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CYOP #120 - Using the Internet to Create Offline Connections with Designer, Writer + Educator Anne Ditmeyer


CYOP #120 - Using the Internet to Create Offline Connections with Designer, Writer + Educator Anne Ditmeyer

Photo: Anne's Herb Lester Paris Small Shops map snapped by  Ashley Ludaescher

Photo: Anne's Herb Lester Paris Small Shops map snapped by Ashley Ludaescher

Today, we’ve got the last episode in a three-part series with designer, writer, and educator Anne Ditmeyer. If you haven’t listened to the last two week’s worth of episodes, please do before wrapping up the series with this episode.

In the interview, Anne and I talk about the magic of using online tools to make offline connections and how that’s been showing up in her work lately. She share’s the truth behind what we all see online these days, why she thinks work should be much more playful than it is now, and some of the best ways she’s been able to build relationships that cross the online/offline barrier.


"There's a place for everyone." — Anne Ditmeyer, Designer, Writer + Educator // Art by  Melanie Biehle

"There's a place for everyone." — Anne Ditmeyer, Designer, Writer + Educator // Art by Melanie Biehle


CYOP #119 - Handling the Freelance Ebb and Flow with Designer, Writer + Educator Anne Ditmeyer


CYOP #119 - Handling the Freelance Ebb and Flow with Designer, Writer + Educator Anne Ditmeyer

Photo: Anne's desk (+gnome!) by  Ashley Ludaescher

Photo: Anne's desk (+gnome!) by Ashley Ludaescher

Today, I’m back with the second in a three-part series with designer, writer, and educator Anne Ditmeyer. If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode, please do that first! 

In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Anne all about the ebbs and flows that come with working for yourself. She goes into how she handles the emotional roller coaster that can come from having too little or, in her case, too much work coming her way. She also offers advice on how to present your work if you tend to do many different types of things and why she doesn’t think she’d be very good at (or happy with) having a full-time job.




Why I Still Freelance

Why I Still Freelance //

When I announced that I'd be taking on a part time, remote position with Winning Edits a two weeks ago, I was bracing myself for the feelings of anxiety and dread that I've often associated with being an employee. I'm not sure why, but for the longest time I've thought that going back to a job would mean that I was no longer an independent creative. I was afraid that it would feel like a step back to a time when I was creatively unfulfilled and had reached my limit of office politics.

Yet, here we are a week into this new way of working and I haven't felt any of those things — not even once. Sure, there will be a learning curve and I'm easing my way back into a team dynamic, but that's a good thing. Additionally, I think the supportive comments, emails and conversations that followed my announcement affirmed what my logical side had been telling me all along: it's not the having of the job that's an issue, it's the type of job and all that comes with it that hadn't felt right until now.

You see, the conditions of my new job are fairly ideal. I get to work from wherever I am in the world, I get to collaborate using technology that didn't even exist the last time I had an employer, the job is part time and I still get to pursue other work. In fact, pursuing other work is seen as a positive thing as long as there's no conflict of interest. I think that's a big part of why I'm feeling so good about the decision to sign on with an employer again. 

I'm a curious person, by nature. I love to ask people questions. I may be an introvert who shies away from asking a question in the heat of a discussion, but rest assured, I'm likely ruminating on something you said. I'm the girl who emails you follow up questions because I just can't help myself.

When I told people outside of my podcast/web/blog/entrepreneurship world about the job, many wondered why on Earth I wouldn't simply sign on full time and scrap my freelance work and passion projects altogether. After being slightly horrified at the thought of giving up the things I've grown to love, I'd respond with something like, "but then I'd only get to ask a specific type of person a specific set of questions." 

That just wouldn't do.

I can't imagine giving up (or cutting back on) my podcast. There are far too many amazing creatives out there who haven't told me (or you) their stories yet. I can't fathom passing up the opportunity to dive in to interesting regional business stories (like the Comstock's magazine article pictured above—go snag the July issue if you're in the Sacramento area!). I would also never want to give up on pitching stories to the publications of my dreams.

Thinking through all of this, of course, makes me curious about you. Is there something that you simply can't imagine giving up—even if it makes you zero dollars? Heck, especially if it makes you zero dollars?

Let's talk about it in the comment section below, but first I want to offer my two cents: 

If you're curious, keep at it. If you want to try something new just to see if it works, try it. If you want to say yes to something that sounds crazy, but just might be awesome — I say go for it. 

We're all coming at this whole career thing with varied perspectives and backgrounds, but there's no harm in trying. How else are we supposed to find what lights us up?

So, tell me: what lights you up, my friends?



The Why Behind My Business (Hint: It's You)

The Why Behind My Business (Hint: It's You) 

When I decided to really have a go at this freelance stuff, I knew that I wanted to love what I do. And by "love what I do," I don't mean that I'd love every single aspect of the job (taxes and accounting come to mind!), but that the creative work I took on was worthwhile and fit my overarching mission.

