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234: Six episodes you HAVE to listen to

Business can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to get sucked into endless archives of business podcasts and blogs. That’s why I pulled together my biggest and best episodes, together they form a foundation of business and life transformation. Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast234

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Are you traveling or working for hours in the kitchen or just trying to escape family this week, for American Thanksgiving? Me too, so I thought this week we could take a look at the best of the past episodes. If you'd like me to keep you company during your holiday prep, you'd have plenty to listen to. These episodes will come in handy as you're wrapping up 2018 and planning for 2019. They are the most-downloaded, the most-shared, and the episodes more people tell me totally changed their business or their perspective.

Today I'm going to recap my biggest and best episodes, so those of you who have just found the show know which ones to go listen to, or those of you who have been around for a while can listen again and get reinspired. If you missed these, I really recommend you listen to them, as together they form a foundation of business and life transformation.

These six episodes are both the most-downloaded (each has over 2000 unique downloads) and the ones I truly love the most, which just reaffirmed for me that I should keep talking about what matters most to me, because it matters most to you too!

A quick note: In some of these episodes I talk about the Starship, which was totally overhauled this year and will be open again on Dec 27th. So if you want to learn what the Starship is now and be the first to be notified when it opens again, head to taraswiger.com/starshipbiz and just remember that what you hear me say in past episodes may have changed since then!

Just click on the header for each episode to find their audio, video and written transcription.

How to plan for what you really want in 2018

In this episode I walk you through the process of not just creating a checklist for yourself, but really focusing on what you WANT in your business and your life. It's just 13 minutes, so give it a listen here.

How to make a fresh start

This is one of my most-asked questions: How to you get back into business after a break? How can you make a totally fresh start after a bad year, or a bad week, or a bad review? Even if you've never met a goal before, you can start fresh TODAY, and that's what this episode walks you through. You can find it here.

Stop seeking approval

Here’s a dichotomy: You want to listen to your customers and your audience, to give them what they want, to create an awesome business. But yet, needing their approval has you frozen or afraid or feeling kinda needy. How do you balance this?

In episode 189, I break it down for you – how to unhook from needing approval, while still listening to important feedback. This was a HUGE business lesson for me in 2017 and this episode inspired more feedback than any other episode, you can listen in here.

Fear of disapproval, get over it

Right in line with not seeking approval, let's get over the fear of disapproval! Are you unsure of your next step, because you’re afraid of the reaction you’re going to get? Are you avoiding rejection, because you want to have the approval and acceptance of your customers and audience? Yeah, me too.

In this episode I teach you how to move beyond fear into ACTION, find it here.

How Emotions are Made

This was a really different episode, in it I shared the lessons from the book How Emotions are Made, by Lisa Feldmen Barrrett, PhD. It helped us understand how to keep emotions from screwing up your business or reacting rashly, by understanding how they're made. The author has done so much research on emotions and the brain and how emotions actually form. Realizing all the pieces that go into making an emotion, can help you understand how to work with your emotions. The big lesson, that emotions are “constructed, not automatic” shifted your perspective a lot, based on the feedback I got. Listen in here.

Stretch Goals

This episode was written in response to a question I got from the Starship: If Stretch Goals are good, how do you know what the right amount of stretch IS? How much is too much? What is ridiculous and what is a good kind of challenging? This episode helps you figure out if YOU are the kind of person who's motivated by a crazy goal or a doable goal and then helps you set some goals from there. Find that episode here.

Stand by your prices

This is the episode I refer people to most often, because we ALL struggle with what to say when someone asks us: Why does your thing cost so much? This is so so vital for the health of your business and your mental wellbeing. The more confidence you have when discussing your prices, the more sales you'll make. In this episode we talk about how you can get really confident and grounded in your prices, so you can share with confidence and make more sales. Listen to it here.

So there you go – the Top 6 episodes of the podcast, and the ones that will help you transform your business and your life in the coming year!

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.

