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The Fortune Is In the Follow-up

follow-up

 

How good are you at follow-up? You know, that is where the money is.

I was talking with a few of my clients who were heading back from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those get processed right away.

The problem for my clients was that they came back with all these notes that weren’t really money related or where they couldn’t see the clear money connection or where they couldn’t remember the conversation. Plus they felt overwhelmed getting back in gear. And, the follow-up is in question.

What I have found through the years is that when I pay attention to following up on a consistent and timely basis, it lets me build better relationships, which is really my goal, and that means adding to my business bottom line.

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Leverage to grow your creative business

 

You’ve probably heard people talk about leverage. And not the TV show of recent years. Leverage is about using a resource to its maximum advantage.

When I think of leverage in your business, I think of it as a triangle with Time, Money, and Knowledge + Talents + Passion as the three sides. When you start your business, you have all these elements in varying degrees. And likely some are limited.

         TIME (1)

As you grow your business, you begin to have more of each and can use each to its maximum advantage. And, you can leverage other people’s time, money and knowledge, too.

You invest in each of them because you want something back in your business. You have an expectation of a return on this investment.

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What’s Your ROR?

 

You’ve heard of ROI – return on your investment. It’s where you figure out if the amount of money you invest comes back to you at a greater return, whether that is a profit or cost savings. Technically your ROI could be negative, which means you lost money.

You may have heard of ROTI – return on your time invested. You look at where you are investing your time and determining whether or not it produces a return.

I have a new one to share: ROR – Return on Relationships.

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Are trade shows worth your time?

 

Quilt Market, the quilting and soft crafts industry trade show, starts in a few weeks. I’ve been going since 2004. I’ve gone as a vendor, a member of the press, and an educator. Today when I’m not teaching, I spend my time walking the floor, networking, and making connections.

I have always been a fan of trade shows, partly because I love all the tchotchkes. I have buttons, coffee cups, pens and even a couple of stuffed animals from the trade shows I have visited. I have developed quite the reputation among my family and friends for enjoying trade shows.

If you are on the fence about going to Quilt Market or any trade show, here are some reasons why you should make the time.

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Building a Healthy You and a Healthy Business

Do you give much thought to how your general health affects your business? You may not think they are connected, but they are.

Truthfully, your own personal wellness should be a priority. Without a well you, your business suffers. In the extreme, you become run down, exhausted, and burned out — and so does your business. In the short run, you can lack focus and just aren’t as productive as you need to be.

In my own life I’ve seen this. I used to prioritize nutrition and exercise and sleep. At one point, I started down a slippery slope. I wasn’t exercising like I should. I used to have a personal trainer who came to my house, and when her schedule changed, I started to slack off. I used to go to yoga. When my personal schedule changed, I didn’t fit it in. Sure I was still walking every day with my friends, but that wasn’t enough. As I would learn, I was actually overexercising or doing the wrong kind of exercising.

On the nutrition front, I thought I was eating healthfully. And, while I probably was for the most part, I wasn’t eating enough. I’m sure you know the mindset. You must cut your calories to lose weight. And, of course, you have to give up everything that you love to eat!

And, this showed up in my business, particularly around focus and energy.

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Finish the Year Strong

finish-strong

It’s  the beginning of October and, if you are at all like me, you’ve look at the end of the year and at all you want to accomplish before then. It could be trade shows, new patterns or programs, a rush to get your sales where you projected. And, then, of course, the holidays  — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah — will be here before you know it.

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Morning Rituals Are a Powerful Start to Your Day

 

Do you have a daily habits? I am sure you have some. A habit is a decision that you make. Over time you stop making the decision to do this thing but continue to do it anyway. Like brushing your teeth or starting your car or putting the dishes away.

How about rituals? I think of rituals as mindful practices that you make that can become habits. I am sure you have rituals. For me, a morning ritual is about self-care and setting myself up for a successful day. When I find that if my routine is altered somewhat and my ritual upset, my day can seem off. I do not feel like I have the same level of success.

How do you create a ritual? First, the ritual is personal. What works for me is not going to necessarily work for someone else and vice versa. The idea is to create something that sets you up for success and over time becomes a habit.

My morning ritual includes exercise, meditation, prayer, intention setting, and a cup of herb tea. It is what works for me, and is a mix of mind, body, and spirit. I also have an evening ritual.

Here are some ideas to help you create a morning ritual or even add to the one you have.

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10 Minutes To More Creativity

Only 10 minutes to more creativity? That sounds doable, right? It is, and it’s as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.

For the past several years I have been recommending meditation to my private clients.

At our Creative Arts Business Summit, I lead a guided meditation. For some of my clients, this is a powerful exercise.

I also have my own meditation practice that is part of my morning ritual. I was around meditation for a long time before I started to practice. My sister has taught mindfulness meditation for more than 10 years after many more years of a personal practice, and my husband has also had a long-time practice. Despite their encouragement, I could not think of myself as someone who meditated. After all, I couldn’t possibly sit still that long. The first time I tried, I stopped and looked at the clock and barely two minutes had passed. And, I could not shake the long-held idea that meditation somehow was for hippies or new-age types.

I somehow got over that. Read, I stopped self-sabotaging myself.  And, I began a meditation practice. I have found that it has a positive impact on my life. I can see this in my everyday activities and in my own creativity.

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What Do Judges Look For?

 

You have just finished your latest piece of art — your quilt. You are proud of your accomplishment and want to show it off. You first share it with your family, then with your small quilting “bee” and finally take it to show and tell at your next guild meeting.

For some quilters, this is enough. For others, it is not.

Many quilters and fiber artists want to see how their work stacks up against the competition, whether that is hanging it in a local, non-judged show or entering it in a major juried and judged competition. In addition to gaining recognition for your quilts, you also educate other quilters and the general public about quilting and its standards. For local guild shows, this is often a primary reason for holding a show.

Additionally, if your quilt is entered in a judged show, you can set goals for improvement based on feedback from the judges or your own comparison with winning quilts. And, of course, you might just win a prize, either a ribbon, cash, or merchandise.

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Say No to Busy

 

Have you ever been rushing around trying to get things done and at the end of the day realized you didn’t accomplish what you really needed to accomplish?

Yes, it felt great to check those things off your to-do list. Your studio was clean, you posted on Facebook and Instagram multiple times, and you felt like you got so much done. After all the list was full of check marks or crossed-off items. It was proof.

But did you really accomplish the important things that would move your business or your life forward?

In all likelihood the answer is no. You got caught up in “busy.” Working on things you think might make a difference.

The problem is when you get caught up in busy, it’s because you said yes to too much. You said yes without thinking.

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