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Look Back and Move Upward

November 30th, 2016 by Morna

lookback

The end of the year is often filled with planning activities. For many creative people the thought of planning is beyond boring.

It can be black and white — after all it does involve looking at numbers. When you get right down to it, though, getting your big dreams and goals down on paper and figuring out how to accomplish them is creative. Especially when you get out those colored markers and pencils!

For more than ten years, I hosted an annual Planning Day, and we always start with looking back. Instead of jumping into what next year looks like, take time to clear out this year. Look at the good, the bad, and the lessons learned. This will let you celebrate what you accomplished and put you in a positive place to start the new year.

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Do You Have Self-Care Practice?

November 16th, 2016 by Morna

self-care

Have you ever thought about how important it is to take time for yourself on a regular basis? Do you connect this with the health of your business?

This week I’m on a “business vacation.” It’s a retreat with friends in the business. We are all taking time to work on our business, and we are all taking time for our own self-care. We’ve treated ourselves with nice home prepared meals. We are sewing for ourselves. We’re enjoying the beach setting with walks on the beach and yoga/stretching inside with views of the water. We have hired a masseuse to come three times during the week. That is really taking care of yourself!

This is great for this week and we’re all supporting each other. What happens when we go back to our regular lives? I, for one, admit that while I might give self-care attention, I can get wrapped up in what’s going on and not make it the priority I should. And, when I don’t take care of myself, I’m not at my best when I work on my business. If you are in the same place, here are some thoughts.

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The Fortune Is In the Follow-up

November 9th, 2016 by Morna

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 had returned from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those got 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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Behind the Scenes at International Quilt Market

November 2nd, 2016 by Morna

quiltmarket

I got back from International Quilt Market in Houston on Monday. Quilt Market was founded in 1979, and I’ve been going since 1994. That’s a long time and I’ve seen lots of changes in the industry over the years. The industry continues to change with the times. We’ve seen times of prosperity and times of adversity. Yet, quilting continues to thrive. I came back inspired and optimistic about where our industry is headed. Here is just a bit of what I saw.

Michael Miller Fabrics. During its Schoolhouse presentation, co-owner Kathy Miller talked about color trends in the real world. Navy is the new black. Olive green is a new comfort color. Gold is big as throwback to the 1890s, 1990s and early 2000s. Nice blue greens show up as neutrals. We are also seeing richer colors. Kathy also shared an exciting new product. Michael Miller Fabrics has partnered with EZ Fabrics, designers of Minky, to offer a new line of its prints on a Minky.

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What’s Your Self-Worth Quotient?

October 26th, 2016 by Morna

self-worth

This week I offered a complementary webinar titled “5 Smart Ways to Make Money Now in Your Creative Arts Business.” Before I shared the five strategies, I spent some time talking about your mindset and knowing your value. From my experience working with creative entrepreneurs, I often find they struggle with determining a value for their work and then charging for it. Here are some tips for dealing with your worth:

Know exactly what you are charging. Many creative arts entrepreneurs often are challenged by what to charge for their services. Many tend to undercharge because they don’t know what to charge. They look at what others are charging and figure it must be right. Do you ever wonder how that person came up with her price? She probably did what you did: looked around at what others were charging and figured it was right. Take the time to go back and determine how long it takes you to accomplish your work. Consider what your expenses are – overhead, taxes, materials, etc. Then determine what you need to make on an hourly basis to meet your expenses and make a profit.

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Finish the Year Strong

October 19th, 2016 by Morna

finish-strong

It’s mid-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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Selling: It’s About Service

October 12th, 2016 by Morna

selling-is-service

During our recent Facebook “Get Your Art Out There” Challenge in our Creative Passion to Profit Group, the topic of sales came up. Really it was the topic of not feeling comfortable selling. So I ask you, does selling feel uncomfortable or even scary to you?

No one likes to be sold to, and we all have opinions about people who sell. Do you know that Gallup® does an annual survey on honesty and ethical standards of people in a variety of fields?  Car salespeople come in close to the bottom of the list, as do telemarketers. (Being from the DC area, I found it interesting that members of Congress and lobbyists fill two of the bottom three slots.)

If you go to that same list, what profession do you think occupies the top position? For the last 14 years, it has been nurses. Why do you think that is?

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Do You Have Gotta-Do-It-First-itis?

October 5th, 2016 by Morna

do-it-first-itis

 

Can you picture yourself here?

* Headed to the office or studio passing through the kitchen only to see the dishwasher needs to be emptied. Well, it won’t take that long. Let’s do it first and just get it done.

* Back on track headed to the office or studio only to be distracted by the laundry basket. Well, let’s just throw that one load in. It will only take a minute or two.

* Looking at the messages that came in the night before. One was from a friend down the street. Well, what could she want? It’s just a quick phone call, and it will be out of the way.

* Now you are in your office and ready to get to work. Wait, let’s just check the email. Oh, some of these look really quick to answer. Let’s just do them first and get them out of the way.

Did you just lose half your day because you had what I’ve termed “gotta-do-it-first-itis”?

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Can You Find Your Art Supplies?

September 28th, 2016 by Morna

declutter

I have been in a “cleaning out” mode lately. We have talked about downsizing in the next few years. I always joke that I am on a five-year plan for decluttering and the time just keeps getting shorter.

Looking around at my studio, I realized that it could use a healthy cleaning. So I started sorting through books, fabrics and art supplies. Gosh, we quilters, sewists and artists certainly do accumulate a lot. I know I will appreciate the open space in which to create. Here are some tips if you are facing that increasing pile, or piles, of stuff:

Start With a Plan

Start with a plan. As I started thinking about the decluttering process, I realized I was really curating my space — selecting, organizing and presenting. The first questions you could ask is what do you want your space to say and how do you want it to function for you.

If you are a fan of Marie Kondo and her

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The Myth of Multitasking

September 21st, 2016 by Morna

multitasking

As I came back to work this morning after a two-week vacation, I faced a mountain of things to do. Where to start? Maybe I could manage to do more than one task at a time. You know, answer email or scan Facebook while listening to an online class, or straighten the studio while making a phone call, or quickly check the calendar to see if an appointment is scheduled while in a phone conversation. Quite the picture, isn’t it?

Yes, I am talking about multitasking and it does not work! According to Harvard Business Review blogger Paul Atchley, studies show that multi-taskers are less efficient, perhaps by as much as 40%, than they think. He says that it takes an average of 15 minutes – and I have read numbers as high as 40 minutes – to reorient oneself to the main task. Wow – 15 minutes! Can you imagine how much time you waste on a daily basis trying to get back to the task at hand?

Many people dispute the fact that multi-tasking doesn’t work, citing their own experiences. Not true, as research shows again and again.

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