How and Why I’m Cutting Back My Services for 2015

Lara Kulpa's services and packages availableI think sometimes when you’re the kind of person who’s been making a living online for nearly 20 years like I have, you tend to have this, “I can do that for you!” mantra that pops out of your mouth every time someone tells you what they need.

Sometimes it’s happened on coaching calls. It’s determined the person needs a new branding package, so I hand them a deal since they’re a coaching customer.

Other times, it’s because someone contacts me as a friend of a friend who needs a new website for their club, which is a non-profit, so I give them a deal.

And still other times, I get a new client who “just” wants a website, but really needs a full branding package, a new site, some SEO and marketing work, and so on.

But the truth of the matter is that all of this stuff kind of ebbs and flows, and it’s not me who’s in control of my workflow. It’s chance. I mean, don’t you hate not knowing if next month you’re going to have the same money coming in as you did last month? Especially when it can vary by thousands of dollars? (Yes, this has happened to me. Many times.)

It was one thing when it was just me. But I’m a Mommy now, and have my family to think of. I need stability AND growth. And I need to stop doing things that don’t bring me joy (not that I hate them, but dammit, I want the JOY!)

So here’s what’s about to go down as of January 1, 2015:

  • There will be no more basic/moderate web design packages. I realize that this is probably going to upset some of you who’ve been saving up, but I really just can’t afford the time. If you wish to schedule one before the end of the year, you can do so here. I’ll honor all that are purchased between now and Dec 31. Otherwise, I’ll be building some great resources and a referral network to help you out.
  • There will be no more Custom Website Inspections, either. If you want one, grab it before the end of the year, and I’ll honor all that were purchased prior to Dec 31.
  • I am going to be offering Group Mastermind calls that will focus on helping creative people build and grow their businesses online, but in a group format (don’t worry, it’ll be a small group). It’ll start in January, and each session will run for 3 months. Total price for the full shot is $397. (Details coming soon.)
  • I will open up 6 spots per year for “The Big One”, which will include full design, development, branding, and marketing packages for creative entrepreneurs, and includes some one-on-one coaching. The investment on your end will be $8997. (Details coming soon.)
  • I will also maintain availability for 2 coaching clients per month. My current packages will be coming down at the end of the month, too, so if you’re interested, book them now.If you’re already a coaching client, you’ll need to reserve and pre-pay for the months you’d like to have as soon as possible, so make sure you email me now to keep the spots you like. The one-on-one coaching investment is $397/month, and is a much more detailed package than what I’ve been offering thus far. It’s the first time I’m going to open it up this big, and I promise not to disappoint. :)

So if you’re interested in any of the above, you can either watch your email like a hawk for opening announcements, or you can message me now to let me know which you’re interested in, even before the links and details go up.

The reasons are many, but the bottom line is that I have to tighten up my business, and you need to tighten up yours. I’m still on a mission to help as many people as I can, but I have to do it in a way that makes sense to me. I realize I may lose some fans here, but I hope instead I’ve inspired more of you to take control of your lives and build the business that fills your soul with joy and success and peace.

Remember, I love each and every one of you, and am ever so grateful to be on this journey with you and for you!

7 Things I Learned Doing My First Pre-Sale

WOW! First, I’d like to thank all of you who purchased the 2015 Creative Entrepreneur Planner Pre-Sale! You guys have honored me in a way I can’t even begin to put into words. I can only hope that I can live up to (or better yet, exceed) your expectations!

Now that November 1st has come and gone, and the download links have been put out there for everyone who purchased, it’s time for me to turn this whole thing into a lesson for you, my dear readers.

