Make Your Business Uniquely Irresistible so You Can Make Money with Digital Products While You Sleep

Last night I was just about to set my phone down and close my eyes when suddenly it went “Cha-Ching” like an old cash-register, and I got so excited! My phone makes that sound each time an order is placed in my Etsy shop, so obviously it wasn’t time to sleep. It was time to get online and check out what was happening in my shop! To my startled surprise, I had just sold one of my digital products! Talk about timing! After all, today I want to talk to you about digital products and selling them while you sleep.

The Best Day Ever

Most of you already know my story, so you know that life is a blur right now. Nothing is easy, time doesn’t exist, and we are on one crazy roller-coaster ride trying to keep our heads above water. Originally, when I opened my business, I wanted to focus on custom wedding stationary and decor. Well, I’ve booked one wedding in one year, and it was my cousin. Outside of that amazing opportunity to create all her stationary, programs, welcome bags, guestbook, tablecloth, and signs, I’ve had a lot of interest in my enormous glitter banners and my Trophy Wife t-shirts. In addition to those products, I’ve started developing some new products that are slowly gaining in popularity: printable unplugged wedding signs, printable social media hashtag signs, and some printable wedding invitation suites.

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So why the shift between custom wedding stationary and decor to printable stationary and decor? Well,because digital products are selling right now. Everyone wants what they want, when they want it. They want the instant gratification that comes with the ability to download a digital product as soon as they make the purchase. People want to go shopping in their pajamas and get the product before they head to bed. And moreover, people want to pay less for products that rock!

People want to go shopping in their pajamas and get the product before they head to bed.

Adding digital products to my business has already begun to make a difference in my business success. I’ve had bunches of people liking my shop and favoriting my printable products. It’s gotten more eyes on my small business. However, they aren’t selling! I know these products are great or people wouldn’t be taking the time to check them out, to favorite them, to like them on Facebook, or to heart them on Instagram, but what am I doing wrong? They just aren’t selling like I want them to, and they aren’t making me the money I need to to fill in the gaps between the full on custom wedding design that I do. I’d say I need to adjust my strategy!

So what do I do when I need to adjust my strategy?
I turn to some amazing entrepreneurs and their expertise, that’s what!

In this case, I’m turning to April Bowles-Olin, whom I just adore. Why you ask? For two reasons:

  1. April is successful at selling digital products (I’ve bought some of them!)
  2. April is going to be at CreativeLive teaching two classes in November! One is Create Digital Products that Sell While You Sleep and the other is Make Your Creative Business Uniquely Irresistible.

I could not be any more excited! This woman knows what she is talking about. I just know that with her help, I am about to take Pretty Much to all new heights. Get ready because great new things are coming soon. I’ve already RSVP’d, cleared my schedule, and set my reminders because when April teaches, you have to listen. When you have an opportunity to learn from April, you take it!

In April’s class I am hoping to learn several great things, but I really hope to learn about better copy-writing and better marketing for my products. I want to find out what would take my products from good to great. Where could I make some changes in order to get better results? April talks about digital products making it possible to target more markets, help us make more money without working longer hours and price our handmade products higher. I want to learn everything I can about all of this, so that digital products can help me on my way to success and freedom.

Are you ready to make your creative work more lucrative, stable, and sustainable in the long-term? Join April Bowles-Olin for an introduction to digital products and how they can enhance your creative business. This course will show you how to produce and position viable products for generating multiple revenue streams and passive income. RSVP right here to watch it live and get access to the workbook for FREE. This post is part of the Create Digital Products blog tour.

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So, are you in? I sure hope so! I cannot wait for this class because I just know it’s going to be worth every second. If you are interested, you can check out April’s blog at www.blacksburgbelle.com. Even better, you can follow along on our blog tour too!

Hope to see you in the course chat-room on November 10-12th!
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College is a Waste of Time – Spoken by a Lifelong Learner

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
I’m nearly 30 years old, and for most of my life I have been in school. As a little one, I was in preschool for two years before kindergarten.After I graduated from high school, I’ve managed to sprinkle in 16 semesters of college education. If you know much about college, you know that equals 8 years of college and well over the amount of credits one needs to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, however, transferring schools and transferring programs means that I’m still an undergraduate. With that being said, I have instructors that are younger than me! It’s crazy, but that’s not the problem I have with them. The problem I have with college instructors can best be summed up by a recent quote from one of them:

“I should point out that for Explorations, the highest achievable grade is B+, as there isn’t the scope in those assignments to exceed the requirements for assessment in each case.” – Instructor

In that class we have an exploration assignment due each week, a midterm, and a final. Can you see a flaw in the grading structure here? If I get a B+ on every weekly assignment, that gives me a “perfect” grade for that part of the course, but it’s still only a B+! Perhaps this quote from another instructor would be a better representation of the decline in education:

“I’m not here to teach you. I’m here to grade your work. I give you an assignment and it is your responsibility to figure our what you need to learn in order to complete the assignment. Then it is up to you to learn it, complete the assignment, and turn it in on time.” -Instructor

I don’t think it would be so hard, if the assignments actually had detailed instructions, if the instructor made it clear what he expected, or if when we received a poor grade on an assignment, he told us why.

In my English class we have three papers to write for the entire semester. The grade we receive on the ROUGH DRAFT – which is graded as if it is a final draft – has just as much weight on our final semester grade as does the final paper. We turned in our rough draft, and the final was due two weeks later. The day the final was due, the instructor finally gave us back our rough drafts and extended the final deadline by ONE DAY!


I struggle each day to decide what to do for my business. I struggle to prioritize my life because I still want to do pretty much everything. In addition to being a full-time student, I am also a full-time wife and a full-time business owner. Currently, I am dealing with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) which is a form of orthostatic intolerance that is associated with the presence of excessive tachycardia on standing. Many POTS patients experience low blood pressure on standing, fatigue, headaches, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, exercise intolerance, nausea, diminished concentration, tremulousness (shaking), syncope (fainting), coldness or pain in the extremities, chest pain and shortness of breath. If that wasn’t enough, I’m also recovering from a brain surgery in March which effected my balance as well as my ability to do normal every day tasks. The hardest part of this recovery was learning to walk again. We wouldn’t want to leave out the fact that I have extreme back difficulties for a 29 year old woman. For this, I go to 1.5 hours of therapy 4 times a week. So, as you can tell, I’m a very busy lady.

The truth of the matter is being this busy is not working for me. It is far too stressful, and we all know that when you are trying to regain your health, extreme stress is not going to help. We can’t always dictate what our health will do. Sure, we can eat healthy, exercise, and take care of ourselves, but sometimes or bodies just do their own thing. the best thing we can do about it though is keep working to make it better, continue going to therapy, eating right, exercising, and treating our bodies well, so for obvious reasons I can’t get rid of that from my life right now.

Another area of life that requires attention is the fact that I am a full-time wife. Relationships require work and love in order to grow. It’s important for me to spend time nurturing my marriage and spending time with my husband. He deserves that! Part of this nurturing requires that I put in just as much effort around our house as he does. It’s not fair to expect him to mow the yard, do the dishes, clean the clothes, vacuum the floors, take care of the dogs, take out the trash, and cook the meals. We are partners and therefor we work together to keep the relationship and our home maintained. I can’t alleviate this from my life either.

Last week my husband and I talked about my business. We discussed what our life goals were and what needed to happen to accomplish those goals. For us, Pretty Much is one of the most important pieces of my life right now. It is the one piece that makes the most sense and makes me the most happy.Despite the business taking a lot of love, dedication, time, and work, it seems to be a stress reliever more than a stress creator. Owning and operating Pretty Much keeps me sane and makes me feel good. It’s such an important part of my life, and of our future that I would be crazy to cut it out of my life right now.

This brings us back to the talk of school. I’m supposed to devote 10 hours a week per class. That’s 40 hours a week devoted to school. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with this expectation, however, that number doesn’t even come close to the amount of work that I have to put in. Last week I was required to create a 108 page document for one class in one week. It took me 20 hours just to work on that class, and I still had three other classes to work on. Did I learn anything from creating that document? nope! That’s when I realized that school is taking up way too much of my time and not giving me anything back. I’m not really learning anything, and it causes way too much stress. It needs to go.

So for me, I’ve decided that right now in life, college is a waste of my time. I’ve decided that this will be my last semester for a while. The crazy thing is that several of my classmates have actually said the same thing. At least I don’t feel so bad.

The great news is that this means tons more time to focus on Pretty Much! Hooray! I’m so excited because that means that I am about to have a ton of time to make pretty things! I’m about to have time to blog, create pre-made party details, develop some new stationary collections, and even start making some videos. I cannot wait for this new era to begin with Pretty Much. On Tuesday, I’ll be sharing a bit more about upcoming plans, so come back and find out more!

