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August 2014 Archive

what does it mean to love on your clients?

Recently in the Facebook group for the Design Life Project alumni, Alicia Sturdy wrote,

“Thinking about what it means to help & love our clients. Helping I get. But loving? How do you love a client well?”

I was kind of stumped by her question. We are told to love on our clients, but yes, what DOES that mean, when you are thinking of it in step-by-step terms? I’m finally just now formulating an answer to this question. I think loving on clients looks different on everyone, perhaps it is semantics, on how we as individuals show our love to others. So then, I can only say how I strive to love on clients. When thinking about it, I found 3 major ways that I try to love on my clients:

Come from a place of love

This means to always be on the positive. Brighten their day. Always give clients the best of you. Come from a place of pure intentions and come to them with a full heart. Serve them and their needs with joy in your heart. I hear you – this can be tough sometimes. I get that people have junk going on behind the scenes. I have my fair share of junk going on, but I try my best not to dump my baggage on my clients. I come to them from a place of love, of wanting to help. I check my ego and my problems at the door and I clear my head, if I need to. They deserve the best of me, I’m grateful for every one of my clients and if I’m having a bad day, I cast my cares on Him and pray about it, effectively dumping the garbage, so that I can approach them with a clear slate. Come from a place of love.

Respect their decisions

A lot of times clients come to me having had a less-than-stellar experience with another designer or coder. Sometimes I hear from them is that the last designer did not AGREE with their vision. While I think it is amazing to have a personal style, I still believe that the ‘customer is always right’ in this scenario. What separates designers from a traditional artist (painter, etc.) is that we are solving a problem FOR a client. It’s NOT about us. You have to let go of your Diva and respect your clients decisions, visions and wishes. You lovingly give your input and your feedback, but you need to respect when they don’t agree with you, or if they want something else. I also find a lot of clients apologizing when they don’t like or agree with a design that I’ve chosen. I tell them, hey – do not apologize for your thoughts – it’s NOT about me. YOU need to love it. What YOU think is the most important thing of all. MY version of success comes from a client feeling WELL REPRESENTED and authentic. I’m not painting the next Mona Lisa. I solve a visual design problem. Period. Respect their decisions, and listen to them. Which leads me to my next point….

Listen to them (and hear what they aren’t saying)

Of course I mean this in the literal sense, but I sort of mean it in the hypothetical sense too. Hear not only what they say, but what they aren’t saying. Hear their needs, but also think about what they really need – those things that they are NOT asking for. Going through a re-design is NOT an easy process, and we as professionals OWE it to them to fully utilize our experiences. We know things that they will need, that they have not yet thought of. Listen to what they are asking for, and calculate what else they may need. Pretend it’s your loved one that you are proving this service for – you would make sure they knew all the tips, tricks and helpful hints so that they would be truly successful. THAT’S how you go the extra mile to love on them. You are truly helping them to the best of your ability and hearing their needs whether they state them or not. Invest in them.

Bottom line, if you are genuinely caring for your clients and you are coming from a positive place, they will feel the love. We won’t always be perfect at it, we are human and inherently will make mistakes. But we get back up and try again. It’s loving on others that makes our job fun.

Have a lovely weekend friends!



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Class starts on Monday! Grab your spot now!

what does it mean to love on your clients?
register now for free webinar from cathy + whitney!

I am thrilled to announce that the lovely and super talented Whitney English and I are collaborating on a fun project together for faith & love based women entrepreneurs, called Go Inspire Love. Mark your calendars – we are hosting a FREE insider Webinar on August 21st, at 12pm PST / 3pm EST, for those who’d like to learn more. We’ll be talking about the vision for Go Inspire Love and how we think this will be a game changer.

We hope you can join us!

Hop over to http://goinspirelove.com to register for the free Webinar. We’ll be sending out a reminder the day before, and the details and link the morning of, via email, on where to go to participate.

Till then, Go Inspire Love!


from idea to launch


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to follow-through, and what separates those of us who JUST dream, and those of us who dream AND DO.

