Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: September 2011

What are Right People, re-visited

In writing the chapter on Right People (for the BOOK!) and getting ready for the new class, I couldn't find a better way to explain it than I did in a post I wrote last year…so instead of trying to find a new way of saying it, let's just have a look at that older post: 

“Your Right Price will be right for your Right People”

I said this in the Pricing class and a few people piped up to ask , “But who are these Right People? How do I find them?

We’ll talk about the how to find the Right People and how to make them happy in this class, but before you register for that, let’s answer the basic question:

Who are Right People and why do I care?

I first heard the term from Havi, when she said:

Your Right People need whatever it is you have in whatever form you give it.

I read that and thought, yeah, ok.

But then I started to explore it (and talked to Havi about it in more depth).

As I experimented, it reframed and transformed every area of my business.

Let’s start with a definition, from Havi:

Right People = anyone you like and appreciate who likes and appreciates you.

My definition, as it relates to our crafty pursuits:

Right People = the people who love and adore your thing, the way you do it and you.

Your right people is anyone who really loves what you make.

This includes:

  • customers
  • friends
  • cheerleaders
  • mentors
  • partners

Not all of your Right People are going to buy from you, but even those that don’t will sing your praises to new Right People.

Without a focus on your Right People your business may be:
  • Unfocused: Which way should I go next? What should I make?
  • Uncertain: Will this sell?  Where should I advertise?
  • Insecure: Will people like it? Is it worthless? Will anyone ever buy?

Focusing on your Right People can reverse all that.

When you’re talking to your Right People, you can be yourself:

Because that spark of YOU is what spoke to the people in the first place, it’s why they are here, checking out your thing.

When you talk to your Right People, you know what to do next:

They’ll tell you what they want either directly (I want yellow!) or indirectly (yellow sells out quickly).

When you share your thing with the Right People, you’ll make sales:

They will feel a sense of kinship or a recognition of awesomeness and it will *click*. Yes, this is for me.

It’s not about manipulation, convincing or cajoling.
In fact, it’s the opposite! When you speak to your Right People, you don’t have to persuade them that your thing is right, they will feel it.

Sound awesome?

Learn how to do it October 12th in the Right People class.  We’ll cover the specific how tos of finding your Right People, talking to them, learning from them and keeping them blissfully happy.


Linchpin in a Business of One

Last time I saw my uncle, he told me he had read a life-changing book. A read-three-times-in-a-row kind of book. An everyone-should-read-this kind of book.

What is the book, I practically screamed.

(We like to tell dramatic stories in my family…ones that can go off the rails by the constant interruption of cousins/sons/brothers.)

I was completely surprised to hear the title: Linchpin, by Seth Godin.

The only Seth Godin book I haven't read.

I thought the book was about being an indispensable employee…so I had skipped it. I'm not an employee and I'm pretty darn indispensable in my business of one.

But I trust my uncle, so I got the book from the library.
And devoured it this week.

It's a great book for employees and entrepreneurs alike, but here's what blew my mind: Seth talks, at length about the need to…make your own map. (I'm sorta into you making your own map, remember?)

He has an entire chapter on There Is No Map and here's how it starts:

What does it take to lead?

The key distinction is the ability to forge your own path to discover a route from one place to another that hasn't been paved, measured, and quatified. So many times we want someone to tell us exactly what to do, and so many times that's exactly the wrong approach.


 This is what I'm talking about. 

This  is exactly what I'm passionate about:
You, getting comfortable with your youness.
You, recognizing that your distinct talents (Seth calls it your genius), your amazing thing (or Seth likes to say, your art) are what your Right People are begging for.

You, getting clear, getting obvious, gettin' jiggy with your youness is what I want for you.

So whether you're working for the man, or your own womanly self – be honest:

Where are you looking to someone else to tell you what to do?

What area of business (life) could you be making your own map for?

Should you work for free?

Have you seen the conversation about doing design work for craft companies for free?

It started with Jenny from Craft Test Dummies, but I didn't stumble upon it until Diane of Craftypod wrote a great piece urging crafters to value your work in the marketplace. Kim Werker wrote about how working “for free” has worked for her.

I commented on both Diane's post (here) and Kim's post (here)…but I want to dig into this from a slightly different perspective.

It's all about intention.

Whether you're working for yourself (like Kim when she built CrochetMe) or you're working for a Design Team for another company, your intention will determine the value of your work.

If you're a crafter who loves to make stuff and has no intention from making any money, working on a Design Time in exchange for product might be a dream for you.

But if you, at any point, intend to make money from what you're doing or hope to be paid for your designs, you (whether know it or not) are building a business and a brand.
And if you build your brand (how people in the industry know you) on free work…you can expect to collect a lot more free work.
If you seek out publication or paying design jobs, you will absolutely collect more paying jobs.

Every project you do broadcasts your intention.

And people pay attention to that.
Future customers, partners and fans notice and take note.

Doing free work broadcasts that your intention is to do free work. 

As a potential marketing tool (which is what “building a reputation” is), you can absolutely use free work to spread the word.

But with every free project, double check: is this building MY platform? Or someone else's?

When Kim built CrochetMe, it was her platform. She owned it and she controlled it.
When you give away a free pattern or sample on your blog or newsletter, it's connecting with your customers.

But when you write guest posts for other blogs you're building their platform. However, if their's is much bigger than yours, a simple link at the end of the article might drive enough new traffic to you to be worth it.

