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January 2014 Archive

registration is now open!

Create a balance between work, play, life + love.

Design Life Project is a five-week, online course to help you custom-design your LIFE. Design Life Project will help you find your balance between work, play, life and love by identifying your core, discovering your strengths and weaknesses, and your natural rhythm. Design Life Project will help clarify and simplify your scheduling, help you to know what you should be working on when, get things out of your head and organized, and allow for maximum creativity to do the BEST DESIGN WORK you’ve done. Let’s make the REST OF YOUR LIFE, the BEST OF YOUR LIFE.


You will learn how to tailor a life balance so that you can wake up in the morning feeling FREE and totally present. Design Life Project will help you to develop a customized and flexible schedule that will FINALLY bring all the pieces together, once and for all.

Are you a creative who is:

  • Juggling too many things at once, and are afraid of DROPPING the balls?
  • Afraid of being too stressed to do your BEST work?
  • Making mistakes, and being TOO HARD on yourself for them?
  • Burning the candle from BOTH ends?

Perhaps you’re JUST starting out in a design business, and you want to start it right so that you develop the balance early on. You’ll learn what I’ve learned in YEARS of running a business, balancing a new family, and doing your best work, in just 5 weeks! I will be completely TRANSPARENT with you and tell you EXACTLY what did and didn’t work for me!

Would you like to:

  • Wake up in the morning and LIVE out your ideal day?
  • Be clear on what you need to work on, and WHEN?
  • Use a schedule you can finally STICK to?
  • Use 100% of your creative potential and feel TOTALLY inspired?
  • Work with your IDEAL clients?
  • Know the VALUE of your work and price it right?

Class is currently in session – but you till have a chance to take it!

See our new offering of Class + Coaching – take the course on your schedule and have ME as your personal coach!

Some testimonials from past students:

“When you work in any creative industry, or work for yourself, most likely you let that seep into every aspect of your being. As full filling as this kind of work can be, it can also be exhausting and overwhelming. It wasn’t until this course that I realized I was missing something. I am a designer by trade, and I wasn’t designing my life! The number one thing that I loved about this course was the confidence Cathy instilled in all us to take control. We truly have the power to design a life we love. There is a place where work and family coexist without guilt, and where we can do our best work free from burnout. I am so excited about the directions my life and business will take with this new found knowledge and support.”

“The Design Life Project encouraged me to really think about how I spend my time. I also took a long hard look at my business practices and the reasons behind why I do things a certain way and where improvements could be made. I walked away with a clear picture of what I need to implement in my business and a list of action items. More importantly, I feel encouraged and inspired to actually get those things done!”

“This course has helped me spend less time on the things that I don’t enjoy, while spending more time on my creative projects. I feel like my creativity has grown as I have gotten more inspired to spend time on the fun parts of what I do. During these weeks, I have given up some of my responsibilities to spend more time on fun projects. I am so happy that my work and quality has gotten better as I am zoning in on the type of work I do. I also started raising my prices on my cakes and will be raising prices on other things I offer as well. By raising my cake prices, I’ve been able to hire an assistant to make the process of baking and decorating go quicker and free up my time. I used to work 7 days a week, but I am now working 6 days a week and spending Sundays with my family. This is HUGE for me as I previously had no life/work balance and worked 24/7. I am making a conscious effort to stop working at a certain time each night and eat dinner and spend time with my family. It doesn’t happen every day, but at least it happens a few times a week and will start happening more as I keep working towards my goals. Thank you Cathy for all of your inspiration! I still have work to do, but I now know what needs to be done, what my priorities are, and have a clear vision for my businesses, know the type of clients I want to work with, and I see that I can’t say yes to everything, and I know I need to pay for help to make it all happen. I have learned SO much.”

“Being a business owner, wife, and mother of 3 little ones can be challenging at times. Last year, I was helping my kids with homework while answering emails on my phone, and ordered pizza for dinner far too many times. I took the Design Life Project last fall and it has made such a difference in the way I schedule my day! And Cathy is awesome!! If you want to design a new and better way of doing things, go get your spot!”

Week 1: Your Ideal Day, Motivations and Goals

In the first week, you will learn how to discover who you are and what you were made to do, and how you’d like to do it. I will help you identify what brings you JOY and what ignites your best work. You will learn exactly HOW to map out your ideal day, and what you’d like it to look like. In little, easy ways, you can start filling your days with JOY.

Week 2: Developing Boundaries and Implementing Them

In the second week, you will learn how to create boundaries, and I will teach you how to start implementing them RIGHT away to start clearing the clutter. I will help you choose which boundaries to put in place, for your desired results. You will be able to start clearing out some time and getting some time to yourself to do the things you love.

Week 3: Getting Help and Developing Your Team

In the third week, you will learn how to get help to clear off your plate, and how to afford it. You will learn tips and tricks to simplify your workflow so that YOU are doing less of the work you don’t love, and MORE of the work you do LOVE. You will develop a plan to work smarter and not harder, right away.

