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Be a professional

Be a Professional

Last week I read several great posts about professionalism in our craft world. Abby wrote about the changes to the professional organization CHA to include bloggers and in reply Kim wrote about the importance of being a professional in this industry. It might seem unrelated, but I found Diane's post answering if it's “worth it” to write a craft book and Abby's post about what fabric designers earn really seem to me to be even more proof of the importance of treating this, your career as a craftsperson, as a professional. Let's discuss what this means for you.

First, there's an important distinction in this conversation about bloggers and the trade organizations, between Professional Bloggers and Professionals Who Blog.

  • Professional Bloggers make their money from their blog, they sell the eyeballs (views) of their blog to advertisers.
  • Professionals who Blog make their money from either a service or product that they sell, and their blog is one part of the Customer Path for their buyers – it helps them connect in a deeper way with the people who buy what they sell.

I work exclusively with people who sell something (whether they blog or not!); my people sell their writing to magazines, their dresses to buyers, their yarn to knitters.

Now, these people (you!) don't always think of themselves as “professionals.” In fact, many of you came to your business first as a hobby and then started selling some stuff and that's where you are now. Some people don't care to go beyond this, and it's a fun hobby and gives them some extra spending money. That's perfectly fine. I work with people who very much want to go beyond this – makers who want to build their craft into a sustainable business that supports their creativity. In other words, they want to have a career in this field. They want to become a professional.

I've found, by working with people as they make this transition from hobby to career, that there is a moment where it happens. But it's not where you might expect it. The moment is not when they make their first or fiftieth sale. It's not when they make a certain dollar amount. It's not when their work is featured in a magazine.

This moment happens the instant their thinking changes. When they go from “I make some stuff” to “I'm building a business.” From “I hope this works” to “I'm going to make this work.” From “I‘d like to be as awesome as XX {Insert current rock star in their craft}” to “I specifically want to make $XX and spend X amount of time and focus my energy on X project.

The moment you flip from hobbyist to Professional is the moment that you decide to. The moment you commit to doing the work, to making the plan, to learning what you don't yet know.

If you've made this flip, you know it. It might be the first time you made a map, or held an experiment, or just committed: “I'm actually going to do this.
If you feel fuzzy and you're one of the hundred of people who email me asking “Could this be a  business?! Can I do this?!“, that's OK! Spend some time thinking about your life and what you want from it and go with your gut (not with what looks awesome).

Once you've made this flip, it changes your decision-making process. Instead of wanting to write books or design fabric because it seems professional, you'll need to research what that will actually mean for you and your goals. (That's why I love posts like Abby's and Diane's that draw back the curtain.) Instead of saying yes to every opportunity, a Professional gets clear on what she really wants and then pursues a path that will get her there.

I'm absolutely fascinated by what happens after the flip. The systems you build, the decisions you make, the work you have to do. That's why I make tools and classes for the post-flip journey (which lasts the rest of your life). I'm working on a new thing to support those immediately post-flip, who are ready to go from “I have a shop” to “I have a business.” I'm opening it first to email subscribers on Nov 20th (and everyone who joins early will get a free Holiday Sanity class!) and then to the whole world on December 2nd. It will begin January 1. If it sounds interesting, sign up here to be the first to find out (and have lots of pre-holiday time to think about it).

November is National Do Lots of Stuff Month

Happy November!
November is the month of turkey, gratitude and crazy big group projects. Something about all that impending time with extended family seems to draw us to gathering online to accomplish ridiculous goals.

Today I'm embarking on two (um, three?) big projects:

  • NaNoWriMo
  • NaKniSweMo
  • Holiday Sanity

I'm hoping I can convince some of you to join me in the craziness, let me know if you're also doing any of these in the comments!

NaNoWriMo

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a yearly endeavor to write 50,000 words (or, a small novel) in the month of November. Thousands of writers, the world over, participate and it is a beautiful thing. You can read more about it here.
I'm not writing a novel, but I am challenging myself to write 50,000 words this month (these right here count!), in the hopes of giving you what you've been asking for: more CraftyBiz written material to go with the classes.

