Law and Wit Episode 12 Transcript: Creating space for Creative Living with @livefreemiranda Miranda Anderson

B .Ratelle:                              00:01                       Welcome to Episode 12, creating spaces for creativity with Miranda Anderson. Welcome to Law and Wit: creative counsel for entrepreneurs. I’m your host, Brittany Ratele, entrepreneur, naptime lawyer and attorney for creative entrepreneurs. I’m here to share inspiration and actions that you can tackle your business blocks and confidently own your business in every sense of the word. Thank you so much for being here. Full disclosure, I know it’s super cliché that before every interview, a host will say, I’m so excited for this interview. Like, what are you going to say at this point? Hey, we got a real Downer in front of us, but I really just help you push through and dedicate the next 35 minutes of your life. Um, but in all honesty, this is a great episode. So I’m just going to jump in and give us a brief framing and then let it rip. I Have Miranda Anderson on and she is the creative voice behind the Live Free Creative Co and the blog Live Free Miranda, @livefreemiranda.

B .Ratelle:                              01:01                       And she shares some awesome thoughts about who her origin story was, creative starting as a maker and a sower. How she got into blogging, fell out of blogging and then jump back in. She talks about her experiment with minimalism this last year and really being a functional minimalist. So for all of you out there who actually have children and other people in your household, and I’m wondering what does that look like to actually, um, be thoughtful about your consumption and your spending. She talks a little bit about that and her take-aways from that experiment with her family. And Miranda also talks about being authentic online, which is not a new conversation, but certainly one that’s become more heated, um, that I’ve seen a lot of talk and discussion and debate about the role of responsibility about agency, about media literacy and the responsibility of those that work in this field, um, that we’re in the field of influencer and content creation and influencer marketing about what we should be thinking about and how we should be approaching being authentic in our blogs and our content creation.

B .Ratelle:                              02:04                       So those are some of the thoughts that we’re diving into today. Um, and I think you’re going to love this episode that has got a lot of great gems including how to get out of a work function, so when you’re in that analysis paralysis. So, um, please check on ahead and, um, if you like what you hear today, please share with a friend. As always, I’m, while I’m a licensed attorney, I’m not your attorney. Um, I don’t even really think we talk about too many legal things in this episode, but just Fyi, I’m anything here today is for your own informational purposes only, um, but please check that after the show and I’ll post full show notes and everything that we talked about. So if you want to connect with those resources, correct, connect with Miranda, please do so. Thanks much. Hi everyone and welcome back. I am so excited to introduce our guest today. Um, Miranda and Miranda is a maker and adventurer, creative mama and the blogger behind lift free creative company shares design ideas and inspiration to a simple life with

B .Ratelle:                              02:59                       less stuff and more adventure as well as the highway projects inspire creativity or suite has been under three wild kiddos. Fill up her life with joy and continue to teach her about setting goals, making priorities, and believing that the small moments in successes mean just as much as the big ones. So I’m welcome Miranda.

Miranda:                                 03:17                       Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.

B .Ratelle:                              03:19                       Awesome. Yeah. S S as well and we’re in is joining us from Virginia where she’s living now. Um, and what I love about Miranda is that she not only has kind of lived in a couple of different places and you know, been really, um, easy going in terms of rolling with the punches, but her kind of creative journey has had, um, lots of different twists and turns, which I think is really cool in terms of how you start in one place and find something that you love and that you connect with. And then that morphs into something else. So I wanted to kind of start with a little bit of her creative origin story about how she kind of established her brand is she knows it now. Yeah, I think you, you know, it’s so funny, my,

Miranda:                                 03:59                       I am not one of those people who started out with the idea that I was going to be a business woman, I was going to be a blogger, I was going to run this thing and I, you know, it the whole thing, my whole business as it exists today, how I would’ve had no idea what was, what I was getting into. I went to school to be a nurse. I’m an rn, um, and I just envisioned that I would be a nurse working night since I raised my children, know what I thought. I’m actually in the middle of everything. So I decided that I actually didn’t love nursing very much. Um, I didn’t like wearing scrubs. I didn’t like blood. I fainted a couple times

B .Ratelle:                              04:37                       for me, this is my calling. Um,

Miranda:                                 04:43                       I did go into, um, to nursing education. I did diabetes education and that was back in 2008 and blogs were just sort of popping up as high as this kind of new social media thing. And so, um, my husband actually began our blog. We were living abroad for a summer. He started it and said, here’s a way that we can keep in touch with friends and family without, um, I don’t even know we had cell phones, but they definitely weren’t smartphones. Like, I don’t even know. That feels like so long ago. Right. That’s 10 years ago. And um, so we started writing. I started writing on the blog to share with friends and family. Then, you know, those next few years, if any of you blogged or remember those days, um, everyone had a blog and there was like a blog roll and you go check in with your friends every couple of days and see what people were up to.

Miranda:                                 05:29                       And facebook was not a thing. Instagram was not a thing and blogs were the way that was like the beginning of social media. And so we were all keeping up with each other and this new way. And I really loved it. I always have loved to write. Um, I’ve always loved to take pictures. Uh, so sharing in that format felt really natural to me. And after a couple years I’ve kind of just, you know, sharing what I was up to, um, and some of my creative projects. I also, you know, as a child, I was a creative person and make her. I learned to sew when I was eight years old. Um, I have always loved to make things with my hands and experiment. And so I was doing those things and sharing about, in just the context of the story of my life because I was kind of journaling, you know, for all my friends and family.

