Posts in soul circle
5 WAYS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH WINTER AT HOME

Hey guys!

Thanks for stopping by for your weekly 'Selfie Saturday' sesh.

For those of you who may be new, 'Selfie Saturday' is a weekly sesh on ways to improve your life from the inside out. I'll be delving into the many ways to design your life, from interior design for the soul to increasing your connection to source + yourself!  With our busy lives it's sometimes hard to find the time to take stock + check in on our self. I want this blog to be your 5 mins every Saturday where you can reflect and perhaps tweak things up a little. 

It's all about you , so take a break, enjoy, it's Saturday! 

 #selfiesaturday

Well winter in Australia is truely here!  Especially for those like myself living in one of the colder cities, Melbourne!

For many, winter can be a gloomy time of year. You get stuck indoors a little more, you walk outside and start hugging youerself like a crazy person in a straight jacket, just to stay warm. All the annoying things that you totally would'nt have to do if the sun would just come out!

They say the grass is always greener and if your spending all your days dreaming of a tropical island where the sun is beaming, then today I want you to realise that the grass is pretty green right here, smack bang in the middle of winter! 

It's taken me basically my whole life to realise that as much as I love a hot sunny day, going to the beach and crusing with my roof off, I am 100% a winter girl! After spending 5 years in Perth WA, (A very hot hot city, similar to LA) I came to realise how stressful I felt from constant constant hot weather. At first I was like, "yes this is amazing, enjoy your rainy days all you other suckers in the cold states, I'm living it up in my endless summer!" But as the the years passed, I slowly noticed that there really was no relief and having the sun glaring everyday was kind of boring, predicatble and actually just too much of a good thing! I came to realise how much I was missing the seasons and all the juicy stuff that only a season can provide.

So let me to tell you the 5 things that I do at home that make me fall in love with winter.  Hopefully I can inspire you to go indulge in one of these perfect winter activites and get you appreciating that there is a time for everything + the variety + balance proper seasons bring to our life is so soothing to the soul. It's all about embracing life, so lets stop the winter winge and embrace the moment!

 

Sititing by the fire

OMG (WARNING I say this a lot) OMG, OMG I love love sitting by the fire. There is something so soothing about cosying up under a big chunky knit and staring into the flames. Whether it's with your BFF's or your honey, it's really just such a great way to get connected with yourself and those around you. I guess it comes back to the idea of sitting around the camp fire. It brings about a sense of contemplation, almost hypnotising and so so soothing to the soul. I feel like it's a big warm hug from mother nature and she's saying "It's all good girlfriend, I got you, just keep sipping on that red wine, everything is all good!"  :)

 You don't have a fire at home? Thats totally fine because my next fav thing to do is go to a gorgeous restaurant and drink a hot chocolate by the fire! So if your feeling these hot firey vibes and your bummed because you don't have a fire, get googling stat and go book in for a cosy lunch somewhere.

Winter Decor

Some of the ways to embrace winter around the home can also be through your decore! Have you seen the gorgeous chunky knit's available these days? They really are to die for and would make the most lush addition to your bedroom or living room + are a must have to embrace winter. You could also change your bedlinen, cushions or artwork up and embrace some winter tones and styles. Obviously it might not be in the budget to spend too much on seasonal purchases but any investment you make can go into rotation and then you could sell them for some cash to buy some summer pieces later in the year. Candles are great through winter, again it's about that connection with the elements and the soothing energy that a flame brings to a space. My last winter must have, which is actually and all year must have, is bringing in flowers and plants. This really is an all season must have, but I think it's especially important through winter. One of the main reasons we get down through winter is not being able to go outdoors and get our nature fix. Connecting with nature has been proven to increase our happiness so it's important to bring those endorphin providing elements indoors as much as possible. Plants and flowers are also visually up lifting and there is actual research that shows our sense of calm and happiness is increased just by having a plant in our line of sight! Cool hey!! So go grab some beautiful flowers from the garden or a market and cheer up you and your space!

Cooking 

Winter is the perfect season to bring out your Betty Crocker! I mean who wants to stand around a hot hoven in summer? No one!!! Thats why summer is great for eating out or BB'Qs but it is not great for all the delicous meals that require hanging by the stove.

Some of my favourite winter dishes are yummy full flavoured curries! My husband Jai makes the best best curry ever, I seriously am obsessed with his curry! So when winter comes it's out with the french oven and in with spicey flavour bomb meals! 

My other favourtie is of course pumpkin soup!  I make a really delish pumpkin soup that I top with dill, sour cream, salt + pepper! I love smelling it simmer on the stove  on a winters day & I always serve with a crunchy bread.

