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Archive of ‘Explore YOUR Business’ category

Sometimes, being an explorer means asking for help.

True fact: I have a hard time asking for help. But with the encouragement of the #starshipbiz, I'm trying to get better, especially in service of something scary and big and exciting.   Newest scary thing: I've proposed panels for #SXSW!  You can help by
Remember when I told you about TNNA and how it inspired me to commit to being OPEN to new opportunities, even if I didn’t see how I could possibly do it?

Well, more than halfway through this year, I can assure you that that commitment has definitely challenged me. It challenged me to teach for 18 hours (a good 9x more than the longest class I had ever taught), on video, in a fancy studio, in front of 5,000 (and counting!) students. It challenged me to start a podcast. And then another (knitting!) podcast with a friend. It challenged me to teach to my largest-ever in-person audience (alpaca farmers!).

And now my dedication to being Open is challenging me to do something new: Speak at SXSW. At the insistence of Shannon and Heather, I’m joining them in submitting two workshops.

And I could use your help.

You see, the panels are open to voting, and anyone can vote (whether you attend or not!). Voting makes up 30% of the decision (the other part: 40% by Advisory Board, 30% by SXSW staff). It will help us tremendously if you vote.

Here’s what we’ve planned

1. For SXSWedu (the education conference, for educators of all types), we’re going to talk about different platforms (like the Starship!) for adult education + how to choose which one is right for your goals.
2. For SXSWi (“Interactive”, for tech and entrepreneur-types), we’ll discuss the power of educational platforms in building your community…and how to actually find the time for it.

Voting is quick and simple:
1. Create an account.
2. Visit both of the class links (above) and hit the little “thumbs up” sign next to it.
3. That’s it!

To be honest, it was challenging for me to ask for this. I’d rather be useful and provide help, not ask for it. But my Starship Captains convinced me. So! Deep breath!
If you’ve enjoyed the podcast, the blog posts, the free weekly lessons, or just hanging out online with me, please vote here and here.

Thanks!

How to find your buyers

FInd your right PeopleThis is the single most-asked question I receive:
How do I find buyers? How do I let them find me? WHO THE HECK ARE THEY?!?

(You can hear the panic, can’t you?)

Well, here’s where you start:

(Click through to watch the video)

 

You see, instead of thinking about the buyer, you can back into figuring her out by first identifying what it is your (awesome) product does. What does it do for the buyer? And then, what deep need does that fill in your buyer’s life?

 

If you’d like to know what to do after you identify the need, check out the entire class here.

4 steps to make your dream more do-able

(If you’re reading via email, click through to watch the video)

Whenever I talk to makers about their goals, I hear the same frustration over and over:

I’m great at setting goals…but never seem to succeed with STICKING with them.”

In my CreativeLIVE class, we spent the whole third day translating your marketing and your dreams into a do-able plan, that will take you towards your true goals (and not just what you think you should do.

In the above video snippet, I share 4 actionable tips for making your goals more do-able. 
1. Get Super Specific
2. Recognize the support you have + the support you need
3. Keep it in line with your North Star
4. Be Flexible


If you want to get clear on your marketing and how they shape your dreams, you can buy the entire class (and watch a few more sneak peeks), right here: http://cr8.lv/taraswigerclyt

Marketing for Crafters

How to Market your Crafts, on CreativeLIVE with Tara Swiger

Eep! It’s nearly here and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!

 

This week I’m teaching a FREE three-day class on all aspects of marketing your handmade business. From your Right People, to clarifying your message, to crafting a Customer Path that effectively connects with your people, to deciding what (of the hundreds) of tools to use, to crafting a plan you’ll actually stick with…we’re going to cover it all, in detail. And best yet: We’re going to apply it to your business, exactly where you are right now.

Awesome, right?

In the last few weeks I’ve gotten a few questions more than once, so in case you have them too, I wanted to share them with you. Feel free to ask your questions in the comments, and I’ll get to them as fast as I can (while flying across the country!)

How does this work?

