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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Where’s the Clarity?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

 

This past week I had met with a group of dynamic, creative women in our Creative Passion to Profit Mastermind. For all of us, me included, we talked about focus and business growth. I think clarity is the key. Once we have clarity we are able to move forward; otherwise we are mired in all the “what ifs” and lots of fuzzy thinking. Have you ever been there?

 

What do you need clarity on? When I work with some clients, that is our first step. Clarity is really the foundation of success both in your business and your personal life. You cannot market on an authentic level if you are not clear.

 

You need to be clear on the direction you are going. What is your end goal? If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?

 

You need to be clear on who your client is. We can’t be everything to all people, though I do know people who try. In one class I taught, I had a student who wanted to turn every quilter into an appliqué artist. While that was an admirable goal, her time would have been exhausted trying to accomplish this. She would have been more effective targeting beginning quilters to get them started.

 

You need to be clear on the financial realities of your business. Where does your income come from? What are your expenses? How much do you need to earn to provide support for yourself?

 

Those are just a few of the many areas that require clarity. I am sure you can find other areas where you are searching for clarity. It could be something big, like what my coaches call your “Big Why,” or it could be something smaller, like the name of your new pattern.

 

It is easy to figure out what you need to be clear on – you hear the muddled voices. How do you find clarity? Here are a few approaches to tune into the right little voice inside so you can listen.

 

  • Create a vision board. The easy approach is to go through magazines and find things that resonate with you. It could be colors, words, pictures of places you want to visit, quilts you want to make or techniques you want to learn. Glue them onto a piece of poster board and leave it in a place where you will see it. I find that just searching for the items to put on my vision board helps me get clearer.

 

  1. Keep a journal. Note your day’s activities, how you felt about what happened, any insights you might have. You might even ask a question and brainstorm on ideas or let the answer just come to you. Go back and read your earlier entries. The more you journal about something, the clearer it becomes.

 

  1. Be grateful. If you are grateful every day, you can start to replace confusion with clarity. I keep a gratitude journal.

 

  1. Spend time alone in nature. You may feel most at peace in a certain type of setting. For me it’s the water. So when I need to gain clarity, I will often sit by the water. On our retreat this week, we are in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains by the Potomac River. It is a great setting for walking and reflecting. Clarity often comes just “being,” and this environment lets me “be.”

 

  1. Let go of the question. Sometimes by no longer putting your attention on something the answer will just come to you.

 

Here is a quote on clarity from Scottish writer Richard Holloway that I like:

 

Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power
and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art.

 

How do you find clarity? I would love to hear your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

 

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 http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

 

Book Review: Your Best Year Yet!

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Best Year Get

Your Best Year Yet!

Jenny Ditzler

Grand Central Publishing; $13.95

 

One of my favorite planning resources is Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny S. Ditzler. I’ve been using this little book for years and recommend it widely. It offers a framework to define your personal values, identify the various roles you play and create goals for those roles. Here are some of Jinny’s questions plus a couple of my own:

1.    What did I accomplish?

2.    What were my biggest disappointments?

3.    What did I learn?

4.    How do I limit myself and how can I stop?

5.    What are my goals for next year?

6.    Where do I need to find education or support to get there?

7.    How can I make sure I achieve my top goals?

 

I find one of the most empowering aspects of Jinny’s system is the look at the successes of the year. It let’s you focus on your successes and not get weighed down by what didn’t work. It also lets you get off the treadmill of working on your business to see if you really are on course.

Here’s a quote from the book I particularly like: “We must prepare our soil before we’re ready to plant the seeds we want to grow in the new year.”

Want to Play a Bigger Game in 2012?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

I went on a personal retreat last week. In addition to all the museum visiting, one of the things I did on my retreat was to reflect on all the changes in my business in 2011 and the big plans I have for 2012. I guess you’ve heard about the Creative Arts Business Summit! That would be my big plan. Do you have big plans for 2012? Why not set a plan to play bigger in 2012? Here are some ways to help you.