Best!
Renay

Monday’s are Magical – Pink Hair Don’t Care

As some of you probably know by now, I recently colored my hair pink. It was a decision many, many years in the making, and the right time was finally now. Although I certainly don’t feel that I must defend this decision, I do have an explanation.  Even my husband is on board with my #pinkhairdontcare choice! Pink Hair Don't Care  Coloring my hair was something I had always wanted to do. To be honest, the first memory I have of colored hair was actually done on a dog. I thought it was so cute, and I really wanted it for myself, however, it never really made sense. Under the roof of my parents, I probably would have been grounded until I was 50, and after graduation and my move to California, I was still trying to figure everything out and get a decent job. It had always been impressed upon me that “normal” was the only way to be if I wanted a good job and “normal” did not include colored hair.

The first time I ever went crazy with my hair, it really wasn’t crazy at all. I was with my gal pal, Charlie at the mall and found some Mohawk hair product. We went straight back to my place where I proceeded to give myself a short Mohawk and die it so black that it almost looked blue. Since I was in the army at the time, I had to cut it in a way that I could wear it down at work, so I didn’t get in trouble for the cut, but I did get in trouble for the color which I had to immediately change. Here’s a picture of me growing out the Mohawk:

Mohawk Hair After that experience, I stayed inside the lines for the most part. I only used hair colors that were basically natural until I got out of the military. Then, I decided to put one small streak of hot pink in the front of my hair. I liked it, but it didn’t last long. Again, the boss wasn’t pleased, so I had to get rid of it pretty quickly. About a year later, I decided to go blond. It wasn’t very pretty on me. Going from a dark brown to blond overnight produces an ugly warm blond color in my hair that just wasn’t attractive. After a few months, I went back to normal. Then, a few days later, I decided to put a few streaks of blue and purple in my hair. That was a lot of fun until again, I got a corporate job and the boss frowned upon my colorful hair. Back to normal again!

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? It seems like every time I do something fun with my hair, my boss gets mad. For some reason, colored hair is frowned upon, and those that have colored hair get strange glances from people wherever they go. I almost feel as though colored hair is more horrific to the average boss than a body full of tattoos. At least that’s how it feels!

However, I have found myself intrigued by both tattoos and colored hair. I’ve never seen either as a bad thing, or looked at either with a raised eyebrow. I love when I see someone with tattoos or colorful hair. I think it’s beautiful. For the most part, I don’t even think that they do it for attention. I think they do it because they can and because they want to. Everyday people wear their favorite color clothing, drive their favorite color car, and decorate their homes with their favorite color, so why must it be so taboo to color your hair with your favorite color?

Back in June I announced my new, full-time job – working for myself from home as the CEO and Creative Director of Pretty Much (See that post here). I no longer had a corporate job in which I had to keep the boss happy. I was finally in charge and could do what I wanted with my hair. I’d been waiting forever for this opportunity, and I was pretty darn excited. I talked to my husband about it, and even he was on-board. So, just before we left for vacation, I went in and had my hair colored pink. I had a professional do it to ensure that despite the wild color, it would still look good and wouldn’t look tacky or trashy.

pinkhairdontcare2 pinkhairdontcare3My thought process, and the argument I used to win my husband over on the idea was that if I were given the choice between two different creative professionals to decorate my wedding and create my stationary, the first one I would check into would be the one with pink hair over the one with regular brown hair. I’m not saying that brown hair is bad or boring or that you shouldn’t have it, but I know from my personal experience that pink hair defiantly makes a create statement and brings out my personality.

So far, after nearly two weeks as a pink headed lady, I still love every inch of the pink. I still feel confident in my choice as well. It makes me really happy to know that there isn’t a single person that can tell me to change it or to fix it. I love that I can have pink hair. In a way, you might say “I left my 9-5 for this!”

