Creativity is defined as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work”. That’s pretty powerful if you stop and think about it. Your brain can create something new, something original, something no one else has done before. There is a rush involved with creating something new. It’s something I can’t quite pinpoint, but it’s something I crave.
Creativity for me comes in the form of painting, social media, websites, and even this blog. I started painting wineglasses years ago, which led to painting home décor, then canvas painting and even watercolors. Social media is a simple creative outlet for me, which involves simple phrases, crafted graphics and nerdy analytics. Websites provide the same type of outlet, while keeping my brain sharp. And writing, well, it’s something I’ve loved my entire life.
The problem with creativity is it’s not always there. I can have an entire day to myself and experience what I call a dull brain. Or I can be standing in a grocery store with a million other things on my to-do list and have the urge to draw, write, or paint. It’s not fair, actually. We are all so busy. Sometimes it’s hard to spark that imagination. When I experience a lack of creativity, there are certain things that help me snap out of it.
So, now I want to know, what inspires you? What do you like to creative? And, most importantly, how do you trigger that incredible imagination?
- Melissa Pravlik, Social and Web Strategist
Ahhh, summer. Warmer weather, longer days, pool parties, outside dining, and less interactions for your social media posts.
Unfortunately, it's true. A lot of people like to step away from social media in the summer. They want to focus on their families, their friends. You know, live in the moment?
But there are still products to sell, services to provide and stories to be told! A good social media plan is ever evolving. It needs to change with current events. It needs to focus on growth, goals and gaining new followers. It also should change with the seasons.
If you think about it, what you're posting in December shouldn't be the same thing you're posting in July. And this doesn't just apply to clothing brands. Seasons impact how all businesses run. If you're worried about falling behind this summer, there are ways around that.
1. Use current events to ignite your content
News never sleeps, and social media has made it easier to share new articles, feedback, and opinions. Associate your brand with what's happening in the world. Take a stand on a controversial topic. Just a few years ago “no comment” was the standard response to controversial issues, but now it seems like brands can’t join the conversation fast enough.
2. Focus on the fun!
Summer is full of fun and your social media should be too! Focus on fun things going on in the area. Share what you did over the weekend. A lot of times companies shy away from this. Trust me, people love seeing the different characters who make a company what it is.
Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and our personal favorite, Social Media Day, all take place in the summer. When brainstorming content, don’t forget to focus your efforts on the big days throughout the year. Another fun trick? The National Day Calendar gives us something to celebrate every day and it is great for generating interaction on social media.
People love a good contest. And who doesn't like free stuff?! Running a contest is always a great way to generate buzz, but it can be especially effective in the summer months. Ask people to submit photos, videos, or content. Hype up the contest all summer. It will give you great content to share and lots of engagement.
Whatever you do, remember to have fun with it! And head on over to our social accounts to see what we're up to this summer!
Here's where to find us:
~ Melissa Pravlik, Social & Web Strategist
I've been giving time a lot of thought lately. Time is a funny thing - you either have too much or not enough.
As things open back up and I'm getting out and about (still safely), I'm thinking about how slowly - and how quickly - the last 15 months or so have gone by.
I don't know about you, but I'm still using a paper calendar. It took me three tries (and about $100) to find the right one, but I found it, darn it! And, I still use my Google calendar, mostly for the reminders and so I don't have to carry the mammoth planner I ended up purchasing; I can find everything on my phone.
I have been thinking of how I spend my time. Now that I'm a business owner, I sometimes have a hard time shutting down and not working. I'm really good at making sure all client work is completed first. But when it comes to promoting and marketing K2C and the Twenty Won book, well that's often times another story. Before I know it, it's been HOURS and I haven't moved or taken a sip of water.
Do you find yourself in a "time suck" - sort of spending too much time on something that you shouldn't? Do you skip over the things you need to do and find yourself doing things you want to do?
I'm curious, when it comes to both your professional and personal lives, in the last year...
... how was your time best spent?
... what did you waste the most time on?
... if you could re-do a period of time, what would it be - and what would you do differently?
