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Good Shtuff: Craft Show Smartness Edition

Good Shtuff is a weekly(ish) snippet of the stuff I’m reading, listening to or watching.

I leave tomorrow for NYC and I am in all-craft-show-prep all-the-time mode, so this week the Good Shtuff is all craft-show related.

more yarn

How I prepare

I was going to link to some other people's helpful stuff, but then I remember I did that in this post. Not only does it link out, it's also a great description of what I do to get ready.

Shocking

I wrote this after my first craft show and I think it's most clearly expresses how much I love doing them: 5 1/2 Shocking Facts about Craft Shows. My favorite line: “Being friendly is exhausting, but being passionate is exhilarating.

Do I make any money?

The short answer: yes. The long answer (and how it all breaks down) is here.

But it IS a lot of work

I get real about the pain of craft shows in this post. Painful, yes. Awesome, totally. As I say, “I do craft shows because it’s the one place, the one situation in which being a full-time yarnie feels good, normal, accepted. The people get me. ”

But if you wanna do it

I compiled everything I've ever learned about succeeding at craft shows, with a heavy focus on getting post-show sales in this class. It's one of my most popular and the great news is: you can take it any time.

What have you been reading and writing this week?

Share it in the comments!

Good Shtuff: Boats + Treasure Edition

Good Shtuff is a weekly(ish) snippet of the stuff I’m reading, listening to or watching.

This week, it’s all about the adventures, boats and treasures.

Adventure Prep

In preparation for upcoming adventuring I've been listening this song (Adventures, Be Your Own Pet) over and over.

And shopping or new knee highs, like the ones I'm wearing today:
IMAG0810.jpg

You know, the important stuff.

Adventuring

I'm going to NYC next week!
On my list of must-sees: BabyCakes (gluten-free cupcakes), Purl (yarn!), MOMA (free on Friday night) and of course, the Maker Faire (where I'll be selling my yarn). Top of the list: YOU! Wanna hang out? Lemme know here + I'll plan a meet-up!
It's @babycakesNYC and I'm @blondechicken.

Boats

I've been admiring Bridget's boat-pregnancy and have loved reading about how she's making this dream happen. My very favorite is this post about sailing, which is mostly about fear, in a really beautiful way.
She's @intuitivebridge.

Treasures

I wanted to get in on the Treasure Project the last time my friend Lisa B held it. And now! She's doing it again! I love that she's using drawing (or photography, or whatever you prefer), she's using creativity to bring mindfulness to her surroundings. It's so easy to get wrapped up in my head, in my creativity and forget all about looking around me.
She's @zenatplay.

What have you read or listened to this week that you loved?

Good Shtuff: Sparkles + Unicorns Edition

Good Shtuff is a weekly(ish) snippet of the stuff I’m reading, listening to or watching.

This week, it’s all about the sparkles, glitter and culture.

Last week (I think it was Friday), I read three posts, all in a row, all about the SAME thing.
There's something in the air.
Or something is changing.
Or, you know, maybe this is just really good advice.

Unicorns

David Crandall wrote about How unicorns improve your business. It's true! Show your love for unicorns (or pink hair or blueberries) and you suddenly become a real person and can connect with other real people

Glitter

Naomi discussed Glitter (uh, not the movie, the sparkly stuff) and the amazingness of creating a brand. But ew, the word “brand” sounds so…intentional or manipulative. But that's not what she's talking about. Go read it.
(As always with Naomi: language alert!)

Culture

Havi wrote about culture (not the yogurt kind, the people kind). More than anyone else I know online, Havi has this culture thing down. Spend more than 3 minutes on her site and you get it. Even though none of it is…defined. It's obvious without being stated. I've been thinking a lot about this obvious-yet-unstated thing and I still haven't figured it out, so it was a treat to read her thoughts on it.

What do you think about these three posts? Do they spark some glittery unicornish cultured ideas for you?

Good Shtuff: Love Edition

Good Shtuff is a weekly(ish) snippet of the stuff I’m reading, listening to or watching.

This week, it's all about the love.

Love in your mailbox

The completely brilliant (and funny!) Amy is offering to send US Love Notes for HER birthday. Whether you need a little cheering or a whole year of Love, check out her Love Notes.
She's @AmysNotDeadYet on Twitter. 

