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It’s the perfect time for a retreat!

September 13th, 2017 by Morna

 

We are almost mid-way through September. Before you know it, you will be involved in fall shows and your holiday production season will be in full force. Your focus will be on the “doing” part of your business. You’ll be working “in” rather than “on” your business.

When was the last time that you took time to work on your business? I like to set aside time to do this on a regular basis. Now is the perfect time to do this before you get heavily involved in the fall work. Get out your calendar and schedule a retreat for yourself to do this. It doesn’t have to be several days. It could be one full day, two half days or even a couple of hours a few times this week.

Why take a business retreat?

  • All of us find it really easy to work in our businesses but do you work “on” our businesses?

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Only 117 days left until 2018

September 6th, 2017 by Morna

A few years back, I remember being in a water aerobics class over Labor Day weekend. The instructor noted about how much time we had left that year to get and stay in shape. If you look at this year’s calendar, we don’t turn the page to 2018 for 117 days. Plenty of time to make a difference in your business this year and be ready to accomplish even more in 2018. (It’s hard to believe I’m already saying 2018!)

In addition to Labor Day weekend, for many kids it’s the official end to summer and back to school. And, you’ll find plenty of 2018 calendars in your local office supply store or online. No time like the present to start to think about 2018 as well as how you can make the next 117 days the best.

Rocks, pebbles, sand

I like the rock, pebbles, sand approach. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before. It was popularized by Stephen Covey of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The big rocks stand for what is most important in your life. This could be the book you want to write. It could be your family.

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Are you a bit distracted?

August 30th, 2017 by Morna

Last week when I was clearing my studio space for my niece to work on her quilt to take to college, I seemed to get so distracted. I saw fabrics I thought would work nicely in a future project. I realized I needed to find a place for the notions that had already found a not-so-good spot. And, I found some book reviews I had clipped that seemed to be perfect for selections for our ICAP Book Club.

I had the same problem as many of my clients: the inability to stay focused and get done what needs to be done. It can be because you are distracted by other options, whether that’s the other stuff in the room or another great idea that is beckoning.

Yes, you, too, are infected with Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. As you can see, I have been there. Sometimes in my office I get totally distracted by the projects I want to make or the books/tools that just arrived or the idea I have for a new product or all the blogs that call me to tour them. How do you get past this? Here are a few ideas:

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What’s your next business move?

August 23rd, 2017 by Morna

 

Are you like so many other creatives? You have lots of ideas about where to go with your business. Maybe you should start teaching your art. Or do a local craft show or open an etsy shop. Perhaps start a podcast. Maybe a blog is calling your name. Or do you see a fabric line or licensing of your art as the next step? Or create patterns, or …

Whoa! You have so many options and they all sound good. The problem is you don’t know where to start. And perhaps you get stuck in analysis paralysis trying to figure out which idea is the best one. Here’s a path to help you decide.

Write down all the ideas.

Just get out a piece of paper and list them. As you do this, you’ll probably come up with more options. None are set in stone. You are just getting them all out of your head. You may even save some for a future use.

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How to grow your Facebook fan following

August 16th, 2017 by Morna

 

Last week I got an email from one of our ICAP members who had reached her 5,000 friend limit on her Facebook Profile and wanted to get my thoughts on how to add all those friends to her Facebook Page. Those of us who’ve been on Facebook a long time remember when Facebook Pages didn’t exist. As a result, we have many, many business connections who are now our “friends”.

One problem you may run into is that when you joined Facebook, you agreed to its Terms of Service. The TOS can make for interesting reading, and you will find this statement: “You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.”

That doesn’t mean that you can’t post art business items on your personal profile. It means that you aren’t using it entirely for personal gain. Many of us are our own “brand,” and it would be hard to separate our personal side from our business side.

That said, here are some ways that you can build your Facebook Page fan base with your personal and business friends. If you are interested in learning more ways to do this, the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals (ICAP) is hosting a training in September to do this. You can learn more about ICAP and join here.

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Evening rituals complete your day

August 9th, 2017 by Morna

Some time ago I wrote about the power of morning rituals, and how they set you up for success.  Evening rituals can be just as powerful to end your day. They add a sense of completion, build confidence, and set you up for the next day. If you think about it, your evening rituals can have a significant impact on how your next day goes. A good evening can translate into a good morning. Unfortunately, a bad evening often leads to a not-so-good next day.

