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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

7 steps to build your creative arts business

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

 

Over the years I’ve worked with thousands of creatives. Some were private coaching clients, some came to my Creative Arts Business Summit, some belong to our ICAP Members’ Studio, some attended my classes and lectures, some learned from the magazines I published, and some learned from what I shared in this blog and online.

Regardless of how someone has learned from me, they were introduced to one or more elements of my CREATE! system. This system is how I grew my creative arts business. I go back to it again and again as my business changes.

C = Clarity

What’s clarity got to do with it? Clarity sets the foundation for your business. If you are not clear about where you want to go, what you want to make, who you are trying to serve, etc., you will just not be as successful as you could be. You don’t have to wait until you’re clear on everything to get started, just that as you become clearer and clearer your path becomes easier.

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It starts with clarity

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

 

We recently welcomed a new group into our Members’ Studio. We have lots of resources all geared to help you build the creative business of your dreams.

I know that too many options can be overwhelming. What’s needed is clarity. It’s so easy to get bogged down with all the options. What if I do this? Or that?

Ever been there?

What do you need clarity on? When I work with some clients, that’s our first step. Clarity is really the foundation of success both in your business and your personal life. And, once you get clear, it doesn’t mean you always stay clear, unfortunately. I think it’s a continual path as you and your business grow.

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

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Discover your why

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Over in our Creative Passion to Profit Facebook Group we are hosting a challenge to help creatives increase their visibility and grow their businesses. On the first day I asked the members two questions. Why Do You Create? Why Did You Start Your Creative Business?

You’ll find a great deal of variety of answers. Some people were raised with creative parents; some were not. Some expressed their creativity from childhood; some put it on hold and it re-emerged as adults. Some started their businesses with purpose; some started accidentally. You will probably resonate with something someone wrote. You can read the responses or join in here.

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?

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Are you still excuse-ing?

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

 

Last weekend I met a good friend Mariellen for tea. She was still telling me that she was just about to get her new business launched, something I had heard for several years. I waited to hear her latest excuse.

Over the years I’d heard lots of reasons or excuses from Mariellen. She didn’t have the money. The time wasn’t right; she was too busy. She was afraid she’d fail at it. Her kids needed her. Her parents needed her. She needed new headshots, but she had to lose weight first. She couldn’t launch without the website being ready. The photos of her work weren’t good enough and she needed a new camera. She had just volunteered for a major project at the local art guild. She was clearly waiting for the stars to be aligned. Does that ever really happen?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a master at excuses myself. At some point, thought, I decided the excuses were, well, just excuses. And, frankly, I got tired of them. And, I’m pretty sure people who heard them were bored with them. If I wanted to get anything accomplished, I needed to do something about it.

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Are you waiting to be qualified?

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

 

Do you have some business or personal dreams that are putting off because you think you need to know more before you move forward? Maybe you think you need another art course, or maybe you need that extra marketing course. Or, your website could be better, and you need to know how to do it. Or, your portfolio need to be better to enter that show. Or, you need to up your photography skills so you can take better shots of your work. Or, you don’t know as much as or are as skilled as someone else. Or…

Does that sound like you? I’ve been there. I’m someone who thrives on knowledge, and I’m always searching to learn more. And, it’s a good thing, except that it can put an obstacle in your path. It’s easy to look for the next course to build your knowledge or skill level instead of taking action, albeit imperfect action.

If you are waiting to feel qualified, stop. You are already qualified, and you just need to take the leap. Here are some tips to move you forward.

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What are your “pinch-me” moments?

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Last week I was honored to be a special presenter at the Handi Quilter Retailer Academy. The first day I gave a talk on Capturing the Creative Customer and on Social Media. The second day I offered individual coaching sessions on a first come, first served basis to those who were interested. I met some fabulous retailers from around the world and reconnected with a few I already knew. I also had a lot of fun.

During the final banquet, Handi Quilter presented four of us with a special gift — the biggest pair of scissors I’ve ever seen. In fact they were so big, and of course sharp, that they wouldn’t meet the carry-on requirements of the airline. Mine should be arriving in the mail, and I’ve picked out a wonderful spot to hang them.

One of the recipients said earlier that speaking at the Academy was a “pinch-me” moment for her. I agree. It also reminded me of an article I read sometime back by Connie Schultz, a columnist with the Cleveland Plains Dealer, about how her mom lived a “pinch me” life.

I love this attitude. It’s about being in the moment and grateful for everything. It doesn’t matter if you are experiencing something for the first time or the tenth time.

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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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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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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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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.

 

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