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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

The Fortune Is In the Follow-up

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

follow-up

 

How good are you at follow-up? You know, that is where the money is.

I was talking with a few of my clients who were heading back from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those get processed right away.

The problem for my clients was that they came back with all these notes that weren’t really money related or where they couldn’t see the clear money connection or where they couldn’t remember the conversation. Plus they felt overwhelmed getting back in gear. And, the follow-up is in question.

What I have found through the years is that when I pay attention to following up on a consistent and timely basis, it lets me build better relationships, which is really my goal, and that means adding to my business bottom line.

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Leverage to grow your creative business

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

 

You’ve probably heard people talk about leverage. And not the TV show of recent years. Leverage is about using a resource to its maximum advantage.

When I think of leverage in your business, I think of it as a triangle with Time, Money, and Knowledge + Talents + Passion as the three sides. When you start your business, you have all these elements in varying degrees. And likely some are limited.

         TIME (1)

As you grow your business, you begin to have more of each and can use each to its maximum advantage. And, you can leverage other people’s time, money and knowledge, too.

You invest in each of them because you want something back in your business. You have an expectation of a return on this investment.

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What’s Your ROR?

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

 

You’ve heard of ROI – return on your investment. It’s where you figure out if the amount of money you invest comes back to you at a greater return, whether that is a profit or cost savings. Technically your ROI could be negative, which means you lost money.

You may have heard of ROTI – return on your time invested. You look at where you are investing your time and determining whether or not it produces a return.

I have a new one to share: ROR – Return on Relationships.

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Building a Healthy You and a Healthy Business

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Do you give much thought to how your general health affects your business? You may not think they are connected, but they are.

Truthfully, your own personal wellness should be a priority. Without a well you, your business suffers. In the extreme, you become run down, exhausted, and burned out — and so does your business. In the short run, you can lack focus and just aren’t as productive as you need to be.

In my own life I’ve seen this. I used to prioritize nutrition and exercise and sleep. At one point, I started down a slippery slope. I wasn’t exercising like I should. I used to have a personal trainer who came to my house, and when her schedule changed, I started to slack off. I used to go to yoga. When my personal schedule changed, I didn’t fit it in. Sure I was still walking every day with my friends, but that wasn’t enough. As I would learn, I was actually overexercising or doing the wrong kind of exercising.

On the nutrition front, I thought I was eating healthfully. And, while I probably was for the most part, I wasn’t eating enough. I’m sure you know the mindset. You must cut your calories to lose weight. And, of course, you have to give up everything that you love to eat!

And, this showed up in my business, particularly around focus and energy.

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Finish the Year Strong

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

finish-strong

It’s  the beginning of October and, if you are at all like me, you’ve look at the end of the year and at all you want to accomplish before then. It could be trade shows, new patterns or programs, a rush to get your sales where you projected. And, then, of course, the holidays  — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah — will be here before you know it.

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Say No to Busy

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

 

Have you ever been rushing around trying to get things done and at the end of the day realized you didn’t accomplish what you really needed to accomplish?

Yes, it felt great to check those things off your to-do list. Your studio was clean, you posted on Facebook and Instagram multiple times, and you felt like you got so much done. After all the list was full of check marks or crossed-off items. It was proof.

But did you really accomplish the important things that would move your business or your life forward?

In all likelihood the answer is no. You got caught up in “busy.” Working on things you think might make a difference.

The problem is when you get caught up in busy, it’s because you said yes to too much. You said yes without thinking.

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Set Your Business GPS!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

biz-gps

 

Recently on my way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I got caught in a mass of slow traffic. Anyone from these parts knows we only have one way to reach the beach, and that’s using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis. Its two spans date to 1952 and 1973 and can’t handle today’s traffic. Slow-downs and waits are a normal occurrence, particularly during the summer, so I try to time my trip to avoid them. Despite my best efforts, I was stopped.

Because of the nature of the journey, my GPS isn’t of much use. It can’t re-route me across the water! As I edged along, I thought about the GPS you set for your business.

The beginning and end points

Your car’s GPS won’t work without a starting and ending point. It’s the same in your business. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go.

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Creating white space

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

 

As artists, we understand the need for white space. White space is the space between design elements and also the space inside the design elements. Without white space, which truly doesn’t have to be “white,” everything would run together. Imagine if there was no white space in this type. It would all run together and be confusing, to say the least.

The amount of white space you include varies based on your design decisions. Your goal should be to balance design elements, organize the content for ease of use, and to allow a place for the eye to rest.

You also need white space in your life, space that allows you to rest and reconnect. Once you appreciate what it does in the art you create and the art you view, you can appreciate its value in your business and life.

Imagine if your life or business calendar was jam packed with no relief. You would end up overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed. You could become resentful about what tugs at your life.

If you go back to the goal of white space in design work and think about the concept in your life and business, it would balance your life, organize your days, and let you have rest.

Here are some ways you can create and use more white space in your life.

Schedule it

You can’t have more white space if you don’t allow for it purposefully. It’s so easy to fill your calendar with things to do that you don’t have any time left to rest or for yourself. Get out your calendar and block that space off. You need to make you a priority. If you don’t, chances are that you will find yourself overworked and overwhelmed.

An important note: you need to schedule your white space first rather then work it around your other commitments. Chances are if you try to fit it around everything else, it will fall by the wayside.

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Moving Past Stuckedness

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

stuckedness

Have you ever had so much on your plate that you’re stuck with where to start? I know I have. Last week I started thinking about all the ideas I have to grow ICAP. There is the weekly blog/ezine, the monthly coaching and interview calls, and some content that is already planned to write. Then there is book in progress, the podcast in the works, and the work I want to have happen in our Facebook groups. Wait, I forgot about the webinar I am creating. I know I can look at the my projects and figure out which to pick first, so overwhelm is not the problem.

It really is about uncertainty and where to start or how to move forward on the one project. And, if you are like me, having so much to sort through can keep you stuck. You end up studying the issue to death, over-thinking it, over-revising it, and, yes, staying stuck. I think a good term for this in my case might be analysis-paralysis.

Does this sound familiar? What is the solution?

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Are You Juggling Too Many Balls?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

 

 

One of my clients recently commented that with all her responsibilities she felt like she was juggling a lot of balls in the air — managing the shop, its employees and its inventory, her charitable obligations and her responsibilities with two young kids at home plus her husband.

Can you picture yourself there?

I certainly can. At any given time I have content to write or deliver related to ICAP and our Members’ Studio, lectures and workshops to prepare for events where I am speaking, coaching calls with clients, planning for upcoming events or launches, not to mention the various balls I am juggling as a wife, sister, aunt, friend, and homeowner or any other volunteer position I might have. It truly could make you dizzy.

And, I know your life is not any different than mine or Beth, my client. How do I, and you, manage to juggle these responsibilities and not succumb to the falling balls? Here are some tips.

Outline your responsibilities

You have to get a handle on what you are responsible for in your life, so start writing. Create a list of your responsibilities and relationships.

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