7 Things I Learned Doing My First Pre-Sale

  1. Planner kits take a LOT of work to put together. I’m not even kidding you. To not only come up with your own design, but then think about what has to go into each page, lay it out so that it fits even after the holes have been punched, and create template after template after template takes a TON of time for each component. I’ve always created printables for myself, and I’m the Queen of Paper when it comes to making lists and diagrams with a pencil, but there was a lot of tweaking that had to be done to ensure that these pages would look great as well as be functional and useful.
  2. I did too much, in not nearly enough time. This pre-sale offer included a TON of components for the main planner, but then I added a bunch of bonuses that I had no idea would take so much time to pull together without sacrificing things like cleaning my house and playing with my daughter on the weekends. Part of this is because while I certainly could’ve chosen one color and one pattern scheme to do everything, instead I decided to do FIVE color options for over 97% of the components, which all had varying patterns. This was probably NOT my best idea, but I really hope that my buyers are happy that they have so many choices and combinations available.
  3. It’s best to limit the initial offer, and then add bonuses and freebies later. What I should’ve done is just do the pre-sale at the discounted price for the main components, and then whatever I was able to make later could’ve been sent to my buyers as a thank you or included as part of a “… plus any other planners I create during the remainder of 2014″ kind of thing. Again, this goes back to building the pre-sale offer up bigger than I was able to finish up in the time I gave myself.
  4. My customers are AMAZING! Everyone’s been so kind and understanding that it’s going to take a few more days before they receive every bonus I offered. I’m beyond grateful, and intend to fully make their patience worth their while by giving them “pre-sale buyer only” goodies. I’ll figure them out once I get everything together, and just send them off as they’re done. Again, anything to make my customers smile, and let them know I appreciate them.
  5. The next time I do something like this, I’m going to enlist some help. Again, it comes down to time, and I underestimated mine. I know loads of great designers and Photoshop people I can call on (and help out by giving them a paying gig), and next time, that’s what I’m going to do. I know what I’m good at and what my time allows for. I need to call on people rather than trying to do everything myself.
  6. Facebook is NOT a great place to advertise this kind of product/offer. I know I got a few buyers from my facebook posts (and maybe even the ads I bought), but really it came down to my email list. You guys are awesome, have I said that already? I need to make sharing from the email or my site as easy and inviting as possible, and hope that I can do that in the near future so you guys can help me get the word out when I have new stuff going on, but other than that? I’m not going to waste my money on facebook ads ever again. Not for this stuff.
  7. Organization is SO important. Had I not kept a spreadsheet and sorted my files the way I did on my computer, I would’ve never been able to track what was completed and where I could find it to send out. I can’t even begin to think of the time that would’ve been wasted there… days, I’m sure.

So there you have it. Learn from me, my children. ;) While I made some mistakes, I’m very happy with how things have turned out, and I can’t wait to get rolling on my next product/offer. Just not until I completely finish up with this one!

Yippee Skippy! New Tool with a HUGE Presale Offer!

I am unbelievably excited to announce a brand new product here, designed to help creative entrepreneurs manage their time, their businesses, their finances, and much more! I know I’m not alone in my struggles with “doing it all” so I wanted to share my tools with you, dear readers!

It’s the 2015 Creative Entrepreneur Self-Employment Planner!

cesep-front

I decided I wanted to do a huge launch discount bonus thing, so here’s the deal…

IF you purchase prior to September 30, 2014, you not only get the CESE planner, but you get it at a discount, with over $50 in bonuses!

2015 Creative Entrepreneur Self-Employment
Planner Kit

Here’s what’s included in this exclusive pre-sale offer:

Weekly Planner (Calendar) Pages (With plenty of room to write)
Etsy/Shop Tracker (When do you need to relist, remove, update, etc?)
Budget & Finances (For Business) Planning Kit
Social Media Task Planner (Plus which tools help to get the job done!)
Blog Builder and Planner (Stuck on what you need and don’t need? You got this.)
Editorial Calendar (Strictly for planning out your blog content)
Quarterly Evaluation Pages (Track your progress, learn about what needs changing and what you’re doing right)
Monthly Goal Tracking Sheets (Break it down and be honest with yourself)
“Thinking Outside The Box” Planner and To-Do Sheets (For extra ways to make money from your business)
Site Tracker (To help you keep track of your sites, logins, and so on)

This is a downloadable, print-at-home kit. No shipping, just buy now and have it with plenty of time for the new year!