Share with me! Leave a comment or send me an email: Kelli@K2CreativeLLC.com... if you have time! ;)
xo ~ Kel
Anyone who downloaded or picked up a copy of Twenty Won and read my chapter, From Imposter to Inspiration, knows that Imposter Syndrome has plagued me for years.
From my chapter: "On daily walks, I found myself thinking more and more about what my next move needed to be... But that imposter syndrome kept nagging at me. Could I do it? Was I good enough? I always dreamt of being a writer. I grew up creating notebooks full of never-completed novels and teen angst poetry, long gone in some landfill."
I believe you have to believe... in yourself.
That's not easy though, is it? We are our biggest critic. But, once I believed these key points, I started to snap out of Imposter Syndrome.
I believe I ...
... can achieve results.
... care deeply enough about other's success to perform at my best.
... care deeply enough about MY success and reputation to perform at my best.
... am passionate about what I do and in what I provide for my clients.
... am a constantly evolving individual and I want to continue to learn something new each day!
I knew that people enjoyed reading what I wrote, and they came to me to help them "pretty up" their thoughts and get their ideas and feelings out of their heads and on to paper. For as silly as it sounds, I'd say my writing career (unpaid) kicked off with helping friends and family write everything from Facebook posts, to letters of dissatisfaction when a purchase didn't pan out, to wedding and business speeches, and more! I had been writing for YEARS, just not as an official "writer", "author", or "content creator". Writing and making lists is like therapy for me. If I love doing it, shouldn't I be paid for it? Can't I make it a "job"?
"Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life."
So I did it.
Between May 2020 and May 2021 I managed to:
💢 start a business from scratch (K2 Creative officially launched in June 2020) - and I've worked with over a dozen clients to date!
💢 add two amazing friends to my team.
💢curate and contribute the introduction, conclusion, and a chapter to Twenty Won, an anthology of 21 female entrepreneurs. 21 chapters. 21 bios. 21 headshots. In FOUR months.
💢create a partnership with my incredible writing coach and editor, Cori Wamsley, and her hybrid publishing company, Aurora Corialis Publishing.
💢 walk about 25 miles a week, well beyond what I need to reach my 800 mile goal for 2021.
Sitting idle isn't something I enjoy... and helping others is something I love.
Expanding my business and helping others become successful are big goals for me.
So if you're living in "Stucksville" (Credit to my friend Merilee Smith - life coach and drama disruptor at Coach with Merilee - for coining that phrase! She also contributed a chapter to Twenty Won, Ditch Drama and Take Charge of Your Story.), reach out to me! I'd love to have a chat with you and help you get out of your head and into something that brings you joy, lights a fire within you, and simply makes you happy! You just never know what can come out of a 30 minute conversation!
Today is the KICK OFF of Twenty Won in 21 - a video series, hosted by Mj Callaway. Mj is interviewing all 21 authors in the Twenty Won book, and you’re invited to join us!
The anthology, Twenty Won, will be available by digital download on Amazon on Wednesday, April 21… for FREE! I will send an email on 4/20 as a reminder and with the link! Please download it, read it, and leave a review. It would mean the world to 21 female entrepreneurs who have given their all to tell their stories of business (and personal) success during the 2020 global pandemic.
A very special thank you goes out to the incredible and influential women who took time out of their busy lives to read and share their thoughts on the book. Praise for Twenty Won is posted on the official website, check it out!
Let’s talk podcasts!
K2C has been compiling a list of podcasts for opportunities for the Twenty Won authors and for K2C clients. We’ve found a niche with female entrepreneurs and small business owners from multiple industries who have the background and knowledge to be a guest on podcasts.
Do you have a favorite podcast?
Do you host a podcast?
Do you need guests for your podcast?
I can connect you with female entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, speakers, and more: Kelli@K2CreativeLLC.com
And, Mj Callaway and I will appear on the Learning From Smart People Podcast hosted by Rob Oliver on April 20. Follow his show here.
