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Get the help you need (and stop wasting your money)

Crepe myrtle (& tiny moon) #foundwhilerunning

Without quite meaning to, I've been writing a little series on exploring the support your business needs (this is just one area you might want to explore.)

Now that you know what you need, and you've explored your options of getting your partner's support, it's time to branch out  and get support from the whole wide world.

Instead of thinking about all the options out there, focus in on your needs.

When you thought about what you needed, what where the tasks that came to mind? (Take a moment to write them out!)

Now, for each item on your list, who would be the best person to help you with that?

 

Some of your options for support:

  • Teacher
  • Mentor
  • Assistant
  • Professionals (lawyer, accountant)
  • Community of peers (other businesses)
  • Community of Right People (your buyers and supporters)
  • Real-world community
  • Family

 

Go on and take notes on your list!

The next step is to find the specific person you need. 

If, for example, you are new to sharing your thing with the rest of the world, you might just want to read a book about that. But if you've read a few books and your problem is actually DOING it, perhaps you need the accountability of other explorers. If you need ideas for your newest product – don't ask a teacher or other businesses – go right to your community of buyers and talk to them about what they love, use and need.
The trick here is to remember what you need specifically – the actual tasks or barriers you currently struggle with – and then to seek out what will help you overcome (or accomplish) it.

Even though this is simple, are you doing it?

Or are you taking every class that's offered, and buying random books? Do you have lots of general knowledge, but no idea what to do for your specific situation?  I know – it's tempting to download and stockpile it (without using it) because you don't want to miss out! I'm guilty of this too! But this gather-everything-and-then-sort-it-out method is why you feel overwhelmed. It's why you still feel unsupported.

Don't get me wrong, I totally believe in investing in your business (and your business education). I wouldn't offer books, classes and support if I didn't know it was helpful. But it's helpful for the people who have the specific need. The best investments I've ever made  have been those that filled a need I had right then, or that related to a new adventure I was embarking on. 

So what do YOU need? Where can you find it?

 

cross_stitches

 

 

During this exploration of my own relationship to support, I made two big changes to my business, which I'll be sharing with you Thursday (you can subscribe so you don't miss it.)

 

 

Feel Good: Quilting

As part of my feel-good experiment, I'm saying yes to the stuff that feels good. One of the biggest challenges (for me) to doing what feels good is LOGIC. I can logic-away all kinds of fun stuff, insisting that I don't have time, I don't have energy, I really should spend my time on finishing those other projects instead of starting a new one. But this month's experiment is saying YES to something I know will feel good, so instead of saying NO to my newest crazy idea, I fully embraced it.


This week's crazy idea was Elise's Quilts by Christmas challenge. After a recent weekend spent quilting with my mom, I wanted to do it again. I was visiting this weekend and my mom has a great quilting set up: a big table to cut on, two sewing machines, plenty of ideas, so this was the perfect storm of inspiration and opportunity. Before I left I sent mom a link and my new quilt was born.

Love LOVE new fabric store. Unfortunately, didn't have black I needed. #quiltsbychristmas



We spent the weekend buying all the supplies, experimenting with the best way to cut triangles (we settled on this one), cutting, sewing, and ironing.
Part of my feel-good experiment: giving in to #quiltsbychristmas Details on the blog.
It felt great to dive into a new project: the endless Pinterest-searching, the fabric-buying, the cutting, sewing, chatting, charting. And you know? None of the logical reasons I had to not start matter at all. I feel refreshed and inspired for my other projects, and knowing that one of my Christmas gifts is halfway done feels fabulous.

What feel-good activity have you been logic-ing away?

Free Guide to Planning your Holidays

This is the third in an ongoing series about planning (your business and your life!) for the holidays. If you want to keep your Holiday Sanity this year, join a group of crafters + artists in our accountability fun If you're struggling to find the time because of family or health limits, check out Within Limits.

Instead of going on and on about planning today, let's just get down to the action. The action of looking clear-eyed and honestly about what you want to do this holiday.

For most of us, that starts with a List.

I am Queen of the List, but my planning really needs to go beyond the list.

I've put everything I know about dealing with big (scary!) to-do lists and turned into a teeny tiny mini-guide.

How I figure out what needs to be done.
How I make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
How I make sure it actually GETS done, hopefully a few days before it's really done.

All of it explained and then demonstrated with silly handdrawn worksheets.

This is one of the first materials I made for the Holiday Sanity program, but I got so much gushing about how helpful it was, I thought, I need to share this with everyone.

So here it is, completely free. No sign-ups or commitments or anything.
Just right click on the little button to download.

And enjoy!

Edited to add: At the request of several fast readers, we're going to do a weekly check-in, right here in the comments.
Today, let us know: did you fill out the first List of Doom?