1. Set a stretch goal.

I’ve often heard of this as a breakthrough goal. The idea is that once you achieve such a goal, you break through to a new level in your business. Look back to a really big goal you set and how you felt when you achieved it. Could you really go back to how you felt before? Look for a goal that would make a really big difference in your business and focus a little each day until you achieve it. It could be writing that book you keep thinking about or getting your portfolio together and actually contacting galleries to show your work or submitting your teaching proposal to a national show.

2. Take action.

Achieving any goal is all about taking action, whether that’s giant steps or baby steps. Both will get you there. Decide today to take some action each day toward your stretch goal. Write down what you plan to do each day.

3. Track your results and make necessary adjustments.

Every day take time to look at what you accomplished that day. I also like to do a weekly review. When you do this and see yourself moving toward your goal, you’ll build your confidence and keep going.

4. Get support.

Support comes in many varieties. It can be a coach (that’s one of my favorite support systems) or mentor. It can be business friends also growing, and you’ll network and encourage each other. It can be a class environment where you learn something to build your business. And, it can be family members if they understand that you are trying to grow. Be sure the people on your support team are people like you, truly invested in their own success and who want you to succeed as well.

5. Watch your mindset.

This one stops a lot of us. “What we think, we become.” said the Buddha. Take action to eliminate negativity and small thinking from your life. Read or listen to uplifting books, leave affirmations where you’ll see them and start a gratitude journal. These seem like simple steps, and they are. They can have a profound effect on your goals.

Lastly, I want to share my favorite resource for planning my year, Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny Ditzler. It’s the book I took on my personal retreat. I’ve recommended it before and everyone who uses this process finds it valuable. I’ve reprinted the review from last year below.

Please share your thoughts below.

What’s Clarity Got to Do With It?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Despite the title of this piece sounding rather Tina Turnerish to me, I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about what I want in a variety of areas. In other words, I’ve been looking for clarity. It’s so easy to get bogged down with all the what ifs and fuzzy thinking. Ever been there?

What do you need clarity on? When I work with some clients, that’s our first step. Clarity is really the foundation of success both in your business and your personal life.

You need to be clear on the direction you are going. What is your end goal? If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

You need to be clear on who your client is. We can’t be everything to all people, though I do know people who try. In one class I taught, I had a student who wanted to turn every quilter into an appliqué artist. While that was an admirable goal, her time would have been exhausted trying to accomplish this. She would have been more effective targeting beginning quilters to get them started.

You need to be clear on the financial realities of your business. Where does your income come from? What are your expenses? How much do you need to earn to provide support for yourself?

Those are just a few of the many areas that require clarity. I’m sure you can find other areas where you are searching for clarity. It could be something big, like what my coaches call your “Big Why,” or it could be something smaller, like the name of your new pattern.

It’s easy to figure out what you need to be clear on – you hear the muddled voices. How do you find clarity? Here are a few approaches to tune into the right little voice inside so you can listen.

1. Create a vision board. The easy approach is to go through magazines and find things that resonate with you. It could be colors, words, pictures of places you want to visit, quilts you want to make or techniques you want to learn. Glue them onto a piece of poster board and leave it in a place where you’ll see it. I find that just searching for the items to put on my vision board helps me get clearer.

2. Keep a journal. Note your day’s activities, how you felt about what happened, any insights you might have. You might even ask a question and brainstorm on ideas or let the answer just come to you. Go back and read your earlier entries. The more you journal about something, the clearer it becomes.

3. Be grateful. If you are grateful every day, you can start to replace confusion with clarity. I keep a gratitude journal.

4. Spend time alone in nature. You may feel most at peace in a certain type of setting. For me it’s the water. So when I need to gain clarity, I will often sit by the water. Clarity often comes just “being,” and this environment lets me “be.”

5. Let go of the question. Sometimes by no longer putting your attention on something the answer will just come to you.

And, finally remember when I started looking at the letters in the word “success”? For me, the first C is for clarity.

Here’s a quote on clarity from Scottish writer Richard Holloway that I like:

Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art.

