Categories
Blog Business

How is 2016 Going? Let’s Review

As we enter the second half of 2016, it’s a perfect time to do a halftime review and make sure our game plan is working out.

Let’s start by going over the goals we set at the beginning of the year, the progress we’ve made, or didn’t make, and tuning up our game plan to make the rest of 2016 kick ass

Step One: Get clear on your goal

[Tweet “To move the needle on your business, you need to devote consistent focus.”]
Did you set a goal for 2016? Did you set a bunch of different half-baked goals? Did your goal evolve as the year progressed?  Dig out your list of resolutions. If you did set a concrete goal for 2016, have you been focusing your actions to make this goal a success? If you have a more casual list of resolutions, is that working out for you? Chances are, if you are juggling several ideas, your focus may be too divided.

Check out this webinar replay by Tara Gentile to help you determine your top goal. 

 

Having a goal is just the first step. Knowing what actions to take to turn your intentions into reality requires that you break down the big hairy goal into smaller, bite sized tasks. You should be able to put three things on your to-do list each day that are specifically designed to move you forward. Your goal needs a plan. If you need a little assist with goal planning, please check out my awesome system. It’s vital to keeping me on track and productive. If you don’t like mine, there are literally hundreds of other planners systems out there in the world. Use one.

 

Step Two: What are your numbers?

Your “numbers” are the money you spend running your business, the money your business brings in, and most importantly, the difference between the two. This is officially referred to as a profit & loss statement. The scariest question an entrepreneur must ask themselves is “What are my actual numbers?”

One thing that I’ve learned, in life not just business, is that ignoring scary stuff doesn’t make it go away. In fact, it usually makes it scarier, because it’s an unknown. It’s always less scary when you know stuff. And you can’t grow if you don’t know. I didn’t even try to rhyme there, so, bonus.

[Tweet “Do you know your numbers? If so, good for you! Knowing them puts you in control.”]

If you don’t know your numbers and need some help figuring it all out, here are some resources:

Figuring out your numbers is about as fun as filing your taxes, but it’s a vital step in growing your business, so, sorry but you’re going to have suck it up and get started. Good news, you only have to set it up once. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that you are doing okay, maybe even better than ok. If you crunch the numbers only realize that you’re not doing so well, at least take solace in the fact that with this information, you can start correcting your course to success.

 

Step Three: How did you get this far?

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Have you heard that one before? It makes perfect sense. How do you know if you’re making progress if you’re not keeping track of what’s happening? How do you know how you got where you are if you don’t know what efforts are paying off and which ones are just a waste of your time?

 

After you get your numbers straightened out, check out your key performance indicators to figure out what is working and what is not. Entrepreneurs these days feel like they need to do everything and be everywhere on social media, but the fact of the matter is you only need to do what works. So, although it may take a little effort to figure out what is working and what is not, in the long run, you’ll save time by not doing things that aren’t moving you forward.

 

If you aren’t tracking your KPIs, it’s time to get started. If you sell on Etsy, you probably know that it keeps track of your stats. Did you also know Etsy has some amazing articles to help you grow your business? Google analytics is another amazing tool, and they have a free Analytics Academy to help you get the most out of it. If you have a WordPress blog, you can install plugins to track your analytics. Nathalie Lussier’s “30 Day List Building Challenge” explains how to build your list by using analytics, and she even walks you through the steps to set them up for your WP site.

 

You might be surprised how things ‘magically’ start to grow when you make the effort to measure their progress. Here is a list of resources to help you better understand what KPIs are and how to build your business. 

 

Step Four: Why we do what we do

Running your own business is hard, and sometimes you can get so discouraged you might wonder what you were thinking by starting this in the first place.

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 began making bamboo tile jewelry back in 2009. I was looking for an easy & fun project to teach in workshops at Party Arty!, the art studio my sister & I owned at the time. I fell in love with everything about these magnificent bracelets and necklaces, and spent many hours perfecting my process until it was no longer a craft project, but an art. I got lots compliments, and then requests for custom orders, so of course I took the next step and turned my jewelry making into a business. In 2012, I quit my job to work on it full-time. I was so sure that I would soon be making a living doing what I love, but here we are, almost three years later, and I am still struggling to make consistent sales. If not for my husband’s “real” job, I would have had to ditch this dream a long time ago. I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and for so little money. But I just have to believe that this work is going to pay off someday. I joke about getting famous, but all I really want is to be able to make a decent living.

