vehicles that can zip in traffics and get you from A to B at a reasonably fast pace, but are opened to the elements so getting stuck in a traffic jam while riding in a "rick" can be quite uncomfortable, especially in the hot Summer months because you inhale dust and pollution a plenty while sweating bullets. Even with that, they are my favourite way to get around and without them, this iconic illustration would probably never have been born. See, one day I was riding in one to just run my usual load of errands in my area when we suddenly got stuck in one of those infamous, totally unpredictable Mumbai traffic jams. The kind that turns a 15 minutes ride into a 45+ minutes one. At one point, I was stuck in a sea of rickshaws all trying to squeeze themselves in gaps. Honking and going inch by inch on a really dusty road, the stuff you want to get out quickly. Mumbai's Rickshaws are all black with a yellow stripe running on the side, which makes for a pretty boring sight. It's at that exact moment, while inhaling my fair share of fumes and dust and trying to tune everything out that my mind suddenly went : "This jam would be a lot more fun if all those rickshaws were pink" BOOOOOOOM! Right that second, I knew I had to write that idea down, because it was a great idea for a watercolor illustration and I didn't want it to escape me. So, I took my phone out, and wrote a note : "Pink rickshaw" to make sure I would not forget it. Writing that note turned out to be unnecessary, the instant I made back home, the urge to paint was such that i went to work right away. What came out was a pink and yellow rickshaw surrounded by blue leaves which I scanned immediately to edit into a design for my Society6 and Redbubble shop. The original had some elements I ended up not liking at all, namely the paisley design on the roof or the rickshaw, so I ended up removing it in Photoshop. I also created a version without the leaves, so that I could turn it into stickers and patterns later on. The original painting was created with my "Prima Marketing" Tropical watercolor set (Amazon Affiliate link), which I have used to the death with that magenta, pink and yellow colors. For a long while, that color palette was my to-go to palette, until finding replacement for those watercolor pans proved to be insanely difficult. From that original illustration, a lot of different versions were born, Including an ALL PINK version, and the most recent digital version called "hippie rickshaws" : It's the design that quickly became a best seller in every shop, including my Etsy shop when I was selling physical stickers in it. It became a pattern called "Funky Rickshaw", got turned into a notepad and a mousepad as well as resin keychain charms, still from when I was selling physical items on Etsy. And it even got a printable mini-stickers set version which is now available on Patreon. When a friend of mine left India, she comissionned a copy of my original Rickshaw and asked me to make 2 companion designs to go with it. It gave birth to the Groovy Indian truck, and Horn Ok Please sign in the same color palette. Both designs are doing well in my shops as well. The amziong part is that all of it started while being stuck in an insane traffic jam, I could have cribbed, lost my cool, and started to brew negativity, but I was in a relaxed mood that day, and I became a good receptors for ideas and caught this one. because, yes, like Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic, I believe ideas are live bodiless beings that visit us at random. If you want to be kept in the loop about new blog posts, shop updates and discounts and snag cool stickers and printables every month, do take time to subscribe to the Home Cyn Home newsletter. Simply click the picture below : This posts contain Amazon and Society6 Affiliate links, this means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I'll get paid a commission at no extra costs to you.
- New Pet products on Redbubble
Every now and then, my production partners add new products to their range of items, which is the perfect occasion for me to enable my best designs on their new offerings. Last week, Redbubble launched 4 new products specially for your furry friend : Cat mats, dog mats, pet blankets, and pet bandanas. There is not reason why cool unique designs should only be reserved for humans when you can get your pet to be as cool and trendy as you are. Here is a walk-through of all 4 of the new products to treat your dog or cat to. Pet blankets Love your pet but not the hair they leave on your sofa, armchair or in your car? These new pet blanket can keep your furniture neat and do it in style. The blanket is made of soft polyester fleece and comes in 2 different sizes and is enabled in most of Home Cyn Home's designs. This cute blanket will also keep your pet warm on a cold day, and can be used in their pet basket or bed. pet bandana Dress up your dog (or cat) to match your style with those super cute bandanas. Like the blanket, they come in 2 different sizes : - Size S for small dogs and cats - Size L for medium and large breed dogs These pet bandanas are printed triangles of polyester fabric so that you don't have to fold the fabric and fuss to make it sit right on your dog's neck. Simply tie the corners and you are ready to go. You can hype both you and your pet's style quotient by twining. Redbubble has had fabric scarves for humans for as long as I sold my designs with them. pet mats Every pet owner will tell you that the feeding area is always a mess, after all, our furry friends do not have the same dinning etiquette we have. It's time to say goodbye to boring ugly plastic placemats and welcome in a cute, washable mat that will blend with your decor and prevent spills on your floor. Redbubble has them in two different avatar: - Fish shaped for your cat - Bone shaped for your dog Both are made of absorbent foam with a non skid backing so that the mat stays put where you need them even under attack from a rowdy hungry pet. When it's dirty, simply toss in the washing machine and wash it on cold water setting. Shopping on Redbubble is really the best way to ensure you find unique designs that will match your style perfectly and pays an artist/designer their fare share. Love what you see on Home Cyn Home and don't want to miss an update? Consider joining the newsletter. You'll get a welcome set of printable stickers and updates every week about new blog posts and discounts. You will also get the printable calendar page for the month, and a new set of printable stickers every months. Simply click the picture below to sign up :