Miranda:                                 06:19                       And I started to notice that people were blogging really intentionally and they were sharing things, um, not just for friends and family, but like for people they didn’t know on the Internet. So, you know, this was like this new thing. Like there were people who didn’t know. And um, and at that point it still didn’t look like a career. But I, um, I started to share kind of lean. I was still sharing a lot of, you know, personal stories and highlights. But I started to lean into the creative stuff as something that people would find value in who didn’t know me, who maybe aren’t interested in my kids and our weekend adventure, but that they could find, um, that they could follow a tutorial or that they could get some inspiration because of this, you know, um, apron that I made and how I made it.

Miranda:                                 07:04                       So there I hadn’t started, had to have a little bit more intention behind it and I was still working as a nurse and um, you know, having and raising children and I’m sewing sort of started to kind of become a side Gig for me. I’d always known how to. So I had always liked sewing with the. I think etsy coming onto the scene really helped that too because I’m actually, here’s a funny kind of side story in the middle of this. Um, this is really clear memory. I don’t remember what year it was, but I had, we were, my husband was in school and um, we were on a student budget and I had gone shopping and bought a pair of shoes that I really liked that they were a little bit more expensive than, like I felt comfortable with, but I really loved him. So I was like, OK, well I have to worry about it because I am going to make some extra money to pay for them with a sewing project.

Miranda:                                 07:58                       And they’d seen etsy had just released this thing where you could, um, you could pitch ideas or people, people would ask for ideas and you could submit to make them, you know, so. So I remember someone asked if they needed a ballet bag, like a ballet bag for their daughter. And so I drew a sketch of a ballet bag and I sent it off through etsy and I was chosen and it was going to be like $30 for me to make this bag and send it to this lady. And I was like, sure. So I, um, so I solicited a couple like custom sewing ventures that way through etsy was called treasury. It doesn’t even exist anymore on se and made a little bit of money and there was this little inkling of, Oh, maybe in addition to what I’m doing as a nurse, I could have a creative hobby, money make your, you know, on the side.

Miranda:                                 08:47                       Um, through making things and selling them and then sharing about them. I started to acquire more and more custom sewing. I’m orders. And so there were a couple of years in there where I was doing a lot of custom sewing, especially at Halloween time. I made, you know, when you’re in made like 30 or 40 custom costumes and send them off. And this hobby blog had started somehow morphed into a custom sewing business in my blog was how I was acquiring customers. I wasn’t making any money blogging. I was making all of my money sewing and sending those orders. But, um, it was all tied together. And um, and somewhere in there I decided to, because my blog was kind of this outlet or this I guess, input for business for my custom sewing. I started to take note of some blogging conferences that were happening, um, in the country.

Miranda:                                 09:46                       Alt summit was the one that I kind of set my sights on because I knew a few people who were going, it was in Utah, which is where it was from even though we were at the time living in the DC area and, but it was a lot of money. I mean it was like $400 for a ticket. This is in 2012. And I, um, I mean that was a lot of customers don’t wait for me to make $400. And I did ballet bags. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a lot of valet bags. And I thought, well, if I am going to do this, I better take myself seriously. And so I remember in [inaudible] seeing the tickets go on sale and deciding next year I’m going to buy a ticket. They would sell out in like five minutes or something. Back then. I think they still sell it pretty quickly, but it was two hours this year, right?

Miranda:                                 10:29                       Yeah. So it’s still, it’s still, they’re still, they’re still hot commodity so. But I decided I’m going to save up this year. I’m going to be intentional. I’m going to go to that blogging conference with some sort of an idea of what I want to do and I’m going to invest in this as a business. And I think that was a big mind set shift for me and it was like kind of an overnight shift, but it was a whole year that I spent blogging at that time I was blogging daily and that blows me away as I was writing five blog posts a week working and raising my babies while my husband was in school. And I’m like, I, I just, that’s so much more hustle that I have now. It’s just an insane schedule. I mean, it’s incredible. Yeah. Like nap time. I didn’t, you know, a lot of the blogging I was doing was, was d y posts and those takes so much time and you know, it was just crazy.

Miranda:                                 11:22                       But anyway, so fast forward, I buy the ticket, I go to alt summit and I start to see people like see blogging itself as a business that people are making money on their blogs through sidebar ads, through inline sponsorships and the blogging could be a career. And um, I was nowhere near that but having it be my career, but it, it started this idea that it could be. And funny enough I am that blog conference that very first one, 2012 really impacted me in a lot of ways personally as well as professionally. And I went home and told my husband, I think blogging is so fun. It’s been a great thing for me. Um, there’s so much potential and I’m going to stop logging for this next year because I want to have another baby. So he was like, what are you talking about? You just spent all this money to go to this conference and you know, and um, and again, some of this unexpected sort of twist and given me says, I think I had started asking myself the question, what do I want?

Miranda:                                 12:24                       Instead of doing the things that came in line, you know, like I start selling these things and then people are finding me through the blog so I have to keep blogging about what they’re finding me for and then I keep taking orders and then I’m sewing orders and was kind of. We create these cycles almost for ourselves that are hard to break out and these routines that it’s easier to just do what we’re doing than it is to make a change. And what it had done for me at that point was allow me the perspective to know that I was still in control of my own life and I could choose and because I think it was easier because my blog wasn’t making any revenue. It wasn’t, um, you know, it wasn’t my business. My business was sewing, my blog was just gained business and so it was, it was not like I was walking away from this big, you know, like it is for some people were.

Miranda:                                 13:17                       Yeah. To. Yeah. To give up. Um, and so I decided to put the blog on hold and I didn’t know if or when I would come back to it, but I, but I, we, I got pregnant, we, um, at the same time, that same year, my husband took a new job across the country in Texas and we moved from DC to Texas. It was a good thing that I had kind of backed up some of my responsibilities. I had space in my life to move. We built a house in Texas. I had the baby. All of these things happened. I was still at this time working p, r n as a nurse and um, and I bought my blog. I posted just a couple times that year, you know, as partnerships with friends and stuff like that. And then my daughter was born and um, and I told my husband when my daughter was born, when she was about five months old, actually, I said, I think that I am going to try to just not work.

