PP 028: Courtney Daniel from C. Daniel Designs
Courtney and I chat about the importance of letting clients and customers know they’re appreciated, the juggle associated with being a mompreneur, and how to manage shiny object syndrome AND chronic idea disorder.
[clickToTweet tweet=”.@CDanielDesigns & @thekimsutton chat about the importance of letting clients and customers know they’re appreciated, the juggle associated with being a #mompreneur, and how to manage shiny object syndrome AND chronic idea disorder. http://www.thekimsutton.com/pp028″ quote=”.@CDanielDesigns & @thekimsutton chat about the importance of letting clients and customers know they’re appreciated, the juggle associated with being a #mompreneur, and how to manage shiny object syndrome AND chronic idea disorder. http://www.thekimsutton.com/pp028″]
Positive Productivity episode 11. “Chronic idea disorder”: http://thekimsutton.wpengine.com/PP011/
KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity! This is your host, Kim Sutton, and today I am thrilled to have Courtney Daniel from C. Daniel Designs with us Courtney, welcome!
COURTNEY: Thank you, Kim, for having me.
KIM: Oh, you are so welcome. And listeners, I got to tell you, we just had a fabulous Pre-Show Chat – which I wish I had recorded every single second of it, because I would be putting it into this episode.
KIM: So if this episode is just as lively and as exciting as the Pre-Show was, you have a lot of fun in store.
Courtney works with business owners to help them connect with their clients on a personal level through handwritten communication. Courtney, can you share more about what you do, and the journey that brought you to where you are today?
COURTNEY: Sure, so I started – my design or just- lets just say – my passion for design started before 2005, so I can’t put a specific year on that, but I do know is – within me. So I got – got one of my dream job – “not one of my dream jobs” – but my dream job as a celebrity personal assistant in 2005. And how that came about is, I worked with a wonderful young lady – who’s no longer with us – and I told her that I was interested in becoming a personal assistant, and she’s like “Hey! Courtney great, I know so want me you can work with”, and from there and I was linked up with them and I began my career as working as celebrity personal assistant. Mind you as a side also, I was created in carts. You know I thought it would be a hobby – and you know I didn’t think too much of it and I really didn’t want to consider it as a business because, I – I just you know knew at the time that, I was like – I don’t know if I have enough time to put into actual business to make it flourish to you know pick – get it off the ground. It’s just really time consuming. But through you know my friends and family just kept nagging me into saying that “Courtney you – should go ahead and consider” you know “doing your craft – your hobby as a business”. And that’s where my real passion for design began because, I went after the downtime that I had I would just create, I would design and I would just you know come up with ideas. And these are ideas just off the top of my head – I haven’t seen any patterns, – I haven’t seen any materials, – I haven’t seen anything so, I’ll just take what I had in my material stash, and create something, and you know just from the reaction of friends and family it just felt as though they just really – really loved it, and also felt that I should move forward with – you know pursuing this as a business.
Well, I love the idea of also going into Hallmark or Lamar or any particular retail store that sells greeting cards, and you are looking through – all of the cards and then didn’t have a specific message that you wanted, and here you are you know – creating your own message so, that’s when I decided to – just start doing it – to do blank cards. Where people can just add their own message on the inside. And if I just design the outside, and you can just embellish it on the inside with your special message, or whatever you want to say whether it’s you know a – birthday card or where it maybe a nice card to your spouse for Valentine’s, or whatever the case maybe. I just believe in leaving it – blank on the inside so, that you could put your – your creativity and thoughts on the inside. So, that’s how it really started and from there I began to work with business owners – to help them relay the message back to their clients. The message of things – to say you know “Thank you, for coming in today!” or “Thank you for stopping by and purchasing – saying you know – this nice extravagant car!” or even you know realtors “Thank you for purchasing the home for me!”. “Thank you for believing in me – to make it happen!” so, and that’s how it can get started is to wear you know – just being able to take the time out to sit down, and write a meaningful message, and it’s nothing that is pre-printed – it is something that comes from the heart.
KIM: That is so fabulous. I absolutely love that…
COURTNEY: Thank you!
