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The Life Creative Turns Four: What I want you to Know

Exactly four years ago, I hit publish on my first blog post. And in today’s post, I want to look back on how that one moment transformed my life, and give you some insight and advice on how you can change your path too.

Looking back on that seemingly unimportant moment (deciding to start my own blog) is so interesting now. I would have never anticipated that launching The Life Creative back then would see the blog’s readership grow to over 90,0000 views a month. I’d not have believed you if you told me I’d move states, be a working presenter and events MC, become a brand ambassador, establish my own interior decorating and styling business, and author a book.

Now that I look back, I realise how important those little decisions can be in changing your life trajectory. And as I enter year five of my small business journey, I want to share some things I’ve learnt along the way. Hopefully it gives you some inspiration, motivation, or food for thought if you’re considering a life change yourself.

The Life Creative Turns Four: What I want you to Know

Chris Caroll from The life Creative - in Melbourne

Before it all began. I had no idea what was to come.

Change doesn’t have to be big

I didn’t go into this gig wanting to run my own small business. I didn’t even know that I could have my own small business. I came from a journo and copywriting background and loved interiors. So, I thought I’d blog about some of the stores I loved visiting, or write about something I was creating at home. I never had huge goals initially. I just had a desire to share.

I think there’s a real power in listening to the universe, or that niggling feeling inside of you. If you are yearning to write, then write. If you’re yearning to learn something, enrol in a class. If you want to create, hit a craft store and buy some stuff.

The lesson I’ve learnt is that you just have to try something. Experiment. Change doesn’t have to be a big, epiphany moment like you see in the movies. You don’t have to move house, quite your job and leave your partner. Just branch out a little and see where it takes you.

Baby steps can lead to massive life moments.

Christmas Lunch and Table Setting Ideas on The Life Creative

The power of yes

I said yes to everything in the early days of the blog. After about eight months of blogging, people started to become aware of The Life Creative and what it was. Naturally, event invites rolled in, people asked to interview me. They asked if I wanted to take part in collaborations or blog about their business.

In the early days, I would turn up to the opening of a can of cat food. And selfie the moment. Nowadays, I’m too busy to go to everything, but when you’re starting out you have to say yes to most opportunities. It’s those connections, meeting those people, and turning up that gets you noticed. And when you’re starting out, you need to be noticed.

Side note: Events can be daunting. Especially if you’re an introvert. That’s more of a reason to go. Challenge yourself. I did and it helped. The more events you go to, the more confident you’ll become.

I also said yes all the time when the real answer was ‘I have no f*cking idea’. People asked me to style a shoot, I said yes. Even though I’d never done it before. People asked me to style their room. I said yes, even though I’d never worked with a client at that point. Just say yes and figure it out later.

Metricon Homes and Chris Carroll from The Life Creative

Raise the bar and meet it

This relates directly to the above point about saying yes and figuring it out later. You have to challenge yourself and your own beliefs in what you can do. Take on a project that scares you, for example. Don’t tell the other person you’re petrified. Don’t tell them you’re worried. Say yes and rise to the challenge.

In the early days of blogging, I charged next to nothing for a sponsored post because I wasn’t confident enough in my talents and feared I couldn’t deliver the results the brands wanted. When I started styling, I also grossly undercharged people because… what if I charged them a lot and then their expectations were high?

What I learnt is, their expectations should be high. Your own expectations should be high. Have the courage to take on something that scares you, and work bloody hard to annihilate your fear and rock it out.

You won’t go far if you set the bar low and meet it with ease.

Sydney Precincts Book by Chris Carroll The Life Creative

Tell everyone your story

This relates a little to the concept of going to events that I touched on above. In the beginning, I was embarrassed to say I had a blog because I knew that nobody had heard of it. ‘Another blogger’ is what I could hear them thinking.

You have to get past caring what others might think of you in those scenarios. Be proud of where you are, even if it’s just starting out.

I also learnt that you have to have your pitch ready to go, all the time. Be it an industry event, meeting someone at drinks, or chatting to the shop assistant in a store. I tell everyone I come across that I’m a stylist, presenter and editor of an interiors blog. If I can squeeze in that I authored a book this year, I’ll do that too.