 

180: How to be great at sales (without being sales-y)

Your creative business relies on sales. That means YOU need to get good at sales. Yes, you need to be a salesperson. But did hearing that sentence just totally freak you out or turn you off? Listen to this episode of Explore your Enthusiasm and learn how to get great at sales without being gross: TaraSwiger.com/podcast180

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Your business relies on sales. That means YOU need to get good at sales. Yes, you need to be a salesperson. But did hearing that sentence just totally freak you out or turn you off?

We have some gross connotations with that word…. and it may be impacting the sales you make and the health of your business.

Links I 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.

How to fix YOUR relationship with money

Are you running into money blocks that might be limiting your creative business? Learn how to start fixing your relationship with money and dissolving those money blocks on Explore Your Enthusiasm with Tara Swiger: TaraSwiger.com/podcast173

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After my episode about healing MY relationship with money, I got so many replies saying, “I REALLY NEED TO DO THIS: HOW?!” Today, we’ll dive into the how of healing your own relationship with money.

Links I 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!).

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.

What I’m reading: March 2015

 I 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.

What I'm reading in March

 What I read

  •   Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer – This book was recommended to me a million times, and then a thread popped up in the Starship where Captains started reading it together. Oh man, it is just so good if you're an artist or maker who has a hard time with the exchange of your art for money. Amanda built her tribe, person by person, hug by hug, at hundreds of shows and she shares in this book about how she built the relationships. I highly recommend it (if you're not easily offended!).
  • The Art of the Book Proposal, by Eric Maisel – I've been working on a proposal all quarter, and this book is keeping my company. Unlike a lot of other books about the parts of a proposal, he digs into how to think about it, which I love.
  • The 4 Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss – I read this waaay back in 2009 when I first left my day job. I wanted to revisit it to see if it's a good resource for my clients, and this time I took completely different lessons from it. It's a classic and bestseller for a reason.
  • It's Not About The Money, by Brent Kessel – I talk a lot with my students about their issues with money, and this book, which identifies different archetypes that we approach money with, provided a great new perspective at these issues we all have.

What I’m reading

What are you reading?

 

 

 

 

 

The usual disclaimery disclaimer applies! 

How to reach your money goal

How to reach your money goal

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When I'm working with Captains on setting their goals, I often get asked, “How can I make a plan for reaching a money goal? Isn't it outside of my control?” Today I'm going to share with you what I tell them.

  • How to set a realistic sales goal
  • How to make your goal inevitable
  • How to avoid the common pitfalls

If you'd like to set a goal and reach it in 2015, join the Starship for accountability, encouragement and the information you need to make your dream a reality.

 

How to listen

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

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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.

 

 

How to make more money (with math)

How to make more money (with math)

One of the most-asked about topics in my inbox is money: what to charge, how to make more, how to thrive.

Last week in my free Q+A, Beth asked:

“How do I increase my rate of pay? How do I make more for every hour I work?”

The simple answer is: You change your numbers. Usually, you change your prices. Or it might be that you need to change your expenses. Or you change your efficiency.
You see, there's no easy answer I can give you…but it's very simple to find your own answer.

Do the Math

 

The math will show you how much your item costs, how much you can charge for it, and how many you need to sell in order to be profitable and in order to make what you want to make.

Instead, I talk to many makers who have set their prices randomly. They change their prices willy-nilly. They base it on other people, “the market,” or what a stranger said to them one time. They exclaim, “I couldn't charge a fair price for all this!” They feel frustrated and confused, because they're just guessing.

So stop guessing. Do the math.

The math is not that hard, and I've collected all of it for you in one place: Pricing 101. I've totally refreshed this popular class with 2 recorded audio lessons: the first with 3 equations for finding your right price and the second on how to actually get the price you deserve.

The class is only available in two places: As a bonus to Pay Yourself, and in the Starship Library.
Why? Because knowing the right price isn't enough. You absolutely need to set your price…but then you need to test it in the real world of your business. You need to know your Break-Even point, your production capacity, and your monetary goals. And that's what you'll do in Pay Yourself.

So grab Pricing 101 (2 hour-long audio lessons + transcripts + apply-it-yourself worksheets) with Pay Yourself right here.

 

 

Let’s explore profit

let's explore profit

Money. Profit. Pricing.