Now, this wouldn’t be an awesome, exclusive pre-sale event if I didn’t include some killer bonuses, right? RIGHT!

I’m including over $50 in FREE Bonuses:

Weekly Menu Planner & Shopping List
Manage Your Home Kit – Seasonal Honey Do List, plus Cleaning, Organizing, and Project Planning Pages
Budget & Finances (For Home) Planning Kit
Health & Fitness Planning Kit


 Click below to get the 2015 Creative Entrepreneur’s Self-Employment Planner for $5 off, PLUS over $50 in bonuses!

$40.00 $35.00 Read More


Please Note: This is a Pre-Sale. You will receive your download link via email on November 1, 2014, but you must purchase by September 30, 2014 in order to receive the free bonuses. 

Your Happiness Requires Permission From No One

Wanna know yet another nugget of truth about yours truly?

Many people see me as this strong-willed, strong-minded, strong person. In many ways, I am, because growing up, my wonderful parents always told me that I could do whatever I wanted, be whoever I wanted, and as long as whatever I chose made me a happy, responsible adult, they would support me a thousand percent. So I was raised to never fear the idea of going after what I wanted in life.

It also helped me make friends when I was younger, because I’d help them get whatever it was they wanted, too. I would be their support, their shoulder, and their advocate. Because I always felt like if I could have it, so could they. So whether it was standing up for a friend who was being bullied, or suggesting that if a guy friend’s new girl hurt him in any way that I’d make her regret it… I was always my friends’ protector and biggest advocate.

However…

not-wonder-womanI was in a position not that long ago, where what I wanted wasn’t working out for me, and I needed to figure out how I could still be the responsible adult (now that I’m a Mommy and all), so I did something I swore I’d never do – I went to work for someone, full-time, yet contracted (so no benefits or even time and a half). I promised myself it was only going to be for a little while, that it was to be able to get my feet back on the ground, catch up on some bills, and sustain being “on my feet”.

The months rolled on, and while I was able to usually make ends meet, I never had time to work on doing what I love anymore. I also didn’t have the money to put into anything extra like hiring assistants or anything. I kid you not, it felt like a part of my soul was dying, even though I was loving every minute of life with my daughter.

I wanted out of the job so desperately – there were lots of reasons, of course, but I wasn’t used to being micromanaged, yelled at, and brought to tears on a weekly basis. Maybe some of those negative feelings were resentment, sure, but it really just wasn’t an environment or situation that made me happy.

I spoke with my doctor and even considered medication because I was so depressed about work and money. (If this is you – please do speak with your doctor, and do seriously consider medication if you and your MD feel it’s necessary.) He assured me that it was because I was frustrated and tired and that I needed to change my thought processes before considering medication. So I did.

The Problem Inside My Head

Going back into business for myself, where I got to be picky again about what projects I worked on, what hours I put into what, and so on – that’s a scary thing, when you’re used to getting a fairly steady paycheck. The thought that I’d have to spend money to get out of my situation was scary, because I didn’t really have any to spare. The thought that sure, it may work for a month or so – but how would I keep going? What if the jobs stopped coming?

Not everyone in my family was super supportive about it, because well, frankly if I wasn’t able to come up with the money to keep the lights on… they knew what would happen. I don’t blame them at all. But those thoughts are what kept the fear going inside my head. I didn’t want to let anyone I love down.

I had a conversation with my hunny one afternoon, explaining that I was sad and frustrated and just needed out of that job before I lost it. He looked at me and said, “Lara, you have my permission to leave the job. It’s killing you. You don’t deserve this, and I KNOW you can do this on your own again.”

I burst into tears and collapsed. He was never the one withholding permission. No one really did, in so many words, but the simple act of him saying that is what turned things around for me. For some reason, this strong-willed, strong-minded, strong person… just needed someone to give her permission. And the notion of that alone not only shocked me, but royally pissed me off about myself.

