I have been here before.
On the verge of a new idea, ready to burst with excitement. It is hard to contain it, to keep the important parts to myself. I cannot wait to reveal what I am working on to the world. Yes, to the world!
It has potential. When my ideas are getting interest within a circle of like-minded people who I trust, I know I am on to something. It could be life changing. If I take the time I need to develop it properly. If I get the support I need from the creative community in the city I live in. The possibilities really are just beyond my grasp, and can expand exponentially, under the right circumstances.
In literal terms, I am sitting at my computer desk, in my home. My home office is a part of my living room, which is centrally located within the floor plan. I have access to my TV and music while I am working, or on a break.
Figuratively, I am not exactly sitting.
I am on a tightrope, way up high, where I can still see the ground and the safety net. From this vantage point, I am on the brink of something new. I can see what is waiting on the other side of the tightrope. There is a place to go from here, with a ribbon to cut upon my arrival.
There are people who support me waiting to hand me the scissors to cut the ribbon when I reach the other side. They are holding balloons, and wearing party hats. Everyone in that space is waiting for me, tentatively holding their breath while they smile through the tough part.
The tough part, well that is on me. I am heading in the right direction, but like the sentence I opened with, I have been here before.
Deja Vu can lead you astray or guide you to where you were meant to be all along.
I have been on the verge of something wonderful before. People can attest to the joy I have when I am working on my dreams. The first time I went down this path, I had everything but a realistic business plan.
A local craft store was closing, and I got the idea to buy it and take over the business. I even had a price tag on what the owner was willing to sell it for. Networking within my community allowed me to meet people and start looking into a new location for my store. I had a vision for the design and layout. The problem, however was that I had no idea how much work and research is needed to create a proper business plan. I didn’t have the necessary support or resources to fund my dream. As a result, my proposal was declined, and that dream died when this happened.
When you pour heart into something, it is a devastating blow when it doesn’t work out. It could have put out the entrepreneurial flame within me. It didn’t, because I wouldn’t let it go out.
My next idea was for Tish’s Treasures.
I decided to forego the business plan this time, and just see what I could do with my love of creating. I wanted to run a jewellery business. The location I started at was very limiting. I went to the local Farmer’s Market and was told I had to sell other items, hand-made, but they would not allow me to sell my jewellery there. There were too many vendors already with jewellery for sale. I got creative, and worked on creating beaded ornaments and suncatchers. I went to craft shows with my full stock, and was thrilled with each and every sale I made.
This business idea was but a hobby, and so it never really turned a profit. When I stopped going to the Farmer’s Market, I would then turn to friends and family to generate income from my hobby. Again, it fizzled out of being an actual business. I began creating jewellery to give to people as gifts, with a custom order from time to time. I do have a few loyal customers, but it was never enough to generate a sustainable income.
Reality is a tough thing to understand as a dreamer.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have a logical side to my brain, along with the creative side. I am always thinking, and sometimes it takes me a while to find my courage to try again. Enter the dream of becoming a published author.
I was inspired to write From Where I am Sitting…A Collection of Cat Tales after working very hard at starting this blog. Again, I did not create a business plan, because cat people would totally get this book, and read it and love it. I am an optimist and a dreamer. It will generate future sales, and I hope it does. I have had success with the book, although not as much as I had hoped for, but the sales are not something which will ever really stop unless it is sold out. What a dream come true that would be, not just for me, but for any author!
After finishing the book, and indie publishing it, I wanted to write a second book. I do have a plan for the books I want to write, and unless this is the first contact you have had with Tish MacWebber, you know I am working on #Tishspiration: The Art of Surprising Yourself. It will be more than a book. It is the foundation on which I am building that tightrope walk on. I am working very hard on a new business plan, based on #Tishspiration. I am still in the development stages, but this time, I am playing on more of a level tightrope.
How are things different this time around?
For starters, I have learned lessons while I have been on this journey. I am finding out what resources are available to me, and I plan to use them to the fullest extent. While I am working on a new concept within #Tishspiration, I am still sticking to my original ideas. My business will not conform to narrow my scope, although I am looking to work with local artists in a very niche setting. There is plenty of room to grow with this idea, and I know where I need to start to get things going.
This time, I will be writing a business plan. I have contacts who will not write it for me but will support me to help me to succeed. This new business does not only help me. It helps other creatives, and the customers I will have who will buy what I am planning to offer. I am learning about my target market, and what I will need to do to get the idea to sprout from a dream into a garden. (Again, speaking figuratively here).
This time, I have a lot more information, and experience to guide my path. I need to focus, look straight ahead, hold out my arms to keep my balance, and dance my way across that tightrope. With the right plan of action, there is only one outcome that I will allow to happen. Fearless Success. Who knows, I just may surprise myself with another source of…
One of the things I am most proud of accomplishing in 2018 was writing From Where I am Sitting…A Collection of Cat Tales. There is a large percentage of people who say they want to write a book; many more than those who actually do write a book because it is not an easy task. I am working on my second book. I have a point, I am getting to it.