K2C - “Seen and Heard”
Learning from Smart People Podcast Hosted by Rob Oliver (April 20, 2021)
CarolRoth.com - Tough Love for Business
GoJaneGoTravels.com - Business Travel During a Pandemic
Do you enjoy the NicKEL newsletter?
Sign up to keep receiving it here! Your support is greatly appreciated!
Until next time,
We did it! Rob and I received our first dose of the Moderna vaccine today.
I had mixed emotions. I still do. Our daughter has both doses (She's a PhD student working in a biology lab) and my mom has had her first dose. We know a lot of people who have had one or both doses. We know a lot of people who are logging in daily trying to find a place to get theirs. We know people who are considering exaggerating or lying about medical conditions to get one.
And we know a lot of people who say they aren't getting it... ever.
How do we know that this is safe? We don't.
How do we know about long-term effects? We don't know that either.
Which is better... Moderna? Pfizer? J & J? No idea.
Then WHY did I get it?
I trust science.
I trust that this is better than the alternative - better than getting COVID.
After having H1N1 nearly a decade ago, I don't want to risk another infection of this sort... Something that damages my lungs and could possibly put me in the hospital. Not being able to breathe isn't fun, trust me.
Other questions I ponder:
What if there wasn't such political divide when COVID entered our country?
What if we didn't have social media?
How different would this pandemic be without those two factors?
Besides having a sore arm, I feel fine - thank God. So, now we wait. Four weeks and we go back for dose #2. Stay tuned. I'll update accordingly.
Stay safe. Wear a mask.
New year (sort of), new things happening in my world - and I want to share!
A NicKEL for My Thoughts is a newsletter that will concentrate on the all things writing - with some marketing, PR, and branding goodies as well.
First: The Book
Back in November, I came up with the idea of creating an anthology of successful female entrepreneurs who made the best of the terrible year that was 2020. The result is Twenty Won!
These strong, determined women had the drive to start (and re-start) their businesses, they kept their established businesses afloat, and they raised awareness and funds for their nonprofit organizations… all during the year of COVID-19. These 21 women pivoted and persevered to set their organizations up for success in 2021.
With the support of family and the push from my dearest friend, Renee DeMichiei Farrow, I got to work in early December. The process was much easier than I ever dreamed - and much of that had to do with the team I chose to work with. I hired Cori Wamsley to be my writing and publishing coach and truly, the rest just fell into place! Cori guided me through weeks of one-on-one virtual meetings, connected me with Karen Captline of Better Be Creative, and introduced me to a few women who would ultimately contribute chapters to the book. Incredible!
Many of the women in the book are members of Pittsburgh Women’s Mastermind - a group of female business owners, from Pittsburgh and beyond, and facilitated by Melanie Colusci. This group has proven to be an invaluable resource to me - I’ve met so many amazing women and I’ve learned so much, on both a personal and a professional level.
The best way to support the book is to be ready to download the digital copy to your Kindle or Kindle phone app on April 21! I will share the link and more information on April 20. It’s really important for us to get downloads on launch day - it means a lot to our rankings on Amazon. We also need reviews of the book, which you can do once you download and read it.
I’m working with some exciting clients on the K2 Creative side. You can see who they are and what they do here. While I have clients from many different industries, I’m finding a niche with female business owners, authors, coaches, and speakers.
Referrals are ALWAYS appreciated!
And, finally, I’ll be sharing news in the next few weeks on a new venture / collaboration that I’m really excited about. Stay tuned!
I hope you got your nicKEL’s worth!
Until next time,
As those close to me know, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in December 2019 which meant a HUGE lifestyle change. No more bagels or pop tarts for breakfast, fast food on the run for lunch, and pasta for dinner. No more sitting around every evening watching TV (I've given up television besides some Food Network on the weekends - and binging Schitt's Creek!). I stopped watching the news about 2 months in to the pandemic. I've limited my social media use to mostly business and I've 'unfriended' or 'unfollowed' people who cause me grief. I started journaling every evening and I set realistic goals for myself:
I reset my mindset, and reevaluated my work time AND my downtime. It wasn't easy to take a hard look into why my health had declined and I was not only overweight, but I was now "a diabetic"; something that was incredibly scary to me after watching my dad suffer for over 20 years, spend many years on kidney dialysis, have multiple heart surgeries, and a kidney transplant - all before he died in 2005 at just 58 years young.
