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Increase your booth ROI

For many years I’ve had the opportunity to sell my product in public venues.

I’ve sold my handcrafted quilts at local craft shows, larger regional juried craft shows, and a local crafts cooperative. Most recently I marketed the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals at the International Quilt Market. All are great places to sell your work, meet your customers, and gather marketing information.

Whether you sell your work in a small retail venue or a trade show like Quilt Market, here are some tips to help you increase sales:

#1 Set an intention

Spend time ahead getting clear on your intention or goal for the show.

Is it to make a certain amount of sales, to get your patterns picked up by a distributor, to test a new product? Maybe your intention is to get names for your mailing list so you can connect in the future. When you are clear on your intent, you’ll be more focused, and your results will show that.



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Stop waiting for permission

 

Anyone who has been around small children knows they ask questions, lots of questions.

Many of those questions start with “Can I.” Can I have one more cookie? Can I watch TV? Can I stay up late and read? Can we get a dog?

We are conditioned early on to ask for permission.

We did it as kids with our parents. It continued in school with our teachers.

Even as adults, you may find yourself asking for permission, sometimes unconsciously.

Women, in particular, tend to have what’s known as upward inflection, the habit of raising their voices at the end of a sentence. This turns the sentence into a question, giving your power away to someone else.

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Hello Imperfection!

The other day I read this quote from Zen Monk Shunryu Suzuki:

“You are perfect just as you are, and you could use a little improvement.”

I hesitate to say that the quote struck me as “perfect.” Some of us spend too much time worrying about getting it perfect that we don’t get it done.

I’m putting myself in this category as a recovering perfectionist. How about you?

The problem with perfectionism

At first glance, you may think that everything needs to be perfect, that you need to be perfect.

If it’s not perfect, you may put off releasing that new pattern, offering the new program, publishing your website, showing your art.

This list goes on and on. And, you get so caught up in this spiral of trying to make everything perfect that nothing gets done.

That’s the problem with perfectionism — it doesn’t work!

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What’s your next business move?

Are you like so many other creatives? You have lots of ideas about where to go with your business. Maybe you should start teaching your art. Or do a local craft show or open an Etsy shop. Perhaps start a podcast. Maybe a blog is calling your name. Or do you see a fabric line or licensing of your art as the next step? Or create patterns, or ?…

Whoa! You have so many options, and they all sound good. The problem is you don’t know where to start. And perhaps you get stuck in analysis paralysis trying to figure out which idea is the best one. Here’s a path to help you decide.

Write down all the ideas.

Just get out a piece of paper and list them. As you do this, you’ll probably come up with more options. None are set in stone. You are just getting them all out of your head. You may even save some for future use.



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Breaking Through Your Creative Blocks

break-through-blocks

I had a conversation last week with a client who was stressing about spending so much time on and in her business that she was feeling stuck. Claire told me how she used to love to create just for herself, without a business outcome involved. Only now, she just did not even have time to do that. And, she was suffering. She felt lost and was beginning to be “stuck” with the creating that was important to her business growth. I suggested that she schedule “Claire time” into her calendar for creativity and stick with it, no matter what. By allowing time for herself, I believe Claire would show up better in her business.

As we were talking about how to schedule that time, I remembered the  lecture Elizabeth Gilbert gave at the 2009 TED Conference entitled “A Different Way to Think About Creative Genius.” It was about nurturing creativity. I went back and listened to it again. What struck me then, as well as now, was when Elizabeth was having a hard time writing, she took time and just spoke out to the corner, to let genius come to her. If it didn’t, well, she showed up for her part of the job. Isn’t that what you do many times when you create? You just show up. Sometimes it is a wonderful effort; other times it’s just an effort. But you showed up.



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I’m stretching. Are you?

Have you ever been on a stretcher? I was a few years back when I was rehabbing a neck problem.

What happened? Well, I actually grew a bit, something pretty cool at my age.

What does my growth have to do with your business? Well, it’s about being on the stretcher. When was the last time you put your goals on the stretcher?

What is a stretch goal?

During a conversation with one of my clients, we talked about stretch goals, when to use them, when to adapt them.

What exactly is a stretch goal?

I believe it is one that takes you out of your comfort zone. I think it still needs to have a component of achievability. When you do achieve it, it will take you to a whole new level. You could also think of it as a breakthrough goal.



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Only 120 days left until 2020

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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Plug The Profit Leaks in Your Business

profit-leaks

Do you remember the lyrics of a childhood song, “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza”? I don’t know if kids still sing this today or not.

In 1053, a British comedic duo, Flanders and Swann, wrote a parody named “There’s a Hole in My Budget.”

For some of us that hole is all too real.

I am working on a new webinar titled “5 Smart Ways to Make Money in Your Creative Arts Business Now.” While you definitely want to bring more money into your business, you may have holes in your business where money is just leaking out.

Bringing in more cash does not negate what you are losing.

To start plugging those leaks, you will need to actually look at your numbers.

Yes, I know that it is not as much fun as creating, but you can’t find the leaks otherwise.



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When to Say No

Are you a “yes” person?

I know I used to say yes to lots of opportunities. 

Some of them moved the needle in my business; some did not.

Some I said yes to because the opportunities were cool. I didn’t want to miss out on cool. 

If I look back I probably should have said no more often or at least sooner than I did.

If you really think about it, every time you do say yes to something you are saying no to something else.

Good things come to you when you learn to say no. Here are some ways to know when to say no.



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Reinventing Everyday

reinventingeveryday-3Rs

Are you practicing the 3 R’s?  

What are the 3 R’s, you ask?

Recycle, reuse, repurpose – all part of reinventing your business everyday.

How much of what you create just needs to be spiffed up or re-slanted to make it new?

We see it all the time in other markets.

Disney is a prime example. They put movies in a seven-year “vault” and then re-released some of them each year. They recreate the excitement, find additional audiences, and make more sales.

How can you do this as a creative arts professional? Here are some ideas:



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