Now, let me be very clear: my overarching mission has evolved over the years, I've taken work solely to pay the bills and there are days when I have to dig in and do the stuff I really hate doing. There are moments when I'm completely confident and feel as though anything is possible and there are moments when I want to throw in the towel and start applying for 9-5 jobs.

Running your own business—small or large—is hard. However, my goal since leaving my office job has been to connect with, inspire and support creative, adventurous souls like myself. Through all of the good days and bad over the last several years, I'm pretty happy to say that I've found my people.

We're the weird ones. We don't always fit. We tend to have opinions. We're fearful, but do the hard stuff anyway. We have trouble staying put. We thrive on new experiences. We're constantly inspired by everything around us. We're the ones building each other up.

I've never really advertised this before, but I make a point to share around 5% - 10% of my income with fellow business owners. Whether that means hiring someone to take my new head shots, signing up for an online course, backing a crowdfunding campaign or buying gifts from makers—I try really hard to support those doing cool things.

I started the podcast and the #storytellersaturdays hashtag for similar reasons. As a business owner it's really easy to get stuck in my own head about things. So much of the work that I do is about pushing that needle to keep this little indie business afloat. It's hard. However, I find that if I can stick to sharing great stories, lifting up fellow creatives and offering valuable content for everyone out there who is just like me, all of that noise—the this-is-too-hard-I'm-never-going-to-make-it negativity—is silenced.

So, there it is, friends. The why behind my business is sharing, supporting, learning and growing—together. So whether I'm writing an article, doing an interview, road tripping to meet cool people, creating a course or speaking at an event, it all boils down supporting this community of goers and doers to the best of my ability. 


Tell me: If you own your own business, freelance, make things, sell things, solve problems, etc.: what's the why your business? Do you have a mission to which you come back to time and time again? 



Helpful Online Courses for Creatives

Helpful Online Courses for Creatives

As I step into the new-to-me world of teaching courses for creatives and business owners, I've developed an even deeper respect for those who teach regularly. There's something special about people who can distill their knowledge into an engaging, helpful, valuable package—it's harder than it looks, friends! 

That said, it's incredibly rewarding to share what you know and I've had the pleasure of taking a lot of online courses from people who do it really well. I thought I'd share a few favorites for those of you who are looking to learn a skill, become more effective and keep yourself well as you walk your own creative path:

The Creative Class with Paul Jarvis

I've officially signed up for Paul Jarvis' Creative Class and I couldn't be more excited. Piecing together an income can be challenging at best and no matter where we are in our journey, there's always something to be learned from others. I'm currently looking for ways to create better systems, find more of the right clients and continue building a sustainable business. I've admired Paul Jarvis' work for years and I look forward to learning from him! Interested? Sign up here

Skillshare Classes with Anne Ditmeyer

As some of you may remember, I've been a longtime fan of Anne's work. She's doing so many incredible things these days, but I'm most grateful for her willingness to share what she knows! What's great about taking Anne's Skillshare classes is that they're project-based. I'm not sure about you, but I tend to retain much more of what I've learned if it's applied directly to a project. I've taken Anne's "Map Making" class and absolutely loved it. She also teaches several design courses and is currently teaching a class called "The Art of the Travel Poster" which sounds really fun.

Instagram E-course with Melissa Camilleri of @ShopCompliment

So here's the thing about Instagram: it's great for sharing personal photos, but it is an even more powerful tool for growing a creative business. I've slowly (and sometimes painfully) been transitioning my account from a let's-share-all-the-things personal feed to a business/lifestyle account that's a bit more curated. I'm still learning and Melissa's class has helped immensely. It's a perfect place to start if you're looking to use the platform to position and market your business. Interested? Sign up here. (Note: this is an affiliate link and if you purchase through this link, I get a teeny tiny commission. I appreciate you supporting my creative venture as you grow your own!)

Eat.Live.Love with Holistic Health Coach Nikki Stern

Being in business for yourself can take a toll on both your mental and physical state. Unfortunately, friends, I'm writing this out of experience! My word for the year is "well," so one of the first orders of business over the holidays was to sign up for Nikki's Eat.Live.Love e-course. It was just what I needed: a set of simple daily challenges that got me out of my head and doing the things that I know are good for my body. I find that I'm a better business owner, freelancer, podcast host, etc. when I've set aside time to take care of myself. If you're feeling a little bogged down as we head into spring, Nikki's course can help!

Of course, if you're interested in journaling or understanding earned media as a small business owner, I'm gearing up to open my next round of courses as well. And if you're not into learning online, feel free to share this list with a friend who might benefit from one of the resources mentioned above.

Happy learning, my friends!