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Set and keep your boundaries

 

A couple of weeks back, I had a conversation with Katie, a long-time client. We talked about boundaries, something that we have talked about over the years. She had, again, agreed to take on the program chair position at her local art guild. The guild was in a real bind since the current chair was having surgery with a long rehab period, and they really needed her, she said. That was on top of Katie’s picking up the slack for one of the moms with snacks at the kids’ soccer games. And, she also lamented a call the day before from a long-time friend who needed someone to talk with. The problem was that the friend was always in a crisis mode and she picked Katie as the go-to person on many occasions.

During our conversation, Katie admitted she was exhausted and felt like her needs, both personal and professional, were taking second place. That was true. She may have had good boundaries, but she was not guarding them. She was giving away her time and energy. What we discussed was a test for Katie to make some changes in her life.

I will admit right up front I could be a better boundary setter. Well maybe not a setter, but rather a keeper. I can set those boundaries; I just do not always stick to them. How about you?

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Is it time for pruning?

 

A few years back at our home on the Chesapeake Bay I replaced five KnockOut® rose bushes. For years they had been beautiful bushes, full of continuous color, and tall enough to provide a barrier between our patio and our neighbor’s. Best of all, this rose variety was supposed to be disease resistant and did not need spraying. I am not one for heavy garden maintenance, so it was wonderful to have inherited these easy-care varieties with our home purchase.

The problem was that a couple years earlier we noticed these bright, thick red shoots. Our landscaper suggested pruning and that is what we did with the hope that we could get rid of the rose rosette disease, as it is known.

Unfortunately, the virus spread to the whole plant and we ended up having to pull up all five plants and start over. This time, we choose not to plant the roses.

So, what does this have to do with business? Just like with roses in your garden, your business can use a good pruning if you want it to bloom and prosper. And, you want to do the pruning before it becomes necessary to take more drastic action.

Here are some random thoughts on pruning in your business. Many of these were gleaned from a walk through my yard.

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Create a successful advertising plan

Today you are competing for business in a noisy world. Just look at all your options for connecting via social media. Every time you sign onto Instagram or Facebook, you’ve got the choice of stories or your feed. Not to mention the rabbit hole of Pinterest. Plus new social media platforms crop up that add to that noise.

How can you get the word out about your business in all that noise? If you are caught up in that noise, so is your customer. One effective way is with advertising.

Advertising is used to persuade an audience (your potential or current customers/clients) to take action with respect to your product or service. And if that action is purchasing your product, the results are not always immediate.

I have read numerous studies that it can take anywhere from 13-17 times for someone to see your print ad before they purchase. I’ve seen numbers as low as 7 with regard to television advertising. And, the range for online advertising varies as much. Maybe with changing algorithms, it varies even more. 

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Who are your peeps?

 

As you start to build your creative arts business and continue to grow it, one of the keys is getting clear on who your ideal client is. It is pretty important to know about the person who is buying your product or service. If you get right down to it, money comes from people, so it helps to know who they are if you want to ask them to invest with you.

When many people start out, they want to serve everyone, and I mean everyone. I can remember a student, Carol, who was in my “Craft Business Success From Your Creative Passion” class at International Quilt Festival in Chicago one year. The students went through an exercise to help them identify who their ideal customer was. Carol insisted that the entire quilting universe, and perhaps the whole non-quilting universe, was her customer. She was an appliqué artist and was making it her mission to teach appliqué to any and all quilters. It did not matter if the person was not interested in appliqué or already had a specialty, such as painting fabric, Carol was going to turn everyone into a lover of doing appliqué.

What is wrong with this picture of wanting everyone to love appliqué as much as Carol did? It is charming, yet it is unrealistic. It also holds Carol back from making a difference to those people on whom she could really have an impact. She is expending so much energy trying to reach everyone, that she is not able to reach those who could use her brilliance.

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6 ways to add revenue to your creative arts business

If you are in business, your goal should be to make money. Sure you have other goals that revolve around making a difference or sharing your art or building a legacy. I know that I do. Problem is that you can’t make as much of a difference if you aren’t making a profit in your business.

