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Archive for the ‘Coaching’ Category

Move the Needle in Your Creative Arts Business

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

For many of us, moving the needle may have different connotations, especially since so many who read this blog sew. Today I want to talk about moving the needle forward in your business. All of us get stuck. Sometimes it’s just a simple tweak that can get the machine moving again. Sometimes it is something bigger that you need to do to move your business to the next level. Here are nine ways that will help get you moving and bring in cash to your business:

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Who are your peeps?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

 

As you start to build your creative arts business and continue to grow it, one of the keys is getting clear on who your ideal client is. It is pretty important to know about the person who is buying your product or service. If you get right down to it, money comes from people, so it helps to know who they are if you want to ask them to invest with you.

When many people start out, they want to serve everyone, and I mean everyone. I can remember a student, Carol, who was in my “Craft Business Success From Your Creative Passion” class at International Quilt Festival in Chicago one year. The students went through an exercise to help them identify who their ideal customer was. Carol insisted that the entire quilting universe, and perhaps the whole non-quilting universe, was her customer. She was an appliqué artist and was making it her mission to teach appliqué to any and all quilters. It did not matter if the person was not interested in appliqué or already had a specialty, such as painting fabric, Carol was going to turn everyone into a lover of doing appliqué.

What is wrong with this picture of wanting everyone to love appliqué as much as Carol did? It is charming, yet it is unrealistic. It also holds Carol back from making a difference to those people on whom she could really have an impact. She is expending so much energy trying to reach everyone, that she is not able to reach those who could use her brilliance.

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6 ways to add revenue to your creative arts business

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

If you are in business, your goal should be to make money. Sure you have other goals that revolve around making a difference or sharing your art or building a legacy. I know that I do. Problem is that you can’t make as much of a difference if you aren’t making a profit in your business.

Making a profit is tied to increasing your revenue or decreasing your expenses or both. In truth you can only increase your revenue in three ways.

First, you can raise your prices.

Second, you can sell more to your current customers.

Third, you can find new customers.

This post focuses on six ways that you can increase your revenue. Some you may already be doing. Some you may have thought of and not tried yet. Some may be new to you.

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It’s Not Just About Sports

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

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Have you been watching the Olympics? I always enjoy the competition and the personal stories. I found myself staying up late watching several of the events live. I continue to be inspired by watching people who are the best at what they do. Here are some of the business lessons I saw.

1. Set really big goals. I have watched Katie Ledecky’s pursuit of her Olympic goals for the past few years. She grew up and went to high school in my county, so she is covered by our local news. Her coach, Bruce Gemmell, worked with Katie to look at the bigger picture, developing a vision for the future. Gemmell brought his corporate speak to his swim coach career and talked about setting BFHG — Big Fat Hairy Goals.

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Terps and Mentors

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

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Are there basketball fans in your house? I occasionally watch college basketball, and this time of year — March Madness — is always lots of fun. While none of the local men’s teams are still in the running, we are routing for Wisconsin, since my niece is a freshman there. On the women’s side, the University of Maryland Terrapins are on their way to the final four. Last week, The Washington Post ran an article on the Terps working regularly with a “performance enhancement coach.” The coach’s job is to keep the players minds in the right place, and it looks like it is paying off.

 

I’m a big believer in seeking help from mentors for business and personal growth, and I love to see my growth, personally and professionally, as a result of doing so. Here are seven good reasons to work with a coach or mentor.

 

  • A coach helps you think and play bigger. Because a coach isn’t involved in the nitty-gritty aspects of your business, she does not get bogged down in your day-to-day details. She can see the big – and bigger – picture. This is particularly enhanced with a mastermind group. I have been amazed at how large my coaches and mastermind partners want me to play. Yes, it can be scary, but once you start thinking big, it is impossible to go back.

