Your Roadmap to Surface Design: A Step by Step Framework to Crafting Your Career | Bonnie Christine | Skillshare

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Your Roadmap to Surface Design: A Step by Step Framework to Crafting Your Career

teacher avatar Bonnie Christine, Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Setting Goals

    • 3. Giving Life to Your Goals

    • 4. Phase 1: A Foundation to Leap From

    • 5. Phase 2: Developing a Signature Style

    • 6. Phase 3: Gathering Inspiration

    • 7. Phase 4: Working in Collections

    • 8. Phase 5: Designing a Portfolio

    • 9. Phase 6: Choosing an industry

    • 10. Phase 7: Promoting Your Work

    • 11. Phase 8: Exploring Different Income Streams

    • 12. Staying Focused

    • 13. Finding the Flow

    • 14. The Essential Mindshift Change

    • 15. Your Most Productive Year

    • 16. Designing Your Personalized Road Map

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About This Class

Hello, and welcome to class!

I created this class to address the number one roadblock I see aspiring surface designers run in to: OVERWHELM. The best way to break through overwhelm is to see and understand the steps we need to take, then make a plan of action to accomplish them.

Think of this class as your road map - a flexible, step by step framework to achieving your dream of becoming a surface designer.

This class is for you if:

  • You’ve ever considered becoming a surface pattern designer.
  • You’re not sure where to start.. or how to start.
  • You’ve ever procrastinated on starting a big project.
  • You’ve ever wasted time aimlessly clicking around the internet.
  • You’re ready to say hello to day #1 of your most productive 12 months YET!


Join the 12 Month Road Map for 12 Exclusive Emails!

Sign up below to join Your 12 Month Road Map - a series of monthly emails filled to the brim with actionable steps, resources, encouragement, tips and tricks designed to guide you to your most productive 12 months yet.

>> Sign Up To Receive Them Here >>

You’ll start with the first email on the day you sign up, so you can join at anytime during the year and you won’t miss a thing.

What You’ll Learn in Class:

  • The steps you’ll need to take in order to build a successful career in surface design
  • Goal Setting Strategies
  • Time Management Practices
  • My Favorites Ways to Stay Laser Focused
  • Tips and Tricks to Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

Want to learn Illustrator? This class takes a step away from the technical side of learning and focuses more on the big ideas and overarching sequence you’ll need to take in order to get there. If you’d like to learn Adobe Illustrator and the art of designing repeating patterns, check out my other Skillshare Classes here:

What you’ll need:

All you’ll need for this class is 45 minutes and an open mind to all the possibilities of your future. Grab a piece of paper and your favorite pen or pencil and let’s start heart-storming your future!

Let’s get started!


Meet Your Teacher

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Bonnie Christine

Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

Top Teacher

Why, hello!

I'm Bonnie, an artist and surface pattern designer and I'm passionate about sharing what I know. As a self-taught designer, I know how hard it can be to focus on your BIG dreams and conquer the learning curve that comes along with them. I also know how it feels to have your biggest dreams come true. My hope is help you live the extraordinarily creative life of your dreams.

I'm so excited to get to know you! The best place to dive right in is by visiting my website, Bonnie Christine.

Love, Bonnie

PS - let's be insta-friends! I'll meet ya there.

P.S. Join the inner circle! Sign up for updates to be the first to know about everything new, exciting and educational. 

