Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

Sign off for 2011. 

Thanks all for your friendship and support.


Enjoyed this NYE and all the best to you and yours families. 



Let Celebrate the precious arrival of  the New Year 

with a Special New Year Toast

During the Happy Holidays break 
we will be highlighting the most viewed blog posts from 2011.

Thank you for dropping by and see you in 2012.

Best Wishes

Vinh & Stuart



Make Tomorrow Today! 




Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!



you and your family 

Merry Christmas 

and a Happy and Safe New Year.

With 2012 just around the corner, 

we'd like to take this opportunity

 to thank you for your continued support

Please note that our office will be closed from

Friday 23 December 2011 . 

We will return on

Monday 09 January 2012.

Best Wishes

From Vinh & Stuart

Friday, December 23, 2011

How to become a master of doing nothing

My partner Stuart  settles into a lounge chair on 
the promenande deck and allows himself to doze

Last week we talked about the art of doing nothing and how important it is for you to have time out... "Me Time" to relax, refresh and renew yourself! Now is the best time ever to take advantage of how to master this art. You are now on happy holiday season mode. No excuse not to learn this art. Trust me, you will love it and you truly deserve it as you have been working hard in your business lifestyle.

Did you know the Italians have mastered this art for a long time?

They even have a quote for it:

"  il dolce far niente"
"the sweetness of doing nothing"

 Lisa Morgan Artist enjoys her  beach walk

The sweetness of doing nothing does not count if you're going to be lazy lying in bed all day or being a couch potato in the living room watching TV or playing computer games

This art is about doing something that is enjoyable and pleasurable for yourself. Relax in  the moment where you are leaving all the stress & worries behind and  doing nothing effectively by total relaxing your mind. This is a work of art and it will take some time to master.

If you want to master this art, below is a list that you can follow and become the master of doing nothing.
  • Surrender yourself to the endless ocean and sky view: enjoy the sights and sounds of the waves washing against the sea bay.
  • Stroll along the seaside or waterfront
  • Settle into a  comfy lounge chair in a quiet space and allow yourself to doze off
  • Enjoy a glass of wine
  • Relax in the sauna or a steam room
  • Curl up with a good book in a room with relaxing music
  • Watch the sun setting over the ocean
As for me enjoy watching the sunset over the ocean

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Working from home!

The idea of working from home is attractive, but the reality can be quite challenging. Today I’d like to share with you a list of my tips on working from home, making the most of your time and avoiding distraction and being side tracked.

-  Setting up a dedicated work space that can be closed off from the rest of the house can made a huge difference to productivity. As nice as it is to share your work space with the rest of the family having your own space makes it easier to concentrate on your ‘work’.

-  Choose an inspiring space or make it inspiring. Being locked in a closet with no natural light or airflow can make it difficult to be enthusiastic about being their for long periods of time. Natural lighting for me is very important it may not be so important to you but at least ensure your space is well lit.

-  Keep your space organised. Being able to put your hands on things quickly will mean you’ll be more productive, rather than spending half the day looking for something (this doesn’t mean it has to be in perfect order at all times).

-  Don’t turn on the TV! Once that box goes on you’ll loose yourself in distraction after distraction. You’d be much better off playing music for background noise instead.

-  The same can be said for surfing the net & social networking activities. Limiting your time spent on tasks that are not related to your current task at hand will enable you to achieve more in less time.

-  Set yourself times for work, play & housework, don’t try to juggle all three at the same time.

-  Get dressed for work, you don’t need to put on a suit or heels, but getting out of your pajama’s or tracksuit and putting on something you’d be comfortable stepping out of the house in will help you feel more productive.