Miranda:                                 14:12                       Like I’m not really fulfilled by the nursing gig right now or ever actually. I mean, I love it, you know. Um, and so I thought I’m just going to quit my nursing job. I have three kids. He had a good job. Um, we were finished the school at that point and so I thought I’m going to take a step back. And that lasted for like four months I think. And then I just said, I just don’t want to, uh, you know, it’s not that like motherhood wasn’t enough because it’s more than enough. Um, it was that I wasn’t being fulfilled in all of the ways that I need in order to feel happy in my everyday life. Noticed this deficit of creativity. I noticed a deficit of productivity. I noticed the deficit of emotional and um, and a emotional stimulation as I’m thinking about, you know, new ideas and projects.

Miranda:                                 15:05                       And, and so I said, I am going to, um, I’m going to start blogging again. Uh, but not as a hobby. You know, I know that blogging can be a career, I know that people can make money from it. I know that it can be a really cool creative job. And so I want to do it that way. So I, so I, so I jumped back into blogging with the new idea that I, I had stopped taking sewing orders, um, when we moved and so blogging was going to be my gig. Um, and that was in 2013 I guess. So I took off that year 2000, the beginning of 2014 maybe. So now it’s been four years with blogging. I would like my primary income and my primary business is from blogging and I’m, most bloggers will tell you that it’s not just like a single line in what that looks like is content creation for myself with sponsorships of who I work with.

Miranda:                                 16:03                       It’s also content creation for other blogs. I write um, and style photographs for other people and other blogs and I teach crafting, sewing workshops and um, again I acquire my students through social media and through my blog. But I’m to your lead generation. Yeah, those classes take place obviously in, in real life somewhere I’m doing some, um, some upcoming and Austin actually next week that I’m excited about. So, um, so there’s lots of different, even within like the umbrella of blogging, there’s lots of different venues where I’m actually making an income and what my blog has been about has kind of morphed and changed over time too. And it went from a lot of personal sort of just journaling through a lot, a lot of creativity in d wise. And then in the last couple years has sort of stepped out of being so heavy. I’m into more of a, I call it a creative lifestyle blog, sharing about intentional living.

Miranda:                                 17:05                       I’m sharing about design and diy, maybe share it, um, in a less intimate way. So I’m trying to ask myself the question when I’m writing a blog post, what value will this add to my readers? People who know me, who don’t know me, people who followed me for a long time or this is the first blog post that they land on what value this message going to give them and their lives and that, um, that allows me to kind of take out what might just be like anecdotal and add things that will actually benefit people. Which is my, my hope with the message I share a little bit more meat to them, you know, substance. So you, you mentioned that was one of your

B .Ratelle:                              17:50                       first questions you asked yourself back in the, you know, the blogspot days of what value is this bringing to others and um, you know, it comes back to so much of value. Reminds me a lot of your, your interview that you did on Allison Faulkner is her brand school boss Babes, which I know was a favorite from a lot of people. Um, and you talked a lot about bringing value and being, asking those kinds of tough questions of yourself and what is your brand really about as, as a blogger, as an influencer, as a content creator. And when you approach someone which can be scary and you’ve, I’m sure we’re seeing that as your career has gone and highs and I’m sure when you got back into the game, like those first few emails, what was it like to try to pitch someone and. Yeah, totally. They’re like, I have to really dig deep here to figure out what you’re going to get out of this partnership, but I promise it will be good. But yeah, no creatives and I’m thinking, you know, I know I have something that everyone has something but um, yeah, I have to, you know, wrap my mind around what I can offer to try to make this a good deal for everyone.

Miranda:                                 18:56                       Totally. And I think that, um, in the modern game of social media and blogging, if I can call it a game and that the tendency is to expect that what we can see is what adds value. So like how many followers you have and how many subscribers you have, what your engagement is like, what your, um, you know, all of those, like really visible things that everyone can see easily. Things you’d put on your media kit for example. Um, your metrics and analytics and it will really has been helpful. It was helpful for me a few years ago and it’s still helpful for me now to ask myself, what do I bring to the table that isn’t objective? You know, what is, what is outside or in between those numbers and those metrics that is important and I think that that’s allowed me to feel competent contacting people with ideas, um, because maybe what I have is an idea and maybe that idea is um, creative and interesting enough that a company will want to work with me to use that idea to tell a story and they have the numbers, they have the metric they have, you know, a billion fans. But I have an idea and an idea can be really powerful.

B .Ratelle:                              20:23                       Yeah, I mean, one good idea. I mean, when you think about it in relation, like what does it cost to hire someone and to pay them and pay their healthcare and train them and put them up in an office and then you hope that you get good ideas out of it, but sometimes not. Sometimes you know, it’s a gamble for every time a company hire someone. Um, and for you to offer your one good idea with really none of those other strings attached as a package and ask for compensation, which is assuredly going to be less than all of that. And that’s a good deal for a company

Miranda:                                 20:53                       brand. Yeah, totally. And I think they recognize that more and more and our, I mean, I think that’s why blogging is still growing as a profession. People are becoming bloggers today and, you know, I don’t think it’s over and I don’t think it’s going away. And I actually, um, there was an article that I read recently that said that, um, the expectation or the forecast was that more personal, um, you know, day to day lifestyle blogging is going to make a comeback. I think the last few years people have been saying no, people are really only finding things on pinterest or people really only interested in the very impersonal five tips to blah, blah blah. And, um, and people are craving connection. I think we’ve gotten so hyper-connected that we feel totally disconnected. People are craving, wanting to know real people and wanting to, um, have, uh, wanting to, to, to hear about the story of what happened at the grocery store yesterday, you know, not only, you know, the five ways to choose healthy vegetables when you’re shopping at trader Joe’s or whatever, you know. So I’m adding some personal back in there. It was interesting to see that forecast, um, as something that will likely make a come back. Um, you know, we’ve tried to pull ourselves so much out of it. It’s interesting to think of the idea of putting ourselves back in it with a little bit more hard and a little bit more, um, more intimacy I guess.

