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The 4 foundations of your creative business (aka, where to spend your time)

What should you focus on to grow your business? What really matters? You can boil it all down to the four foundations of a crafty business. Work on these, and you'll see growth and expansion! If you want to work on these foundations in your business, join us in Lift Off (it closes tomorrow!). Over 6 months you will build each of the foundations, and get greater clarity about what to do in your business. Learn more at https://taraswiger.com/podcast112

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What should you focus on to grow your business? What really matters?

You can boil it all down to the four foundations of a crafty business. Work on these, and you'll see growth and expansion!

If you want to work on these foundations in your business, join us in The Starship Program.

Over 3 months you will build each of the foundations, and get greater clarity about what to do in your business.

(In this episode I mention Lift Off, I program that I updated and improved based on feedback and success stories of students. It became the Starship Program.)

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.

 

 

Make 2015 Awesome.

Make 2015 Awesome

I am getting super excited about the end of the year. I love using the next few weeks as an opportunity to hit pause on everything for a minute (remember, you have permission to take time off) and look at what happened in this last year, and what I want to happen in 2015. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing the biggest lessons of 2014 via email, so (in the last blog post of the year!) I want to talk about how to make 2015 awesome – how to be sure that next year at this time, you're going to feel great about what unfolded.

 

 

As I'm always reminding you, you can build your business to be whatever you want – you get to define your own success.
But that's not where it ends. After you define success for yourself, you have to boil it down to what that will look like – the specifics of it – and start taking action to actually getting it. Action that is directly going to impact your goal.

As you're planning your New Year, keep these things in mind:

Review the last year first.

List what worked and what didn't. Celebrate your successes and ask yourself: What actions made that happen? Let go of what didn't work. (In Chart Your Stars, which you'll get in both Lift Off + the Starship, the most popular activity we do is releasing the regrets of last year- forgiving yourself and choosing to move on is powerful.) Enumerate the lessons you've learned (I'm sharing my lessons next week, via email). Make a list of what lessons you want to bring with you into the New Year.

Be specific.

Everyone wants more sales or more money or “growth.” What does that look like in your specific business? This is where you're going to take what you learned while reviewing your year, and build on it. If you made 50 sales last year and you want to grow – how many sales do you want to make this year? If you want to write a book, how you will you do it (self-publish? book proposal to traditional publisher? something else)?

Find your reason.

Why do you want this? For things you truly want, you can usually answer this question swiftly, with multiple answers. Knowing your why will keep you motivated, even when things get hard. It will inspire in you another way of fulfilling that deeper desire, when a goal doesn't work out. For example, you want to make more money because you want your business to be profitable, because you want it to….pay some bills? Allow you to go to a movie? Contribute to your dream house? How else could you get that?

Pick a focus.

If you listed 500 things you wanted to do in 2015 – that's fine! But in order to make progress on any of them, you're going to need to pick one or two to really focus on in the next three months. You can start anywhere – I always tell explorers to pick the thing they are most enthusiastic about, no matter how crazy it might seem. After you choose a destination for your next quarter, you'll break it down into individual steps, so that you can take an action every day to get closer to your goal. (We do this step by step in the Map Making Guide – which is free in Lift Off and the Starship).

You may find, as you go through this process, that what you thought you wanted actually…isn't. Maybe you'll come up with an easier or more obvious way of reaching your definition of success. Maybe you'll realize that you don't have any reasons, and you're only doing this because you think you “should.” No matter what the results are, be encouraged and keep going until you have some goals and ideas you are truly enthusiastic about!

If you'd like to do all of the above in a guided workshop, surrounded by a community of encouragers – beam aboard the Starship! It is now open to new members!

Why you’re not making more sales

Why you're not making more sales

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Everyone wants to know: Why aren't I making more sales? 

The answer is that you're making a mistake that most small businesses make, and it's exhausting you, without being effective.
Whether the problem is that you're not selling anything, or that you're not selling more, or that your newest project just bombed, the underlying problem is usually the same. Today we're going to talk about what the underlying problem is, and how to fix it.

We'll discuss:

  • Why you're not making any sales
  • The easy change you can make
  • The foundations you need in place

 

Lift Off opens today! Join right here.

 

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.
  • ON ANY device, you can 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.

Where is your business? The four stages of building a business

The Four Stages of Business

Last week I wrote about the “flip” – the moment where you start thinking of being a Professional. That's one moment in the life of a business, but in my years of working with makers, I've noticed there are actually a few stages that come before the flip:

  1. Thinking
  2. Plotting
  3. Doing
  4. Doing it and doing it and doing it well*

*You're singing this now, aren't you?

Thinking

There’s often a looong period of time where you consider selling what you make. In this stage you may even take some “steps” like signing up for Etsy, listing a few things with hastily taken photos, or starting a blog (or maybe a whole string of un-updated blogs).
You think. You dream.

This is an important stage. But this is not a business.

 

Plotting.

This is different for different people. For me, it involved a crazy amount of research (mostly business books) and writing down every idea I had. For others, it involves sending emails to people who might help (like me!). Or reading the Etsy forums. Or finding some blogs.

The difference between this stage and the first?

Intention.

At this point, you know, that you will do this sell-what-you-make thing. You will.
You may not know how. Or when. But something has shifted.
It’s real.
But it’s still not a business.

This plotting may eventually lead to Doing, but many (MANY!) people get stuck on the I-need-to-learn-more train and never get off. They go around and around and don't take any action.

Doing

This is the stage where you make it happen.

If you hang out in the plotting stage too long, doubt will creep in.
Is it real?
Is it possible?

Stay in this doubt too long and you slip back into the Thinking stage.
Everything seems too hard. Too confusing. Too out-of-your-range.

So how do you move from Plotting to Doing?
By making one decision.
A decision to commit.
When you turn that surety in your heart into something tangible.

The decision can be anything.
But it must involve investing in your business (investing = risking time or money or your comfort on something that will yield returns).
It can be signing up for a class.
It can be DOING what you learned from a blog post, a class, a friend.

Anything that you can look at when doubt seeps in and say “No, this isn’t just a dream, I AM doing it.”

(Afraid of moving to Doing too soon? Think you need more Plotting before you commit? Be reassured: you will ALWAYS be plotting. You never stop Plotting. I’ve been Doing a business for over 7 years, and I've been self-employed for 5 years and I’m still Plotting and changing and experimenting.)

 

It's only after you start Doing that you make the flip to a Professional. It's only after you're IN it, that you can get good at it.

But here's the thing: you can be Doing and STILL not have a business. Unless you have built a foundation and systems, all of your doing will be random and ineffective.

 

Doing it and doing it and doing it well

This is where you'll spend the rest of your business life, and this is where what you're doing becomes an actual business. This is where you do the profitability math, develop a marketing plan, and begin to shape a business you really want, focused on your own goals. (This is where I work with people. I don't help you with the initial start-up, I help you make it more awesome and more you.)

You can move forward.

No matter where you are now, and how long you've been there, you can make progress towards your dream.

I've put everything you need in the foundations of your business into one program, so that you can shift from random action to sustained focus (and profits!). In Lift Off, you'll figure out where you want to go, set clear goals, regularly assess what you're doing (so you only do what works!), do your profit math, create a marketing plan, and learn from your own business, so that you can take your business to the next level (whatever that is for you).

Lift Off is the guidance & training you need to get your biz off the ground and into the stars! It is open now.


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