You have to get past worrying if it sounds like you’re bragging. You only have a few moments – sometimes seconds – of someone’s time to tell them who you are and what you’re doing. Have a business card ready and whip it out. If you’re at an event, tell the person that you want to collaborate with them.

We live in a world now where everyone sits behind a computer. Trust me, people want the human connection, so don’t be afraid to go up to people and tell them your story. It can open doors.

Chris Carroll Interior Designer Melbourne The Life Creative

The competition myth

Early on in my blog journey (and later in my styling journey) I was obsessed with who my competition were, what they were doing, the people they were working with, and why I wasn’t getting the opportunities they were.

It didn’t take me long to realise how much joy it was sucking out of my soul to worry about all of that nonsense. And it took me away from celebrating – and working on – my own journey.

When you reach a point of feeling truly confident in your brand, business or talent, you stop worrying about the perceived competition and just focus on your own race. I’m also a huge believer in the saying ‘Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle’.

If you’re worrying about the competition, you’re doing it wrong. Consider why you’re not feeling good about your own endeavour and improve on that instead.

There really is room for everyone in this business. You have to realise what makes you special, know it, believe it, become one with it and stop caring about what people in the lane next to you are doing.

The Life Creative Blog

Find positive people

I’ve spent time around people over the years who are constantly obsessing over what other people in their niche are doing. They get stressed at seeing their perceived competitors social media posts, get resentful when they secure a gig, and they talk negatively about that person often.

It’s ugly. And all it does is take up their time and energy worrying about someone else. If you encounter these negative people on your own journey, remove them. I’ve done it, and trust me, you’ll be better for it.

All of that negative energy sitting with you, around you and on you is like poison. And it can hurt you without you even realising it. Another saying I believe in is that it only takes one rotten piece of fruit to infect the whole bowl. Negativity can be really destructive. So you have to move away from people who revel in it.

The Life Creative on The Morning Show

Keep yourself excited

This one is a bit like ‘remember why you started’, and I always try to remind myself of this when I experience a bump in the road. And trust me, there have been TONNES of bumps in the road. Don’t think the journey has been sunshine and rainbows.

There have been tears, many moments of wanting to give up, to return to full-time work, to being broke in the early days and not believing I could do it.

But you have to stay excited about the goal, the journey, the ‘why’. Remember why you’re doing this, even if you have to have a break from it here and there.

The blog is like a wheel and I am the rat running on it constantly. The content has to keep churning out. But I’ve head breaks from the blog before (four days here and there) when I felt I needed the time to regroup. Especially because there are so many other pillars of my business that need attention.

But do keep the moment you started this journey in mind. Remember the eager and excited person you were and find them again.

Chris Carroll and Lara Bingle

Thank YOU!

A HUGE thank you to every one of you who come to this blog, read it, comment, get inspired and come back again and again.

YOU are why I write this blog, and you’ve contributed to my story and my success in ways you don’t even realise. Thanks for hanging in there through all of the changes, the highs and lows, the things that didn’t work and the things that did.

Here’s to many more years of living The Life Creative – and obsessing relentlessly over all things interiors 🙂 xxx

This post includes images and/or videos of Metricon display homes and events, reproduced with permission. © Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 2016.

Outside of writing the TLC Interiors blog, Chris is an interior stylist and author. You can also catch him on your TV screens as a designer on Channel 10's Changing Rooms. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

Comments (3)

  • Crystal Stanar

    Congrats on four years! Hope to keep reading you for many more 🙂

    reply
  • Congratulations, Chris. I look forward to you popping up in my emails and having a browse through your insights for the week.

    reply
  • Anna Kenny

    congratulations from a new fan – thanks for sharing your passion, humour and ideas, wishing you many many years of happy blogging – you are a lifeline to decorating aficionados espec, myself — have been housebound for 2 years with an inner ear prob, with dizziness. Decorating and my home is what keeps me grounded (excuse the pun) and thank God for online shopping – what did other poor people who couldnt go out do without the internet – we are very lucky, look forward to your posts

    reply

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