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Build your business, grow your confidence.

bizconfidence

How do I keep my self-doubt from holding me back?
How do I move forward even when I don’t feel like it?

These are the questions we all come up against, especially as we start to do something new and challenging, like starting or growing a business based on our creativity.

The answer is: Confidence.

Not “just force yourself to do it.” Not “just wait until you feel ready.”

The answer is: Identify the doubt, build your confidence in that area, and then move forward, bit by bit.

Oh, I know, it’s more fun to focus on the tactical stuff, like growing your Instagram followers or learning Periscope, but remember, none of the tactics (and no amount of followers) will matter if you don’t know where your business is going; and beyond that, none of the tactics in the world matter if you don’t DO them.

When I talk to makers about their businesses (and when I look at my own), what I discover 99% of the time is that we all know a BUNCH of stuff we COULD do, but we feel held back from actually DOING it.

To be totally honest, I know about a million things I could be doing for my business, but I don’t do them because… I don’t have the confidence.

An example: Recently a friend (who is in the industry and knows a lot of great people) sent me a request from a journalist looking for an expert in exactly what I teach. And I hesitated to reply to it, for over an hour, because I thought: I’m not an expert enough.

I finally did it, but afterward I realized how much a lack of confidence could have cost me in that moment, and how much it’s cost me over the life of my business.

I bet, if I asked you to, you could tell me a similar story in your own business, from just this month.

So I ask: What would less self-doubt and more confidence do for your business? How would you act? What would change?

In a recent podcast episode, I lay out 7 ways to defeat self-doubt (and build your confidence), but just knowing these things is different than DOING them. Doing them takes time, and focus, and dedication.

So let’s do it, eh?

Let’s take the actions, together (because, yeah, I need it too).

Over the next 6 weeks, I’m going to challenge us both to take one action, each week, to move forward, build our biz confidence, and step into our own awesomeness. And I’ll be playing along too, and sharing my own progress.

Here’s how it’ll work:

Each Monday, I’ll post a challenge on Instagram. (Be sure you’re following me!) This will be one action you can take during the week, that will build your confidence. When you complete the challenge, snap a picture and share it with the hashtag #bizconfidencechallenge (I’ll also email you this challenge, as I know you may not be on Instagram!)

Each Friday, I’ll send a lesson to build on the challenge and explore it deeper. Sign  up here to get them!

I’ll post a discussion thread on the Facebook page (be sure you’ve liked it, and that you like a few posts, so Facebook actually shows it to you!), so that after you’ve read the lesson, we can discuss your experience with the challenge and what you’ve learned.

These confidence-building lessons + stories will only be available to email subscribers, so if you’d like to share it with friends, please tell them to sign up here! (And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, too!)

Are you in?

Ok! Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Be sure you’re following me on Instagram
  • Share this page with your friends
  • Like the Facebook page and join the discussion.Answer the question here: What specific action has self-doubt kept you from taking, in just the last month?
  • Take a picture that represents something you’d do in your biz, if you had more confidence.
  • Share it on Instagram and tag it #bizconfidencechallenge.

Get Realistic (while dreaming big)

It is possible to dream big and still set realistic goals for yourself. Allow yourself the time to make a big, huge dream - and then take the all-important step of boiling it down into what's most important and how you're going to accomplish that important thing next. More at TaraSwiger.com.

I confessed a few weeks ago that I hadn’t really started planning yet, because the start of the year was crazy-busy for me.  Well, I finally got around to it! I looked at all I wanted to do this year (I use Leonie’s workbooks to spark a LOT of ideas for this!) and I started to plan out the next year – what I’m going to implement behind-the-scenes (yay systems!) and what I’m going to launch and offer (yay classes!).  After listing it all, I looked at the calendar (this is a key step! don’t forget this): When would I do it all?

It’s at this point that I had a realization. I mentioned this epiphany on Periscope Monday and got a lot of “OMG! Me too!“, so I bet it applies to you, too.

I can realistically do about half of what I “planned” to, if I want to do it well and enjoy my life.

Due to the unrelenting limits of time and space… I just don’t have time to do everything I want to do, right now.

Now, let’s be clear, I CAN DO IT ALL… just not all at once. (You too, by the way.)

So I added some space in. I stripped my list down to what I really want to do first, and added IN a bunch more writing time (which is both what I want to be doing with my time, and the thing that helps the most people, most effectively.)