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1. Trailer: Hey, guys, I'm Bonnie Christine, a surface designer, entrepreneur, and online educator. This course will guide you on the path to becoming a surface pattern designer. Think of it as your road-map. A flexible, step-by-step framework to achieving your dream that you can start on today. Because the hardest part of getting started is knowing where to start, I have organized the steps you need to take to start in your career in surface design. In this class, I have streamlined those steps to help you avoid making costly mistakes. You'll learn goal-setting, time management practices, insider secrets to laser focus, and tips to avoid feeling overwhelmed. These strategies will help you build a successful career in surface design but can also benefit your creative business journey as we discuss, goal setting, planning and workflow strategies. Perfect for anyone interested in the surface design industry, this class takes a step away from the technical side of learning and focuses more on the big ideas and overarching sequence you'll need to take in order to get there. By the end of this class, you'll be able to clearly define the steps you need to take, sequence them on your own personalized timeline, and start checking them off your list. 2. Setting Goals: Hey everyone, and welcome to your road-map to surface design. I created this course to address the number one roadblock I see aspiring surface designers run into. You can guess It's overwhelmed with so many things to accomplish, directions to consider and tasks to be completed. Often times, the feeling of being overwhelmed can stop us in our tracks. This class will walk you step-by-step through the necessary tasks to success, as well as leave you with all my workflow strategies and tips on productivity. I have to admit I hesitated to teach on this topic because not only are everyone's goals different, but there are so many different ways to reach the same goal. So remember this as you take the course, even though these are the steps I took to reach my goal, everyone's path will look entirely different. So whatever your goal may be, My hope is that by the end of this course, you'll have all the tools and sequencing you need to create your own personalized road-map to fulfilling your goal. Take from this class what you need and leave the rest behind. To accompany this course, I'm so excited to tell you about a 12 month system I've developed to walk you through each phase and help you along the way because I believe that setting goals don't define your success but the systems you put into place do. If you'd like to sign up to receive them, you can join us at Again, that is You'll receive an email each month, fill to the brim with actionable steps, resources, tips and tricks that will meet you where you're at and encourage you along the way. You'll start at phase one on the day you sign up so you can join at any time during the year and you don't have to worry about missing a thing. 3. Giving Life to Your Goals: In case you are new to the world of surface pattern design, let me throw out a quick definition. Surface design is any type of artwork, whether it be a pattern, an illustration, or hand lettering made by a designer that is intended to be applied to a surface. This could be fabric, wallpaper, stationary, and pretty much anything that you can imagine. Career paths can take many different forms, but can include freelance work, licensing, working with an agent, or even something like working in a design firm. So let me tell you, I know a thing or two about having big goals. When I first started, I really had no idea where to begin, but by working through the steps that I'm going to share with you in this class, I was able to accomplish my biggest dream. It took a few years and a lot of hard work. But I've now been working as a full-time surface pattern designer since 2012. So why do you think you might need a road map? I can tell you one thing for sure. When I started planning out my goals and tasks and advance, my entire career changed and I want the same for you. Taking time to plan ahead and putting a name to those big goals we have, gifts in life. Once you put them on paper or say them out loud, your entire focus shifts. And I believe that's when things really start to happen. That's where you find the magic. 4. Phase 1: A Foundation to Leap From: The first thing I always suggest to anyone starting out is to lay down the groundwork from which they'll begin to build on. In short, this looks like a brand name and a website and social media accounts that coordinate. Now, you may feel like it's way too early or you're trying to fake it until you make it. But I believe that you need a solid online foundation in which you'll be able to leap from. Taking care of this early on is going to accomplish two things. Number one, it's going to give you a place to start sharing and connecting when you feel ready. If you begin designing without a place to share your work setup first, it'll feel like this big daunting task looming over you. It will add your overwhelm and significantly slow down your progress. So I suggest starting there. Number two, the sooner that you can start building a following and growing a true fan base and sharing your work, the better. I think you absolutely can and should start simple. There's no reason you can't have all of this up and running within, let's say a week. Again, don't let the possibilities overwhelm you. You can always adjust your branding and update your website as you grow. But the important thing is to have it started. Let's talk about your logo. Part of the brand building process will be to nail down a name for your business and a logo. Be sure to do a quick search for the brand name you want to use to make sure it's not currently trademarked or in use by another company or competitor. Whether you design it yourself or