-  Set yourself days and time slots for certain tasks. For me, I generally dedicate an entire work day to production tasks like restoring furniture, painting, screen printing etc... and separate days for financials, administration tasks or writing. For instance, I dress differently for production tasks as I find it hard to come inside and just sit at a computer with paint and the like all over my clothes and not be conscious about leaving a trail in an otherwise clean office environment

-  Find people to connect with outside your home on a regular basis. I’m not just talking about the regimented business networking breakfasts held once a week, although that may suit you just fine, for most people though they can be daunting. What I mean is, get yourself out there and meet other micro business owners, boutique shop owners, your local cafĂ© owners, fellow artists, crafters and designers. People you can run ideas by, ask advice of or get recommendations from for services etc. Building a network like this can help keep you enthusiastic about pushing forward, spur ideas on new directions or ways of creating different income streams and simply keep you sane. Working from home can be lonely, if you let it be.

In the end, the luxury of working from home comes at a price. If you don’t actually put time into working then you won’t reap the rewards of your efforts. The hardest thing to get used to about working from home, especially if you are your own boss, is that there is noone there to check up on you or hold you accountable for what you have not completed. It’s up to you!

by marie-nicole

Ps. The images I have included in this post are of my studio space and surroundings which inspire me daily. There is my studio workspace is full of repurposed furniture and the shelving is made up of old painters trestles and planks. On a beautiful day I often set up a temporary office outside under a tree and share that space with some of our pets.

Shop Handmade, Shop 20, Allara St, City Walk, Canberra ACT
LabelLoveBoutique, 202 Comur St, Yass NSW 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Make Tomorrow Today!

Download Happy New Year 2012 HD Wallpaper from ZoomCatch Easy and Free

Don’t wait until the new year to plan your business goals for 2013... Make Tomorrow Today; and do it now!

Here’s a quick approach to planning in your business.

“Our greatest lack is not money for any undertaking, but rather ideas,
If the ideas are good, cash will somehow flow to where it is needed.”
                                                                                                   -Robert H. Schuller

CASH FLOWS: Take some time now to review your current cash flows and make some projections for where you’ll see yourself in three to six months. When we work with our clients we look forward in three month blocks as it keeps us all in touch with the day to day and month to month fluctuations in the business.

SEASONALITY: Understand the nature of your business. Look at how demand and cash flows varied over the course of last year, and think about how this seasonality will play out in the new year. Project your sales and cash flows accordingly.

TIME OUT: When you plan and project your cash flows, map out your “time out “ too. You are a critical part of your business, so it’s important that you’re looking after yourself. By planning ahead and building in some “down-time” you will always be able to afford to take a break knowing your cash flows are still manageable.

“If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind
before you actually arrive at your goal” Zig Ziglar

GOALS: It’s the time to set your goals and business strategies to support your cash flow.

EXISTING CUSTOMERS: Plan your sales strategies. Ask yourself how you can retain your existing customers and come up with new ways to encourage them to spend more with you.

NEW CUSTOMERS: Plan and implement steps to introduce new clients to your business. Focus on your your “competitive niche”. Ask yourself why would someone want to buy your products or services? How can you best communicate with them?

Want to learn more about planning for the new year the Quantum Compass way?

It’s as simple as 1... 2... 3...

2: Come along to the next “Action Planning” workshop. E-mail Quantum Compass:  for details of the next half day session near you.

3: Contact Vinh for a no cost, no obligation coaching session: 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Close Up Interview with Coloured Pencil Artist Belinda Lindhardt

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am an artist and designer running my art and design studio – creative hardt  studio . Included in this is running the Australian Coloured Pencils Network

I am a volunteer on the committee for the Central Coast Art Society as the Newsletter and Website Editor,  and I am also the mother of 2 young boys. I guess you could say I am rarely bored! J

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
Fundamentally underneath in all my areas of work I love helping /sharing myself with people in various capacities.  In design I love being able to come up with a design or technical solution (that can sometimes be incorporated with my artistic abilities ) and for them to walk away as a happy customer. As an artist I love seeing people’s responses to my art and  finding out what they take away from it, the joy or reminders it can bring people when they view it.  I love love love teaching people coloured pencil techniques in my workshops and sharing my coloured pencil knowledge with other like minded artists which why I started the ACPN. 