To make matters worse, I was unhappy with my job. Even after moving trying to fix it by transferring to an office much closer to home, I still didn't like what I was doing. (P.S. - A shorter commute to work does make you happy - but only if you like what you're doing once you reach your destination!) So I jumped on another job offer, which wasn't the right fit for me, and I was once again - unhappy.
It's true - emotional eating is a thing. Stress and unhappiness makes you and your body do crazy things. But when you're working a 10 hour day and eating lunch on the go or going to restaurants with clients - and your dinner consists of 18 appetizers and wine at a networking event... well, you see where my problems were! After I was diagnosed, I attempted to change everything at once. My diet, my lifestyle, my job. It was A LOT to take in, a lot to accept. I knew I didn't want to be unhealthy. I didn't want to feel terrible any longer. I didn't want to be tired, irritable, and uncomfortable in my skin.
Left: May 2019 Right: October 2020
So what do you do when there's a global pandemic, you've just changed jobs, then get laid off? You start your own business, right?
Even with how terrible 2020 was overall, it's been good to me - as guilty as I feel saying it, it's true. I've worked hard - on myself and on starting my business. I have had the support of my amazing family and friends. I'm walking about 20 miles a week, eating much better, and using portion control. I'm incorporating a protein into nearly every meal and substituting veggies for pasta and rice. But... I still eat pasta! And, I still drink wine! It's a learning process and it's self control, which I never had before. I don't deprive myself of anything - I just have learned to eat less of the "bad stuff" and eat it less often. I drink water all day, every day.
I was able to stop insulin injections in April (about 4 months after diagnosis) and my oral meds were cut in half in July. My A1C was 11.4 when I got my diagnosis and it was 5.8 at last check, also in July (Six months in!) My blood sugar measured 320 when I was diagnosed - and now I'm around 90-130.
And, I'm happy with what I'm doing professionally. You can't spend 40+ hours of your life doing something that doesn't satisfy you. I'm helping business owners and nonprofits "Make Their Message Matter." I've been able to bring a few friends on as contractors, which in turn has helped them!
Why have I told you all this? Why am I talking about something so personal on a business blog? First of all, I'm NOT a professional when it comes to diabetes and weight loss. Nothing I'm saying is "medical advice"... but what I *am* saying is YOU DESERVE HAPPINESS. If you're in a job, a relationship, a friendship, any situation that makes you unhappy, I'm hoping you can find the strength to get out of it. Start slow and don't do everything at once. Make a few changes and let those marinate, get used to them, then move on to the next change.
I know what you're thinking. I never would've taken this leap if it wasn't for COVID and all the major changes that came with it. It's true, I didn't have the guts to quit working and just start my own business. And I'm surely not telling you to either.
If I wasn't diagnosed with diabetes, I'd still be overweight and eating 12,394 grams of carbs a day. (Kidding. Sort of.) I'd still be sitting around watching mindless television instead of walking and spending time outdoors. But now that I am doing it, I feel so much better!
But... *IF* you have an opportunity, take it. If you have a sliver of hope to make changes that will impact you personally and professionally, do it.
I did and I wouldn't change a bit of it!
I've been thinking a lot about volunteerism lately. I've been considering all it takes to really dedicate time to an organization and truly make a difference. There are so many avenues to volunteer, and they change as we get older. I started volunteering when my kids were very young and attended a Catholic school. I did weekly lunch duty - walking around the cafeteria and helping to open pudding containers and peeling oranges, wiping down tables between sessions, and so on. I was also on the yearly festival committee and helped plan the school's biggest fundraiser and solicited donations from local businesses to display at the heavily attended, much-talked-about Live Auction. From there I moved to Scouts (both Boy and Girl) and soccer boosters (I could write a book on the years I was involved in high school soccer. The. Drama.)
