Categories
Blog

The Peculiar Thrill of Waiting Until the Last Minute

“If you wait til the last minute, it only takes a minute” ~ K.S.

 

Back in early April, I accepted a DIY challenge from Jenna of promoanalyzer.com. It’s pretty cool. Jenna sends you some promo swag,you get all crazy crafty with it, and then share your results. And I, as you must know by now, am always up for a challenge. So Jenna sent the bag o’swag to me with a deadline of May 30. Of course I made the deadline. I’m not a flake. The DIY challenge was #1 on the schedule for May 29th and it got done. A day early, even.

 

Why did I wait til the last minute? Well, I am still riding the roller coaster that I hopped on back in April when I traveled to San Francisco to be a part of Tara Gentiles’s boot camp at CreativeLive. I am still assimilating to the new world which Tara has opened up to me. So much good stuff. Right after that came the Arts Festival, where I only had a month to prepare because they forgot to notify me of my acceptance. (Side note: sometimes you gotta read the signs.)

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

Also, I was slightly over-scheduled, common among entrepreneurs who have to make hay while the sun shines. I had three deadlines on the same day: the DIY challenge; my San Diego Fair entry; and my daughter’s 25th birthday party. The Fair entry was a piece of cake, since my collection of vintage travel bars was ready to go. Mainly because a logistics failure prevented me from entering them the year prior and they’d been cleaned up, wrapped up, and sitting in a box for the past twelve months just waiting for their chance to be on display and, hopefully, win a ribbon.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

 

In the midst of this, something very unexpected threw off my whole schedule. For several days, my life was solely focused on this top priority (and for now secret) surprise. Luckily, the disruption didn’t last long and I was able to get back on track.

Pretty much. I knew I had to turn something in to Jenna by the 30th, so I scheduled completing the challenge in my planner as the top priority for the 29th and outlined the process in my “Big Project Planner”, so even though I still had no what I was going to make, I had a plan laid out. That way, I wouldn’t forget to do stuff like take pictures of each step. Thankfully, when I opened up the bag that day, I somehow had a bunch of cool ideas, and I had a blast making the projects. I sent Jenna the pictures & the copy as promised, one day before the deadline. Winning!

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

Then there was the party. I love to throw rad parties, and I have a few hugely popular “party food” recipes in my arsenal. But my daughter is a vegetarian and my family has some picky eaters. And most of my rad party food is meat-centric. So that was rough. But the biggest problem was that I hadn’t properly planned. Not sure how it happened, but the day before the party I realized I hadn’t written out a plan and as a result, there wasn’t going to be enough food. Luckily, it was not too late to meet with my team (husband and son), make a plan and act. The party was a success, I got lots of compliments on the menu and, most importantly, the birthday girl had a lovely time.

 

red scorpio party Collage

 

The moral of the story is to make plans. Even if you think you got it figured out. Even if you’ve done it so many times, it’s a no brainer. Even if the plan is just “Do this, then this, then this” on a scrap of paper you stick on the fridge.

And also, some of the best work is done at the last minute.

If you don’t already have a copy of my “Big Project Planner”, get one now by signing up below. 

Categories
Blog Business

How To Reframe Failure

This weekend I participated in a local arts festival. It was something I had been looking forward to for a few weeks. I haven’t done many fairs or festivals. Jewelry is historically the section that fills up the quickest, so I’ve been rejected a bunch of times, and the one farmers’ market I was able to get into was not very lucrative. But I’ve been looking for a new way to get my super cool rock star jewelry in front of a new audience, so I applied to sell at this local fest.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

And, instead of waiting until the last day to register like I usually do, I turned my app in right away and lo and behold, it was accepted. Yay!

 

Lesson 1: Act early.

 

 

Unfortunately, the organizer forgot to notify me that I had been accepted. I was bummed, assuming that I had been rejected once again, but I decided to follow up just to be sure and to ask if perhaps there was a wait list. That is how I found out, five weeks before the event, that I had in fact been accepted.

Lesson 2: Follow up.

 

My expectations were high. I’d heard legends about makers who didn’t bring enough product and sold completely out halfway through a fair. Another more realistic statistic I’d heard somewhere said that most vendors sell about 30% of their stock on hand. So I set two goals for myself: One, to design three new products I could make quickly and sell at a lower price point; and two, make 100 of these new pieces. That’s a lot of pieces. And if you know anything about me, you know I am all about quality. I wasn’t going to slap something together and put my name on it. Hell no. So I tweaked my process slightly to make it a little quicker but still high quality, and I designed a necklace that could be made much faster than stringing strands of beads or labor intensive cuff bracelets, and this is what I created.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

I then used my “Big Project Planner” to reverse engineer my goal. I set a schedule for making the jewelry, designing and creating the display and the packaging, developing a marketing strategy, and planning the logistics. Boom. Mission accomplished.