I wanted to share this revelation and subsequent adjustments with you for two reasons:

  1. I bet your plan for the year (if you haven’t made one yet, that’s ok, there’s still time!) could use a second look. Have you tried to shove too many things in too small of a time period? How could you make your plan more doable? (The more doable your plan is, the more likely you are to DO it, and accomplishing a plan builds confidence and momentum which makes the NEXT plan even easier!)Maybe you need to break the big goal down into the next three months. Maybe you need to remove the not-as-important things and just focus on what lights you up AND is most directly related to the Mission of your business. Maybe you need to just get to work.
  1. I wanted to be honest with you – THIS is what it looks like to build a business you actually love. It involves planning and work and always paying attention to how you’re spending your time. Are you planning to do things you’re THRILLED about? Are you spending time on the most VALUABLE projects? Are you in alignment with your Mission? It’s OK if you fall out of alignment sometimes, as long as you readjust when you notice.

Your turn!

What are you planning for the new year? Have you taken time to  map out each step and put it on your calendar? Do you need to revise your plan to make it more do-able?

If so, that’s OK! Don’t let that hold you back from doing the work and moving forward!

 

 

How to read over 100 books in a year

In 2015, I read 100 books - everything from comics to classic lit to business & home decor how-tos. If you want to set a big reading goal for yourself, in this post I'll help you do that. More at TaraSwiger.com.

 

In 2015, I read over 100 books. Books ranging from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic to War & Peace. I read Louise Hay and Jane Austen. Business books, creativity books, a big handful of novels and even more graphic novels. I finally got caught up on Buffy. I discovered and read everything by Rainbow Rowell. (You can see all the books I read in 2015 here. Only one rule: No judgement.)

And this isn’t the first time. In 2012 I read 100 books and shared my experience here.

If you’ve been reading my blog, this is no surprise to you. I post my reading lists every month (you can find them all here) and the question I always get is “How do you do it? How do you read so much?” So that’s what I’d like to share with you today: How I read 100 books in 2015 (and how you can read more, if this is one of your New Year goals!).

 

Before we dive in, I don’t have to convince you of the value of reading, do I?

It’s not just fun and relaxing, it also teaches you a new way to look at the world and introduces you to ideas, characters, and ways of living you never would have encountered. Yes, even novels and comics.

Business and creativity books can give you insights into your own business and inspire you to grow and experiment. They can also just straight up teach you something you don’t know (that’s why I read a book on webinars). Fiction can open up your worldview – what do other people think? How do they live? What are you assuming is “normal”?

This helps your business too. It’s easy for us to believe that everyone is like us, and therefore, the thing we do isn’t special. This mistake is the #1 reason people undervalue their work. Everyone is NOT like you. Their brain works in totally different ways. They have different values. They live in different worlds. Fiction can open you up to this. (Also, and I can’t stress this enough: FUN. Your business needs you to relax and refill the well of your creativity. Reading someone else’s creativity is a great way to do this.)

With that in mind, here’s how to read more this year:

Know your why.

Do NOT resolve to read more just because I do. Read more because you want to, because you have your own awesome reasons. Your reason can be anything, but before you pick your number, think (or write) about why you want to read more. My reasons have shifted over the years. In 2012 I wrote: “The real reason I set the goal is that I love to read. Love it! But I often tell myself not to. Instead, I should be working. Or I should be reading something better (catching up on blogs, news, the latest marketing advice). But after an intense 3 months of non-stop writing to finish the book,  I decided to give myself permission to just read. As much as I wanted!”
In 2015 my reasons were a little different. I love to read (that’s reason #1) and I found myself doing a lot more blog reading and Pinterest-surfing at night in bed. That just keeps me awake. Instead, I want to be reading something then (this is when I read fiction, because my brain is too tired from the day to read something think-y). And in the mornings, with my coffee, I was scrolling through Instagram, but that distracts me and gets my day focused on other people instead of my own priorities. So instead, I read (this is where the business-y, creative, and self-helpy books go).

The numbers don’t matter.

Forget about the “100 books in a year” thing and focus on what YOU can do. How much did you read last year? Can you increase that by 5 books? Can you double it? (That’s how I hit on 100 books – in 2011 I read 52 and I wanted to double it.)

But setting a number helps.

It doesn’t matter WHAT your number is, it only matters that, if this is one of your goals, you quantify it. This will make it easier for you to celebrate your successes and make you more likely to read.