But when you design for a company who will use your design for free, you're building their platform. Will they link back to you? Will that drive new people to you or are you driving your people to them?
(hint: if anyone asks you to tweet or FB about something, they are asking for your audience) 

Some things are just for fun

I write guest posts, do joint classes, and contribute to the World Biggest Summit because I love the people who ask me.
Not everything has to be a profit and loss analysis…but something has to be or you'll wear yourself out working for free.

It all comes back to…..

What do you want?

Like I ask at the beginnig of the Map-Making Guide: what's your endpoint? What are you working towards?
Everything else can be judged by that: will this action/project get me closer? Or further away?

And if you're still doubting, just consult this flow chart.

Oh, and I wrote about this before: Should You Do Free?
(obviously I haven't gotten any cleverer when it comes to blog titles, eh?)

And now, two tiny announcement-y things:

  1. A few months ago I offered a special Map-Making Live Help session to the SparklePointers and all the spots got snapped up. I LOVED the work I did with those delightful people, so I've decided to do 5 more sessions.  You can grab yours here.
  2. The Starship is going to close to new Cadets on October 1st.

If you want to get inside this year and enjoy it for the rest of 2011, make sure you sign up before then.
A few reasons to join now:

    • Tomorrow, we have a Holodeck Party. You bring whatever you're dealing with RIGHT NOW and you'll get a dose of smart answers from other craftybiz smarties (and me).
    • Next week we'll have a Starship-only teleclass on getting referrals (with a live chat so you can ask your questions and get superquick answers).
    • Next month I'll be teaching Right People 201, on defining and finding your Right People. We're gonna cover material that's in my new book. If you're in the Starship, you're in the class, no worries if it sells out.
    • In November we'll revisit Holiday Sanity (take a peek at last year's info here).
    • The Starship is helping me write my book by providing me examples and insight…it's like the Council of Elrond for the book.
    • I really wanna hang out with you!
So yep, if you've been thinking about it, jump in here.

A manifesto. A philosophy. A question.

Lo, these many weeks, I have been digging into what we're doing here.
What I believe. What  my mission is.

What I believe about you.


And here it is, all at once:

The gist: I don't want to create ANYTHING that makes you doubt yourself.
Instead of telling you WHAT to do in your craftybiz, let's dig into your particular smartness and look at how you can apply THAT.

But I'm still figuring it out: How can I best do that?

What do you think?

Notes from the BOOK: A spoonful of my own medicine.

Notes from the BOOK is a weeklyish peek into how the BOOK is taking shape. Lessons learned, moments of bing, and excerpts.

Last week I wrote this for the book:

“Get clear on YOUR strengths and your product's unique awesomeness before you start thinking about your customers. If you do it the other way around, you'll create something bland and not-you. Your you-ness is the main selling point when you make something by hand, so we're going to do everything we can to make sure we don't dilute it.”


And then I got stuck.

I couldn't write another word.

I outlined my next few points, the rest of the chapter…but I couldn't seem to turn my outline into coherent sentences (even the above sentences are a little murky for me, they're sure to go through a rigorous editing before they end up in the book).


A few days later (3 days of no writing! The world was caving in around me!), I recognized something else lurking, some un-book-related stuckness. I've been feeling a bit drifty about what I want to do next (I know, I know, the BOOK should be project enough). This sense of unease seeped into every other aspect of my work.

I didn't feel like my Work has a Mission. It seemed random, piece-meal and unfocused.

 So I went in search of a Mission.

Many journal pages, and days, later I talked to Jay about it.

His first, uncluttered response: Isn't your Mission to Be Tara?

 Oh, yeah.

 I spent another few days trying to figure out what this meant for my business.
Obviously, it's not a business model. It's not a marketing plan. It might be my personal mission, but how could it lead the business?


Uh, what did I write up there?

The first job, when you're selling something so very YOU, is to get clear on what that YOU is and then make all decisions from that. Your strengths, your vision, your you-ness guides everything (in fact, my whole BOOK is about HOW you make smart marketing decisions based on your you-ness).


The drifty, unfocused feeling came because I lost sight of that.

I've been making decisions based on what I thought I should be doing.

On other people's definitions of my business.

And other people kept thinking I was a consultant.
So I had to set up my site like a consultant.
I had to market and make offers and products like a Consultant.

 Except I'm NOT a consultant. I'm not a person-who-knows-better.
And I'm so totally not a coach (unless it's napping. I could totally be a napping coach).


 I'm Tara.

(my own Tara, not other people's versions of Tara)

An explorer.
A writer.
A sharer.
A big-sister (a smidge more experienced, a little bossy, mostly goofy).
I share that here.
I create tools and spaces for you to do YOUR OWN exploring.

In those tools and spaces, I'm a silly, friendly, encouraging fellow traveler. I share my path and help you figure out yours, all while protecting and respecting YOUR experience.

Knowing that, respecting that and paying attention to that Tara-ness IS a mission.

It is a business model.
It is a marketing plan.
It guides my decisions.
It helps me focus.
It keeps everything coherent and heading the right direction.


And back to the BOOK…

The last week of not-writing, it was my own good sense trying to fight through the what-everyone-else-says clutter to assert itself in my life. To bring me and this place and everything I do in alignment with what I was writing.


(why yes, it is a little frustrating that I didn't recognize it before spending a week gnashing my teeth)


What's your mission? How does it want to assert itself in your business?