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Posts Tagged ‘success’

Are you confident?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

 

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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Are you ready to step into your power?

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

 

Do you toot your own horn? Or are you like many women – yes, it’s mostly women – who are reluctant to talk about their successes and talents? You probably don’t have any problem talking about the success of your loved ones. Why is it that we have that problem with ourselves?

This has come up over the years and again last week with one of my clients. Sophie was reluctant about sharing her successes with her work on social media. She felt she was bragging and didn’t want to be thought of in “those” terms. I told her she was not alone. Many people, maybe you, feel uncomfortable about promoting themselves, whether that’s in person, on the blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. It’s okay to talk about others and share their successes, but we downplay our own. Why? I think it is because you are not ready to step into your own power.

You have gifts that others don’t have. And, I know that you want to share those gifts. That is why you started your creative arts business. You need to share your successes so others can learn about you so that you are able to serve them. It is really about providing a service to your customers, and you cannot do that if you hide your talents.

How do you get beyond this? Here are a few ideas.

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Slay the Social Media Dragon

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Do you ever get overwhelmed with social media? So many different platforms to choose from. And, regardless of the platform, they each seems to change all the time. And, when you are on social media, it seems like other people are posting all the time. And, you get frustrated trying to keep up with all this. It’s enough to feel like social media is a fire-breathing dragon.

If you want your business to grow and reach more people, you need to be on social media. That’s a given. However, it’s easy to slay that dragon if you follow some simple steps.

Step One – Consider your audience

The number of social media platforms seems to grow, only you do not need to be active on all of them. Your first step is to figure out where your peeps are hanging out. In all likelihood, they are on the platform you enjoy. So pick a platform, take time to learn how it works, and follow the remaining steps. Once you’ve got the first platform down, you may want to add a second. Remember you don’t need to be on all forms of social media to be successful. You do need to be on at least one.

Step Two – Create categories

If you look at what you post already, you’ll probably find that you could break that content into categories. Consider what you’ve been posting as well as what you want to post in the future.

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Focus on the Three S’s in Success

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
You might know that I’m a word person. I love good writing, I worked as a journalist, and I love word games. I looked at the word “success” recently and thought about what the parts meant. Success has 3 S’s, and I decided that the keys to success are Self, Systems and Support.

How do you define success? Webster’s defines it as a favorable or desired outcome or the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence. The bottom line is that success relates to achieving goals. You set the goals and you determine whether or not you are successful. Here are some tips to help with your journey toward success.

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What’s Your Definition of Success?

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

 

I was recently chatting with a long-time client, Beth, about what success meant to her. She told me that her definition of success was quite unlike that of our mutual friend Priscilla. From the outside Priscilla had lots of “achievements” that we could see. For Beth, success looked more like a balance in her life and a feeling of contentment. Sure, she had achieved a great deal to those who looked, but that wasn’t how she measured success.

What does success look like to you? Webster’s defines it as a favorable or desired outcome or the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence. The bottom line is that success relates to goals. You set the goals and you determine whether or not you are successful.

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Are You Using Testimonials to Build Your Business?

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Testimonials are a terrific way to help market your quilt or creative arts business. It’s word-of-mouth advertising, only you get to decide who hears it and what is heard. While you may get unsolicited testimonials, it’s a good idea for you to actually ask for a response. In some cases you might want to offer a thank you gift for the comment. Here are some ideas to try:

1. For the fiber artist or longarm quilter who has finished a commission, include a self-addressed stamped reply postcard with the work. Ask for comments that will help you in the future. You might try: Was the communication between quilter and customer adequate? Was the project completed in an appropriate time frame? Encourage the buyer to send you a photo of the quilt in use and ask for any other comments. If you want to thank the person giving you the testimonial, perhaps a small discount on a future order is possible.

2. For the teacher, include an additional comments line on your evaluation form. You’ll not only get ideas to improve your classes, but you’ll also get wonderful and heartfelt comments to use as testimonials.

3. Any book author can tell you how valuable the testimonial blurbs are on the back cover of their book. You will need to ask someone if he or she would be willing to write a blurb and then provide a galley copy of your book for reading. A published book might be a nice thank you for the testimonial.

4. If you sell a product to the general public, you can include a comment card in your packaging. You can request that someone leave a comment on your website or return the comment card via regular mail. Another idea would be to encourage feedback from the user. All products include some written material. You can add a couple sentences about how excited you’ll be to hear back from the user about their experiences with the product. You’ll be surprised at the response you’ll get. I think this would be quite effective for pattern designers.

5. For shop owners it’s easy to get testimonials either with a return card with a purchase or a comment card box somewhere in the store.

After you start receiving these comments, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. You are delivering a great product and building an ongoing relationship with your customers.

What do you do with the testimonials as you get them? Be sure to include them in all your advertising. Here are some specific ideas:

1. Create a page for testimonials on your website. We have one we call Success Stories. You could also intersperse them throughout your site.

2. Include testimonials in your catalog. For example, a pattern designer might include a testimonial about how easy to follow her instructions are.

3. Include testimonials in your tri-fold brochure if you are are teacher or do commission work. It lets potential customers know the value of your work.

4. Include testimonials in any of your print ads. Study ads in magazines to see how testimonials are used.

5. Include testimonials on your product packaging, if space permits. It might be limited to just a few lines, but it could make a difference in someone buying the product.