Lesson 3: Have a detailed plan of action and work it.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
so, just go down this alley…

 

Unfortunately, the festival was not financially successful. I sold nowhere near 30% of my pieces. Closer to 3% if we’re keeping it real. It wasn’t just me, but the other sellers I spoke to also had pitiful sales. My neighbor, who was selling gorgeous handbags and accessories, told me that the previous two times she had participated in the market, the hand-made marketplace was on the main drag with the food vendors and music stages. This time, we were off in an adjacent alley that didn’t get as much foot traffic. Also, we were literally across from the trash cans, and homeless people kept coming by and rooting through the bins for recyclables. On top of that, in my opinion, the publicity for the festival focused mainly on the Craft Beer Block & selling tickets to that versus the handmade marketplace.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
Cool mural, not so cool trash cans…

 

Lesson 4: You can control some things, but not everything.

Friday night, I was super pumped. I set a goal and totally rocked it. Saturday, I was devastated. I had high hopes and they were crushed. Sunday, I woke up feeling invigorated to put everything I learned the previous day into an action plan. Besides the lessons highlighted above, I learned some pretty major stuff. I have a much deeper insight into my ideal customers’ perspective. I also learned that many women prefer to wear shorter necklaces, would probably buy earrings, and are most likely to spend $5-$10 at a festival like this one. I also realized I was offering way too many choices, creating overwhelm for shoppers.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
My vision, brought to life

 

Lesson 5: There is always a lesson to be learned.

Although I would have very much loved to have sold out of jewelry, or even sold 30% of the pieces on hand, I don’t consider my experience a failure. I am still proud of reaching my production goal. I am super happy that the display I imagined turned out so well in real life. I connected with some really cool makers, and I am taking away a wealth of knowledge that I can use to make my next experience better and more successful.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Blog Business

How Taking the “Design Your Process Challenge” Changed My Writing

I’ve been writing pretty much my whole adult life. Confession: I was a terrible student who found school to be quite boring, so I spent a lot of class time writing hilarious notes to my friends. Back in the day when i worked in an office, part of my job was to handle business correspondence. I also wrote the training and procedural manuals we used.

When I started my blog, it was mostly DIY tutorials, which worked out ok because I am pretty darn good at technical writing. But I really wanted my blog to be more than just craft tutorials. so I took April Bowles-Olin’s course, “Build a Successful Creative Blog” and learned a ton about creating engaging content. More importantly, April’s course gave me permission to write a more authentic blog, full of what makes me uniquely me.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
Good Times

But something major was still missing. Sometimes my writing would flow and I’d put out a terrific article. Mostly, I struggled with writing a decent post. I’d get an idea and just start randomly writing. Sometimes I’d make my point. Sometimes I’d miss.

 

My friend Kris is an amazing writing coach. She tried to convince me so many times that what I needed was a process for my writing. And I totally knew she was right because she is super smart and she lays it out in a way I completely understand. But even with her wise insight, I resisted because I always felt “too busy” to do the writing prep and instead continued to stumble through by just writing posts off the top of my head. Don’t judge. Everyone knows stuff they should be doing but don’t do it for one BS reason or another.

 

This week, I’ve been watching and following along with Kris’ awesome “Design Your Process” challenge. In the course, Kris explains how to improve your content and make it more engaging by using a process to make your writing more powerful and effective. So I decided to write this post by working through this process, beginning with pre-writing and then moving on to drafting, revising, editing and publishing.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

I would never dream of writing a tutorial without an outline, but when it came to blogging, I generally would jump from the idea & research step straight into drafting. My drafts were sort of like free writing, where I’d spill everything onto the paper (or screen) and then go back and edit for clarity, spelling, grammar, and such. Then I’d hit publish and cross my fingers that the post would resonate with my audience.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

Using the process Kris describes in the DYP challenge made writing this post a breeze. When I worked through the process of pre-writing, drafting, revising & editing, I was able to articulate my thoughts in a cohesive way.  [Tweet “After much resistance, I think I’ve finally seen the light. http://www.withakcourses.com/design-your-voice/”] Thank you Kris!

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

If you struggle with creating consistently engaging content, or labor over writing articles that should be easy to write, it’s likely that you need learn and apply the process to your writing. Don’t fight it, it’s good for you. You had better hurry though! “Design Your Process” is going away May 18th! Did I mention it’s free?

 

I’m participating in a Blog Link-up with Kris (With a K) from www.withakwriting.com, because she wants to hear about the role writing plays in our businesses.

Kris is giving a Writing Workshop for entrepreneurs and bloggers, starting May 25th, and she wants to give away a scholarship to one of the lovely bloggers who participate in this link up. You can participate and get a chance to win too.

Just copy and paste this piece of text into the introduction of your blog post answering the question, “How has writing been beneficial to your business, and what do you want to Craft with your Voice next?” Link back to this post, so any of your friends who are entering will be able to find it for more info.