KIM: Then, I’ve heard that – personalized cards just make such a huge impact…
KIM: …Especially, like you just said when they’ve just purchased a new car, or maybe a realtor sending out a personalized card to a new home buyer, or to somebody who’s house just sold, and thanking them for working with them. That’s what they’re going to remember with the chunk of money for the house.
COURTNEY: Right! (laugh)
KIM: (laugh) …and then the next time, to purchase something like that.
COURTNEY: Right! Absolutely!, and you know I also believe that too. That – you know if it was not for our clients to believing in us, or seeing that we can actually provide them with a service. If they didn’t see that we could benefit them then, it wouldn’t be any of us – you know as business owners to continue to move forward, and pursue our dreams as well. So, I the – least that you can do is just sit down and say “Thank you!”. You know – him right like you’re saying you know – “thank you for believing in me”. “Thank you for you know – interesting me that, I could carry out the project or whatever it is that we had – had at hand”. So, that’s like the first step or the least you could do for – you know your clients.
KIM: Courtney, I am on your site, checking out – your gorgeous cards right now.
COURTNEY: Thank you!
KIM: I have to ask, how do you find time to make all of these?
COURTNEY: Actually, I put it in a calendar so, I had like a Monday through Friday – how I do my current activity throughout the week. So, on certain days, I just sit and design, and is allocated to – whatever it is you know comes in my head – whatever, I see at the moment it could be just like you know – “a yellow piece of paper”, and I’m inspired to do – maybe like “create – like a birthday card from there”. So I just, put a schedule in my calendar. It’s on a weekly basis, and then I had that day for – design, and then that’s how I just go at it, and also to – I don’t always stick to the calendar – per se because, if I have an idea in my head you know – as a creative – as a retard in the pre-show. (laugh) You want to make things happen like – right away. So some days, it can be an off day to wear it.
You know – I’ve already designed so many cards but, I also have this idea or – you know inspired by something that I saw outside or you know at the store or something, and I come home and make it. But, for the most part it’s a dedicated day to where I’m able to make – large quantities of cards – or and different designs of cards.
KIM: No, I love it! In the pre-show chat, we are talking about “Chronic idea Disorder”. Listeners, if you have not listened to that episode yet, it’s PP011 for Positive Productivity episode 11. “Chronic idea disorder” is when we are hit with ideas constantly, and Courtney and I were discussing how we both have this..
KIM: -and I can totally relate. Courtney, I don’t know if you know but, my first business – I actually even started in 2005 – I had an online scrapbooking store—
COURTNEY: Oh wow!
KIM: -and I didn’t even scrapbook..
KIM: -but I saw this – dye cutting tool maybe you’re familiar with a quick cuts and I started making – where I purchased it. It was a shiny object syndrome thing for me I needed it – habit – and I, decided I needed to pay it off. So, I started making dye cuts and listing them on eBay because, I don’t think – Etsy was around Justin and I had to look that up after the episode. But, yeah I started busting them on Ebay and they started selling like mad. Part of that was because of the fact that – I was not valuing my time and I was greatly undercharging for them. How your journey been, as far as understanding the value of your time – the value of your cards and figuring out the pricing model – for your cards?
COURTNEY: Oh, yes! That’s definitely been a hard lesson to learn, and you know like most business owners, when you start out some may consider you know – giving away free product just to get your name out there, and you know that’s what I did. I gave away – free product, after free product, after free product. (laugh) Then I had to realize that you know “Hold on wait a minute I’m taking my time and labor to make this product, and I’m not getting anything in return”. I mean I still have to pay for materials. I still have to get the glue of the paper and things like that.
So, it’s hard actually to do that cut off because, on one hand you want people to know about you – and you want to get it out there – you want to get your name out there s,o you can become that well know trusted brand, and the quality of the product design is great! You know – because, you know you’re putting your heart and soul into it, and then on the other hand it’s kind of like “Now am I going to start losing my traffic? Because, now I’m saying: Oh! I have the charge you now”. So am I going to start losing not – They’re not to say – customers because customers I consider that – that they’re paying but, it’s that making that transition whereas now you know before the expectation was said that “This is free!” and I was like – “Oh! I have to charge you.” or just like “Oh! they may not want to pay for this”. So, I struggled with that for so long, and I struggled with the – right price for my products so, what I started doing was I’d just take the inventory of everything that I would use to make a card, and ask myself “How much do I want to make per hour?” and “How many cards was I making, for let’s say for instance if its a custom order”. “How many cards can I pump out within an hour for – the amount that I wanted to make”.
