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Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

Is it time for a new box of crayons?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

For many years I hosted an annual End of Summer/Back to School party for my nieces complete with a selection of back-to-school supplies.

Do you remember how much you loved the smell of the new box of crayons?

When I would search for supplies for my nieces, I’d look for a new treasure for myself.

Of course, I’m convinced that I will find the perfect tool that will solve my organizational problems and instantly improve my time management issues.

It never happens for me. How about you?



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Grow Your Business With a Business Journal

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Business Journal

One of my favorite practices as a creative arts entrepreneur is to keep a business journal. As the leader of your business, you have so many hats to juggle that it helps to have a place to track those ideas. It also helps you make decisions about where to grow your business and yourself.

I know that my clients who keep a business journal, find it extremely valuable, a real difference-maker in their businesses. This is true regardless if journaling is done in a pretty book, on an iPad, or with our weekly Success and Strategy Summit tool.

Have you been putting off journaling for your business? Here are six reasons why you should start:

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Are You Juggling Too Many Balls?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

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.

And this was before the challenge of COVID that we are living in today. Now she added home-schooling for her kids.

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. I’ve added mask maker and more cooking to my list at this time. 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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Start doing!

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Take a look around your studio or home office.

How much fabric and paint are lining your studio shelves? Or packed away because you ran out of room?

How many books do you see? Do you house even more on your Kindle?

How much more do you think you need before you can start to create what your heart is calling you to create?

I know all about hunting and gathering all the information you can.

You think if you learn more, you will know more, and what you create will be even better.

You think you are missing that one fabric that will make the difference in what you create, when all along what you need is right in front of you.

If you take one more class, then you will have enough to really master that painting technique.

And on, and on.

Problem is you don’t need all that.

What you need is already right under your nose.

The answers to your questions, the missing fabric, the skills, the knowledge. It’s all right there for the taking.

You just need to put aside the desire for more and take advantage of what is right in front of you.

How do I know this?

Easy. I have been there. I would order a book thinking it might have something I needed, or more appropriately, some bit of knowledge I lacked. Or I put off starting a project because I needed that perfect color fabric or shade of paint. Obviously the exploding shelves weren’t enough.

I got in this mode last week when I was working on revamping one of our signature programs. Funny thing is I didn’t need anything. I just needed to make the decision to start.

Today

Stop the hunting and gathering.

Have a little bit of faith.

Sit down and start to create.

It’s your turn!

What is it you need to start doing? What’s stopping you?

 

Eliminating energy zappers

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

The topic of tolerations seems to come up every once in a while with my clients. It also comes up in my own life.

Tolerations could more accurately 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?



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Are You Whelmed?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

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Train Tracks and Getting Things Done

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

 

One day recently I was stopped at a railroad bridge and started thinking about what we learned as kids about crossing the train tracks. Stop, look, and listen. Do you remember that?

The next morning I looked at the mountain of work on my desk – as well as those bright, shiny objects across the room – and wondered where I should start. I picked up the task on the top and started to work.

Shortly I became distracted and found myself on the way to the kitchen for another cup of tea.

Back to my desk. What was I working on?

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7 Steps for Success After a Workshop

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

 

This week a fabulous group of creative professionals from across North America joined me for our annual Creative Arts Business Summit. They spent three days working on, rather than in, their businesses. They learned new social media strategies, ideas for improving SEO, how to build and nourish customer relationships, plus lots more. By the end of the three days, they all left with a tremendous support network and a revenue plan for the year as well as a 90-day plan to move forward.

When was the last time you attended a workshop, returned excited only to get stuck with what to do first? I know it has happened to me. So much on my list and a sense of overwhelm happens. How do you figure out where to start? Here are some thoughts that will work whether it is a business workshop or an art workshop.

Make a list of the top 5 ideas you got

If you kept a list of the ideas you got at the workshop, it’s probably lengthy. We have an “Aha” page plus insight pages for each of our workshop days at CABS included in a workbook. I know everyone ended up with a lot more than five ideas.

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Exercise Your “Done” Muscle

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

 

Recently I chatted with my client Bethany about her problems getting things done. She seemed to make little progress on what she said her goals were. She would start a project then get distracted by something else. Or she would start a project, then think another project sounded more exciting and she would shift her focus. And, often she ended up caught because she missed deadlines. Then she felt worse because she let people other than herself down.