B .Ratelle:                              22:18                       Yeah. And I’m going to, I think you could see that how the pendulum has swung too much on one direction and there’s likely to be a correct correction, you know, in the market in the way that people connect with each other in their content. So. Yeah, absolutely. Well, you touched on it a little bit. Um, but I love, you know, I’m kind of in your story about a time, you know, and I kind of asked if there a time when you got stuff in your business and kind of how you move forward, um, is there, I mean other than the fact that you knew for you that you needed to pull back for that year and two to raise your baby and to kind of switch directions once you kind of were back in the game. And we’re like, OK, I’m putting my business girl hat on, like we’re going to do this and make it real. Um, do you have any challenges? What, what was hard about starting that journey? So

Miranda:                                 23:03                       I, um, I laughed when I saw that question, um, and thought I feel like I’ve kind of always a little bit stuck. We’re, I’m like, it’s not easy. So it’s always hard. I mean, I’m actually yesterday or the day before yesterday now I have a mastermind group that I’m part of and actually that’s one of the solutions and having some people who understand what you’re going through and can, whether or not, you know, they’ve gone through something exactly the same or not, but just having kind of a group of peers to discuss issues with. I got on my mastermind group and said, I just don’t know if anything that I’m doing feels worthwhile, you know, should I just do something else like, am I not good at this? And, you know, and I was just having of those days of self-doubt and a, um, concern, I think that it stemmed a little bit from not having a regular scheduled the last few months and, um, and not feeling like I was accomplishing as much as I hoped for my expectations for myself not being met.

Miranda:                                 23:59                       Um, and all it took was, I mean, reaching out and talking about it, that always helps me because it helped me verbalize the actual core of the problem and what my concerns are. So then I can start to like mentally resolve them. Um, it helps me to sit down and actually do some real work. I think I spend a lot of time thinking about working. I spend a lot of times doing about working and like planning on working and getting ready to work and reading about listening to other people’s ideas about working. I knew a girl who has those same problems. Yeah, just seriously just sitting down. I talk to my friends in the parking lot of starbucks who said I have two hours. I’m just going to go down and pound something out. I sat down at starbucks where I’d had no distractions. I couldn’t do the laundry, I couldn’t, you know, pet the dog I disliked, sat down.

Miranda:                                 24:48                       I spent two hours just totally focused on creating some content that I had been working on. And I’m doing. The work helps so much. Um, it also has helped me a lot when I feel stuck. You know, I, I look back on the last few years and some of the time. So I’m very experimental. I’m a little bit reckless. I am just by nature have probably more confidence than a is good for me because I have no problem, just like trying things, like I’m just going to go for it and just see how it goes and sometimes they don’t think through it all the way and I just try, you know, so I, I mean I’ve, I’ve done it with lots of different ventures. Um, and um, and I think that sometimes when I feel stuck is when one of those things that I’m trying like a passion project or a new venture isn’t working and I don’t know if it’s not working because if it doesn’t work or if it’s not working because I should try harder and um, when I feel that way I have to um, allow myself to think about what happens if I work hard or how does that feel?

Miranda:                                 26:02                       And I just imagined this like how does it feel if I work harder and I spend a lot more time and energy on it. And then conversely, how does it feel if I stop? How does it feel if I just say, you know what? This isn’t working and I cut my losses and most of the time for me in my experience, the solution has been cut your losses. If it’s not working, it’s not working. You can kind of feel the flow. I think in the situations when it is like, for example, a couple of days ago and I’m like, should I just stop blogging? I just don’t know if it’s even worth it. Um, I sit down and I work really hard at it for a couple hours and I’d come out feeling like, yes, I want to do this. I’m good at it. It’s worthwhile. Um, I’m making a difference.

Miranda:                                 26:41                       And so then the solution is not to stop. The solution is that it feels good to work hard and you know, the work energizes. Yeah. And then, um, and then in other situations, for example, I had a couple multiple shops with actual products and um, have sort of systematically closed each one and the, um, the last year, I guess the end of 2015, I, I know anyway, my years are off. But over a year ago, I had been running this shop for like four years. It was, um, really cool teacher. It’s that I had designed and kind of stumbled into. I designed them, people wanted them, so I was making them and selling them and then I couldn’t keep up with the demand so I was manufacturing them and selling them and um, it was going fine, but it was taking a lot of time and a lot of energy.

Miranda:                                 27:33                       And I was like, I just don’t know. And when I thought to myself maybe I should stop, maybe I should close this shop. I felt immediately relieved and better. And so I closed that shop. And what did I do? I went ahead and opened a new one where I was hand-making things and I really love to make things and I love to share those with people. And I get a lot of requests for people when I make something they say, oh my gosh, she just saw that. And so then sometimes I do. And I’m just, just this last Christmas I finished out the holiday season with my handmade shop called the free creative company. It’s in conjunction with my blog and I felt like I think that I’m spending so much more time and energy on that. Then the return on investment that upbringings and, and stopping

