Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: June 2011

Everything is Everything

Let's start with some tunes (hit play while you read!)

This has been a weird month.

Launching the Starship.
Turning 29.
Getting knocked out for a whole work week by the flu.
Going out of town for a week (family stuff!), with only my phone for internet access.

And instead of jumping into my work (my love!) every chance I get, I find myself reading, writing, painting.
I keep burying myself in painting books, rock autobiographies and artist blogs.
I'm taking an online painting class.
I'm listening to podcasts (This American Life, Creative Living).

What I'm not doing is writing about business or planning a class or making endless yards of yarn.
For the first time in….2 years?!

It's not just part of the creative cycle (because I'm doing lots of creative work, it's just not my usual)…it's a total shift in focus.

Yesterday, it really freaked me out.

What's going on? Did I lose the CraftyBiz love?
But I still sat down with a painterly book and just decided to trust myself.
If what I'm craving is paint + words, it must be what I need.

And sure enough, at 1am last night (this morning?) I wasn't sleeping, I was up planning a big Thank You gift (for you!) and my next craftybiz project. I was overflowing with ideas. I was back in the saddle.

As I pondered the shift this morning (as I poured over my new favorite artist's site), I realized: Everything is Everything.

Painting, writing, crafting businesses, making yarn: it's all the same. It's all creativity. Everything needs space and time (and health!) and patience and well-refilling.

Or as Havi says, There is no biggification without destuckification.

I can't build my own business (or help you with yours!) unless I work though my stuff. Whether that's family stuff, writing stuff, getting inspired stuff or just painting my little heart out….everything is everything.
It all comes back to build a stronger business, to create more inspired help for your biz.

What do you need right now?
What's asking for your attention (even if it's not what you're “supposed” to do?) Is it possible that indulging might be just what your business needs?

Insanely specific marketing advice

This is dedicated to the girls on the Facebook page who asked for a bit o help breaking down the “Do Some Marketing” on their To Do List.


What do you do when you know you should do “marketing” but you don't know what that is?

Get specific

What does your business need right now?

Better connection with your people?
More traffic of the right people?
More repeat business?

If your answer was “more sales!” you're not being specific enough.

Where do you want those sales to come from?
People who already follow you on Twitter or Facebook?
Brand new people?
Past customers?

Hint: Almost every craft business can benefit MORE (quickly and with better results) from getting in touch with past customers.

But because I promised specific help, let's look at how to get in touch with past customers.

IF that's what your business needs next, you can do it under 2 hours:

  1. Set up an email newsletter list (but give it a spiffier name than “newsletter”…is it a love letter? a diatribe? a missive of magnificence? call it that!). I like MailChimp.
  2. Set up your welcome message and include something interesting in your “confirm” email (that's the message they get when they confirm their subscription)…a coupon, free shipping, access to a special just-for-them product.
  3. Email your past 5 customers (one by one! don't spam them!) and ask them something about what they bought (be specific!).
    Tell them you want to thank them for their support so you're putting together a sneak peek behind-the-scenes bi-weekly (or monthly, or random) email and they'll get (fill in the blank) for signing up.
    Include a direct link to the sign-up page for your newsletter (Mailchimp makes this automagically, look for it under “forms” for your list).
  4. Create a draft of an email that you are going to send to EVERY new customer. In it, tell them when their item will ship and how you'll send it. Thank them! Then tell them that you've created a missive of magnificence just for past customers and they'll get  (fill in the blank) as a thank you. Send this email to every customer, as soon as you receive their order.
  5. As often as you've promised, send a sweet message thanking your people, asking for their input and sharing something secretly delightful about your business (a gorgeous inspiration photo, something that triggered your latest epiphany). Make it friendly, useful or inspiring, and relevant to what you make.


This will only work if it's suited to your business and your people. Before you move forward with ANY to-do on your marketing list, make sure that it will bring you closer to your overall goal…don't just do it because someone tells you it will work.

Want more specific yet personalize-able help for navigating your marketing space? Check out the Starship, where we have a whole class on making a non-sucky newsletters.


I fell overboard..

I built a beautiful Starship.
I was in love with it and excited and could not wait to tell everyone about it.

I had grand plans for a fabulous online-birthday party for myself. I was going to announce a really great gift (for you!) and then spend all the next week writing about what the Starship is like on the inside.

And then I fell off the edge of my world.