hire someone else to work on it for you. It should represent your brand and be able to grow with you as an artist. One of my favorite go-to logos for artists is simply their signature vectorized. Try not to over-complicate it. It really can't be that simple. Next, you'll focus on your online presence. Start building your audience, open the social media accounts you'd like to claim and begin posting to them. Make sure you grab your brand names and perhaps any variations like if I have Bonnie Christine, I might also grab Bonnie Christine design. Be sure to connect with your followers and respond authentically when you can. Share who you are as an artist, but most importantly, who you are as an actual human being. Driving connection with your community is what will help you grow the most and the fastest. Next, your website. Having a website that showcases your work and mission as an artist is the best way to promote your entire career. It's often the first place people will visit once they discover you. When it comes to platforms, I really only suggest two. Number one is WordPress is by far the most diverse and flexible option, literally allowing you to do anything you want. You can host courses, have shops, memberships, host your portfolio. The list really goes on and on. The drawback is that it doesn't look great right out of the box. So you either need to know how to do some programming or hire this out. Number two is Squarespace and I think it's a really powerful, elegant, and really easy option. It actually does look pretty good right out the box. With its intuitive drag-and-drop design builder, you can easily build a beautiful website and incorporate anything from a shop and a blog to newsletter lists and portfolio pages. If you need an easy option to get up and running with, I suggest using Here are a couple of key factors that I think make a great website. Number one is function. Make sure your website make sense and that clicking around it moves the viewer smoothly through the entire experience. Number two, your artwork. Try to update your portfolio at least twice a year and only show the work that you're most proud of. Number three, you don't forget to share who you are as the artist. Crafting about page and tell your story. Number four, contact information. This one seems obvious, but I'm so surprised at how often it gets passed by. Make it super, super easy for someone to get in touch with you. If they have to hunt for your email address for more than a second, they're going to move on. 5. Phase 2: Developing a Signature Style: Next on the list of tasks is to [inaudible] in on your artwork and If you're not sure what it is yet, develop your signature style. If you need to learn any programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, this is the time to do it. When I was starting out, I had to completely learn Adobe Illustrator on my own. If you're in a similar position, don't fret because I have you covered. Just visit my other courses on skill share to learn Adobe Illustrator from the ground up. Let's talk about your signature style. Finding your voice is going to be a lifelong journey that evolves over time. Every artist has a unique opportunity to leave impression on the world and discovering what that is exactly is a really beautiful process. Everyone style will be a combination of their hand, their message, and their approach and techniques in designing. Finding this voice and honing in on at, will require you to look really deep within yourself but I like to say you can't find your voice unless you use it and this means creating a lot of art. I like to think that you'll know you've found your signature style when your work feels like a direct reflection of your very soul. Getting there often takes some work and quite a lot of trial and error but there are a few things that you can keep in mind that will help you get there as quickly as possible. Make artwork for yourself. Something really special happens when you can put on your blinders and just create the artwork that you want to see in the world. You've learned certain methods, approaches, and techniques to designing but don't be afraid to view it from this path and just try something new. Combining new techniques, new mediums, or new colors into your work can be a great way to build on your foundation. Know that it's common to make artwork that looks like your favorite teachers or your classmates, but it's really liberating when you create work that's true to yourself for the first time. You'll discover by taking risks what works and what doesn't and what does is often what will set you apart. For me this process took nearly two years. It wasn't until after I had made over about a 100 patterns that I can really look back and see a consistent hand in my work. So don't get disheartened, know that this process may take awhile, but it will be worth it in the end. 6. Phase 3: Gathering Inspiration: Let's move on to designing patterns and collections. The most important step I take before beginning a pattern collection is to spend time gathering lots and lots of inspiration. Taking plenty of time to gather inspiration for a pattern or collection helps make the entire design process run smoothly. And it helps give the entire project focus and direction. Clearly outlining your vision for a collection will give you a guide to follow, something to reference and a definitive starting point, which is really often the hardest part. There are six steps I always take in order to gather inspiration for a collection before I even start sketching. Number one is brainstorm. Before anything else, I take some time to brainstorm my idea, possible supporting ideas and the overall theme. I love to get quiet with my notebook somewhere and start imagining all the possibilities. I jot down potential names, themes, and design ideas. Number two is something I like to call the quick jot. I take about five