- How to salvage a butt kicking day
There are crazy days, hectic days, and then there are the butt kicking days. You know, the kind of day that start wrong and end up giving you a run for your money. We've all had those days, the type that makes us wish we never got up in the first place and wants us to run away screaming hoping it'll make it move faster just so it can end. Yeah! We've all be there! Often, you can't even really predict those kind of days really, even if you woke up with the best positive intention, you could suddenly find yourself in an infernal cogwheel of things going wrong : toilet not flushing, right before you stepped in your dog's poopy accident in the middle of the living room, and facing a tea kettle that decided to bail on you... Usually this kind of chain reaction gets worse and worse as the day progress if you can't snap out of the bad mood that you got into at the very start. And frankly, as in favour of the law of attraction and positive thinking woo-woo as I am, they are probably just lessons to make us appreciate the good ones more. Seriously though, these days happen to everybody, and frankly, from experience it is better to accept that any form of resistance is futile from the start. Trying to fight these days, is pretty much like attempting to swim against a hard current : you'll only end up exhausting yourself further and faster (don't do it it is stupid). When one of these days of hell come upon me I usually adopt a much saner approach: by not trying to make it a better day, but to try to salvage what is left of it. On days like these, I set my expectations on low, VERY low. Over the years I came to see these as cue that maybe I need a break, and just stop achieving insane productivity at all cost, and focus on myself. Ticking off everything off my to-do list goes off the table and the couch becomes my best friend (along with Netflix). On those days, my goal becomes to keep everyone alive and fed and I'll count any small wins as a bonus. Deadlines can wait, my sanity can't. A cup of tea makes everything better, but if you rolled your eyes at this, I'm going to say "Go ahead and fix yourself a cup of coffee instead". When everything seems to be going wrong during the day, I tend to favour comfort everything : clothes, food, activities and warm beverage. The reason I particularly favour tea (me being a tea addict set aside) is that the very act of holding a steaming cup of tea and waiting for it to cool down while inhaling the aroma is near meditative. As long as I remember to keep the cup on a level, hard surface in front of me and not on my lap, I'm good to go. And if tea fails? Well! There is always wine... For as long as I can remember, I used to go walk the stress, anxiety and frustration away and that has always been my to-go activity whenever I needed to clear my mind. It's the cheapest, easiest way to leave your problems in the dust : slip on your shoes, grab your keys, and walk out the door listening to some music while your pound that negativity away. Walk as long as you need to to feel calm again, and then go back to taking care of yourself until bed time. Tomorrow is another day, one you will probably start on the right foot if you accepted the reality of an off day without feeling guilty about it. I find there is a lot of comfort in taking those taxing, challenging days easy, it reminds me we are all human, that we never were meant to work like robots and that maybe it was the only way my body could let me know to slow down a bit. In the spirit of mental health awareness day, I urge you to not push through a bad day (or week) and take all the time you can afford and need to focus on your own well-being first. If you like what you just read, please spread the word and share it, and take time to subscribe to the Home Cyn Home newsletter to get your cool welcome printable stickers, updates every week and cute additional printable every months. Simply click on the image below :
- Level up your life
Be the change you want to see in the world! Who hasn't heard or read this famous Mahatma Gandhi's quote? While he meant it in the context of society to change, I seriously think this quote is one we should all apply to our personal lives as well. Too often we tend to wait passively until a change occur to start doing something, but it doesn't always happen and we keep on waiting passively for that one thing to happen to start living in a different way. If you believe in the law of attraction, you probably know that to make anything manifest in your life, you need to start acting like it's already there instead of waiting until the thing manifest itself. Last year, I was reading the book "Lucky Bitch" by Denise Duffield-Thomas (affiliate link) and had that "ah-ha moment" where the pieces fell together once and for all. See, the law of attraction is all very nice, but the problem is that it's easier said than done living as if you already have something, especially when you are starting from nothing and this is why it can feel super discouraging at time. What most LoA books and guru out there tend to miss, is that you don't have to go all in when you try to manifest a new reality, especially if this new reality of yours demands a whole new income. You can go about it gradually and level up your life bit by bit until you reach your goal. if you've read the blog post about journaling for self-growth, you know that the first thing to do is to write down what your ideal life, money no bar would look like. Go about it in all the tiny details you can or want. Once you have established that, look at what actionable steps you can take right away toward that life. It's not about going all the way to the