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Set Your Business GPS!

June 22nd, 2016 by Morna

biz-gps

Last weekend on my way to the Eastern Shore, I got caught in a mass of slow traffic. Anyone from these parts knows we only have one way to reach the beach, and that’s using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis. Its two spans date to 1952 and 1973 and can’t handle today’s traffic. Slow-downs and waits are a normal occurrence, particularly during the summer, so I try to time my trip to avoid them. Despite my best efforts, I was stopped.

Because of the nature of the journey, my GPS isn’t of much use. It can’t re-route me across the water! As I edged along, I thought about the GPS you set for your business.

• Your car’s GPS won’t work without a starting and ending point. It’s the same in your business. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go.

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Get the Word Out!

June 15th, 2016 by Morna

pr

Promotion is key for creative entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses. Part of that is getting press coverage, whether that is through traditional offline methods or social media.

The news release, also known as the press release, is one of your most valuable tools for gaining publicity and growing your business. You gain name recognition and become the “expert” in your field.

Reporters do not dig up all the stories you read in the paper, see and hear on television or view on social media outlets. Many of these stories originated with

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You Can’t Do It Alone

June 8th, 2016 by Morna

can't-do-it-alone

You have a big vision for your business, right? And, as much as you might like to, you can not get to the big vision without support.

In the beginning you did everything, or most everything yourself. Depending on your business, in addition to creating your art, you packed and schlepped every thing to the post office, you wrote all the copy or directions and tested your own patterns, you packed your patterns, you did your own bookkeeping, you cleaned your studio, you tried to set aside some time for marketing, you learned how to maintain your website, if not develop it. The problem is that all your time was taken up with much that didn’t move your business to the next level. And, if you are like other creative people I know, you focused more on creating your art than the “behind the scenes” of your business.

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Kick-up Your Summer Revenue

June 1st, 2016 by Morna

summer-cash

This is the unofficial first week of the summer. For many people, this is the time to kick back and take it easy. You know the lazy, crazy days of summer! And, sure people do take vacations, but not all of them are gone every day all summer. So, you shouldn’t be either.

If you are trying to grow your business, taking it easy really isn’t an option. And, if you take advantage of the time many people do take it easy, your business will be ahead of the game.

Here are some ideas to kick-up your revenues this summer.

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Quilt Market Roundup

May 25th, 2016 by Morna

quiltmarketroundup

I got back on Sunday evening after four days in Salt Lake City, which has to be one of the friendliest cities around. Yes, I just confirmed that it ranks second in a Travel + Leisure poll. I started my stay with a trip to Harmon’s Grocery to pick up flowers for my room, and a young woman actually took me part of the way so I wouldn’t get lost. As for Market itself, I loved catching up with long-time friends and making some new ones. I loved being inspired, and I definitely was.

In a few words, the themes that kept popping up for me are flowers — large flowers — glamping/camping, handwork, and navy and gray.  Here’s just a bit of what I saw.

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Grow Your Business With a Business Journal

May 18th, 2016 by Morna

Business Journal

 

One of my favorite practices as a creative arts entrepreneur is to keep a business journal. As the leader of your business, you have so many hats to juggle that it helps to have a place to track those ideas. It also helps you make decisions about where to grow your business and yourself.

I find that my clients who keep a business journal, find it extremely valuable, a real difference-maker in their businesses. This is true regardless if journaling is done in a pretty book, on an iPad, or with our weekly Success and Strategy Summit tool.

Have you been putting off journaling for your business? Here are six reasons why you should start:

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Our 2016 Creative Arts Business Summit Highlights

May 12th, 2016 by Morna

By all accounts the 2016 Creative Arts Business Summit was a success. Lots of aha moments and business shifts. Lots of laughs. Lots of connections and collaborating.

We had two great speakers — IP attorney Kathryn Goldman from Goldman and Minton in Baltimore and Kelly Ann Richardson, shop owner from Kelly Ann’s Quilting in Warrenton, Va. — and thank them for particpating.