minutes to quickly jot down about 15 squares on a piece of paper. Next, I fill them with individual ideas for prints that I might have. These should be rough ideas and, but they'll help you remember your initial thoughts and ideas later on. Some of these patterns will work out, some of them won't, and others will be created by accident, which are really always my favorites. This is just a rough outline, so don't stress about it too much, just something to reference as you work through the collection. Next is 20 words. The next part of gathering inspiration is just as fun as it is important. Right down about 20 words that relate to the overall theme to help round out the edges of your idea. This list of words will help generate new pattern ideas and give you something to reference as you work through the designs. And if you plan to name each print and their colors, this list will be super helpful to reference later on. Number four is a story. I love making each of my collections really personal by tying them to something that has meaning to me. It could be a memory, a place, a person, or simply a feeling. Putting words to the why you're designing this collection. Just a small paragraph will do. This step really helps make a collection feel personal and helps bring it to life. Number five is photography. Photography is often a huge part of the inspiration stage of a pattern collection. Exploring and visiting sites and scenes that support your overall theme can give your entire collection direction and huge amount of inspiration to pull from. Keeping several photos in a file or in print that you can reference will be invaluable as you begin sketching and designing. Number six is inspiration boards. Mood boards are another great way to pull together ideas for a collection. These could be digital inspiration boards like a folder on your desktop or a secret Pinterest board, or an actual board that you tack up things that inspire you too. An inspiration board can also be a great place to pull a color palette from. Being able to fully develop a theme and a vision for a collection before even starting always helps give the design process guidance and a solid reference point. Once you know what inspires you, I urge you to chase after it. If you're ever feeling creatively stuck, you'll know exactly what you need to do or where you need to go to start feeling inspired again. 7. Phase 4: Working in Collections: Throughout my career, I have found that working in collections and completing one body of work at a time has been one of the most rewarding ways to design. Offering your work in sets of complete collections also gives the end user a well-rounded view of yourself as an artist and an immense amount of opportunities to put your work to use. Truly the possibilities are endless. Finalizing a body of work and having an array of finished pattern collections that you're really proud of will also help to show the breadth of your work as a designer. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin designing your collection. A well-balanced collection in general, will include about 8-12 patterns based on a general theme or inspiration board. It will have a name, a short story, or a description, and a logo to go along with it, and each pattern will most likely be named. Varying prints. A well-rounded collection will consist of hero prints, coordinate prints, and blender prints. Hero prints are the stars of the entire collection. Coordinate and blender prints also serve several purposes. They, not only support the focal point prints, but they also bring balance to the collection and help reference the overall theme. A good collection will also have small scale, medium scale, and large scale patterns. Though scale is often the last thing I actually finalize, it's important to have an idea of what you're envisioning for the scale early on. Oftentimes, focal point prints will be larger in scale, and blenders will be smaller. But remember there are never any hard rules. The prints should also vary in complexity. Having too many complex designs might make the entire collection feel really hectic and busy so including a few simpler coordinates will give the eye a place to rest and the end-user, more options for using the collection as a whole. The collection should also present various contrast values. As you design a collection, it's a great idea to include an equal amount of dark medium and light patterns in hue. Using color to add contrast to a collection will help to final designs feel balanced and detailed. Finally, you'll want to make sure that the prints really support your overall theme and story and they're not too repetitive. For example, if you have several floral patterns, adding a few geometric or abstract prints will break them up and add value to the collection as a whole. Creating a well-balanced collection in scale, complexity and contrast will give the end user several options when it comes to using your collection. There's really nothing like designing entire collections to round out your patterns skills and bring cohesion to your work. It's also a really fun way to bring your ideas to life and see them come together in a full expression of prints. 8. Phase 5: Designing a Portfolio: Once you have a body of work that you're really proud of, it's time to put together a portfolio. I suggest pulling together three or four collections that each contain eight to 12 prints that really sing together. Ideally, these collections will be different from each other enough to better show your ability as a designer, but similar enough to show off your signature style. I always recommend having a hard copy portfolio, and a digital version to back it up. If you'll be mailing copies of your portfolio, you'll probably want to send something that they can keep. Working on a nice pamphlet, or magazine style book is a great way to accomplish this. For more detailed instructions, and advice on building your portfolio, you can take my other skills shared class called design and bind your own portfolio. 