biz ladiesLife & Business

Biz Ladies: Five Ways to Find Inspiration Offline

by Stephanie


Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Mariah Danielsen, Mariah, a previous Biz Ladies contributor and an award-winning graphic designer and marketer who discovered that she could build a business around what she loves: weddings, stationery, antiques and DIY projects. She is the owner of Oh, What Love and a small antique store in her hometown,  and co-created The Create + Connect Project, a program that helps creative entrepreneurs turn their passion into profit. Today, Mariah offers her insights into finding inspiration offline. Thank you for inspiring us today with this post, Mariah! —Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump…

Before the days of Pinterest and before we had the internet to show us all the pretty things people are creating, we had to find our inspiration somewhere, right?

It’s easy to lose sight of our own creativity when we’re constantly online looking at what other people are working on, so today I’m sharing 5 ways to find inspiration offline.

1. Work With Other Creative People

Whether you collaborate with another creative business or work with a group in a creative workspace, working with others around not only keeps you accountable, it also helps get ideas flowing. Having other people to share your ideas and dreams with, being inspired by projects that other people are working on and working together on fun new projects in an offline setting will definitely inspire you to keep creating and brainstorming new ideas.

2. Visit Places That Inspire You

Take a minute to think about the places that inspire you the most. Whether it’s on a beach with the warm sand between your toes, working in your favorite coffee shop in NYC or browsing through the racks of your favorite clothing store – the feeling you get when you’re in an inspiring place is unmatched by any other. When you’re feeling like you’re lacking inspiration, visit these places and take notes on how they inspire you. You may come away with your newest big idea.

3. Take a Class or Attend a Workshop

While taking classes online is fun, taking a live class or doing a workshop opens the door for instant conversation, inspiration and feedback. It can be  drawing course at your favorite art museum, a cooking class at your favorite restaurant or a creative workshop at your favorite store – in person classes will leave you inspired and ready to create, and you’ll walk away with some new ideas and new friends.

4. Surround Yourself with Your Favorite Things

Where do you do your best work? Maybe it’s when you’re drinking coffee out of your favorite mug with your favorite candle burning, maybe it’s when you’re wearing a certain article of clothing or maybe you get inspired by working in an organized office. The little things you enjoy can feed your inspiration and get you in the right frame of mind to create something amazing,

5. Create a Playlist

While it’s not necessarily offline, an inspiration playlist is a great way to get motivated when you just can’t seem to get inspired. Load it up with your favorite upbeat songs and put it on when you’re ready to get some work done.

Need some ideas? I’ve created a Spotify playlist with songs that inspired and me to keep my head up and creating – check it out here:

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When you find your inspiration offline and away from where everyone else posts their ideas, you’re more likely to come up with something totally different than what everyone else is doing, and you’ll feel better about your project because you dreamed it up all on your own.

Do you have a place, course or song that instantly inspires you? Or do you have other tips for coming up with creative ideas? Share your ideas and inspiration in the comments!

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  • This is so great. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day to day stuff. I’m going to write these points out & pin them to my wall so I don’t forget to do them!

  • Thank you for sharing your playlist: it’s something I hadn’t thought about – but music is the ultimate mood-changer too! The intro to your piece intrigued me… the part about building a business around what you love – I’d love to read more so am heading off to read your other posts for DS. Cheers from frosty England, Jo

  • I definitely use my travels as an inspiration for my baby toy boutique, Brimful. Whether it’s London or Durango, CO, I make sure to scout out local children’s toy and clothing shops to see what’s trendy and unique. Local shops usually always carry local toy vendors, which I always love learning about. Thanks for another great Biz Ladies post!

  • My favorite places to find inspiration are museums. Even ones that don’t directly relate to design. I always leave with a mind-buzz.

  • @Cathryn – Glad you liked it! You’re right – it’s SO easy to get bogged down. Thanks for the comment!

    @Jo – I’m like you – music is a huge influence for me, the perfect playlist can put you in the right mood for creation. Let me know if you have any questions – some of my other Biz Ladies posts show you how to combine your passions into a business you love!

    @Brimful – What a great idea to visit the toy shops in the cities you travel to! Bringing new ideas back with you gives you a fresh perspective to your own shop, I’ve learned that with my antique store!

  • I am sooooo onboard with this!! I constantly go on foodie and craft beer adventures. It really helps to inspire me for my food blog. I am often in your neck on the woods Bonnie- was just in Brooklyn this past weekend at Smorgesburg and Radagast Beer Hall. It was AMAZING and inspiring to ALL my senses! I had am AMAZING time. I do this a lot, I am kinda obsessed! We should meet up sometime Bonnie!

  • Could you feature “East is East” soon? its such a great movie to rival this one in teen/preteen awkwardness!

  • Thanks for these tips. I work best when it’s just me playing in my sketchbook with a cup of tea beside me and no phone or computer in sight. Museums are great for inspiration, too. My husband and I are living in Germany for now, so it’s easy to visit a new European city whenever we want. It amazes me how every museum has some painting that leaps off the pages of my college art history textbook and onto the wall! So inspiring!

  • Reading the post made me smile I think mainly because I can tick off the item like a list of to do’s. This time last year I was barely doing any of these but you are right they do all help you feel more inspired and ideas seem to be flowing more freely. Being aware is a good thing, I dropped an idea at work the other day because someone left a book open on a page and I spotted it and a whole heap of ideas have been written from that of which I can progress from.
    A great post, thank you x