goal, but finding the next doable step and then do it. Frankly, that bit was a huge revelation to me, and it made the whole process a lot less daunting. I have big goals, who doesn't? But for the first time since last year, I realised that I could change certain things in my everyday life without having to wait until everything else fell into place. In my "first class life" I have a spacious bathroom with a bathtub in which I take bath with scented candles lit around. The bathroom of my dream also has a cosy, inviting decor. It's actually a far cry from the bathroom I already have : tiny, not the most practical, no bathtub... Sure! I could wait until we move out of that place, luck out on a flat with a better bathroom, and hope that one day my dream bathroom will manifest. But that is not how things work, and there were actually several things I could do about my current bathroom anyway. For a start, scented candles do not require a lot of money and taking a nice warm shower with scented candles lit in the bathroom is as doable as with a bathtub, so I levelled up and started using some. Making a fairly impractical bathroom cosier just required a few Ikea shelves, an artificial plant and a cute basket filled with rolled hand towels, another thing that didn't break the bank. What it did though is making me look forward to shower time and lifted my spirit up so I could tackle the rest of the day, or go to bed at night feeling more at peace. This slight shift in mindset got a cascading effect and I felt more relaxed, more productive and more tuned in to new opportunities that would take me closer to my main goals. See, when you start giving yourself more respect, you can hike your standards in life and take decisions that will be more in line with what you want. It's as simple as that. Last year, I realised I was CONSTANTLY settling for things, playing myself down and quite frankly didn't put the amount of care about myself or my life that was in line with my goal. Exibit A : I was too stupidly frugal to discard old frumpy, holey underwear and indoor clothes for the sole reason that I spent "good money" on them and it would be a shame to throw them away before they fully disintegrated. That's right! I was forcing myself to wear quite frankly, crappy clothes in the comfort of my home because it would save money! Quite incompatible with my money goals too, which include not being afraid to spend money or questioning the prices of things. Here I was, unable to let go of an old worn out pair of cotton Jockey panties! Good lord help me dear! Back then, I had to pretty much force myself to empty the entire content of my wardrobe and do some SERIOUS editing in the name of following what Denise said in her book. It was hard, I almost bailed a few times, but I pushed past it and it made room for not only better clothes, it also got me to reevaluate my standards a LOT. A while ago, a friend shared a meme that said "You can't expect to be treated like a Louboutin if you act as a flipflop". This quote speaks volume about how we first treat ourselves directly affects how the rest of the world will react to us and how we will see the world. And in general, people tend to see you the way you project yourself, so we have a big degree of control over that narrative since then change starts with us right? Give yourself a level up challenge Last year, I gave myself one whole month to do something each day to change my current lifestyle, mindset and situation and brought me closer to that "First class life" We were on lockdown, stuck at home while the Delta wav raged across India, but I still stuck to it. I took time each day to journal about it in a way or another to keep a log, 30 days of it actually kickstarted the habit for the rest of the year. The steps don't have to be big, they just have to bring you closer to your goal and hike your level of self-respect. As I said, I started with putting candles in my bathroom and discarding old frumpy underwear, hardly the kind of earth shattering move huh? So, let's say your ultimate goal if finances aren't an issue is to get your nail done and have regular sessions at a fancy spa. You don't have to actually wait until you have the perfect income to act on that goal. The next step could be to just buy a manicure set in your current price range and start doing your nails at home. Or buy skin care products within your current budget and start using these regularly. Or, if your current budget allows it, make it a goal to go to a salon once a month to get a basic mani-pedi. The point is, you've got to start levelling up somewhere and go about it in increments. Each steps that bring you closer to your ultimate goal, no matter what that goal is will also boost your confidence in the fact this crazy goal IS indeed possible. rinse and repeat once a year The challenge is one you can repeat once a year, dedicating a whole month to levelling up your life further. Get comfortable into your new personal reality, live it and enjoy it, and then dive back in and see what next step you can take from there and take it. Chances are you WILL face resistance again, your inner voice is going to protest it and try to get you to maintain the status quo again, so like the first time, you'll need to journal it out, and if you encounter any mental blocks along the way, journal about these too. If you don't know how, I encourage you once more to read "Journaling for self-growth". Along with the book Lucky Bitch, I also recommend you read "Get Rich Lucky Bitch" as a follow up. Both those links are Amazon affiliate links, this means I get paid a commission if you buy anything. But as a rule I never recommend things I haven't tried and tested myself and those books are quite frankly among the best I read on the subject of self-development, they are specially geared toward women who have quite frankly been conditioned by society to play it safe, dim their light, and settle for things rather than go for what they TRULY want. If you liked this blog post and want to keep being updated and access cool printables every months, do join the Home Cyn Home newsletter. Simply click on the image below.