Love in a circle

Today is the first day Leonie's Circle and I am SO excited. Even if the word “goddess” freaks you out, click through to watch the darling baby Ostara (+ puppies!) in the adorable opening video.
She's @GoddessLeonie on Twitter

Love in MY mailbox

This week I got a beautiful card from Retinal Perspective photographer, Elizabeth Halt.

Retinal Perspective Card
Sigh.
It made my day. Not only was the card absolutely stunning, but she had written the sweetest note in it. It made me remember how much I love getting (and sending) mail, so I'm determined to bring it back. Join me in the letter-writing love by getting your cards here. *
She's @ElizabethHalt on Twitter.

Love your story

Amna believes “we write our futures into being, and write our pasts into peace.”
Man, just that one sentence clinched it for me. Her writing workshop (for working on your personal story) looks completely amazing. I've worked with Amna and her style is direct, yet gentle, and so insightful you'll hang up thinking “wha? How did that even happen?” (in a totally clarifying way).
She's @AmnaAhmad on Twitter.

Love your people

I love my people (um, that'd be you) but I could always love you better. LaVonne Ellis is challenging me (and you) to do just that in her Customer Love challenge.
If your business is new or has hit a plateau, you need this. Jump-start the flow by turning up the love.
She's @LaVonneEllis on Twitter.

Love your business

I'm closing the CraftyBiz Kitchen this afternoon (around 3pm ET or whenever my last IdeaStorming session ends). Wanna know why? Experimentation! (For a full explanation, read this.)
If you're thinking about taking  the Newsletter classes, you can get them both + lots of extras for just $40 in the Kitchen.
Oh, and I'm @blondechicken on Twitter.

What's the Love-y stuff you've found (or written) this week? Share it in the comments!

*Looking for someone to send a card to? Pick me! DM or email me and I'll happily send you my mailing address and promise to be a very good penpal!

Good Shtuff – Mindblowing Edition

This is looking like a Wednesday ritual! (Read more Good Shtuff here)
Good Shtuff is a snippet of the stuff I'm reading, listening to or watching.

And warning: this week I'm feeling extra goofy, because I just found out I got accepted to the Bust Craftacular in Queens!
Having only been to NYC for one short 10 hour stopover (and was dragged by friends into basements selling purses, ew), I am so so so excited to get to do NYC my way: yarn shops, tea, local food.*

Now, let's get to the Shtuff:

An Extravaganza!

My darling Catherine (we just taught a class together yesterday) launched an absolutely spectacularly thorough class for anyone who doesn't have a website (or know where to get started). It's the Website Extravaganza and it's…mindblowing.

Fun fact: sign up with Team Crafty (just sign up under the “with buddies” column and put “Team Crafty” in the box) and you'll save $100. Pretty amazing.

Complicatedness Welcome

Amna's Hybrid Manifesto has been rocking my (handknit) socks off. Seriously. I tried to find a sentence to quote, but the whole thing is just perfect in it's wholeness. Go read it.

Sunshine walking

I'm walking on sunshine, whoa-oh-oh. I've been humming this song all day. Listen to it here on Pandora (if you don't know about Pandora, expect your mind to be blown.)

Whoa. That's the second time I promised something would blow your mind. I think we have the title of today's post!

I'm a hustler, baby

Chris Guillebeau has my favorite explanation EVER of what makes a successful business.  You need substance, yes. But you also need style. Your style.

Pioneering Pasta

Since giving up gluten, I've been studiously avoiding the Pioneer Woman's cooking page (formerly my very favoritist of all favorite recipe places). But this story of losing her darling dog (that looks so much like my Beau!) had me enthralled.

Oh, and her lemon pasta is super tasty on quinoa noodles with some artichoke hearts and fresh-from-the-garden tomatos added.  (Jay doesn't like it baked and it is SO GOOD you won't want to wait for the oven)

That's it for my Good Shtuff! What are you enjoying this week?

*Yo, I want to meet you, New Yorkers! Shoot me a note (or leave a comment) if you're in the area and want to show me your favorite cup of coffee/yarn shop/farmer's market.