Gettting it done

I'm using 750words.com to keep track of my daily words. My goal is to write 2,000/day every day that I can, since I'll be traveling a lot in November and I'm sure there will be several days when I can't write at all.
I'm still a little sketchy about WHAT exactly I'll be writing about, so if there's something in particular about crafting a business you'd like to read about, let me know.

NaKniSweMo

As if 50,000 words weren't enough, I'm also attempting to knit 50,000 stitches.  Or, a whole sweater. This is a knitter's version or NaNoWriMo, NAtional KNIt a SWEaterMOnth, in it's 4th  year and is organized by the inimitable KnitGrrl, Shannon Oakey.

Gettting it done

I'm knitting the Featherweight Cardigan by Helen Fettig. I spent, oh, an embarrassing amount of time thinking about what yarn I would make this in, before settling on the designer's own kit. It comes with the fabulously squooshy Malabrigo laceweight, which I got it in Pearl.
No special stitch-counting or knit-progress-tracking with this, I just plan to work on it All. The. Time. All the time I'm not working or writing or crocheting cute amigurumi.
first amigurumi

(Not a knitter? Check out Art Every Day, a sort of NaNoWriMo for artists.)

Holiday Sanity

Unlike the other two projects, this has no big goal line.
It's simply an accountability and planning group project that I put together to help myself get through the holidays. It's my hope that it'll help you do the same.

Tools

I'm creating all sorts of (optional) worksheets to help me (and you) figure out what, exactly, has to be done (and by when) in order to have a great holiday season, both in my business and in my life!
To figure out what to include, I put together all the tools and tricks I know help me get stuff done and I talked to other crafty people about what's worked for them.
What we came up with is simple and not too time-consuming (the goal is to focus on our work, not on the planning.)

Each week will have a theme to help focus our work and we'll follow up in a (private!) chat room where we'll check in and ask questions.
I'm looking forward to it because I know just the *idea* of checking in with someone pushes me to do better work. I've seen my gentle email accountability do wonders in other crafty businesses on projects as big as starting their first shop to making art on a regular basis.
You can join us right here.

Are you doing any crazy big projects this month?

Tell me about it in the comments.

You make money doing…what?

It’s the first question I get when I tell strangers that I’m a full-time fiber artist:

You can make money doing that?

Yep. And I’m the “breadwinner” for our family (ugh, I hate that phrase!).

My yarny business pays the rent.
And the electricity.
It brings home the puppy chow.
It send me to New York City and Seattle and our family to weekends at the beach.

But how?

It’s another phrase I don’t love: multiple streams of income.

I make money several ways with my yarn: teaching, writing, photography, selling it in a multitude of settings.

I combine that with my Super Secret Process of Making Money Right Now.

I've said this before.

It's possible to make money making what you love.
Possible (if you want!) to make enough to quit your dayjob.

It's a combination of Right Pricing and Right People and Trying Stuff.

But is that enough?

Have I really told you everything I know about Making Rent?

I've told you all about the marketing part, but what about the what-to-offer part?
I've went on and on about making it easy to give you money, but have I really told you all the ways to make money?

Let's talk about money, baby.

Let's talk about all the different ways your crafty biz can make money.
Let's talk about what to do when rent is due in 2 days and what am I going to do?
Let's talk about getting out of that rushlastminutedoom space and into something more sustainable.

Let's talk about next Tuesday, at 3p, for around 2 hours.
Join me (and get all the gory details), right here.

And if you questions on how to do it….

Ask me in the comments!
I'll be answering your questions for the next week, on the blog!

Lindsay is crafting a (generous) business

This is the third in a series of  interviews with smart people who are crafting a business. Part friendly chat, part case-study, all helpfulness!
If you know someone I should interview (even you!)
let me know.

Today I'm talking to Lindsay of Simon and Ruby, a shop full of gorgeous, handmade jewelry. I was inspired to interview Lindsay after learning she gives freely and generously.

I noticed (right away!) that you give 5% of every purchase to World Vision. I love that! Can you tell us more about why?