I’ve fortunate to meet some big dreamers, and some big doers. I do think this is a part of a bigger conversation about human personalities and such, but I do think being able to execute ideas is something we can learn, if, we aren’t automatically blessed with that ability. I’ve had success with bringing dreams to fruition and it’s not necessarily one of my strong suits – I used to be a total procrastinator and horrible with follow-through. So, I’d like to share some helpful tips that I use bring a dream to life.

1. Get past your fear

This does not mean be absent of fear, but to not let fear stop you. I wrote a post on conquering fear, in which I broke down a verse in the Bible, that calls us to instead have a spirit of courage and power in the face of fear. Once the fear is named, examined and conquered, we can truly get our idea rolling.

2. Research and Learn

Knowledge truly is power. If you have an idea, take the time to educate yourself about all things relating to your idea. I’m a business book junkie, but I’m also a learning junkie when it comes to something I don’t know. I know what I know, and I know enough to know I don’t know much. When I have a new idea, I hit up Google and books to figure it out. It empowers you to get going.

3. Help and love others

I’ve said this probably 100 times here on DLP and in my classes, but the key to really succeeding in any new endeavor is to clarify HOW you are helping others. When you have your goals in mind and you can SEE how they are helping, your motivation does not wane. If you have the right frame of mind and strength of mission, nothing can stop you.

4. Plan your attack and START

Write down the steps, small as possible, and get started. Baby step your way there if you have to, but just start somewhere – start anywhere. It sounds so simple, but once you get past the fear, have equipped yourself with knowledge, and have the right goals in mind, all that’s left is to just do it. Nothing is standing in your way at that point. Go get it EntreHustlers!


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Tired of trading time for money? Need to develop a system of passive profit that doesn’t depend on you? Have no clue what to offer or how to start? This is exactly why I developed the e-course, Create Passive Profits. This course will help you to develop the idea and hit the ground running with it. I’ve also added a coaching portion this time, so I’ll help you one-on-one to help you get started.

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from idea to launch
behind the screens interview: starting my business

Recently I was interviewed by Australian web developer Em Winch from Morris Bear on work and life balance, as part of her new Behind the Screens series. See the original post here, and below for the interview!


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business:

Oh goodness, it’s so hard to talk about yourself right? My business is Love-Inspired, a graphic and web design studio. I blog and teach about the life/work balance and business at Design Life Project.

So about me? Here’s the highlight reel: I was artsy from a young age, found my calling as a graphic designer pretty young. I went to school for design, moved to San Diego out of college, got a job right away as a senior graphic and web designer, met my husband, started my stationery business, quit my job, started my graphic + web design business and closed my stationery business, had a daughter, had a crazy tumor that almost killed me, changed my entire outlook on life/business/family, starting teaching the Design Life Project, had another daughter, became an S corp and hired employees, and just bought a house. Phew!

Why did you decide to work for yourself?

Let me just tell you, I was NEVER the entrepreneurial type. I distinctly remember telling my husband, “I would NEVER want to have my own business.” I liked working for others, without all the responsibility or the risk. Becoming an entrepreneur just sort of happened, it really was God’s plan for my life. I wanted to make some extra cash on the side to help pay for our wedding, so I started a small stationery business and I met with clients at home in the evening. It ended up being surprisingly successful, and once I tasted the entrepreneurial waters, I was never the same. I was working crazy hours and I needed to make a choice between day job and my business. I quit my job at the height of the recession, and if I’m being honest, everyone thought I was a bit crazy for doing so. Here I was… a salaried, senior graphic designer at a cool design firm, while a lot of highly educated, skilled people were jobless. But… I knew something had to give, and I couldn’t bear the thought of quitting my business. My coworker (senior to me) ended up getting laid off only 4 months later after I quit. I left at the perfect time (God’s perfect timing), when *I* was ready. I realized then, that we all have a false view of stability in a day job/working for someone else. The only real stable business is the one that YOU run. I’ve redefined my definition of success. It’s not in a big ad agency making $$$$$$$ – it’s working from home in my small business. It’s having my family just a few steps away, in case we need an impromptu dance party in the middle of the day. It’s being able to employ others who also work from home. It’s being respected and paid what my creativity and experience are worth. It’s being me, and being okay with the fact that I’m not the right fit for everyone. It’s developing beautiful design, using my gifts to glorify the beauty and creativity of my creator. It’s sustaining my creative soul. It’s helping other businesses succeed in bringing their gifts to LIFE. It’s making enough to provide for my family. It’s being THERE when they need me. It’s living a life that has purpose. That’s my version of success.

