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Your questions answered: making friends, failed launches, and why you need a business profile

Your Questions Answered: making creative biz friends, failed product launches, why you need a social media business profile. Find the answers at TaraSwiger.com/podcast164

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Today I'm answering questions from my Instagram followers (to get your questions answered, be sure you're following me!). Today we'll cover:

  • Making friends
  • Failed launches
  • Why you need a business profile

Resources:

Check out these awesome creative businesses:

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 launch your next product or design

Not sure how to launch the next product or service for your creative biz? Learn how to launch anything at TaraSwiger.com/podcast162/

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How do you get people excited about what you're offering? Do a launch! In this episode I'll walk you through the process of launching anything in your business – a new product, service, design, or whatever it is you sell! We'll also talk about why it's important to officially launch something, rather than just listing it and doing your regular marketing.

Links Mentioned

This was originally created to answer a Starship question in our monthly Q+A. To be notified when the Starship boards next, sign up here: https://taraswiger.com/starshipbiz

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.

 

Your questions answered: email list growth, self-publishing and what I’d do differently

Get YOUR questions answered: self-publishing a book, growing your email list, and advice on building your crafty biz!

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Today I'm answering questions from my Instagram followers (to get your questions answered, be sure you're following me!). In fact, I received so many questions, I split them into two podcasts!  You can find the first Q&A post here.   Today we'll cover:

  • Email List Growth
  • Self-Publishing
  • What I'd do differently

 

Resources:

Check out these awesome handmade businesses:

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 Launch Anything

How to Launch Anything

 

Play

A few weeks ago a Starship captain asked for ideas and resources for launching a new product line and I wrote a long and thorough answer, and wanted to share that with you today. This can apply to how you launch a new business (if you already have an audience), how you launch a new product or how you launch a book.

We'll cover: 

  • How to come up with launch content
  • How to fit it in your calendar
  • How to continuously improve

Links mentioned

How to listen

Find all the podcast episodes here.

Launch YOUR next product more easily – make a plan and stick to it! Sign up below to learn more.

 

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

My $2/yd fabric. I went ahead and bought the whole 5 yards, so I have back-up.  Question: do you wash fabric before you sew clothes? (It's rayon, a crepe I think)
My adorable bunny-lover. (He saw the bunny, froze, then shook it off and started inside.) #bestdogever
Huzzah! Just opened The Starship for the quarter! So excited to meet who beams aboard.  All the details in the link in my profile. But ask me anything!   #starshipbiz
Morning glories are just so happy. (And they make me feel special, being up early enough to see them) Song of the Run: Do My Thing by Estelle, feat. Janelle Monae (This song is so great!) #foundwhilerunning #yaysummer #summerjam #running

I am so grateful for…

 

The Finds:

I’m reading:

  • I love that Pinch of Yum shares their monthly income report, but the best part is how the answer the question, “What does it take to make money blogging?”
  • Not much else! Spending all my time writing class materials + welcoming in new Starship Captains.

I’m eating: 

  • Pad Thai, of course!
  • BBQ tofu sammies + summer squash rice casserole (from Cookin Crunk.)
  • THIS was amazing. My lasagna noodles totally broke apart, so instead of rolls, it was more of a lasagna with pieces of noodles above and below a layer of DELICIOUS pesto-y vegan ricotta. Topped with more pesto. I could eat this every day.

I'm listening to: 
The Songs of Summer, since 1962 – this is a great playlist for summer-ing it up!

In case you missed it: 

What adventures have you had?

Your invitation to get effective

This year Diane + I held two sessions of a live class  that was crazy popular. But every time, we'd get a pile of emails from people saying: This week just doesn't work for me, will you hold it at another time? And as we want to say yes to every single person, we also have a pile of other ideas and projects we're just dying to do.

So we made it timeless. You can take the “class” anytime, anywhere, for as long as you like: it is now in one downloadable PDF.

click here to buy

The only downside: we love the personal question-answering, brainstorming, exciting work that comes from working with someone on their specific blog.

To get our fill, and to celebrate our new book, we're holding three live video one-on-one sessions this week:

Tuesday, October 9th, 1:00 pm EST (10:00 am PST)
We’ll be talking with Brooke Siennes of Sincere Sheep.

Wednesday, October 10th,  2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST)
We’ll be talking with Sarah Wilson of The Sexy Knitter.

Thursday, October 11th,  4:00 pm EST (1:00 pm PST)
We’ll be talking with Melissa Gruntkosky of Pressbound.

 

You can watch, for free, right here
If you want to share your comments or ask your questions, use the hashtag #effectiveblog

And if you want to make your blog more effective, get the workbook here.

5 reasons people aren’t buying your thing.

