Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change


How to decide if you *should* do something


You're allowed to build the business that you want, the kind of day that you want, and that you can interact with your products, people, and time in a way that works for you. You don't have to do what you've heard you should do in order to be succesfull in biz.

I talk and write and think about this (shoulds + permission) a lot, because you're thinking and talking and asking about it too. Nearly every conversation I have with a craftybiz explorer starts with them saying “Well, I know I really should… {blog, tweet, send a newsletter, blah}

I always answer with two questions: Why? How?

No, really: Why?

 Why do you think you need to do it? What is your goal with it? Which one of your specific goals will it help you reach?

Everything you want to do, everything you think you should do – ask it: WHY?
This one question can keep you focused, can keep you with the effective, important work. It can wipe away the shoulds, and direct you towards what you really want.


One of the giant-est shoulds in the crafty world is that you should be blogging. And after being part of the blog-reading and blog-writing world for nearly 10 years (we're counting that Diaryland I had in college, because I made my first “internet friends” with it), I'm still not entirely convinced*.

*I get into why you should/should not blog  in a free mini-course you can get here.

But for a lot of us, we slice the should with a Why and our answer is simple and clear: because we love to connect.

We love to have a place to share our words, or our photographs. We have a business we love and we want to share more than 140 characters about it. We create products we love and we just want to talk all about it. We've met our customers and they are lovely and we want to have a way to communicate with them.

But blogging [personal, cooking, gardening, crafting]  is totally different than blogging for your business. Yep, you want to share your you-ness, you want to speak in your voice. But your purpose is different, your readers (and your relationship with them) is different, and your end result is different (do you want comments? or do you want sales?).

It's time for that second question: How?

Once you know WHY you want to do something (blog), HOW does it help you reach your goals? HOW do you do it in a way that's effective, creative and still fun? How do you connect to your Right People, and not just other crafters?

In the upcoming class, we explore these questions. We've put together everything we know about blogging (Diane's a genius at building an audience) and marketing your sweet crafty business (I kinda wrote the book on that) and we came up with a systematic approach, a series of worksheets and questions that helps you answer HOW for yourself. It  makes sure you spend your time creating a blog that's effective. You can join the class here.

And whether you join the class or not, turn these questions to the shoulds that are rattling around your mental To Do:

 WHY do you think you should do it?
And if you decide you really do want to: HOW? How will you make it effective and you-filled?


It's a little ironic that my next class is about how to blog for your business when I am not, how shall we say, much a blogger.

What a "day off" looks likemy fancy note-taking process

The truth is, most of the work I do is behind the curtain. I spend most of my day working with people, not trying to find new people (which is what a regularly-written blog can do). I answer questions, teach Starship-only classes, send yarn to subscribers. I do my best, I write most helpfully when it's for a specific audience, when I know exactly who needs my answer (this is why I create free mini-courses via email instead of just blogging them).

This is why we created the class.

Because not everyone needs a big flashy blog to create a booming business.

Our new class (which I'm teaching with Diane, because she is a woman who knows how to blog!), is about that, the process of figuring out what you want from your blog, what your people want from it, and then creating a plan for it. Instead of numbers, you focus on reaction – What brings in your best customers? What helps them move towards you (and your products?)

When you pay attention to what your customers want, and what you want to communicate, you may even find you don't need or want a blog.

That's what happened in my crafty business, at Blonde Chicken Boutique.
I realized that even if blog posts got comments, they didn't do anything for sales. My emails helped people buy. My special customer-only emails have an crazy high open rate and an even crazier click-through and buy rate. I realized (after quite a few years of fighting it) that my yarn lovers aren't blog readers. They visit my site, sign up for the emails and then expect to the emails to remind them to buy.

So now I use the blog as a resource. I show off what customers have made and give pattern ideas… but it's less of a blog  and more like an archive of helpfulness. When my retail customers (which represents the largest percentage of my business) ask me what they can make with my yarn, I send them to past posts. Since I don't have an active shop (I sell one yarn a month, to email subscribers only), I don't need to do a lot of showing off of new products, I just email it directly to the people who want to buy it.

This is weird, I know. When all the rest of the world is tell you to blog! And make videos! And tweet! I'm telling you – you have permission to do what works.

It's not particularly glamorous.
But it works (really well).

Your way, the way that works for you and your people, might be something else entirely. You might want to blog daily. Or weekly. Or never.
I want to help you figure that out.
And more than anything, I want you to know that you have permission to use whatever works for you.

To Blog or Not to Blog…is that the question?

“Is it absolutely necessary to blog, or can I find my Right People without one? I have never been a blog reader myself; I've found most of my favorite shops via Twitter, and the idea of blogging kind of gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies”



“But I don't like blogging! Do I have to blog? If I don't, how will I get the word out?”


A few months ago, two Starship captains posted the above questions.

So we started to have the conversation: To Blog, Or Not to Blog?

Another mindmap, this time for my upcoming class with @sisterdiane

As I was thinking it through, I emailed Diane, she of all Blogging Knowledge (seriously, that woman knows how to make an addictable blog!) and  we started talking about it. Is there some way we can help people answer this question? For their own business and their own strengths?