Lastly, remember you don’t have to use the whole testimonial. You can use an excerpt, just be sure to keep it in context.

How do you gather and use testimonials in your business? Please leave a reply and share your experiences.

Add a Support Team to Boost Your Success

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I started this series on the S’s in Success three weeks ago. The first “S” was for Self and the second was for Systems. The last “S” I call Support. You can’t build a successful business without support.

At some point in the growth of your business, you realize that you need help, that you need to create a team. In my case with the International Association of Professional Quilters, I have an amazing team that supports our growth. I cannot operate this business without this team, and I am grateful every day for them. They include our regular columnists and writers, our art director, our advertising representative, our copy editors, our virtual assistant, our web developers, our printer and mailing house, and more.

 

When I first started publishing The Professional Quilter, I did much of the work myself. As the business grew, I saw the need to create a team. It had several positive results. It let me concentrate in the areas where I’m really good, and it let me spend time on building the business. It also let me support others who want to work in their areas of brilliance. That left me with more energy for my work. It was really win-win for everyone.

I’m sure many of you are in the same position. When you started your business, you tried to do everything yourself. At the time, it seemed like the most cost effective way to go. At some point, though, you realize that it’s time to bring others on board. I know that it’s often a cost issue. How can you afford someone to help you? If you really look at how much it costs to hire someone for a task, you’ll realize that you can make more per hour working on what you do well than you pay the person you hire. Here are team members you might consider:

  1. A bookkeeper. Many creative people are not “numbers oriented.” Of course, it’s critical that we know how much money is coming into our business and how much is going out. We don’t need to do the daily number inputting. A bookkeeper will, in many cases, work much faster than you can. For many solopreneurs, this is the first person they hire.
  2. A child care provider. On a more basic level, if you can pay someone to care for your children during the day or after school, you’ll be freer to create your product or market your business.
  3. An in-office helper. Quilters have lots of fabric and it gets in disarray. Sometime ago, one of our members asked about staying organized. I suggested that she hire a high school girl to come in once or twice a week and help put fabric away and keep her studio organized. Traveling teachers can also use an in-house helper to create the handout packets or pack the supplies for classes.
  4. An apprentice. This is a great idea for someone who dyes fabric or makes quilts for craft shows. You can have someone complete some of the preliminary parts of the job or work under your direction. A longarm quilter could hire someone to load the quilt or handle pantographs.
  5. Pattern testers, stitchers. Your task as a designer is to create designs and market them. If you have people who can test your patterns and stitch and quilt your quilts, you can spend more time creating.
  6. A virtual assistant. I have used a virtual assistant for three years now. A virtual assistant is your administrative partner. She runs her own business and usually works from her own home. I’ve never met any of my virtual assistants in person, yet I feel confident that they can complete the tasks I have for them. Your virtual assistant will be skilled to handle lots of administrative, marketing or technology tasks. A virtual assistant would be perfect for handling some of the social media tasks or keeping track of your teaching assignments.

I think it’s sometimes hard to take the step to hire the first team member. Once you do take that step, it becomes easier to look for tasks that someone else can complete so you can get your work accomplished. I’ve found over the years that my virtual assistant has helped me look for work she can do, and it’s had a positive impact on my business.

Finding team members can also be a challenge. I think we’re lucky in that as quilters we have a network of other quilters who want to help us. When I looked for help, I advertised in my guild newsletter and found great additions to my team. I’ve also used referrals from friends. Other options include looking for someone in your neighborhood, your local high school or college, your church, the local senior center, even Craig’s List. People with the skills you need are looking for work.

What kinds of support do you have in your business? Where did you find this support? Are there tasks that you could pass along to someone else freeing your time up to work in your brilliance? Take some time this week to look at areas where you can get support and share your results on the blog.

The S’s in Success

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
You might know that I’m a word person. I love good writing, and I love word games. I looked at the word “success” recently and thought about what the parts meant. Success has 3 S’s, and I decided that the keys to success are Self, Systems and Support. I’m looking at the first S this week: Self.

How do you define success? Webster’s defines it as a favorable or desired outcome or the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence. The bottom line is that success relates to goals. You set the goals and you determine whether or not you are successful. Here are some tips to help with your journey toward success:

1. Develop your personal, specific definition about success. If you don’t know what success means to you, how can you work towards it? In creating your definition, consider that you want it be something within your control, not that of other people. You want to be able to measure it so you can hold yourself accountable on a regular basis. You also want it to mesh with your personal values and principles. Remember, it’s your goal not someone else’s.

2. Take action every day toward your goals. You don’t have to know all the steps needed, i.e., how to get to the finish line. You just need to take the next step. The other steps will show themselves. You have to be ready to step out in faith.

3. Eliminate excuses. The coach I work with has a “no excuses” policy. I hear this as I work. I ask myself if I’m making excuses for not getting something done. Do I want the goal or the excuse? I strive to work in an “excuse-free” environment. This has a positive effect on my day and its outcome.

4. Part of self includes self-development. I think life-long learning and self-improvement are key. Look for ways you can build your skills, whether that is in knowledge of your specific area or learning how to get out of your own way.

5. Be open to the opportunities in front of you. Opportunities exist all around you. Don’t just stick with the status quo.

6. Take personal responsibility for everything. I think this is the real key for the “Self” S in Success.

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