As we talked about this, we hit on a number of reasons that were at play: procrastination; the need to be perfect; distractions by other things, aka Bright Shiny Object Syndrome; failure to prioritize. You may have others.

So how can you get the right things done? Here are nine tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.

1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once you have clarity around your goals and/or a particular project, it is much easier to move forward. As you work, keep your eye on the prize. This will help you make progress.

2. Break your project down into manageable tasks. When you look at a goal or a specific project, it can seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into bite-size pieces, it is always easier to see how you can accomplish it.

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Where’s your third place?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

ICAP community

Yesterday I went to the post office to pick up some Priority Mail envelopes and drop off a certified letter. In Laytonsville, population 353 at the last census, the post office is the center of the town activities and full of activity. I always see someone I know. Yesterday it was my dentist. I can meet new people, as I did yesterday when I learned about a local dog trainer. And I can find resources on the bulletin board. I left with two cards and a name of a third repair person I could call about some equipment that needs work.

I remember when I lived other places that there was always a place where locals congregated and you could learn all the news. When I lived in Connecticut, it was Luke’s Donut Shop. At our home in Saint Michaels, my husband would tell you it’s the local YMCA.

What is a “third place”? It’s that place where people gather other than work or home and feel a place of community. I’m sure you can think of places you know of, whether that’s the fictional Cheers of TV fame or the local coffee shop.

According to Ray Oldenburg, an urban sociologist who wrote The Great Good Place and Celebrating the Third Place, all third places have the following eight characteristics: neutral ground, a leveler, conversation is the main activity here, assessable and accommodating, has a the regulars, maintains a low profile, has a playful mood, and home away for home. The idea is that people are free to speak their thoughts and opinions freely.

It is easy to see the coffee shop or the local book store as the “third place.” I think it’s also easy to think about the local quilt or creative arts shop as the “third place,” even though it doesn’t technically meet all the eight characteristics. I think it’s about a sense of belonging, and I think that all creative arts and quilt shops foster that. Think about your experience at the local quilt shop and what made you feel like you were part of a community.

If you own or manage a creative retail shop, what are you doing to create that third place community feeling? Here are some of the ideas from shops I know or frequent.

  • Be welcoming. When customers come into your shop, greet them. Ask them what project they are working on. Nothing makes you want to come back like feeling welcome on the first visit.
  • Have a space set up where customers can congregate to look at quilting or art books and/or share their projects. I used to love to go to Borders Bookstore when it existed because I could find a chair to sit and look at a book.
  • Create special events. Look at other businesses outside the industry to see how they create events that draw customers in and make them feel welcome. We are all looking for an experience, a shared experience, so look for ways to create experiences. Disney is a great example here. Another example: in September I went with my neighborhood book club to an annual book club party hosted by author Lisa Scottoline at her home in Pennsylvania.
  • Look for ways to create shared connections. A monthly stash buster club or fabric club is an idea here.
  • Consider a monthly show and tell for your customers. This encourages them to engage with others.
  • Set up a gallery in your shop and showcase different artists. Have an opening reception with a talk from the artists.
  • Serve food. I don’t know a quilter who doesn’t like a beverage and a cookie. In the winter have some hot cider and gingersnaps. In the summer, lemonade and sugar cookies. Some of you may remember a shop called Patchwork and Pies in New York that was owned by Clara Travis. I loved the image of stopping in the quilt shop and picking up a slice of pie.
  • Run a book club that focuses on a particular artist’s work or designs.
  • Host a monthly “sit and stitch.”
  • Think about ways that you can offer your space to other uses in your community, e.g., let the local knitting club meet there, or depending on the size of your town, even an association that needs space for a small meeting. It’s about encouraging community.

I’m sure you can come up with other ideas. Remember that in creating the experiences that lead to your third place, you don’t have to do them for free. I think you can create a sense of community with a bit of exclusivity with a small fee. And, remember that you are never done. Creating your third place is ongoing.

If you are a shop owner, what you are doing to create a “third place”? And, as shoppers, what makes you designate someplace your third place?

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