Miranda:                                 28:23                       it makes me feel unstuck. I feel stuck and stopping closing the shop and not doing that piece anymore for awhile. I’m sure it will come back and some iteration sometime. But for now, being able to have the courage to say this isn’t working exactly the way that I want it to. And um, and that’s OK and that doesn’t mean that, you know, I suck at making things or no one wants to buy my, you know, like they, they do. And they did. And I mean, like it was going OK. It just, it was just taking way more energy than it needed, um, that I wanted to spend on it. I have finite energy resources, time and um, and it was the right thing to say to say, maybe this isn’t what I should be doing. Maybe I need to focus my energy elsewhere and integrate that space, you know, in your head and your heart, your workshop and your life for things and things. And maybe that’s a good segue. You know, um, I wanted to talk a little bit about your minimalism experiment for people who might not be readers of your blog. You’ve talked a lot about it. I know people have been super curious, but you’ve been playing around with that, you know, being, I love you. You’re talking about being a realist and minimalist because we all know, you know, and we joked about it, those minimalists, you know, the Netflix documentary and the, you know, single guys and with their little backpack like that. Great. But like

B .Ratelle:                              29:42                       where are the snacks for your kids and yeah, exactly those crazy people living in like a shed in the wilderness, you know, that’s not realistic for me. That’s great for them and it’s really cool, but it’s not realistic for me. So, um, yeah, I think that they’re, the theme of my last several years of my life has been, like you said, making space, creating space for them.

Miranda:                                 30:03                       Things that matter more and um,

B .Ratelle:                              30:06                       that’s taken so many different forums and I realized as I got ready to take a real big plunge into minimalism, I was able to reflect and see in little ways how it’s influenced how the ideas of minimalism have influenced my life. I like less decisions. I shop mostly at trader Joe’s because I can wrap my head around all the, you know, I know exactly what’s there. There’s only one type of ketchup that’s the one I want and I get it and I don’t have to think about it and I don’t want to, you know, it overwhelms me. Dave, you still laugh. When we were first married, we had a bunch of gift cards to bed, bath and beyond, which is a wonderful store. But I walk in there and I get so overwhelmed I can’t even function anymore. He’d say, we’re here for a blender, let’s go to the blenders. And I’m like, but look at the pillow was honey, look at the, you know, like there’s so much to see. I just want to look at all of it and think about all of it. And um, I do much better if they have a special tool for Avocados. I don’t think we have, we probably need it because we like Avocados and what other special tools might I need and you know, like I just, yeah, I get very easily distracted. And so, um, so it has it. I’ve noticed that a benefit for me is to,

Miranda:                                 31:14                       is to not have unnecessary decisions in my life, to not go to places that overwhelmed with options, more options than I needed to not consider things that are not part of, you know, what I actually care about. And I’m so before. So anyway, we all leading up to all of these things. I’ve always loved to purge. I’m not, I’m not a pack rat. I like to organize things. We’ve moved a lot of times. I think we’re on our 10th or eleventh move in 11 years. And um, and so I’ve had ample opportunity to go through all of the things that I own and decide what I really want to keep and that, you know, even just that practice is really clarifying. Um, but

B .Ratelle:                              31:54                       Marie, you know, the, the shit is out of all of it, just really. Yeah, all the things I love doesn’t spark joy. I get out of here.

Miranda:                                 32:03                       So at the beginning of last year we, um,

B .Ratelle:                              32:08                       we decided, I just had this thought again, this kind of reckless thought of like, hey, you know, what we should do so

Miranda:                                 32:13                       we have more than enough stuff. We have everything that we could possibly need and probably everything that we could possibly need for like a whole year. So let’s not buy anything that’s not a consumable item for a year. Let’s just put the Kibosh on all of the shopping and all of the, um, you know, just buy groceries, buy toilet paper by printer ink, the things that we readily use up to conserve fuel consumption. And um, I had already been using a capsule wardrobe, so I thought I’ve got plenty of clothes for, you know, forever. Um, my kids do grow, but we lived at the time when we decided to do this. We lived in Texas where all the seasons or some, you know, like it’s very mild winters. And um, I thought they don’t grow that much, so, you know, if they grow out of something, I’ll replace it with a like item, but I’m not going to just buy them clothes and shoes for, for, you know, for whatever.

Miranda:                                 33:12                       And we don’t need any more toys. We definitely don’t need any more books. We don’t need any more furniture. And so we just decided that the things we had were enough and we spent a year and it was an experiment and an imperfect experiment. And I’m the first one to say that like, yeah, there were a few things that we bought, um, along the way, especially because we had an unexpected move in the middle of the year. And then we did need some things and we got rid of way more than we, um, then we, you know, bought. But, um, it was just this whole experience of feeling grateful for the things that we already had. Recognizing this huge amount of abundance that exists in our regular life. Realizing just very acutely how much time, energy and money is spent on shopping on consumption in a regular life.

Miranda:                                 34:01                       And even for someone like me that I don’t love to shop and I sh, you know, I wasn’t like a shopaholic, so this actually wasn’t that difficult of an experiment for us to undertake. Um, it was amazing to be able to walk into Costco and know that I needed, you know, the Rosemary Olive oil bread and then I needed some ton of toilet paper and get those things and leave and I, you know, all of the things that I pass as I walk to the back of the store, I didn’t even think about it or consider it because I wasn’t buying anything. So that in turn allowed us to spend that time and energy and money on things that I felt like mattered more. And that’s where the less stuff, more adventure kind of tagline that I have created this last year, um, comes in that when we choose less time in target, that’s more time that we get to spend at the park with the kids.

Miranda:                                 34:54                       When we choose less money on clothes, that’s more money that we might get to spend going on a weekend adventure. Um, when we choose less time scrolling through, um, through social media, that’s more time than we might be able to stroll through our favorite museum. And um, and I think what we hope is that we can fill our lives with things that, um, that are meaningful. I mean, I think that’s what everyone hopes, right? We want to feel grateful. We want to feel happy. We want our lives to be filled with abundance of the things that matter the most to us. And um, oftentimes we simply take what we’re given, but I’m messaging has handed us what displays are front and center in the stores and we, that we get to choose. We forget that, you know, where that we’re in control, that we’re free to be able to make these types of decisions. And so I’m freeing up some space and creating some, um, some. Yeah, I guess space is the, is the way to talk about it for other things and for more choices has been really, really interesting and really hugely shifted the culture of our family, um, in a positive direction.