Of course, you can get private accountability (and brainstorm and learn from a whole pile of clever crafters) in the Holiday Sanity program. Tuesday's the last day to join!

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.

Asking for it

Yesterday we talked a little about being enough. Part of knowing that you are enough (cool enough, smart enough, enough enough), is accepting help.

All kinds of help

Help with starting, help with growing, help with doing-the-next-thing, help with reaching a new market, help getting to know the people who could help you.

Accept when it's offered

Sometimes, help if freely offered. Someone retweets a link to your awesomeness. Someone tells a friend. Someone writes you an encouraging email.

Ask for it

But often, maybe most of the time when you're first starting out, often you have to ask for help. First, you have to find who can help you. Then, you have to ask them.

This can be scary, because ohmygoodnesswhatiftheysayno? or whatifIsoundlikeadweeb? but it doesn't have to be.

Asking can be an exchange of ease

If someone (even someone you hugely admire) has become a friend, asking for help can be full-of-ease. If you've shared a helpful, useful exchange. If you like them and they like you and you treat each other as equals, you may just be friends.

Asking for help with your business can be as easy as asking your best friend to pick up a bag of ice when she's on her way over.  That never feels weird, right?

Do you have a story of asking for help? I want to hear it in the comments!

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PS.  Need a little more details than “become friends”? Yeah, I thought so. Get lots of details next Tuesday, by joining us here.

In which I prove better systems lead to more time on the beach

Why systems?

Because I want a thriving, smooth, full-of-ease business.
And I want a life. A thriving, exciting, space-to-do-my-thing life.

Isle of Palm, SC

Having systems in place, allowed me to take last weekend off and drive 5 hours to the nearest beach (and the adorable Charleston). I didn't have to worry if things were going to ship late or students were going to get their details for the class they bought.  I could go, knowing that the important stuff was done and the immediate (seeming) stuff could wait.

Systems = Containers

Working on my systems  provide me with containers (this is Cairene's word, and I love it). Containers of time, containers of space, containers for doing all the tasks and processes. This (shipping) goes there (Wednesdays). This (spinning) goes there (afternoons).

I like to think of containers as the baskets I keep my yarn in (I probably got this from Cairene too). I can move them around, I can rearrange the contents, but the basket holds what I need it hold until I'm ready to come back from it. And it keeps my studio from becoming a yarn-covered mess.

When something has a container; a start time, an end time or a ritual to usher it in or out; it has a boundary. It isn't a sprawling never-finished mess of muck. It has a space, a time, and a little container to hold it when I'm done.

I need boundaries to start and stop or I would just be an endless loop of doingdoingdoing while nothing feels done. Without boundaries I would answer emails as soon as they come in and never get anything done. Without boundaries around my writing time, I'd let interruptions keep me from finishing a post.

The boundaries, the containers, the systems, they give me confidence.

Confidence that if I move this container over there, it will still get done.
Confidence that if I take this weekend off, everything won't fall apart.
Confidence that emails will get answered, yarn will get made,  posts will get written, orders will ship.

What kind of containers and boundaries do you have in your business?

Tell me in the comments!

Do you need to work on your systems so that you can (one day or NOW) take time off from your biz? Check out my course with Stacey Trock of FreshStitches: Take a Break (without breaking your biz!)

My creative Mission

Reading this post, by Diane (of CraftyPod) on Make+Meaning about Creative Missions, sparked all sorts of crafty, hopey, changey thoughts.

She says

even the most compelling hobby, when it becomes your paycheck, can start to look an awful lot like work.

And I can tell you, this is SO true.

Which is why, each year I look at what I want my business to DO. Not just pay my bills (although that's a goal), but what I want it to do in my life and in the life of others and (this may be a little grand) what it's doing in the world.

  • What does it change?
  • How does it improve the people who interact with it, impact the environment, support the crafty world?

Reading the article, I was reminded that my business has a few Missions:

  1. Promote sustainable fibers, especially that of small farmers – through using only sustainable fiber in my own work, through explaining those choices to the crafty world in a non-judgey way, through bringing attention to environmental issues around fiber and providing information on making eco-friendly decisions (whether with my yarn or anyone elses
  2. Supporting the indie-yarn community – through A Novel Yarn, through providing information, through sharing what I've learned, through being available to answer questions one on one.
  3. Experimentation – with yarn-making, with business-growing, with class-teaching. My mission is to try new things, learn, synthesize and share the results.  This is really the heart of everything I do.

This is always something I'm working on and working with. The deeper I go on this creative mission, the more the mission changes, the more details I get, the more ideas are sparked, the more my life becomes authentic and the more I live what I truly love.

What is your Creative Mission? Are you still working on it?