Eventually, I began doing volunteer activities for local and national nonprofits: Eruption Athletics, Persad Center, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Toys for Tots, Community Liver Alliance, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few one-offs. I helped to build a dog park in my community, and by far had the most fun while spending time with the crew from Cindy's Memorial Bark Park.
I bring up volunteering for a few reasons. Did you know you can (and should!) list volunteer activities on your resume and in your LinkedIn profile? Volunteerism shows leadership, dedication, and empathy. Here are some tips on adding your philanthropic endeavors to your resume. Secondly, and most importantly, nonprofits are suffering - bad. All their events have been cancelled or moved to a virtual platform. Donors are not donating. Volunteers are not volunteering. People are not interested in virtually connecting - it's getting old; it's not the same... I get it. But it doesn't change the needs of any nonprofit; it is most likely making their overall needs greater.
What do you do when you're tasked with a fundraising goal that doesn't change because of a global pandemic? How about organizations that need MORE money during the pandemic? What about those groups who are running out of resources because of COVID?
Saturday December 5 is International Volunteer Day. The United Nations designated this day back in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism.
Thinking ahead as to how you might want to be involved on IVD starts now. You can begin by contacting your borough or township and asking about a small neighborhood project. You can survey your friends and family as to what causes are important to them and create a team effort for one specific organization. You can just randomly contact a nonprofit and describe your interests and talents - I'd bet they'd find SOMETHING for you to do and a way for you to be involved!
Here's a short list of some of my favorite nonprofit organizations, in no particular order. I've shared a link direct to their contact information. I urge you to reach out and ask, "How can I help?", or make a donation... every dollar counts, especially now.
Community Liver Alliance
National Kidney Foundation
American Diabetes Association
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
Cindy's Memorial Bark Park
Toys for Tots
The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania
March of Dimes
Light Of Life Rescue Mission
The Little Fox - Toby's Foundation
South Hills Pet Rescue - My grand dog Maggie found her way from SHPR to our family!
No matter how you choose do it, just get involved. The possibilities are endless - the rewards are invaluable.
"Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless." - Sherry Anderson
Use the comment section and share your favorite nonprofit organizations - or any volunteer opportunities you need help with!
XO - Kel
It's everyone's favorite time of year. The decorations are up. Christmas music is playing. Santa is watching. The air feels festive. Family gatherings. Parties galore.
Hold up. It's 2020 and the recipe is a little different.
Take a stressful year. Add the stress of work, an intense election, bad news left and right. And sprinkle a little holiday anxiety on top. Yep, that's more like it. This year has been a year of survival in every aspect and the end of the year is no different. What is different is the majority of us are working from home. Not only are we working from home. We are teaching at home. We are cooking at home. We are doing literally everything at home. Kinda makes it hard to get in the festive mood when we've been stuck at home for nearly 10 months. However, it is possible to make it to the new year without completely falling apart (and maybe even enjoy yourself!). Here are some tips to survive the holiday season while working at home (along with a few socially distanced holiday events still happening in the Pittsburgh area).
Let your family know when you need time to focus on work, but also let your work know when you need family time. Share your schedule, goals and intentions with your clients, supervisors, as well as friends and family.
2. Take breaks
Like I said before, this year has been tough. And holidays can be tough. Realize that yes, there is a lot to get done, but none of it will be finished if you're not fully present. If you feel yourself getting burned out, take a break. Go for a walk. Do some yoga.
3. Claim your space
If the kids are home from school - you might be lacking the space you had while they were away. It's important to have an area where you can focus on work. Claim a room with good internet connection and privacy.
4. Change your notifications
The dings, chimes and bells are enough to drive you crazy. Do Not Disturb exists for a reason. If you are stepping out of the office or away from wherever your workstation is, shut off your notifications. Working from home doesn’t mean a 24-hour workday.
The stress of the holidays can be overwhelming, but you will get through it. And when you need a little escape, Pittsburgh has a lot to offer.
Whatever the end of this crazy year brings, remember to breathe. Count your blessings. And wear your mask please.
~ Melissa Pravlik, Social & Web Strategist