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Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

Grow Your Business With a Business Journal

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

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:

Read more…

5 Steps to Getting Your Work Done

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

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?

Read more…

Are You Waiting For Permission?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Are you waiting for permission-

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

I think 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, we may find ourselves asking for permission. Women, in particular, tend to have what’s known as upward inflection, the habit of raising their voices at the end of a sentence, in essence turning it into a question, and giving up their power to someone else. (As a young adult, I distinctly remember my grandmother pointing this out to me.)

Why are you still waiting for permission today?

I think it comes down to:

  • Waiting until you think you are good enough
  • Waiting until you know enough
  • Waiting to be assured that you are on the right track, because you don’t trust your own judgment. What if you are wrong?

Do others really have the answers? Are they smarter, more important, more knowing than you about you? Seems highly unlikely, especially once you stop and think about it.

And, waiting just turns into more waiting. You remain frustrated by not taking action.

I know more than one business owner who has not stepped fully into her vision of her business. She either was afraid to take the leap for fear of what others would think, their judgment and disappointment taking precedence. Or she was stuck in someone else’s vision of her business waiting for that to be fulfilled before she could take on her own.

Why are you waiting? Give yourself permission. You are the only one who can.

Have you overcome the waiting game? Would you share how you did that with the rest of us? Post your response below or on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

 

Finding Your Why

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Finding Your Why

 

Have you ever thought about what your why is? You know, why you do what you do? Why you are in the business you are? Why art or creativity chose you? And why you chose to make it important enough that it is your business?

 

Frederick Nietzsche said, “He who has a why can endure any how.”  I believe that when you know your why, it helps you figure out meaningful goals that lead to creating a meaningful life. It acts as an anchor when you need to find the courage to keep going or even just to take the next step. It helps you stay motivated and can lead to a life you can only imagine. It even helps you get out of bed in the morning.

 

That sounds good, but how do you really find your why? Your why may just come to you easily or it may take lots of thought. (I was in the lots of thought category.) It may also change over time as your life circumstances change.

 

For years I never really gave it much thought. I was working to add income to our family coffers. When I first started my business, it was actually at my accountant’s suggestion. He saw I loved quilting and thought I could turn it into a business on the side. That was great, and I never really gave it much more thought. As the years went by, the business grew and changed. I earned a graduate degree in journalism and thought how wonderful it would be to combine the quilting and journalism together, which I did. Again, not really giving it a huge amount of thought as to why beyond I enjoyed it.

 

The past couple of years, I decided to actually put real thought into the process. I can now articulate what I do and why. I believe it is so important to start to do the work of our why that we spend time working on this individually at the Creative Arts Business Summit. And knowing this absolutely makes a difference. Once you figure our your “big why,” you complete your tasks, reach your goals, make a difference in the lives of those you serve, and live your own life with so much more ease.

 

Here are some ideas to get you started figuring out your why along with some good resources.

 

    1. If you are having a hard time answering yourself why. Complete the sentence: “I am doing this because ….”  or “I’m doing this so that….”

 

    1. Take a look at your top passions and try to see what they have in common. That can lead you to your why.

 

    1. What are your innate strengths? What are things you are naturally good at? Sometimes you dismiss these thinking everyone is good at this thing. And how do these connect with your passions?

 

    1. What gets you out of bed in the morning. What is it that drives you to take inspired action?

 

    1. What was your youthful joy? Ask people who knew you as a child what they remember about your strengths and passions.

 

    1. Remember that the why is the driving force behind our actions. We need strong, or Big, Whys to keep going.

 

    1. Our Big Why can change over time. It is a good exercise to revisit yours occasionally.

 

 

Some resources to check out:

How Great Leaders Inspire Action,  a TEDx talk by Simon Sinek.

The Element and Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson, PhD, with Lou Aronica

 

What is your why? I know you have one and I would love to hear what it is. Please share it below or on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages?

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

 

Where’s your third place?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

ICAP community

Yesterday I went to the post office to pick up some Priority Mail envelopes and drop off a certified letter. In Laytonsville, population 353 at the last census, the post office is the center of the town activities and full of activity. I always see someone I know. Yesterday it was my dentist. I can meet new people, as I did yesterday when I learned about a local dog trainer. And I can find resources on the bulletin board. I left with two cards and a name of a third repair person I could call about some equipment that needs work.

I remember when I lived other places that there was always a place where locals congregated and you could learn all the news. When I lived in Connecticut, it was Luke’s Donut Shop. At our home in Saint Michaels, my husband would tell you it’s the local YMCA.

What is a “third place”? It’s that place where people gather other than work or home and feel a place of community. I’m sure you can think of places you know of, whether that’s the fictional Cheers of TV fame or the local coffee shop.

