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Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

Move the Needle in Your Creative Arts Business

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

For many of us, moving the needle may have different connotations, especially since so many who read this blog sew. Today I want to talk about moving the needle forward in your business. All of us get stuck. Sometimes it’s just a simple tweak that can get the machine moving again. Sometimes it is something bigger that you need to do to move your business to the next level. Here are nine ways that will help get you moving and bring in cash to your business:

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Out with the old. In with the new!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

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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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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Small Steps Lead to Big Wins

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Reviewing your previous successes and failures laid the groundwork for setting SMART goals. Setting compelling goals is one thing; getting the goals accomplished is another.

When you craft big goals, it can often seem overwhelming when you think about how to accomplish them. In reality, you won’t know all the “how.” And, you don’t need to know the how. When you are ready for that knowledge, it will show up.

Here are some tips I find that are helpful when striving to reach your goals.

Keep your why at the forefront. You probably have a big why for what you want to achieve in your life or business. A handy tool here is to print it out and keep it where you can reflect on it daily.

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It’s Not Just About Sports

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016


Have you been watching the Olympics? I always enjoy the competition and the personal stories. I found myself staying up late watching several of the events live. I continue to be inspired by watching people who are the best at what they do. Here are some of the business lessons I saw.

1. Set really big goals. I have watched Katie Ledecky’s pursuit of her Olympic goals for the past few years. She grew up and went to high school in my county, so she is covered by our local news. Her coach, Bruce Gemmell, worked with Katie to look at the bigger picture, developing a vision for the future. Gemmell brought his corporate speak to his swim coach career and talked about setting BFHG — Big Fat Hairy Goals.

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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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Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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



See the ICAP blog at



Where’s your third place?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

ICAP community

Yesterday I went to the post office to pick up some Priority Mail envelopes and drop off a certified letter. In Laytonsville, population 353 at the last census, the post office is the center of the town activities and full of activity. I always see someone I know. Yesterday it was my dentist. I can meet new people, as I did yesterday when I learned about a local dog trainer. And I can find resources on the bulletin board. I left with two cards and a name of a third repair person I could call about some equipment that needs work.

I remember when I lived other places that there was always a place where locals congregated and you could learn all the news. When I lived in Connecticut, it was Luke’s Donut Shop. At our home in Saint Michaels, my husband would tell you it’s the local YMCA.

What is a “third place”? It’s that place where people gather other than work or home and feel a place of community. I’m sure you can think of places you know of, whether that’s the fictional Cheers of TV fame or the local coffee shop.

According to Ray Oldenburg, an urban sociologist who wrote The Great Good Place and Celebrating the Third Place, all third places have the following eight characteristics: neutral ground, a leveler, conversation is the main activity here, assessable and accommodating, has a the regulars, maintains a low profile, has a playful mood, and home away for home. The idea is that people are free to speak their thoughts and opinions freely.

It is easy to see the coffee shop or the local book store as the “third place.” I think it’s also easy to think about the local quilt or creative arts shop as the “third place,” even though it doesn’t technically meet all the eight characteristics. I think it’s about a sense of belonging, and I think that all creative arts and quilt shops foster that. Think about your experience at the local quilt shop and what made you feel like you were part of a community.

If you own or manage a creative retail shop, what are you doing to create that third place community feeling? Here are some of the ideas from shops I know or frequent.

  • Be welcoming. When customers come into your shop, greet them. Ask them what project they are working on. Nothing makes you want to come back like feeling welcome on the first visit.
  • Have a space set up where customers can congregate to look at quilting or art books and/or share their projects. I used to love to go to Borders Bookstore when it existed because I could find a chair to sit and look at a book.
  • Create special events. Look at other businesses outside the industry to see how they create events that draw customers in and make them feel welcome. We are all looking for an experience, a shared experience, so look for ways to create experiences. Disney is a great example here. Another example: in September I went with my neighborhood book club to an annual book club party hosted by author Lisa Scottoline at her home in Pennsylvania.
  • Look for ways to create shared connections. A monthly stash buster club or fabric club is an idea here.
  • Consider a monthly show and tell for your customers. This encourages them to engage with others.
  • Set up a gallery in your shop and showcase different artists. Have an opening reception with a talk from the artists.
  • Serve food. I don’t know a quilter who doesn’t like a beverage and a cookie. In the winter have some hot cider and gingersnaps. In the summer, lemonade and sugar cookies. Some of you may remember a shop called Patchwork and Pies in New York that was owned by Clara Travis. I loved the image of stopping in the quilt shop and picking up a slice of pie.
  • Run a book club that focuses on a particular artist’s work or designs.
  • Host a monthly “sit and stitch.”
  • Think about ways that you can offer your space to other uses in your community, e.g., let the local knitting club meet there, or depending on the size of your town, even an association that needs space for a small meeting. It’s about encouraging community.