I believe that my jewelry is beautiful; that it helps the wearer express themselves and tell their story; that it is a way to be connected. My “why” is my commitment to self expression, quality small batch goods, and creating a meaningful alternative to hyper-consumerism. And so, I keep on. Every day, my goal is just to move forward.    

Simon Sinek gave an amazing TEDtalk on the subject. My friend Kris wrote this beautiful piece on her “why” and how it drives her. Take a moment to remember your “why” and get your goals realigned with that “why”. Create a “motivational poster” using PicMonkey and hang it in your workspace to inspire you when things get tough.

why graphic

 

Step Five: Finish 2016 like a boss

After looking back at the last six months, how are you doing? If you’re seeing measurable progress, awesome! This is the perfect time to refine your focus. You figured out what doesn’t work, so cut that out right now. Devote that time into ramping up the things that are working for you, or testing out (and measuring) a couple of new things.

If you’re not growing the way you’d hoped, don’t panic. Figure out what you might need to start paying attention to so you can finish the year strong. 2016 is only halfway over, so there is still plenty of time to correct your course to success.

 

Take all of this information and develop an action plan. Download my free “Big Project Planner” here. It’s a super awesome tool that helps you reverse engineer a big goal by breaking it down into small steps.

 

Here are some additional resources to get you going. And remember, every tiny step forward is progress!

 

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 Business

Life Lessons Learned From Chickens?

Can we really learn lessons from chickens? I mean, they’re pretty stupid, right? They don’t even know not to poop in their own water. But hanging out with my birds yesterday, I observed some behaviors that help make them a successful species. They thrive everywhere, and they can teach us a couple of tricks.

 

TGIF!

 

Chickens do things that are easy.

Sounds like a no-brainer, but I bet if you looked at all of the things you do every day, you will see how hard you make things sometimes. My birds go for easy first. A little bit about how birds eat: they don’t have teeth and they don’t have hands. The easiest thing is to eat out of my hand, tearing off bite sized chunks. If they bite off a piece that they can’t easily swallow, they will drop it on the ground and try again.

A real life example from my own experience is how I began drinking more water. It is a fact that the easier you make good habits, the more likely you are to stick to them. It’s just human nature to do the easy thing. I put my water jug and a glass at my desk and now drinking water is effortless. Almost. I still don’t like the way it tastes, but at least it’s easy.

Another example is my garden. It’s not much of a garden, admittedly, but we do grow a few tomatoes every year and that is ok for right now. I am a busy person who has lots of stuff to do, and I also have a list of dream projects a mile long, one being a vegetable garden. Unfortunately, I habitually forget to water my garden and then it dies and I am sad. But I never forget to water my pets, so I put my garden where I fill the chicken waterer and bam, plants get watered. So easy.

 

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 container garden

 

Chickens are efficient. They start with eating the easiest food first, from my hand, then they quickly eat up the bite sized pieces that fall on the ground, avoiding the ones that are too large. They will also peck food right out of their flock mates’ beaks. Very efficient.

My gardening system is also efficient. I am doing two tasks at once. Normally multitasking is very inefficient because in most cases, you really can’t do more than one thing at a time and do them very well. But for my garden/pet watering, it is perfect.

Another example of efficiency is batch processing tasks. If I am going to make a bracelet, I might as well make 5 bracelets. It takes a tiny bit longer per step, but the total time spent is way less than making 5 bracelets, one at a time.

Making!
Making!

 

Chickens are NOT effective. They fail on this third “E”, for reasons that are unclear to me. If a chicken wants to eat a piece of food that is too big to swallow, its only option is to peck at it and shake its head around until a bite sized chunk tears off. I find this very frustrating. Why don’t they just stand on the food in question and tear bits off? I haven’t been able to train my birds to do this, so I just watch and wonder. Even my dogs know to step on their food dish to hold it into place, making it easy and effective.

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.
They aren’t geniuses, but they’re fun to watch and they make these for me.

 

My garden is effective because I never forget to water my plants and therefore they grow. Imagine that! I think I am going to ramp the garden up a little bit this year and actually put in a raised bed using this “3E” system. Because results.

 

If you are experiencing productivity issues, maybe run your process through this “Triple E” check. Maybe you can make a couple tweaks to improve ease, efficiency & effectiveness of your process. If you have any tips you’d like to share, please post in the comments below!!

