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Do you have good financial habits?

Many artisan entrepreneurs feel uncomfortable with the money side of their businesses. It’s not uncommon. You want to spend your time creating not thinking about numbers. Of course, you are in business, and your goal has to be to make money. If you don’t make money, you won’t be able to run your business. You won’t be able to grow your business. You won’t be able to share your art beyond your family and close friends. And, the world will be less because you aren’t sharing your art with a wider circle of people.

Now is a great time to put some good habits in place on the financial side. If you take these steps, you’ll reap rewards both personally and financially.

Understand your money story

We all come to our business with a story about money. It will have good elements, and it will have not so good elements. For example, your story might be, “I’ve just never been good at handling money.” Or it might be, “Other people deserve this financial success more than I do.” Or, ” Money just isn’t important to me.”

Take some time and journal about the stories that you have about money. The stories came to you honestly. They were what you heard as a young child, what you saw on television or the movies, and what your friends or spouse believe and share.

Once you understand where your money story came from, you can ask yourself if it’s true and if it serves you. Just because you came to them honestly, doesn’t mean they are true. They might just be an opinion, and a false one at that.

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Are you waiting to be qualified?


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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Small Steps to Success


It’s the start of a New Year. If you’re like most people, you are gung-ho to accomplish something this year.

If you’re like most people, that gung-ho-ness starts to wane. That’s why gym memberships sell out at the holidays, the gyms are packed in January, and then the regulars heave a sigh of relief when all the resolution-setters give up. Life sets in and you don’t have a plan to stay on track.

Resolution realities

According to the Marist Poll, of those who make a resolution for 2017, 68% said they kept at least part of their promise. And 44% of Americans are likely to make promises to themselves again for 2018. If you are a resolution maker, you want to keep up the tradition, it seems.

Last year, being a better person (16%) was followed by losing weight and exercising more (both at 10%). Seven percent resolved to spend less money, improve their health, or eat healthier. Forty-three percent mentioned another resolution.

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Out with the old. In with the new!

It is less than two weeks until the end of 2017. To me, this year just flew by. While this does not seem like a lot of time, especially with all the busy holiday activities, you can still take positive actions to end your year right and get a head start on 2018. Here are seven tips that I am taking to heart:

Don’t wait until Dec. 31 to check your financials.

Do you need to follow up on any late invoices if you want the income to be in 2017? Do you need to defer the income until 2018? Do you need to make any expenditures by year end? What tax consequences should you be aware of? A quick call or email to your accountant could make a difference, particularly as we are unsure of the new tax plan.

If you do not have a giving plan in place, consider starting one before the end of the year.

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Discover the power of a word!

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.

That is what I like about choosing a theme, whether that’s one word, two words or a short phrase. It is not about resolving to do something. It is about becoming – becoming the person you want to be. You know those New Years resolutions you make every year? Lose weight, get organized, exercise more, the list goes on and on. The reason they don’t work is that you are still “being” the same person. You need to choose to “be” a different person. It’s the focus on being that makes a difference.

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Can you handle it?

Are you looking for help to craft business success from your creative passion? We can help! Sign up here for our Creative Arts Business Blueprint and Poster to get started.

Several weeks back I had a conversation with a colleague about her distress over a poor review of her book on Amazon. “But I want everyone to love the book,” she said, really meaning, “I want everyone to love me.” She believed that if someone did not like the book, they did not like her.

I think we can all fall into that trap, wanting to be liked. I can remember exactly when I decided I didn’t care if everyone liked me. I was working in the offices of an ad agency, and one of the men in the office told me he didn’t like me. Well, how could that be? I am truly likable. Then I thought about it and realized that I did not really like him. He had poor work habits, always sloughing his work onto someone else, and I generally did not like being around him. Why did I think I cared anyhow?

It is just not possible to avoid criticism, especially in our social media world. And, hey, it does hurt sometimes. And, you can learn to handle it.

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Are you confident?


When someone asks you about how confident you are about something, do you cringe and second-guess or question your abilities? And then self-doubt starts to set in. You feel stuck or paralyzed about taking action. You may be even one of those people who end up in a downward spiral to the point of giving up.

I feel confident about a lot of my creative skills. This Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to make and decorate a cheesecake for dessert with our meal. The impetus came from a friend who made his living in the wedding industry. He had recently retired and shared a recipe. This recipe was good. So good, in fact, it paid his mortgage payment each month. And this cheesecake had a buttercream icing that was piped beautifully. Do I have those skills? Absolutely not. Did I feel a bit intimidated by the task? Definitely. Did self-doubt set in? Of course.

This is a just small situation, but it can play out every day in larger ways. Giving a speech to a large group for the first time or the 10th time. Entering your art in a show. Sharing a portion of your book in public. How did you get from feeling doubt to taking action to building confidence?  Here are some ideas.

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The under 45 quilter

The 2017 Quilting in America™ study took a specific look at a group of younger quilters, those under the age of 45. The complete study indicated an average age for the dedicated quilter of 63, down from 64 in 2014. Over time the average age had been increasing. This was the first time that the study delineated results for this subgroup.

The study reveals some important observations about this younger group of quilters. They are more likely to be an occasional quilter and less committed to the craft, largely based on time and work constraints. Here is what the studied showed about this important group:

  • Educated (4-year college graduate 35%; Post graduate degree 23%)
  • Affluent ($98,000 average household income)
  • More likely to be an occasional quilter, however, they still devote on average 10 hours a week to quilting vs. 13 for the total sample, which is substantial given the other demands on their time. And, this group is two times more likely to be employed full-time while devoting this time to her craft.

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Quilting is a $3.7 billion industry

HOUSTON- October 27, 2017- The results are in for the Quilting in America™ 2017 Survey. The survey shows that the annual industry value in terms of consumer spending is $3.7 billion. Quilting in America™ is presented by The Quilting Company and Quilts, Inc., but conducted independently by ORC International and Advantage Research, Inc.

Highlights of the Survey show an estimated 7 to 10 million quilters in the U.S., the total number of households with a quilter at 6 to 8.3 million, and an average dollar spending per quilting household at $442 annually- that’s a 48% increase over 2014. Modifications to information gathering for the 2017 Survey also reflect an even more accurate assessment than previous editions.

“Dedicated quilters are spending more time and money than in the past. It’s also exciting to see that over the past few years there has been a tremendous increase in the number of quilters who are utilizing websites, social media, and other digital resources to learn about quilting and buy quilting related products,” says John Bolton, Senior VP and General Manager, F+W Media.

“I know that quilters create with their hands, but they often speak with their dollars. And I am very glad to see that they are speaking loudly with their purchasing power,” adds Quilts, Inc. CEO and Founder Karey Bresenhan. “I am honored to be involved in such a creative and artistic community. An added bonus is that quilters are just some of the warmest and most generous human beings I’ve ever come across.”

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Sights and Scenes from Quilt Market

I spent most of the past week in Houston at International Quilt Market. I have been going since 1994, so I’ve seen quite a lot of changes over the years. I was talking with another vendor about how sophisticated the booths have become. In the “old” days we hung quilts on the poles and maybe did a little decoration. Today, some companies build an installation to showcase their products. It’s very exciting to see this energy in the industry. Here’s a bit of what I saw, both in words and pictures. If I had to narrow my impressions to one word, it would be streamers. More on that later.


This is an appliqué pressing sheet developed by Sharon Bradley of New Zealand. The sheet has a “honeycomb” structure that traps the adhesive so it doesn’t spread. The transparent mat is tacky so your appliqué stays in place. It is also easily cleaned. You can watch a video of this product here.

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