Craft a successful business. Do what matters. Get the free resources:

classes

The Adventures – July 2016

 

Here's a round-up of what I saw, did, and read this month! Follow me on SnapChat for in-the-moment photos + videos!

The News:

  • I'm teaching a full-day marketing workshop for yarn-y people, in collaboration with a yarn rep/store owner this month! Join us here.
  • If you're in the UK, check the only biz-focused workshops I'll be holding during my tour in November! Join before spots fill up! 

The view

IMG_0225 IMG_0212 IMG_0185 IMG_0170 IMG_0139 IMG_0102 IMG_0049

I am so grateful for…

  • Good books
  • An amazing team (thanks Jess + Jay!) that makes things happen even when I can't
  • A quick trip to the beach, before my teaching gig

The Finds:

I’m reading:

I’m eating:

  • Homemade corn dogs – so simple and cute! Take cornbread muffins + pop in a bit of (vegan) hot dog: homemade corn pups!
  • ALL of the basil pesto (I don't measure it anymore, but this is the basic idea)
  • Blueberry pancakes topped with blueberry syrup (just cook the blueberries on medium heat until they pop and get gooey)

 

How about you? What went well in your month?

The process of introspection, implementation and growth

 The Starship is Now OpenThe Starship is now boarding!

You can read all about it here, but I wanted to give you a bit of a backstage pass into why the Starship is built the way it is.

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 12 new Captains will beam up this quarter (to join the 70 who are already aboard). After that, boarding closes until October!

The Starship is a place for weekly accountability, monthly review and anytime-you-want-it question-asking…but I’ve learned over the last 5 years (!) that it’s not enough to have resources, you have to know where and how you want to use them. Unless you start with a plan and intention, all the resources can overwhelm you.

Over the years, I’ve built in plan-making, intention-setting rituals + resources, into the schedule of the Starship, so that you will use it to grow and improve your business.

Here’s the process of intention-setting and implementation: 

1. Get oriented in the Starship.

With a quick email series, you’ll learn how to navigate the resources available to you. You’ll also learn how to make a Clear Ask, so that you get the help you need (Captains have told me that they now use this in all their communication!)

2. Get oriented in your own business.

It’s vital to know where your business is, right now. (Not just where you want it to be, or where you think it “should” be). You'll do this by Charting Your Stars. You'll take a week-long course that helps you find your North Star, make your own Star Map for navigating your dreams, and set Destinations that actually matter to you.

This is the first step to ensuring you move forward, in the direction you really want to go (and it's exclusive to the Starship and Lift Off).

3. Make each dream do-able.

On July 6th, the entire Starship makes a Map, using this guide. With a 6 day e-course and a dedicated forum, you’ll identify your next Destination (for the next 3 months) and break it down into do-able To Dos. This is where everything you dream about doing becomes practical.

If you've never set and reached a goal in your business, this process will change your life.

4. Learn how you best work.

After you’ve got your do-able To Dos … you actually have to do them. Through forum posts and weekly check-ins you’ll identify how you best get work done, and we’ll help un-stick you when you get stuck.

5. Learn what you don't know. 

Whether your goal requires you to improve your profitability, create an effective marketing plan, or become more effective with your time, The Starship Library has you covered. You'll have immediate access to over a dozen classes (find the full list here) AND you can sign up for Lift Off (for free!) and build the foundations of your business over the next 6 months

6. Stay on track.

Every month we look back and review your adventure so far in a super-quick Reassessment Log. You can see where you swerved and what you learned. We’re there to cheer on every mile marker you reach!

 

Grace says: “Every year I go through the entire process of Chart Your Stars and Map Making, cover to cover. The insight into what is right for me is undeniable and incredible. So helpful in fact that every month I go back through them and touch up the areas that need to be redefined – a big part of running a successful business is constantly checking in and making sure I'm staying true to my mission and myself!”

After 3 months, every quarter, we start the cycle again with Map Making and review – so that you’re always moving forward, always identifying the next Destination and going after it with the freshest information on your very own business. (This way we avoid the I forgot about my New Year’s Resolutions! problem.)

You don’t need another thing to remember. 

Have you ever bought an online class and then didn’t know what to do or how to navigate the space or what happened when? I hate that! So I’ve built the entire process to come to you easily + simply.