 

 

 

Categories
Blog Blog Business

Different is Better. Stand Out.

You guys, I am so tired. I had an amazing and thoroughly exhausting experience last week participating in Tara Gentile’s “Build a Stand-Out Business” bootcamp at CreativeLive. And I spent the three weeks before that getting ready to be on a worldwide stage. Website overhaul, email marketing tune-up, social media planning, the whole nine. Plus I wrote a book about handmade gifts that’s set to launch April 3rd. I need a nap.

 

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 so it begins!

 

I was so honored to be chosen to be in the studio for this incredible opportunity to learn how to make my business stand out in a pretty crowded marketplace. Did you know everyone makes jewelry? Maybe not quite everyone, but it sure feels that way sometimes. And that is ok. I prefer to operate with a mindset of abundance. Thanks to this course, I now have a system for getting my message out to the people who are waiting to hear it, so that’s pretty cool. There were more than a couple “Aha!” moments. In fact, I watched today’s module three times and gleaned something new each time.

 

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 met an outstanding group of women. Many of us work from home, so connecting with like-minded individuals facing the same day-to-day challenges is quite lovely.

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.
After class brainstorm session

 

And one of my favorite parts was just being in San Francisco. There is such a pervasive creative vibe, it’s impossible for me not to be energized. Plus the weather was so perfect, I got to wear my hair down the whole time! That hardly ever happens at home!

 

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.
Love you, SF!

 

If you haven’t RSVPd for Tara’s bootcamp, it’s not too late. You can still catch Sessions 2-5. Check it out!

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.
the Maestro

Are you watching Tara’s bootcamp? Share your “Aha!” moments in the comments!

And if you like awesome handmade stuff and winning super cool prizes, get in on the giveaway I’m hosting to celebrate the release of my book, Handmade Gifts That Don’t Suck. 

 

 

Categories
Blog Business

Million Dollar Etsy Seller?

Three Bird Nest was all over the news last week. At least, it was all over the news I pay attention to. If you are not familiar, you must not be a handmaker. Basically, an entrepreneur in California was profiled in Fast Company because of her out of this world Etsy sales. A bunch of handmakers called BS and mayhem ensued. Tara Swiger wrote a great piece on it, as did Abby Glassenberg and IndieUntangled. Here is my take.

personal slider2

 Handmade by me in my studio

 

If you are not in the business of making and selling your wares, it might not strike you as shocking to hear about an Etsy seller who grossed close one million dollars in sales last year. But if you have ever made anything and tried to sell it then you probably said “what the hell?” when you heard about Three Bird Nest. Unless she is charging like three grand a scarf, there are some shenanigans happening here.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 5.41.51 PM
Hand made original framed print by Jamsiewaymsie
Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 5.49.47 PM
Handmade leather bag by OxHare Studios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My heart went out to all of the knitters and crocheters when this terrible news came out. But, my darlings, I have been feeling your pain for a while. You see, I am a jewelry artist. People have been making money selling their non-handmade jewelry on Etsy for a long time. In fact I used to see these sellers sometimes in the craft store, buying Tori Spelling’s jewelry kits to put together and resell at a generous mark up. One woman was bragging to me about how she couldn’t keep them in her shop. Silly me, spending years honing my craft and hours crafting my pieces. But you go on, lady. I will concentrate on customers who are a little more discerning.

 

Handmade Necklace by Jewels by Trish
Handmade Necklace by Jewels by Trish

 

 

 

 

Handsewn by Survival Organs
Handsewn by Survival Organs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 7.44.57 PM
Handmade by Pretty Much Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those gals aren’t even the worst. There are some shops selling jewelry that you can literally buy in gumball machines. Some only cost a dollar. Unfortunately shipping from China will probably quadruple the price but still, handmade jewelry for under $5? How can I compete?

 

 

If you buy this gumball jewelry thinking it’s handmade, I feel sorry for you. That was obviously a rhetorical statement since I know none of my super rad readers thinks handmade jewelry can be sustainably made, even in sweatshops, for $1. You guys know what’s up. And I guess technically the Tori Spelling kits are sort of handmade, and if someone is willing to pay $30 for plastic beads, then bless their heart. But Average Jane may not be able to tell hand knit or crochet from machine-made (Unless perhaps, you leave the “Made in China” label attached. According to customers, the million dollar Etsy seller did that). And it’s a lie to pass off machine-made hats as handmade just because you sewed on a button.