Week 4: Creating a Customized Schedule, Get Laser Focused and Be PRODUCTIVE

In the fourth week, you will learn how to custom-tailor a schedule to work WITH who you are, and how you like to work. You will learn that it’s okay to throw out the traditional ways of doing things and you will learn how to design it to work with your personality and style. You will finally develop a plan JUST FOR YOU, so that everything fits and everything flows. I will also help you get you laser focused, by following your schedule and allowing yourself to be FULLY present in what you are currently doing. You will learn the art of focusing on your project, on your family, on your friends – at the right place and time. You will start getting the MOST of your time so that you can stay productive and get more MEANINGFUL things done (in less time).

Week 5: Putting it All Together and Fine Tuning

In the fifth week, you will learn how to fine tune everything you’ve developed, and help you put it all together. You will start to master living out all of the pieces in balance, and you will be able to fine-tune the areas to work even better. This week we will be oiling the machine that has brought you to living your ideal day. It will all come together this week, and you will finish the course with a well-developed, customized plan to fit only you.

Design Life Project is taught by Graphic and Web Designer Cathy Olson, owner of the design studio Love-Inspired. She has over 13 years experience as a professional graphic designer, and has worked with a range of businesses – big ones like Disney, Costco, Best Buy and Walmart – to small ones like work-from-home moms, working from a desk and a laptop in the wee hours. Cathy started her own design business over 5 years ago, and in that time has helped hundreds of businesses find their authentic voice through exploration, social media, marketing, graphics, and web. She has dealt first-hand with the juggling a thriving business, being a mom to a growing family, and personal goals. She’s experienced overwhelm first hand, and has learned how to balance work AND life in a fun, personalized and EASY TO STICK WITH way. This class is perfect for designers, photographers, artists and creatives who want to have more free time, attract their dream clients, work smarter not harder, and truly start to LIVE the LIFE they want to.

Class is currently in session – but you till have a chance to take it!

See our new offering of Class + Coaching – take the course on your schedule and have ME as your personal coach!

Let’s FINALLY develop some balance and peace in your design/life. In this course, you’ll learn about setting goals to make your heart SING, determining which boundaries are necessary and ACTUALLY how to STICK to them. You’ll learn how to create laser focus and to REALLY stay productive. You’ll learn how to really be present in what you’re doing and be the BEST at it that you can be. Instead of living someone else’s life/dream/way of scheduling, you will learn the skills to design YOUR ideal day, YOUR ideal week, YOUR ideal year.


I’m so busy and overwhelmed already. Will I have time for your course? Can I register, but start it later when I know things will have quietened down? The course spans over 5 weeks. Each week we will have lessons and worksheets, and you can do them in your spare time. If you don’t have spare time, the course will HELP you FIND some. Honestly, the BEST time to do this program is WHEN you are overwhelmed, because you’ll start to clear it out RIGHT away. You will also have access to the private Facebook group to bounce your ideas off of. If you would still rather go at your own pace, you can. You will be able to download all the content and access the course site for three months after the program finishes.

What kind of teaching can I expect in the course? What’s included? The Design Life Project e-course is robust. Enrolling in Design Life Project includes full access to the online classroom, video tutorials, Q&A and worksheets to identify your ideal day, as well as access to a private Facebook group where you can connect and share with your classmates and get feedback directly from Cathy. You’ll create an actual working system that is customized to you, so you don’t have to waste another moment in overwhelm or frustration.

When does the class start? Registration opens January 15, 2014! Class begins Monday February 17, 2014. You’ll be able to download all content and access the course site for three months after the program finishes.

Does the course meet at a certain time? Does it matter what part of the world I’m in? Design Life Project is a virtual course, you can participate from anywhere at anytime! Lessons will be posted online throughout the week, and you can log into the course at any time to view them.

How much time can I expect to spend on the course? You’ll get new content on the course site throughout the week, M-F. We’ll start with a lesson, then a worksheet, some observation and testing, and then end the week with an action step. You can expect to spend anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes reviewing the content and completing the exercises and work for the class each day, depending on the length of the lesson. Some people may work through the content more quickly, and others may want to spend more time. All the content will help you develop your personalized plan by the end of the Design Life Project course.

How are payments handled? Payment is securely processed via PayPal and can be made using your PayPal balance or credit card. Please note that all course correspondence will be sent to the email address associated with your PayPal account. To use a different email address, please forward your PayPal invoice to cathy@love-inspired.com.

Other questions? Email me at cathy@love-inspired.

Class is currently in session – but you till have a chance to take it!

See our new offering of Class + Coaching – take the course on your schedule and have ME as your personal coach!

the thorn of comparison

I think anytime we start a new year, we do the same thing – we take stock of where we are, how far we’ve come, and what we want for the future. Then comes in the comparison. Where is everyone else? Where are they heading? How do I compare to them?

