Work it (a Women in Business Post)

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life22 Comments
So it’s been a wild and woolly few weeks around CZ Design Central. Last Fall, I created some business goals and at the top of the list was launching my own classes. Now back in October, when I set a launch date of March 1st, it felt like I had an obscene amount of time to get it going. Six months? Phff! That’s a friggin’ cake walk, my friends.

Then January came. Then February came. Then March started and all I had was one idea: get an older class ready to relaunch. My March 1st deadline came and went.

I’m not sure why I did nothing in the first few months of 2015. I think I was trying to create stress by choosing not to work hard and get shit done. I know that sounds crazy, but maybe some of you can relate? Do you ever sabotage your own work in order to have an easy out? I’m not even sure if it’s fear of failure OR success. Maybe it’s a little of both. All I know is that March 1st came and went and I thought, “It’s time to fish or cut bait, lady.”

Part of my problem was feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t really understand  how to build they type of classroom I envisioned. Here’s the great thing about feeling sorry for yourself: it lets you feel in control of anything that is potentially way out of control.

Launching a new leg of any business is out of control. I can do everything in my power to plan for success. I can make sure all of my t’s are crossed and my i’s are dotted. I can launch the greatest marketing campaign that professional scrapbooking has ever seen. None of that is a guarantee of anything. None of that means it’s gonna rain up in here.

Not knowing is out of control. Embracing my lack of web design skill was a convenient excuse to not even try. That kind of thinking is SO up my alley.

But something changed this time. I decided to figure shit out. I spent as much time as was needed—and it was a lot—to make it workable and to represent something I was proud to promote and sell.

And so far, it has surpassed my expectations.

Of course, there’s no time to rest on those laurels.

I actually bit another bullet and hired a web designer to help me create a new classroom format and hopefully in the next few months, it will be ready to launch.

I have three more classes in my brain that have to get out. Class projects have to be done. Videos have to be recorded and edited. Handouts have to be written. Logos have to be designed. Marketing campaigns have to be planned and executed.

But when I choose to embrace this wild, woolly world of self employment, I can find true joy every day in this work that I do to make ends meet. It’s a privilege to find ways to make it work.

My therapist tells me if I could take my attitude towards work and apply it to all areas of my life? I might just have a shot at being a fully developed human.


The other day, I was talking to Aidan about all the things that had to happen work wise on that particular day, and she, sensing a little stress in my voice, said, “Yeah, but Mom… you get to be creative EVERY day, you know? That’s how you make a living.”

And me, getting a bit weepy, said, “Thank you for reminding me.”


Cathy ZielskeWork it (a Women in Business Post)

22 Comments on “Work it (a Women in Business Post)”

  1. #1

    Thanks for sharing, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You have inspired me to get up and tackle my own hard stuff. Oh, and that daughter of yours, she’s pretty wonderful.

  2. #2

    You know what, Cathy? The privilege is ours. I have loved watching you work your way through what to scrapbook now that Aiden and Cole can’t be your main scrapbooking focus. I follow so many sites where the children are Project-Lifed within an inch of their lives and wonder if those gifted scrapbookers will be able to let go as honestly and openly as you have. T.S. Eliot said “The end is where we start from.” You go, girl!

    I am wondering if you are going to migrate your Design Your Life from Big Picture Classes to your classroom site. Otherwise, I need to download the classes before it’s August and my word for the month will have to be Shit!

    1. #2.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Thanks, Janet. I appreciate that.

      Now, you do need to download Design Your Life if you want to have it. I am going to do a brand new Design Your Life. Same design principles, of course, all new projects. The thing is, the design info is solid, but all the product stuff is from 2008 so it’s time to update!

      It shouldn’t take too long to download the old stuff! You can do it! Just create a folder and go. 🙂

      1. #2.1.1

        Glad I asked.

        And for anyone who didn’t take the Big Picture class, please consider the update when it’s ready. No paper or pretties can trump solid design.

  3. #3
    Lynne Gillis

    I am at a very similar point in my business, and can completely relate. I just hope that you know that you are not alone – and you are SUCH a HUGE inspiration! Now I am off to go write web copy. Thanks for the kick in the pants! Much appreciated!