I think of rituals as mindful practices that you make that can be come habits. I have evening habits, or rituals, that make a difference. And, when I feel off one day, I can often trace the cause to the previous evening.

Here are some rituals to consider.

Review your day.

Take time to look back on the day and see what worked for you. At the end of his day, Benjamin Franklin asked himself “What good have I done today?” It was a follow up to his morning question of “What good shall I do this day?”

Consider what you learned. It’s not always something specific to a task, like a new way to use the software you just purchased or a shortcut to one of your art techniques. It could also be something that you learned about yourself.

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Eliminating energy zappers

August 2nd, 2017 by Morna

 

The topic of tolerations seems to come up every once in a while with my clients. Tolerations could really be called “energy zappers.” They are those situations, problems or things that are really solvable, but that you let stay unattended. Those tolerations bug you on occasion, and you think they are just a nuisance.

What happens when you ignore them? Sure, you can put up with a few items, but most of us let the list grow. And, you start to compromise on those items. You know, maybe that stack of old magazines on the floor is not really that bad. The problem is that you start to desensitize yourself to all the good around you. And your energy gets zapped.

Admit your tolerations

So, how do you get control on those tolerations? First, admit you do actually have some! For starters, make a list of what you are tolerating. It shouldn’t be hard to come up with 20, perhaps more if you get started listing them. So set aside 15 minutes and start your list. You might even do this walking through your house or office. It might be the dead plant that you think will suddenly grow shoots. It might be the clutter you live with. It might be your kids’ socks that never seem to leave the family room floor. It might be the stack of library books you have got in the car you are meaning to take back. It might be something your spouse always says that you that you live with rather than create waves. It might be the dishes in the sink. Look at all areas of your life: your business, your home, your car, your environment, your habits and behavior, and the habits and behavior of those you interact with.

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Finding mentors all around you

July 26th, 2017 by Morna

In the last week, I’ve seen several examples of mentorship in action. It got me thinking about how important it is to find role models in our lives.

A local newscaster

On Friday, Jim Vance, a long-time local newscaster in Washington, DC, died. Vance, as he was always called, was the anchor on the evening news for 45 years; yes, 45 years. In a town filled with so many transients, he was a constant. Along with his broadcast partner of 28 years, Doreen Gentzler, their NBC-affiliate newscast held the number one spot for decades. As I watched the tributes come in, I was struck by how many people he had mentored.

What was it about Vance that moved so many people? I think it was his ability to connect on a genuine level with people.

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Getting to the Sale

July 19th, 2017 by Morna

Early in my career as quiltmaker, I sold my work. I took commissions, I did juried craft shows, and I was the only quilter in a fine arts co-op with a storefront. I saw my share of objections to sales. I still see them today. The price is too high. I need to talk to my spouse first. I can’t make a decision today. I need to look at other items. I’m not sure I have space in my house. I’m sure you’ve heard some of those and others. Here are some ideas on how to get past buyer objections so you can get to the sale.

Anticipate objections

Whatever the objection, you can think of it as an opportunity to educate your buyer. Look at the most common objections you get and address them early in the sales process. For example, if you are often asked how to hang your art, talk about that before it comes up. If your sales are wholesale, explain your terms. If someone wants to see if your art fits in their space, let them know if this is/is not possible. If someone wants a different color, are you amenable to reproducing your work. You may even have written material that answers some of these questions with the display of your work at a show or gallery.

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Escape to creativity!

July 12th, 2017 by Morna

What are you doing on your summer vacation? Yes, I know that as creative entrepreneurs you don’t really take a summer vacation. You are probably working in/on your business 24/7/365 and can’t possibly take time off.

Or maybe you do fit in some time because your spouse has a two-week vacation. Or maybe you still have a day job with vacation time and you don’t want to lose it all. According to Market Watch, the average American worker takes just over half his/her vacation time.

This summer try something different. Take time off and use it as an opportunity to open your mind, spice up your creativity, and see the world in a new way. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Get out your coloring books

We all know that coloring is still on trend, so grab your crayons or colored markers and get to work. You can find coloring books anywhere today. Or you can draw your own design — something easy for quilters — and start there. Studies show that coloring has therapeutic results.

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