Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change


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

Homemade cinnamon roll + coffee + knitting + Gilmore Girls = perfect Saturday morning. #taralovesmornings
I woke up to uneasy snuggles. This is the closest they've ever been (touching!) and the peace holds only if they don't acknowledge the other exists.   #taralovesmornings #catsofinstagram #caturday
Pho for dinner.  With roast broccoli, cilantro, lime, pickled ginger, tofu and noodles. #whatveganseat

I am so grateful for…

  • A warm home on cold nights
  • A fantastically warm welcome to my newest thing
  • Saying yes to something new and big and exciting

The Finds:

I’m thinking about:

  • Since reading this post (and a zillion other studies) on the importance of standing up every 20 minutes, I downloaded Timer+ and set up a timer to go off every 20 minutes until 8 or 9 at night. I'm walking more steps and feel less achy at the end of the day.
  • You know I love CoSchedule (I go into detail about how I use it here), and this is a great post about fixing your Bounce Rate. (It convinced me to rewrite the headline on my Home page.)
  • Jay is not into sweaters, so when he asked if I could knit something like this, I was thrilled. But now I can't find any patterns that are similar. Suggestions?

I’m eating: 

In case you missed it: 

  • Be a Professional. Make the shift.
  • Overcome by self-doubt? You're not alone!
  • I announced my newest thing (an awesome new class series, built to give you your best biz in 2015) to my email list and the reaction was delightful. If you aren't on the list, and you're curious, sign up here.

I've had a few questions this week about how to listen to the podcast, so I wanted to answer them here, in case you were wondering: 

  • If you don't usually listen to podcasts (and don't use an app on your phone), you can simply listen via the player in each post (it's a little arrow button under each picture. If you click it, it will play!)
  • Or you can download each episode! In the “How to Listen” section of each podcast post, there is a link (embedded in the words “download it”) to the MP3. If you click it, the MP3 will start playing right away . If you right click, you can save it to your computer.
  • If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod, you can use the “Podcast” app to listen – just click “add podcast”, search for “explore your enthusiasm” and select “subscribe”. This will ensure that each new episode will go write to your phone!
  • No matter what device you're on, you can listen to the podcast via Stitcher here.

What adventures have you had?

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).