So, it’s just doing the mathematics behind that. So you’re doing your – your hourly rate, and all the materials you’re using. But then, you have to consider – “Are you going to pay for the shipping?”. “Are you going to add stamps to this?”, “Is shipping gonna be free?” so, you have to consider those moving pieces as well. When, it comes to making the price. So, I think that one point I was charging maybe like – “Oh my gosh! It’s embarrassing to say but, Oh! it was like $3 for a card”, and I had spent so much time on that card just like I was just so – upside down, and I wasn’t making any money, and then at one point I just kind of closed our shop because, I felt like you know – the price that I really wanted to charge, and I feel like – people will won’t want to pay that because, they-they could easily go to a retail store and get something that’s already prepared for way less, than what I was charging. But, then I had to know that – what I was giving is something that’s – custom, is something that – I put my heart into, is something that – you’re not going to find on a shelf, and – it’s one of a kind, – is something that you’re not going to throw away as well, and you also have to consider the recipient like – “What kind of impression are you wanting to make on the person who you’re giving it to?” Do you want to to get a card and say “Oh! I saw this at ZXY store”? or, do you want them to say “Oh my gosh! They really thought this through. They went to a person who does custom stationery and put all the details on the outside and I wrote our words on the inside. I’m like gonna throw this away. I want to cherish it forever”?. So from there that’s what really – really made me hone in on the price, and stick to it. I don’t budge at all any more, and I don’t feel any kind of way of about – asking the prices that are charged now.
KIM: I love that.
KIM: Absolutely awesome. And I have to admit, I can’t even remember if I talked about this in the previous episode, but when I closed down the scrapbooking shop..
KIM: -it was partially because I hadn’t thought through all of that, and by the time I closed it down, I had moved out of my home into an office. So, I had to pay for extra internet, phone lines. I had employees , not employees but contractors working with me. All those expenses, and I think at the end of the day I may have been making like – a quarter maybe, a quarter an hour but, I really can like..
KIM: -make my time’s now worth more than a quarter.
COURTNEY: Right… Right..
KIM: That’s so unrealistic. Courtney, I have to confess, I just got hit by Chronic Idea Disorder again.
KIM: Yes. And you are to thank and blame at the same time..
COURTNEY: You’re welcome!
COURTNEY: You’re welcome! You’re welcome..
KIM: Listeners, You’ve heard the guests that have been on the episodes. You’ve heard, well you’ll hear – awesome guests like Courtney in the future, and it just occurred to me looking at Courtney’s current, that I haven’t done anything but thank them on the show for being on the show. So Courtney, when you have time I would love to commission you to make thank you cards – for my guests please… and thank you.
COURTNEY: You’re welcome. (laugh)
KIM: So, just looking at your cards. I mean I really need to be doing something, and listeners, just think about – if you’re doing a podcast, “What are you doing for your guests?”. Because, there’s definitely more than can be done with the traffic that they’re sending you, or hopefully sending you than, just sending an email. I mean even a $5 Starbucks card. But if you could send a personalized C. Daniel designs cards, I mean that would be so impactful, and -No! I have to admit this is Courtney and my first conversation even though, we connected on Facebook. So, this is not pre-rehearsed, or no affiliate income but, – I just want you to think about it. So, it’s a little early for…
KIM: -sorry that actually not sorry. (laugh) Shameless plug for Courtney.
COURTNEY: Thank you. I appreciate it.
KIM: So, you shut down, for a while you came back. You don’t budge on your – on your prices. You have your schedule. What are some of the tools that you use like your calendar, like your schedule, that help you keep focused as you go – through the week? And I’m also curious, how did you build your website? Is this WordPress, and what do you have going on in the background for your ecommerce setup?