These are some of the hardest things to talk about in our businesses (and lives!), for a many reasons: because of our culture and its messages, because we might use it as a measure of our self-worth (and thus, it becomes a tool of self-doubt), and  because it is so easy to get lost in the Comparison Game.

This is exactly why we should explore it. Not just explore the ideas of profitability or making money – but explore your actual, real-life numbers, no matter what they are.

You see, in my work with creatives I find two things that routinely get in the way of their doing what they want to do:

  1. They don't have a plan, they don't know exactly where they want to go. (Which is why I created this.)
  2. They don't know where they are, they don't know their actual numbers. (Which is why I created this.)

If you want to go somewhere else, you have to know where you are right now.
If you want to make more money, you need to know what your money is doing right now. You need to know your expenses, your profit margin, your minimum break-even point and your most profitable products.
With this knowledge, you can grow, build, and expand. You can spend your time on what works and stop doing what doesn't.

But this doesn't have to be hard or stressful or self-flagellating. We can pull out these numbers, run a little math, and then learn the lessons. We can explore instead of hoping, comparing, or grasping.

If you'd like to join me in this exploration, it's time to learn how to Pay Yourself.

 

 

 

Image by Lacey Atkinson

Instead of comparing, explore

 

instead of comparing explore

“I'm just not doing enough. I thought it would have already happened. I might be missing *something* because everyone else is doing so much better, faster.”

I hear this all the time, from Captains, clients, friends…and inside my own head.

If you read some blogs, it seems that everyone is always killing it. That they're making a lot, selling a lot, and generally rolling around in piles of money, while working on a beach.

Apparently, everyone in the world is measuring the success of their business in figures. And they're all large. And successful.
{Click to Tweet this!}

Perhaps I'm especially sensitive to this because in the last year of teaching Pay Yourself (a class about calculating profit) to a variety of artists + makers, I had the chance to dig into real numbers from real people.
And in every instance, the things that were not profitable were the things they didn't really want to do. They were only doing them because someone else did. Or someone “successful” said to.

So I've got this unique perspective. I see the loud claims of showy success and I see the real insides of some amazing creatives. I see what really works and what is supposed to work and doesn't.

But when you can't see the insides – when you're just you,  working away at making your dream real – all these “success stories” can wear you out, discourage you, or worst of all – kick off a new round of the comparison game, where you start measuring your success by everyone else's. 

No matter how many times you tell yourself to ignore it, it can be discouraging. You forget that gross income (or, the money you take in) is not the same as net profit (the money you get to keep after paying all your expenses)…and most people are talking about their gross income. You can think that every month is a big blockbuster month for everyone and that no one else has slim (and fat) months.

(They do, they really do. In a recent Starship chat every single member present spoke up to encourage another and said: Yep, I've been there.)

All of this confusion about what's real + the non-stop comparison game going on in your head is why you won't hear me talking about “how to make six figures.” I'd rather help you explore where your profitability already is. I'd rather you  set a doable goal for the next three months and work towards that. I'd rather you explore what you want, so you can pursue it wholeheartedly. I'd rather connect you with other explorers who are real and encouraging and honest.

Because THAT is the real secret to how you get to those huge numbers – you slowly build to them step by step, by expanding on what's working and sustainably growing your capacity and your audience. 

That's how you get the small successes that lead to the bigger picture.

It's not a sexy message, I know. But it's real and true and encouraging and full of so much HOPE. Your tomorrow can be different. If can be what you want, but you have to make it so*.

 

*A Captain Picard nod for my fellow geeks


Tomorrow I open Pay Yourself. 
In it, we'll work with your real numbers to determine where the profitability is (and isn't) so you can laser-focus on the aspects of your business that support sustainable growth. It's not sexy, but it's gentle and encouraging and you only have to do math on ONE day. Registration opens tomorrow + it closes in just over a week, on February 21st. This is the last time I'll be holding it live online with a community of fellow explorers.

If you'd like to get real about your money, the downloadable class is available any time, right here!

If you'd like a sneak peek at how we'll talk about budgeting as a tool for earning more inside Pay Yourself, you can read my post here on OhMyHandmade.

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