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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

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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What’s in Your Rewards Jar?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

How often do you reward yourself for your work? If you are like many creative entrepreneurs I know, it’s not very often. Sure you accomplish the items on your to-do list, you make progress towards your goals, and you may feel proud about what you are doing. Then, it’s on to the next thing on the list, the next goal.

Many of my clients take part in what I call a Success and Strategies Summit on a weekly basis. I had been taking time to look at what I accomplished and plan ahead on a weekly basis for years. It made a difference in how much I was accomplishing and the confidence level I had. When I started working with private clients and ICAP members, I shared this more formal practice with them. They began to see how important this review was in their own lives and businesses.

A big part of this Summit is celebrating your successes. Did I mention how often we are on to the next thing and don’t do this?

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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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Reclaim Your Creative Energy

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

reclaim-creative-energy

I am really a very organized person. I know where to find what I need. I could say, “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” only that is not quite exactly true.

While I am organized and I know where everything is, I can become someone who is consumed by stacks of this and that. Yes, I know what is in the stacks, but all those stacks are robbing energy from me.

When the space is clearer, so is my mind. When my mind is clear, I will work better. I know this to be true. I also know that once I start working in a clear, clean, clutter-free environment, new opportunities show up for creativity and for business. Why would I — or you — not want this to happen?

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Avoid the Comparison Trap

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Comparison Trap

Do you ever get that sinking feeling when you look around and start to compare yourself to others — their art or their business success?

You start to think that no one will every want what you have.

And, then you start to believe the one or two people who have ever commented negatively on your work.

And, then the spiral starts. Really, who are you to do this anyway?

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Finding Your Why

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Finding Your Why

 

Have you ever thought about what your why is? You know, why you do what you do? Why you are in the business you are? Why art or creativity chose you? And why you chose to make it important enough that it is your business?

 

Frederick Nietzsche said, “He who has a why can endure any how.”  I believe that when you know your why, it helps you figure out meaningful goals that lead to creating a meaningful life. It acts as an anchor when you need to find the courage to keep going or even just to take the next step. It helps you stay motivated and can lead to a life you can only imagine. It even helps you get out of bed in the morning.

 

That sounds good, but how do you really find your why? Your why may just come to you easily or it may take lots of thought. (I was in the lots of thought category.) It may also change over time as your life circumstances change.

 

For years I never really gave it much thought. I was working to add income to our family coffers. When I first started my business, it was actually at my accountant’s suggestion. He saw I loved quilting and thought I could turn it into a business on the side. That was great, and I never really gave it much more thought. As the years went by, the business grew and changed. I earned a graduate degree in journalism and thought how wonderful it would be to combine the quilting and journalism together, which I did. Again, not really giving it a huge amount of thought as to why beyond I enjoyed it.

 

The past couple of years, I decided to actually put real thought into the process. I can now articulate what I do and why. I believe it is so important to start to do the work of our why that we spend time working on this individually at the Creative Arts Business Summit. And knowing this absolutely makes a difference. Once you figure our your “big why,” you complete your tasks, reach your goals, make a difference in the lives of those you serve, and live your own life with so much more ease.

 

Here are some ideas to get you started figuring out your why along with some good resources.

 

    1. If you are having a hard time answering yourself why. Complete the sentence: “I am doing this because ….”  or “I’m doing this so that….”

 

    1. Take a look at your top passions and try to see what they have in common. That can lead you to your why.

 

    1. What are your innate strengths? What are things you are naturally good at? Sometimes you dismiss these thinking everyone is good at this thing. And how do these connect with your passions?

 

    1. What gets you out of bed in the morning. What is it that drives you to take inspired action?

 

    1. What was your youthful joy? Ask people who knew you as a child what they remember about your strengths and passions.

 

    1. Remember that the why is the driving force behind our actions. We need strong, or Big, Whys to keep going.

 

    1. Our Big Why can change over time. It is a good exercise to revisit yours occasionally.

 

 

Some resources to check out:

How Great Leaders Inspire Action,  a TEDx talk by Simon Sinek.

The Element and Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson, PhD, with Lou Aronica

 

What is your why? I know you have one and I would love to hear what it is. Please share it below or on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages?

 

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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/

 

 

A Tribute to Yvonne

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

iris, me, yvonne

Over the weekend, the quilt world lost a visionary, Yvonne Porcella. I do not remember when I first met Yvonne in person. I know her influence came into my life back in the early 1980s with her book Pieced Clothing. I came to quilting from a garment/sewing background and still dabbled in garments even though quilting had taken over my life. Her book was all about how to used patchwork and pieced techniques to construct garments. The garments were not fitted; all the pieces were cut from rectangles and had their roots in folk clothing. I went onto make vests and jackets for myself in this fashion. Eventually, this concept formed the basis for the commissioned garments I made for others. Over the years I followed what she created, both her own work and the Studio Art Quilt Associates that she founded. We chatted in Houston when we were both there. I learned that my pronunciation of almond did not match with hers, and she was, after all, an almond grower.