COURTNEY: Absolutely, so – in order for me to keep on schedule and to keep hair on my head. I do have the Google calendar, I really live by that. My husband and I we sync our calendars so, that we don’t overlap or miss anything when it comes to – our work, and you know part of cans, or interviews, or whatever the case may be, we just make sure that we stay on top of the Google calendars. I also – am old school so, I also – I like to have my planner in front of me because I’m not always easily – my phone is not always easily accessible so if I have my planner, I feel like – I can whip that out and they’ll be in sync with what I have on my calendar. Also to any event if something was to – happen to my piece of technology, like a cell phone. I still have a backup plan, and I won’t miss a beat that way. So, I just make sure that I have – I go through my calendar. Another thing that I used to do as a personal assistant, the night before I would review the calendar, I would review what I have coming out for the next day, or even the next week. So, it can prepare me mentally on what I have to do, and it also serves as a reminder because if you’re booking things two-three weeks out sometimes, you know – you may set the reminder to come up the day before it happens. But if you’re looking at it the night before, then it’s like that constant reminder it’s like “Oh yeah! tomorrow I have to do XYZ. The day after that I have to do XYZ”. So that was just a system that I created when, I worked as a celebrity personal assistant I would just you know make sure that I look at the night before so, I could have my mindset right, and I could move forward with my day. Now, in reference to my – website, it is a WordPress website. To be honest with you Kim, I just watch a video on YouTube on how to do it and I set it up that way. I do know that website is not my thing, and I learned that the hard way, after spending many-many hours on trying to create a website, and that goes back to your – Podcast because, as well the chronic idea disorder when – you gave a wonderful tip about – outsourcing and now moving forward with my business, I will continue to outsource. Products such as that because, I don’t have the time to sit and create websites anymore. I can say that “I’ve been there, and done that, it was a great experience but I know its not for me”.
KIM: Oh my gosh!..
KIM: -I, as -Yeah I hear that. I spent 10 hours one Sunday trying to figure out how to make Woocommerce work for me. Found out, it wasn’t Woocommerce not working it was with Woocommerce and my theme not getting along. I don’t know a thing about – well, I know minimal about CSS. I don’t wish to know more, and finally I just put my hands up in the air and went to Upwork. So, -but if you need to referral, I’ll give you one right after we get off the line.
KIM: So, you are also a mom? A mom of three you said?
COURTNEY: Yes yes. Three boys.
KIM: OK. What ages are they?
COURTNEY: Ten, nine and six.
KIM: OK. Well boys could still be super creative. I know, I had trouble keeping my boys out of all my paper, and my glue sticks and everything when I was doing the dye cuts. What type of systems you have in place to keep them out of all your card?. All of you card making supplies?
COURTNEY: Luckily, it’s only one that – usually comes into my office and he is actually, – he’s the youngest, and he is the most creative. So what I do, – I use my scraps so, I’ve created a little station for him where he has all of my scraps, you know I bought him his own glue sticks, and you know whatever I feel – you know I’m not going to use I put it in his little station, or his box and then that’s what he uses. So once I’m in here creating, and if he decides to come in, he knows that he has a designated area, and he has his own supplies that he has to use. Now, I also make sure that – I tell him “Please, be mindful that you can’t just go through cutting up paper. You know you can’t use 20 sheets in one sitting because, guess what you’re got to use that all up”. Now with my other two kids, they hardly bother me they know, you know – normally when mom is in the room, and if it’s not like a dire emergency they usually, you know they’re either reading their books, or playing with one another. So, I don’t have – I don’t really – that’s the only system that I have in place, – is for the youngest one, for when he comes in so, I don’t you know – lose too much time trying to make sure he does not get into my things. He knows what he’s supposed to do if he comes into mommy’s office.
KIM: That is so fabulous. I have a funny story to share with kids.
COURTNEY: Please do. OK.
KIM: So, I have what I call the positive productivity tracking sheets. If you’re interested in seeing them, listeners, you can go to – TheKimSutton.com/shop because, – I have, I am a pen and paper girl and I love to have my to do lists – right in front of me, and these are – dry erase sheets that I just write everything down on. However, my kids love to walk off with my dry erase markers. Now if you don’t know dry erase markers can be just as difficult to take off of skin as permanent markers. Did you know the Courtney?
COURTNEY: Yes, I do..
