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    My CWC: Narelle Lemon

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    By Emma Clark Gratton

    Creative Women’s Circle attracts members from all stages of their creative careers. Our members include established professionals in the creative industries, ladies with flourishing part-time handmade gigs and women at the very beginning of their foray into creative work, and everyone in between. We frequently hear from people who are looking to make a career change into something more creative, more collaborative and more ‘them’, and today’s interviewee is the perfect example!

    Dr Narelle Lemon is a Melbourne-based arts educator and researcher with a background working with artists, teachers, students of all ages, cultural organisations, arts community festivals, and schools to deliver and experience creative arts experiences in the visual arts and performing arts. Narelle has published widely on arts education and the use of social media for learning  while working as an academic. Excitingly, she is now adventuring into facilitating workshops for learners of all ages to engage with the arts and supporting artists to run their own workshops. Watch out for Explore and Create Co as it emerges through the workshopping with CWC’s The Resolution Project this year.

    On joining Creative Women’s Circle.

    CWC was the first collective group of creatives I came across where I could sense the creation and sustainability of a community right from the start. I wanted to be a part of it. Creative Women’s Circle, and especially The Resolution Project,  came into my world at a time when I was beginning to feel (once again) the tension and push-pull between full time work that wasn’t really working for me, doing creative things, bringing people together for creative and exploration endeavours, being mindful, and being true to myself.

    A random Instagram keyword search flashed up this really cool community of creative people – the CWC. To my amazement a Resolution Project to focus in on goals and your creative passion was being promoted. It was to begin in the new year…not too far away and fresh on my mind.

    The whole idea of a supportive community of creatives really resonated with me. I had this bizarre mix of feelings – excited and nervous – but I knew that I needed to take the plunge and join. The intrigue just didn’t go away. I’d been burying and ignoring the call to do multi-projects, reconnect with the creative and maker scene, and well I just needed to address my elephant in the room (time to answer the call to step up to the challenge and finally do all these cool ideas I have been sitting on for some time now).

    First impressions.

    Innovative, supportive, welcoming, organised, progressive, and encouraging are all words that come to mind with my first impressions of CWC.

    The tension between questioning what I am doing and having a deep feeling of needing to be doing something different and connected to what is more sustainable, mindful and creative, is not something that many people in my current world acknowledge or do anything about. I now know this is called making “the leap” – makes so much sense and being around so many who have done this or are in the process of doing this is wonderfully supportive. The CWC community are incredibly generous. I’m taken aback from being around women who are so open to sharing their experiences, both on the emotional and nitty gritty of things such as branding, web design, business set-up or even how to set up new partnerships. Julia May’s comment of “just any question, that’s what we are here for” has stayed with me the very beginning of joining CWC. So supportive and encouraging as I try to figure everything out in my next moves.

    The upside.

    The biggest benefit for me has been the extension of my networks. I’ve been able to meet, listen to, and ask questions to creatives with so many diverse experiences. That has just been so beneficial for both my creative life but also my career.

    During the first Resolution Project face-to- face intensive day, Bec Mackey introduced herself. We immediately connected. I went away thinking I’d love to chat to Bec more. I was drafting an email to send her about a week after the meeting when in my inbox popped up an email from her. We both had been in each other’s thoughts and had seen how we could work together to support one another with our creative endeavours – specifically how we could create and offer workshops for educators in all fields of the arts. So after an initial email conversation about possibly collaborating, we have pretty much met up for a couple of hours every six weeks to work through how we could collaborate and what workshops we could deliver. We get together and just talk, talk, talk…our ideas just bounce off each other. The connection has been amazing. For me the opportunity to talk with a like-minded person, both from creative perspective who also has similar values and belief in mindfulness and the bigger picture, has been one of the best outcomes from CWC and The Resolution Project. The energy from our meetings is just electric. So motivating and inspiring.

    Once we landed how we complimented each other and started actioning our vision so many opportunities begun to become a reality for us. The pairing together, our strengths and our partnerships, just allowed us to progress so much quicker with ideas and action than if we had approach it by on our own. Our collective strengths in the arts are much more powerful together for future audiences we will engage with. This all came from meeting at CWC.

    Bec also has been incredibly generous to me in offering support in those initial set up aspects of branding, website, and audience profile identification. Her experiences and her openness to share and pass on her learning has been so valuable.

    Join our network of creative women.


    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Regular Columns | Comments Off on My CWC: Narelle Lemon
    Posted on

    How to chuck a sickie when you’re self employed

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    By Jes Egan

    Taking a sickie when you are running your own small business can be a very hard thing to do, with too much to do and no-one other than yourself or a few employees to pick up the slack. Sometimes it’s harder to accept illness and take a day to recover than it is to just keep on going and to put your health on the back burner.

    When you are running a small creative business you are often doing a bit of everything, if not everything and having a day off sick can mean that things don’t get done on time or get done at all and this can lead to a loss of income, unhappy clients, delays etc. But sometimes an illness or bug will just stop you in your tracks.

    Don’t feel guilty about taking a day to look after yourself, to be able to continue your business running you need to be fighting fit. And to do this sometimes it means you have to spend a day or two in bed, doing nothing, other than resting and recovering.

    Here are a few of my tips on how to manage such days when they come around:

    Write a list

    Write down all the things you were planning on getting done that day, the little things plus the big things. Put it all down on paper or online so that it is out of your head.

    Prioritise

    Look at that list and prioritise it: is there anything that absolutely has to be done this day? If so, is it something that can be done from your bed or couch? Move all other non-vital tasks to the next day or later that week.

    Delegate

    If you have the option to delegate anything from that list then do so. Getting help where you can is really important to reduce your workload on these sick days. If you need to deliver, pick up, place an order etc then ask a friend or relative if they could help you out with that task.

    Do it early

    If you have to do something that can’t wait and that no-one can help you with, then do it early in the day so you can rest and not worry for the rest of the day. Get it over and done with so it isn’t weighing on your mind.

    Manage expectations

    If there is a knock-on delay for delivery from you taking a day or so, send a few emails and let people know that this is coming. Manage their expectations so when you are back you have less work to tidy up. It will also stop people chasing you up and hopefully stop any anxiety you may have about the delay. If you are a heavy email user, put your out of office message on, if it is an option. Once you have done what you need, turn your emails or phone off and try to rest fully without distraction.

    Don’t feel guilty

    Taking time out to look after yourself can be easier said than done – try not to feel guilty or worry about it. Stress doesn’t encourage recovery!

    Taking time out and not continuing on is sometimes not an option, but either is looking after yourself. So where you can reduce the workload when you’re sick and take a day to focus on you, because without you there is no creative business.

    Jes is a ‘practical creative’ and a very busy lady, doing the business in a digital agency, being an artist and an university lecturer. Follow Jes on Instagram.  

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    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Finding Balance, Growing a Business, Starting a Business | Comments Off on How to chuck a sickie when you’re self employed