9. Phase 6: Choosing an industry: After you've done all the hard work, you've completed a body of work that you're proud of, and your portfolio is ready to go. It's time to start showing your work. You might have known all along where you envision your work. But if you're not certain where you'd like to begin, choosing an industry to approach first, is the next step. With this, I have found that intention is everything. You should start with the industry that you really feel most passionate about. Choosing an industry won't tie you down, and it doesn't mean that you can't cross over into other industries, but it will give you a starting point and it helps you make an ideal approach. To help you get started, here's a list of potential industries you might consider. Wall coverings, wallpaper, wall stencils, wall decals, textiles and fabric fashion quilting, home decor, ribbons, stationary paper calendars, gift wrap, washi tape, stamps, home decor, pillows, dinnerware, technology, phone, computer and tablet cases and skins. The list goes on and on. If it requires artwork to be a part of it, you are a great candidate. I would say the majority of things fall under these main categories, but the list is endless and you can get as specific as you like. If you're still not sure where to begin, start looking at the companies who make your favorite products. Start looking at the notebooks, Cellphone cases, art work, book covers or fabric salvages, visit their websites and jot down their contact info. Be sure to ask yourself, am I a good fit for this company? Be careful not to just pick random companies and hope for the best, but choose ones that you feel makes sense for both of you. Do your brand's compliment each other? Read their about page, their mission statement, and start following them on social media. Remember, authentic connection is so important. 10. Phase 7: Promoting Your Work: Okay. Now that you have a body of work that you're ready to show to the world, it's time to promote. Luckily for us, we have all the tools we need right at our fingertips. You already know that having a foundation for great marketing approach is to have a strong website, a brand, a great About page and consistency in your imagery and your voice. Here are a couple of my favorite ways to promote my work. We already discussed a portfolio, having both an online or digital portfolio and a hard copy version of your portfolio ready to share will really be the best way to show your work. Exhibiting at a trade show can also be a great way to jump right into an industry, gain momentum and increase your credibility. If you have the time and money to make the commitment, you might consider exhibiting. Some of my favorite shows are StartX, Print source, and Blueprint. Never before has a platform like Facebook and Instagram made it so easy to share our work with the world. Using social media platforms to grow your following and your customer base is easy, it's free, and it's incredibly effective. If you're just getting started, I suggest picking a few that feel like the best fit and start showing your work with the world. If you need some ideas to get you started, here are some things I suggest sharing on social, your process: Everyone loves to see the behind the scenes, yourself, give insight to yourself as the artist behind the work, people really want to know who you are. Mock ups of your work, if you're just getting started and you don't have any products yet, mock ups are a great way to share what your work looks like on actual products. Anytime you create new work, show it, anytime you have a new product or a lot to new line, be sure to share that process on social media. If you've been featured on a website, or in an article, or have a notable mention in the press, be sure to share that, and if you attend or exhibit at a trade show, of course, take your followers along for the ride. Newsletters: Whenever you have something newsworthy to share via social media, make sure to send it to your newsletter list as well. Connecting with your audience in their inbox is a great way to build relationships. In an all digital world, it can be easy to forget how much of an impact a printed promotion can make. Because of this, I would argue it might make more of an impact now, more than ever. Business cards, promotional postcards, self-published magazines, and look books, they're all a great way to get a physical product in your consumers' hands. Submitting your work to magazines and blogs can really help in increasing your exposure as well. Consider keeping a small, say, one page PDF press kit on hand at all times. It should include a quick intro, your audience or your social followings, notable press, current licenses, if any, and links to find you online in your contact info. Finally, advertising online and paying for extra exposure online around big releases, launches, new work, and new products can also be a great way to give yourself a big boost. 