B .Ratelle:                              36:08                       That’s, that’s awesome. And I loved following your reflections on this and how honest have you been about the times when, yeah, you had to change your plans or how, especially with an unexpected move and, you know, surprise, we have seasons again, so kids need clothes and breathing in Virginia, um, and, you know, things come along, but just, you know, the, the general attitude of being playful and experimental and turns, you know, what, what would change about us and what would become different if we had, if we just changed our attitude and pivoted a little bit and how we approach stuff and the accumulation of stuff. Um, so my, you know, as I’ve heard you talk about this, the questions that always come up in my mind is how did you do this in terms of that you still like to create stuff? Because for me, I, you know, I, I’m in love with the idea of getting rid of my stuff until I go into my craft room. And I’m like, well, but not these things. These things are all holy relics of my crafting and I could never let them go. So how did you, how did you approach that? Yeah, yeah.

Miranda:                                 37:05                       Right. So, um, I think that there’s two parts to that because, um, I was actually just writing about this and, and it made me kind of internalize it more that creativity and crafting or different things. And so I’m, I’m very much a craft or, and it sounds like you are too. And so crafters have usually have closets or rooms and bins and baskets and bolts of things, um, to aid, you know, supplies for this hobby. Um, and that’s a creative hobby. And so yes, as far as like craft supplies, um, I, I mean I have more than enough craft supplies and that’s something that I chose not to add too last year and I still have more than enough craft supplies and actually, um, because of our move, all of that stuff went into. So in Texas I had a room that we called the studio, that was my crafting room, um, and sewing room and that’s where all the things lived.

Miranda:                                 38:00                       And then we moved and as part of our move and part of this minimalist experiment, we decided to downsize from our 2,500 square foot ranch style home in Texas to a thousand square-foot. I’m little tiny box of it, a Cape Cod and in Richmond temporarily. It’s a rental home while we look for, uh, for, for a home to live in, in the area. And um, it’s two bedrooms and one bathroom. And I knew that, that, you know, my supplies fill up a room they wouldn’t fit. And so it was a good time to look for us for a studio outside of the house. And so it’s actually a good push for me, find a space, create a space. I’m talking about creating space to create a space for my crafting. And um, and so I actually found a studio a, it’s like a co-working studio where I have my rent lease, a space that is where it’s a home for all of my craft supplies and my sewing machines.

Miranda:                                 38:55                       And that’s where those things live. And um, it’s been interesting too though because I think all of that stuff was in boxes for six months while we moved and, you know, we’re in transit and then when I finally started to unpack some of them I’ve outgrown as far as, um, you know, that’s not the type of crafting that I love to do anymore. It’s not the type of fabric that I would choose today. And so coming at it with a fresh set of eyes and with this idea of what do I really love, what’s going to add value has helped me to slim down, not totally eliminated the slimmed down. So I know the, even the craft supplies that I choose are the ones that I really love and that aren’t just taking up space for no reason. But there’s other things that I really like.

Miranda:                                 39:37                       And then being able to donate those other ones to um, you know, people in places that need them more, um, has been really great. And the second point I wanted to share about that is that I feel like minimalism, by virtue of what it is of is creative minute, like a more minimalist lifestyle means that you have less things but you still need to do all the things you want to do. And so I feel like you, I have definitely been able to live more creatively as I’ve had to figure out how to use what I have in multiple ways even without fits. How do I make 10 different outfits out of, um, out of these certain clothes or how do I decorate a room using only the items that I already have? How do I rearrange my furniture and have it feel new again because I’m choosing to not buy new things and that it’s been.

Miranda:                                 40:36                       I actually feel like I’ve been fulfilled creatively without, as much crafting is I used to do because I feel like every day is a little bit of a creative adventure as a, you know, as a functional minimalist or practical minimalist because I’m thinking about how to make things work rather than just getting the thing, getting the avocado tool. What do I already have that can, that can be used in, in, uh, in the way that it will work? So, um, there’s something really wonderful about being, exercising creativity in multiple ways and yeah, I definitely still have a bunch of craft supplies.

B .Ratelle:                              41:14                       Well that’s good to hear that you are, you are still human in that regards, but I really liked that thought in terms of being intentionally putting yourself in a place where you have to exercise more creativity because um, you’re not gonna buy the exact same one exact thing that solves one problem. You know, you’re looking at do you have in terms of solving a myriad of problems and how can you re, you know, change up your furniture. And I remember growing up, my mom always used to always use to rearrange furniture and it’d be like, what is she doing? And I get it now that I’m a mom and you know, you, you, you get, you know, a new little hit, a little dopamine hit and it freshens up your space when you have the chance to move things around. And sometimes, you know, people talk about shopping your own house, you know, go, go rock around and see what you have to put it in different spots. So I really liked the thought of that by having less stuff and purposely limiting yourself, you’re actually making yourself be more creative and putting more energy into it.

