How to Plan a Creative Retreat Like a Boss

Dec
6th

Ask any freelancer what they love most about working for themselves, and nine times out of ten they’ll say ‘flexibility of schedule’ – getting to choose their own hours instead of the ol’ 9-to-5 grind.

Don’t get me wrong, freelancing is hard AF (saving for taxes, never knowing when you’ll be paid, hustling to find new clients), but being able to work when you want, where you want and not having to adhere to someone else’s hours is something I don’t think I could ever trade, especially as a creative seeking inspiration (because as any creative knows, you can’t just flip a switch to turn it on). I love being able to choose my office from day-to-day, whether it’s at home or a local coffeeshop or a shared workspace – new spaces inspire new ideas.

But after the craziness of my wedding, I needed to escape the city and fully re-energize my creative spirit and the city was much to hectic to concentrate. I called up my friend Ashleigh, who is a freelance artist + designer, and we planned a mid-week getaway to Prince Edward County to unwind, brainstorm and plan our next moves as ladybosses. Turns out, escaping Toronto and leaving the daily grind behind for a few days was exactly what I needed to refocus my business, but is also a great way to just get shit done.

Looking to do a little creative getaway of your own? Here are the steps I took when planning a mid-week retreat for me and my (newly self-employed) bestie.

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Why Authenticity Matters For Your Online Personal Brand (And How to Maintain It)

Dec
4th

Why Authenticity Matters For Your Personal Brand

Ahhhh, ‘authenticity’ – the buzz word of the year in ye olde blogging and influencer industry.

It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot these days, by bloggers, by marketers, by readers, and even by me – hell, I’m a self-proclaimed champion for authenticity and I say that loud and proud, my friends. But when we talk about authenticity online, when we declare someone as being authentic, what does that actually mean?

Well, the dictionary defines it as “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; being true to oneself “, and I’d say that’s pretty spot on (obviously… it’s the dictionary). But for me, when I speak specifically of developing a personal brand for bloggers and social influencers, it simply means being the same person online as you are in real life. A lot of creatives and bloggers mistake authenticity for sharing every part of your life online, but you can still maintain a level of privacy AND be authentic – it’s more about being truthful, honest and essentially… just being yourself.

So why is authenticity so important when it comes to your personal brand?

Well, first of all, because it’s a personal brand – it’s a representation of YOU! Building a personal brand means you want people to connect to what you have to say and share, and building an honest relationship with your audience. And if you’re developing a personal brand as a means of turning your blog or social channels into a business, you need to connect to your audience in a genuine way before they’ll be influenced to buy, try or believe in what you’re selling, whether that’s a another brand’s products or your own.

But it’s often easier said than done – in an online world where EVERYTHING is curated and we’re open to judgment from every angle, how do we actually maintain authenticity? Keep reading for 5 ways that I’ve learned to grow my personal brand and an active, engaged audience… all from simply tellin’ it like it is.

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How to Do a Working Holiday (and still feel relaxed!)

Nov
30th

Laptop, camera, lenses, chargers, hard drives, agenda, notebook, cell phones, point-and-shoot. Perfect. All packed for the perfect beach vacay.

Okay, okay, okaaaaay. It probably doesn’t sound like what most people would normally pack for a beach vacation (or any relaxing vacation for that matter), but when you work for yourself, taking a week off isn’t really a four-word phrase that applies to you. I don’t have a team who can run the ship for me when I’m away, so the only way I can usually escape Toronto is to do a working holiday.

When I got the invite to head to Dominican Republic earlier this month with Air Transat to join a few fellow bloggers in experiencing the brand’s Luxury Collection resorts, it was EXACTLY what I needed. Resorts are perfect for balancing out work and play – all the planning is done for you, the service is round the clock, and everything you want is at your fingertips. What I didn’t expect was how unbelievably seamless everything was from the moment we arrived at the airport to the second we landed back in Toronto a week later.

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Renegade | Rachel Kelly, Make Lemonade

Nov
15th

There are some people who always know exactly what they want to do in life and dive right in, and then there are people who take the longer road, gathering life experience and trying new things before discovering what their purpose is.

Rachel Kelly is the latter of those two people, an entrepreneurial spirit who has always admired self-starters, but opted for a life of trial (and travel) first, before settling on a vision for her latest and biggest project to date – Make Lemonade, a co-working space in Toronto designed specifically for women to create, collaborate and inspire. I popped by when it first opened on September 18th to check it out and hear more about Rachel’s journey to becoming a renegade. The space itself is bright and airy and beautifully designed amidst a sea of corporate buildings in the city’s downtown core, with pops of yellow throughout each station, from hot desks to individual work stations. There’s an outdoor/indoor space next to a wall of windows, with faux grass and yellow patio chairs, a spot that encourages networking and meeting with fellow members. And although the space is members-only during regular hours, Rachel opens the doors to everyone for special events and workshops that are hosted regularly, with everything from tech panels to meditation classes to calligraphy.

Keep reading to find out how Rachel came up with the idea for her co-working space, who inspired her along the way, and how a bump in the road led her to chose Make Lemonade as the brand name.

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So, you’re a total #girlboss now, but we all start somewhere – what did you take in school?

I went to Ryerson to study New Media, which was basically learning how to create art using technology. I learned from an early stage that I didn’t classify myself as an artist, but I definitely liked the curation side of things. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, and after being in the program for a bit realized it really wasn’t my thing, but I stayed with it because I really liked the community (which has really stuck with me until now, clearly).

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