11. Phase 8: Exploring Different Income Streams: There are so many different ways to make a living as an artist and many paths you can take in order to craft your career. Included are things like selling original artwork and prints, licensing and illustration work. What feels most like you following your intuition will be the best way to jump, right in. It's probably most common today to see artists creating careers with many different moving parts. Creating a diversified income means that you have multiple income streams so if one ebbs, the other one can flow. If there's ever a slow season for something, you can ramp up another part of your business to make up for it. Some examples of different income streams you might consider would be; selling original fine art prints or selling art prints that are copies of your originals, taking commissions for art, illustrating for clients like creating artwork for logos, websites, invitations and more, commissioned illustrations, for example, working at a large company producing designs that they need on-demand, one-off book or editorial illustration, product illustration or licensing illustrations and patterns, which is primarily what I do. So how do you get started? The number one thing you'll have to come to terms with is probably some sacrifice. Making this career come to life is most likely going to require some sacrifice and it's not going to be easy, but it can absolutely be worth it. My question to you is, how badly do you want it? The first thing I did was have a shift in my priorities. The early years of following a big dream usually aren't pretty. To make things happen, you have to get serious and re-evaluate your priorities. This will be different for everyone, but it might look like living in a different house or becoming a one car family or eating out less, traveling less, or working more. Big sacrifices are usually necessary but they are temporary and they are almost always worth it. Number two is savings. In my experience, the only way to successfully save money is via automatic withdrawal. Most banks offer this option to make saving money easier, and I love it. You can choose to withdraw a certain amount of money each week, like biweekly or each month. You might want to consider automatically withdrawing it to an account that's a little bit harder to get access to. If you can pretend it doesn't exist before you know it, you'll have a lump sum of money to use while you get your feet off the ground. If you feel stuck in your day job or like you don't have time to commit to trying something new, I would suggest saving three to six or maybe even 12 months worth of expenses, that way you feel like you have a safety net in order to use while you get the ball rolling on your big dream. Number three is support. Support along the way is vital to your success. This could be anyone who believes in you and understands your mission. It could be a spouse, a friend, a mother, a family member, but it should be someone who can provide consistent support and encouragement. They should always understand your vision and that these things can take time, like months, if not years. It can be really hard to find someone who understands creativity, but seek this person out and make them your safe place. Don't forget, I am speaking from experience. When I was chasing my dream, my husband and I sold a car. We became one car family for several years. We cooked at home almost exclusively and buying anything new was something that rarely happened. We lived from paycheck to paycheck and we struggled a lot, but started saving as much as we could each month. I worked really hard. In fact, I think seeing me work so hard is what helped everyone continue to believe in me. They saw me following my dream, taking it seriously, loving what I was doing and being incredibly passionate about it. 12. Staying Focused: For every creative entrepreneur, learning how to stay focused and own our time management skills is vital to our success. In a world where emails, texts, social media tags, and shares are popping up every few seconds. It can be incredibly hard to simply focus. For me, it's still a struggle and by fiber topic I hear discussed most by other creatives. Through the years, I've gathered some favorite ways to stay laser focused and on task and that's what I'll share with you in this lesson. Number one, Manage Your Energy because energy equals creativity. For this to work, you'll have to pay attention to both having energy and using it when you need it most. Do your highest level tasks when you have the most energy and do the lowest energy tasks when you have the least energy. For example, you'll probably need the most energy when you're actually creating whatever it is that you create, then you can use your lower energy times for mundane tasks like cleaning up your studio, answering non-urgent emails and other housekeeping tasks. Number two is my favorite and it is to Be A Sponge. At least once a week, maybe for an hour or even an entire day, do nothing but learn. Work your way through a new course or read something inspiring and educational book, or catch up on some articles that pertain to your work. It's incredibly easy to get caught up in creating work and just being too busy to learn anything new. But the learning is what inspires new creativity. Number three is Give Back. Define what is your why. Having a great purpose with your work is the ultimate motivator. If you just create something to sell, and that's all, it'll be hard to grow an audience that's truly dedicated to you and your work. Giving back could be anything from literally giving profit products to a non-profit or something simpler like riding, inspiring blog posts or teaching what you love to help others in your field. Then finding your greater purpose will help you stay focused and motivated. Number four is Keep Track Of Your Time. Time passes all too quickly and oftentimes gets sucked into non-productive activities. Keeping track of your time can be a great way to stay on task and get notified when it's time to move on. Maybe give yourself 15 minutes on pinterest to unwind or get inspired, then move on. Number five is Toggle Emails On And Off. If you're like me, emails are probably your biggest productivity killer, but they're essential. Administrative stuff is essential but just no fun in the world of creativity. The best way I have found to manage them is to dedicate 20-30 minutes each day of taking care of urgent emails. Then dedicating a longer chunk of time to cleaning out the entire inbox at least once a week. Once my 20-30 minutes are up on an average day, I have to turn them off and forget about them in order to move on to the greater tasks. Number six is Try Saving The Most Fun Tasks For