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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Evening rituals complete your day

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

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

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

 

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

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

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

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

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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Craft a powerful tagline

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

What’s in a tagline? The purpose of a tagline is to express your brand differentiation. It’s to say who you are compared to your competition.  It’s to get people to want to know more about your company and how you can help them. The best taglines have an emotional component.

Do you recognize these taglines?

Make Creativity Happen
Made to Create
Designed by a Quilter, for Quilters
For People Who Love to Sew
Make More Art, Spend Less Money

They belong to companies in the arts fields. I’m guessing that you knew most of them.

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Are your “real” priorities in your calendar?

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

 

Do you ever struggle with aligning your priorities with your actions? Beth, one of my clients, was recently struggling with this. She told me that her family was her priority, yet she was barely fitting them in around her business, rather than the other way around. She was taking on more commissions and at the same time increasing her output for exhibitions at galleries.

In reality, your priorities are defined by how and where you spend your time. By that definition, family was not Beth’s number one priority.

To get clearer on your priorities, during the next few weeks develop a list of your needs, wants, and values. “What’s the difference?” you ask.

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Slay the Social Media Dragon

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Do you ever get overwhelmed with social media? So many different platforms to choose from. And, regardless of the platform, they each seems to change all the time. And, when you are on social media, it seems like other people are posting all the time. And, you get frustrated trying to keep up with all this. It’s enough to feel like social media is a fire-breathing dragon.

If you want your business to grow and reach more people, you need to be on social media. That’s a given. However, it’s easy to slay that dragon if you follow some simple steps.

Step One – Consider your audience

The number of social media platforms seems to grow, only you do not need to be active on all of them. Your first step is to figure out where your peeps are hanging out. In all likelihood, they are on the platform you enjoy. So pick a platform, take time to learn how it works, and follow the remaining steps. Once you’ve got the first platform down, you may want to add a second. Remember you don’t need to be on all forms of social media to be successful. You do need to be on at least one.

Step Two – Create categories

If you look at what you post already, you’ll probably find that you could break that content into categories. Consider what you’ve been posting as well as what you want to post in the future.

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Lessons from The Magnolia Story

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

I’m an unabashed fan of the HGTV show Fixer Upper and its hosts, Joanna and Chip Gaines. I’ve been know to watch marathon style more than once, and I’ve even got my husband to watch with me. What is it about Joanna and Chip? They are real, their values come through in all they do, they work well as a team, they have fun, and, oh, she does have a terrific sense of style. I asked my husband about the show. He likes it because Chip and Joanna are motivated by the end result, helping others achieve their vision, and that money is not their motivator.

In October their book, The Magnolia Story, was published, and I knew it would be fun to read. It also offers lots of business and life lessons. Here are some.

Be true to yourself.

This is what comes across strongly with both Joanna and Chip. You get a sense of what their values are and how they live them in their lives and business. Their family comes first. And what can you say about Chip? Joanna said he was her first fixer-upper, and while she might try to “fix” him, it doesn’t change what is true underneath. Kind of looking at a house and knowing it has “good bones.” I remember the show where he ate the cockroach — really! He is definitely a silly person at heart and doesn’t try to change that.

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Know your customer to ignite your business

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Over the weekend I met my friend Jamie at a local coffee shop. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and had a great time catching up. After about half an hour, we were joined by Caitlin, one of Jamie’s friends. Some years back Jamie had been sitting next to me on a train ride while I had a coaching call with a client. She knew Caitlin was struggling with her business and asked if I would spend time talking with her about those struggles.

Caitlin had started her business a year ago. She felt a calling to help young women in our town improve their circumstances. She knew that I worked with creatives to help them build their businesses and wondered if what I did could translate to her. The thing is that how I help artists — whether they are fiber artists, jewelers, or writers — is exactly how I helped Caitlin.  This is an abbreviated version of what I shared during our conversation.

Know what you have to offer that is unique.

Everyone has a unique message to share based on their life circumstances and experiences. I once heard someone say “make your mess your message.” It’s so true. Your unique perspective is what you have to share, whether it’s really that messy or not.

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What Message Does Your Environment Send?

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Have you given much thought to the message that your environment sends? This could be the space that you invite the public to enter, whether that’s a storefront or your website. It could even be your personal workspace. Recently I had two interactions that brought this to the forefront.

The Chef

Last year I had lunch with a friend at Petit Louis, a small French restaurant in Columbia, MD. It was a delightful meal, and we both commented on the relaxed and inviting environment. An added plus was the tile floor we both shot photos of.

Because of that experience, I read with additional interest a business article in the food section of the Washington Post about Cindy Wolf, one of the owners of Petit Louis. She was nominated for the sixth time for a James Beard award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic for Charleston Restaurant in Baltimore. Cindy, along with her partner and former husband Tony Foreman, own Foreman Wolf, a restaurant group. The group owns and operates six restaurants and two wine shops, and the two owners also host a local radio show weekly.

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