Finally, go back to Kris’s blog on or after May 12th to add your link to the link-up party there, and you could win a scholarship to her new course: Craft Your Voice. She’ll be drawing a name on the 18th of May for a full scholarship to the 6 week writing course, so you can write and link-up your post any time before then.

Categories
Blog

Top 3 Time Management Tips For Creative Businesses

I’m participating in the Startup In 60 Blog Party! Startup In 60 is a time management course for busy women for are ready to finally start their own businesses whether they’ve got 60 days, 60 minutes, or 60 seconds. Click here to join the program. 

 

Back in the day, when I had a “real” job, I was incredibly productive. Now that I run my own business, I sometimes feel like I am chasing my tail all day. Why is that? For starters, when you work for someone else, you usually are just contributing a piece to a larger picture, and generally your job is something that plays to your strengths. For example, I wouldn’t apply for the job of managing a company’s website because that’s not really my forté, but in my own small business I totally do manage my website. And do the accounting, marketing, production, customer service and pretty much every single aspect of the business.

 

 

Another thing that entrepreneurs forget is that even though at a “real” job we’re clocked in for 8 hours a day, we aren’t non-stop working for all 8 hours. If you’ve ever had an office job, you probably don’t wait until the very last second to go to the bathroom and then rush right back to your desk to continue to toil away. You might check your self out in the mirror for a minute and fix your hair or stop by you office buddy’s desk for a quick chit-chat or whatever before heading back to your own desk and picking up where you left off. Back when I had a “real” job, I thought it was ridiculous that people forgot to eat. I didn’t even know how that was a thing. But when I first started working from home, I forgot to eat on a regular basis. Or worse, I would remember that I was starving, go look in the kitchen for something to eat and deem everything too much trouble and just head back to my desk, tummy grumbling. Which leads me to…

 

Tip #1: Have a plan.

I cannot survive without my planner. I am an introvert which means that I don’t do well when things are sprung on me. I need to have a little notice. So every night, I write down in my super rad planner what needs to be done the next day, and not all vague and mysterious. Specific tasks that need to be done and the smaller steps that will get them accomplished.

It’s not good to go hungry all day, so  I make sure that I have food in the house. Stuff that is super fast for me to make and eat, so I don’t skip it because it’s just too much trouble. Which is funny because if you were coming over for dinner, I would pull out all the stops to make you a fabulous meal, but if it’s just me, then I’m mostly likely going to scarf down a peanut butter sandwich at my desk. Not even PBJ.

You should you definitely plan what needs to get done, but also plan what you do in between tasks. Because, like I said, it is unreasonable to feel like you need to be working sun up to sun down with no breaks just because you’re running your own business. That’s the fast track to burn out. schedule breaks. I not only schedule times for breaks but activities for said breaks so I don’t get sucked into endless Facebook as a default. And I set a timer.

Bonus: Consistently keeping a planner will also help you figure out what works and what doesn’t (see tip #3).

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life.
Plan Your Day

 

Tip #2: Make it efficient.

Plans are important, but efficient systems are even more so. Figure out what you need to do this month, then figure out what that means you’ll need to do this week, then break it down into daily tasks that you can batch together for maximum efficiency. For example, I have a big art fair coming up and want to have lots & lots of beautiful pieces in my booth so that the art fair is a success for me. So I used my project planner to help figure out my big goal, and then broke down the steps & batched the work. Last week I did a ton of designing, this week I’m doing a lot of making, and next week I will be packaging and working on the display. Batching is usually more efficient than working one piece from start to finish.

similarly, when I know I am going to have some busy days, I will make a big batch of stew that we can eat for dinner a few days in a row, or make a big batch of meatballs that be can used a bunch of different ways.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life.
Batch work is more efficient

 

Tip #3: Make it effective.

One of the best ways to manage your time is to not waste it. I’m not talking about checking out what your friends are posting on Facebook, or taking the “What Full House Character Are You” quiz or watching cute cat videos when you are supposed to be working (see above tip on planning). Don’t waste time on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or whatever for your business if it doesn’t bring your business results. If at the end of the day, you feel like you didn’t get anything done, well maybe you just didn’t get the right stuff done. Keeping a planner will help you figure out what is effective and what is tail-chasing.

Stick to the List!
Stick to the List!

 

By the way, the title of this post is “Top 3 Time Management Tips For Creative Businesses”, but you may have figured out that these are just three great tips for any business. Heck, for running your life in general. But creatives, including myself, like to play the “artist” card and act like they just can’t stick to a plan or a schedule because they are a special snowflake. And I like to say that yes, you are a special snowflake, but that doesn’t mean you are a flake. It won’t kill your creativity to give yourself boundaries, in fact it’s way more likely that boundaries will improve your workflow.

Check out Sage’s awesome 60 second video which explains her new program, “Startup In 60”.

Share your time management tips in the comments. And please sign up for the Red Scorpio newsletter for more tips on productivity, simple tutorials and encouraging words.