Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

Month: September 2015

Why aren’t people buying? Here’s how to find the reason and crush it.


Why aren't your followers buying your product? How do you figure out what's stopping them and destroy the impediment?

In this episode we're going to cover all the steps to overcoming your customers' objections. I'm so looking forward to tackling one of the most confusing questions: WHY aren't people buying your thing!?

We'll cover: 

  • What is an objection?
  • How do you find the objections to your products?
  • How do you crush objections?


Links Mentioned:


How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Crush YOUR customers' objections with my free e-course to help you beef up your marketing game! Sign up below to get it.

Join me for a live event in Seattle!


Super exciting news guys: over the last month, I have confirmed FOUR in-person events for the next 6 months. You can see the full list here, but today I want to tell you about the closest one. (Want reminders about all upcoming events, both online and off? Sign up here!)

On October 16-17, I'll be at the School House Craft Conference in  Seattle, WA! You can grab your tickets here.


I'll be teaching:

Pay Yourself – find the profit and sustainability in your business

Craft your Customer Path – how strangers find you, fall in love with you, and become raving fans

Get More Done – how to get what matters done, no matter how much time you have.


I am SUPER excited! Not only to teach on my favorite topics, in one of my favorite cities, but to get to hang out with the fabulous people who will be there! Y'all know I love Kim Werker and Marlo Miyashiro (Marlo hired me to teach my first-ever live class, for EtsyRAIN, 3 years ago. I was, uh, in need of improvement), and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to get to know the other teachers better.

And more than THAT, I'm THRILLED at the chance to see YOU! So if you're in the Seattle area, I'd love it if we can meet and hang out at the conference!

Join us here.

If you're going, be sure to say hello and tell me you're a reader!

Why your creative business dreams haven’t come true


Why isn't it working? Are you not doing enough?
Having a business can be frustrating, especially when your dreams and hopes don't seem to be working out. In today’s episode I’m going to share the three reasons why your dreams for your business haven’t come true – yet – and what you can do to fix this.

But before we dive into today’s episode, I want to remind you that if you’re listening to this when it first drops, that the Starship is now open. Click here  to learn more about it.


How to listen


What Matters MORE Than More Followers


10 ways to get more Twitter followers

10 Steps to more Instagram likes

5 million ways to get more followers, likes, hearts, and approval from strangers


Posts like these litter the internet. Some are great. Some are educational.

But these posts are an AWFUL starting place. This the worst thing to focus on when you're not sure what to do next.



Because they are tactics. Tactics for implementing a tool.

But before you can apply tactics for one tool, you need to first know if your strategy includes using that tool, in that way.

And before you can know if your strategy includes that tool, you need to know the bigger picture, your Mission.

In other words, why the heck do you need more followers or likes? What are you going to DO with them?

Starting with tactics is starting at the wrong end. It's ensuring that you don't go anywhere important, you just spin your wheels doing doing doing.

Instead, start with the Mission. Then move onto the Strategy. And then, finally, figure out what tactics you need to learn to implement your strategy.

What's the difference?

Mission: This is the big WHY. Why are you doing what you're doing? Where do you want to go? What's your destination?

You don't have to have a big fancy reason, it can just be: I want to make $2000/mo from my business. That's a mission.

It could also be: I want to make a living from my art. Or, I want to share my art with the world. Or, I want to earn some money from home while my kids are growing up.

My Mission: Help makers + artists feel awesome about sharing their work with the world in a sustainable (profitable) way while creating a sustainable life for myself + my family.

(Note: It'll be easier to come up with your mission if you also a Vision – a bigger picture of the life you want and how your business fits into that. But sometimes you don't really have a bigger vision for a while, and that's ok too.)


Strategy: This is how you will enact the Mission.

How are you going to get there?

What are you going to do?

For example, if your mission is to make a living from your art, how are you going to sell it? Retail (Etsy shop, website?) or wholesale (through other shops)? Are you going to combine this?

Or, if your mission is to share your art with the world, how are you going to do that? Maybe you graffitti walls, or donate your art to hospitals?

My strategy is to first connect with makers via awesome content and encouragement for free: via weekly email lessons, blog posts, podcast episodes, and social media (especially Periscope and Instagram). This allows the people that my work is a good fit for to find me and feel comfortable taking the next step, where we apply lessons to their particular business via workbooks, classes, a supportive community, and live events.


Tactics: This is the actual implementation of your strategy.

What particular action are you going to do? How are you going to implement your strategy?