Good Shtuff

A sorta random collection of the good stuff I've been reading, watching, listening to. (Subtext: I'm prepping for classes and am running out of words)

Be a Scout

Copylicious's Secret Scout emails are rocking my world. She writes about bear attacks and forest fires, but she's really talking about fixing your copy (copy = all the writing that sells anything, from Etsy descriptions to your home page). They make me laugh EVERY time and then make me go “hmm…I think I'll go fix up that page”.

Seriously. Go sign up.

Now.

Start a fire

I don't even know how to start talking about Danielle's FireStarter Sessions. In the two months since reading it, everything is changed.

I launched this here website.
I started offering (and getting booked up!) IdeaStorming + The Recipe and I adore getting up to go to work each morning.

I have waaay more to say (soon!), but wanted to let you know that now she's selling just one chapter (and it's the one that has my favorite exercise!) for $20. After you read it, you're going to want to get the whole book, but check it out first.

Circle

If you are even a little woo-woo (and I know you are), you probably already love Leonie, she of the rainbows and sunshine. But did you know that you can get ALL of her classes for $99. I mean, $99 for all of them together.

Her generosity is inspiring me to find new ways of sharing helpfulness.

Bake something

Totally unrelated to business, but vital to my, you know, life: I'm gluten-intolerant. I just discovered this a few months ago and Shawna's book + blog, Gluten-Free Girl, has made the transition an exciting and tasty adventure. I'm also a big fan of the recipes I've made from Gluten Free Goddess.

But the absolute pinnacle of my gluten-free experience has been Bob's Red Mill bread mix. Homemade bread. Better than any other bread EVER (gluten or no).

Or not…

My weekly farmer's market adventures have got me looking for new ways to enjoy while it's fresh. Enter Natalie's (free e-course) on going raw. And Mona's inspiring story.

I'm pretty much obsessed with raw and while I'm not giving up my (veggie) enchiladas anytime soon, going raw until dinner is easy-peasy.

Share your story

What are you reading? Share it in the comments.

Sabbatical

I quit my dayjob in July 2009. Since that first day, I have always had a to-do list. Always had deadlines. Always been working.
Oh, I have taken some vacations, but each of those were full-fledged ignore-all-work weeks off.

I have not experimented.

I have not started a work day without a list.

And I love lists and calendars and plans; it's not lists that are the problem.

It's that I've been working in much the same way that I worked in the dayjob. Similar hours, similar goals. Looking at my time in chunks of hours of days, not weeks or seasons.

I'm ready to play with this. To explore. To experiment.

I'm taking a sabbatical.

Not a vacation.
Not away from work.

But a focus on a more inward kind of work. More writing. More plotting. More listening to what wants to be built and building it.

From this Thursday through January 3rd, I'm changing the way I interact online and off, with customers and with ideas, with working and with resting.

What this looks like (for you):

I'll be:

  • Answering emails once a week (except about something you bought, that gets a reply within 2 days).
  • Writing for the blog once a week.
  • Finishing up the IdeaStorming sessions I have left in December, but not scheduling any more until late January.
  • Taking a break from the SparklePointer emails. They'll recommence on 1/4.

What this looks like (for me):

I'll be:

  • Experimenting with my relationship to work. What does a day without a to-do list look like? How do I feel when I don't have (self-imposed) deadlines?
  • Organizing and researching for first quarter classes in the CraftyBiz Kitchen.
  • Writing mini-books to go with my past classes (I'm turning them into more-complete resources, which will be available in January and February. If you want them at their current price, get them now.)

So what's different?

Really, from your point of view, not a lot. It's mostly internal.

It's really a pulling-back, not a going-away. I'll still be on Twitter (as, just, myself, hanging out). I'll still be sharing the Good Shtuff I find.

But I won't be brunching or launching or promoting anything new. Even though I've had the CraftyBiz Kitchen set to reopen 12/15 (for months!), it's getting very little fanfare.
Tomorrow I'll share a bit about the specific classes for the  first quarter of 2011 CraftyBiz Kitchen, but that's it. It's not even officially open and it's already  filling up, so I'm comfortable with it.

Thank you

Thank you!

It felt scary to even imagine a world with a sabbatical, let alone say it out loud. But here it is. And I feel great.
Thank you for your support with yesterday's bad news and thank you for making the past year awesome!

Wanna take your own sabbatical? Check out my course with Stacey Trock of FreshStitches: Take a Break (without breaking your biz!)

