Show your work: Who are your influences? What are you learning?

Show your work: Who are your influences? What are you learning?

Show your work: Who are your influences? What are you learning?

I’ve been avoiding reading this book for months.

It’s been in my book stack, reminding me with its bright yellow cover that it’s there, ready to be read, ready to encourage me and give me new ideas.

Actually, that’s why i was avoiding it. I knew this book is about sharing what you’re working on, and over time it all builds up and you get noticed and it does you (and your business) good in the end.

And while I know that is true (and I preach it to my clients), what prevented me mentally was that I’m aware of how much i have to share, and feeling like it’s all cobbled together without one specific direction. It’s the niching problem all over again. Yes, I have a business with an exclusive niche…but that’s not the only thing I share.

One of my clients pointed out recently that i am constantly writing. “How come you’ve never written a book?” he asked. “You’re such a prolific writer, you’ve got so much content you can call upon to pull into a book.”

I do have a lot of content. I have blog posts, and documents and guides, and websites, and instagram posts, and these Notes you get every Saturday.

But despite the fact that I have an exclusive niche, this content can feel like a job lot, a pile of Legos that needs to be sorted through.

It’s not only written content. I also do sketchnoting and photography and sometimes, when i need a break or want to stretch myself creatively, painting and drawing.

There are so many things I’m learning and working on that it feels like a hodge podge with no theme. Walking, sketchnoting, photography, reading, marketing, creative agency, niche, travel, Isle of Mull, rest, Harry Potter….what stands out? What gets noticed? I have a few followers here and a few followers there.

I’m aware it sounds really arrogant to have this problem. “I don’t know what to share because i have so much to share.”

But really it’s the problem we all have.

There is so much to share.

How do we know what to share and what not to? How do we get people’s attention about the thing we’re working on, and get to where we want to be? How do we find ourselves, like Austin Kleon, writing a book called Steal Like An Artist and then following it up with Show Your Work and then the newest book he’s written called Keep Going? How did he get to that place?

It’s strange how I avoided reading this book. I was afraid it would just confuse me further. Too many things to share! Too much going on!

But actually (and this is the whole point of a book) it’s encouraged me quite a lot.

The message I’m beginning to see is that when you continue sharing what you’re learning and doing and writing and reading, eventually, a theme will emerge.

I’m still in the middle of the journey.

A few years ago i had someone ask if they could essentially franchise The Profitable Firm for another niche market. What we’re doing for accountants, but done for….financial planners. IT consultants. Designers. That sort of thing.

I really wanted to do it. I was flattered and honoured and i know I have a solid business that could achieve that, and I love mentoring and helping people. I wanted to help this person.

But I said no, because I’m still playing the game.

You don’t start coaching others when you’re still coaching your own game. We’ve won a lot of games here at PF, but right now we’re pushing through to the championship. Once we’ve nailed that, it can be franchise time.

Focusing on an exclusive niche is absolutely the right move. And we’ve been able to focus really well at PF because of it. What I’m working on now is discovering my own personal niche – the thing or things I, personally, do really well, and sharing those.

The key is to share what you’re working on, yourself – and also what interests you.

“What music do you listen to? What movies do you see? What do you collect? What do you pin to the cork board above your desk? Who’s done work that you admire? Do you have any heroes? Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do – sometimes even more than your own work.” Austin Kleon

Show your work

My influences are all worth sharing because they clue you into who i am, and what i do.

Sometimes even more than my own work.

I send these tips and sketchnotes out every Saturday! Sign up to get them here.

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Well. So. Small update.

Was out hiking on mull and slipped on a rock crossing a burn, and broke my ankle. (I remember hearing an audible “crack” as I went down.)

No signal on phone. Managed to climb down a ravine to get to a more open place and hopefully signal. At that point still convinced it “wasn’t that bad”. Tried to walk along the path and realised yes, it was that bad.

Phoned coast guard, who were utter legends. Sent a boat AND a helicopter. Sun was setting and they didn’t want me sitting in the dark. Oh my word it was cold. Helicoptered out to fort William hospital (nicest people ever), then down to airdrie where I got a cast.

Ankle broken in one place. Doctors pleased (as much as you can be!) it’s a clean break & lining up well. I’ll be down for 4-6 weeks.

I’ve repeated myself a lot over the last few days so here’s the short version to all the questions, with appreciation for the care.

Yes, I’m okay. I’m also utterly exhausted & have hit the “damn, this is going to be a long road” phase. Taking it one day, one hour at a time. 

I’m being looked after. Very kind friends and things being delivered. My amazing sister @secondsunrise2 flying in tomorrow from america to be with me for a few weeks. SO grateful.

What do I need? I’m good on the basics. There have been unexpected costs and more coming so if you want to PayPal monies for deliveries or getting my car & belongings back or all the taxis or whatever, feel free. I’m hardly destitute so only do that if you want to send something useful and aren’t sure what. PayPal username karenlreyburn. Amazon wishlist in bio. Random care packages also happily received!

My car & belongings are up on mull. I have people to help and we are working on timing. But if you’re on mull and want to return a car near Glasgow, let me know :)

Shout out to the Coast Guard for being so swift, & that beautiful combination of sympathy and practicality.

Download the @what3words app. Literal lifesaver.

That’s all for now. All the love. Oh - and no, I don’t hold this against mull at all. It’s still my happy place. Things happen & the mull community has been beautiful. Shout out to @treshnish who couldn’t have been kinder. ❤️
Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon