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Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

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/

 

 

Calendarize Your Priorities

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

 

Caribbean Beach - Calendarize Your Priorities

When was the last time you took a vacation? I know it can sometimes be hard for those of us who are entrepreneurs to let go. After all, will our business run without us? Can we trust being partially or totally unplugged? When can we possibly find the time to go on vacation with all we have to do?

 

Truthfully, we all need time to relax and recharge. If we don’t allow time for that, I believe in the end, we are not as effective at our businesses, and it is ultimately detrimental to our overall health and well-being.

 

For me, the best way to insure a vacation is to schedule it. Calendarize it, even pay for it ahead of time, so it becomes a non-negotiable.

 

While I believe that any getaway to recharge and refocus should be a priority, we have lots of other priorities in our lives that don’t always get on the calendar.

 

Have you thought about what you say are the priorities in your life? That can be watching your kids or grandkids play soccer, yet when the game comes up, you’ve got something else to do. It can be spending quality time with your spouse by having a healthy dinner together, yet you continue to work well past dinner time. It can be your own self-care, that swim class that renews you, yet you miss it continually. It can be something as simple as setting aside 10 minutes a day to meditate, only again you can’t find the 10 minutes.

 

Yes, we all have “things” that come up, but do we focus on our priorities? In order to get back on track, here are four steps:

 

  1. Make a list of your priorities. Consider them your non-negotiables.
  2.  

  3. Go back and look at your calendar and see how you are actually spending your time.
  4.  

  5. Look to see if there is a disconnect.
    •  

    • Calendarize time for those priorities first and stick to it.
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    The first time did this exercise, I was surprised by what I said was important and how it wasn’t reflected in the time in my day. When I start to feel disconnected, I will go back and do this again.

     

    Please share what you discovered in the process.

     

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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/

     

     

    Words, Resolutions and Intentions

    Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

    2015Some of you know that I pick a word to guide and inspire me through the year, to serve as a focus or intention as I face each day. I started this practice back in 2005 or 2006 and have shared this story before. At that time, I was actively practicing yoga and in a class, Kathy, the owner of our studio, passed a basket with words. I chose one, openness, and I didn’t really like it. After all, the woman next to me picked love, which I thought was so much better. I asked to draw a new word and Kathy told me the word had picked me and I was to go with it. I put the paper with the word “Openness” on the computer where I could see it every day. I was not sure what would happen, but I just started seeing all kinds of things around me. I guess I was “open.”

    Since that time I have had lots of different words to guide me through the year, including abundance, challenge, joy, consciousness and last year’s word “Trust.” I wanted to trust that I would make the right decisions, that I would not second-guess my decisions, that the chances I took would work out. And, yes, I could see a difference in how my choices played out.

    For me, this was a better idea than making a New Year’s Resolution. So, why did I make the switch from resolutions to an intention? It came down to the kind of person I wanted to be, not all the stuff I wanted to do or have. Sure, I could have the same resolutions everyone else made: lose weight, get organized, exercise more, the list goes on. But that did not work because I was still “being” the same person. I had to make a choice to “be” a different person. That is what has made the difference, focusing on being.

    So here we are, a week into 2015, and I have been thinking of my “word.” I started by listing a group of words I found appealing: bounty, mindfulness, connections, persistence, gratitude, harmony, possibilities, thrive, awareness, exploration. And, while they resonated, they did not resonate enough. Next, what I did was think about what it is I wanted in my life and my business, and the answer I kept coming back to was to fully experience what was in front of me, whether that was a person, an experience, an activity, a challenge. It was about being present; it was about being connected; it was about being committed; and it was much more. So I just ruminated on “fully experience.” Actually, you could say I slept on it. When I awoke on Monday morning, the word “engaged” just came to me. That was it. I wanted to be or feel engaged. I went to the dictionary and found the following definition: “to establish a meaningful contact or connection with.” Meaning and connection.

    Have you picked a word to guide you for the year? If you have not, give it a chance. You just need to think of the quality or direction that you want your year to take. Need some help getting started. Think about what you might have resolved to do and ask yourself what quality is necessary for that? Or try a search online for character qualities and go from there. Lots of people immediately come up with a word that resonates with them. Others need a bit more time. My best advice is think of a word, mull it over, and if it keeps showing up, that’s the one.