Turning simple permission (you’re allowed to read!) into a big crazy goal, lifted my passion into something important. It suddenly mattered that I get to read every day, it was a priority! If I hadn’t committed to the big number, I would have continued to question each reading session: shouldn’t I be doing something else?

Track your reading

Keep track of what you read. You’ll find it comes in handy when someone asks you for a recommendation and it’ll inspire you to read more. Seeing the list grow is weirdly satisfying. Also, it’s the only way to know if you’re meeting your goal or not! I use Goodreads for tracking my books. I only occasionally write a review or use any of the social features, I just use it to remember what I want to read (anytime I hear about a book I like, I go to GoodReads and mark it “to read”), and mark what I am reading, then move it to “read” when I finish it. And this brings us to the next tip:

Have a long To Read list.

Track what you want to read (I use GoodReads, but you could use a note on your phone or your notebook, as long as you can easily find it and add to it) and add to the list constantly. Every time you hear a great interview on a podcast, mark the book to read. Every time you hear a recommendation (next week on the podcast I’m sharing the 9 best biz books!), add it your list! Every time you come across a mention of a book in the book you’re reading, at it to your list. This is why I’ve read so many random or woo-woo books – when more than 5 people I respect recommended a book, I read it (or at least start it). If I want to understand how smart people think, I gotta read the books they read!

(This, by the way, has led me to  some really amazing insights in books with terrible titles that I wouldn’t be caught dead reading. This has also led me to discover that a lot of male entrepreneurs recommend books filled with war or sports metaphors that are utter drivel.)

Have enough books

The biggest thing that slows down my reading is not having enough books in the house. It doesn’t matter if I’m into what I’m reading, if I don’t know what I’m reading NEXT I drag my feet. (Never mind all those books on my Kindle.) This is where the library is a beautiful thing – I take home about twice as many books as I actually read. But that gives me variety and choices.

Read short books

Ha! This isn’t a real piece of advice, but it came up when I was talking to Ruth and Joeli on Twitter. Obviously, you’re going to read fewer big books… but what matters is that you READ WHAT YOU WANT. If I hadn’t read so many graphic novels (which take between 2-10 hours to read, depending on the book), I’m sure my numbers would be lower. That said, it’s YOUR reading, it’s YOUR fun. Any book you choose “counts”. If I hadn’t read War & Peace and Emma, I’m sure to have read more. (I have a shelf called “comics count”, to remind myself that i’m allowed to read whatever I want. There is no reading police.)

Give yourself permission to read what you want. And stop when you want.

There are no awards for reading the right books. Or for finishing a book.
Read what you want, when you want, and quit when you want.
There’s no guilt, no pressure. Reading is something I love to do. So if I don’t love reading this book, I remember that it’s not me, it’s the book. So I stop.

This applies to everything.

These lessons aren’t just for reading, they apply to every area of your business. Set goals, track them, have lots of options at the ready, and above all, give yourself permission to focus on what you enjoy and what’s working, and stop doing all the stuff you think you “should” be doing.

How can you apply these lessons to your own goal this year?

If you want to read more, what tip are you going to start applying now?

Why you should follow your next crazy idea: my story

yourcrazyidea

One year ago, I had a crazy idea.

I’m going to share the story with you today, in hopes that it will inspire you to follow your own crazy ideas.

*cue flashback music*

I had spent the day working with clients, answering questions in the Starship, and replying to listeners questions via email. I told my husband, “I feel like everyone has the same questions, and they are all about the same 3-4 things. If they worked through just those things, and found the answers for their own business, they’d be able to answer 90% of their own conundrums. Then they could use something like the Starship or a business mentor to figure out the super-personalized stuff.

It’s just so ineffective to talk about this foundational stuff in a personal session. Stuff like, your profit math, finding your right person, how you’re using your time. It’s vital stuff, but not personalized. I mean, I can ask you 5 questions and YOU come up with the answers, based on your biz.

If people could get a handle on these few things, that would make them feel a zillion times better about their business and prepare them to deal with nearly everything they’re ever going to need to do in their business.”

And he said, “Ok, so…you should teach that.”

Well, I kinda already do. I have Pay Yourself, Map Making, Market Yourself….the problem is people jump into, say, marketing, before they know if they’re profitable. And it’s pretty detrimental to start selling MORE work if you don’t even know it’ll make more money. And if you do any of it before you know where you wanna go, you’re going to go in circles.

And he said, “So put it together, in order. You could do that, right? You’ve got the technology?”