  4. #4

    Thanks for sharing these parts of yourself. It’s always nice to know there are others out there trying and stumbling and trying some more. I loved your Digi Basics course. I’m a beginner and have watched other “getting started” videos but with yours I think it’s finally clicking. Thanks for all you do and all you give. And someday I will write to tell you a cool story about how your “30 Days of Thankful” project impacted my family. Forever grateful for that one!

  5. #6

    I’m so glad I hopped on your blog this morning. Your post was just what I needed to remind me that I’m not alone in the self sabotage business and to get off my duff and make my goals happen! Thanks for always being authentique.

  6. #7
    Melissa O.

    My problem is I have too many ideas & I get so overwhelmed by them that my brain can’t organize them into a solid execution plan. If I had a dollar for every halfway decent idea I didn’t try because I simply didn’t know how or where to start I would be one rich lady. For the next women in business article you should talk about how you outline or formulate an execution plan even when you feel overwhelmed. How to you get from the vague idea stage, where you’re not sure if or how you will pull it off, to the solid plan stage to project completion? That would be so helpful.

  7. #8

    You also had a daughter than needed you in those early months of the year. The wait will be worth it because your classes will ROCK!

  8. #10
    Helen High

    To Janet from an earlier post: I downloaded all of Cathy’s classes from Big Picture that I’d taken over the years. I didn’t take very long at all and was easy to do.

    To Cathy: What you do is amazing. I’m on the fence about jumping into a business venture with some friends and it has given me a lot to think about. Seeing what and on some levels how you do what you do everyday is motivating.

    Thank you for sharing your gift with us mere mortals. . .

    1. #10.1

      Thanks Cathy and Helen. Downloading isn’t my concern; back-up is. Just increased my cloud backup space. Should have done it a long time ago. We are living in an uncertain world where heartfelt promises are bought out and commercial enticements have loopholes with legal agreements. (I’ll try not to fall getting off my soapbox.)

      1. #10.1.1
        Cathy Zielske

        Janet, I use two back ups presently: onsite (Time Capsule) and Crash Plan (offsite). Although my offsite is actually just my photos and system settings.

  9. #11


    I think that I am feeling a similar pressure in terms of fear of failure and success at the same time in my own work, which is writing. I have written MOST of my first novel, just have to finish my edits, and I have been doing everything else BUT that since January! I know I have to get it done for my own peace of mind, and that I’ll feel better when it’s finished, but the idea of it being finished is so scary at the same time, because when it’s done, that’s when I have to get it out into the world, where others can see it…a scary prospect for so many reasons. Thank you for keeping it real, it’s your vulnerability that helps the rest of us relate to you, and enjoy your posts, even if we look up to you for your design guru wisdom, we know that you are still human. ♥

  10. #12

    I’m so excited for you! And sometimes it takes our kids to remind us how lucky we are. Now get to work!

  11. #13

    I had a similar comment from my then 15year old ‘challenging’ daughter. It brought me back to reality and gratitude for the good job I had.

  12. #14

    Cathy, thanks for you observations about owning your own business, it’s not for sissies!

    You are my go to gal for all things digital. We a have a beautiful, 2 year old granddaughter. We take pictures and videos. Do you have any suggestions for creating an electronic book that she can “read” on her mom’s iPad? Thanks!

    1. #14.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Hmmm. You know, Deb, in terms of iPad apps, I’m not really in the know on that one! Sorry. 🙂

  13. #15

    Deb – Try Shutterfly Photo Story for iPad. You can add photos and kid’s art work to the story. It’s pretty simple and fun. You’ll enjoy it.

  14. #16
    Denise S.

    Can’t wait to see your other classes. I love your style of teaching and am hoping something good is coming…

    Good luck on this new adventure–you will, no, I stand corrected, you ARE acing it.

  15. #17

    Hello and good morning from a Norwegian scrapbooker. Design Your Life. My favourite class ever! I’m looking forward to the update. I’ll do it again.

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