We started compiling all our thoughts on it; the stuff she's learned through helping people tune-up their crafty blogs, what I've learned exploring crafters' businesses.

And what we came to realize is that To Blog Or Not To Blog is not the question. 


The question is: How do you make  a blog (or ANY marketing) work for you, your goals and your people

Where's the balance between what you  want to say and what your people want to read? 



As we answered this question, we found we shared a little system. A system that anyone can apply to any business, to make their blog (or their emails, or their twitter stream) balanced and in congruence with the rest of their business.

We'll be sharing this system (along with lots of worksheets to make sure you apply it to you) in our new class. You can read more and register here.


A different perspective of my hand #febphotoaday

PS. Don't miss Diane's experience (and myth-busting) as a Lucky Blogger.

Right Action

You might remember that last week I asked you for your questions (I answered them and recorded it for you here!).

I love doing this because it helps me see what it is you're thinking about your business and how you're feeling about the mass quantities of business-y advice out there.
And it always sparks at least a zillion blog posts, so that's a bonus.

Today I want to talk about a question I didn't get to answer on the call, because I got it after the call was over.

The asker asks:

What are some actionable steps I can take to reach new customers?I have a really great base of regular customers; they like me, they like my product, they come back for more. This is awesome. But I need more people like that, b/c the few great regulars I have aren't enough business on their own. How do I find more regulars?
I just don't know for sure what I can do, and I'm tired of reading stuff about infusing my business with my personality or using my blog properly, etc. I want actual steps I can take to find and get new customers, you know? I'm just not sure how else to get my product in front of the people who will buy it and love it and come back for more.

Emphasis mine

I love this because, as you know, I'm always talking about infusing your stuff with your you-ness and I can totally understand the frustration when that doesn't feel like action.

After getting this email (and responding to her with actual action steps!), I went back to my notes for the Right People class…
And I threw it all out.
I went to my BOOK draft and I found everything that is actionable…and that's going to be tomorrow's class.

I'm going to say very little about infusing your you-ness into everything you do because although that is the foundation  of everything, this is Right People 2.0.
This is for those of you who know what you make, you know a few of your Right People but you are ready to dig deeper, to get more, to stretch out and fill your capacity.

If you're ready for it, register here. The class is tomorrow, but if you can't make it, you'll get a recording if you register in time.

How Right People Changed my Business, revisited

In writing the chapter on Right People (for the BOOK!) and getting ready for the new class, I found this old post on Right People and I love it so much, I wanted to share it again (updated with what's changed)…

Last week we talked about what Right People are and how they can change your business.
Today I’d like to share what happened to Blonde Chicken Boutique when I started applying the concept of Right People to my work.

It started by Havi saying

Everyone has Right People


Your Right People are Right if they love what you do. That’s the only requirement.

And I wondered, what would this look like if I really believed it?

If these people love what I make, then I should make something truly ME.

Instead of worrying about the trends or what other yarnies were doing, I started focusing on yarn that I really love. Textures, colors, styles.  My love of my work grew and I created a line of yarns that really went together. I began to develop a look for Blonde Chicken Boutique.

If there are people who love what I make, then I should be talking to THEM.

Instead of spending money reaching tons of new people, I turned to my current people. How can I serve them better?
For starters, I ask them. I create products they want (the Learn To Knit Kit was inspired by people who loved my yarn but didn’t knit) and I keep them up-to-date (with a customers-only newsletter + a bi-weekly Yarn-Love Note)

My Right People love my thing, so why worry with those who don’t?

When I realized I don’t have to appeal to everyone or make everyone happy, I can focus on doing what I do best and serving the people who are already happy.

This means I could stop selling online, I can focus on my Monthly Yarn Mail customers and my yarn shops.

My happy, delighted Right People are the best advertising I could ever want.

If I make it easy for them to share my stuff, they can spread the more to more Right People.
Without doing anything, yarn shops have approached me. They have customers who asked them for my yarn, so now they carry it. ALL of my wholesale business (which is now 90% of my yarn business) has come from referrals!

The more I thought about Right People,  I realized I was actually thinking about Marketing.

But instead of asking “How do I tell people about my thing” (like many crafters do)
or “How do I tell my target market of 30 year old college graduates who make $40,000/year who knit about my thing” (like marketers do),
I’m asking “Who are my Right People already? What do they love? What could I do make them happier.

This changed every part of my marketing.
(and started attracting attention of people who needed marketing help, from companies who want my advice to publishers who want me to write books) 

The result?

My time is spent working with people I love, instead stressing over finding more people. My people are happy and tell their friends. My sales have greatly increased.
But best of all, I’m doing what I actually love.

A totally unexpected, non-yarny result?

When I started really listening to my people (not just my customers, but all those people who I liked and liked me, including other crafters, my online friends, other business owners), I realized they wanted something else.
They were asking me business-y questions; about marketing, about sales, about crafting a business AND a life.