 

  • A coach can keep you accountable. Your coach can help you keep on track by having you report weekly on your accomplishments. She is able to help you make a commitment and stick to it. One of my coaching clients remarked that she is accomplished more in the first two weeks than she did in six months and attributes it to having to be accountable to me on a weekly basis.

 

  • A coach can be another source of creative ideas and feedback. During one of our monthly calls recently, someone asked for a suggestion about how to do a video of her machine quilting studio. It was easy for me to think about how to approach this, and she loved the idea I came up with. It is always easier to look at someone else’s business, and a different perspective can make the difference.

 

  • A coach can help you create your vision and, more specifically, a road map to get there. We all have dreams. Accomplishing them is something else. A coach can help you get clear about what is important to you and set a plan for achievement.

 

  • A coach can help you build on your strengths, learn how to attack obstacles, and look for opportunities to grow your business. Yes, we all have roadblocks to growth, business or personal. A coach can help you identify what is hindering your progress and help you focus your thinking process toward growth.

 

  • A coach is also your personal cheerleader. It is great to have someone at the ready to encourage and motivate you toward your goals.

 

  • A coach can actually save you money. Working with a coach requires you to plan out your actions ahead of time. You will waste less time, money and resources and get to the success you desire at a much quicker pace. In the end what a coach does is challenge you to be your best. And, if you put your best self out there, you will grow, both personally and professionally, and you will help more people.

 

I love this quote from Marianne Williamson about playing big, letting our lights shine. Perhaps you can relate:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light,
not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant
to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others

 

Perhaps you have had an experience with a mentor in the past, or played a key part in that role for someone else. Maybe there were things about your experience that you appreciated and maybe did not appreciate. Feel free to comment below, on our blog or go to our ICAP Fan Club Facebook page?

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

generating blog ideas

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

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To write or not to write.

One of the challenges my clients often have is blog writing, probably more specifically what to write about. I think it’s because more often than not, they feel more comfortable with the visual art than the written art. In fact, many of them do not want to blog at all. Today, though, blogging is important if we are to connect with our customers.

When faced with the blank blog page, many people don’t know where to start. I like to carry a small notebook or 3 x 5 card with me in case my muse strikes. How many times have you been out and about and something struck you, you thought you’d remember and, of course, you didn’t?

At home, I keep a 3 x 5 card on my desk for the same purpose. You might use Evernote or even a napkin at a restaurant, just something to catch that fleeting thought.

What exactly do I put on the note card? Here are some ideas that I use to get started:

Often it’s just a key phrase to remind myself of a topic. I might also overhear someone say something that strikes me. I might pick up a magazine at home or more often when I’m in a waiting room and some phrase strikes me. It might even be an article on a specific topic and that sets me in a direction. I’ve found ideas when I’ve been reading a novel. I’ve found ideas when I was caught up in Pinterest. I even got an idea during our ICAP Business Call this yesterday. Problem is, if I don’t take time to capture this idea, it’s gone, and I’m back at the beginning wondering what I’m going to write about.

Someone once asked me if was plagiarizing if I was using something I read somewhere else. I’m not stealing someone’s idea; I’m using it as a jumping off point for what I’m doing. I’m writing in my own voice and fitting the message to fit my brand.

The goal is to be inspired and inspiration is everywhere. If I’ve got this running of ideas and phrases, I’m never at a loss for inspiration.

Where do you get your blog inspiration?

photo credit: Blogger, after Vilhelm Hammershøi via photopin (license)

– – – – – – – – – –
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

Where’s the Clarity?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

 

This past week I had met with a group of dynamic, creative women in our Creative Passion to Profit Mastermind. For all of us, me included, we talked about focus and business growth. I think clarity is the key. Once we have clarity we are able to move forward; otherwise we are mired in all the “what ifs” and lots of fuzzy thinking. Have you ever been there?

 

What do you need clarity on? When I work with some clients, that is our first step. Clarity is really the foundation of success both in your business and your personal life. You cannot market on an authentic level if you are not clear.