KIM: OK, (laugh) When my boys who are – 14 and almost 11 were much younger. So, I think this is like six years ago one of our nieces came over for a sleepover, and the youngest boy and her, waited until my oldest was asleep. They taped him to his bed and while he was sleeping, they drew a piece of poop on his forehead with a dry erase marker. Poor kid woke up the next morning, and went to the restroom and found that he had poop on his forehead. I did not realize that dry erase markers was so hard to get off your forehead until that day. It has nothing to do with card-making. I’m so sorry. Positive Productivity Podcast, I just need to let you all know that – if any of your children decide to draw on each other with dry erase markers, alcohol wipes are probably the best option. (laugh) Because, you don’t really want to use nail polish remover thing. But there is an option, but that was actually part of the reason why I was asking about how you keep them out of your stuff because,..
KIM: -I know they’re constantly about all over…
COURTNEY: Uhmmm… Uhmmm….Absolutely. Absolutely and I can – I can tell you too that, I haven’t always been that way. I just had to – when they ask him “Why is it that you come into mommy’s office?” and “Why is it that you want to do?”. So, he was like – “I don’t want to do, what you’re doing”. So it’s kind of like – I replicate his-him a little small station, and I don’t know if he has an area in here – in my office, then he won’t bother me as much. So, you know just duplicate what they’re trying to do. If you have – you know space and time to do that, but it has really worked for me.
KIM: You know what, that’s such a great idea I never even thought about that. My office is not so much of an office anymore, as office during the day, and a play room when they get home from the daycare.
COURTNEY: Exactly. Yes.
KIM: But, they have a desk that I put in next to my desk, and that would keep them from touching all mine. But, right now that’s an entirely different room. Inspirational! Thank you!
COURTNEY: You’re welcome!
KIM: So, what is your daily schedule look like? Cause as a mompreneur, you have so – you don’t just have one job…
KIM: Chances are you have two or three. With everything that you have going on. So,…
KIM: -is there any type of – daily routine that you have in your life or that you try to have.
COURTNEY: Yes! Keyword is “try” ! when it comes to the kids. Well, I can’t say I usually started the process the night before, again I like to do things the night before because, it helps me prepare and I’m not running like a madwoman the next day. The night before I would prep with their snacks. We were always – we are and we decide what we’re having for lunch. I would arrange their clothes, lay those out, and make sure they have a t-shirt, socks, shoes, everything is lined up, and if any of – we wake up in the morning, we-were late, or we’re running behind. I know, they are not in their closet searching for clothes. I make sure that all of their papers and bags are on the line before, anything that needs to go on their book bag – that’s done. So, I just make sure if – everything related to school is already done the night before.
So, in the morning you know – get up, toothbrush, we chat, you know and – we give positive inspiration like, you know “Make sure you have a great day today!. I’m going to have an excellent day today. I look forward to hearing about it later on when you come home from school.” and then we send them off to the bus. Normally, I would go to work out. That will be my time – that I can, – and I just like working out early in the morning because, I feel like it’s better because, what – if you wait, excuse me later and throughout the day, you might not have as much – energy as you would then when you just you know get out of bed. So, I work out, you know come back home, and then I’ll dive into – whatever day it is. So, say for instance today is – Thursday, I would dive into – me creating blog post, and creating content to go out. So, I would dive into that, and you know anything miscellaneous that may come up here and there which it happens. I would just work on that. But for the most part I just try to keep that routine when it comes to the kids because, I feel like it’s best mostly hard on where I would have peace – as long as I know they’ve taken – they’re taken care of and they have everything they need. I can focus on what I need to do in reference to – my business in getting those tests and taking care of the next day.
KIM: Courtney, you lost me at iron. (laugh)
KIM: Which is I don’t even know if we have an iron anywhere in my house if there’s wrinkled clothes, it goes back in the dryer for 10 minutes. If it needs to be worn that day, I am not ashamed to admit that. I can’t remember the last time I touched an iron…
COURTNEY: (laugh) Oh, that’s funny. That’s nice…
KIM: (laugh) So, your job must be so much fun, and I can only imagine what it must be like to go shopping. I mean I was in that space, and I remember shopping for papers and embellishments and all the fun stuff. How are you able to control shiny object syndrome and wanting to buy anything and everything that’s on the shelves?