I’ve been involved with World Vision in various ways since 1996 or so. Consistently, this support began before I created Simon and Ruby, but I wanted to make sure that I had the means to continue to contribute to an organization that stole my heart.
My husband and I began supporting a little boy from Haiti (who is now not so little) back in 2004. His name is Blondeng and he just turned 16 years old in May. We’ve written back and forth with him for the entire time we’ve been married and we always joke that maybe one day he’ll come visit.

By using proceeds from Simon and Ruby to continue this support, we’ve also been able to give to others in our private lives as well. For a long time, I wanted to go work for World Vision. I truly believe in what they do in communities and would love to be a part of that.

To be involved, even on a small scale, is a huge pleasure for me.

Just to give a little background, World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities providing emergency and hunger relief, long-term community development programs, agricultural development assistance and leadership training. Check them out at: http://www.worldvision.org

I just recently read a quote that said, “Generous people have more to give”. Do you think this is true? How has it been true in your life?

Gosh, I’d love to have more to give than I currently do. I think that if you have a generous heart, you find ways to give, even if you don’t have the financial means. You give your time, your ear, and your energy.

I have a close friend that completely exemplifies this phrase. She’s a consistent inspiration in this regard. She opens her home, her heart, and gives more time and compassion than you can imagine. I think that if you really want to give back, you’ll find a way. Life has this funny way of working out so that you can.

I love your little descriptions about the people you've named the item after (“Rayen learned to do the hula last summer.”) Are these real people? Imaginary people?

The people in my life inspire some of my pieces and anecdotes, but many come from books I read, songs I listen to, or movies that I watch. I’m an avid reader and adore watching movies. Much of my inspiration comes from these.

Does the person inspire you first? Or do you make the item and then name it?

Most of the time, I begin with a color scheme or vague impression of what a character would wear and the design forms from there. I take the inspiration, but the name usually doesn’t come until later. Sometimes I’ll make a piece and look at it later and a friend immediately comes to mind. Then it becomes her necklace.

When I was little, I wanted to be a writer, so the anecdotes that accompany my pieces give me the chance to let out that 12 year old version of myself every once in a while. I’m no Carolyn Keene, so I’ll stick to the basics.

One of the most common questions I get is “How do you manage all the tasks involved in a business? How do you organize your time?” So…how do you?

Hahaha. Time management. I like to think I’m pretty good at it. You have to be. Juggle a full time job, a full time creative passion, your home life, and a few hobbies… you have to become good at it. Otherwise you’ll end up letting something slide. I’m not willing to do that. Each week, I take a look at what needs to be done and make my list. I love making lists. And more than that, I love checking things off my list. Then, I wake up each morning and form a game plan for that day. I’m still learning that sometimes what I think will take an hour actually takes two. Or that phone call in the middle sometimes sets me back a bit. Life finds a way of fitting itself in the cracks. Some days are better than others, luckily I have some very understanding, patient friends and family. One day, I’ll be able to pursue my creative life full time. I imagine my intense schedule won’t be left behind, but at least I won’t have the commute!

If you enjoyed this interview, let Lindsay know! She's @simonandruby on Twitter.

My favorite bits of Lindsay-wisdom:
  • “I think that if you have a generous heart, you find ways to give, even if you don’t have the financial means. You give your time, your ear, and your energy.”
  • “Life finds a way of fitting itself in the cracks.”

You can support World Vision by shopping with Lindsay or (and!)  you can support Pancreatic Cancer research by shopping with any of the generous crafters in Kim Werker's Pancreatic Craftacular (even if you don't plan on shopping, read Kim's story, it's powerful.)

Generosity is hard, especially when your energy is focused on just paying the bills. But I'd like to invite you to join me in challenging ourselves to generosity.
What can you give? What would really stretch you (and your biz)?

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.

Heidi is crafting a business

This is the first of what I hope will become a regular-ish feature: an interview with someone crafting a business. Part friendly chat, part case-study, all helpfulness! If you know someone I should interview (even you!) let me know.

I am super excited to share a look into how Heidi Fischbach of Heidi's Table and Aardvark Essentials crafts her business. She is a massage therapist, a potion-maker and a delightful writer. We talk a bit about the elusive “multiple streams of income” and speaking to your Right People, even when it's scary.

First, you work with an aardvark. Can you please explain?

