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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

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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Focus on the Three S’s in Success

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
You might know that I’m a word person. I love good writing, I worked as a journalist, and I love word games. I looked at the word “success” recently and thought about what the parts meant. Success has 3 S’s, and I decided that the keys to success are Self, Systems and Support.

How do you define success? Webster’s defines it as a favorable or desired outcome or the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence. The bottom line is that success relates to achieving goals. You set the goals and you determine whether or not you are successful. Here are some tips to help with your journey toward success.

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Is your smartphone stealing your creativity?

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your smart phone? I know I do. I love how convenient it makes everything. Google is at your fingertips; so is Instagram, Facebook and Words With Friends. Your camera is always at the ready for the moment you see something inspiring or something you want to share.

The problem is that the constant readiness or attention to your phone could be affecting your creativity. Studies have shown that you need “boredom” to be creative. You need time to just be and let your mind wander. If you are always connected to your phone, this doesn’t happen.

Some of you remember before the days of cell phones when we didn’t have the distractions. Free time was spent playing outdoors or using your imaginations creating indoor games and stories. Here are a couple of ideas to limit use of your smartphone and instead recapture some of that lost creativity.

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What’s Your Definition of Success?

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

 

I was recently chatting with a long-time client, Beth, about what success meant to her. She told me that her definition of success was quite unlike that of our mutual friend Priscilla. From the outside Priscilla had lots of “achievements” that we could see. For Beth, success looked more like a balance in her life and a feeling of contentment. Sure, she had achieved a great deal to those who looked, but that wasn’t how she measured success.

What does success look like to you? Webster’s defines it as a favorable or desired outcome or the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence. The bottom line is that success relates to goals. You set the goals and you determine whether or not you are successful.

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Save Money With Tax Tips for Creatives

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

 

Yes, it’s tax time again. As a self-employed business owner, it’s important for you to have a handle on your business and know what is deductible and what isn’t.

Invariably when I talk about taxes with creative entrepreneurs, someone will tell me they have an accountant. “Terrific,” I say. “But what does she know about your business in particular?” You go to an accountant because she knows taxes. She can be very knowledgeable about small businesses, but she cannot know the nuances of every type of small business. She works with what you give her. That’s why it’s important for you to do your own research, understand tax strategies and keep track of deductions to which you are entitled. Here are nine tips for maximizing those deductions. To be sure that these apply in your particular instance, be sure to discuss with your accountant.

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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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