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Posts Tagged ‘planning’

Only 120 days left until 2020

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

A few years back, I remember being in a water aerobics class over Labor Day weekend. The instructor noted how much time we had left that year to get and stay in shape. If you look at this year’s calendar, we don’t turn the page to 2020 for 120 days. Plenty of time to make a difference in your business this year and be ready to accomplish even more in 2020. (It’s hard to believe I’m already saying 2020!)

In addition to Labor Day weekend, for many kids, it’s the official end to summer and back to school. And, you’ll find plenty of 2020 calendars in your local office supply store or online. No time like the present to start to think about 2020 as well as how you can make the next 120 days the best.

Rocks, pebbles, sand

I like the rock, pebbles, sand approach. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before. It was popularized by Stephen Covey of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The big rocks stand for what is most important in your life. This could be the book you want to write. It could be your family. It could be your faith. It could be your health. It’s what makes your life work and has meaning for you. Your goal is to know what is most important to you and be sure it gets the attention it deserves.

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Kick-up Your Summer Revenue

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018


This is the unofficial first week of the summer. For many people, this is the time to kick back and take it easy. You know the lazy, crazy days of summer! And, sure people do take vacations, but not all of them are gone every day all summer. So, you shouldn’t be either.

If you are trying to grow your business, taking it easy really isn’t an option. And, if you take advantage of the time many people do take it easy, your business will be ahead of the game.

Here are some ideas to kick-up your revenues this summer.

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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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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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Can’t Choose Between Thai and Italian for dinner?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017


Last week one of my clients was talking about how worn out she was from making decisions. The decisions themselves might seem small to you. Cathy had to decide between frames for her latest pieces of art, choose a brand of paints to use with a new project, find a photographer to shoot headshots for her website, set a time for an appointment for a potential gallery showing, and consider whether or not to book time for an art retreat. Now it was time to choose an outfit for her gallery opening.

Cathy had made lots of decisions and wasn’t ready to make another. She told me she was opting for an old outfit from the back of her closet. It didn’t fit that well and didn’t showcase her artistic brand in its best light. She said that she just didn’t have the energy to go the store and get something special to wear.

Seems kind of silly on the surface. She had made what we might think of as everyday decisions for her business. The final decision about her outfit was an important decision in her ongoing quest to build a brand, yet she was stuck. I told her she was likely suffering from decision fatigue.

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Are You Waiting for Permission?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015


Girl in green sweater and glasses asking a questionWay back when we were kids, we learned to ask for permission. It was perfectly normal, and we were good at following instructions for the most part. This continued through school and likely in our corporate jobs, if that’s where our path led us.


Before I really began coaching creative entrepreneurs on a formal basis, I can remember a conversation I had with my friend Barbara. Barbara wanted to leave her corporate job and turn her passion at art into a business, only she was waiting for someone to affirm her decision that it was OK. She asked me what I thought. She asked our circle of friends. She asked her sister. She asked her mom. She asked her husband.


She wanted someone else to say that she was ready, that her work was good enough, that she would be successful. In other words, she was looking for permission outside of herself to take a chance on herself, to invest in her own skills and talents.


When did it become necessary to get permission from someone else to live our own lives? Sure, Barbara did need to talk with her spouse to make sure their family needs were met. Ultimately the decision was really Barbara’s.


What happens when you wait for permission? Ultimately I think it cheats both you and others. You because you are putting off being extraordinary at being yourself. And others because you are denying them your gifts.


If you are someone who recognized you are waiting for permission, here are a few tips:


  1. Begin to visualize the beginning and the end. Where are you now and where do you want to end up? This will lead to clarity. Do not worry about the journey in the middle.


  1. Start the journey. State what you are doing. Take the first step, then the second step. The other steps will show up when you are ready for them.


  1. Don’t apologize for missteps along the way. We all have them, and we all learn from them.

It’s hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.”
Cheryl Sandburg, Facebook


Please share a time that you didn’t wait for permission and what happened as a result.


– – – – – – – – – –

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



About That Intention

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Intentionsphoto[1]For the last seven years, maybe more, I have picked a word to serve as my focus, or intention, for the year. I have shared the story before that I first did this in my yoga class. Kathy, the owner of our studio, passed a basket with words. I chose one, openness, and didn’t really like it. After all the woman next to me picked love, which I thought was so much better. I asked to draw a new word and Kathy told me the word had picked me and I was to go with it. I put the paper with the word openness on the computer where I could see it every day. I was not sure what would happen, but I just started seeing all kinds of things around me. I guess I was “open.”

Since that time I have had lots of different words to guide me through the year ranging from abundance to joy to last year’s word, consciousness. I wanted to live consciously, being deliberate or fully aware in all my activities. Yes, I saw a difference as the year went on. I spent time being conscious, maintaining a conscious living practice each day.