….I guess…I could figure it out… (This is the start of any business idea. You just decide to see if you could figure it out.)

So I did.

Last December I launched Lift Off, which is 6 months of weekly business lessons, delivered to your inbox.

The lessons walk you through the foundations of your business, in an order that makes sense. You get clear on your Vision and Mission, set goals, get profitable, start sharing your work, and create your own best time management system. It’s not (just) facts, it’s built on (your) action. You find YOUR goals, YOUR profit margins, YOUR Right People, YOUR most effective workday.

Over the last year, I have been DELIGHTED by the impact Lift Off has had in creative businesses:

I have been following the Lift Off emails and have been doing the homeworks. I wanted to let you know, I have been learning and practicing what you have been teaching, at my pace and it’s helping me a lot!  It’s great to have this guidance, it helps to confirm some things I already knew, but wasn’t sure if they were right or wrong for my business. It feels like walking the path and seeing the sun coming up on the horizon….because I am already having good results!
-Rossana Aponte

“I was completely scattered. I was being pulled into 50 million (or so it seemed) directions because everyone out there had a thing “I should be doing.” Lift Off made me realize, through consistent well thought out weekly lessons, that it’s OK to do what I want to be doing, and to start to form a plan to get my business to be what I want it to be and to do only the things that work for me. And it is working!”
-Karen Whooley

Spending some time this morning on TSLiftOff. It just started and it’s already making me feel better about my business!”
-Jen Lucas, on Twitter

Took me a few hours to realize I already have the tools to de-stress, regroup & reorganize around my work thanks to #TSLiftOff!”
-Jennifer Lindroos, on Twitter

(Check out other tweets from the course here and Instagram photos here)

 

Lift Off is open again, right here: http://tarasiwger.com/lift
It closes tomorrow at 7pm EST.

 

If you would like to make 2016 the year of your business, the year when you are profitable (and know it!), the year when you not only decide on your direction and goals, but go boldly towards them, then be sure to join Lift Off, before it closes.

 

Your Invitation to a free workshop

Join me on Friday, December 11 at 1pm EST for a FREE live online workshop on how to Defeat Overwhelm in your creative business and get your most important work done. Learn the only 4 things you need to focus on in your biz, and get rid of everything else that overwhelms you. Learn more at TaraSwiger.com/defeatoverwhelm

This Friday, at 1pm (EDT), I’m holding a live webinar (online video class) – for free! Usually these online workshops start at $99, but this one is entirely free.

Register for the webinar here.

In this hour-long workshop, you’ll learn:

  • How to avoid overwhelm in your creative business
  • The only 4 things that need your focus in your business
  • How to build the foundations of your business, no matter how new (or old!) it is.

You see, I talk to creatives every day who are just completely overwhelmed. They don’t know if they should do X or Y. They don’t know where to spend their time and energy. They don’t know what will make a difference.

And this breaks my heart. Because I know what leads to growth in a small business: Focused, consistent action. But you can’t take focused, consistent action until you decide what action to take, and then really commit your focus to it. But if you’re overwhelmed and unsure, you’re hesitant to really commit to one action. So you do a whole bunch of stuff, all over the place, and then feel frustrated that you don’t see results from anything.

If this is what you’re struggling with, please join me for this webinar, on December 11th. To join in (and ask me any of your questions!), register here. 

Invite your friends and take it together to hold each other accountable: 

 

defeatoverwhelm

The Power of Confidence + your invitation to a free e-course

What would you do in your biz if self doubt weren't holding you back? Join me for a FREE 6-week e-course to build your biz confidence, at TaraSwiger.com.

 

This week on the podcast, I’m talking about how to Defeat Self Doubt. This is a question that comes up for so many makers:

How do I keep my self-doubt from holding me back?

How do I move forward even when I don’t feel like it?

The answer is: Confidence.

Not “just force yourself to do it.” Not “just wait until you feel ready.”

The answer is: Identify the doubt, build your confidence in that area, and then move forward, bit by bit.

Oh, I know, it’s more fun to focus on the tactical stuff, like growing your Instagram followers or learning Periscope, but remember, none of the tactics (and no amount of followers) will matter if you don’t know where your business is going….and beyond that, none of the tactics in the world matter if you don’t DO them.

When I talk to makers about their businesses (and when I look at my own), what I discover 99% of the time is that we all know a BUNCH of stuff we COULD do, but we feel held back from actually DOING it.