Now for something sweet, my banana cake! Of course you can bake cakes in summer too, but is it as nice as eating it in winter? No, it's just not as nice! When you serve up some warm cake, with melted butter and nice hot cup your favourite vice, some kind of magic happens that you can never get in summer. Trust me, I have tested this theory, being the cake freak that I am, I tried to enjoy cake in summer and yes it is always yummy, I mean it's cake! But the experience is not as warming and soothing as it is on a cosey winters day. 

Reading

Picture it..... It's Saturday, your sitting in a gorgeous reading nook, reading your favourite blog ;) You hear the rain on the roof and you can see the trees blowing in the wind through your window. Cosy overload!! Again this can be embraced through summer, in a hammock under a tree, ok I'm feeling that could be winning me over, but I still think winter provides the best atmosphere to really get engrossed in a good book. I mean in winter, your stuck in side, your mind is not wondering whether you should jump back into the pool like it would in summer. It's not distracted with too many other options so theres a good chance you could really get completely taken away into some amazing other world. One of my favourite reads of late is Gabby Bernsteins "The Universe Hads your Back" and I have aslo just finished reading " In the Company of Women" by Design Sponges' Grace Bonney. I'm more into reading about people who inspire me more than fiction, but I'm open to any suggestions if you have some you would like to share hit me up  in the comments below.

Lighting

Lighting plays a huge role in affecting our mood and a great way to warm up a space and bring an injection of cosy is through lamps and lighting. If you have dimmers, then you will instantly know what I mean. As soon as you turn down the wattage in your lighting a sense of calm instantly comes over you. This is also another reason I feel too much sunlight can be stressful. Having excessive, glare + bright light as been known to cause headaches and actual emotional stress. So what's an easy way to embrace this idea and warm up in winter?  Bring in more lamps! Add a few around the living room or by the sofa or reading chair, make sure you have them in your bedroom, by your bed or dresser. I have one in my kitchen which instantly makes cooking in my kitchen more enjoyable. Experiment with this and see just how much you can change things up to make winter time feel like a cosy treat rather than a boring burden.  One important thing to note, use warm white globes, not cool. Cool white will make you feel like your in a hospital. It can feel cold + clinical and the idea of bringing in lamps is really to make you feel all warm and relaxed during this time of year. 

Well that's it from me guys,  I hope I  got you feeling a little more into winter!

Enjoy your weekend and remember there really is'nt too much of winter left so make hay whilst the sun don't shine ;) 

Don't forget to take time to connect!

 

Peace Out xx

 

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

SELFIE SATURDAY - IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU!

Launch it challenge

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!  -

Week 4.

Hey beautiful people! I hope you have had a wonderful week! I have to say my week has been pretty lovely. Had a nice catch up with a lovely friend down at our gorgeous local cafe. I fitted in some yoges and a few beautiful walks/run around my neck of the woods ( like literally, I was running in the forest, lol :) I then spent most of the week behind my desk looking out my window at the gorgeous birds who visit my little bird bath. Sometimes I wonder if I get too excited over birds, like a crazy bird lady lol. Honestly I just love watching them splash and go crazy, it's a nice distraction and break from the computer screen. Anyway enough tree hugging ( for now that is, there will be lots more, cause that's how I roll!  ;)  let's get into week 4! 

Today I wanted to start getting you thinking about how to come up with your business name. I was going to go into websites/ domains but after chatting  about this with my friend the other day I decided to slot this one in first. So we where talking about business names and how many of us naturally all start to think about business names in the same way. It's funny how we can think we might be coming up with something very unique only to find that name is taken. "What I thought it was so perfect but it's gone!" is a really common situation to find yourself in at the begining. 

When thinking of your business name  the first question that will crop up is do I use my own name or create a totally seperate business name + identity? So I thought I would list a few of the pro's + cons for using your own name versus a business name;

 

USING YOUR OWN NAME-

Pros

  • Creating yourself into a brand is a great way to keep consistancy and bring your identity and personality into your products + services.
  • You won't have to worry about getting sick of your name beacuse theres a good chance you kind of like yourself  (hopefully) :)
  • Using your own name rather than a business name makes you seem more affordable and approachable to potential clients.
  • Depending on your name, it can make you easier to remember. If your name is Dick Assman :) :)  then you might want to get that crazy memorable business name up on a billboard stat! :) If your name is really complex to pronounce, hard to remember then this one may not apply to you.

