Life & business tips for creatives

Personal branding for neurodivergent professionals

Personal branding for neurodivergent (ADHD or autistic) professionals

Personal branding can be awkward for everyone. Combine it with social difficulties, anxiety, masking, and emotional reactivity that often come packaged with a neurodevelopmental condition like autism or ADHD, and you find yourself in quite a predicament. I’ve been writing about branding, business, and marketing from a neurodivergent perspective for many years, but I rarely explicitly related it to the challenges that set us apart from neurotypical people, so I thought it's time to do that. Read more...

Why people avoid social media detox (let’s bust those excuses)

My Digital Detox Guide

I truly believe everyone would benefit from taking a long break from social media at least once a year. In my many articles on this topic I gushed about the benefits of digital media sabbaticals, and my own experiences with increased mindfulness, focus, and productivity. So let’s talk about why people typically avoid trying a digital media detox. Read more...

5 things you need before raising your prices

5 things you need before raising your prices

Many freelancers feel like they “deserve” more money, but are confused about how to make that happen. The hard truth is, you may not be able to raise your prices overnight. But in this article I'll tell you exactly what you need to do in order to become appealing to higher-paying clients. Read more...

Artist vs content creator + Stylized portrait with Neocolor II crayons

Artist vs content creator + Stylized portrait with Neocolor II crayons

In this episode of Nela's Art Chat I’m sharing a Neocolor II water-soluble pastel drawing process of a stylized red-haired lady in my sketchbook, while talking about balancing the roles of artist and content creator on social media. There used to be a clear distinction between producing creative work, and publishing or promoting it. Now there is an expectation that we need to keep people engaged in between big releases, while creating said big releases at the same time. This is a significant burden on creatives. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Overcome art supply envy + cute kitten mixed media drawing

Art supply envy + cute cat mixed media drawing

There were always differences between artists with more means and those on a very tight budget. But in the internet age, we can literally see each others’ paint palettes from across the globe, and it breeds a green-eyed monster called the art supply envy. If you're experiencing it as well, in this episode of Nela's Art Chat I'm sharing some tips how to deal with it, while I'm drawing this cute fantasy kitten with watercolors, colored pencils, and ink. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Find your own answers & solve problems through journaling

Find your own answers and solve problems through journaling

The habit of turning to outside sources every time we need an answer trains us to lose trust in our own judgement. It’s great to have mentors and teachers, but at the same time we need to be able to trust ourselves. So what’s the alternative? How do we find our own answers and become empowered decision makers? Let me share my secret tool with you. Except it’s not a secret. Read more...

Doorways of inspiration

Doorways of inspiration

How is it that sometimes I can be so full of inspiration and drive to create, but other times I can’t even get myself off the couch? Why is it so difficult to remain in the state of forward momentum? How could I reinvigorate that creative spark after the fire has died out? I’ve tried to answer all of these questions, and more, in this essay. Read more...

Fact-checking 13 MLM myths about business

Fact-checking 13 MLM myths about business

I'm tired of seeing misleading claims that multi-level marketing companies are spreading about business, so I want to raise awareness of how damaging those myths are. Starting a small business from scratch is many times more likely to lead to profits than joining an MLM, and the small business ecosystem is way more supportive than any MLM team. Read more...

How to get clients to see you as an expert

How to get clients to see you as an expert

How can service based business owners convince clients to hire us, instead of someone else? One of the most persuasive ways is to claim an expertise in a narrow field. In this article I’ll explain what it takes to be an expert, and how to demonstrate your expertise to your clients. Read more...

How to balance personal & commercial creative work + Mixed media cat painting process

How to balance personal and commercial creative work

Finding balance between personal creative practice and paid work can be a challenge. Our jobs may not give us 100% of the creative fulfillment that we need, and we also may have our own inspiration and ideas we want to follow. Personal practice is an excellent way to stave off creative burnout, and it helps us keep our skills sharp and develop our unique style. In this episode of Nela's Art Chat, I offer tips how to justify spending time on creative practice, and incorporate more spontaneous creativity into your life. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Nela’s ultimate list of 36 freelancing tips

Nela's ultimate list of freelancing tips

I started freelancing when I was 19 years old, and for the past 7 years I've been a full-time freelance brand identity designer. There are many lessons I learned in that time that I wish I knew when I got started, but at least others can benefit from this experience. Here's my list of 35 tips that will help you avoid the common pitfalls of freelancing. Read more...

What will people think? 10 steps to overcoming your fear of visibility

Overcome your fear of visibility

I help clients who want to be seen and valued as experts in their field to increase their visibility and impact. Unfortunately, many people don’t feel emotionally prepared to receive attention, so they keep putting off their marketing activities. In this article I offer tips and techniques you can use to shift your mindset and prepare yourself before you step into the spotlight. Read more...

My favorite black, white & red mixed media art supplies (video compilation)

My favorite black, white and red mixed media art journal supplies

In this long 3-part video series, I share my favorite mixed media art supplies for sketchbooks and art journals, along with examples of how I use them. I’ve been keeping sketchbooks since 2006 and experimented with lots of different mixed media techniques. My approach involves a lot of drawing, doodling, and painting, usually of figurative and surreal scenes and creatures. I combine drawing mediums that allow for a lot of precise detail, along with some more fluid and expressive painterly techniques that add atmosphere, depth, and texture. Watch or read the transcript

Creative professionals: design your client process

Client journey map workshop

Imagine there was one important thing that you could do that would result in better client satisfaction, higher productivity, attracting more ideal clients, more money, and less stress for you—would you do it? Who wouldn't, right? This magical-sounding method is designing your very own signature client process. In this article I’ll explain why I believe that any creative consultant would benefit from it, and how to get started if you don't have a process yet. Read more...

How young designers benefit from volunteering

How young designers benefit from volunteering

I often get asked by young, inexperienced designers how to find their first client. My answer is always: find a cause or a non-profit that aligns with your values and your interests, and offer to volunteer. Unless clients are already seeking you out, you need to put in more hours to improve your skills and build a portfolio that shows what you're capable of. Read more...