Go here and click “RSVP”. You’ll get both the syllabus and the workbook right away, so you’ll be ready to start class Thursday morning. At 9am PST (Noon EST) on Thursday, July 17th, class will begin! You’ll get a reminder email to log on and when you do you’ll see me teaching, in real time! There’s a chat room for you to ask your questions (the hosts will be lobbing your questions at me on the regular) and a hashtag (#swigerlive) so you can connect with your fellow students. Each morning you’ll get a reminder email so you don’t miss anything!

What’s the schedule?

July 17, 2014
Goal for today: You will end class with the language you can use to talk directly to your customer (and you’ll know exactly who that customer is)

9:00am - What Marketing is (and isn’t)
10:30 – 10:45 – break
10:45 – 12:00 – Crafting Your Message: Spot Your Sparkle
12:00 – 12:45 – lunch
12:45 – 2:15 – Your Right People (who they are, where to find them)
2:15 – 2:30 – break
2:30 – 4:00 –  Translate your message into your Right People’s language.

 

July 18, 2014
Goal for the day: You will understand how customers find you, fall in love with you, and buy from you – so that you can take focused, results-driven action.

9:00 – 10:30 - How to build (and improve) your Home Base
10:30 – 10:45 – break
10:45 – 12:00 -  Hi! How people find you.
12:00 – 12:45 – lunch
12:45-2:15 - Come Closer! Enticing a buyer into your world
2:15 – 2:30 – break
2:30 – 4:00 - Buy! That magic moment (and what comes next)

 

July 19th, 2014
Goal for the day: Create a concrete plan that aligns with your goals, and learn how to filter out everything that doesn’t.

9:00-10:30 -The power of knowing what you want.
10:30 – 10:45 – break
10:45 – 12:00 - Choose your tools: from Instagram to craft shows
12:00 – 12:45 – lunch
12:45 – 2:15 - How to hold an experiment (and learn what really works for you)
2:15 – 2:30 – break
2:30 – 4:00 - Make your own map: Create a do-able plan to get things done.

Keep in mind the times are approximate. Each segment might go over or under a smidge.(You can download this with a description of each segment here)

What if I can’t watch live?

Watching live is free, but you can purchase anytime access. You can get the whole class here for $59 (the price will go up after class, so jump on it!) or you can buy each day separately (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3). Each Day’s page tells you what we’ll cover on that day, so you can pick the one that’s right for you.

Whether you can watch live or not, you may want to purchase the class to get some amazing bonuses: 

  • Anytime access to the videos (so you can refresh yourself!)
  • Free access to Craft an Effective Blog
  • Free access to Automagical Email Series
  • $100 off the Solo Mission

Should I  take this class if I bought the book?

YES. Although I’ll hit on some book bits in Day 1 (specifically, Right People and Your Message), I’ve updated it all based on the last two years of working with designers, makers, and artists. I now know more about what really works in businesses just like yours, since I wrote the book over 2 years ago. Also: Day 1′s first segment is entirely new material (not taught in any class), and Day 2 and Day 3 aren’t in the book anywhere.

Should I take this class if I took the Customer Path class?

YES! We’ll cover the Customer Path in Day 2, but we’ll also hit on the big piece we couldn’t get to: How to build an effective Home Base (so your Customer Path leads people to someplace great). Plus, Day 1 and Day 3 will be totally new to you.

I’m bummed I missed the Customer Path class, where can I get it?

Well, you’re in luck! The Customer Path material is no longer available anywhere other than the Starship or in this class! (Day 2, Segment 2-4).

I don’t have a business yet, I just have ideas.

Ready for some tough love? If you are still just “playing around” with “some ideas”, but you really REALLY want a business (and not a hobby) – step away from the internet. Stop taking classes, stop reading books, and stop looking at what other people are doing. Go into your creation cave and create your best work. Make 5-10 of them (whether this is products, designs, artwork, whatever). Ask yourself if you enjoy this enough to make 50 more. Then, take some pictures and make it available for sale (either online or in a craft show).
THEN, you are ready to start thinking about marketing your work.
In other words, this class is going to be most useful to you if you know what you make and it’s available for people to buy, somewhere. If you’re not sure how to move from Idea to Business, check out Kari Chapin’s class on getting started.

 

Got a question? Ask and I’ll answer (in between traveling). Hope to see you in the class! 

The Power of Practice {podcast}

Power of Practice
“How do I get comfortable talking about my work?”
A client asked me this a few weeks ago and my answer surprised her. In order to get comfortable sharing your handmade business – you practice! Don’t worry if you don’t sound natural and comfortable yet, you’ll get there with practice.
In this episode I talk about how I practice – before a craft show and before a class (it’s kind of embarrassing), and we talk about the three things you MUST be doing in your handmade business.
To figure out WHAT to say when you talk about your work and find the most effective actions in building a business you’ll love, join me in my (free!) class with CreativeLIVE here.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).
  • Get all the blog posts, email lessons + podcast episodes in your inbox, subscribe via email.

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

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How to pick your goal

Set your goals for the rest of 2014 with the Explore Your Enthusiasm podcast, on TaraSwiger.com

Play

Happy Middle of the Year!

How’s your 2014 going? Have you come closer to your goals for the year? Or have you forgotten all about them?
Either way, this is a great time to reset your intentions for the rest of the year and make a new map.

But where are you going?

In this episode you’ll hear my favorite ways to set a good, clear goal that will bring you to a business you really want. I also share an embarrassing story about getting lost, and the importance of not just setting your destination, but paying attention the entire way there (with regular review!)

Links mentioned:

 

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).
  • Get all the blog posts, email lessons + podcast episodes in your inbox, subscribe via email.

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

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Stop calling it “self-promotion”

This week I’m deep in my writing cave finishing materials for my (free!) three day class with CreativeLIVE. To keep writing AND keep you exploring,  I’m revisiting and refreshing one of the most popular posts I’ve written from 2012. 

Revisiting & refreshing one of my most popular blog posts.

I’m allergic to the term “self-promotion.”

Lots of crafters call the process of getting their work in front of other people “self-promotion”, and it’s not just a malapropism; it’s dangerous! It  distracts you from what you should be doing.

Self-promotion sounds gross. In fact, just promoting yourself, telling everyone how great you are, is kinda gross. No one wants to be around the girl who can’t stop talking about how great she can sing. (You know the girl.)

But calling it self-promotion is dangerous.

If “promotion” is the only way you’re thinking of marketing, you’re avoiding it. And that’s dangerous, because you’re probably avoiding all the other aspects of marketing, too.

(Or you’re the other kind of creative, that just accepts the gross aspect of self-promotion and fills your twitter stream with “just listed [link to shop]“…but I’m pretty sure that’s not you.)

Marketing, however, is the process of communicating with your people, about your product, your business and how it can help them.

Promotion is only (a small) part of the marketing equation.

It might help to know that traditional marketing (as defined in my past-life, MBA marketing classes), Promotion is just one of the 4 P’s of Marketing.
In other words, it’s only one quarter of all the marketing you do for your business. In creative businesses, I have a theory that it’s even less than 1/4, but we’ll get into that in a bit.

The 4 P’s of Marketing is a framework for thinking about your marketing mix (all the things you do to communicate with your people). Inherent in the concept of a marketing mix is the belief that Promotion isn’t everything; that your focus should not only be on telling people about your work.

The other P’s:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place

Product

It all starts with what you’re selling – Is it something people want? If so, what about it do people want? Is that clear? Is there a new product you can add (or delete) from your line to reach a new market?
Read more about marketing with Product here.

Price

We already know that pricing is not a benefit…but it is a tool for marketing. Not just special pricing (a sale or discount), but the overall pricing strategy: Do you have a range of prices? Do your prices appeal to one market over another? What does your price say about the quality of your product?
Read more about marketing with Price here.

Place

Where your product is sold directly effects the market it reaches. Is your product where it’s people can find it? If you only have an online store, do you know your Right People shop online? When you pick a craft show, do you make sure your people will be there? How do you pick a shop to carry your goods? Where does news of your business show up? Is that really where your buyers are?
Read more about marketing with Place here.

 

See, there’s lots of marketing to do that doesn’t involve promotion.

What Ps do you use in your marketing mix?
Is there one you want to explore?

Want to learn more about your marketing?

Check out my new (free!) 3 day class with CreativeLIVE. It’s going to cover EVERY aspect of your marketing, from finding your Right People to how to write content that connects to making a plan to get your marketing done. Enroll here.

 

The Power of Community

Find community aboard the Starship, on TaraSwiger.com

Play

Having a community of supportive, encouraging and whip-smart fellow business explorers completely transformed my business. In today’s episode, I share a bit about how my business has been shaped by the communities I was a part of and what led me to create a community of other makers + writers, aboard the Starship. If you’re feeling lonely or down, listen in as I share my secret mission and how it involves you.

 

Note: The Starship closes THIS Friday, 6/27/14, at 4 pm. To learn more, check it out it here.

 

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).
  • Get all the blog posts, email lessons + podcast episodes in your inbox, subscribe via email.

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

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Why your business needs community

Community
Ever since I started my business, I’ve struggled with this dichotomy: I’m an introvert that spends (and prefers to spend!) 8-10 hours a day alone, making or writing, working in my own head and hands… AND I know that community and connection is absolutely the most powerful tool for business growth.
Luckily, I live in an age where I can connect to millions, while still working physically alone everyday. I’ve been blessed to be part of supportive communities, from the first time I wandered into the then-brand-new Etsy in 2005, all the way to building my own community aboard the Starship. (I’ll be sharing more about my personal history with communities and how they’ve changed my business in tomorrow’s podcast.)
But as easy as the internet makes “connecting” –  I know I’m not alone in having a hard time finding real friends and connections, both online and off. For starters, it’s easy to think of connecting as just wasting time (even when studies prove that the more we maintain connections, the more successful we’ll be.) Or to actually waste time and title it “connecting”. (Refreshing Twitter does NOT equal building relationships.)

On top of the whole time issue, it’s really hard to find people who get it, who are not just creative and dedicated to building a business, in the same way we are (with gentleness, curiosity, and sustainability.)

But no matter how hard it is, you DO need community.

Even the most driven among us (and I was raised by two Marines, so yeah, I’m pretty internally-motivated), can’t keep up the sustained, long-term work that a business takes, in a vacuum.
When you don’t have support, it often presents as laziness – a lack of focus, or lack of commitment – but beating yourself up is NOT the answer.
The saner (and more sustainable!) solution is to find a support network, to “outsource” some of the accountability to your community.

People to who will check in (kindly!) with you.
People who will give you honest (gentle) feedback.
People who will remind you to celebrate your success!

Whether you find these people on Twitter, Facebook, in a forum or even at your local coffeeshop – knowing that you’re not the only one that cares about your business, is mightily powerful. It will motivate you to stay focused, to keep working (even when you want to quit), and to try just a little harder. When you spend time with other businesses, you’ll begin to believe that more is possible, and you’ll get more and more clear on what the path to your success is.

If you’re having a hard time finding a community that will keep you accountable (gently!) and spark your motivation, check out the Starship. It was built for crafters, makers, artists, and writers, who need a bit of support, as they work hard on their own business + dreams (and it closes this Friday!) 

Just Say No: How to say it {PODCAST}

Just say no

Play

Tired of saying “yes” when you want to say no?

In today’s episode you’ll learn:

  • How to get comfortable saying no.
  • 4 ways to say say no
  • My exact scripts for getting more time, avoiding aggressive askers, and saying no.

This is the second part of a three-part (free!) mini-class on Saying No (for fun + profit). Part 1 is here, Part 2 is today’s podcast, and Part 3 is a worksheet (to apply this to your own business), only available if you are signed up here.

Links I mention:

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).
  • Get all the blog posts, email lessons + podcast episodes in your inbox, subscribe via email.

Find all the podcast episodes here.

 

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