This is where learning about social media tools, or blogging, or managing your time better comes in.

You can see now, that for any Tactics to be effective at moving your business forward, you first have to identify your Mission and Strategy. (Also! Often your Mission and Strategy don't even require that you get more followers and likes!)

It looks like this:

Mission -> Strategy -> Tactics

So if you're feeling overwhelmed by all you “should” do, or confused about what the next best thing to do, you've probably been focusing on tactics.

(Take a deep breath! It's ok!)

Tactics are what 99% of online business advice is about, because it's fun and shiny! The Mission + Strategy portions are so personal, it's not easy to write a snappy blog post about them.

Instead, discovering your Mission + Strategy takes time and introspection.

This is why I've ensured it's the FIRST thing everyone does when they beam aboard my online community, the Starship. First, you do Chart Your Stars, which will guide you through identifying your Vision for your business and life and your Mission for the next year. Then, as a group, we do the Map Making process, to identify your Strategy for enacting your Mission over the next three months. I want everyone aboard to be clear:  What are you going to work on? What are you going to do?

And then you get access to my entire library of classes, some of which (like Craft Your Marketing) will help you identify your strategy and some (like Rock the Craft Show) will focus on your tactics.

I don't want to talk about your tactics, until we both know what your mission and strategy is. Because when we do talk about tactics (which we do, in the forum and weekly chat!), I want to be sure that we're helping you use the tactics in a way that will move your mission forward!

In this way, you can avoid an overwhelming, never-ending list of stuff to do. You can stop focusing on followers and likes, and instead focus on what you need to know to reach your goal.

And you can start crafting a business you really love.

To get clear on your Mission and Strategy + to join a community of encouraging makers and artists, click here.

How about you? Do you know your Mission? What about your Strategy?

How are they impacting your tactics?


The Secret of Reaching Goals (and how I forgot it)


Do you have a goal you wanted to do this year that you just haven't gotten to yet?


In this episode

  • tell you about my own goal and what I've totally failed to do,
  • how I turned it around
  • 4 steps to applying the secret to your own goals

The Starship comes built IN with the keys to reaching your goals and it's NOW open! Read more and join in 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!)

Find all the podcast episodes here.

The Starship is now OPEN


Put on your red shirt and press play on the playlist – The Starship is now boarding!

You can read all about it here, but I wanted to give you a bit of a backstage pass into what it is and does. .

NOTE: The Starship only opens once a quarter*, in order to make sure everyone gets started from the same place (and to ensure that I have time to get to know everyone and their business).

*To keep it small + personal (so you can connect, collaborate and befriend each other) only 16 new Captains will beam up this quarter (to join the 70+ who are already aboard). After that, boarding closes until December!

The Starship is a place for weekly accountability, monthly review and anytime-you-want-it question-asking (and answers!). Over the last 5 years (!), it’s grown to be more awesome than I had ever imagined.

You see, The Starship is not just me.  It’s a whole community of clever, hilarious business explorers who show up for you – they answer your questions, cheer you on, and celebrate (and tweet) your newest products. As it’s grown and changed, the Starship has come to do some things REALLY well:  

The Starship…

reminds you of your successes. I think of The Starship (and my role in it) as a vessel of celebration (pun intended!). It holds our joys and our challenges and, when we need it most, The Starship reminds us of what we’re capable of.

shares expertise. Whether you’re writing a press release or looking for the right platform for your next product, we’ve got members that have done everything from knitwear design to public relations, from self-publishing to traditional publishing, from selling art at gallery shows to teaching at major industry events. If you’ve got a question, we’ve either got the answer, or can find a resource that does.

equips you to reach your goals. Whether your goal is about your income, your direction, or the way you work – we have a library full of tools to help you first get clear on your goal, and then work towards it. The most important thing is that you’re going where you want to go, not just where you think you should go.

holds you gently accountable. Once you’ve got your destination, we check in regularly to make sure you’re moving towards it. But this isn’t imposing or judging – you let us know what you want to accomplish in the next week, and then you show up to let us know if you did it or not. If you’ve met or exceeded your plan, we throw confetti and celebrate. If you’ve fallen short and are feeling bad, we encourage you. We remind you of your past successes.

We’ve always done the weekly group check-ins, but this quarter we started something new: Accountability Partner Pairing. If you want more personal accountability, you just sign up and I hand-match you with a partner. Together you work out when (daily, weekly, monthly?) and how (phone, text, email) you’re going to check in. The results so far have been STELLAR, with lots of progress being attributed to the new partners!


