Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

craft business

Marketing for Introverts {Podcast}

marketing for introverts


Talking about your work is hard for any artist or maker, but when you're also an introvert, the idea of “sharing your work” can feel totally overwhelming. In today's episode I'm going to share my tips on marketing for introverts.

In this episode:

  • What it means to be an introvert (it's different than feeling shy)!
  • How to get comfortable with the idea of connecting with your Right People, when you prefer to be alone.
  • How to build a marketing plan that respects your needs.



How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

If you'd like some help crafting a marketing plan that is custom-suited to your introvert preferences, sign up for Craft Your Marketing and we'll work through it together!



Your Family + Your Business {PODCAST}

Your family and your business

Does your family support you in your  business? Or distract you from it? Are you frustrated about finding the time and energy to get your work done?
In this episode we're talking about your family + your business and how to get them on your side, so that they will support, encourage, and provide the help you might need to pursue your dream. We'll cover how to figure out what you want, how to ask for it, and what to do when you're just not getting it.



How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.



How to start a business if you don’t have any money {PODCAST}

How to start a business if you don't have any money

This week, with the re-release of Pricing 101, we're talking about money. Today let's talk about that perennial question: How can you start (and grow) a business with very little money? What are your options when you can't spend money on advertising or staff?

In this episode of Explore Your Enthusiasm, we'll talk about:

  • How I started my yarn business with no money
  • How you can start (and grow) a business with very little investment
  • What to do if you're on the edge

 Get Pricing 101 free with Pay Yourself!

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.



Adventures in Business, with artist Violette Clark

Violette Clark headshotToday I'm sharing an adventure with Starship Captain Violette Clark. Violette is a mixed media artist, art journaler, cartoonist, author and Idea factory.  She lives in a magic cottage with Mr. G in White Rock B.C.  you can find her on herblog or on Facebook.



People have this fantasy of what it's like to be a full-time artist. But what's a normal day for you really like?

My day tends to vary depending on what's up.  I usually get up and check my e-mail around 7:30ish. Then I respond to Facebook mentions and comments.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I blog in the morning usually and then share the post on FB.  Also I post photos of my art or funky home and garden on FB since that's a big part of who I am.  I probably spend waaayyyyy too much time on Facebook but then that's the place I have the most interaction on.  I'm also on Pinterest but don't like to go there too often as you can spend a whack of time there.  Afterwards depending on what I'm working on I may create a Journal Page or a cartoon like my 60 in 60 cartoons I made.  Since I'm an illustrator/cartoonist/art journaler my time is often spent drawing … but more time is spent connecting with other artists, working on interview questions, responding to social media and marketing etc. I think it's a fallacy to think that artists spend the majority of their time creating. They don't…..and quite frankly “I just want to draw!”.  Drawing makes me happy.  You might also find me working on a video – sometimes I post how to videos on Youtube or videos showing what I've done in my home I call the Magic Cottage. Because I'm a grandmother and daughter – I sometimes spend time with my grandchildren (often teaching them crafts) or with my elderly parents. Thankfully what I do is pretty flexible so if I'm needed I can take time off to help out.  If I'm teaching a live workshop much of the day is spent preparing for it and teaching it.

Violette Clark's Art, on TaraSwiger.com

There are so many ways to make a living as a maker – how are you doing it? What have you combined and how has that changed through the years?

Well I teach art journaling online and live classes. I've been blogging for 9 years, that led to a book deal 5 years ago and a book published on Art Journaling. My book, Journal Bliss, led to online classes as well as live classes. Right now I'm creating cartoons – 60 cartoons which are being made into a book, postcards, and tarot cards.  I'm not sure what that might all lead to but I'm open to what happens. I'm hoping to do some public speaking using my cartoons and art journal pages in inspiring PowerPoint presentations.  Also I have been asked to be a part of some online creative workshops so I'll be working on that soon.  For the last several months I've offered “mojo sessions” to help women in small businesses get their mojo going again – helping them with promotional ideas and inspiration.  I'd like to do more sessions in the future which can be done live or in person. I have a ton of ideas and love to share them with creative women.

I am moving away from doing live classes on techniques – I don't really enjoy that anymore and want to focus on creative activities that are meaningful and inspirational. So to sum up your question:  I teach, draw/journal, do 1 -1 consulting sessions and soon I'll be selling my cartoon creations on etsy and on my blog.


What new thing are you exploring now?

