Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change


Bravery outside the safe space

Ok, time for another un-awesome truth.

Yay! New pink shoes thanks to my shoe-fairy @lindsaydrake.

You know how I'm teaching 4 workshops in the next few days? Yeah, I'm nervous.

Although I teach all the time, I don't often hold in-person workshops. On top of that, the Western North Carolina Art Councils are not my typical audience. Usually, when you come to one of my classes (in person or online) you already know me. You come because you've been reading this blog, or my book, or you get my emails. You have an idea of what you're getting – a fast-talking, pink-haired, enthusiastic book nerd with a few too many pop culture references.

That's because, like I'm always encouraging you to do, I fill my business with my Right People, and I focus all my energy on serving them. That means I am pretty much always surrounded by people who both get me and like me. But at these workshops, students aren't coming because they know me, they're coming because they're HIA members and they want to learn the subject matter.

This tiny shift is monumental.
It means that, for the first time in a long time, I'm not already totally comfortable. I'm hesitant being my weird self. And the truth is, I debated with myself: is it better to focus solely on the self-selected Right People…or go outside my already-defined comfort zone and serve not-yet-my-Right People.

But even though I still have no idea how it will go, or if I'll fail miserably, I am confident that this is the right thing to do. I know I need to wade out into unknown waters and try something new. Even if I bomb, I need to show myself that I can take the flawed, enthusiastic self and be fully ME in front of perfect strangers. I need to trust that what holds true with us, here, in the safe spaces I've built (on the blog, email, Twitter, and the Starship), will hold true in the Outside World. That openness, bravery, and exploration work for me all the time, and that business help that centers on defining your ideal business speaks to everyone.

Oh, I still stand by my assertion that you should focus your marketing energy on your Right People, 100% of the time. You don't need to try to make yourself uncomfortable and scared. Life provides enough moments to be brave. But if an opportunity comes up for you to meet a whole new audience? One that you just don't know about yet? Take it. Try it.

What Brave New Thing have you done lately? Let's celebrate our bravery in the comments!

PS. Also, thanks to a tip from Alex, I'm using science to calm myself. I'm not nervous, I'm vibrating with anticipation! I'm not sweaty, I'm enthusiastic!

Bonuses and other fabulous things

Note: you can get both of the classes below (yes, even the private class) for $45 if you sign up for the CraftyBiz Kitchen. There are only a few spots left in it, because the people who are in there? They aren't leaving.

Yay! It's my most favorite time of the month, the time when all my planning and plotting and backstage scheming finally comes to fruition. I can finally tell you:


As much as I like telling you all about the classes (and watching the coolest people sign up for them!), my favorite part is really the holding the class.

I don't know what I did with my life before I discovered teaching classes.
It is seriously the most fun ever.

Which is weird, because when I was a French major, I absolutely died anytime I had to get in front of  a class.
Upset stomach, puking, blushing, mind going completely blank, choosing to take a failing grade instead of giving the presentation (when I was paying for school by keeping a 3.8 GPA!).

That was a sign that I shouldn't teach that subject, not that I shouldn't be teaching.
It only took me, oh, 5 years to figure out.

The good news: I have yet to puke in a CraftyBiz class.

(Just kidding! I don't even feel like puking!)

But enough about puking, let's talk classes!

Bonus! Nay, fancy-pants private bonus!

Tomorrow at 3p I'm teaching a private class. A class just for the CraftyBiz Kitchen lovelies.
I'm going to teach the sure-fire way to feel awesome about telling people about your thing.

Not ok, not meh, but really fabulous.

And this isn't a cheerleading “You're awesome!” thing, this is a “Do these 3 steps and you will be delighted to market your thing” thing.

This class would normally be $30.
But for my CraftyBiz Kitcheners, it's free.
And it's just for them. Which means lots more time to ask questions and get just-right-for-you answers.

Why am I telling you about this class that you can't take?

Well, you can take it. For free,  if you sign up for the CraftyBiz Kitchen by tomorrow. You'll get this Bonus class + next week's class with the awesome Catherine Caine + extras. Read more about it here.

Why would ANYone buy my art?

Every time I talk to an artist (or crafter, or writer) about what describing the benefits in her sales copy, I get the question: But what ARE the benefits of art?

That's like asking, “Why would any one buy this?

I was chatting about this with one of my students, when she said that Catherine Caine had really helped her answer this question and define her benefits and communicate that on her site.

So, I  just had to have Catherine come explain (in her charming Australian accent) this whole idea of finding and communicating the benefits of your work.

This class is going to rock. I just barely mentioned it on Twitter and got a handful of sign-ups, so I think it's going to be packed with awesome artists, crafters and the stray humorist.

You can read more about the class and sign up here.

And that's it for this month's classes!
Are you signed up for any of the classes (or the Kitchen?) tell us about it in the comments.

Be Awesome Offline

Today I'm super excited to have a guest post at BeAwesomeOnline.com.
It's all about being awesome offline: networking events, craft shows, etc. Here's the first bit of it, but you can read the whole thing here.

You are awesome online. You are rocking it. Your awesomeness is shining through everywhere from your About page to your Twitter stream.

But what about the untested waters of the offline world? Are you awesome there?

Or are you hiding behind your website? Terrified of meeting someone in person, afraid you’ll morph into a salesy slimeball who hands someone their business card and says, “Call me, baby.”?

Going offline can feel like that dream where you show up naked for school.

I am an pj-wearing, home-loving hermit. Most of my business is online. My relationships, my work, my helpfulness: it all happens online. But when I quit my dayjob, I knew that to really grow, I would need to start serving branch out and come out from behind the screen.

Before I did my first craft show, I never talked about my business in person. I told people I worked in HR (my dayjob) and had no idea what to tell them about my online alter ego. What would I say? Without the filter of my website, how could I explain what I did?

In person, I’m just me. No fancy graphics. No carefully crafted pages. No tried-50-times-to-get-this-one-picture first impressions. Just me.

Without the buffer of my website and my carefully chosen words and my perfectly focused pictures, it felt a little naked.

But it can be awesome.

Offline, you see the joy in someone’s eyes as they gasp at your lovingly handmade item.
Offline, you feel that immediate click when someone really gets you.
Offline, clients can sip coffee with you, show you pictures of their family, light up when you zap their problem.

Since that first pre-craft-show jitter I’ve peddled yarn at shows across the country, organized classes for wannabe-knitters and taught hundreds of one-on-one, in-person lessons. I’ve even met some of my online friends for a coffee.  All without losing my clothes or sweating through them.

And I learned that going offline can actually be fun, if you keep a few things in mind.

Get the rest of the article and 3 tips for taking your awesomeness Offline over at BeAwesomeOnline.com.