Please share your thoughts on clarity below.

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.

Six Reason to Hire a Coach or Mentor

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Last week I signed up to work with a new mentor, Fabienne Frederickson, when I joined her Platinum Coaching Program. Fabienne is known as the “Client Attraction Mentor on Marketing & Mindset.”

I’m a big believer in seeking help from mentors for business and personal growth, and I can’t wait to see where I go in the next year. Here are five good reasons to work with a coach or mentor.

1. A coach helps you think and play bigger. Because a coach isn’t involved in the nitty-gritty aspects of your business, she doesn’t get bogged down in your day-to-day details. She can see the big – and bigger – picture. This is particularly enhanced with a mastermind group. I’ve been amazed at how large my coaches and mastermind partners want me to play. Yes, it can be scary, but once you start thinking big, it’s impossible to go back.

2. A coach can keep you accountable. Your coach can help you keep on track by having you report weekly on your accomplishments. She’s able to help you make a commitment and stick to it. One of my coaching clients remarked that she’s accomplished more in the first two weeks than she did in six months and attributes it to having to be accountable to me on a weekly basis.

3. A coach can be another source of creative ideas and feedback. During one of our monthly calls recently, someone asked for a suggestion about how to do a video of her machine quilting studio. It was easy for me to think about how to approach this, and she loved the idea I came up with. It’s always easier to look at someone else’s business, and a different perspective can make the difference.

4. A coach can help you create your vision and, more specifically, a road map to get there. We all have dreams. Accomplishing them is something else. A coach can help you get clear about what’s important to you and set a plan for achievement.

5. A coach can help you build on your strengths, learn how to attack obstacles, and look for opportunities to grow your business. Yes, we all have roadblocks to growth, business or personal. A coach can help you identify what is hindering your progress and help you focus your thinking process toward growth.

6. A coach is also your personal cheerleader, ready to encourage and motivate you toward your goals.

In the end what a coach does is challenge you to be your best. And, if you put your best self out there, you’ll grow, both personally and professionally, and you’ll help more people.

I love this quote from Marianne Williamson about playing big, letting our lights shine. Perhaps you can relate:

I love this quote from Marianne Williamson about playing big, letting our lights shine. Perhaps you can relate:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light,
not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about
shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant
to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

Please share your thoughts on our blog and if you are interested in exploring our coaching program, here’s a link.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business.  Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Exercise Your “Done” Muscle

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

A lot of us have problems getting things finished. Several reasons come to mind: procrastination, the need to be perfect, distractions by other things, failure to prioritize. Here are eight tips for exercising what I call your “done” muscle.

1. Get clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Once you have clarity around your goals and/or a particular project, it’s much easier to move forward. As you work, keep your eye on the prize. This will help you progress.

2. Break your project down into manageable tasks. When you look at a goal or a specific project, it can seem overwhelming. If you can break it down into bite-size pieces, it’s always easier to see how you can accomplish it.

3. Look for where you need help. Just because you have a big project, doesn’t mean that you need to do it all yourself. Remember, it’s not necessary to know how to do everything, just what needs to be done.

4. Prioritize what needs to be done. This can apply to a specific project or your daily “to do” list. It’s easy to look for the quick and uncomplicated things to do each day so you can check them off the list. The problem is you aren’t really accomplishing what you need to accomplish. What you should be doing is tackling those projects that move you towards completing your goal.

5. Consider the ROI. That’s Return on Investment. You can look at your tasks and see if time spent doing these tasks is worth your time. Maybe you should delegate the tasks or not even do them at all.

6. Finish what you start. Make that your goal. Really look around at how many people actually finish what they set out to do. Many people say they are going to do something and don’t ever complete it.

7. Remember good enough is often good enough. Sometimes we spend so much time aiming for perfection that we don’t accomplish our goals.

8. Don’t over-think everything. As the Nike ad says, “Just do it.”

If you have a tip for exercising your “done” muscle, please share it on the blog.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business.  Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Intentions vs. Resolutions

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Are you a New Year’s resolution maker? I used to be, and probably like many of you some resolutions fell by the wayside.