Cons

  • Using your own name can actually make you appear less experienced and so if your aiming to get those big clients or sales it might be a little turn off to those more high end clients/purchasers.
  • It can be a little restrictive if your wanting to add future business partners or staff as other collegues may be putt off by your name being all over the place.
  • It's a missed opportunity to quickly let others know what your business is about. If I just use Mel Sherwell, people will only think who is she, what does she do and what does she stand for? Most will not care and before you know it they will have clicked off onto some other page and forgotten all about me.  When people surf the net they can be lazy and just will not bother to go and click onto your bio to find out, "oh shes actually an interior designer" It's not likely people will make that extra effort to find out.

 

 

You can’t connect the dots looking forward: you can only connect them looking back.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. ......
— Steve Jobs

 

USING A WELL THOUGHT OUT BUSINESS NAME-

Pros

  • In a very short second you can communicate so much to your potential clients about what you actually do. Make the most of every second of exposure you get with a clever business name.

  • A clever business name can also be very memorable, especially if you think of something that communicates your services + perspective. Remember to get into the mind of your potential clients. How do they think? What name would excite your potential customers or target audience?
  • A good business name can communicate who you are + what your about.
  • This is an ooprtunity to demonstrate your creative/intelectual ability. This is of course if you come up with a name that is creative and intelligent ;).
  • You may include words or imply a point of view that communicates what your business represents, your goals, beliefs + ethos 
  • A business name can communicate that you really do mean business + are one to be taken seriously.
  • With the additional information that a business name communicates, your also building trust and rapport much more quickly than a personal name.
  • Your communicating that your business is hoping to grow with no restrictions and you have high expectations of where you are heading. This communicates to potential clients that they are dealing with someone who is ambitious, dedicated and aims to achieve great things, including your services/products.
  • You can leverage your self to really stand out with a clever business name. With so many interior designers + stylists out their, I just couldn't handle 'Mel Sherwell Designs', ummm boring not too mention no one would blink an eye lid at a name like that. I needed something to communicate who I am as a designer and why I'm worth remembering.

Cons

  • Everyone always says this one, it's a long term committment to use a business name! Well yea, so is having a business :) But I guess their is a small amount of truth in this statement. Lets just say you decide after a few years you want to go in a new direction and your business name no longer suits you. Well then perhaps a business name could be a con in that circumstance. My answer to this one is, just start a new business. As long as you have been consistantly marketing your personal name alongside your business name, you will still be building your reputation which you can take with you always.

  • A business name can sound a little more formal which can be off putting to smaller clients, wanting a more personal service. People do like to know who they are dealing with and not just be speaking to a brand name. However I think it only takes one or two emails with a your personal name/signature to start personalising the service. Also who wants to only target small clients. I mean yes I love personalised jobs of any size, but I would'nt brand my whole business to only target smaller jobs. I want serious clients, who want a professional service. I really can't think of any more cons to having a super cool, well thought out business name. As I mentioned earlier, I like to use a little of both in my business name. In all of my social media accounts I include both my personal name and my business name. I'm always, 'Mel Sherwell - Soul Shapes' . I love having both and I think it represents me  Mel Sherwell the designer + then my creation, my perspective + my work 'Soul Shapes'.

 

 

 

 

Workshop it

So just to finish up, let me throw a few more considerations you can ponder to help get you on track with this business name thing.

So lets go back to your passion footprint in the earlier weeks. What did you discover was your passion footprint + your unique view point in your industry? Write it down

again on a piece of paper.

An example scenerio might be,  if your a florist, are you a florist who works with wild flowers, or the more lux varieties of roses etc? Be honest, what do you love? Then choose that! You have to love your passion foot print (if you dont know what I'm talking about, go back to weeks 1 + 2) Forget about the clients for a second and just think about what gets you exctited! Ok, got it! Great, keep your niche in the front of your mind at all times! This is always the focus of your business, so stay on track and now write down some key words to describe your niche -  Wild Rose, Natural Bloom, Peaceful Posies...... you get it. Keep writing down key words to describe your niche, + your view point. Then throw in some key words about your ethos, your believes or your goals.

This is how to workshop in a direct, purposeful way and I promise you in amongst all those words is your business name. Now you just need to bridge the correct pair together. I like the idea of a pair as it gives you more power in communicating what your about rather than just one word. At times one word may do it, but generally not.

Now good luck, have fun, relax with it! I remember when I came up with Soul Shapes, I knew I instanlty loved it, but it did take me another week or two of playing around with other ideas to realise it was the winner. So be patient and the key to creating is to keep your mind open and positive!!

Enjoy your weekend everyone.  I promise next week we will get into websites + purchasing domain names.

Peace out 

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELFIE SATURDAY - IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU!

launch it challenge

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!  -

Week 3.