 

Hand printed notecards by oursecrettreehouse
Hand printed notecards by oursecrettreehouse

 

 

 

Hand designed crochet patterns by hijennybrown
Hand designed crochet patterns by hijennybrown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I certainly do not condemn Three Bird Nest for being successful in her business. Because what she is doing takes a lot of hustle. But, let’s get on a level playing field. Don’t sell items as handmade that clearly are not. Many customers do not even realize that machine-made items are allowed to be sold on Etsy. To a lot of people, Etsy means handmade. Sorry guys, but that is not necessarily true. 

 

 

Got an opinion? You know you do, so please share.

 

Categories
Blog Business

Countdown to 2015

Wow. They say time flies when you are having fun so I must have had a blast this past year. I did have a blast. It was a great year full of new people, new experiences, and lots of new stuff going on. Thank you for sharing 2014 with me.

creativelive with Tara swiger marketing for crafters class july 2014
Something new I did in 2014

I make resolutions every year. Some resolutions, I make every year, like “I resolve to wake up earlier”. That one is pretty hit or miss. But I will resolve again this year to wake up earlier. I will never give up on that dream. Some of my resolutions were resolved. Did I use that right? IDK. I resolved to make a beaded snake and enter it into the Fair, and I totally did that. Bonus: I won 2nd place in my division. Boom. I also resolved to join a Fantasy Football League and I did. I came in 4th out of 6, but I was fine with that. Next year, I will do even better. I resolved to have a tweet read on live TV, preferably on “Dancing With The Stars”. That did not happen, mainly because DWTS is live on the East Coast and I would have to watch it on my computer at 6pm Pacific Time, and so, obviously. However, my name was read multiple times live on CreativeLive, by hosts and by a couple of instructors, so that trumps a tweet on DWTS in my book.

creativelive with Tara swiger
Jane and I are looking cute and ready to rock

 

Stuff that was not on my list of resolutions included attending a CL class, being briefly interviewed live on a CL class, and taking a trip to San Francisco all by myself. But I did all of those things. I did not resolve to join a community of creative cohorts who have changed my life in so many ways, all for the better. That totally happened though.

take a chance
totally nailed this

Wednesday is New Year’s Eve and Greg and I will celebrate in Death Valley. We will probably raise a glass of tawny port and toast to the New Year at midnight Eastern Time, because we are old and like to go to bed early. On New Years Day, we will eat our traditional dinner of black-eyed peas and greens for good luck. And we will make our resolutions for the new year, so stay tuned for that. Be safe everyone. xo

 

After a long day in class
Life is good…

 

PS: Right now though you can get my ultra cool planner

the Red Scorpio Goal-fulfillment System

(or R.S.G.S) in my Etsy shop.

 

 

 

Categories
Blog Business

Your Business Needs These 4 Things to Be Successful

Cool headline right? I learned that from the internets. But you should still read this post, because your business really does need these four things.

 

 

I recently watched a series taught by Kari Chapin for CreativeLive called “Jump Start Your Handmade Business“. Kari presented four segments, one for jewelry businesses, one for beauty products, one for paper goods and one for sewing businesses. For each class, Kari listed some important things that one needs to start a business, such as supplies and skills, but Kari listed the common necessity for all businesses was courage.

 

 

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!

 

You must have courage to start a business. Because it is hella scary. There are so many things to be scared of. Failure. Success. People being mean to you. People ripping off your ideas. You must be prepared to get roughed up a bit.

 

success1215144
I had to redo the one of the boys 3 times

 

Another thing that I feel is vital to success is stamina. There are going to be lots of days where you feel like you cannot do one more thing. I have been so busy lately with holiday orders, and some afternoons I feel like I can not bear to poke one more bead with a tiny cord. My fingers ache or worse, go numb. At those times, I just recall how much I hated my last job. I would string a million beads before I would go back to working there. What I am doing is a gift, and that helps me soldier on.

 

Only half of these turned out the first time
Only half of these turned out the first time

 

Perseverance was another key word last week. I had a batch of resin fail. It messed up three different orders. I wanted to throw a temper tantrum and a pity party. But I knew I could not let my customers down. Even if it meant going back to work after dinner. That’s how it is when you work for yourself. Do it again and do it right.

