Tag Archives: staying inspired

Josephine Admires the View from the Balcony

"Josephine Admires the View from the Balcony" illustration by Joana Miranda


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Filed under A Talent for Design Shop, Art, Digital Illustration, Drawing, illustration, Josephine, Josephine in the City, New work, New York

Josephine Tackles the Monday Crossword Puzzle

Even though she wished she was a whiz at it, Josephine wasn’t ashamed to admit when she needed help with the Monday crossword puzzle.

Pen and digitally rendered "Josephine Tackles the Monday Crossword Puzzle" illustration by Joana Miranda

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Filed under Influences, Joana Miranda Studio, Josephine, Josephine in the City, New work, New York

Josephine Buys a Hat

Pen and digitally rendered "Josephine Buys a Hat" illustration by Joana Miranda

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Filed under Joana Miranda Studio, Josephine, Josephine in the City, New work, New York

Empire Building Kit – Week 31 Review

Photo of pigeons on a lamp post against NY skyline taken by Joana Miranda

Week 31 in the Empire Building Kit just wrapped up today, which means that there are only 21 more weeks to go.  That is a sobering thought when you consider that my aim is to emerge at the helm of successful lifestyle business earning at least 55k per year by the end of this year-long course.   Ironically, I received a nice blog post comment from a reader named Brian today who, among other things asked –

When evaluating the idea of trying the program for ourselves, can you say if it’s allowed you to accomplish something you could not do before? What real results would you say you are receiving?

To be honest, that question hasn’t been far from my mind all along.  The foremost nagging thought for me has been –

Aack!  I’m nowhere near to making 55k with my business.  How am I supposed to make that kind of money when there are only about X (now 5) months left in this course?

Do I blame the Empire Building Kit or its author Chris Guillebeau for my failure to see the big money coming in?  Is this just a big scam – another one of those “get rich quick…buck the system…have your dream life and work only 1 day a week” in a downturn economy schemes – and is it worth continuing with until the end?

In answer to those questions, here’s what I’ve found.

The definite direct benefits I’ve received in doing this course and having an association with Chris are:

  • About $500 earned from being an affiliate of Chris (no cost to be an affiliate – you just need a blog or website)
  • Direct jewelry sales which have paid the annual fee (and beyond) to belong to Aweber’s email program (Chris uses Aweber, and I learned of their services through him)
  • Free monthly and weekly freelance workweek planners from Charlie Gilkey’s website Productive Flourishing, which have helped me to better prioritize my time and understand where and why I tend to waste my time (I “met” Charlie through the EBK)
  • A featured spotlight in the EBK as an “emperor-in-training,” which has led to spikes in my blog views
  • Silver Circle Finalist status in the 2010 Halstead Bead, Inc. Jewelry Business Development Grant along with subsequent media coverage and finalist perks (writing a compelling business plan for this competition was a lot easier as a result of learning some great marketing and business building tips from the EBK.)

Along with these direct results, there have been the intangible ones as well:

  • I’ve revamped my business almost entirely to focus on design – both jewelry and whimsical illustrations – since I’ve realized that my jewelry business was not built on a sustainable model both in terms of earnings and my long-term happiness and satisfaction.  (Perhaps a good thing, too, since our move to New York City has made having a workshop in our living space an impossibility!)
  • I’ve sold a lot of equipment and furniture (generating income), and have embraced a life of less which feels infinitely richer to me
  • I’ve felt my horizons broaden by being exposed to people doing things I really admire (Chris Guillebeau, Charlie Gilkey and Nate St. Pierre, to name a few)
  • I have a clearer vision of who I am, who I want to be and what really motivates me want to get out of bed each day

So, why am I not earning 55K yet?

  • Namely because I have switched the focus of my business and now need to get the word out to as many people as possible


  • Because I battle my own demons about worth and pricing

Do the daily tasks in the EBK really amount to much?  Couldn’t I just figure this stuff out on my own?

The daily tasks in the EBK amount to what you put into them.  I currently have 82 pages of notes I’ve typed for myself – notes of people, websites, and “things to do” that I have gleaned from the EBK.  Not all of the websites or people have “rocked my world,” but almost all have given me pause for thought (at the very least, I’ve learned who or what I don’t admire), and many have genuinely inspired or taught me something.  The “things to do” list continues to get longer and longer, but I’m chipping away at it as fast as I can.  Lastly, while I am smart enough to pick through the internet for information when I need it, Chris has done much of the “picking” for me, which has saved me time.

Is the EBK for everyone?


Why it works for me…

I admire Chris’ intelligence, experience and knowledge, and appreciate that he delivers his information in a generous, humble and respectful way.  I’ve been at this (business building) long enough to know that it won’t happen overnight, or even in a year.  Perhaps my overall “ah hah” moment in this course (one that I don’t always remember, though) is, as Charlie Gilkey wisely put…

Every moment counts for something. What it counts for is largely up to us.


Filed under Empire Building Kit Review, Influences, motivation, Review

My Favorite Things – People Watching

There’s no better way to get a feel for a place than to go for a long walk and people watch.  Here are some gems from my time out and about yesterday…

Art imitates life?

Photo of fur-bedecked lady looking at the windows at Bergdorf Goodman's taken by Joana Miranda

She watches us, we watch her!

Photo of hairdo on mannequin at Bergdorf Goodman's taken by Joana Miranda

Interesting going…

Photo of baseball head character taken by Joana Miranda

And coming!

Photo of baseball head character waving taken by Joana Miranda

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Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, New York

Empire Building Kit – Week 30 Review

Photo of wintry Central Park scene taken by Joana Miranda

Week 30 of the Empire Building Kit just wrapped up.  I was delighted and honored to find myself featured on Day 219 in one of Chris Guillebeau’s “Emperor Spotlights.”   Getting a plug from Chris not only helps spread the word about my blog, website and the work I am striving to do, but it is also good incentive to keep current with my weekly Empire Building Kit reviews!

This week’s lessons had more of a philosophical bent than direct practical information.  However, the opportunity to get a glimpse into the mind of someone like Chris who runs his business with integrity and honesty, is a great gift indeed.  Over the course of the week, Chris talked about the importance of keeping momentum going in growing your business (and how to recognize when you’ve stalled or need to move in a new direction), why keeping your word even when it might seem easier to “bend the rules” for a customer or two will help you build a more successful business in the long run, and why crafting an offer intended solely to lure away a competitor’s business will usually fall flat.

If you are curious about the Empire Building Kit, you can click here or on the Empire Building Kit button in my sidebar.


Filed under Empire Building Kit Review, Influences, resources

Josephine Does a Little Dance

In the one-week countdown to Christmas, Josephine couldn’t contain her excitement.Pen and digitally rendered "Josephine Does a Little Dance" illustration by Joana Miranda

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Filed under Joana Miranda Studio, Josephine, Josephine in the City, New work