COURTNEY: Oh yes! that is – that was a learned behavior as well, and oh my goodness – you know since moving to – New Hampshire we don’t have that many stores here where I-we have variety and it’s not easily accessible so that helps. So, when I do go to the store I ask myself “Do I need it?”. Like “Are you going to use this book of papers to make anything tonight and do you have to get it out within the next couple of days?”. And if I answered – “no” to any of that, if I answered – “no” then it stays in the store but, if it’s something like you know “I’m quickly going to get maybe like a some glue because I ran out” normally, I would order it wholesale but you know – I just use the retail stores as my backup. Then, you know I don’t question that because, it’s something that I really do need so, I can’t complete a project but that – coming to that I learned behavior or – us saying no was very difficult because I wanted the ladies, I wanted the best, I wanted the-the newest designs that were coming out, and I just wanted to have it all. But, then I had to realize too that my office can only hold so much. and once you have so much of this, so much paper, or so many embellishments, you’re not going to use it anyway because, you know after a couple of weeks you gonna forget it back. So, it’s just our call (laugh) -I call it “borderline hoarder” (laugh). So yeah, I’m just hoarding embellishments, and you know – I’m not making the best use of it. So, what that does that to me is, it allows me to be a little bit more creative, and use the paper, or all the objects, or the embellishments that I have to create something that no one has ever seen before. So, I’m just working with the supplies and the materials I have instead of trying to get the latest and greatest. I use what I had to create what I want to see.
KIM: I love that about, buying what you’re going to be using today, or tomorrow and then are what you really need and then leaving the rest of my shelf because, I truly got myself into that issue ,or into a real bind because, I was trying to resell to people. I really didn’t know what they wanted when I had my scrapbooking shop. So, I was – I went – about it all wrong. I had a wholesaler – wholesaler?. What would you call it?
KIM: ..and I -really just started purchasing way too much. I won’t even admit how much money I racked up on credit card bills, and to this day I have one credit card – one in a has like a $300 limit. That’s it! So, any purchases that go through my business have to be cash. I have to think about it, and that really helps me from – engaging in shiny object syndrome, if I know that a launch is coming up, if I know there are programs coming up. I mean I really have to be smart about saving and spending because I’m not going to put myself in that type of credit card debt again! Ever!
COURTNEY: Absolutely! It can be easily done. I mean and then, – you know I realize how much I’ve actually spent on embellishments and paper at the end of the year when it’s time to do taxes, and I was like “This is ridiculous!”. I’ was like “I could support – could have supported a new wardrobe with the amount of money that I was spending on paper”. But, again like I said – it was a learned behavior, and I’m so glad that I can now ask those questions when I go into the store, and actually you know – be strong about it as well you know, and not give into the temptation of something you know – shiny and new….
KIM: Oh absolutely! Before we were talking earlier, before the show started Courtney, you and I were talking about how – you and I both used journals to record ideas, and you alluded to having multiple. Could you share what you mean by multiple? I would love to know because, this is not something that we talked about before. Is there a certain color that you go for? Not that that’s important but, from my design background I love to talk color once in awhile. And is there a certain brand of notebook that you tend to favor?
COURTNEY: No! Absolutely not! As long as in journal -is in journal form and it’s mine – I’ll like it. So, I don’t have a specific color, I don’t have a specific design, or brand that I like, what I do know is – every store that sells journals I always make my way to that – to that section, and I guess it will be – I need to start working on that learned behavior as well. When it comes to journals because, I can tell you that I probably have enough journals right now to write for at least through the middle of next year, and as we were talking before, most of the journals – I feel like once I’ve used a couple sheets, I feel like I need to go to another one just because, it’s a brand new idea or maybe something that’s so exciting. I feel like I need to – at least break that journal end so that, they can – kind of experience what the other journals have been going through, It’s kind of crazy, it’s probably a creative thing but, that’s how I am – I don’t have any specifics, I just know that I am – I’m attracted and drawn to – to journals.