My volunteer work is really about giving back to the community and helping people out with all the experiences I have acquired to help them bring and develop art in my local area.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design/paint?
Usually it’s a theme or an emotion a “moment” that draws me in to want to capture that. With still life work, I notice colours or textures of subjects such as flowers or fruit, that don’t last very long or can easily be overlooked that I feel I want to try to capture in detail to highlight their beauty. My contemporary works are often about women and emotions that many of us go through in our lives  - I like to express that and find that can provide something that others can relate to.

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Caring, honest, kind, “a woman of many hidden talents”  

 Swirl Pot

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My first job out of design college was a web designer for a large ISP back when we handed coded all of our html and the web was just taking off.  From there after many people wanting websites I started my own business and have continued as a web/graphic designer which had both design and technical skills  - (which wasn’t usually that easy to come by) . About 10 years ago when the internet boom died off I started to get back into art as well after discovering some wonderful coloured pencil artists overseas and have been hooked on and ever since.

Describe a typical day in your studio space?
I am most creative early in the morning so I will often be up at 4.30-5am to get a couple of hours in first thing.  Usually with some day pages and a bit of exercise. Then I stop for a bit of family time and to get the kids off to school etc. During the day I will often be doing client design work working or specific projects. I block off my hours into chunks and give priority to certain tasks, before stopping again mid-afternoon for school pickup. In the afternoons, my brain is usually abit jammed up so then I usually will be doing less brain intensive tasks such as filing or emails for the afternoons, and i generally try to stop about 4.30 till about 8 which is family time. 

Depending on the day I will either fall into bed not long after that or sometimes I can fit some painting in J. 

As an Artist, what is your biggest frustration?
For me at the moment its basically time and energy. Due to all of my commitments I find it difficult to spend large periods of time artistically, so it’s all about short bursts (which is why i find colouredpencils so good ). It’s frustrating with so much on my plate I know I am in a bit of a transition period with young children for the present time and I am ok with that J I also have to be mindful constantly that I need to support  business my family so I often  trade my “art” time  for working on “design” or business projects so it is a bit of constantly juggling act.

Tell us about how you prioritise your work.
I have worked out that I am most creative in the mornings, so i try to sketch out ideas and concepts in the mornings this is when I am most fresh. In the afternoons I may do things like preparing materials painting canvases etc so I am all ready to go for the morning session. As well as all the admin and marketing tasks I need to do for art and the ACPN keep me very busy so I have weekly and daily review sessions with myself to work out what needs to be done that day.  

 Like a rose

Can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I connect online through the ACPN (which is one of the reasons I started it) as I specialise in coloured pencil artworks I couldn’t find any other local Australian CP artists so I find that a wonderful way to connect. I connect also through my volunteer work with the CCAS ( and attending local exhibitions and being involved when I can. I also have a few artists that i follow and connect with on facebook and in real life so this is also fantastic way to connect with people.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
Spend time working out what your passion is and follow it. Don’t worry too much about the other stuff, that will come if you love what you do!

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
I would love to hold one day a real life exhibition for Australian Coloured Pencil artists like they do in the UK & US.  I would love also to one day attend their exhibitions and travel again. 

What is your proudest moment so far?
Earlier this year I was asked to attend  a school where they had been studying my artwork in their classrooms as an “Australian Artist”.  I got to speak in front of the school and see all the artworks done by the children which was work that had been inspired by me.  I did two sessions with years 5 & 6 and talk about my art and process. Loved it!

Who do you most want to meet and why?
I would love to meet some of my coloured pencil art friends from the US such as cp artist Arlene Steinberg and Ann Kullberg, they have been such an inspiration to me.

 Luscious Pear

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
Trust my gut, if it doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t!

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
I am currently reading  for the second time “You can heal your life” by Louise Haywood.

That is such an inspirational book!

For artists wanting to get into coloured pencils I would recommend Arlene Steinberg’s book:
“Masterful Color”

 Tree Girl Orange

Where do we find you and your products?

I try to separate my business and my art information somewhat (tho sometimes they are blurred)

My art website is at:

My design & illustration business is at:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Inspirational Quote of the Week

"More tea and peaches"
Artist- Gabby Malpas

"Knowledge is learning something every day. 
Wisdom is letting go of something every day".
~ Zen Proverb

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How your blog can help your Business LifeStyle

Are you a first timer and not sure how to blog the correct way?

You may have heard from friends and other creative business owners who blog regularly and also learnt that blogging can yield great benefits for your business too. 

At first, blogging sounds quite daunting for some as they don't know what to write or what to share in a blog post. Some of our clients at first are worried that they may make a fool of themselves and here is the most frequently asked question:

"Where do I draw the line between my creative business and my personal life in a blog post?"

While all the above concerns are valid and we do understand how you feel, most business owners tend to be nervous about the whole new blogging journey and this is because you fear the "unknown". Did you know that? It's "FEAR" that stops you from trying and learning more about venturing into the world of blogging and other things.

Our ArtSHINE blog is one of the main ways we market our business. We get a lot of creative people coming to us as clients because they have read our blog. 

A blog is like a slow burner. It keeps your audience warm and in touch with you on a regular basis and for some of our clients usually they have been reading for months before they get in touch with us. We blog 5 days a week on art & Design & business topics and we also interview different artists, designers & crafters about their passions and business in our blogs too.

Our blog has positioned us as an expert in art & design coaching field, driven traffic to our site and increased awareness for our brand. 

When you write a post, just remember this, you don’t have to sound like an academic on your blog; you want to come across accessible and understandable. Keep your language simple and clear. Write from your heart and be "YOURSELF".

So are you ready for the challenge?

Here is a list that can help you write a successful blog:

1.  Be the leader in your creative field

When you first start your blog, don’t worry if you have no audience at all. We all have to start somewhere right? 

So don’t blog to anyone, just blog to the world. At first you may have no followers or you might just have friends & family members who support you and read your blogs. Don't fixate on the numbers of followers, it will come later. The best way to build your confidence is for you to start blogging regularly so that you will get into a momentum into a good habit of blogging. As you start blogging regularly you will start building up contents for your blog and gradually blogging will become a part of your business activities. 

2. Gain Readership for your blog
Once you blog regularly you need to start directing people towards your blog posts. So promote your blog address (URL) on your website, business card and even your email signature. Leverage the power of social media like Facebook,Twitter & Linkedin to gain readership for your blog. Post your blog on Facebook and tweet it to your followers when a new post is released. If you have a newsletter make sure you include the link to the blog too.

Your blog is your voice and it's one of the great marketing tools that can showcase your expertise. It also brings your business to life and positions you as a leader in your creative field. You can send great and powerful messages to your audience too by educating your readers, write your thoughts, inspirations and opinions on trends and other relevant information about your industry. To attract your ideal clients to your business you need to display your experience and expertise somewhere in your business and the ideal place for it is in your blog.

Make sure your blog is placed in a prominent position on your website and it's easy to navigate. 

3. Stay on the topic

 Consider a single topic for each blog. Most of your audience will be interested in content that relates to a specific defined topic or a loosely defined area of interest. Your audience won’t care what you had for breakfast in the morning. However, they are more likely to be interested in handy tips or advice. Talk about what you know, and what you’re passionate about. Your audience wants to learn new things and gain personal knowledge. So define a topic and stick to it.

4. Theme your blogs

There are a number of approaches that you can take when you’re writing your blog. Below are some ideas:

• Inspirational blog - you can talk about what or who inspires you to do what you love. It’s also an opportunity for you to welcome new fans, discuss other blogs or websites that inspire you too.
• Promote what you do blog - talk about your latest or up coming ranges. Share exciting new projects, collaborations with other designers, or joint ventures.

• Educational blog - Sharing is caring so share your knowledge, skills, and experiences. Position yourself as the leader of your creative field by offering expert tips and advice.