 

You need to be clear on the direction you are going. What is your end goal? If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?

 

You need to be clear on who your client is. We can’t be everything to all people, though I do know people who try. In one class I taught, I had a student who wanted to turn every quilter into an appliqué artist. While that was an admirable goal, her time would have been exhausted trying to accomplish this. She would have been more effective targeting beginning quilters to get them started.

 

You need to be clear on the financial realities of your business. Where does your income come from? What are your expenses? How much do you need to earn to provide support for yourself?

 

Those are just a few of the many areas that require clarity. I am sure you can find other areas where you are searching for clarity. It could be something big, like what my coaches call your “Big Why,” or it could be something smaller, like the name of your new pattern.

 

It is easy to figure out what you need to be clear on – you hear the muddled voices. How do you find clarity? Here are a few approaches to tune into the right little voice inside so you can listen.

 

  • Create a vision board. The easy approach is to go through magazines and find things that resonate with you. It could be colors, words, pictures of places you want to visit, quilts you want to make or techniques you want to learn. Glue them onto a piece of poster board and leave it in a place where you will see it. I find that just searching for the items to put on my vision board helps me get clearer.

 

  1. Keep a journal. Note your day’s activities, how you felt about what happened, any insights you might have. You might even ask a question and brainstorm on ideas or let the answer just come to you. Go back and read your earlier entries. The more you journal about something, the clearer it becomes.

 

  1. Be grateful. If you are grateful every day, you can start to replace confusion with clarity. I keep a gratitude journal.

 

  1. Spend time alone in nature. You may feel most at peace in a certain type of setting. For me it’s the water. So when I need to gain clarity, I will often sit by the water. On our retreat this week, we are in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains by the Potomac River. It is a great setting for walking and reflecting. Clarity often comes just “being,” and this environment lets me “be.”

 

  1. Let go of the question. Sometimes by no longer putting your attention on something the answer will just come to you.

 

Here is a quote on clarity from Scottish writer Richard Holloway that I like:

 

Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power
and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art.

 

How do you find clarity? I would love to hear your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

 

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

 

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

 

What’s Your Gratitude Practice?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

small__4786965539Over the weekend I was working on the content for our Creative Arts Business Summit and thinking about the 36 women and men who are joining me this year. A wave of gratitude came over me, and I reflected how fortunate I am that they are trusting me to guide them for three days. They are all blessings in my life.

When was the last time you sat and reflected on your blessings? When you take the time to focus on what you are grateful for, you will find more happiness in your life. You’ll also begin to see more of what you are grateful for show up in your life. You will find yourself more resilient and even less stressful. Positivity all around!

Here are four tips for adding a gratitude practice to your life:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day write down three things that you were grateful for during the day. They do not have to be big. They can be as simple as watching the sunrise or the extra cookie someone left for you or the laugh from watching your kitten chase the ball of yarn. Periodically go back and read what you have written.
  2. Set aside a few minutes every morning to hold a silent gratitude session. Think about what you are grateful for. Think about those people you are grateful for.
  3. As you go through your day, look for times you can say, “Thank You,” and do so. These can be little gestures. It makes a difference to you and the other person.
  4. If you think of someone and the difference they have made in your life, take time to call or write and let them know.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes about gratitude:

If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice
Meister Eckhart

Do you have a gratitude practice? Please share.

photo credit: shannonkringen via photopin cc

A Response to Ditch the Excuse! Take the Leap!

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

This week’s article is a letter written by Kat Tucker, a quilter from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She was taken with the article last week and wanted to respond.

“I was sorry to read about those that feel that they are not where they think they should be. Oh boy, can I ever relate to that.

For me it has been a meandering journey. From the time I sold my quilt store with a five year clause of only being able to Internet sell, to losing my husband and having to go back full time, instead of staying part time, in our business, to closing the doors and semi-retiring, to procrastinating during the five years, to OMG the five years are finished and now what do I do? Oh, I know, sign on as Treasurer to the Canadian Quilters Association and use that as an excuse not to work hard, if at all, on my quilting business.