This morning  I had a great conversation with some business-y friends and I just have to share it with you, because it's the kind of question that gets asked a lot in the periphery. People moan about it on Twitter, they email about it and despair. But it's something nearly everyone experiences and it's time to bring it out of the darkness and into the light.

It's the Cricket Launch.

It's when people we love and admire have this experience we've seen over and over: super smart people create a program, a product, a service and they work hard on it, and then they launch it…to crickets. Nothing. No sales. Why?

Here are some of the reasons I've spotted in real life Cricket Launches:

  • You don't have a business, you have a Thing you're into (a hobby, an idea, a passion) and you offer something that doesn't help anyone with anything they care about. You don't have a system in place to support the product, or for telling people about it, or for continuing to interact with it. (You can just announce: I have this thing! and expect it to continue to sell.)

 

  •  It's all about The Maker. MY process. MY stuff. Here's what I need in MY life, and I explain it (on the sales page) by telling MY story…but without ever translating that into YOU and YOUR stuff and YOUR life. (In other words, if you're solving a problem I didn't know I had = crickets)

 

  • Not enough people hear about it. You can't launch something to 20 people and expect to sell out (well, you can, but those 20 people need to ADORE you, not just subscribe to your blog and never visit). However! You can start with nobody and open a shop and THEN build people (this is the difference between coaching/classes + physical products: you have to make the physical product FIRST and then make it available, and then find people. If you spend all your time “building an audience” you'll never make anything.)

    So if you launch your handmade thing and you get crickets…that's ok! All is not lost! Keep making more stuff, keep putting it out there, PLUS start finding people are into it (How? By marketing it!)

 

  • However! The Not Enough People thing isn't the biggest thing (even though everyone wants to obsess over that). The biggest variable (in the crafty businesses I know) is that people have to understand that you Do A Thing That They Could Buy. If I don't get that in the first 15 minutes I spend with you (which is, like, 8 hours in internet time), I'm not going to buy it. No one's going to buy it. This is really #2 all over again. I have to know you SELL it and get why I would buy it for ME (not why YOU make it.) If your website is all about your love of sewing, and there's not a clear link to your fabric shop anywhere, it doesn't matter what marketing you do – no one will know they can buy.

 

  • You're only talking to each other. (This might actually be the Biggest Thing in some groups.) The internet is an echo-chamber, especially if you only hang out with one community of people. Your one group might be the forums on Etsy, or your knitting group, or even the Starship. If I only ever talk to my business-mentors group, I would never sell anything. I do the kind of work that isn't FOR any of them. It's for crafters who are in the awkward middle of their business,  who want a accountability + feedback. So even though I check in with my mentors, I have to spend my time getting to know crafty businesses who have already started.
    •  If you only hang out in one group, you'll start coming up with a version of your Thing that will serve things people in that group, which might not be your best work, or your best next step. And you'll be limited to serving the people you already know (and that can make it awkward when they don't buy.)
    •  You know how I said that stuff about talking so your customers understand? Yeah, if you're speaking in your group's language  only people who will know that language will get it. You have a better shot if you speak your language, but an even better shot if you make sure the words you use make sense to your really right person, not the language of some tiny community they don't belong to.

Well, that was bracing!

It's no fun to talk about the things that aren't working. But most likely, you've already experienced this. You've already felt crappy about crickets. And it's time to know that you aren't alone, and all is not lost.

In fact, it's the opposite of lost!
If you found yourself and your crickets in this list, you've been found! You've figured out what brought the crickets and you can figure out what will exterminate* them.

*It'll cheer you right up to say “Exterminate!” in your best Dalek impression

There are lots of things you could do to rearrange, change, or improve on everything on this list. You can turn it on it's head. You can expand the group you hang out with online. You can translate your language into something your customers will understand. You can find out what your people really want, and give them that. You can get out of the echochamber and into another space, for even an hour a day. Just experiment.

Do you see your crickets here? What have you done to exterminate them?


You’re invited to brunch

My book, Market Yourself,  is now available for pre-order and I'm celebrating by inviting you over for brunch*!

We made it to Plant. Every single thing is #vegan. Wish you were here @evalazza
If I could, I'd take you out to Plant, order up my favorite pancakes and chat with you about your life, your business and your marketing. We'd sip soy lattes and giggle over the huge cinnamon rolls.
But we deserve it! Because sharing your thing, putting it out into the world, is hard.
Quinoa banana pancakes with cappuccino butter. #vegan #glutenfree #avl

Since you can't come over for brunch**, we'll have to settle for this – an online celebration of both my book and your business.

Because I was thinking of you as I wrote this book. I thought about the process you go through as you learn to think about your product, and as you learn to think like your people. I arranged and rearranged the book to make it a system that will walk you through every aspect of getting comfortable with your marketing, and growing into bigger and bigger things.