Last, challenge yourself to hammer out the most difficult tasks first. You know the ones because you really want to put them off. Saving something fun for last though, we'll give you something to look forward to. Cleaning your plate of the heaviest items first will clear your mind and give you a sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day. Number seven is Get Off The Grid when you need a break, take a real break. Leave technology behind even if it's only for 10-15 minutes. Get off the grid, silence your incoming alerts and just get out of your head for a bit, you'll be surprised how refreshed and focused you are when you return. Number eight is Just Start. Procrastination is our worst enemy. Dedicate a specific amount of time every single day to just jumping in headfirst and starting whatever it is that you're putting off. Don't fret about what you'll be doing in a week or a month or even year. If you dig deep into today, the answers will come and you'll always know your next step. 13. Finding the Flow: Finding the flow, a work-life balance that allows us to maintain control of our business while still allowing plenty of time for the things that are most important to us like family and creativity. That's what we all want, right? Of course, to accomplish a balance that works for you takes effort, focus, and intention every single day. I have a few favorite ways to bring a balanced approach to my own business, and that's what I'm going to share with you in this lesson. First is to work in power blocks. I like to come to my work knowing what I have to accomplish for the day ahead of time. For me, this usually looks like a list of two to four big items that I need to focus on for the whole day. Then I like to set specified amounts of time to work on nothing but these goals one at a time. I call them power blocks and nothing else will happen during these blocks. If I don't structure my work time like this, I end up aimlessly clicking around the web, going in circles from my inbox to multitasking on all the things at once. I know, you know what I'm talking about. Once I finish a power block,I reward myself with ten or 15 minutes of aimless clicking around the Web, checking email on all the platforms I used for my business. But it's not until my power block is over that I let myself do it. The second is learning to say no. A few years ago, I learned that in order to say yes to the really important things, I had to say no to a lot of really good things. Opportunities, interviews, invitations, lunch dates, collaborations, being really selective and saying no to even some of the good things will help you fight, overwhelm, and allow you to say yes to the things that inspire your life. Dates with your spouse, snuggles with your baby, painting just for fun. You know the things that really bring life to your work. Outsource whenever you can. There are so many ways to lighten your load and so many things that you can outsource. If you're not sure where to outsource in your business, think about just making a few things easier in your life. Perhaps you could hire a house cleaner to come once or twice a month, or hire a babysitter a few times a week, maybe grabbing takeout for dinner or using a meal service to make meals easier. If you're ready to start outsourcing in your business, start with what's easiest and work your way up from there. Perhaps you could hire someone to package and ship your products, or contact press opportunities for you, or re-purpose your content, or schedule a social media posts. If you're still struggling to find out where you could outsource help, think about all the things that you love in your business. Perhaps it's creating artwork or painting, taking photos, creating content, or updating your website. Make the things you love working on a priority and make time for them every day. On the flip side, what are the things that drain you. You know the things that you often procrastinate on finishing and just seemed to zap the life out of you, try to start outsourcing for these tasks first. Finally, do a daily brain dump. My favorite way to transition from work back to life is to do a quick brain dump. For me, this usually means making a to-do list at the end of the day so that I can shut my brain off and return to work the next day with a clear plan of action. Getting all of those to-dos out of my head and on paper allows me to be more present in my life. Remember one of my favorite tips is to create before you consume. This will help you squash those feelings of not being able to live up to the competition. Designed from your heart, always and always. 14. The Essential Mindshift Change: By now you can probably tell that I'm a big believer in not running my business from a place of fear, but rather from a place of positivity and abundance. When I made this mental shift, everything changed. So let's look at the difference between a couple of different mindsets. A starving artist mindset, and a flourishing artist mindset. Because I believe a vital part of your success will be due to your mindset alone. A starving artist believes that doing what they love will mean struggling financially. And a flourishing artist believes in abundance and is excited by all the possibilities that their art brings them. A starving artist has fear that their artwork isn't good enough or fear that my artwork will get stolen. Fear that I won't make any money from it. Says, "I'm not a business person. I'm not tech savvy. I'm too old or I'm too young. I didn't go to art school, so I don't know what I'm doing. Or I'm just an impostor. Or suffering will make me a better artist." On the flip side, the flourishing artist says, "I can learn anything that I set my mind to. There's room for me in the market and I have something unique to share. Promoting myself in learning how to market my work allows me to do what I love. I enjoy sharing my process in my work with the