I took 2 days off for my birthday (fun! yay!) and then I got ridiculously sick.
Flu-sick. Fever-sick. Can't-get-out-of-bed sick.

For over a week.

And the worst part was: I had no energy. No will.
I had NO desire to write, to help, to celebrate the Starship.
No desire to do anything.

And I'm still not back yet.

I'm still stuffy and fluffy-headed.
Still sleepy and foggy.

I still don't have my excitement back.
I know it's part of the cycle.
I remember that.
The Starship help me remembers that.

But I miss it.
I miss being excited about the Starship.
I miss feeling like myself.

I just wanted to crawl out of my nest of blankets and tell you that if you fell overboard, or if you're tired, or if you're just not excited right now: It's ok.

Give yourself a break.
Rest, drink water, take your time.

It will come back.
And when it does, I'll see you here.



PS. I am feeling well enough (and the stirrings of excitement) about our FIRST call in the Starship, Wednesday at 3pm EST.
In case you missed the excitements over the Starship, you may want to beam up before the call.

Why I’m giving it all away

The Starship has taken longer to come together than anything I've ever done.

I did it intentionally (got the idea in April, but waited to make it public until June) because I wanted to give it space to grow and see what it would become.

(take the name for example…it was originally a Bounce House. Which is fun, but a Starship is SO MUCH better!)

The side effect of all this extra time is that I got all kinds of feedback on it. Slowly, from people I trusted.

Most everybody said something like

This is a splendid offer, Tara. Starship! And I love the way you express the goodness on this page. Yummy-yum, my friend.


OMG. I love the idea of a Starship.

Insanely fabulous.

And well, that was pretty awesome.

But a few people (even my students!) said something like

Whoa! That's a lot of stuff! Are you sure you want to give access to EVERYTHING you're going to create this year?


I never for a minute wavered (the Starship just felt SO GOOD)..but I did wonder: why am I doing this?

I've spent the last few weeks writing and thinking and talking about it: why in the world did I built a Starship?

Intense, yet fleeting

A live class is deliciously intense, focused burst of attention on your business. It's a moment of alignment between intention and action.
Everything comes together. BAM!

And I love being a part of that.

But I am not a one night stand.

I'm in it, here with you, for the long haul.

I needed our interaction, our relationship to take place in a way that reflected that.

Your passion for your craft isn't a one night stand either.

Those moments of clarity are sublime.
But your business is more than a few moments.

It's every day.
It's choosing to align your intention with your actions every day.
It's choosing movement.
It's choosing life.
It's choosing to go on an adventure…a continuing mission…a trek.

That trek, that commitment, needs the appropriate space and an every once-in-a-while class isn't the right space.

A starship is just the right size for a trek.

You have time to move in, space to stretch your legs, a holodeck to relax in (yes, we do have a holodeck), continuing missions and new flight logs to keep you focused and on track.

So that's it, that's the reason: I've putting everything I've made in the last year, every thing I WILL make in Starship because I want you to fall in love with your craftybiz and spend the rest of your life with it.
I want some of your last thoughts about your biz to be, “I have been and always will be, your friend”


(Ok, I just threw that last sentence in there because I am ALWAYS looking for an excuse to say that. Best movie line ever! I cry every time! )

Welcome to Your World

Your business isn’t a thing on your to do list.
And it’s not a job.
It’s not a system (although it has systems) or a struggle.

Your business is a world.
A full-formed, bursting with adventure universe.

That world comes into being the moment you made the decision, the moment you committed to creating it.
Every item you’ve crafted, every sale you’ve made has shaped your world.
Even though you are the one building it, you still need to explore it.

While you weren’t looking, it grew residents (your right people, your encouragers). It developed a currency (based on your pricing) and it developed a culture with customs, traditions and language.

It’s a lovely place, really.

It’s filled with your beautifully crafted items, your people, your money.
Have you explored it lately?
Plumbed it’s depths to see what else you can create for it?
To see how you can better serve the people (thus growing the population and the treasury)?

If you’d like to explore deeper, create your own maps and guidebooks, I invite you aboard the Starship.

To celebrate this site’s one year anniversary, I’m throwing a  launching brunch for the Starship.

I’m cracking champagne over the bow, I’m making pancakes in the replicator.

You can join me in the Starship, of course, but you can also celebrate with me in the comments, on Twitter, and in the SparklePointers.