That’s why Starship Captains don’t have to remember ANY of this. Everything I mentioned just comes to you. You don’t have to remember to check a website, or log in, or anything. Every Wednesday I send an email with a mini-lesson, reminders about what we’re doing (the Map Making, the classes), and an invitation to the weekly chat. So if you take a week (or month!) away, you have a chance to jump back in, every week.

What's new

Every quarter we add something new to the Starship, based on member's suggestions. Last quarter I created my most-thorough marketing class (Craft Your Marketing, which you'll only find in the Library!) and Wrangle Your Time.

This quarter we're adding

  • Accountability Partners – want someone to check in with you via email, phone, video, Twitter or something else? You tell us your preferences and we'll hand-match you to an accountability partner.
  • Live Q+As – once every three months, I'll answer all of your questions, via a live video! (Yep, there's a recording!)
  • Every worksheet, video, and audio lesson has been newly edited! This means a more seamless experience for you!
  • A new, seamless payment plan with smaller monthly payments. (Details here)
  • A brand-new option: Warp Drive! If you want one-on-ones with me, you can get that with a Warp Drive Starship membership. And if you don't need them, there's now an option without the one-on-ones.

 

Any questions?

Read all the details here, then send me an email (tara@taraswiger.com) if you've got any questions!

PS. Every class, workbook, and Guide I’ve mentioned comes FREE with your Starship membership. You’ll get access to absolutely everything I do (including exclusive access to one-on-one sessions).

Choose Yourself, even after others do

choose-yourself

 

While reading Choose Yourself  last night, something clicked and I suddenly spotted the connections between conversations I've had with publishers, teachers and workshop-holders.

First conversation:  I was working with a book publisher a few months ago (on her business) and she despaired that her authors seem unwilling to take charge of their own book marketing. They seemed to believe that after she agreed to publish their book, they were off the hook for all marketing and sales. I was flabbergasted, because every author, no matter the size of the publisher, is responsible for their own book's success. All of the New York Best-Selling Authors? They hire publicists (like this guy, who wrote a great book) with their own money.  Being chosen with a publishing deal does not guarantee your book will sell. 

Second, and seemingly unrelated, I was talking to the Studio Manager where I held my workshop “Create + Market Your Craft Class”. She despaired that teachers expect her to do all the marketing to fill their class. I was flabbergasted, because if you want a full class, you have to spread the word to your audience, which is full of people likely to take it! (How to do this was half of what my workshop covered.) Being chosen by a venue does not guarantee your class will fill. 

So as I was reading Choose Yourself, I realized that the connection between these stories is that people worked hard to be chosen by a publisher or a class venue, and then they thought their work was over. They thought that being chosen was the point, that it provided all the validation they needed. They thought the Chooser (the publisher, venue, gate keeper) would suddenly swoop in and do all the hard work of making their creation a success.

But this isn't how it works.

There's not a point in your creative work where you get to sit back and stop marketing.

(Remember: marketing = every communication with your customer.)

Sure, after you build a community of raving fans, you can shift your focus to serving them beautifully (instead of pursuing new people)…but you have to keep showing up with your best work, and you have to keep talking to them. (Which, by the way, is exactly what you do in order to get fans.)

If you're holding out hope that you'll suddenly reach a point where you can stop reaching out, communicating and connecting, you're missing out. You're ignoring the most valuable asset you have: the lessons you're learning as you grow. You're missing what your customers are telling you they want right now. And you're only going to be disappointed, because you never are going to reach that imaginary point of success. 

I've had clients and students that had massively huge online followings, that  had mutiple-book deals, that sold thousands of dollars in products each month. And each of them still, long after the “success” came, continued to communicate with their customers on a regular basis.

No matter who chooses you (press, publisher, customers) you have to keep choosing yourself, doing the work, over and over every day.

 

Don't despair.

This is actually brilliant news (although if you've been telling yourself you hate “marketing” you may think otherwise), because it means that you have the power. You have the power to make an impact with your book, class, product. You don't have to wait around for anyone to recognize your genius. You can start today, and instead of looking forward to being done, you'll create a sustainable system that can last years.

Have you been waiting around for someone to choose you?

(Or for the chooser to do your work?)