My book is a memoir narrated by cats, I have had to find creative ways to share this whimsical book and find readers. I have successfully approached four local stores to carry my book for sale on consignment. As an Indie Author, this means going to each of these stores to ask if they were interested in carrying it, in person. Thankfully, all four said yes. It is something that has the potential to help increase sales locally.
Authors attend events where we offer to sign books for people who want to buy them. It is something I am learning how to do locally. I have my first book signing event coming up in a couple of weeks at the larger of the four stores. It is a really big step. I am excited about it.
Unusual Book Signing Events
I have actually had four book signing events already. One was at a former place of employment. The second one was at the Pet Expo. A memoir narrated by cats sure did belong there. The third one was at The Purrfect Cup – A Cat Cafe. This weekend I was at a fundraiser for four local animal shelters. I helped the volunteers run what I must say was a very successful event. I was really surprised by the turnout. From Where I am Sitting…was there as an item for sale with a dollar donated to the fundraiser with each sale, and one book was donated to the silent auction. By the end of the event, I had sold a few extra signed books. More importantly, I had made some new connections.
What about the Bling?
In this city, I have tried to sell my jewellery with low success as the local market is saturated. Did I give up? Not a chance. I reinvented it, and this year I am bringing it to my online store. It will never be perfect. The website will always need changes. It is how managing your own website works. I am doing my best and asking for help if I need to. My inexperience is the biggest issue I am fighting against, and I am not shy about it.
I haven’t seen nearly the same reaction to the jewellery as I have to the book. Which reinforces the fact that I am doing the right thing. I am moving forward, and changing how I am doing things. It is slowly starting to pay off. Not in my wallet yet, that will come with time. For now, I am networking. Meeting people, and getting my name out there. To my knowledge, there is only one MacWebber in the whole world, and she is typing away furiously right here, right now.
Being fearless doesn’t mean I don’t get scared
I am working on my dreams, without a safety net. At times, it is terrifying. Who knew that picking FEARLESS for my word of 2019 would be put to the test right from the start of the year? I didn’t. This may be something I choose more carefully next year. The entrepreneur in me is pushing hard to succeed. I won’t benefit from playing safe. It will grow from being fearless.
After letting my Extrovert self out, the Introvert in me wants to be at home again.
I am an ambivert which is a mixture of an extrovert and an introvert. I love being around people, and I value my quiet time. It is a good thing. Besides,as a result of being unemployed or on a tight budget, if I stay home I don’t spend money. 😉
Sunday I spent the afternoon cleaning. There is a lot more left to do. I have a hard time tearing myself away from my computer as I am often working on graphics or writing. For myself, a group I run, and now expanding to make some for friends. I am in the process of designing a logo for a peer. A friend needed help for a new business cover photo for Facebook page. Things like this are fun for me. If I have happy clients, it builds my portfolio. With constant improvement and persistence, I will succeed to start taking on more paying clients, for this and for the writing. I know my potential.
I need the coffee to do the things!
Oh yeah, the cleaning. These days I can’t really stand to even write about it, I have a hard time actually working on it. I made progress Sunday, and I cleared a small space. I will continue tomorrow. The problem I have right now is that I am an overachiever. I optimistically think I can get things accomplished on time. With more on the go, I can get wrapped up in what I am working on, and never get to the other items on my to do list. There it is, the helpful process I need to follow to get things done.
If I skip drinking coffee in the morning I become very unproductive. I need coffee and really good multivitamins to keep going. With this plan, I can do everything. The problem then becomes only doing the bare minimum of what I need to do because I am having way too much fun doing what I want to do.
Which makes me wonder why the things I want to do are not considered important enough to be the things I need to do. Hmm. My solution in my mind is to break out the agendas I bought (yes, I bought 2 again this year one for home and one for my purse,) to try and schedule my time more effectively. On a positive note, I have lowered the number of cups of coffee I have been drinking in a day. I am trying to change things in my life, to make it better. How was your weekend? What are you changing?
I am writing today live from the Grand Opening Event at The Purrfect Cup Cafe in Fredericton, New Brunswick. It is fairly close to my home, and there has been an impressive turnout. The sun is peeking through the clouds, and the line to go into the room with the cats ( some of them have been adopted today!) is still going the length of the cafe, right outside the door. There have been a few moments when the line wasn’t going right outside, but not for very long.
With a local coffee company, The Whitney Coffee Company supplying the beans for the brew, and Chess Piece Patisserie Cafe providing the best brownie I ever ate along with a variety of cookies, they are open for business.
