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Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Only 117 days left until 2018

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

A few years back, I remember being in a water aerobics class over Labor Day weekend. The instructor noted about how much time we had left that year to get and stay in shape. If you look at this year’s calendar, we don’t turn the page to 2018 for 117 days. Plenty of time to make a difference in your business this year and be ready to accomplish even more in 2018. (It’s hard to believe I’m already saying 2018!)

In addition to Labor Day weekend, for many kids it’s the official end to summer and back to school. And, you’ll find plenty of 2018 calendars in your local office supply store or online. No time like the present to start to think about 2018 as well as how you can make the next 117 days the best.

Rocks, pebbles, sand

I like the rock, pebbles, sand approach. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before. It was popularized by Stephen Covey of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The big rocks stand for what is most important in your life. This could be the book you want to write. It could be your family.

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What’s your next business move?

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

 

Are you like so many other creatives? You have lots of ideas about where to go with your business. Maybe you should start teaching your art. Or do a local craft show or open an etsy shop. Perhaps start a podcast. Maybe a blog is calling your name. Or do you see a fabric line or licensing of your art as the next step? Or create patterns, or …

Whoa! You have so many options and they all sound good. The problem is you don’t know where to start. And perhaps you get stuck in analysis paralysis trying to figure out which idea is the best one. Here’s a path to help you decide.

Write down all the ideas.

Just get out a piece of paper and list them. As you do this, you’ll probably come up with more options. None are set in stone. You are just getting them all out of your head. You may even save some for a future use.

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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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Thank You for Your Business!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

When was the last time you sent a letter via the US Postal Service to thank someone? When was the last time you received one?

I know that today we are all about digital. However, I think you are missing the boat if you don’t add some higher touch activities to your marketing and/or customer service efforts. By marketing, I don’t mean selling. I mean inviting people get to know, like and trust you.

Personal hand-written notes are the perfect way for you to build that connection. A simple note only requires a few of minutes of your time and a first-class postage stamp.

The rewards for both parties are way beyond that. You will feel good doing this. The recipient will feel appreciated. I’ve seen examples of people sharing their thank you notes on social media or in their blogs, making even more people feel good. What a great example of word-of-mouth marketing. Remember, the more people learn about you, the better.

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Can’t Choose Between Thai and Italian for dinner?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

 

Last week one of my clients was talking about how worn out she was from making decisions. The decisions themselves might seem small to you. Cathy had to decide between frames for her latest pieces of art, choose a brand of paints to use with a new project, find a photographer to shoot headshots for her website, set a time for an appointment for a potential gallery showing, and consider whether or not to book time for an art retreat. Now it was time to choose an outfit for her gallery opening.

Cathy had made lots of decisions and wasn’t ready to make another. She told me she was opting for an old outfit from the back of her closet. It didn’t fit that well and didn’t showcase her artistic brand in its best light. She said that she just didn’t have the energy to go the store and get something special to wear.

Seems kind of silly on the surface. She had made what we might think of as everyday decisions for her business. The final decision about her outfit was an important decision in her ongoing quest to build a brand, yet she was stuck. I told her she was likely suffering from decision fatigue.

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Do You Have a Don’t-Do List?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

It’s January. A New Year. Open to lots of possibilities.

I know you are as excited as I am about those possibilities and all that you are going to create this year. If your list is like mine or my clients, it’s lengthy. And you are excited about tackling all of it — right now. You want the rewards and the feeling of accomplishment. To do that you probably have lists of all the action steps and milestones for each goal. And you are ready to dive in.

Stop. Ask yourself what is standing in your way to accomplishing those goals in the time you want. I know we all sabotage ourselves with our mindset. I’m talking about more concrete, every day ways that stop us. Here are some examples. Checking Instagram about 10 times a day rather than sticking to your time block for your next design. Snacking on sugary treats when you get bored. Checking email every 15 minutes, or even more often. Not making time for self-care, including exercise, so you have energy when you need it. Can you imagine what you would accomplish if you didn’t have your smart phone sitting right next to your desk?

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Lose the New Year’s Resolutions!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

What’s In a Word?

Many people choose a “word” as a focus tool for the year. I have been doing this since probably 2005 when Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio where I practiced, passed around a basket with words. I chose “openness.” At the time I asked if I could pick a different word. After all, the woman next to me chose love, which seemed like a much better word. I remember Kathy telling me that I was stuck with openness because the word had chosen me.

I went home, taped the word onto my computer, and let it be an anchor as I went through the year. Looking back, I know that this made a tremendous difference in my year.

What it did was allow me to focus on being a person who was more open to opportunities, more open to challenges, and more open to other people. It required me to “be” or work on “becoming” a certain person.

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Small Steps Lead to Big Wins

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Reviewing your previous successes and failures laid the groundwork for setting SMART goals. Setting compelling goals is one thing; getting the goals accomplished is another.

When you craft big goals, it can often seem overwhelming when you think about how to accomplish them. In reality, you won’t know all the “how.” And, you don’t need to know the how. When you are ready for that knowledge, it will show up.

Here are some tips I find that are helpful when striving to reach your goals.

Keep your why at the forefront. You probably have a big why for what you want to achieve in your life or business. A handy tool here is to print it out and keep it where you can reflect on it daily.

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Reframe, Reflect + Reap the Rewards

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

rrr-planning2

December is often the month to look back at your year and plan ahead for the next one. In a recent blog, I discussed starting to plan by taking a look back at the good, the bad, and what you learned during the year.

It’s your chance to evaluate what you learned and look for ways to reframe the challenges that you faced. What are the rules that you believe? How could you change them to serve you better?

For example, if you believe that artists are not good with money, then it’s likely you won’t be good with money. If you try to create a rule that empowers or serves you better, you’ll see the results. In this example, you might reframe your rule as, “I’m smart enough to easily learn what I need to about money so that I can pursue my art and make a profit.” This puts you in charge of your results.

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Look Back and Move Upward

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

lookback

The end of the year is often filled with planning activities. For many creative people the thought of planning is beyond boring.

It can be black and white — after all it does involve looking at numbers. When you get right down to it, though, getting your big dreams and goals down on paper and figuring out how to accomplish them is creative. Especially when you get out those colored markers and pencils!

For more than ten years, I hosted an annual Planning Day, and we always start with looking back. Instead of jumping into what next year looks like, take time to clear out this year. Look at the good, the bad, and the lessons learned. This will let you celebrate what you accomplished and put you in a positive place to start the new year.

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