So, why did I make the switch from resolutions to an intention? It came down to the kind of person I wanted to be, not all the stuff I wanted to do or have. Sure, I could have the same resolutions everyone else made – lose weight, get organized, the list goes on. But that didn’t work because I was still “being” the same person. I had to make a choice to “be” a different person. That is what has made the difference, focusing on being.

So here we are, a week into 2014, and I have been thinking of my “word.” I have picked several words to try out, only none really are what I want. I thought of abundance, change, growth, permission, risk, faith, yet none of those words were exactly what I was looking for. Once I thought of trust, I knew I was onto something. It jelled, so to speak. And, as I mentioned it to a few friends, they each mentioned something that I had thought of. For me it is mostly about trusting myself to make the right decisions for my business and my life. Not second guessing myself. Taking chances and expecting them to work out. Knowing that the “how” will show up. It is also about surrounding myself with trustworthy people.

I have a book titled The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler in which she brings to life a variety of human qualities or emotions. This is what she says about truth:

“Trust is the daughter of Truth. She has an objective memory, neither embellishing nor denying the past. She is an ideal confidante – gracious, candid, and discreet. Trust talks to people who need to hear her; she listens to those who need to be heard; she sits quietly with those who are skeptical of words. Her presence is subtle, simple, and undeniable.

“Trust rarely buys round-trip tickets because she is never sure how long she will be gone and when she will return. Trust is at home in the desert and the city, with dolphins and tigers, with outlaws, lovers, saints. When Trust bought her house, she tore out all the internal walls, strengthened the foundation, and rebuilt the door. Trust is not fragile, but she has no need to advertise her strength. She has a gamblers’ respect for the interplay between luck and skill. She is the mother of Love.”

Have you picked a word to guide you for the year? If you have not, give it a chance. You just need to think of the quality or direction that you want your year to take. Need some help getting started. Think about what you might have resolved to do and ask yourself what quality is necessary for that? Or try a search online for character qualities and go from there. Lots of people immediately come up with a word that resonates with them. Others need a bit more time. Best advice is think of a word, mull it over, and if it keeps showing up (like trust), it’s the one.

What word did you end with? And, if you picked a word last year, how did that make a difference? Feel free to tell it below or on our Facebook page.

Find Your CEO Hat

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

How many hats do you wear in your business? I know most of us wear more than one, particularly if it is a relatively new business. We have not had time to put the necessary systems and teams in place, so we are everything from the creative head to the shipping department. While that is how most of us start out, at some point we need to look to shed some of those hats. If we want to create a successful business, it is important to take an honest look at our skills and look at where someone else could do the job, i.e., take some of the hats from you.

In the past couple of weeks I have had conversations with several clients about their plans for 2014, and some have centered around the CEO hat. When you wear the CEO hat, you need to take “yourself” out of your business. That can be hard for many of us. I think it is because what we create is so personal. We don’t want our feelings hurt if someone does not like our art, and it can stop us from getting the information we need to make decisions about our business. We have got to remember we are making business not personal decisions. Yet it is critical to put on that CEO hat if we expect to grow our business.

As you take time to look at where you are in your business in 2013 and make plans for 2014, try to take yourself personally out of the business, put on your CEO hat, and consider what the right decision is to grow your business. Look for those places where someone else can handle the tasks and allow you put your energy where it belongs: having the big vision for your business, selling your business ideas and energizing those on your team.

What’s Your Intention?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Several years ago I decided to forego the regular New Year’s resolution. The same resolutions were there every year – lose those extra few pounds, exercise more, clear the clutter – and mostly they fell by the wayside after a few months. At that time I decided to choose a word that would act as a guide for the year. Those of you who have known me for a while know that I started this practice in my yoga class and that I wanted to trade in the word I drew. As the year went on I realized what a magical concept choosing a word or an intention was. It really did act as a direction. I continued to choose a word or intention each January. Words I’ve chosen over the years included openness, challenge, enjoy, abundance, mindfulness. When I was thinking about the direction I wanted to take this year, the word openness kept coming back. In church this past Sunday during her sermon, our priest used the word open or openness at least eight times. Maybe that was a sign for me. In the end I decided that I would choose openness and one other word. That word is opportunity. I want to be open to new opportunities, new experiences, new adventures, new challenges.

Now that you’ve chosen an intention, what do you do with it? Here are a few tips:

1. Write it down where you can see it. I put mine on a sticky note and attach it to my computer where I’ll see it every day.

2. Share it with someone else, especially if the person will hold you accountable. I shared mine with some of my mastermind partners and we talked about why we chose the words we did.

3. Do something that lets you take action on your intention.

This morning as I was reflecting on my words, I looked up at a sign on my bathroom wall. It said “What is your choice/intention for today?” That little note has been there quite a while and reminds me that each day I have a choice about how I will approach my life. I know many of you also choose an intention for the year. Please share yours below. And, if you’ve made a piece of art for your word, let us know where to go to see it.

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.

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