The hard and soft of Money

I've been thinking about money. And making it.

Not just because I'm teaching a class about it, but because my IdeaStormers have been asking about it (which is why I'm teaching a class about it).

The not-yet-in-business people want to know how do you  pick something, how do you know that it will make money?

The owners of baby-businesses want to know how they make more of it, enough to quit their job or just cover their overhead.

The thriving-crafty-businesses want to know how to balance the different things they offer and what new stream they should jump into.

And no one is asking me “But how can I be ok with money?”
We're not talking about theories or practices or internal stuff.
Havi makes the distinction between  the in-the-soft stuff (feelings, emotions, stuckness) and in-the-hard stuff (actions, ideas, strategies).

The in-the-soft stuff is super important.

Even though I am not teaching the dealing-with-your-money-stuck stuff, I want to pause and tell you that this is a vital step.
You just won't be able to take the next step until you acknowledge the stuff that's keeping you from that step.
The in-the-soft stuff is what moves you from knowing what to do to actually doing it.

But before you can do it, you have to know it.

And that's where this class comes in.

Because we can't move on to dealing with the deeper stuff of crafting a business (and a life), until we all know the basics.

The you can make money as a crafter in these ways, along with  and here's how you can make it sustainable stuff.

Basic doesn't mean beginner.
Basic means at the base.
The very foundation of building a crafty business.

All of the Right Price and Right People isn't going to get you anywhere if you don't know how your business will make money. If you don't know the options available even after you have an established business.

I am crazy excited about this class, but I'm even more excited for the what will come from the class. New businesses, new inspirations, new streams of income for crafters.

The class is tomorrow, but even if you can't make the live call, you'll still get a recording + all the materials. You can sign up right here.

If you feel like you know what to do…

but need some in-the-soft help? Here's what I do:

What helps you in-the-soft?
What do you want to know for in-the-hard action?

A cushion for the meh

I've been thinking a lot about craft shows and picking a good one and the inevitable meh show. It can be so disappointing when things don't go as well as you like and it so easy to slip into self-doubt. To keep myself from spiraling too far into the meh, I'm compiling a list of things to remind/encourage myself next time.

What's a meh show?

Any show that doesn't thrill you.

Maybe your expectations were high (and unmet).
Maybe your location wasn't great.
Maybe there were too many people selling the same thing.
Maybe the crowd wasn't in the mood to shop.

It seems like there's not a lot you can do.

And it's easy to see all the ways you can't turn the show around.
You can't change your place, you can't get rid of the competition and you can't convince an unbuying public to want to buy.

So what can you do?

You can institute an insurance policy. A few small things that will make sure the meh doesn't turn into a total waste of time.

Here's what I do:

Pick carefully. Think about what your Right People are looking for…will they be likely to find it at this show? Will they even hear about the show?

Invite your people. Tell them in your newsletter, on Twitter, on your blog. Email them personally. Offer them something (free gift, % off) when the show up and mention they heard about the show from you.

Collect new people. Other vendors, curious lookers, shoppers, non-shoppers. An email list is the simplest way to do this, but you can use anything that both helps you collect the information and then put it to use later. (I go into detail on the whole post-show-sales subject in this class, if you'd like to know more.)

Stay open to other opportunities. Selling your thing is great, but it's not the only benefit of the show. You may make contacts in the media (leading to a future profile or writing opportunity?). You may meet shop owners (wholesale opportunity?). You will definitely meet other vendors (collaboration opportunity?).

Schedule something fun. Plan to meet-up with the locals. Visit the tourist destinations (even if that just means cupcakes + yarn).  Stay the night with a friend. Eat new food.

And despite all this…

It sucks when things don't go well. And you may doubt yourself, doubt your thing and doubt the whole doing a craft show thing.

And that's ok.

You totally don't need to see the positive, or keep your chin up, or learn from your mistakes, or any of those other encouraging things people will say.

Go on. Look at the meh. Accept the meh. Maybe pout or sleep or write a blog post about the meh.

In the meantime, I'm here to gently remind you that the meh isn't all there is.
That there will life and sales and awesome shows after the meh.

In the comments

Putting our thing out there, into the big world can be scary. In the comments we don't give advice or “you should…”; we give encouragement and share our own experiences.  I wrote this post for future-me but if it helped you, I'd love to know.

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