KIM: When I was in college one of the shows that I really enjoyed watching was Felicity, and one of the characters in there was a serial entrepreneur who – always carried a little notebook, and would write down any ideas that came into his head. And then at that time I thought it was crazy because, I was I didn’t have chronic idea -that sort of thing. Well, in one of the episodes the apartment that they’re living in is broken into and his journals are taken. So, all of his ideas are lost. And I completely understand the pain that – that character would have gone through – had he been real. Now because, if my journals just got stolen. I don’t know what I would do. I mean there’s a wealth of information in there, and some of you might be thinking “Oh you could be using Evernote” but for me, and I don’t know if it’s the same for you Courtney, Evernote, and all those electronic tools while they do have a time and place in my business, they – I feel so much more connected to my idea when I actually write it down.
COURTNEY: Absolutely! Absolutely, and I can relate to that as well because, one- it serves a purpose of allowing you to just express yourself freely without you worrying about someone else, saying hey you know as you mentioned it being on the Internet. Who knows, you know if someone could see that idea, and two- it allows you to have a – it’s kind of like your sacred space, and you can just have it. I mean you have a whole notebook, ball of paper, and you can just keep going, and keep going. You don’t have to do the punctuation. It’s just like you’re just writing. It’s just coming out, and it allows you also to reflect back. You know I like to put all my journals together, and at least keep majority of them in one spot, and I’ll just go and read back through it just to see – what my thoughts were. You know back in 2010, or somewhere where my headspace was for 2012, and also to just to look at the ideas that I had and see if they were repeated, if they are repeated in the new journals that really means that – “Courtney, you probably need to go ahead and put this idea into motion because you see it in more than one journal” you know so it just serves as like a reminder, it serves as life for me as a comfort, because, I like I said – I can just write, I don’t have to worry about punctuation. I know what I’m saying. I know what I mean. I’m the only one that has to read it. It just serves as like that voice that are put on paper. You know you’re speaking it, and it speaks back to you once you read it. Maybe, I’m going too deep into it but, I just really – really love journals.
KIM: No! You don’t need to see those red lines either need the world telling you that your word was spelled wrong or….
COURTNEY: Right! Right!
KIM: That is your creative space!
COURTNEY: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely and I love it for that. I just love it! No judgement there! It’s no – no you know it’s – no anything, it’s just you and the paper, and you guys catch meet anywhere and you can go anywhere.
KIM: Oh I love that! Now, to follow up on journals, and then to circle back around to your kids. Are your kids allowed to touch your journals?
COURTNEY: Oh no!
KIM: OK. (laugh)
COURTNEY: They think that it becomes one of their little doodling pad, and the most that I would do is – you know I’m really, I don’t even mind ripping the sheets out…
COURTNEY: -because if you rip the sheets out, if it messes up the frame and it messes up the attachment for a binding that it has. If I start to rip sheet out so, for the most part I will try my best to find another piece of paper before, I could consider ripping out you know – something in my journal.
KIM: Oh! I will give an envelope for the bill.
KIM: -before I will rip the page of my journals and I only purchase hardbound – for those composition notebooks.
KIM: Because, you know if I need a journal then I may have like a steno pad around here, and those are the first to fly towards kids.
COURTNEY: Right! I had to learn that the hard way. You know I was like “No! it was falling apart!” and then I realized that it was because, I was 10 sheets out. But yeah, I learned the hard way. So now it’s a no! Non-negotiable.
KIM: So, what is your journey in your marriage been – as you’ve been building and growing your business?
COURTNEY: In the beginning, it was – you know what, honestly, it has been very supportive. My husband he-he really supports what I do. He really supports my vision. He can see it. He may not understand the language that I speak sometimes but, you know he’s there to brainstorm as much as possible, or just to even listen when I need him to. But, in the beginning I can’t say it too. I will spend hours, and hours, and hours you know – here it is 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. in the morning, and I’m designing. And that was the only part that kind of – I won’t even say it caused a major conflict but, it was brought up several times that – I was free to go to bed when I got to bed. But at that time, and – I think he understood – I had to get out what was on my mind, or I had to express what I was seeing like the vision that – I saw in my head, and it kind of work itself out. You know, yeah – it worked itself out so, it didn’t cost too much of a major strain. It was just – trying to get the understanding, and communicating with him like – I had to get it out even if I write it down – I may not, it may not… – the vision has to come out, I have to go ahead and put it together, and if I write it down – I may now write it down correctly because, you know it’s late night and I may miss a detail here or there so I just want to make sure that I express it well.