Holiday sanity for all

A friend of mine (a fellow crafty business owner) recently wrote me:

Did you know Etsy is already on WEEK 5 of Holiday Bootcamp?!?!

Oh my.

I'm not even on Week 1 of planning and we have how many weeks left?

And as much as I love Etsy, the thought of a bootcamp? for the holidays?
It makes me want to snuggle under my crocheted blanket and just knit for a bit.

I'm not about to get all drill sargeant on you, but I do think that planning ahead (even if it's just thinking about the qualities you want to have in your holiday season) makes everything more magical.

And I've already admitted, I'm not even a planner!
But for the next month, I'm taking my planning for non-planner approach to the season.

The season of craft shows, gift certificates, gift-giving (and gift-buying and gift-making!), travel, family time and pie!

Ok, so the pie doesn't take a lot of time away from my business, but the others? As much as I adore this season (and I really really do), even if do NOTHING holiday-related in the yarn shop, the holiday smoosh makes it hard to just do the normal businessy stuff.

But this season, I'm applying my questions, my noticings, my metaphors and I'm carving out some space to create Holiday Sanity.
And I'd like to invite you to join me!
For four weeks (or 5 if you sign up by Tuesday!), we're going to take about an hour a week to notice.
To pay attention to what we want, what we hope for and what we want to get rid of.

I couldn't come up with a clever name, so it's simply Holiday Sanity and you can find out more about it here.

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.

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:

Classes!

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.

Excitements! Announcements! New classes!

Today I have a pile of awesomeness to announce.
I have been working double-time to bring the expertise of 2 (!) guest-teachers  for 2 (!) classes that will help you with exactly the things you (and other crafty people) have been asking me.

But before I get to the classes, I wanted to introduce you to something that's been slowly baking in the background:

The CraftyBiz Kitchen

I'm starting with this first, because if you like BOTH of the class I'm about to introduce, then you'll save money by signing up for the Kitchen.

What is it?

In the CraftyBiz Kitchen, we'll bake up some customers for you, we'll test your recipes, we'll come up with some new ones. We'll sit around the table (Twitter) with our cups of coffee and share where we are, what we need and where we hope to go. It's welcoming, low stress and super simple.
The CraftyBiz Kitchen is where we take what we've learned in the class and we apply it to our businesses and then get feedback, suggestions and support from each other.

How it works

Joining the Kitchen gives you, automagically, access to every class I teach. That's at least 2 every month, many with guest experts. But on top of the normal class stuff (the live class, the recording, the summaries), you'll also get the tools to apply what you've learned to your own business. And weekly check-ins on Twitter.

The cool thing? You're not making a long-term commitment. As soon as you're ready to leave the Kitchen, you can.
You can read more about it (and sign up) here.

Systems for your Crafty Biz

July 22, 2010
Guest expert: Cairene MacDonald, of Third Hand Works

Systems are those sneaky things that you don't even realize you need.
Systems make your crafting smoother, your shipping smoother, your time management smoother. They bring ease and support and awareness.

What is it?

This class is a one hour live telechat/interview with Cairene. We'll talk about what systems are, how to build them  (hint: you already have some!), and how to recognize the ones that need tweaking.
You can read all about the class (and sign up for it) here.

It's Who You Know

August 3, 2010
Co-teacher: Diane of Craftypod.com

You've probably noticed by now that the awesome things happen in your business when you connect and get to know people with an audience of your Right People. Magazine articles, local press, or a referral to a boutique owner. We'll teach you how to figure out what you want, who can help you and how to build those relationships without being slimey or awkward.

What is it?

This class is a one hour live class, in which Diane + I will teach and then take your questions. Afterward you'll get a recording, a summary and an invitation to a Twitter Q+A session.

You can read all about the class (and sign up for it) here.

Woo! Brunched!

And now that I've brunched (you remember what a brunch is, right?) two classes + a Kitchen, I'm going to dance!

And I invite you to dance with me in the comments!
What are you dancing to?
What are you learning this summer?

Embrace your Right People (and the money will follow)

“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.

Today I'll talk about about how recognizing and hanging out with your Right People can rock your business and tomorrow I'll share what changed for me.

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 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 in my class on Befriending your Right People.  We'll cover the specific how tos of finding your Right People, talking to them, learning from them and keeping them blissfully happy.