Good Morning, good afternoon or good evenning. What ever time it is where you are, happy weekend vibes + thanks for stopping by for week 3 of the 'Launch it Challenge'. If you have just joined the challenge, then it's not to late to jump in. This challenge is a fun, stream lined starting point on how to launch your online business.  You can easily go back and read through weeks 1+2 but make sure you subscibe to Soul Circle so you don't miss any future posts. 

Ok it's the weekend, we all want to be doing relaxing , fun things. This is too much for your head today right? No it's really not!! Well my point is, it shouldn't be!

Remember, chasing your dreams should be the thing that makes you the happiest! I touched on this in week 1 and I just wanted to quickly remind us all that our passion should make us super happy! So if your not feeling that into week 3 today, it could be as case of "your just not that into it". If you are'nt working on your true true passion, everything else will either flop or if it does somehow get off the ground, you won't have the stamina to keep putting in 100%. So please, be honest and if your not excited to be working on your dreams today, then you possibly need to go back and edit edit edit. I know sometimes we all need to switch off on the weekend but if you are serious about launching your online business + especially if your working full time, then the weekends need to be go time!  Anyway, I just want you to be clear and ready to go and I really understand that the first steps do take the longest. ( I really really know!) So please stay with me, read on but just bare in mind that some of you may need to keep pondering over the direction your heading before taking your next steps.

If you have been workshopping your true purpose + direction and like me are feeling super excited to work on a Saturday (it's not sad, it's called being ambitious ;) ) Then whoop, let's get stuck into it. Time to smash it fellow entrepreneurs!

What have you got that I want! What can you do for me?

If you really have worked through weeks 1 + 2 and your feeling really pumped, then it's time to start getting to the real point of all of this.

Let's start with your products + services . What will your offer your clients or customers? When thinking about your product range or services let me share with you my one rule of thumb. 

1. Ensure your service or product further communicates your message?

This is so so important and the perfect way to refine exctly what you want to sell or offer to your customers.

Think about your potential client. Who is your potential client? Teenagers, adults who like fish, adults who like knitting, you get the picture ;)  So the one thing we can say for certain, regardles of what your in the business of, is that your potential clients are of course going to be someone who appreciates your message + your unique passion footprint. So we can easily assume that your client is also going to want a service or product that reiterates your message. Your target market doesn't just want a little bit of what you have to say, if they like your vibe + your work, then they are going to want as much of you as they can get. So, your products + services need to speak more of what YOU are all about.

Let me think of a possible scenerio. Ok, so your starting an online business selling plants. (I know it's random but they do exist and it's the first thing that came to my head :) :). So lets look a little closer at this e - plant selling entrepreneur ( let's say her name is Betty). Betty has decided her brands message is to communicate that using plants in and around the home will create a more harmonious + peaceful life. Now Betty could decide to sell every plant under the sun. It might make sense, the more options for customers, the more sales right? Well not necessarily because Betty's clients and target market are only going to be those who want to use plants to create zenful spaces. The clients Betty will attract are a niche customer who want a niche service. Why should Betty provide plants for cutomers she will never attract to her store. It's pretty obvious, but you would be suprised how many businesses try to sell every product in their industry. When that happens, your brands message is lost, your customers are confused and you will turn your target market away, stat!  So what should Betty offer her customers? A beautiful carefully selected range of plants that are also know for their zen like qualities. Bonsais, Maples, Lotus flowers anything that will enhance her message and appeal to her specific customers.

2. How should I price my products + services?

Now if your selling products, pricing may be a little easier for you (unless your manufacturing or creating home made products). Most online retailers will just sell at the recommended retail price. If you are making or producing your own goods then of course you would follow the formula of materials + time to design + time to produce + postage. Now for those offering services, it is good to see what others in your industry are charging for a similar service but only as a guide. My belief is to charge what you in your heart + soul think is fair to you and your customer. It's really not good if you wack a ridiculously high price on a service that you truely don't believe is worth what you are offering. In saying that the same is true in the reverse, never never undersell your self just to get a sale. Finding the sweet spot in your price point can take a little bit of juggling, but if you are genuinely honest to both you and your client and see things from both perspectives, then you can slowly get to the happy spot. Ask your self, how many hours go into delivering this service at it's highest standard ( because of course you always want to have the highest standards of service). What are you happy to receive for this service? Now if those greedy little green men start jumping into your prices you'll need to tell them to shoosh up because running a business with greedy eyes will never work. Create authentic + honest price points that will automatically build a bridge of trust between you and your clients before you even begin.