I have never, ever needed anyone’s permission (nor did I attempt to get it, even if I should’ve). But for some reason, it took that one statement to finalize the decision I’d been aiming at for months. I didn’t NEED his permission. It was inside of me all along, but the fear of the unknown was stopping me. Until then. It was time to let go and do this. Again.

Again?

I have been self-employed in one form or another since 2005. On my own, I contracted work with Kraft Foods, Live Nation, and other Fortune 500 companies. I worked with whom I wanted, when I wanted, and for how much I wanted. I had a fantastic financial situation on my hands – had paid off all the bad debt from my youthful stupidity, and even raised my credit score to well into the “excellent” range, which meant I was going to start looking to buy a house, make some investments… and so on. It was only back in November 2011 that all that changed, and I found myself hitting a slump. And then a roller coaster. With my feet dangling off the bottom, and quite often dragging through the mud.

So, anyway… once I decided to leave the ‘job’, I gave them notice, and agreed to stay on part time to help them out while they figured out what they needed to do about my impending absence. We had a totally awesome arrangement, and they were absolutely fantastic about accommodating me, my time, and my space. It was great.

You don’t have to have everything perfect before you make the leap. The one thing you DO need is faith in yourself, though. You have to either remember that you’ve “done it before, and can do it again”, or trust that your passions, if guided properly, can be used to ensure you have a successful creative business.

And now?

Since then, I’ve been working on the things I’m super passionate about! My art, for one thing, but more than that is the programs I’m putting together to help others who let fear, doubt, or the lack of permission in their lives keep them from reaching for their dreams.

These are the things that I can’t wait to share with you all – Because they’re designed to help you create the creative entrepreneur lifestyle you truly dream of! You CAN earn a sustainable living while living your passions, too. It’s completely amazing how much more I’m smiling now. How much more relaxed I am around my wonderful daughter, her father, and our extended family is so… just… ahhhhhhh. I absolutely love everything about my life and where it’s headed, and it’s that feeling that I’m dying to help others reach. I WILL do it, because I’m a strong-minded, strong-willed, strong person. And so are you!

Stepping Off Point – Making A Choice & Sticking It Through

As some of you may know, I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies just as much as I’ve worked with individuals and small businesses. I’ve dealt with extremely creative people and extremely “corporate” people.

Guess who I resonate best with?

Not that I can’t work with corporate people. I totally can, and I blend in quite well. But my heart absolutely swells with pride, joy, and complete awesomeness when I get to work with creative people.

dreams-can-come-true-walt-disney“But, Lara! Walt Disney was BOTH!”
(I heard you thinking that.)

You’re right, he was! There are TONS of amazing creative entrepreneurs out there. Guess what? You’re reading this from one of them, too! But society leads us to believe that you can’t be both, and I want to prove them wrong.

I want to work with creative entrepreneurs from now on. Seriously. So everything I write and do here is now going to be focused on helping artists, crafters, creatives… people who want to build an empire for themselves, based on their creative energies.

But let me make one thing clear:

If you’re not serious about truly building an empire, I mean… if you’re putting up some crocheted scarves on Etsy for $4 and are dead set with no desire to do more, then pretty much nothing I’m going to be working on is going to benefit you. Hopefully, I can inspire you to want more, but if not, then just enjoy reading the free posts and my delightful words, and then go back to spending $4 on yarn and an hour and a half of your time to sell something for no profit. I hope it makes you happy, because it’s never going to make you an entrepreneur.

But if something in your heart is telling you that this is what you need to do with your life, then don’t wait. Don’t sit there and wonder which direction you should go in, or what you should focus on first. It’s about taking action. ANY ACTION.

You can read up on anything. You can subscribe to a million different products, blogs, and programs. But if you don’t see it through and put in the effort, you can’t get past the first stepping off point. Make a decision, and stick with it. I am.

So my mission is to find and help creative people to become rockstar entrepreneurs, too. Learn what’s important, what’s not, and how to never let it take away from your creative energies. Business can suck the life out of you if you let it. Let’s not do that. :)

So right now, ask yourself the question: Am I committed to using my creative energy to build a business?

Answer it out loud, and in the comments, too. ;)