The Hustle

How do you know when you’re going to make it? I just want someone to say, “you’ve made it through the hardest part” or “you’ve made it when you make x amount of money from illustrating” or “here are the five next steps you should be taking” but I know none of that is going to happen. I’m not stupid.

I tip my hat to anyone who has made it past the point that I’m at right now because holy cow…this is so hard. If  I had to pinpoint the hardest part of this whole thing, it would be the stamina you need to have to keep going day after day. There is not a day off unless you want to fall about five days behind. There is no one to relieve you when you’re over it because the business is literally in my hands. (see what I did there) For this post, I thought it could be helpful or possibly interesting for me to walk you through a day in the life. I always love reading about other people’s daily schedules on various blogs. If nothing else, I’m sure I will love looking back on this in a few years. I’m sure the further I go in design, the longer the hours I will work. After all, design never sleeps.

I hate structure so every day looks very different but here is a typical day for me.

7-7:30: snooze the alarm a few times, roll out of bed, throw on sweats, make coffee, brush teeth, grab packages that need to be shipped and run out the door. I’m not a morning person at all and I prefer to sleep as long as possible in the morning.

7:30-9: commute to work, listen to music to wake up, Bella watches shows and plays while I still try and wake up…I’m dead serious. It’s that hard for me in the morning. Sometimes I will answer Instagram comments, post to Pinterest, place an order at the printer or answer emails while she watches her show to sneak in some work.

9-10:30: more play and get ready for our day.

10:30-12 Off to our morning activity which is usually gymnastics, library story time, swimming, an indoor playground or coffee shop with a play place.

12-1: Making lunch, doing laundry and eating lunch. I try to clean up a bit during this time.

1-2:30: Afternoon play. I try and give Bella complete attention during either morning play or afternoon. I’m really lucky, she is such an independent little three-year old but she definitely deserves to have a playmate.

2:30-4: Leave to pick up the big kids from school. Come home and they do homework, I finish laundry, do the dishes, help with spelling and try to keep Bella busy.

4-5: Get off work. Typically I don’t commute home right away because I really love the area I nanny in (I lived in the area for 6 mo. at my brother’s) I will typically stop for coffee, do a little Target run, stop in at Anthropologie, Paper Source or my favorite antique store ever. This is my time to unwind and I’m so glad I’ve figured out I need this time of the day for me instead of rushing home to work again.

5-5:30: Get home. Unwind a bit more. Sometimes this is changing into a favorite outfit, making a giant pot of coffee or getting my creative juices flowing on Pinterest. I also make a lot of to do lists at this time. I’m not really a daily planner type of girl because I like to take one day at a time and not overwhelm myself. Then I decide which task is most important to get done for the night.

5:30-7: After I make that to do list, my mind basically throws it out the window. Lately, I have been spending a good chunk of my night working on one personal project before I start in on paid work. This might make very little sense to most of you but let me tell you, personal projects are the creative person’s heaven. It has really saved me lately. It has been such a good change for me.

7-9: This is typically the time I spend staging product pictures, packaging orders (which takes forever by the way), dreaming up new products, sending invoices, or doodling iPhone cases. I get distracted easily so I’ll be working on one thing and jump over to the next thing without finishing the first thing. It works for me but I will have about 5 things going at once. I try and wrap all of this administrative work by 9 or 10pm but sometimes it takes up the whole night. As of recent, I have been trying to switch off days with admin work and drawing so I can block out time that I can just sit down and draw.

9-10: I typically eat dinner around 9pm. I know it’s not recommended but neither is having your own business. I have to do what works for me right now. Then I sit down to draw.

10-12: Just drawing and I’m hopefully in bed sleeping by 1am. But this one time I went to the printer at 1am and packaged orders until 3am and then slept for 3 hours and went to nanny a crabby Bella.

Most days I look at my to do list and then I make like 5 pots of coffee and hope that I’m going to make it. I’ve only cried once because of this business because big girls don’t cry, especially when they’re doing their dream job.

1// Emily Jackson in plaid and leopard booties, doing it right.

2// My new leopard booties!

3// Anthro polka dots, and a Wool and Whisky scarf from the sweetest fellow Tommie, Jessie who also has her own Etsy shop.

4// I escaped to my farm this weekend and as always, I took tons of photos of trees and dreamed of moving there. There’s just something about it and they have a functioning post office so I could definitely run qk in a town of 500 people.

5// Winter white on the farm.

6// A blue farm I stumbled upon on my country drive.

7// One with the woods.

8// What working from home looks like for me.

9// Taking in the beauty.

10// My new obsession: watercolor stains. I’m planning on putting originals and prints in my shop, just for something different.

11// Anthro display.

12// More watercolor play.

13// Blair Eadie dressing up the oversized tee. I’m taking notes, love this look.

14// Little one at swimming.

15// Going on a farm adventure.








I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.


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Meet Your Brand Artist

I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book. I believe in creating a life and a business you love, creativity over competition, and designing with equal parts passion and purpose.




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photos by laura rae photography & grace k beck