What was your biggest fear (if any) that you had when starting your business?

I deal with fear on a daily basis – because I’m constantly making big, bold, scary decisions. If you aren’t afraid – what you’re doing isn’t big enough. Truly. The most amazing things I’ve done in life have come after I’ve pushed through the fear. I was afraid of no sales, of rejection, of my clients being unhappy, of not being GOOD ENOUGH. Even after 6 years in business on my own, those fears still sit in my head. But… they are not paralyzing fears – they are empowering fears. You cannot let fear stop you. I see fear as healthy – it keeps my on my toes and keeps me from getting complacent. I’m always combating those voices in my head and I use them as fuel to grow. They will always be there. There is no “other side” or end to a rainbow – we are constantly growing, learning, adapting. It’s a beautiful part of life. Fear has it’s purpose. Use it!

What does a typical day in your life/business look like?

I struggled with overwhelm for a LONG time – going back and forth between a totally free, organic schedule and a tightly organized + scheduled one. Neither worked, but then I found a balance there – a mix of schedule and freedom. So, part of my day consists of a schedule (things I need to get done that day) and then part of my day allows for freedom (the ability to do something when it comes up). I also have schedule and freedom on a weekly and monthly basis. Therefore, it’s always different, but what I developed for myself, is the basis of what I teach in the Design Life Project. I designed my life/work to fit me, my rhythm of creativity, to allow time for all the things I love, and to let go of the things/commitment/clients that I don’t love. For me, that looks like early breakfast with my daughters, emails and business planning in the late mornings, creativity and movement in the afternoons, nights and weekends for rest and family ONLY. I have clear office hours and I stick to them. My clients respect them always. I make time for what matters the most.

Do you have a five year plan for you business? If yes would you like to share?

I actually don’t. I find long-term plans restrictive and almost always they are wrong anyway. If there’s anything I’ve learned in business – it’s that you have to be adaptable. Actually, I do have a plan for me/us in 5 years. I will be grateful and thriving, I will be serving others and I will be putting my family first. That’s all that matters. Whether I’m still running Love-Inspired, or if I’m a CEO of another company, or if I’m a stay at home mom – I will be true to myself, my needs & wishes for the future Cathy. You’ve got to listen to your heart and stop listening to your head sometimes. I never could have planned this for myself 5 years ago (impossible really) – I just followed what God had planned. I never thought I’d be public speaking, or teaching classes – but I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned in hopes that it helps others, so I went for it. And… it’s okay to stay small. Big isn’t the only picture of success. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to switch gears and head down another path. There’s no point in wasting time heading in a direction you don’t love. Allow yourself to be flexible and to roll with the punches instead. It’s a LOT easier and you will be a lot more successful. 🙂

What are your top three tips for anyone wanting to start their own business?

  • First, I’ll repeat what I said above: Always be adapting.

If you find another hobby/passion/love – find a way to infuse it in to your business. Is something not working/selling? Get rid of it. You make the rules, and you can choose when to break them and when to make new ones. Grow. Always be learning and getting better and better. Thrive.


  • Second: Be in the business of Helping Others.

Love them. Help them succeed. If you are helping others with your business, you will be truly fulfilled and the clients will find you. Enjoy serving them, and give them the best of you.


  • Third: Respect yourself.

Charge what you are worth, create boundaries, let yourself rest and be authentic. Don’t apologize for who you are. Don’t be afraid to share your faith or beliefs with the world. Be open, but be grateful and full of grace. Work smarter and not harder. Create what YOU wish existed.


behind the screens interview: starting my business