I guess you could say what I'm exploring now is “What gives me juice?”.  What that is is drawing.  Drawing makes me happy. Right now I'm assembling my 60 cartoons to fit into a book format as well as into a tarot deck.  Because I have never made my own book before (self-published) I'm freaking out a bit about doing it – change is always scary for me. I'm sure once I figure it all out I'll laugh at why I was so nervous about the entire venture. Also the wheels are turning on a possible online class that would embrace creativity and spirituality. I'm thinking in this might happen later

What's your definition of success in your business?

Doing what I love, inspiring people and making a decent income from following my bliss is my definition of success. Also success for me would be to have my business in my home in a quiet place near the ocean away from the big cities.  In my world I don't need a ton of money however that would be fine too!


What's the next destination you're working towards?

My next destination is completing the inspiring book of cartoons, tarot deck, postcards to be available in the fall – just in time for the Christmas buying season.  Since it's the summer now things are a bit quiet so I can focus on getting the cartoons into a marketable format.  Also I'm working towards having a landing page for my two websites – my business site (http://www.purplejuice.ca) and my blog (http://www.violette.ca) are too confusing for me and everyone else. I want to blend the two into one place but for now I want to create a landing page where you can click on the services and it will take you there immediately.


Delight your people, fulfill their needs {PODCAST}


Now that you've identified your buyer's needs, you can use this information to make ALL of your business decisions easier!  In today's episode, we talk about knowing the needs of your buyers and how to use this knowledge to make your business better and your marketing more effective

Once you identify the needs of your buyer, you can:

  1. Identify who, exactly, has this need.
  2. Create marketing material that is as useful and valuable as your product.
  3. Adapt your product to better fills those needs.


How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.



The Adventures

Every day is an adventure. I share the view, the gratitude and the news  on Fridays – you’re invited to join in. You can find all my adventures here, or follow along via email here.

The view

I did it! I finished the sweater I started in 2010!! I kept putting it away worried it wasn't working...but IT FITS!!  Featherweight cardigan in Malabrigo. I'll give you a better look at it soon.
Blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup = my new obsession.  #yaysummer  (syrup =  blueberries microwaved with maybe 1/2 tsp maple syrup)  #blueberries #100happytaradays #vegan

I am so grateful for…

  •  A lovely hike in the Appalachians this weekend.
  • Making a new friend, a real friend that totally gets my crafty obsessions and propensity to talk too fast.
  • Blueberries! Basil! Local summer tastiness.
  • This fabulous surprise on the Rock + Purl podcast!

The Finds:

I’m finding:

I’m eating: 

  • More blueberry crumb bars. Don't judge. (From this book)
  • More pesto from my home-grown basil over gnocchi.
  • Ancho Lentil burritos.

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

The unsexy truth about your business: Personal Responsibility {Podcast}

Personal responsibility.

Whether you're a maker building your business or a teenager fighting with your parents, there is one key to making changes: Personal Responsibility. It's not sexy or exciting, but it's true!
In today's episode we'll talk about the importance of taking responsibility in growing your craft business and how to stop being confused and start taking action.

Instead of looking online or in books for the answers, you accept responsibility by:

  1. Defining what you want
  2. Finding the answers
  3. Taking action

Links Mentioned:

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.



Why your business needs community

Ever since I started my business, I've struggled with this dichotomy: I'm an introvert that spends (and prefers to spend!) 8-10 hours a day alone, making or writing, working in my own head and hands… AND I know that community and connection is absolutely the most powerful tool for business growth.
Luckily, I live in an age where I can connect to millions, while still working physically alone everyday. I've been blessed to be part of supportive communities, from the first time I wandered into the then-brand-new Etsy in 2005, all the way to building my own community aboard the Starship. (I'll be sharing more about my personal history with communities and how they've changed my business in tomorrow's podcast.)
But as easy as the internet makes “connecting” –  I know I'm not alone in having a hard time finding real friends and connections, both online and off. For starters, it's easy to think of connecting as just wasting time (even when studies prove that the more we maintain connections, the more successful we'll be.) Or to actually waste time and title it “connecting”. (Refreshing Twitter does NOT equal building relationships.)

On top of the whole time issue, it's really hard to find people who get it, who are not just creative and dedicated to building a business, in the same way we are (with gentleness, curiosity, and sustainability.)

But no matter how hard it is, you DO need community.

Even the most driven among us (and I was raised by two Marines, so yeah, I’m pretty internally-motivated), can’t keep up the sustained, long-term work that a business takes, in a vacuum.
When you don't have support, it often presents as laziness – a lack of focus, or lack of commitment – but beating yourself up is NOT the answer.
The saner (and more sustainable!) solution is to find a support network, to “outsource” some of the accountability to your community.

