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Have you entered the CABS Scholarship contest?

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

I believe that anyone who is serious about starting and building a creative arts business should have the chance to learn the best success and business strategies. The place to do that is the Creative Arts Business Summit. The sixth annual Creative Arts Business Summit is March 30-April 1, and we have several partial scholarships available due to a generous donation from an attendee.

CABS, as those who come call it, is the place to learn with other creative entrepreneurs — just like you — to take your business to the next level.

This event is all about digging into your business so you can create the business, and life, of your dreams. Stop being your own best kept secret.

Learn tools and techniques to stay ahead of the curve in today’s digital world.

Leave with a custom designed revenue plan that works for you and a network that continues to support you day in and day out.

Bonus sessions on creating a video strategy and learning how to create more sales.

Why just wish that your creative business was more successful. Get out of your own way and take the steps to make this happen.

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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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Set Compelling Goals

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

It’s really important to have an effective goal setting plan in place if you want to create the life and business of your dreams. Part of the process is having written goals, and most people don’t commit their goals to writing.

Research shows that those who write their goals rather than not are more likely to achieve them. Even more than that, those who developed action plans and shared their goals, action commitments and weekly progress reports with a supportive friend made even more progress.

What constitutes a good goal? I think using the SMART acronym is a terrific guide. SMART puts a structure to your goal and gives you focus. Here are the SMART criteria.

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Do You Have Gotta-Do-It-First-itis?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

do-it-first-itis

 

Can you picture yourself here?

* Headed to the office or studio passing through the kitchen only to see the dishwasher needs to be emptied. Well, it won’t take that long. Let’s do it first and just get it done.

* Back on track headed to the office or studio only to be distracted by the laundry basket. Well, let’s just throw that one load in. It will only take a minute or two.

* Looking at the messages that came in the night before. One was from a friend down the street. Well, what could she want? It’s just a quick phone call, and it will be out of the way.

* Now you are in your office and ready to get to work. Wait, let’s just check the email. Oh, some of these look really quick to answer. Let’s just do them first and get them out of the way.

Did you just lose half your day because you had what I’ve termed “gotta-do-it-first-itis”?

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Can You Find Your Art Supplies?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

declutter

I have been in a “cleaning out” mode lately. We have talked about downsizing in the next few years. I always joke that I am on a five-year plan for decluttering and the time just keeps getting shorter.

Looking around at my studio, I realized that it could use a healthy cleaning. So I started sorting through books, fabrics and art supplies. Gosh, we quilters, sewists and artists certainly do accumulate a lot. I know I will appreciate the open space in which to create. Here are some tips if you are facing that increasing pile, or piles, of stuff:

Start With a Plan

Start with a plan. As I started thinking about the decluttering process, I realized I was really curating my space — selecting, organizing and presenting. The first questions you could ask is what do you want your space to say and how do you want it to function for you.

If you are a fan of Marie Kondo and her

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Back to Business

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

backtobiz

 

Labor Day in the United States was earlier this week. While many school districts around the country opened their doors in August, September always seems like back-to-school month to me. Since I run a business these days, I think of it as back-to-business month. You have four months to really rev up to meet those goals you set early this year.

While it is back to business for many of us, it has been a changing business landscape over the summer in the sewing, quilting and crafts fields. Here is a roundup of what has happened and my thoughts. It’s likely you already know about some of the changes.

1. In July, Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine announced that it was folding with its October/November 2016 issue. QNM, owned by F+W Media, was started in September 1969 by Bonnie Lehman at her kitchen table. That first issue cost 35 cents, and the magazine went on to be a leader in the industry. I don’t think the industry would be where it is today without her foresight and willingness to help it grow. I was a long-time subscriber and still have a stash of issues. Magazine publishing is a hard business. I focused on magazine publishing getting my masters’s and was in it for 20 years. Magazines thrive based on a variety of factors, including advertising and circulation. Advertising is what pays the bills for most magazines and in today’s environment the competition for the advertising dollar is steep. It’s not just from other print magazines. Ad dollars are spent on the Internet. Advertisers see where the buyers/readers are and go there. Today, so much is available on the Internet. What can stop other magazines from the same future as QNM? Support your favorite magazines. Tell the advertisers in them that you found them in the magazine. Current QNM subscribers will receive Quilting Arts magazine until the subscriptions expire.

2. In July, American Quilter’s Society announced that it will stop publishing books in 2017. AQS was formed in 1984 by Meredith and Bill Schroeder, who were collectors and publishers of books for collectors. The business went on to sponsor quilt shows, host a television show, and publish magazines. If you look at the quilt and sewing industry, you will find lots of competition for the crafter. I have always been amazed at the numbers of quilt and sewing books published each month, so it does not surprise me to see a shake-up in this area. Again, consumers are looking for how-to craft information, and, in addition to finding it in competing books,

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Pay it forward!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

payitforward

The last time I was at our home on the Chesapeake Bay, our neighbor’s grandkids were visiting. They were having a great time skipping stones across the water. Do you remember doing that as a kid or with your kids?

The effect, of course, is that you can see ripples in the water. And the more ripples, the better.

Have you ever thought about the ripples you make with your business? I want to share a few stories about ripples.

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Moving Past Stuckedness

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

stuckedness

Have you ever had so much on your plate that you’re stuck with where to start? I know I have. Last week I started thinking about all the ideas I have to grow ICAP. There is the weekly blog/ezine, the monthly coaching and interview calls, and some content that is already planned to write. Then there is book in progress, the podcast in the works, and the work I want to have happen in our Facebook groups. Wait, I forgot about the webinar I am creating. I know I can look at the my projects and figure out which to pick first, so overwhelm is not the problem.

It really is about uncertainty and where to start or how to move forward on the one project. And, if you are like me, having so much to sort through can keep you stuck. You end up studying the issue to death, over-thinking it, over-revising it, and, yes, staying stuck. I think a good term for this in my case might be analysis-paralysis.

Does this sound familiar? What is the solution?

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You Can’t Do It Alone

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

can't-do-it-alone

You have a big vision for your business, right? And, as much as you might like to, you can not get to the big vision without support.

In the beginning you did everything, or most everything yourself. Depending on your business, in addition to creating your art, you packed and schlepped every thing to the post office, you wrote all the copy or directions and tested your own patterns, you packed your patterns, you did your own bookkeeping, you cleaned your studio, you tried to set aside some time for marketing, you learned how to maintain your website, if not develop it. The problem is that all your time was taken up with much that didn’t move your business to the next level. And, if you are like other creative people I know, you focused more on creating your art than the “behind the scenes” of your business.

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Kick-up Your Summer Revenue

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

summer-cash

This is the unofficial first week of the summer. For many people, this is the time to kick back and take it easy. You know the lazy, crazy days of summer! And, sure people do take vacations, but not all of them are gone every day all summer. So, you shouldn’t be either.

If you are trying to grow your business, taking it easy really isn’t an option. And, if you take advantage of the time many people do take it easy, your business will be ahead of the game.

Here are some ideas to kick-up your revenues this summer.

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