I’m sure you can come up with other ideas. Remember that in creating the experiences that lead to your third place, you don’t have to do them for free. I think you can create a sense of community with a bit of exclusivity with a small fee. And, remember that you are never done. Creating your third place is ongoing.

If you are a shop owner, what you are doing to create a “third place”? And, as shoppers, what makes you designate someplace your third place?

Celebrating + Stretching

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Hiker cheering. Woman hiking cheerful with arms stretched screaming of joy on top of mountain. Beautiful sporty mixed ethnicity woman outdoor.

The beginning of July. Halfway through the year. I like to take this week and look back at what I have accomplished so far this year and adjust my goals for the year. Why do I like to do this now? Other than it is half-way through the year, this is the week of July 4, Independence Day 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.


How do I take this look back? I ask myself a series of questions, and I have asked my private clients to answer the same questions for their businesses. I look at the questions taking two forms: concrete and introspective. First the concrete questions:


1. What was my revenue for the first six months?

2. What were my expenses for the same period?

3. What was my profit?


The second series of questions take more thought since I cannot find their answers easily on a spreadsheet.

1. What were my biggest accomplishments these past six months?

2. What were some of the lessons I learned during this time?

3. What were the weak points? What could be improved?

4. What opportunities did I miss?

5. What marketing worked? What else created my wins?

6. How can I use this information going forward for the rest of the year?


At this point, I will go back and look at my goals and see how I need to adjust them. Do my existing goals look too easy? Do they stretch me enough? I will update them so I have broader, bigger goals for the rest of the year.


I hope you will take the time to do this exercise. If you started the year with written goals that stretched you some, I hope you are surprised and thrilled to see that you need to be stretched some more. What can you do to stretch yourself for the rest of the year? Please share some of what you learned below or on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.



– – – – – – – – – –

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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


See the ICAP blog at


Are You a Procrastinator?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015



Are you a procrastinator? Well, who isn’t at times?


I send out a weekly email known as a “Mornivation™”to the clients in my private coaching program. Part inspiration, part motivation, part accountability. This past week I shared with them a short video on procrastination. I know it resonated with them as it did with me. And, I know as I sat down to write this ezine, I felt in a procrastinating mood. After all, how many trips can I take to kitchen?  Then as I was thinking about what to write about, I looked down and saw the little stickie on my computer screen. It reads “DING. Do It Now Girl.” Isn’t that a great acronym, too? DING. As in the door bell is ringing, and you are going to answer it. As in the work is calling, and you are going to do it.


Here are some tips to help you DING:


  1. Try to figure out why you are putting off the work. Is it because you don’t really care? Are you scared to put yourself out there? Is perfectionism holding you back?


  1. Have a schedule or deadline. Nothing like a deadline to spur you on to action.


  1. Remove the distractions. That would be all the bright shiny objects in your field of vision or the latest issue of your favorite art publication. You’ll have time for them later.


  1. Get clear about what you are accomplishing and why.


  1. Break the task down into manageable bits if it is really large. You do not have  to do it all, you just have to start.


  1. Set a timer. If you promise yourself to work for 15 minutes, odds are that you will keep going once you are into the project.And, if Do It Now Girl does not resonate with you, try Do It Now, Go!


Please share your tips about getting yourself away from procrastination.

Do you have a DING solution? How do you get past procrastination? I would love to hear from you and what your techniques are. Just leave your thoughts below or on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.


– – – – – – – – – –

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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


See the ICAP blog at



Creative Arts Inspiration: When a Person Really Desires…

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspired to help that person realize his dream.” ~Paul Coelho





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