Miranda:                                 42:09                       Space into that creative, intentional lifestyle

B .Ratelle:                              42:14                       for sure. Yeah. Well you’re, you’re living it, you’re, you know, a lot of people that sounds like a cute tagline, but you actually are, are walking the walk there and your, and your cute vest that. I know you’ve told me soft because you say this used to be a jacket, now it’s a vest and they were like every third day. That’s all right. You know, we’ll just keep recycling that. Hey, if it’s a good thing, it’s a good thing. Um, OK. So I wanted to kind of close just because I think that there’s, there’s such a conversation going on online in the moment about being real and authentic and I think that you have, you’ve done such a great job as you built your platform and your voice in and still being that for people that I just kinda wanted to get your two cents in terms of, you know, what do you think about what people are talking about and how can people be more real if they, if they really want to be that in terms of online even when, if they’re still selling stuff, which is perhaps part of their business, which is part of a lot of people’s online businesses,

Miranda:                                 43:10                       right? Yeah. So, um, I think that authenticity or being authentic is such a buzzword and it’s a word kind of like minimalism that doesn’t have. I mean it has a, a webster dictionary definition, but we all have created our own definitions of what that looks like. So what does it actually mean to be authentic? I mean, you could ask 10 people and you get 10 different answers, especially regarding social media because some people think that means showing your house messy instead of clean. Some people think that means not wearing makeup instead of wearing makeup. Some people think that means just only promoting products that you would actually use in your life. And all of those may or may not be true. You know. So, um, I think that it’s tricky. I think that the conversation most recently, um, and you know, it’s a conversation that’s been happening for years is more about the root of it is more about comparison in social media.

Miranda:                                 44:00                       It’s more about perfectionism that has a lot more to do with the consumer I think than it does with the creator. And um, and so we definitely see more of each other’s lives on the day to day than in the history of human kind. We know what people are eating for breakfast, we know what they’re wearing, we know what they’re putting on their face or their makeup. We know, you know, where they’re shopping. We know everything about everyone or where we think we do. And um, and whatever we don’t know, we assume and um, and then with social media also becoming a business kind of like blogging, you know, you see this more for blogging was originally just people sharing like a journal online to where now it’s like multi-million dollar businesses are built on blogs and people confuse the social with the media. And I don’t think we’ve ever seen, uh, like a huge call out for traditional media.

Miranda:                                 44:58                       You know, actually I was thinking how funny it is that like in a commercial where someone who’s not an actor is used, they disclose that like this is an actual person, not an actor, but we assume that in social media that everyone is living their real life. And that’s, you know, if it’s media that’s not necessarily true. I think that there are people who still very much used social media for the social piece. And there’s a lot of people who use social media for the media piece and they’re using it primarily as a business. They’re not putting any personal or real or unstaged on curated information there because this is their business. And I think that it’s good for him to not always cross business and personnel, you know, you’d never see a brand just like step out in their bathroom, you know, for fun, like there’s business to this as well. So I think that the problem comes when the consumer is confused. We think that that person, that blogger, that influencer, that we don’t know, we don’t understand that this post is media and that posts to social, we think that it’s all the same. And um, so the FAA has some very specific standards and guidelines legally, um, for the promotion of paid or unpaid merchandise right now, whether or not influencers choose to use that Hashtag ad Hashtag sponsored or declare a partnership is up to them. But legally,

B .Ratelle:                              46:22                       yeah, or even use natural language. I actually, I have a free mini course on this on my website because it’s a question I get so often that people are like, am I supposed to put a disclosure on or can I just use like the instagram page? And I’m like, no, because the FCC has said like, that might be OK, but is it clear to the person, would it be clear to someone’s like mom, like if our moms or even our grandmas were on social media and they saw a post, would they understand that tide is the one paying for this post that you just didn’t want to happen to talk about your laundry detergent today? You know? Right, right. Exactly. It’s

Miranda:                                 46:56                       hard because there some that DC has these really clear guidelines about that. And like I said, a lot of influencers choose to not use them still. I mean they like. And it’s not like people don’t know about them. It’s just, it’s a, it’s something people to choose. Right. But there are not any, there’s not any guidelines or governing body to regulate the unpaid sharing of your lifestyle. And um, there was no one to tell you that if you, um, you know, post about your donut, that it has to be the actual donut that you ate at 9:00 this morning and not a donut that you took last week, a studio and Photoshop it. And that’s just the way that it is. So I think we as consumers need to take responsibility for what we’re, what we’re consuming. And I think, um, I think we do it pretty well in our regular lives.

Miranda:                                 47:44                       I think people are careful, um, according to their own values and standards, people choose what to listen to. They choose what to watch on TV. They choose what movies to go to, what radio stations to listen to. And I think that we, we forget that we should be applying some of those same filters, personal filters to the social media we consume. I always, again, I asked myself the question, what value is this person giving me? How is this making me feel the same as I do as an influencer myself, sharing what value is this giving to other people? And if we, I wrote a blog post about this, um, back in 2015, it’s called something about for habits to form habits for positive social media experience. And um, and one of them is to recognize the difference, the why, the why of who you’re following.

Miranda:                                 48:36                       So maybe you’re following that fashion blogger because you love her clothes and you love the, um, the style tips that she gives. So if that’s the why, then don’t take it personally and think, well, she is totally pulled together in every picture. Um, so that means that me and my pajamas at noon that I’m a bad person because the why for her is that you like being inspired by her style. So allow her to inspire you and not take it personally, just like with the wife or maybe your sister or your friend who is being, you know, they’re not a business and they’re not doing it for this, you know, promotion of anything that you can commiserate with them on other things. So, um, I think it’s a tricky thing. Um, but I definitely, I mean, I’m on both sides of it because I’ve had days where I feel I’m bad or down, especially if you’re already feeling emotionally low for some reason.

Miranda:                                 49:26                       I think social media is the worst place to go because you’re already taking everything personally. Um, I also think that we need to be responsible though for our own, for our own consumption and for, and especially as moms too, like the way that we teach our kids about social media, not letting them have free reign and making sure that their social, their, that their self esteem life so far outside of those external, you know, badges of honor that we like to give each other. Um, I don’t know, it’s a, it’s a tricky issue, isn’t it?