    Once you come up with your word or intention, what do you do with it? Here are three tips:

    1. Write it down where you can see it. I put mine on a sticky note and attach it to my computer where I’ll see it every day.
    2. Share it with someone else, especially if the person will hold you accountable. Over the years I have shared mine with some of my mastermind partners or family members, and we talked about why we chose the words we did.
    3. Do something that lets you take action on your intention.

    What word did you end with? And, if you picked a word last year, how did that make a difference? Share your word below to make that commitment and see what you can create in 2015!

     

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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/

     

    How Cool is That?

    Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

    Young woman thinking with question marks over headThe trade show season brings with it a lot of opportunities. Your work is being seen by more people than you can imagine, and they are people who can help raise your profile in the industry. I know several of my clients came back from Quilt Market with new opportunities to consider, including a sales job offer from a thread company, the chance to create quilts for fabric company booths, a potential distributor connection, interest in fabric design, and the opportunity to write a book.

    Pretty cool, right? That is what we all think right away — all these opportunities that could lead to fame and fortune. That is, if they actually pan out how we think.

    The problem is that all those opportunities do sound cool, and they are for the person making the offer. The opportunity fits their business agenda.

    But, the real question is, does it fit your business agenda?

    I know how easy it is to get caught up in possible potential and forget to take a look at how the opportunity really fits with your business goals. I have had my turn at this.

    So, how do you decide what to do with the multiple opportunities? I think that you ask a series of questions for each opportunity?

    1. Is this something that you want to do, be or have in your life? Sometimes just thinking about the opportunity in that light allows you to realize that perhaps it sounded really cool on the surface, but it is really not something that interests you long-term enough to work at.
    2. Is this something that will move you closer to your goal? Again, lots of opportunities are exciting, only they do not always move you towards the goal you want.
    3. Is this a one-time opportunity or will it be available at a future date? Perhaps this is something that will be an option at a later date when it fits more in line with your long-term goals.
    4. Can you afford to put the time and energy into this opportunity at the present time? And, what will you give up to make room for it?

    If you have really looked at the opportunities and decide that any are right for you, then go for it and make a plan to fit them in to your schedule.

    What questions do you ask when you get a cool opportunity that you don’t want to miss? Let me know below or leave a comment on the Facebook page.

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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.

    What Tolerations?

    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

    medium_8112842140Recently I have been talking with several of my clients about what seemingly little things they put up with. Yes, and some of the big things, too. We all have what could be called “tolerations,” those situations, problems or things that are really solvable, but that we let stay unattended. What happens? They bug us on occasion, and, more importantly, they zap our energy. Sure, we can put up with a few items, but most of us let the list grow. And, we start to compromise on those items. You know, maybe it is not really that bad. The problem is that you start to desensitize yourself to all the good around you.

     

    So, how do you get control on those tolerations? First, admit you do actually have some! For starters, make a list of what you are tolerating. I do not think it will be hard to come up with 20, and I am sure you will get more if you get started listing them. So set aside 15 minutes and start your list. You might even do this walking through your house or office. I wlil admit I have one set of curtains that circle the floor. (No, they are longer than what is fashionable.) Every time I look at them, I think I should just take them down, run a quick seam and be done with them. It is such a simple, little thing, yet it takes energy from me every time I go through the room. So start that list and keep at it. It might be the dead plant you leave thinking it will suddenly grow shoots. It might be the clutter you live with. It might be your kids’ socks that never seem to leave the family room floor. It might be the stack of library books you have got in the car you are meaning to take back. It might be something your spouse always says that you that you live with rather than create waves. Look at all areas of your life: your business, your home, your car, your environment, your habits and behavior, and the habits and behavior of those you interact with.

     

    Next, ask yourself for each of these tolerations what you are getting from it. While it may seem odd, you have some benefit for not addressing the toleration. You also have costs for each of the tolerations, so identify those. Once you realize what the benefits and costs are, it becomes easier to take action.

     

    Decide that you are ready to take action on the tolerations and start at the top of your list. At some point, it really will hit you that you do not want to tolerate any longer. Just tackle one toleration each day. If I can decide today to hem those curtains, you can pick something on your list. And, watch what happens: you will build momentum towards eliminating the tolerations and you will find more energy.

     

    What are you tolerating that you commit to eliminating?

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    photo credit: Tanja FÖHR via photopin cc

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