For example, I know it can be tricky to get that craft show patter just right (I've been in a LOT of awkward craft show booths!), so the Offline Marketing chapter starts with just chatting with your friends about your project. Then you branch out into your community. Finally, you're talking to total strangers about it – but instead of being scary, it's easy because you already know what to say, how to say it, and what the soon-to-be-fans might ask.

If you've got a creative business, go here to grab the book while it's still in pre-orders and you'll get a plate of Pre-order Specialness:

  1. Everyone who buys the book before May 9th will get an invitation to a live, on-the-phone Q+A session with the me!
    You’ll have a chance to send in your questions before the call, listen in as I answer your questions, AND receive a recording (mp3) after the call. Invitations will be sent out the week of May 14th.
  2. 1/2 off a Right Person Exploration. Your discount will be sent the week of May 14th.
  3. You’ll be entered to win a FREE, 30 minute, one-on-one session with me. On May 10th, we’ll choose 2 winners. Each winner will get an email with a probing questionnaire (so I know all about you before the session), and when you return it, you’ll schedule a time that works for you. The session will be held over a text chat and you’ll get a transcript when it’s all over.

This brunch is for everyone!

For more brunching goodness, sign up here to find out where I'll be having real, in-person brunches, workshops and conversations around the country!

Thanks for joining me for this brunch!

*Why Brunch? Read this story of brunching vs. launching

**If you are close by, let me know and I really will take you out to brunch!

Brunch? Don’t you mean Launch?

You may have noticed that I called the birth day of this site a brunch.

Not a launch.
In fact, I never “launch” anything (except my life, last year), it's always a brunch.

Why?

I'm a list-maker.
A little-detail-seer.
An let's-figure-this-out big sister.

I'm a look before you leap person.
Well, no, that's not-quite-right because I never do leap.

Not even into the pool.
I walk slowly to the edge, sit down, dangle my feet in and sloooowly lower my legs in.
Or better yet, find the steps and walk in.

Yes, much better than leaping.

And the word “launch”, it reminds me of standing on a high dive (or ack! any size dive!), getting ready to launch myself into the water.

Um, no thanks.

It also makes me think of rocket launches.

Which are beautiful and amazing.
But are also loud and rumbly.

It's in the cockpit, smoke billowing, your seat rumbling, your teeth chattering, your very bones and marrow and soul rattling while they build a huge fire under you.

Incredibly powerful, but also incredibly risky.

A launch can be glorious and amazing.
Or it can end in a mess of fire and tears and pain.
Either way, there are a lot of expectations and stress and will I live or die thinking.

Uh, no thanks.

When I was working on my very first not-just-yarn product, the Learn to Knit kit, I read a lot about launching a product (by far the best resource is this book, but it is sort of overwhelming).

And I thought a lot about launching.

LaunchLaunchLaunch.

One day, writing about it to some business-y friends, I mistyped it as Brunch. Maybe I was hungry or maybe I was tapping into some Freudian-slip smartness.

Either way, I loved it.

A brunch!

I would brunch the Learn to Knit kit!

No fire, no expectation, no bone-rattling moment of ohmygoodness.

A nice, leisurely brunch with coffee and pancakes and omelets and orange juice.

Mmm, brunch.

Where launching makes me think of disasters and high dives, brunch reminds me of being a kid, on the back of my dad's Harley.

He'd wake me up super-early on a Sunday. I'd suit up in a too-big-for-me leather jacket and a just-right helmet (safety first!) and we'd ride.

High up into the mountains, past lemon and avocado groves. Oh, I hate avocados, but I am smitten with the groves: dark, shiny leaves on perfectly round trees in lines curving around the mountain.

We'd get to the top of one mountain and there, out of nowhere, was a diner.

We had pancakes, coffee, eggs, orange juice. Brunch. With dad, both of us dressed in our leather jackets and jeans and boots.

Or he'd make brunch, at home. Sausage, eggs, salsa, sourdough toast, orange juice and the most amazing potatoes I've ever tasted. I have never found (nor made!) potatoes like Dad's brunch potatoes.

So when it comes to introducing something new  to the world, do I want to thrust it into the world with expectations and fire and smoke and bone-rattling excitement?

Or do I want to take it for a ride, get comfortable with a cup of coffee and some potatoes and enjoy brunch with it?

Yeah, I want to brunch with it.

How about you? Do you brunch? Or launch?

PS. I've been calling it a brunch for over a year, but I finally got around to explaining it thanks to this great post by Marissa on launching, on Productive Flourishing. It reminded me that there are lots of ways of launching and brunching.