The aardvark wasn't in the plans. Actually, there weren't ever big plans, just an idea that turned me on and then doing the next thing. I didn't even know, really, what an aardvark looked like. But I must have known someplace in my subconscious because there one was, one night, in my dream, tagging along beside me, and then, after I tried to give him the slip–I had much more important things to focus on thank you very much–he jumped up and bit my hand, all, don't you be ignoring me, missy!

He appeared in my dream when I'd been experimenting with my lotions and potions over a couple months, and the initial excitement had worn off. I was discouraged and feeling alone with my idea, thinking I might just scrap the whole thing. But he, this aardvark, would not let me.

He bit me so hard in the dream that it woke me up. In the morning I became curious about aardvarks and found out many things, including how they have all these qualities I'd been trying to nurture in myself or that simply were vital to my idea.

For one, they have a super thick skin. How thick? Well, they can stick their tongue into a nest of termites or red ants and feed, impervious to the insects' stings. I wanted to develop a thicker skin so that I'd do what I wanted to already and quit worrying about what people thought of me.

For two, they have a very keen sense of smell. In my business I'd learn to trust my keen sense of smell: knowing when a potion I'm working on is done, or when it needs a little more of this or that.

And three, aardvarks are native to Africa, which is where the Shea tree, from which the seeds are harvested for shea butter, grows. Shea butter is a key ingredient in the creams I make.

Your business is fascinating because it includes several aspects of you in a cohesive whole. Did you decide to branch out like this on purpose? Or did it happen by chance?

It wasn't so much a conscious decision, as the fact that I am someone who loves to have multiple streams, period. I love being stimulated by new ideas, new places, new ways of seeing things. I stagnate a bit if I'm sitting on my butt doing the same thing over and over day in and day out.

Also, massage therapy is a profession that tends to see its therapists burn out rather quickly. I read and observed this trend, and noticed that it seemed to apply mainly to therapists practicing what their employers defined as full time, employers who probably weren't themselves bodyworkers, who didn't know the energy, the love, the passion and the in-between-clients-schlepping and footwork that our work involves…

I did not ever want to see just another body on my table, which is what happens to me if I see too many people in a day. Rather, I want to approach each client from a curious and open place, ready to listen for their you-ness, and to have my senses finely tuned to the unique way in which their body is expressing the stuff of their life, including all its pain, discomfort, and stuckness. I knew that if I saw 5 or 6 people a day, 5 days a week I'd become a machine, and, a quickly expiring one at that.

Mixing potions started when I decided to make my own massage cream. The woman that had been making them for me moved away and I really didn't want to go back to the commercial, mass-produced, full of preservatives, stuff. I love the idea of knowing exactly what is in and where what I put on my body, or on my client's, comes from. Calling them “potions” is my way of honoring the emotional and energetic component of the tension in our bodies, without getting all preachy-teachy and long-scientific-wordy. I get to be playful and leave lots of room for magic, which is what I call the mysterious, I-have-no-idea-how-it-really-works-but-it-does quality of potions.

Writing hasn't provided me too much income, per se. However, I do write my own webcopy so in that way it is an indirect stream. Writing about the potion-characters is probably my favorite part of my Aardvark Essentials business . That and creating/concocting the potions. The day may come when someone else mixes the creams, packages and ships the boxes, and takes care of all the technological backend of my business (oh please may that day come soon!), but the writing and the potion-creating? I don't see handing those over to anyone anytime soon. I have far too much fun with those.

Do the various aspects enhance each other, while you work? Or do you feel like you're spread thin to keep them all in the air?

They do enhance one another, and I also sometimes feel spread too thin.

It's a tricky balance and being mindful of it continues to be a challenge. It, my business and balancing things, is one of my greatest teachers and my body lets me know when things are out of whack. If I'd known the amount of time and effort and middle-of-the-night thinking (er, worrying) that starting and running a business would involve, I don't know if I'd have done it. But, here I am. It happens, one little movement at a time, and at some point you notice that all the huge things are but a string of one-little-movements, right?