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20 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

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  1. I have studied at 9 different colleges and universities because I’ve moved around that much!
  2. I once had a Mohawk, and it was blue.
  3. I have eight younger siblings:  5 sisters and 3 brothers.
  4. In middle school, I won the read-a-thon- three years in a row just so that I could donate the grand prize ( a mountain bike) to our school’s huge fundraiser auction.
  5. I’m addicted to The Voice despite it being rigged.
  6. I try my best to follow a vegan lifestyle for the amazing health benefits it has given me, but every once in a while I indulge in real Ice cream or a steak. I know – I’m horrible!
  7. I celebrate my birthday for a week because I love to celebrate, and I even celebrate my half-birthday. This year, I’m not quite as excited to do that though – it will be the big 3-0!
  8. I have a small heart. No, literally! My heart is slightly smaller than normal.
  9. In fourth grade I got my hair chopped off. When my husband saw that school picture for the first time he said, “I didn’t know you had a twin brother!”
  10. In my early twenties, I survived on monster coffees and milky way candy bars for long periods of time.
  11. I lost a really nice pair of glasses (before I had PRK) in the Rhine River in Germany while I was there after being medevac’d from Iraq.
  12.  The lowest grade I ever received in school was a B+ until my senior year when I got a D on my final exam in World Religions. I went to a Catholic School. The next time a ever got a low grade was when I got a C at the age of 29 because apparently when you are excused from class to have a major surgery, that doesn’t mean that you can make up the work. I cried!
  13.  I have an unreasonable and irrational fear of heights. I have had numerous conversations with my brain about getting over this silly fear, but it refuses to listen.
  14.  I got my first gray hair at age 21 and it was in my eyebrow!
  15. It is best for the greater good of the world to not argue with me. I will not let you win. We will argue, even if I am wrong, until you give up and agree that I am right. I have attempted to break this awful habit, but thus far, I have failed.
  16. I should have hit adulthood during the roaring twenties. During my teenage years and into my twenties, I was a true flapper at heart. I even dressed as one to go to my senior prom.
  17. I have a crush on Robert Downey Jr.
  18. I hate carpet. I think it is the most disgusting flooring option available. We have carpet in our house. Yuck!
  19. I have a very (un)healthy attraction to glitter, especially gold glitter. I once glued glitter to my eyelashes with super glue. Please do not ever do that.
  20. My studio has enough craft supplies within it to open a small craft store. You think I’m kidding…but I’m really not!

New Beginnings, Starting a Business, and Setting Goals

A blank screen and a blinking cursor – Yikes! I started my business back in December, but I’ve put off the obligatory first post for the blog simply because it overwhelmed me. Starting a business is easy, but blogging your thoughts is really scary! I fought with myself over what exactly the perfect content was for an initial post. I have so much to share with the world that I just could not decide where to start. I want to introduce myself, explain the roller-coaster year that ultimately led to me becoming a small business owner, and of course talk about all my goals of last year while listing my excuses for not completing more than few of them! The cursor kept blinking and the blank page stared back at me!

Forward to this morning. I woke up, showered, decided there was no time like the present to begin a new practice of oil pulling, threw on some clean pajamas, and sat down at my computer. All current projects could wait; I just had to write that first blog post. I had to begin today or I would continue to put it off everyday until the point of having a blog was completely lost and my enthusiasm for new beginnings went out the door with it! I sat down, took a deep breath, and then took several more. My mind was blank. I took another deep breath and placed my fingers on the keyboard. Nothing came to me. I decided that eating a cookie (a home-baked snickerdoodle of course!) was the missing piece to the puzzle that once complete would picture me, a complete success, jumping up and down as glitter fell around me. The outcome wasn’t quite that dramatic, but while eating that hard-as-a-rock-because-I-got-distracted-and-left-it-in-the-oven-for-a-half-hour cookie, it occurred to me in the most cliche fashion that perfection was over rated, and if the story of my morning was good enough to make me chuckle, it was good enough for my first blog post.

So what can you expect when reading the Pretty Much blog? Oh…pretty much anything! There will be posts about new beginnings, starting a business, and setting goals. There will be posts with pretty pictures, some creative ideas, and lots of glitter could be involved as well! Pretty Much is a design studio based in Utah, and I, Renay, am the Art Director. I create small business branding packages with logos, color schemes, stationary, etc. I create gorgeous party decorations, event themes, and wedding packages. Lastly, I am the creator of the Pretty Much Pretty Busy calendars, planners, and organization tools. You can find me on my personal Pinterest page, the Pretty Much website, the Pretty Much facebook page, the Pretty Much Pinterest page, the Pretty Much Etsy shop, and the Pretty Much Twitter page @HelloPrettyMuch.

Please do stop in to say hi! Comment as much as you can or want. I do my best to respond to all of my followers. Let’s have fun! Come back often for new blog posts. I’ll be starting a blog schedule soon to include featured posts. You will not want to miss all the great things in store for 2014. Oh, and don’t worry, glitter will be involved!