So I started offering classes and tools.
Every single one of my classes (including this week’s class on Right People) have been sparked by specific questions I’ve been asked. I always answer the asker, but when the answer becomes huge,  I know I have a class.

The best part? 
I genuinely love teaching. I love talking about business. I love love love brainstorming for other people’s thing.
And the love is so obvious that last night Jay said, “Wow, I can see how happy this makes you. And it’s so perfect for you!” ).

Following my Right People? Led me to bliss.

What would change in your business if you focused on your Right People?

If you’d like to work with your adoring fans + find your Right People, check out the class!
Registrations close this Wednesday!

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.


When your Thing is a Bake Sale

(you know, your thing, the thing you make and want to sell)

It's easy to talk about.
It's FUN to talk about.

You can't help but give out tasty samples.
You can't  help but snack on the goodness yourself.

You are SO proud of what you've made.

You tell everyone + don't worry that you might be annoying.
You don't even think about rejection, connection, buzzwords; you're just in the flow of being excited about your thing.

New ways of telling people come easily.
Maybe it's not easy to do the work, but the idea, the energy the whole process flows.

Your thing is darn tasty and you can not keep it to yourself.
You know the people who want a taste of it and you're ready to share it with them.

That's when your thing and your business is a bake sale.


The truth is, your business, your thing isn't always a bake sale.
Sometimes you feel stuck or stuttery or shy.
You lose the fun, the joy, the ohmygoodness, youmusttasteTHIS immediacy of sharing it.

I'm actually in that shy+stuck place now and have been for the last few weeks.

So I'm going back to the basics.
The foundation of making my thing easy to talk about (by me and my fans).
The system of making sure the word is spreading even when I'm not spreading it (fancypants call this a marketing plan).
Reconnecting to the fun, to the bake-sale-joy of sharing my handmade goodness.

I'm doing it personally and I'm sharing my system in the new class:

Because this share-your-thing thing isn't just for newbies.
Yeah, figuring this stuff out is ultra-important when you first get started.
But it's ALSO helpful once you've been going and feel stuck or tired or suddenly shy.

I'll be talking about the in-the-soft stuff (the be-ok-with-doing-it stuff) here on the blog and the in-the-hard stuff (do-this-next steps to actually DO it) in the class.

No matter what part of the journey you join me for, I'd love to know what your stuff-that-keeps-you-from-DOING-it, questions and fears are. Please share your concerns or ask your questions privately here or by leaving a comment below.

Good Shtuff: dancing, comics and sanity edition


I'm probably a little obsessed with the hilarity of Kelly Parkinson. I mention her in nearly every Good Shtuff. But it's really good! Especially, this on How to dance (when dancing = marketing).


Jay, the house comic nerd, wants me to link to this post about what small businesses can learn from comics. Good shtuff!


I've been thinking a lot about time + planning, so the new book by Zen Habits about Focus has perfect timing. Haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
A big thanks to @joyfulmess for telling me more about it in this interview.


We had a special BONUS class for the early-birds of Holiday Sanity. The post-class chat was amazing. The program's already so full of smart, helpful creatives that I can not wait to see who joins this week. If you need some Holiday Sanity, you can join us here.


Speaking of smart and helpful, I am so excited to have Kirsty Hall as a guest teacher in a class about building a business Within Your Limits. As an entrepreneur and artist and mother with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, she has bunches to share about honoring your limits + building a sustainable business. You can get all the details and watch an adorable video of Kirsty here.



This has nothing to do with business, I just thought I should tell you that I'm totally addicted to making teeny tiny crocheted things.

A pirate duck, for Havi + Selma

I've already agreed to make a ninja for my web ninja and a typewriter for my Kyeli + Amy. And a dog to match my dog.
(Oh, that's so ridiculous I can't believe I just confessed it.)
I'll be sharing patterns and inspirations tomorrow at Blonde Chicken Boutique in case you are similarly obsessed.

What have you been obsessed with this week?
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/blondechicken/5136855989/&#8221; title=”IMAG1041 by blonde_chicken_boutique, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1059/5136855989_c4194b73b3.jpg&#8221; width=”333″ height=”500″ alt=”IMAG1041″ /></a>

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?

Your questions, answered: newslettery video edition

This is a regular-ish thing, where I answer your questions about an upcoming class. I hope it helps you decide if the class is right for you (and if it’s not, I hope the answers spark something for ya.)

Today, we're talking about tomorrow's class: Send a Delightful Newsletter. I was inspired to answer via video.  If video isn't your thing, I've got a short summary of my answer under each video.

What does this class cover?

We're going to cover:

What: What should you send? What kind of information would delight your People? What's your goal for your newsletter?
Who: Who's gonna get this? How are you going to get people to sign up?
When: How often? What days + what times?
How: How do you make it irresistible?

Is this class for me?

Both classes are for the selling-your-crafty-goodness crowd. Or at least, it's for those of you who are trying to sell your crafty goodness. If your sales aren't regular, having a newsletter will help you steady those sales.  In the video, I get on a tangent about WHY having a newsletter will help you steady your sales.

Let me know in the comments if you like the video answers or if you prefer text.

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