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Plug The Profit Leaks in Your Business

profit-leaks

Do you remember the lyrics of a childhood song, “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza”? I don’t know if kids still sing this today or not.

In 1053, a British comedic duo, Flanders and Swann, wrote a parody named “There’s a Hole in My Budget.”

For some of us that hole is all too real.

I am working on a new webinar titled “5 Smart Ways to Make Money in Your Creative Arts Business Now.” While you definitely want to bring more money into your business, you may have holes in your business where money is just leaking out.

Bringing in more cash does not negate what you are losing.

To start plugging those leaks, you will need to actually look at your numbers.

Yes, I know that it is not as much fun as creating, but you can’t find the leaks otherwise.



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When to Say No

Are you a “yes” person?

I know I used to say yes to lots of opportunities. 

Some of them moved the needle in my business; some did not.

Some I said yes to because the opportunities were cool. I didn’t want to miss out on cool. 

If I look back I probably should have said no more often or at least sooner than I did.

If you really think about it, every time you do say yes to something you are saying no to something else.

Good things come to you when you learn to say no. Here are some ways to know when to say no.



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Reinventing Everyday

reinventingeveryday-3Rs

Are you practicing the 3 R’s?  

What are the 3 R’s, you ask?

Recycle, reuse, repurpose – all part of reinventing your business everyday.

How much of what you create just needs to be spiffed up or re-slanted to make it new?

We see it all the time in other markets.

Disney is a prime example. They put movies in a seven-year “vault” and then re-released some of them each year. They recreate the excitement, find additional audiences, and make more sales.

How can you do this as a creative arts professional? Here are some ideas:



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Know your customer to ignite your business

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.



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Eliminating energy zappers

The topic of tolerations seems to come up every once in a while with my clients. It also comes up in my own life.

Tolerations could more accurately be called “energy zappers.”

They are those situations, problems, or things that are really solvable, but that you let stay unattended.

Those tolerations bug you on occasion, and you think they are just a nuisance.

What happens when you ignore them?



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You Can’t Do It Alone

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.

Whew! I got tired thinking of all the activity.



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7 Ways to Get More Work Done This Summer

We are about halfway through the summer. Are you doing anything special during your summer vacation?

I’m spending lots of extra time at our home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I also reading much more than usual and trying to find more time to art.

Even with those fun elements, it’s important not to adopt a vacation mindset when it comes to your business. A lot of people do that. You can take advantage of the slow time and make a difference in your business.

One of the things I’ve tried to work on for the last few years is working smarter and using my time more efficiently. The key to that is knowing how I am working currently. Here are some tips I have been using to put the sizzle back in my creative arts business.

Track how you spend your time.

At the end of each day and at the end of each week compare the percentage of your time used toward fulfilling your mission and achieving your goals with time spent elsewhere. It is easy to get sidetracked and not pay attention to the task at hand. It is also easy to do the effortless work and not really tackle what you should be getting done.

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Can You Find Your Art Supplies?

declutter

I have been in a “cleaning out” mode lately.

We have talked about downsizing in the next year or so. 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 Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you can use that as a guide.



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

do-it-first-itis

Does this sound familiar?

You are headed to the office or studio, only you pass through the kitchen and see the dishwasher needs to be emptied. Well, it won’t take that long. You do it first and just get it done.

Now you are back on track headed to the office or studio only you are now  distracted by the stack of laundry as you pass by the washer. Well, let’s just throw that one load in. You decide it will only take a minute or two.

You pause to 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.

Finally you’ve made it to your studio and are ready to get to work. Wait, you decide to quickly check your email. Oh, some of these look really quick to answer. So you decide to 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”?
Any chance this problem crops up more than one day a week?



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Let’s celebrate + stretch

It’s the last week of June. We are about midway through the year.

Have you taken time to review where you are with accomplishing your goals at this half-way point?

Now is the perfect time to look back at what you have accomplished so far this year and adjust your goals for the year.

Why now? Other than it is half-way through the year, we are about to celebrate Independence Day, July 4, here in the United States. It is a day meant for celebration — picnics, fireworks and gratitude.

I like celebrating where I started and where I am. I like celebrating that I am able to work both independently as an entrepreneur and interdependently with so many wonderful people. I’m sure you have some of those same celebrations.How do you do this review?



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