It is also crucial to have people you love and trust cheering you on, at hand when you freak out. They believe in you and your baby-idea even when you say it's crap because it's 2 in the morning and you got a weird order of shea butter from your supplier, and it's Christmas, and you just launched, and how in the world are you ever going to fill all your brand new orders and make shea butter souffle from that! Yeah, I could not do any of this alone, even though at the end of the day it is me and me. And the aardvark, of course! (He is the calm, by the way. The matter o' fact voice of, “now we do this, Heidi.” And too, he delivers potions to our people. OK, via USPS, but still. I like to picture him all decked out and channeling Snoopy in goggles in a little propeller plane, flying around the world to drop off people's orders.)

Your entire site (everything you do!) speaks so clearly with YOUR voice and your writing is utterly delicious. Does this come naturally or has this been a challenge?

Trying to change myself into what I think people want and then writing from that place is energy-crushing. Not to say it's always easy, but writing in my own voice is actually much more filled with ease than bending, pushing, pulling and second guessing myself to fit into a dress that is too small. Besides, I probably don't even like that dress called “other approval” anyway, you know? If I am writing the way I think you will like me to sound, about the things I think the market or you or Aunt Mildred or whoever thinks are cool or acceptable, and what I'm writing is not really me, then I might as well go back to 9 – 5 jobs I didn't love, writing for other people about stuff that mattered to them.

In my own reading, I love getting a sense of the writer and who s/he is. That's when I feel a connection, and for me, everything pretty much always boils down to connection. What connects me to myself? What connects me to you? What connects me to this our amazing world? I notice that impersonal and technical language makes my eyes glaze over… hunh? wha–? Technical jargon and fancy for the sake of fancy, leaves me feeling far away from whatever it is I'm reading.

Plus, if I were to write just what I think people want to hear, in a voice I am bending to be what I think they will approve, in the end, who is it they like? Not me, that's for sure. The irony is that if I'm writing from my me-ness, I am much more likely to please and connect with my “right people.” You know?

I may be making this sound easier than it is. Often I still care a whole lot about what people will think. One difference is that I tend to notice much sooner than I used to. And once I've noticed, then I can be with that part of me. She's usually young, and she tends to feel alone. It is for me to take care of her, not you, not my readers. There must be something she needs, even if nothing more than my company. It comes back to connection, again.

Oh, I love how you put that…being with the part of you that is uncomfortable and then figuring out what she needs. That seems like an ultra-important step in the sometimes scary process of connecting with your Right People.
Do you have any tricks or tips for tapping into that YOU-ness before you write something business-y? In the hard (practical) OR soft (inner work)?

In “the soft” , I notice the place from which I'm writing. Am I feeling insecure, wanting people to pat me on the back or validate me? If so, there is stuff inside me that needs my presence and attention before I publish that thing. I probably need to attend to myself and some unmet needs, so that I don't end up putting them onto my readers.

In “the hard” (meaning practical, actionable, maybe physical steps… more concrete) I might put on some of my potions. Maybe Night Queen, for confident passion. Or Sassypants, to say it like it is. Or I take care of the animal me. By that I mean my physical body, which I've grown to appreciate immensely for its wisdom and straightforwardness. My physical body needs movement. She needs fresh air. She needs food. She needs a lovely environment. And she lets me know, in various ways–discomforts get my attention the quickest–when I'm not taking care of myself well.

When I'm writing a “sales page” for, say, one of my potions, I don't think of it as writing a sales page. Ugh! Or, yawn! I think of it as writing an “About Me” or a bio page for her, or him. And yes, I think of my potions as characters with qualities I want more of. Who is this potion, I might ask myself? What was the hard thing going on for me that inspired her creation? And then I tell the story. My “right people” can relate. There's a way it feels like their story too. Who doesn't “lose it” at times? Who doesn't bite their tongue and worry about what others think? Who doesn't get exhausted? And if they relate and like the story, maybe they'll want to meet my potion characters in person!

Havi Brooks taught me so much about this whole matter of starting and running a business. From her learned that I don't ever have to write a “sales page.” And to step back and identify what I love and what works for me. And to call what I do whatever the heck I want.

Sidenote from Tara: yes! Totally call it what you want! I brunch (instead of launch) and I bake (instead of writing a sales page)

Thanks so much for agreeing to do this! I've loved getting a glimpse into how you work!