B .Ratelle:                              49:59                       No, but I think I, but I liked what you talked about in terms of, you know, putting the onus on the agent, you know, on the individual and I mean just general increasing or media literacy and making sure that we’re asking good questions about value, about what does this person selling, what’s there, why is that in conformity with my own personal value systems. And if it’s not, then maybe you know, a discreet unfollow. Um, I don’t, I don’t think that it’s a good idea to. I don’t think you need to send direct messages and tell people that you hate them or that you’re making me depressed because I think that’s, that’s false logic right there, you know, if you listen to any new mom, you know, she, I love how honest she is when she talks about like no one makes you feel anything and I tell my kids that all the time, but it’s a false, you know, verbal trap that we get into that. People can make us feel anything. Um, you know, but we, we, we, we decide what we want to feel and that should be liberating, do people. Um, but sometimes it’s not. Right? Yeah, absolutely. And I guess just one last point from the, maybe the way that I define it,

Miranda:                                 50:59                       um, from an influencer standpoint.

Speaker 4:                              51:02                       Yeah.

Miranda:                                 51:04                       Being able to be willing to say no if that collaboration is not a good fit for you. And I know that that’s hard. And um, I know it’s hard because it still is hard. It’s hard for me when I get an email that says, hey, we’d love to send you this free, this, that, or the other. Or even worse, we’d love to send you this free thing and pay you a thousand dollars to share about it and it’s not something that I actually want be whatever actually use in my real life or see aligns with any of my values,

Speaker 4:                              51:04

Miranda:                                 51:37                       because it feels like, well, maybe I could, you know, you could easily say this is a picture, like, let me just share it, like I can hold it for this picture and I can get paid and then I’ll move on. And, um, and I just, I feel like the authenticity piece for an influencer or a business owner comes when you say, you know, that, thank you so much. And um, I’m probably not the right fit for you. You know, I’ve never heard of your thing or it’s not even something I mentioned, you know, I don’t know you, obviously you’re going to be, you’re going to be kind about the way that you have, but um, but letting them know that it’s not a good fit because it’s going to be a lose lose for both of you. Um, you’ll get some money, but you’ll definitely lose   your story and what you’re sharing and um,   I don’t know, so that, that’s one that’s been interesting for me and especially, you know, this last year where we were not buying things for the year, um, and my job is to promote, you know, businesses and products. Um, it was interesting to find ways and to still make it work and I had one of the best years in a lot of ways. I had one of the best years that I’ve ever had on my blog because the partnerships that I formed were very in line with the things that I wanted to talk about and um, and that felt better than ever. So yeah,

B .Ratelle:                              52:52                       they were thoughtful. Yeah. Every piece of that. So. Well that’s, that’s a, that’s wonderful and a testament to you, to your confidence in your business and your business acumen, but also in what you’re representing in the value you’re bringing to other people. So I’m sure that comes out in your content and that’s why people have fallen along all along that whole journey, you know, from, from nurse to master Shibori artists and everything in between. So I was wanting to disclose, but thank you so much miranda, for being on. Um, if people want to know more about you and what you’re working on, where can they find you? Um,

Miranda:                                 53:30                       I am often on instagram live free Miranda.,( @livefreemiranda) Um, and a lot. I love instagram stories, so that’s where I hang out a lot. Um, and I’m on Pinterest is live free Miranda. I’m on facebook as live free creative co. Um, my blog is livefreecreative.co and that’s where, , you know, we every, every week or a couple times a week I’m sharing something that I think will add value to your life so that you can find me. Awesome. Well thanks so mUch. Random. It was great having you. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

B .Ratelle:                              54:07                       Wasn’t that just wonderful? I really appreciated having miranda on and I loved our conversation that we had, um, with the twists and turns, which honestly I think kind of make the best interviews are really just listening to her and her experience. And as you can tell, she is a really wise woman in terms of the experiences that she has and how she’s interpreted that and internalize them and use those as lessons to impact her life and her family life and her business to really try to live more creatively and more in tuned with what she thinks will bring her the most happiness in all areas of her life. So really grateful that miranda was on. If you are interested in some of, um, some more of the information that she talks about, including the show notes, please go to the show notes page. You’ll see them here on your podcast player.

B .Ratelle:                              54:53                       You’ll also see them in the episode page on my website. So if you go to brittany, retell.com/ [inaudible] because this is episode 12, you’ll find that, um, I’ll also have a freebie on there, which is an extra kind of download with some of my favorite quotes from this episode as well as kind of some of the work, the exercises that miranda suggested in terms of what you can do with your step. So if you’d like that freebie kind of the episode upgrade, please go to the website, it will be on brittany, retell dot coms slash 12. I’m going, if you sign up for my newsletter, which is a really awesome resource that I send out every week. Um, then you can get that resource and you can hear from me and get tips, um, like when we had episodes like this coming out and resources and stuff that can help your business with, for when you might be facing some sort of creative roadblock.

B .Ratelle:                              55:41                       Um, and I really try to make that useful for you because I respect that you’re busy and time and your inbox is sacred. I get that, I totally get that. So I don’t want to waste your time and energy. Um, but I’ve gotten really great feedback from everyone who’s on it saying, I love this. This is hilarious. Thank you so much for sending this out. Um, so I, I don’t, I wouldn’t waste your time with it if I didn’t think it was going to be useful for you. That’s all for today. If you liked this episode, please leave me a review or rating. I’d really appreciate that and I hope that you feel the courage and conviction to live a more creative life, whatever that looks like for you and especially to be more creative and confident business owner, knowing that you can choose the path you want your business to be on. You don’t have to be stuck in that cycle of just doing what comes in the front door, that you’re in the driver’s seat truly. Um, and that if you can embrace that position than I think you’ll, you’ll be happier this day and every day after that. Thanks so much. Bye.