world. My skill set allows me to explore so many different opportunities." If you're leaning towards the starving artist mindset, think about this. You can be transformed by the simple renewing of your mind. Nothing means to even necessarily change, except for the way that you think about who you are and what you're doing to begin thinking like a flourishing artist. Being a flourishing artist means learning how to promote yourself, how to market your work, and how to run a business. It requires a lot of work, but it can give you one of the most fulfilling careers possible. The fact is, you probably have a list of tasks right now that you know you should be doing. But you aren't. Either you're scared, or overwhelmed, or stalling due to the uncertainty. But you know what you need to do. And I'm here to tell you it's time to put your head down and get to work. The best way. 15. Your Most Productive Year: Okay, Let's get right to it. If you've heard me speak before, you know my favorite philosophy of accomplishing big things by breaking them down into small daily tasks that feel totally manageable. So this is what it looks like. Grab a sheet of paper and start writing out your big dreams. These big dreams are say six to 12 months out. Examples would be something like making a $100,000 this year, or adding 3,000 email subscribers to my list, or licensing my artwork with three companies. Then you'll breakdown your big dreams into short-term goals. These are like 30 days at a time. Examples might look like "Set up a new website or setup some social media accounts", "Launch a new product or a new course", or "Design your portfolio". Then your short-term goals get broken down into daily tasks. These are taken one day at a time. Examples would be "Research how to start on your big goal" or "Open an Instagram account and post to it", or "Start collecting email addresses through a single opt-in" or "Design a single page of your portfolio", get the idea? Daily tasks should always support the short-term goals, which always support the overall vision and long-term goals. Everything is on paper so you can refocus anytime you need to. And by the end of the month, six months and 12 months, you won't believe the progress you've made on your biggest goals. Every year I schedule an entire day to do nothing but dream up my plan for the next year. Here are the steps I take. Number one, brainstorm. Brainstorm all the ideas, big dreams, possibilities, and opportunities that I feel are available to me in the next 12 months. These can be wild and big, but they should still be within the realm of possibility. Next, I decide on what I want to make changes to. Here, I'm deciding what hasn't been working well for me in the last year and what I wanted now to do differently moving forward. Next is putting a number to the money. This one is a hard one and definitely a hard one to talk out loud, but you probably already have an income goal in your mind already, and it's important to put it on paper. Next is to take action. How will you make this income number happen? Start by listing your top four to six moneymakers on paper, and then we'll plan them into the next 12 months. Okay, it's time to plan. Put it all on paper. It's time to create your road-map for the year. If this feels overwhelming, you can just start with six months. But if you're fired up, go for the full 12 months. Remember always work to define really clear roles. Don't create just to create, but always create with a purpose. Create things that will always drive your bottom line. Bring people to your site, bring in income if you needed, help you get discovered and create trust with the people who are following you. Always ask yourself, "What is the end goal?". If you're patient and intentional with your time and effort over the year, I promise you, it will reward you. So go ahead and schedule an entire day to brainstorm and plan for your upcoming 12 months. Follow the steps above to break down your biggest dreams into short-term goals that you'll be able to start taking daily actions on. I'll meet you in the next lesson where we will talk about planning your 12 month road-map. 16. Designing Your Personalized Road Map : Your project for this class will be to design a personalized 12th month road-maps for yourself, following the steps that we covered in the last lesson. Feel free to make it as simple or as detailed as you like. You can scratch it down on a napkin or illustrate it to your heart's delight. But whatever you do, be sure to share it with us. The best way to generate motion on your biggest goals is to simply proclaim them publicly. We want to be able to support you. Don't forget, if you'd like to join the 12 month system I've developed to walk you through each phase. During this class, you can sign up at map. Again, that is map. You'll receive an email each month filled to the brim with actionable steps, resources, tips, and tricks that will meet you where you're at and encourage you along the way. You'll start at phase one on the day you sign up.So you can join at any time during the year and you don't have to worry about missing a thing. On a last note, I just want to encourage you to grow a deep love for yourself in wherever you are right now. If you're like me, the times that I feel least motivated are when I'm looking around too much, seeing everyone else beautiful work, they're awesome new opportunities in their major successes. They can make me feel defeated and discouraged. But the thing is, there will always be people ahead of you, no matter how far along you get into your journey. So my best advice when you're feeling unmotivated is to stop looking around, turn inwards again, and focus on your inner compass and the work at hand. Know that there is a reason that you're at your current point and when you've reached the next heights, new opportunities, we'll meet you there. And we can't wait to see what they are.