According to Ray Oldenburg, an urban sociologist who wrote The Great Good Place and Celebrating the Third Place, all third places have the following eight characteristics: neutral ground, a leveler, conversation is the main activity here, assessable and accommodating, has a the regulars, maintains a low profile, has a playful mood, and home away for home. The idea is that people are free to speak their thoughts and opinions freely.

It is easy to see the coffee shop or the local book store as the “third place.” I think it’s also easy to think about the local quilt or creative arts shop as the “third place,” even though it doesn’t technically meet all the eight characteristics. I think it’s about a sense of belonging, and I think that all creative arts and quilt shops foster that. Think about your experience at the local quilt shop and what made you feel like you were part of a community.

If you own or manage a creative retail shop, what are you doing to create that third place community feeling? Here are some of the ideas from shops I know or frequent.

  • Be welcoming. When customers come into your shop, greet them. Ask them what project they are working on. Nothing makes you want to come back like feeling welcome on the first visit.
  • Have a space set up where customers can congregate to look at quilting or art books and/or share their projects. I used to love to go to Borders Bookstore when it existed because I could find a chair to sit and look at a book.
  • Create special events. Look at other businesses outside the industry to see how they create events that draw customers in and make them feel welcome. We are all looking for an experience, a shared experience, so look for ways to create experiences. Disney is a great example here. Another example: in September I went with my neighborhood book club to an annual book club party hosted by author Lisa Scottoline at her home in Pennsylvania.
  • Look for ways to create shared connections. A monthly stash buster club or fabric club is an idea here.
  • Consider a monthly show and tell for your customers. This encourages them to engage with others.
  • Set up a gallery in your shop and showcase different artists. Have an opening reception with a talk from the artists.
  • Serve food. I don’t know a quilter who doesn’t like a beverage and a cookie. In the winter have some hot cider and gingersnaps. In the summer, lemonade and sugar cookies. Some of you may remember a shop called Patchwork and Pies in New York that was owned by Clara Travis. I loved the image of stopping in the quilt shop and picking up a slice of pie.
  • Run a book club that focuses on a particular artist’s work or designs.
  • Host a monthly “sit and stitch.”
  • Think about ways that you can offer your space to other uses in your community, e.g., let the local knitting club meet there, or depending on the size of your town, even an association that needs space for a small meeting. It’s about encouraging community.

I’m sure you can come up with other ideas. Remember that in creating the experiences that lead to your third place, you don’t have to do them for free. I think you can create a sense of community with a bit of exclusivity with a small fee. And, remember that you are never done. Creating your third place is ongoing.

If you are a shop owner, what you are doing to create a “third place”? And, as shoppers, what makes you designate someplace your third place?

Are you leaving money on the table?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

moneyonthetable

We’re into the last six months of 2015. (Where did the first six months go?!) A couple of weeks ago, I suggested looking at your numbers for the first six months. What did you discover? Were you on track or were your results not quite what you were expecting?

 

I talked with one of my private clients recently about this and she said she needed a cash infusion. I think finding that cash infusion comes down to two items: ideas you didn’t take action on and things you didn’t follow-up on.

 

First are those items you didn’t take action on. One of my good friends has something she calls “the $5,000 notebook.” I bet you have a similar notebook full of cash and you don’t even know it.

 

Do you often make notes of the great ideas you had, the new pattern you wanted to create, the class you think should develop? And what happens to the idea? In many cases, mine included, it stays on the page in your notebook or journal or on those little yellow sticky notes. And, it stays there because you move onto the next idea and forget that last great idea.

 

If you are looking for a cash infusion in your business, go back and find that notebook, those slips of paper and look through them. Highlight those good ideas and then start to take action on one of them.

 

Next are the things you didn’t follow-up on. We all do this, and it can be a gold mine if we go back and look at where we forgot to follow-up. I’ve always heard that the fortune is in the follow-up, and that’s true.

 

Go back and make a list of people who’ve asked about your products or services in the past. It could even come from that stack of business cards you got at the last trade show that is still sitting on the corner of your desk. You could call them warm leads and then set aside time to connect with them again. Block a time in your calendar each week for follow-up and stick to it. If you aren’t sure what to say, create a script with bullet points.

 

Regardless of whether it’s the money in your $5000 notebook or the lack of followup, it’s what I call “leaving money on the table.” And we are all leaving money on the table.

 

This week I plan to go through the notebooks and highlight the ideas I had that could generate cash in my business and take action on one. I’m going to look and see where I should have some follow-up. How about you?

 

Please share how much money you left and then found on the table?

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

 

Celebrating + Stretching

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Hiker cheering. Woman hiking cheerful with arms stretched screaming of joy on top of mountain. Beautiful sporty mixed ethnicity woman outdoor.