The Purrfect Cup Cafe
I was able to visit last weekend before the grand opening today. My husband and I took a chance to see if we could check the place out. It was open, and I was able to purchase a coffee. More importantly, I got to play with some cats. It is the main draw for me. It is the only cat cafe in Fredericton, and it is a well-designed establishment. The cafe is out front, with the baked goods coming from a popular downtown cafe. The food safety aspect is not a concern, as the baked goods are prepared at a different location.
Behind a large window wall with a glass door is the cat room. There are washrooms in both sections, and the one out front is fully accessible for all visitors. There are carpets, tables, couches and chairs in the cat room. The various shelves all around the wall to allow cats to exercise and perch as they please. There were 2 cats that day, and I did have fun entertaining their playful antics.
The Cafe in action!
Shona Newton & Korey Jennings, the owners, were both here last weekend, and are here today also. I have been talking to them about setting up a separate event in a month or two for a book signing of my debut book, From Where I am Sitting…A Collection of Cat Tales. They seem open to the idea, and I think it was a good plan on my part to not try and combine my event with their grand opening. Today is about them launching their business.
Decorative Posters inside
Decorative Posters inside the cafe
You know, as I look outside, there is less than an hour officially scheduled for the remainder of the Grand Opening, and the people are here. I think it is going better than they expected. I am really happy to see the overwhelming support my city has showed for The Purrfect Cup Cafe! Although I did not make it inside today with the cats; I will find another time to visit. It was very busy in the cat room all day!
With all the excitement here today, I am planning to stay close to home tomorrow, to prepare for another work week. Someday, I may be able to write full time, and that will be wonderful. I am working towards this goal with every spare second I have. I will be making time for Bling creations tonight & tomorrow, as the Cat Tales Jewellery Collection will be the first Always Blinging…jewellery for sale in the store on this website! I am making progress, and I have one design which I am pleased with. The next design is a bit more complicated, so I need time to play. I look forward to the reveal when the store is ready to open.
After I wrote this, something came up on Sunday. I found out that it was a day to go check out a local meeting. The Chickadee Cat Club happened to be having their meeting this afternoon. I grabbed the proof copy of my book and went. There was a general meeting and a presentation about raw food diets for cats. It was an interesting afternoon.
When I got home, I made 7 pieces of jewellery in the design I have decided to go with for the necklace. I need to spend time working on the earring design this week. I have made progress, and this is good! As some of them will be necklaces for the Book Launch Party I held on Facebook a few weeks ago, I am anxious to get those pieces complete, so I can work on the ones I will be selling locally and on the website. With that, it is time to sign off and get ready for the upcoming work week. How was your weekend? Did you do anything creative or interesting? Let me know in the comments! Have a great week!
Treasure Seeker Tuesday is going to focus a little bit on a project that has taken over my free time the last few days. Someone in a writing group was looking for feedback on their cover. I shared mine, and I too was given feedback. It sent me on a quest. My first book cover design quest. This is something I never planned on doing. I had designed a cover that I was quite happy with a while back. Then someone offered an idea.
Well, 15 more covers later, I am still narrowing it down. Here is what I learned so far.
People will comment on things. I like this. It is how I ended up with the Logo I designed for the website. It is helpful to have the opinion of people in the industry, but also from friends and family. There are strongly positive and negative reactions.
Purple was the one colour that I knew I had to keep when I was choosing colours for my Brand. That was an adventure. I started with blues and purples. I was told it all looked the same. It didn’t to me, but that is how I ended up looking for the brand colours that you see today. I wanted purple, and other colours that were nothing like it. I spent hours on a website narrowing down my choices. One palette became the one I started comparing to the rest. I knew that was the one I wanted.
Exotic Fruits Color Palette – My Brand Colours
This website is where I found it. I didn’t create it, but it quickly became my favourite, and I am using it throughout my website and social media platform. I see choosing my palette as the first step in what you are looking at today.
Naturally, my book cover was going to be purple. That purple, right up there. I tried different colours and got a little help with my picture, and came up with this.
From Where I am Sitting A Collection of Cat Tales by Tish MacWebber
I was asked a few questions, and then I started playing in canva. I came up with several variations, with the picture, and the colours above it. Then I tried something I wanted to do, but I am still not sure that it will be practical. I added the tartan that I designed from the colours above at this tartan designing website. I am really liking the tartan.
I took tonight off. I even designed the back cover of the book in my dreams last night. I have been immersed in this project. I am not yet done, so I will show a few of the favourites so far. If you have any comments, I am open to constructive criticism. If I am going to change it, I might as well have fun with the process!
Whimsical White and Purple
Creative Colour combo (Stories should be Tales)
A twist on colour
Peach on tartan
Purple on tartan
That is what I have been up to this week. Trying new cover ideas. When I make a decision, I will share that with you as well.