Thank YOU, Tara. I love doing this! It helps me understand my business and myself better. And, I'm super excited to connect with your people. I do believe I adore them already.

My favorite bits of Heidi-wisdom?
  • “I want to approach each client from a curious and open place, ready to listen for their you-ness”
  • “If I'd known the amount of time and effort and middle-of-the-night thinking (er, worrying) that starting and running a business would involve, I don't know if I'd have done it. But, here I am. It happens, one little movement at a time, and at some point you notice that all the huge things are but a string of one-little-movements, right?”
  • “Writing in my own voice is actually much more filled with ease than bending, pushing, pulling and second guessing myself to fit into a dress that is too small.”
What did you learn? What was your favorite bit? Share it in the comments!

Secret handshakes and reassurances

You feel like the new girl to class. You're new to twitter or to blogging or to your industry (heck, you may not even know your craft HAS an industry!).

You've found some awesome blogs, podcasts, magazines and books. You are learning and trying and figuring it out.

You are a fangirl. You can NOT imagine talking to (let alone emailing!) your favorite podcaster,  author or any number of cool people.

But you want to grow. You want to be part of it, to feel like you really are a member of the group or the industry or just, you know, not on the outside.

Oh, honey. I get it.
No one wants to feel like we're on the outside, but so often (especially online) we are. We don't know the secret handshake or the inside jokes or what TNNA is.

So here's a little reassurance.

We all feel like we're on the outside.
No one knows the secret handshake (or if they do, they haven't told me yet).
No one has it figured out.

And here's the crazy thing:

There is no “group”, no “insiders”, no “cool kids” (well, ok, most of the crafters I know are cool, but none of them know they are cool).
We are all working away in our studios at things that make us happy.
And we love to share it with others.

So if there's a person you'd like to get to know…
Or a magazine you'd like to pitch to….
Or a blog you'd like to comment on…

You officially have permission.
You are cool enough. You are enough enough.

And if you still feel a little shy or are wondering why your overtures aren't turning into friendships, you may enjoy the class Diane and I are teaching next week. We're going to share our low-stress, no-stalker way of approaching the people you admire. Join us here.

Who You Know – Diane’s Story

In celebration of our upcoming class about Who You Know, Diane and I are sharing our own stories about how getting to know some awesome people has resulted in biggification.

Check out Diane's story (and my ridiculous responses) here:

If you are completely smitten with Diane, after watching this silliness, you can get to know her better at CraftyPod.com

And if you're interested in getting to know people in your industry, you can check out the class here.

Systems? What systems?

Way back, when I first flirted with the idea of quitting my dayjob, all of my business mentors + friends said things like,

“Make sure you have your systems in order, before you quit. Now's the time to work on that”

And I thought,

“Systems? What systems?”

Systems = the things that you do when X happens.

Building or having or fixing your systems is simply making those things-you-do make more sense for you. To make space for consistency and flow. It's about bringing consiousness to those systems, which lets you run a business and still live a life.

But WHAT systems?

What systems do I already have?
What systems need work?

Enough of this philosophy of systems stuff, it's time for the airing-of-the-systems.

Systems  I like

(I've worked on and have gotten mildly happy with them)

  • Post-sale  (email inviting customer to my newsletter, note in the package)
  • Shipping (weekly printing of labels, packaging everything (including note!))
  • Inventory (keeping enough unddyed wool that I can always be dyeing, dyeing enough wool so that I can always be spinning)
  • Bookkeeping (monthly downloading of Paypal info, organizing it into income + expenses)
  • Analyzing the numbers (monthly checking it all out, making notes on what worked (and didn't!))
  • Communicating with customers (regular newsletters, Yarn-Love Notes)

Systems that still need work:

  • Production (keeping it all flowing, keeping a steady stream of new yarn coming out of my studio)
  • Listing (photographing, writing descriptions)
  • Other writing (articles, etc)
  • Rest (remembering to stop)

What are the systems you're happy with?
What are the systems you need to work on?

Tell me in the comments!

(And if you want to start working on your systems today, join me at 3pm. Get the details here)