We don't have to follow how others do things; we are unique & can choose how we want to do things.

If I've learnt ONE thing in the 10 months since I launched my business and in the 3 years and 10 months since I gave birth to my first child, it is basically summed up in the title of this blog post. So it was very reassuring to read this opinion in one of the answers to the questions I had asked of a lovely creative mum from Albany in New York, USA

It's funny when we stumble across someone (whether it happens at the local park, on Instagram, or waiting for your suitcase at baggage claim) who strikes a chord with us and seems to verbalise and create things that we have imagined and held in our own head but haven't had the time/space/skills/patience to extract them ourselves. I felt this when I read Laura's website page 'About Me' and when I looked through her online shop at the awesome things she has created for children to enable creativity to thrive and to help support the relationships between parents and their children in an organic, flexible and real way. Intrigued?? Lets find out more about her! 

Featuring in conversations with Creative Mums No6 is Laura Matteson - Mum behind The Littlest Guide Shop:

1. Describe what you create? I create stock and custom illustrations and designs for work at home moms to help them connect with their kids and their businesses. Having pre-made illustrations can really be a time saver!

2. How long have you been doing it? 1 year with The Littlest Guide Shop. I’ve been a graphic designer for 8 years.

3. How do you balance your work and your children/family life? I have an insanely broken down to-do list that I finish in little bits at a time and then schedule special times to do longer amounts of work (like in the morning). I let me kids help with my work and I color with them and the rest of the time they are awake is mommying time.

4. How did becoming a mother help or hinder your creative journey? It completely flipped my creative journey on it’s head because I went through an entire mindset shift from “I’m a female designer and wife so I just help out with money and I’m lucky I even get to do what I like” to “I’m a really good artist, I can create humans and I should charge and create accordingly and only take on projects that I absolutely love” Thank you motherhood!! I’m an example now for my girls so I make choices based on that too.

5. What do you do when you have a million things to do and about an hour to do it?! I cut some things from my to-do list that aren’t necessary and then pick a small task to finish first. That, and some good music, usually energizes me to get another task or two done also.

6. What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt since starting your business? I don’t have to follow a prescription or a way that others do things in my business or my motherhood. I’m a unique person, with creative energy and I can choose how I want to do things and others will love it.

7. If you could go back to when you first set up your business and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? Stick with your gut, you know what you’re doing. Don’t read all of the business advice online, it’s too much, pick 1-2 people to listen to and stick with them for a while.

8. Are your children creative? Do you do anything to encourage this? Yes, but I believe all people are creative and have different outlets for creativity. The main way I encourage creativity is by teaching them empathy and how to describe what they see around them using songs, crayons, rocks, stories, etc.

9. What do you do when you have too many ideas and not enough time? I write everything down on a brain dump paper and then move back to what I have scheduled to do during that time. I schedule things loosely, based on a main goal and then write down all the little things that need to be done to reach that goal. Then I can just choose from the list based on how I’m feeling… I don’t force myself to draw when I don’t want to.

Wild card question: What is the most useful thing you’ve learnt in the last month? How to ask for help and reviews with a product launch.

Book, blog or podcast recommendations (fiction or non fiction, can be related to your business or not): I’m totally into podcasts right now so: The Honest Designers Show (the best!!), Authentic Parenting, Boss Mom podcast, the edit your life show, the minimalists.

An enormous thank you to Laura Matteson - the massively talented mum behind The Littlest Guide Shop! If you're a parent I seriously recommend you check out her website for the absolutely beautiful and useful resources she creates and sells, for using with children; like her Story Cards and Activity Cubes. Is you're a small business owner or self employed creative or artist I think you'd find her blog really helpful - her most recent post is about time management and she even gives away free resources too! You can also find her on Facebook and Insta - her illustrations and wise words certainly brighten and lighten up my feed!

Thanks for reading and don't forget, if you're a Creative Mum and want to feature in my blog post, get in touch...

Emma x

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