 

Yes
Yes

 

And last but not least, patience. I feel that patience is key for life in general, but especially if you are an entrepreneur. There are a lot of overnight success stories that have taken 10 or more years to come to fruition. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you feel like it’s not going fast enough, examine what you are doing. Maybe you can tweak your workflow to get faster results. Maybe not. But don’t give up if it doesn’t happen right away.

It’s like a bottle of syrup. It seems like it takes forever to start but pretty soon your pancakes are swimming in it.

 

PS: Face palm, big time. As my dear friend Kris with a K reminded me…

I would add #5: Friends Who Get It.

It is, in those moments of resin failing or blog posts disappearing or zero days off for a month straight…it helps SO much to be able to see another brave, persistent, BizKitten rockstarring it out along with you.

 

So, 5 things. Your business needs 5 things. And a lot more. Pretty much all of the things, if you are going to be in business for yourself. Still worth it.

 

Categories
Blog Business

Leveling Up and Standing Out – Week in Review

This past week I had the pleasure of being in the studio audience at CreativeLive for April Bowles-Olin’s course on creating digital products. I was also pleased to be frequently called upon during the one day, twenty-one module course designed to make your products uniquely irresistible. It was pretty much the best ever and it went like this…

 

 

 

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.
Packing up!

I have been prepping for this trip pretty hard, so I was very grateful on Sunday when I was able to chill out and just be in the moment. I was totally ready to go, and I even felt ready which is not usual. My awesome new planner was really helping me keep things focused while allowing glimpses of peripheral tasks. Wait til you see it. It is rad.

 

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.
on the runway

 

Traveling to SF on Sunday was smooth as silk, thank goodness. April had scheduled a meet & greet for 7pm that evening, so Jane and I made plans to arrive an hour early for some catch up. The gathering was only supposed to go from 7-8, but of course we were all so excited to be meeting in person, it went a little longer. I got to my room about 10pm, way past my normal bed time especially since I had to get up at 6am the next day.

 

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.
Dinner at Hard Knox? Uh, yeah!

 

Monday morning at around 1:30, I was awakened but what I assume was a raccoon making all kinds of racket in the back yard. I did finally manage to fall back to sleep but when 6am rolled around, I was so not ready for it. I overestimated (as usual) the time it takes to travel from Byron’s to CL so I was early. The coffee wasn’t even ready when I got there and I was in desperate need of some. The rest of the ladies arrived well before 8am, we were all so pumped up to be there. The energy in that room was practically buzzing. And I finally got to meet Kris with a K, so that was rad.

 

Kris is even more amazing iIRL
Kris is even more amazing IRL

 

Monday night I met up with my friend and favorite newborn photographer, K.Sienk, and stayed out past my bedtime again.

 

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.
this beauty

 

 

Tuesday, I had an amazing dinner and conversation with my dear friend, Jane. She is simply fabulous. Of all the things CreativeLive has done for me, bringing Jane into my life has been the greatest. After dinner, I hooked up with my pal Shastablasta at Social Sketch, a gathering of artists at a local bar and it was delightful. I wish San Diego had stuff like this going on. Maybe I need to get that started. I think so.

This night, I made it to bed pretty much on schedule.

 

Social Sketch
Social Sketch

 

 

Wednesday was the last day. Those three days flew by. I truly appreciate everyone who took time to watch and participate in the chat! Is was so great hearing Chris say your names. I was very excited to get to talk about how I make my product uniquely irresistible. Then the wrap party.

 

Time flies when you are having fun!
Time flies when you are having fun!

 

Thursday, I was exhausted and kind of sad, kind of like the feeling you get after Christmas. If I couldn’t be at CreativeLive anymore, then I just wanted to be home. I missed my family.

 

See you later, fishies
See you later, fishies

 

 

Friday, I spent some time touching base with some fellow creatives, answering comments on my blog and Instagram. I was very eager to start working on all that I had learned, then I laid down for a quick cat nap and slept for 4 hours. Ooops. My niece had a play that night so as much as I wanted to stay home, we wanted to support her amazing talent. But first, dinner at the taco shop. I love SoCal.

 

mmmmm tacos
mmmmm tacos

 

 

Saturday I worked on some custom orders and on Sunday, Greg and I started planning our epic winter camping trip to Yosemite. I can’t believe it is less than two weeks away. This year has gone by so fast.

 

And now it’s Monday again. Sad face! It feels like my trip was a month ago. I miss going to the CreativeLive studios in the morning and talking to my wonderful, passionate friends and feeling that incredible energy. Better go check the catalog to see if there are any upcoming courses I can apply for 😉

 

 

Did you watch April’s course? What was your ‘AHA!” moment? Did I exhibit RBF? Please share in the comments!

 

Categories
Blog Blog Business

Make Money While I Sleep? Uh, Yes Please!

“Are you ready to make your creative work more lucrative, stable, and sustainable in the long-term? Join April Bowles-Olin for an introduction to digital products and how they can enhance your creative business. This course will show you how to produce and position viable products for generating multiple revenue streams and passive income. RSVP right here to watch it live and get access to the workbook for FREE. This post is part of the Create Digital Products blog tour.”

 

Let’s start with a little background. I met April Bowles-Olin when I attended her first course at CreativeLive, Build a Successful Creative Blog. I impulsively signed up because my blog was floundering and I needed some help. I also love a challenge, and being in the Front Row was far outside my comfort zone. Thank goodness I had no idea what a Super Star Ms. Bowles is or I would have been even more nervous than I already was. If you watch the course, which I highly recommend to all bloggers and wanna-be bloggers, you will learn LOTS of pro tips and also see me looking like I am going to be sick.

Red Scorpio at CreativeLive
Red Scorpio at CreativeLive

 

That course literally changed my life as I have written about a few times. If you follow my blog then you already know this. If you don’t follow my blog, you really should. There’s a box at the end of this post that you should totally check out.

 

Not only did I up my blogging game, but I met a great group of creatives, in person and over the interwebs, and formed a relationship with April. I began following April’s awesome blog, Blacksburg Belle and she has taught me a ton about running a successful creative business.

Here is My Goal!
Here is My Goal!

I joined April & Mayi’s League of Supers, an amazing source of support, advice, sympathy, empathy and just plain love and friendship. I’ve also participated in a couple of April’s blog tours, so of course I jumped at the chance to be a part of this one too.

The guidelines set by April were simple –

 Pick one of the following topics to blog about:

a) What you’d love to learn from my upcoming course, Create Digital Products that Sell While You Sleep

b) The biggest questions you have when it comes to selling digital or information products

c) Your best-selling digital product and why you think it’s the most successful (if you already sell digital or information products)

d) Why you want to learn how to create and sell digital products

e) The biggest issues you’ve had with trying to sell digital products

Alright well, I want to learn everything and I have a million questions. Because my jewelry is labor intensive, I’d love a product that was easily reproducible. I don’t have any digital products yet, so those don’t apply.

 

IMG_2513

 

Sorry April, but I decided to go off topic a bit and talk about my most important question:

Why Learn About Digital Products From April Bowles-Olin

There is certainly no shortage of passive income “experts”. Just Google it, you will get a thousand suggestions. So why would I choose April’s course over all the others? Well, for starters she is an amazing teacher. She is a diligent hard worker who is going to leave no stone unturned to gather every bit of relevent information on the subject of passive income. She is realistic. She’s not promising any get rich quick schemes. She believes in living your passion. This course is going to teach us how to make money doing what we truly love. Her workbooks are flipping fantastic. She has put in a ton of effort to make this a comprehensive course in creating digital products, from the nuts and bolts of making a digital product that suits your business to the more ethereal and harder to grasp concepts of targeting a market and product positioning. I want to know not just how to start but to successfully sustain a passive income offering, and I trust April to teach me.

 

creativelive with Tara swiger marketing for crafters class july 2014
About to go on the air, watching myself on TV. Surreal.

 

If you are interested in launching a successful digital product, my advice to you is that you purchase this amazing course. Yes, you can watch for free during the live broadcast, and it will be super cool, but if you upgrade to any time access for $49 ($49!!!) not only will you be able to watch & rewatch the course, but you will score some incredible bonuses that only come with purchase.

Please RSVP and then watch November 10-11 to be blown away by the magic that is April Bowles-Olin. Also, I will be in the front row and now that I’m used to it, I don’t look so ill anymore. Although, I do have RBF (look it up) and I just can’t help that.

Check out the entire list of participating bloggers here.