As important and valuable as I know networking is to be successful…I am the worst at it. Networking is valuable not for what someone can do for you, but possible what you can do for someone else. Its all about who ya know. I am going to be completely brutally honest as much as I need to put myself out there. I am scared to. I lack the self confidence to do so. All the lights go out and I feel as if I have nothing to offer. That may be why I am an artist…I like to be all alone in my little imaginative world, and try not to concern myself with very much outside of it.
But…in order to make a name for myself I need to put myself “out there.” On the other hand I do love to meet new people and hear their stories and experiences. (I just don’t enjoy telling mine) I know networking can be a great way to add value and depth and even creativity by learning and being inspired by others.
I am making a conscious goal right now to start putting myself out there. Confidence comes from practice and I need to start practicing! Im going to let my little light shine.
Having your own business. Being your own boss. This sounds like a dream to a lot of people. I am one of them. I want to thrive and profit both in life and business on my own ideas and dedication. It is hard work to stay motivated and dedicated to your ideas. It takes a lot of time and energy to make them a reality. A profitable reality…
One of the first assignments this quarter, left the strongest impression on me in more ways than one. Lightbulbs went off for me when I watched Cal Newton’s talk. He was explaining the importance of time management and things aren’t as simple as “doing what you love.” Using Steve Jobs as an example do what he did not what he said. Stating that Steve Jobs who is a successful icon learned to love what he did. He found passion in something that he may not have originally dreamt of doing. Meaning, make whatever you do great.
As I’ve studied the course material, everything has stacked on top of this idea. Everything that I have learned and studied has given me more tools to work with no matter what I do. I won’t be daydreaming in the dark.
The customer is always right. Right? Maybe yes, but that would mean that the business was wrong. Right? If someone is right, than someone is wrong. Riiiiigght.
Ok! What if no one was wrong and instead everyone was right? What if everyone won? I believe that achieving this is what it means to have great customer service! Any business is dependent on clients and customers and customer service is also part of what they are selling. So, doesn’t it make sense to have a strong relationship and partnership with who makes you successful? Id say Yes!
It is easy to feel overwhelmed as a small business or a micro business, especially when you are doing everything alone or with very little help. But that is no excuse not to provide your customers with great service. I recently read a very straightforward article from Crowd Spring providing simple, not to mention easy ways to tackle customer service and save precious time and avoid headaches. Less is more. You can artfully provide the attention needed in ways in which are helpful, short and sweet. Because we all value time! Here are 3 mentioned from the article.
Often sites have an F&Q section of commonly asked questions. Of course you can’t come up with everything in the detail some topics may need but its a good start and could cut down on multiple phone calls or e-mails that require a response. Make sure that you have set in place standard ways of dealing with certain aspects and situations.
Read the e-mail you just received and make sure you are understanding the question or concern being expressed. Reply accordingly. A back and forth e-mail chain of asking questions and clarification can be time consuming.
Make good use of visuals to interpret information when ever possible. We understand images and illustrations faster and easier than reading or skimming through a lot of text.
Some of these tricks can save time and still make the customer feel as if their needs have been met either directly or indirectly, leaving them satisfied and confident in your brand and business.
Do you love managing the finances of your small business? The typical response to book management and finances is enough to put a small business owner into something that resembles a small child, hands over ears “I can’t hear you…”
With all the reading and research I have been doing on the subject this seems to be the general feeling regarding finance management. Its complicated, its stressful, not to mention time consuming. I know, I know, you have so many things to do as a business owner, you just don’t have the time or patience and you’ll look at it later with an accountant. I am here to tell you, I read a great article about what we dread as small business owners and why we shouldn’t.
Xero had a really well outlined plan as to how to stop ignoring your finances, how to plan ahead for the ultimate success of your business and your sanity. One particular thing that really made it all make sense and drive home the importance of being proactive was this direct quote,
“Put financial management at the heart of your business”
If you love what you do, than it is up to you to keep it alive, and not just alive but thriving! One of the biggest reasons that businesses fail is because they don’t plan ahead, or have realistic financial goals or know how to meet them. By taking time weekly, fifteen minutes or so, to assess the current financial status, allows you the opportunity to adjust situations accordingly, and you won’t be surprised if you stay on top of what is happening. This article is a great straightforward resource.
It is important when building your brand that you position yourself in such a way that your audience and customers trust you. Here are a 4 key tips that can help accomplish your goals.
Your brand should evoke a feeling, in order for the feeling and emotion to resonate with people it needs to be consistent through all channels.
You are your brand! Your passion in what you do is why there is a brand, so live it, breathe it! When your excitement and passion show, people are attracted to the positive energy. If you believe in your brand, products and services, they will too.
Listen to your market. Not only are you providing a belief but you want to provide a lifestyle. Listen to what they want and need. Be empathetic and human.
Most important be human! Your audience wants to support a brand they trust, believe in, and can relate to.
An effective way to achieve these goals is through a blog or a YouTube channel. This gives you an opportunity to shine and let your audience get to know you! Think of clever content, and share your expertise, ask for advice and ideas to get them involved. Stay consistent and loyal to yourself and your brand and they will come! Be Yourself!
It is the most commonly asked question, a true artists’ dilemma. How much do I charge for my art? I myself have struggled with this question.. a lot. I always have this argument with myself. My one side arguing but the time and cost.. my insecure side says but I’m a nobody, my art isn’t worth anything.. I know what you are going to say, but this isn’t about my self esteem or my self worth.
This sometimes is the sad reality of selling your art. Of course it took time and money and talent and an idea.. no argument there, but I it has been my experience that people either want to spend money on something they are drawn to or they don’t. The ones that will complain about your price are the same ones that won’t purchase even if it was half the price they are complaining about. These people are not your market, no biggie not everyone will be.
The people that you want, are willing to pay for authenticity, and quality. Overall, they are the people who appreciate the work that was put into creating something beautiful. These people won’t complain about pricing. I read this article which offers a great checklist on things to be aware of and plan for including contracts and client obligations when you are selling your art. I was happily reminded of two concepts. One, if you price your work too low people inherently believe that it is cheap. If you price your art at a higher price you are naming its ultimate value. So don’t sell yourself short! You are worth it!
It has become a running joke for me, I say it a lot! “I just want to be a Halloween painting princess!” It is a joke… but it is true. This is what I want to do. I want to create Halloween inspired paper mache figures, and paint them! Oh, and have people love them..Oh! And then I want to sell them! (here’s where things get tricky.)
In my research I found someone who I can completely relate to in this article. Kate Berube who is a Portland, Oregon based author and illustrator said in the article “But if you are trying to make money off of it, you have to learn about business. That’s not something I was taught in school.”
It is a struggle and adventure to move your art to business. This article offered some great advice in how to do so.
My biggest inspiration for my Halloween paper clay creations has been Johanna Parker. I was already making little Halloween and Christmas figures (not knowing what to do with them) when I came across Johanna’s Designs! I was ecstatic to say the least! Her designs are full of whimsy and magic and I felt a bit validated that someone was successful at what I was trying to do. This meant to me that, one there was market for vintage inspired Halloween items. Second I couldn’t give up.
It’s going to take a whole lot of effort in business mindedness and probably a lot less paint in the beginning.