To be totally honest, I know about a million things I could be doing for my business, but I don’t do them because … I don’t have the confidence. An example: Last week a friend (who is in the industry and knows a lot of great people) sent me a request from a journalist looking for an expert in exactly what I teach. And I hesitated to reply to it, for over an hour, because I thought: I’m not an expert enough.

I finally did it, but afterward I realized how much a lack of confidence could have cost me in that moment, and how much it’s cost me over the life of my business.

I bet, if I asked you to, you could tell me a similar story in your own business, from just this month.

So I ask: What would less self-doubt and more confidence do for your business? How would you act? What would change?

In the podcast episode, I lay out 7 ways to defeat self-doubt (and build your confidence), but just knowing these things is different than DOING them. Doing them takes time, and focus, and dedication.

 

So let’s do it, eh?

Let’s take the actions, together (because, yeah, I need it too).

Over the next 6 weeks, I’m going to challenge us both to take one action, each week, to move forward, build our biz confidence, and step into our own awesomeness. And I’ll be playing along too, and sharing my own progress.

Here’s how it’ll work:

Each Monday, I’ll post a challenge on Instagram. (Be sure you’re following me!) This will be one action you can take during the week, that will build your confidence. When you complete the challenge, snap a picture and share it with the hashtag #bizconfidencechallenge

Each Thursday,I’ll send a lesson (you must be signed up here to get it) to build on the challenge and explore it deeper.

I’ll post a discussion thread on the Facebook page (be sure you’ve liked it, and that you like a few posts, so Facebook actually shows it to you!), so that after you’ve read the lesson, we can discuss your experience with the challenge and what you’ve learned.

 

Are you in?

Ok! Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Sign up for the weekly lessons here
  2. Be sure you’re following me on Instagram
  3. Share this page with your friends
  4. Like the Facebook page and join the discussion. Answer the question here: What specific action has self-doubt kept you from taking, in just the last month?
  5. Take a picture that represents something you’d do in your biz, if you had more confidence. Share it on Instagram and tag it #bizconfidencechallenge.

 

Why I Love Conferences

loveconferences

 

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

I love the internet. I LOVE that I can help makers + artists in China, Europe and North America, all from my coffee shop in the mountains of East Tennessee.

As an introvert, I love that I can be talking to and serving thousands with my weekly emails, without worrying about what my hair looks like.

But, as much as I love talking to you each week, there is nothing comparable to live, person to person, interaction.

(This is why I built a live weekly chat into the Starship, even though all of my biz-friends think it’s unsustainable and unscalable and frankly, a little nuts. (I remind them that I’ve been showing up to 50 chats/year for over 4 years, so it IS sustainable!) The LIVE interaction, even if we can’t be face to face, provides a kind of encouragement and accountability that time-shifted communication (like this blog post) can’t.

But even a live chat, or Periscope, lacks the connection that comes from looking in someone’s eyes and knowing they see you, too.

This is why I love doing in-person events, like last weekend’s conference. Even if I had learned nothing from the classes themselves, I learn so much from every conversation with another maker and small business owner. I learn what works for them, what their goals are, what hasn’t worked. That informs my own work, and inspires me to be bolder and braver.

The science on confidence demonstrates that we are more likely to believe something is likely for ourselves (and thus, pursue it) when we see real-life examples (ie, “models”). There is nothing as encouraging as actually meeting other women who are doing it – who are building sustainable, profitable craft businesses. This isn’t just “fun” – it’s vital for your own confidence, which is vital for your own accomplishment.

I promise: Meet a creative business owner in person – it will build confidence and inspire you!

Yes, going to things in person takes time. It costs money. It takes extra time to figure out how to keep your house running while you’re gone.

But you don’t have to go across the country. You don’t have to go to a weekend-long conference. You could take a 2 hour workshop, or go to a meet-up. You could meet another small business owner for coffee. You could invite me to teach in your town, and we’ll bring 5-10 local makers together for a class!

(One of the unexpected bonuses of the Starship – meet-ups around the world with other members! This month alone 2 captains met in Germany, I had dinner with 3 Captains in Seattle, and another 2 had coffee in Michigan.)

So how about you? Do you ever meet up with other craft business owners?

If not, how can you start?

Who have you been thinking about reaching out to, but hesitating?

If you’re not sure how to say hello,
share this post on Facebook and tag them
 and say “Hi! I’d like to have coffee with you!” I promise you, they want to meet other makers, too!