Thanks to our sponsors: Checker Distributors and Palmer Printing. It wouldn’t have been possible without their support.

Enjoy the highlight video and join us in 2017. You can sign up for more information here.

Avoid the Comparison Trap

May 11th, 2016 by Morna

Comparison Trap

Do you ever get that sinking feeling when you look around and start to compare yourself to others — their art or their business success?

You start to think that no one will every want what you have.

And, then you start to believe the one or two people who have ever commented negatively on your work.

And, then the spiral starts. Really, who are you to do this anyway?

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5 Steps to Getting Your Work Done

May 4th, 2016 by Morna

5 Strategies to Get Your Work Done

Have you ever found yourself procrastinating, overwhelmed or just plain stuck when it comes to getting your work done. Last week I did a free webinar called “From To Do to Ta Da Done!” about how to get more — and the right — work done. I think of it as a simple five-step process. Of course, simple does not always make it easy.

Step one is all about clarity. Are you clear on the big picture?

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5 Strategies to Grow Your Email List

April 27th, 2016 by Morna

build creative arts email list

 

Are you growing your email list? “What email list?” you ask. “I’ve got loads of followers on Facebook and Instagram. Who needs a list?”

You do! Without a list, your business will not produce profits on a consistent enough basis to sustain and grow your business. You might really just have a hobby and enjoy social media connecting. You need to look at building your list as building equity in your business. And, aim for quality over quantity.

And, yes, you may have a list of thousands of followers on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media site. Have you thought about who owns that list? It is not you. While none of us expect Facebook to disappear, if it does, your list goes with it.

How do you get started building a list? You likely already have the start of a list. You have probably built the list from online sales, from a class you taught last week in the shop, or from speaking or vending.

It is a way for people to get to know, like and trust you enough to spend money with you.

You may have a list of 10, 100, 1000 or more that you are trying to grow. It does not matter since we all started in the same place with zero subscribers to our list. Here are some strategies to consider.

1. Start with an email marketing platform. Think of this as your customer relationship management tool. Options include Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft, AWeber, Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, and countless others. (You do not want to use your Outlook email program.) Each of the options mentioned will have free trials or demos so you can become familiar with them. The difference is in the sophistication of the tool and what your needs are. The reason you want an email platform is that it allows people to opt themselves in and to opt themselves out. You may be able to segment your list and build a level of autoresponders.

2. Create a lead magnet. This would be a freebie that you give someone who visits your website in exchange for their email address. It is like the free taste that you get at the ice cream shop. It allows someone to try before they buy. This can take the form of an e-book, a pattern or a training video, for example. Do not get stuck on what you need to create, just create something of value for your potential customer. The freebie will drive people to learn more about you and your products.

3. Create an email marketing strategy. In its simplest form, you create content on your website, share it with the people on your list, continue to build a relationship with your list on a consistent basis, periodically send an offer to your list, always continuing to provide more value. People did not join your list to buy from you. They got on your list to get the value you have to offer. You need to be consistent in communicating with them, for example sending your newsletter once or twice a week on the same day. Remember that people join your list at various stages and you need to continually work to nurture the relationship with the value you offer.

4. Develop a content strategy that aligns with your business objectives. You need to identify a variety of themes that relate to your message and then come up with content topics for each. If your message has five key themes and you have five topics in each theme, you have a half year’s worth of content. Your strategy can include written, video and audio formats. Start to share your content in your newsletter, your blog and on social media, and engage with your peeps through your content.

5. Place an opt-in box on your website. You can do this in a variety of places. You definitely should have one on the home page. Do not send your visitors to another page with a link that says “Sign up for my newsletter here.” You can add one on the right column of pages on your website. You can add one at the end of your blog posts. And, you can add a pop-up box. I just added one. Sure people find them annoying, but they are effective, so do not discount adding one.

Building your email list does not happen overnight. These are some simple strategies to get you started. What is your most effective strategy to build your list? What questions do you have about building your list? Would you share it in the comments below or on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

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Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

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