Several years ago I decided to try something new. I’ve picked a word or two to reflect and act on for the year; it is my intention for all I do. I started this practice in my yoga class. Kathy, the owner of the yoga studio, passes around a basket with words, and we each draw one. This year I missed the first day of class, and Kathy saved the basket, as she knew I would want my word. Yesterday in class, I picked my 2011 word.

The word I drew is mindfulness, which I think is a good one. Those in our Setting and Achieving Goals call last week may remember I mentioned being present in certain goal areas. This will keep that in the forefront for me.

I also like to pick a word on my own that I think will influence my work towards my goals. The word I chose early this year is abundance. For me this means I want to earn abundantly, to share abundantly and to give abundantly. They are all tied together. I can’t give abundantly if I don’t earn abundantly. I can’t earn abundantly if I don’t share abundantly. I also like how mindfulness can tie into this.

I’ve taken both words and have them on notes at my computer so I can reflect on them as I work. Last year, several readers of this e-zine told me they made fiber art of their words. If you did that this year, please share links to your words on our blog.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here

Tips to Achieving Your Goals

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Did you spend time in the last few weeks setting goals both personally and for your business? Are you making progress on them?

Are your goals written? That’s a big key to achieving them. Written goals have the odds stacked in their favor. I think it’s because you spend time to get clear about what you want, and that lets you focus on your end result. Here are some more tips to achieving big results with your goal setting.

1. Make at least one goal a stretch goal. The definition of a stretch goal would be one that is big and possible, one might seem unattainable with your current skill set, one that will cause you to grow. What this does is challenge you to think outside the box. It also energizes and excites you as you figure out how you’ll achieve it.

2. Figure out why the goal is so important to you and what you’ll give up to make it happen. For example, if one of your goals is to increase your income by 10%, it might be important because you want to remodel your studio. If you know your why, it will help keep you stay focused on your goal. At the same time consider if you need to give up something to help in the effort. Again using the same example, maybe you need to give up that after-dinner TV show and read something that can help you build your business.

3. Chunk down each goal into tasks. Look at the date when you choose to have your goal complete and work backwards with a list of tasks. Breaking it down makes it seem less formidable and keeps you on track.

4. Take action and track it. It sounds simple, yet people don’t always take action. Chunking it down helps a lot here. I also like to use a tracking form to check off where I am on my goals. Using our example above, you could start to chart your income each week. That way you can see if you are on track, and, if not, consider what you can change to meet your goal.

5. Find an accountability partner. It helps if you have  someone on your side, cheering and prodding. I am in a mini-mastermind group with three of the women from the high-level mastermind I was in last year. We all know each others’ businesses and can offer input and a gentle push if we’re behind.

6. Reward yourself. If you are making progress on your goals, treat yourself to something. You could even decide your reward ahead of time. Back to our example, maybe you get a massage if your financial goal is on track at the end of the month.

Good luck with achieving your goals. And, feel free to share your ideas on the here.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

5 Year-End Tax Tips

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

As the year is winding down, you can still make decisions that may lower your tax bill. Here are five for you to consider with input from your accountant:

1. Review your business books. You need a clear picture of your earnings and expenses before you make any decisions. Ask your accountant or bookkeeper if you should be tracking something you aren’t.

2. Defer income. Unless you expect to make considerably more income in 2011 when our tax rates will likely be higher, you might want to defer income until after the first of the year. If this is the case, send out your invoices late this month so you won’t receive payment until January.

3. Increase your expenses. Stock up on business equipment and supplies before year end. Pay some of your bills early.

4. Contribute to your retirement plan. Review requirements for payments to your plan. If you don’t already have an individual 401(k), you may want to set up one before the end of the year.

5. Give. Charitable donations are tax deductible if you have a receipt.

These strategies apply differently to each business owner based on her particular situation. Since I’m not a financial professional, take time to discuss your strategy with your personal tax advisor.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

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