The beginning of July. Halfway through the year. I like to take this week and look back at what I have accomplished so far this year and adjust my goals for the year. Why do I like to do this now? Other than it is half-way through the year, this is the week of July 4, Independence Day here in the United States. It is a day meant for celebration – picnics, fireworks and gratitude. I like celebrating where I started and where I am. I like celebrating that I am able to work both independently as an entrepreneur and interdependently with so many wonderful people.

 

How do I take this look back? I ask myself a series of questions, and I have asked my private clients to answer the same questions for their businesses. I look at the questions taking two forms: concrete and introspective. First the concrete questions:

 

1. What was my revenue for the first six months?

2. What were my expenses for the same period?

3. What was my profit?

 

The second series of questions take more thought since I cannot find their answers easily on a spreadsheet.

1. What were my biggest accomplishments these past six months?

2. What were some of the lessons I learned during this time?

3. What were the weak points? What could be improved?

4. What opportunities did I miss?

5. What marketing worked? What else created my wins?

6. How can I use this information going forward for the rest of the year?

 

At this point, I will go back and look at my goals and see how I need to adjust them. Do my existing goals look too easy? Do they stretch me enough? I will update them so I have broader, bigger goals for the rest of the year.

 

I hope you will take the time to do this exercise. If you started the year with written goals that stretched you some, I hope you are surprised and thrilled to see that you need to be stretched some more. What can you do to stretch yourself for the rest of the year? Please share some of what you learned below or on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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.

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

Are You a Procrastinator?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

doorbell

 

Are you a procrastinator? Well, who isn’t at times?

 

I send out a weekly email known as a “Mornivation™”to the clients in my private coaching program. Part inspiration, part motivation, part accountability. This past week I shared with them a short video on procrastination. I know it resonated with them as it did with me. And, I know as I sat down to write this ezine, I felt in a procrastinating mood. After all, how many trips can I take to kitchen?  Then as I was thinking about what to write about, I looked down and saw the little stickie on my computer screen. It reads “DING. Do It Now Girl.” Isn’t that a great acronym, too? DING. As in the door bell is ringing, and you are going to answer it. As in the work is calling, and you are going to do it.

 

Here are some tips to help you DING:

 

  1. Try to figure out why you are putting off the work. Is it because you don’t really care? Are you scared to put yourself out there? Is perfectionism holding you back?

 

  1. Have a schedule or deadline. Nothing like a deadline to spur you on to action.

 

  1. Remove the distractions. That would be all the bright shiny objects in your field of vision or the latest issue of your favorite art publication. You’ll have time for them later.

 

  1. Get clear about what you are accomplishing and why.

 

  1. Break the task down into manageable bits if it is really large. You do not have  to do it all, you just have to start.

 

  1. Set a timer. If you promise yourself to work for 15 minutes, odds are that you will keep going once you are into the project.And, if Do It Now Girl does not resonate with you, try Do It Now, Go!

 

Please share your tips about getting yourself away from procrastination.

Do you have a DING solution? How do you get past procrastination? I would love to hear from you and what your techniques are. Just leave your thoughts below or on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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.

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

 

Creative Arts Inspiration: When a Person Really Desires…

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspired to help that person realize his dream.” ~Paul Coelho

 

Slide1

 

 

Are You Waiting for Permission?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

 

Girl in green sweater and glasses asking a questionWay back when we were kids, we learned to ask for permission. It was perfectly normal, and we were good at following instructions for the most part. This continued through school and likely in our corporate jobs, if that’s where our path led us.

 

Before I really began coaching creative entrepreneurs on a formal basis, I can remember a conversation I had with my friend Barbara. Barbara wanted to leave her corporate job and turn her passion at art into a business, only she was waiting for someone to affirm her decision that it was OK. She asked me what I thought. She asked our circle of friends. She asked her sister. She asked her mom. She asked her husband.

 

She wanted someone else to say that she was ready, that her work was good enough, that she would be successful. In other words, she was looking for permission outside of herself to take a chance on herself, to invest in her own skills and talents.

 

When did it become necessary to get permission from someone else to live our own lives? Sure, Barbara did need to talk with her spouse to make sure their family needs were met. Ultimately the decision was really Barbara’s.

 

What happens when you wait for permission? Ultimately I think it cheats both you and others. You because you are putting off being extraordinary at being yourself. And others because you are denying them your gifts.

 

If you are someone who recognized you are waiting for permission, here are a few tips:

 

  1. Begin to visualize the beginning and the end. Where are you now and where do you want to end up? This will lead to clarity. Do not worry about the journey in the middle.

 

  1. Start the journey. State what you are doing. Take the first step, then the second step. The other steps will show up when you are ready for them.

 

  1. Don’t apologize for missteps along the way. We all have them, and we all learn from them.

It’s hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.”
Cheryl Sandburg, Facebook

 

Please share a time that you didn’t wait for permission and what happened as a result.

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

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.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

 

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