 

It’s OK to be an introvert in business

introvertinbusiness

The most popular blog posts on my blog are all about the same thing: How to navigate your creative business as an introvert. So I’m betting that you, dear reader, are an introvert.

As I’ve just undertaken a weekend of maximum-human-contact (a long flight, followed by a conference full of people I’m excited to talk to, followed by catching up with college friends), I’m thinking a lot about how to survive it all as an introvert.

You might be like me, an introvert who’s friendly and chatty (and if we know each other well, VERY talkative).

Or you might be an introvert who’s shy and quiet.

Or somewhere in the middle.

As an introvert, you get filled up and energized by being alone. By being quiet (maybe reading, crafting, pinterest-ing).

Being with people can wear you out and make you feel overstimulated or frazzled.
(By contrast, extroverts get energized by being with people.)

It might feel like, as an introvert, that all the small business advice is for extroverts: Go meet people! Network! Do craft shows! BE WITH PEOPLE! TALK TO PEOPLE! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU IN BED WITH YOUR CAT?!

But I’m here to tell you, you can be an introvert and thrive in business. 

As you might know, I’m extremely enthusiastic about making your business work for you, and this introversion thing is just another opportunity to make your business fit YOU, instead of pushing yourself to fit some outside standard of acceptability.

To help you in this journey, here’s a collection of suggestions I’ve made to introverts over the years:

I hope this helps you believe it’s OK to be an introvert and that it guides you to building a business that fits with your personality (no matter what it is!). If you’ve got an introvert friend who needs encouragement, please share it with them using the social media buttons below.

 

Play Your Own Game

playyourowngame

Last week I was talking to Jay about the other comic book shop in town. He was said, “They are really good at X. Maybe my shop should get better at X.”

And I said, “But is that the game you want to play? Do you want to get good at selling X, or do something completely different? When you talk about what you love about the shop, you talk about making it inclusive, having the friendliest customer service, making it a place to spend time and feel like you belong no matter who you are. That’s just a totally different game than what the other shop is doing.”

“Oh, you’re right.”

(I love hearing that.)

 

I hear this from the makers I work with, all the time.

“She started classes and made a lot of money.”

Do you want to teach?

“Uh, no. “

 

“He said Periscope has done wonders for his business.”

Do you like to be on video?

“Uh, no.”

 

You see, when you look at what other people are doing and compete on their grounds, you’re playing their game.

And you’re always going to lose someone else’s game, because THEY set the rules. They are currently holding the world record for that game. (Or else you wouldn’t be checking it out, right?)

 

Instead, play your OWN game.

Make your own rules of what success is.

Play the game you care about.

Get as awesome as possible at what YOU love, not at what other people have success with.

 

This is one of the keys to standing out in your industry – do something that you most care about, in the way you really want to, no matter what is bringing other people success.

I shared a bit of this on Periscope the other day, and a viewer said, “But people might not like you, if you do your own thing.”

I want to challenge that.

For starters, your people, the people you’re serving and providing awesomeness for, they are LONGING for what you alone can offer. If you give them something no one else is doing, they are going to LOVE you. Adore you. Buy everything you make.

When you step up to being the best at your OWN game, there are going to be customers who love it.

Will everyone love it? Nope! But “everyone” doesn’t love what you’re doing now! “Everyone” will never all love the same thing. (See: Coke vs Pepsi.)

 

Your industry, your “competitors”, the people in your life who don’t get it … they might not like it. They might not get it. They might think it’s super strange, fringe, or inexplicable.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t like YOU.

 

Beyond that, it doesn’t matter. Your business is not counting on everyone approving of it. It IS relying on some people to be so passionately enthusiastic about it that they can’t wait to buy.

And that’s only going to happen when you start offering something YOU are enthusiastic about, that shines out something only you could do.

 

So please, don’t be troubled by anyone else. Play your own game.

 

What is your own game?

I don’t know! But here are some places to ask to yourself: Am I doing this because everyone else is? or because this is what I want to be great at?

Products you offer

  • How you offer it (subscriptions, one-offs, exclusives)
  • How you launch it
  • How you describe it
  • How you photograph it
  • Where it’s sold
  • How much it costs
  • Who you serve

 

What do you think? What’s the game you are playing?

P.S. The game I’m playing: providing you with enthusiasm and encouragement to become  the best business expert in your own business. If you know someone who needs to hear this, share it with them.

 

What Matters MORE Than More Followers

missionstrategytactics

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.

 

Why?

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?

 

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