People to who will check in (kindly!) with you.
People who will give you honest (gentle) feedback.
People who will remind you to celebrate your success!

Whether you find these people on Twitter, Facebook, in a forum or even at your local coffeeshop – knowing that you're not the only one that cares about your business, is mightily powerful. It will motivate you to stay focused, to keep working (even when you want to quit), and to try just a little harder. When you spend time with other businesses, you'll begin to believe that more is possible, and you'll get more and more clear on what the path to your success is.

If you're having a hard time finding a community that will keep you accountable (gently!) and spark your motivation, check out the Starship. It was built for crafters, makers, artists, and writers, who need a bit of support, as they work hard on their own business + dreams (and it closes this Friday!) 

Just Say No: Why your business needs you to say no

Just say no

This is the first part of a three-part (free!) mini-class on Saying No (for fun + profit). Part 2 will be in tomorrow's podcast, and part three will be worksheet (to apply this to your own business), only available if you are signed up here.


I'm about to drop a bomb on you. Ready?

You have a limited amount of time and energy. Everyone does.

I work with many makers who are either recovering from or living with a chronic illness. I also work with mothers, many of which have 3 or more kids. And/or who homeschool.
All while building their handmade business.

Every one of my clients, students, and Captains struggle with limited time and energy – either because they are too sick, or they spend hours each week at the doctor's office, or they spend hours each week with childcare, education, and general taking-care-of-life. Every situation is unique and every single situation gets my sympathy and support.

But they also get a dose of reality – they've got to work within their time + energy limits. So do you.

You – whether you home-school 5 children or you have Chronic Fatigue or you are a healthy, childless 24 year old – you have limitations on your time or energy. Fighting against these limitations will leave you frustrated, angry, and burnt out. Trying to hold yourself to a standard of what you see “other people” do will make you crazy. (Not to mention, awesome isn't always what it seems.)

You'll begin to build a business that you truly love when you not only acknowledge the limitations of space and time, but when you truly start working with in them.

When you explore your own world, what works for you, and what doesn't. When you get crystal clear on your definition of success…and then you go towards it with a realistic plan, based on your REAL LIFE. That's the first step: Getting real, getting clear, and making a plan of what YOU want to do. The second step is Saying No to everything that isn't in line with that.

Say no to everything you don't have the energy for.
Say no to everything that isn't in line with your definition of success.
Say no to every show, shop, and buyer that isn't the right fit for your work.
Say no to every “oppurtunity” that doesn't fit in with your plan for profitability, or your bigger goals.


So that you can spend your limited time and energy on the things that matter on your business. So you can take consistent, meaningful action towards your dreams.

So that you can create a business you'll love, without getting worn out, frustrated or burnt out.

So that you can say YES to a business (life) you do want – the opportunities you want to take, the work you want to do and the people who will most love your work.

What do you need to say no to?

In tomorrow's podcast, I'll share my best scripts for saying no, and on Thursday I'll send you a worksheet to apply this to your own business (if you're subscribed here.) Go on and ask your question about Saying No in the comments and I'll answer it in the podcast!

What I’m reading: June 2014

follow my enthusiasm by reading…a lot. And once a month, I share (some of) the books I read last month and the books I intend to read this month. You can join the informal book club by sharing your own list in the comments and find all the posts here.

Here's what I'm reading  this month! (Details on the blog.)   What are you reading?

What I read

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg – This was so great! I find myself applying this to my own life and my work with clients already! I highly recommend it!

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh – This is hilarious (dogs!) and poignant (a great description of depression).

The Eventual Millionaire: How Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur and Successfully Grow Their Startup, by Jamie Tardy – Despite the title, this book is less about being a millionaire and more about starting a business and growing, based on how millionaires have done it. I tend to avoid “get rich” books, and this book is far from it. Jamie has a great podcast with interesting interviews, and she's taken all she's learned and turned it into a great getting-started guide.

Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community – As a kid, I feel completely in love with I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball. We got all of the shows from the library, and then I read all of her biographies. Friends was our Thursday Night standing Roomate Date. So when I spotted this book at the library, I had to grab it. With it's look at sitcoms from I Love Lucy through Friends all the way to Community (which I love) was a fun (if somewhat nerdily academic read.)


What I'm reading

How about you? What are you reading? 

 Disclaimer-y Disclaimer!  Or course I’m biased when my friends write a book, but I don’t mention things I don’t like. Read the usual disclaimer here.

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