Fast forward to 2014. I remember having a conversation with Yvonne at the SAQA Conference in Alexandria, Va. I gave the keynote address and talked about how important it was to know your why. Yvonne came to share with me details of her upcoming book Defining Why. What struck me over this weekend as I looked at the tributes that poured in was the gifts she shared and received. It really was all about love.

Here is a shot of me with Iris Karp of Mistyfuse and Yvonne taken at Quilt Market in 2014.

To learn more about Yvonne, the Quilt Show has its legend show on Yvonne free for the rest of the month. To access it click here. In the meanwhile, maybe you have memories about Yvonne Porcella from the Quilt Show, or a  another tribute about the books she has written. Feel free to leave them on our on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages?

Creative Arts Inspiration: Focus is Saying No

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” ~ Steve Jobs

 

People think focus

Do You Have Pause Time?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

 

time-to-pause

 

I am getting ready to take some PT or “Pause Time.” While it is intentional that I am spending this week at our home on the Chesapeake Bay, I realize I need to fully honor that Pause Time in my calendar.

 

I have gone to two conferences this summer. They were different, and each had such positive value for me in my business and life. Yet, I have not really taken the time to pause and reflect on how to go forward with all the information I learned. I have been in a catch-up mode after I returned from each.

 

I am sure you have been in this space at some point. You have so much on your plate and you are just pushing through the day. Often you find that you are not really getting anywhere. Sure you are checking off the “to do” items and blocking them into the calendar, but are you making any real forward progress?

 

Part of the problem is that we are keeping our minds so active getting our work done or moving to the next task, that we are not taking truly inspired action. And, I think it is even worse in today’s tech environment. You just have to log onto social media and you get inundated with all kinds of posts.

 

What does pause time do for you? When you actually create the space, slow down and let go, you are able to see things with a different perspective. You are able to reflect on where you are and where you want to go. This is especially true for seeing those opportunities that are just outside your comfort zone. You often do not even see them, if you don’t take the time to pause.

 

I think we can use a little bit of pause time in each day — a time for stillness and reflection. Take some time to be still, whether that is in the garden or in a quiet room overlooking the garden. It might even be a formal meditation practice that you have. I suggest doing this in a space that is not your office, so you do not have distractions. Then in that space of quiet, take the time to just be and then reflect on where you are and where you are going.

 

Join me in Pause Time. Find inspired action.

 

Here is a quote I like. It reminds me that the stillness and reflection providing answers, or inspired actions.

“Whenever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God’s speaking from the whirlwind, nature’s old song, and dance…”
Annie Dillard

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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/

 

 

Are you leaving money on the table?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

moneyonthetable

We’re into the last six months of 2015. (Where did the first six months go?!) A couple of weeks ago, I suggested looking at your numbers for the first six months. What did you discover? Were you on track or were your results not quite what you were expecting?

 

I talked with one of my private clients recently about this and she said she needed a cash infusion. I think finding that cash infusion comes down to two items: ideas you didn’t take action on and things you didn’t follow-up on.

 

First are those items you didn’t take action on. One of my good friends has something she calls “the $5,000 notebook.” I bet you have a similar notebook full of cash and you don’t even know it.

 

Do you often make notes of the great ideas you had, the new pattern you wanted to create, the class you think should develop? And what happens to the idea? In many cases, mine included, it stays on the page in your notebook or journal or on those little yellow sticky notes. And, it stays there because you move onto the next idea and forget that last great idea.

 

If you are looking for a cash infusion in your business, go back and find that notebook, those slips of paper and look through them. Highlight those good ideas and then start to take action on one of them.

 

Next are the things you didn’t follow-up on. We all do this, and it can be a gold mine if we go back and look at where we forgot to follow-up. I’ve always heard that the fortune is in the follow-up, and that’s true.

 

Go back and make a list of people who’ve asked about your products or services in the past. It could even come from that stack of business cards you got at the last trade show that is still sitting on the corner of your desk. You could call them warm leads and then set aside time to connect with them again. Block a time in your calendar each week for follow-up and stick to it. If you aren’t sure what to say, create a script with bullet points.

 

Regardless of whether it’s the money in your $5000 notebook or the lack of followup, it’s what I call “leaving money on the table.” And we are all leaving money on the table.

 

This week I plan to go through the notebooks and highlight the ideas I had that could generate cash in my business and take action on one. I’m going to look and see where I should have some follow-up. How about you?

 

Please share how much money you left and then found on the table?

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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/

 

 

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