If this sounds wonderfully appealing, you can read more about The Starship (and join!) here.


The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

It's been FOREVER since I've done an Adventures post! I've been sharing most of this on Periscope + Instagram lately, but I miss sharing them with you, so it's back!

The view

LOVE the colors in this shot by my producer Justin. Today I am back to work after the whirlwind wonderfulness of @creativelive filming (followed by family-visiting) & I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your sweet notes, comments and posts oMaking (public) gratitude a regular practice with #churchofgratitude. So grateful for: The CSA box ???? peach & berry season ???? snuggling pups ???? Sunday drives & long talks about the future???? reading a novel in PJs ???? being HOME :s
Impromptu coffee with @iamknitbrit & @knitgrrl, on their way to Purl's in Asheville! If you're in the area, go to the trunk show Saturday at 6pm! #avl #ashevilleDon't forget to look up. #sanfrancisco #taralovesadventure
A seriously beautiful day!

#WhatIlearned in August is that I love a challenge to break me out of what I think is possible. I'm all about #consistency & #everyday, and just STICKING WITH IT is the goal most days....but sometimes you need to commit to something bigger and crazier to

I am so grateful for…

  • Fall + cooler weather!
  • The great time I'm having on Periscope
  • My CSA box is so inspiring our cooking!
  • Super exciting teaching opportunities for the next 6 months!

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

  • I'm sharing a (free!) mini-course on reaching your goals here. Sign up to get it!
  • I'm teaching in Seattle next month at the School House Craft Conference! Join us here!
  • I'm Periscoping a few times a week and I'd LOVE to hang out with you there! To join, just download the Periscope app to your phone, search for TaraSwiger and then follow me. You'll be notified when I'm live (and you can watch my broadcasts for up to 24 hours!)

What adventures have you had?

Make 2015 awesome: It’s not too late


Do you remember what goals you set at the beginning of the year? How close are you to reaching them?

In today's episode, we're going to talk about how to end the year strong, and get back on track if you've fallen off. It's not too late to make 2015 an awesome year.
Today's episode was requested by Periscope. If you like the podcast, join me on Periscope! Just download the Periscope app, look up TaraSwiger, and start following me. The app will notify you when I'm live broadcasting, and you can join us live, or watch the replay for up to 24 hours.

Everything I mention in the podcast comes as a part of a Starship membership. Click here to learn more and be notified when it opens!  

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!)

Find all the podcast episodes here.


An Important Distinction: Tasks vs. Projects


Ever since I started preparing for my class on getting more done, I’ve been obsessed with what holds people back from doing what they want to do, or feeling good about their workday.

One of the biggest frustrations people have is that they just can't seem to get through their To Do list, no matter how hard they seem to focus.

After hearing this again and again, and looking close at what they actually PUT on their To Do list, I think I've discovered the problem:

There is a difference between tasks and projects.


It’s the difference between you feeling awesome and you feeling awful.

I go into detail about that distinction in my class, but I want to make sure you *get* it.  No matter what system or process you use, you need to distinguish between a Project and a Task.  


The difference between Tasks and Projects:

A task is a single thing that you can do in one session. A task might be labeling your products or making a single item.
A project is bigger and includes multiple tasks. It might be designing and printing new labels, or making enough items for a craft show.
(Answering a few emails: a task. Getting to Inbox Zero from Inbox Million: a project)


This is where a lot of people get overwhelmed. They try to work on big projects, without breaking them down into tasks. And for some people, this works. They don't have to think through breaking it down, their brain does it automatically. But for many makers and creatives, you can only see the big project and try to tackle it all at once. This is a recipe for overwhelm and feeling bad about your workday.

The solution: Just recognize the distinction!

Look at your list right now – is it full of projects?

Take a minute and break each project into its tasks!

P.S. If you want to be sure that you're breaking down the most important projects (the ones that will move you towards your bigger goal) into tasks, and that you actually DO all the tasks, check out the Map Making Guide. It walks you through this process, and includes an e-course, so you're prompted to work towards it, a bit at a time, over the course of a week.

Lisa Jacobs on copywriting and income reports


Lisa Jacobs has built a jewelry business on Etsy (The Energy Shop), is a marketing consultant for creative entrepreneurs, and she recently taught with me during the Improve Your Holiday Sales bootcamp at CreativeLIVE.

We discuss:

  • The two types of marketing writing
  • Why Lisa was about to quit everything
  • What she's enthusiastic about

 Links we mention

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

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