• Trends forecast blog - What’s in and what’s in demand in your creative field? Materials, colours or techniques? What about new technologies or eco friendly applications etc? Do you have some favourite or useful websites that you can share with your audience?

Provide useful information. If you’re attempting to create the impression that you’re an expert in your creative field, then you need to make sure that you’re always up to date with the most current news. If you’re endorsing or expressing an opinion, be sure to check your facts too. Your reputation depends on it.

5. Stay to schedule
Have a think about how many blogs you would like to post each month. A good bench-mark would be two posts per month (fortnightly). Once you’re experienced and have built up a greater following (your fans) then you can post every week. When your blog is updated frequently search engines will tend to pick up your new pages at regular intervals. Set a regular day to publish your blog. That way your readers know when to come back to you and read your blog.

6. Comments on Your Blog

Always do your best to respond to all the comments and do it promptly too. If your readers make an effort to leave comments on your blog, you should do them the courtesy of responding to those comments too. This is how you start to interact and build relationships with your audience by having conversations among your followers.

However, if you don't get any comments on your blog, please don't get discouraged. Not all readers will leave comments. Some visit your blog regularly and they don't even leave a comment and that is okay too. They just may not be the comment type of readers that’s all!

A great blog is not judged by the volume of comments. It's simply not the case. It should resonate with your readers.

 However to make it comfortable for your reader to interact you can install the Facebook " Like & Share" button. You will see most readers are more than likely to use these than leave a comment on your blog.

Blogging takes a lot of effort and time so you need to test and measure to see whether blogging is worthwhile for you. Don't give up too easily either. To build up readership will take time and effort. To be successful at it you need to post your blog regularly. 

So Happy Blogging! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What is "The Art of Doing Nothing"

"il dolce far niente"
"the sweetness of doing nothing"

So what is the art of doing nothing?

The art of doing nothing are simple ways to make time for yourself, and at ArtSHINE we call it  "The  Me Time". It's your time to let go of your hectic life to refresh and renew yourself.

As a business owner, everyday you are so busy working and trying to get things done that you fall into a routine of constantly doing things and it becomes difficult to give yourself a break to chill out.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Don't worry you are not alone.

Stuart and I were on our most recent holiday on a cruise to New Zealand and we must admit, it was hard to let go and switch to holiday mode on our first day.

Here are the three reasons why it is hard for you to switch off:
  1. You love what you do and you just can't stop.
  2. You are stressed and over worked. 
  3. In our hyped world full of modern technology and our dependent on digital gadgets such as mobile phones, Internet, emails and computer games, these lead to the constant feeling of needing to "be connected" to the world we live in.
Because of these distractions it becomes so easy for you to overlook the beauty and simple pleasures that can be found in just doing nothing.

Doing nothing can actually be an art form, we've learned this art on the cruise and doing it well, can take some practice too. An important part of doing nothing effectively is being able to relax completely.

Relaxing starts by firstly telling yourself you are relaxed and enjoy the feeling of relaxation. It's a mindset thing you need to get your mind on board with what you want to experience. 
Find a cosy place to do your nothing. For some it may be reached by drinking wine on the deck while listening and watching the ocean waves. For me it was just standing on the deck gazing at the horizon and watching the sunset.

For some it may be accomplished by drinking coffee by the fire, sitting on a comfy couch and reading a book. Or for others the art is practiced by taking the time to  connect with the locals at the market. People watching at the mall, a swing at the park, and gardening would all qualify as doing nothing.

I know what you are thinking. All the things I mentioned are doing something and you are right. The art of doing nothing implies spontaneity and doing things for nothing more than the pleasure of doing it.

So if you are on holiday, or take a break from your business, it is important for you to let go and enjoy your time away from hustle and bustle. Learn the art of doing nothing and enjoy the time of doing nothing, you truly deserve it.

Tune in next week. We will show you step by step on how to master the Art of Doing Nothing!

 Thanks for dropping by and we'll see you next week


Pure Leverage

You Might Also Like:

Related Posts with Thumbnails