KIM: What are your favorite leisure activities, and what to you do to take yourself away from war?
COURTNEY: Well, you know I teach Zumba at the Y. I really like that although it’s work, but it’s not work for me because, I’m able to connect with – a bunch of women and we just have a good time dance, and it’s like the release that I need. I’m – we’re able to laugh, and I laugh at myself when you know sometimes, I do the wrong move, or you know something – just silly and, I also like to take, well – I do take kickboxing. I really enjoy kickboxing because, it allows – it’s serves as a great – great stress reliever because, I can picture all the things that may have not gone right in that day. I just picture it on the back, and I’ll just take it out on the back, and I’ve had a workout. I don’t even consider it as a workout. It’s just – I go and release the stress. I’m feeling good when I’m done. I can come home – shower and really – being back focused on the next thing at hand..
KIM: When we were supposed to talk today, my husband knows I want a punching bag….
KIM: -like one of those big, long hanging bags for Christmas for exactly – the same reason. I just want to hang it on the basement for that day – days, let’s be serious! When the business is just driving me crazy, and I love what I do, and I know you love what you do. But there are just those days, where if you don’t lose here you’re definitely going to get a couple more days. So we’ll take it out of the bag before (laugh) -you’re hair sees the rats.
COURTNEY: Exactly! and you know when I started out that, speaking of the bag – I started out slow. You know, I would just go maybe like two days a week, and see how I work. See how it makes my body feel – when I’m done, and from there I’ve just started adding another day, I’ll add another day, and just go from there. Before you know you don’t look at it as you’re working out – you’re looking at it as like that – miserable place on which you really need. It worked! It serves me – well. So, if you decide to do it just try start out slow so you don’t get discouraged, or get burned out. Just incorporate it, maybe – once a week, and see how your body feels, and then say “Hey! You know I have this under control – add another day!.” and just go from there, and you’ll love it! You know, you’ll just fall right in love with it, and you’ll know when you’re not going. I mean – when you’re not in the act of punching, or relieving that stress because your body will know – your body will tell you.
KIM: I definitely need to go forward on that. I hate to admit it but, I mean – there’s those times as parentpreneurs – mompreneurs – dadpreneurs that, stress just comes to the surface, and unfortunately, we can snap at our kids. They’re definitely not deserving of it! So, I think I definitely need to push forward on the back.
I have just a couple last questions for you, but, one just left me so I guess type one. What is your biggest way of getting new clients right now? Is that word-of-mouth, or are you actively marketing? How are you growing your business?
COURTNEY: My biggest way is word-of-mouth. Most of my clients have or referred should I say – have come through my clients, where – they have actually seen some work that I’ve done for them, and they all refer, and I am doing marketing to my email list, and the next week or so I am going to brand my marketing through Facebook and Instagram. Because I’m on that – so those social media platforms. I use that for the business but, I still want to bring the message back to radio communications and silently saying: “You know technology meaning that – when it comes to sending out those – Thank Yous!. You want to – kind of you know put the phone, down with that email down, and use – the handwritten way to communicate with your clients”. So, those are my marketing strategies for right now. But, I’m looking to increase the visibility within the next few weeks.
KIM: Courtney, this has been so absolutely fabulous. Where can listeners find out more about you, and connect, and see all of your – just incredible designs?
COURTNEY: My website is CDanielDesigns.com. I’m also on Facebook, and the username is CDanielDesigns, and I’m also found on Instagram under CDanielDesigns as well.
KIM: I love that you got that cross-platform. That’s the way to go. Listeners, for the show notes you can visit TheKimSutton.com/PP028 for Episode 28. and then repeat that one more time it’s TheKimSutton.com/PP028. Here is where you will find all of Courtney’s links and a full transcript of this episode.
Courtney, I just want to thank you again. I’ve had a blast both in the Pre-Show and during this – chat with you. Thank you so much for being on.
COURTNEY: Thank you so much for having me!