I recently posted an instagram from a quote from Jon Acuff:

“Don’t compare your beginning, to someone else’s middle.” – Jon Acuff

It got a lot of likes from yall. Which leads me to believe we all do this, and we all know we shouldn’t. When we compare, it’s completely unfair to ourselves. We aren’t comparing apples to apples, and we are pretending like we are. I don’t think there is a problem with a bit of healthy competition – but we take it so much further. The trouble with comparison is that it is like a thorn. It starts simple enough, and starts bugging us, bothering us, and getting worse. It soon becomes so bad that it has morphed our sense of ourselves. We now see ourselves through a false set of eyes. We are lying to ourselves about our worth by comparing ourselves to someone else. We are also lying to ourselves if we think someone else’s path is BETTER than our own.

Let me say something refreshing for a moment –

It doesn’t MATTER how you compare to someone ELSE. It really doesn’t. All that matters is how you compare to YOURSELF.

The only way to compare apples to apples it to compare our present selves with our past selves. How does past ME compare with now ME? How can I make future ME even better?

It’s silly to think we should follow someone else’s path. Our lives are so complex – we need to realize WE are more complex than that. WE are different than THEM.

You have been created to be completely unique. There truly is no one else out there like you. Really. So there will be NO other path like yours. The real success comes in being true to yourself, and to stop comparing.

Once we stop comparing to others, we can start to create our own path:

  • What are YOUR goals?
  • What are YOUR passions?
  • What works for YOU?
  • How do YOU learn best?
  • How do YOU create best?

Once you focus on yourself and being you – and not anyone else – the thorn is removed and you are free to soar to be the BEST you.

Let’s stop comparing our ANYTHING to anyone else’s ANYTHING. Let’s be us and let’s be awesome because of it.

how to: the new year price increase

I’ve been hearing a lot of business owners toil over something recently, so I thought I should talk about it – the dreaded New Year price increase. In the Design Life Project e-course (registration opens Wednesday) I talk in detail about how to set your prices, when to raise them and how to raise them. One of my biggest recommendations is raising them for the New Year. It’s a common business practice, as (our) costs are always rising, and the new tax year is a good split point to do so.

But what is the best way to do it? How do we let our clients know? There are a few approaches, and as every business is different – so there will be different ways to handle it.


If your business always has new (rotating) clients


This is the easiest scenario, because new clients may not be aware of your old pricing. This means updating your site to reflect your new pricing (if you have it listed), or updating any materials you send out with pricing on them. If you’d like to stimulate a little sales before you increase – send out a social media blast that your prices will be raising on a certain date, and give them one more chance on the pricing. If you have a newsletter list, this can be an easy way to do that. You could also raise your price but run a special, so that new clients don’t feel like they JUST missed the boat.


If your business has old/repeating clients


This can be a bit trickier, if you have old clients who are used to your pricing. If you’ve had a consistent price raise – every year or 2 years – this should be just part of the routine. But what if you haven’t raised your prices in awhile and you’re afraid of alienating your clients? For this I’d take a softer approach. I would start to warn them, and perhaps give them more time than your new clients. You can extend their deadline a bit if you need to – but eventually you WILL need to raise their prices too. If they love you and they know you’re worth it – you won’t lose them. Don’t let them take advantage of you or drag out special rates. You’ve got to make a living and they should be understanding of that. There is a reason you’re raising your prices in the first place, whether it be to make more money to support yourself & family, or to free up your schedule more – and they aren’t exempt from that reason.

There is also another way to increase your prices that I’d like to mention – without making it so obvious:


Package restructuring


Another way to increase your prices is through package restructuring. Develop new packages that are worth more or include more value for a higher price. You can even add a simple item to a current package, and raise the price on that. Think about adding VALUE – it could be an extra service that doesn’t cost you more, but gives them a more white glove version of your service. This could also mean dropping your smallest packages from your offering. You can always include a la carte items if you wish.


So how do I know HOW much to increase it for the New Year?


For how much to increase it – it depends on how far off your 2013 prices were form what they SHOULD be (see another post I wrote about your true worth and the pricing balance). I also have a specific formula I talk about in the Design Life Project e-course on calculating EXACTLY how much you should be charging. The main idea is deciding what you want to make in a year and backtracking from there. If you figure out you are charging WAY too little – a huge jump may scare everyone off. In that case, I’d recommend a quarterly increase to where you need to be. If you’re not too far off, and if business is good – I say just go for it. I use my current workload to also dictate how much to increase my prices. If I’m super busy and booking far in advance – I will probably do a higher jump for the next year. If business has been steady – the raise reflects that accordingly.

As always, use your intuition when setting prices, and then add a little more. The number should probably make you a *bit* uncomfortable, but not *too* uncomfortable. If you feel totally comfortable, it probably needs to be a bit higher. You will most likely devalue yourself when something comes easily to you. It’s not about what YOU would pay for it – it’s what someone would pay YOU for your expertise!

Happy price increasing!!