Well, the working not hard became taking course after course about learning about myself, my business, other peoples’ businesses and how they got there, and repeat, especially learning about myself. It got so comfortable taking these courses that the procrastination and the ‘fear of success’ lasted five years plus one more year.

Then one day, don’t ask me when, I decided to go to Quilt Market. Why? I finally got tired of saying, and I’m certain that my quilting friends also got tired of hearing me say, ‘I’m working on my business.’ So now, I’m walking the walk instead of talking the walk.

I go to market. It all seemed too easy to get there and be there. I wasn’t nervous or anything. In fact, I said to the universe, if I get one order I’ll be a success. Well! I got one order. LOL. Thinking back, perhaps I should have asked for more orders. On top of that order, I made lots of contacts and my friends introduced me to contacts with possibilities. One of which has been successful and is a step in the door.

During this journey I’ve always had in the back of my head that this is what I want to do. The journey to get to this point may have taken longer that it should have, not because I didn’t know my business or what had to be done, but because I was standing in my way. ‘Get out of your white man’s head,’ as a friend of mine keeps reminding me.

All that being said, today, I’m a person that has and still continues to trim garbage out of my life. I’ve finally seen that I cannot do exactly what another person did in their journey to become successful and then get upset because it didn’t work for me. That is their journey and this is my journey. Best of all, my journey will probably still meander but it can also be tweaked as it moves down the path.”

“You are where you are suppose to be at this moment in time.”
Kat Tucker
About Kat: Kat Tucker is a former shop owner from Calgary, Alberta. Her love of geometric shapes and sewing began as a pre teen when she was designing house plans with dominos and making clothes. The two interests meshed in the late 70’s, but was short lived as quilting was mostly done by hand. Twenty years later, she rediscovered quilting after a visit to the quilt shop.
Kat opened a quilt shop in early 2000’s because first, she wanted something more to do than run an international trucking company and second, to test the local market with her quilt designs. Looking back those were not very good reasons to become a shop owner but, at the end it was the best thing she did. Today, after many life events, Kat continues to concentrate on designing and working on her business

Please share your thoughts on this blog below. . .

Ditch the Excuse! Take the Leap!

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

I was so honored by the response I got to our recent Creative Passion to Profit Speaker Series. So many of you told me you gained valuable knowledge that you would put to use to grow your business. You took lots of notes and were looking forward to taking your business to the next level. That was my goal, for you to find value and grow.

However, I was saddened by some of the emails I got from those who were not ready or willing to invest in their business, whether that was with me, someone else, or even their own pursuits. One person said that she just didn’t know enough and that is what her big takeaway from the calls was. She was discouraged and wanted to stop working on her art because the road to success was too long. She just had too much to learn. Another person wrote that she was just a beginner and was not ready to invest in her own growth. Someone else lamented the fact that others were so much further along and did not think she could catch up.

Whatever your reasons or excuses – they really are the same thing – at some point you have to take that chance – that leap – to grow your business. If you have faith that you’re following the right dream, that net will appear and catch you as you grow.

What I wanted to say to those who were discouraged about their path and wanted to wait to know more or to be better is:

  1. Don’t put off your dreams. The time to start is now. You will never be further along the path by waiting.
  2. Don’t consider others in the equation. Each of us is on our own journey, moving along the path at our own pace. Those people you are watching started just where you are at one time.
  3. Take time to invest in your own growth, whether that is taking business classes, working with a coach, joining ICAP or creating your own networking group. You need support of some type.

Regardless, you need to take some action to build your business and to realize your dreams. The action will build confidence and you will be surprised how far you will go. When I think about putting off the growth, I think of this old Chinese proverb. It’s humorous, yet true.

“Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait
very, very long time.” ~ Chinese proverb

 

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