There are also factors such as GST if your in Australia, but most checkout platforms will automatically add that on for you. I really just wanted to remind you to factor that additional charge in when refining your price points.

Now, next week im going to go into website + logo design so make sure you spend some time thinking over everything, take some notes and try to go through all the questions and really workshop them fully. You only get out what you put in so it's really up to you and how much you really want to lauch your online business. I'm going to finish icing my daughters birthday cake now, wow I cant believe I have a 12 year old! Where has the time gone??? Time, time, oh it does fly, so with that in mind, lets make it count and go smash our goals!!

Peace out!

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

SELFIE SATURDAY - IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU!

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS?  -Week 2.

#launch it  

Hey everyone, Happy Saturday!

I hope your relaxing, or spending time with friends and family! It's so important to have some down time. I just got home from Wonderlust Melbourne. If you have'nt heard of it, it's a gorgeous yoga festival and it seriously was so beautiful! I'll be doing a write up on it all on Monday so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Anyway as I said last week, this 'How to Launch Your Online Business' challenge will go for the next few weeks. So if this is something you have been thinking about doing, I hope you have subscribed to Soul Circle and will stay with us all the way.

Now for those of you who read last week, #week 1, I hope you got some thinking done and maybe some of you might have had, as Oprah calls them, an aha moment?

If you did then great, we can start thinking about what to do next, so sit tight I'm about to get to it.  If your still stuck, you can still continue into all of the following weeks. In the mean time, keep digging deep and paying attention to what creates a spark in your soul. Take sometime to do a 5-10 min meditation, focusing completely on what your passion is and note down any ideas. Don't be afraid to write down any random, or weird thoughts, even if it does'nt make sense straight away, you will be surprised how random thoughts can turn into amazing + epic ideas! 

Now, if you did have a little light bulb moment last week and your ready to start thinking about the next steps, then lets get into it!

So you have an idea, you think you have found your JAM, that's awesome! Congratulations, that really is one of the hardest parts. Being honest and admitting to yourself that there is this thing that you really love + want to do despite the fear, your like "Im going to do it!"  Big pats on the back!

Now, it's one thing to have a passion, but now you have to make it yours! So as we did last week, I'm going to throw a couple of D+M questions at you. Questions that will get you thinking about how to take a passion, that maybe many peope share and make it yours.

 

What is your unique passion footprint?

Today I want you spend sometime thinking about your unique view point. I really believe we all have our own individual view point or footprint that we can stamp all over our passion. Think about Steve Jobs, he didnt just create computers, he reinvented them, with a vision that only he could really bring about. 'Apple' is Steven jobs footprint on technology. Ok so next, lets think about Jamie Oliver, whether you like him or not (that's not important) he was one of the first to really take food + cooking to cool town. Jamie Oliver has created an amazing brand, putting his own spin into his cooking has made him millions of dollars for his rustic, holistic approach to food. I think you get the point. It's not about just going and creating an online business that is same, same. You have to really think and ask yourself, "what is my perspective on ______?" What can I bring to my passion that really communicates what I am about and what I believe in?

Again, spend sometime with this, even if you get zero inspo and you have no idea, come back ask your self again tomorrow and the next day, every day until you get your 'aha moment'. Meditate on it and it will come! We all have a purpose, find yours and you'll find your footprint!

What is your message?

With any good concept or idea, you have to refine it! Or as I like to say in design, edit, edit, edit. To me you can never edit and refine an idea enough. There is always more creative bubles waiting to be thought, so open your mind and get into the mode of refining your footprint.

So you have your passion, tick, you found your unique blueprint (or you will soon), now lets get your message! Your message will be the big part of your blueprint, but as I said we need to refine that unique view point even further. If you don't know what your message is or what your brand is going to communicate, how will your customers or clients know what the purpose of your service is? Let me break it down, so lets say we have someone who has a passion for writing, then he/she discovers their unique footprint is writing about spirituality, now they would need to refine again to discover their strong message. Perhaps it could be something like "Spirituality + Food" or "Encouraging Spirtuality in Children", just a few quick thoughts, but you get the picture. It's all about making it your message, your authentic view point, your passion!

When your working on this, I cant stress how important it is that your message is authentic to you! Don't just think " I think this idea will make money" that will never work guys! Why, because if you are not sincere, if your messge is not backed up by truth + authenticity, no one will hear a word your saying, nor will they believe what your saying. So make that passion yours, find your voice + be true to yourself.  Lastly, edit, edit, edit.

Thanks for stopping by guys, I'm going to plonk in a hot bath, OMG 5 km's and 70 mins of Yoges, I'm tired!

Peace out and Happy Mothers Day to all you amazeball Mums xx