Making a profit is tied to increasing your revenue or decreasing your expenses or both. In truth you can only increase your revenue in three ways.

First, you can raise your prices.

Second, you can sell more to your current customers.

Third, you can find new customers.

This post focuses on six ways that you can increase your revenue. Some you may already be doing. Some you may have thought of and not tried yet. Some may be new to you.

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Have you entered the CABS scholarship contest?

I believe that anyone who is serious about starting or growing a creative arts business should have a chance to learn the best success and business strategies. I also believe this is best done away from your studio with other like-minded creatives who will understand and continue to support you.

The place to do that is the seventh annual Creative Arts Business Summit on April 26-28, 2018.

That’s why when someone turned in her ticket for this year’s Creative Arts Business Summit (CABS), I decided to offer two partial scholarships. Two lucky winners will be able to work directly with me and a group of other creatives for three days at the end of April.

For many who have attended CABS over the past seven years, this has been life changing. I want that for you, too.

Here are the rules:

  • Send us a note or a video indicating why YOU should receive the scholarship. Be sure to mention how this will make a difference in your business and life.
  • Written entries should be no longer than 300 words and videos should be no longer than 3 minutes!
  • If you choose to do a video, clearly mention the website www.CreativeArtsBusinessSummit.com in your video so people who watch it know where to learn more about this event you’re talking about.
  • Send your written response or a link to the video to support@creativeartsprofessional.com.
  • We must receive your entry no later than 11:59 pm Eastern on Sunday, March 25th.
  • I will notify winners directly, so be sure to include your contact info.

 

You can learn more about CABS and read the success stories of some those who’ve attended here.

Time is limited so don’t delay. We must receive your entry no later than 11:59 pm Eastern on Sunday, March 25th.

Don’t miss this chance to uplevel your business this year with some financial assistance. Before you know it, you’ll wish you had joined us.

 

7 steps to build your creative arts business

 

Over the years I’ve worked with thousands of creatives. Some were private coaching clients, some came to my Creative Arts Business Summit, some belong to our ICAP Members’ Studio, some attended my classes and lectures, some learned from the magazines I published, and some learned from what I shared in this blog and online.

Regardless of how someone has learned from me, they were introduced to one or more elements of my CREATE! system. This system is how I grew my creative arts business. I go back to it again and again as my business changes.

C = Clarity

What’s clarity got to do with it? Clarity sets the foundation for your business. If you are not clear about where you want to go, what you want to make, who you are trying to serve, etc., you will just not be as successful as you could be. You don’t have to wait until you’re clear on everything to get started, just that as you become clearer and clearer your path becomes easier.

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How will you celebrate?

Do you regularly celebrate your accomplishments? I am not surprised if you don’t. Many entrepreneurs are so focused on what is next that they do not take the time to appreciate what they have accomplished. That is why most of my clients and students take time weekly to look at what they accomplished and celebrate that. It is part of their weekly Success and Strategies Summit.

The process

What exactly is the Success and Strategies Summit and how do you have one? It’s a process where you look back at your week, plan the next week, and celebrate your accomplishments.

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It starts with clarity

 

We recently welcomed a new group into our Members’ Studio. We have lots of resources all geared to help you build the creative business of your dreams.

I know that too many options can be overwhelming. What’s needed is clarity. It’s so easy to get bogged down with all the options. What if I do this? Or that?

Ever been there?

What do you need clarity on? When I work with some clients, that’s our first step. Clarity is really the foundation of success both in your business and your personal life. And, once you get clear, it doesn’t mean you always stay clear, unfortunately. I think it’s a continual path as you and your business grow.

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

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Let’s take 15!

 

Do you ever look at what others have accomplished and think you can’t possibly do that? We all have that comparison gremlin to contend with. Do you then fall back on your standard excuse? I just don’t have time!

I’m going to challenge you on that.

I wrote about “you management” as opposed to “time management” a few weeks back. Today I want to share a simple concept that might make a difference in your day.

Let’s call it Take 15.

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