Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change

What’s new at the Boutique

Throwing a party inside the CraftyBiz Kitchen

Let's get right to the point: The CraftyBiz Kitchen is now open.
You can join us here.

I tried to keep that page short and to the point, but there is so much that I'm excited about that I just had to share some of it here.
Let's do Q+A, shall we?

What's the CraftyBiz Kitchen?

When it started, in July 2010, it was simply a subscription to my CraftyBiz classes. Every class came with recordings, worksheets and post-class chats. As more people joined and started asking for different features, I decided to close it to new members on September 1, so we could experiment together.
Over the next 3 months, I added some things, tried other things and asked the Kitcheners what they wanted at every turn.

They voted and what we have now is something we all really love:

  • 2 hours of classes/month (most of them private, a few classes will be available to the public for $30-$70)
  • 30 minute one-on-one session with me, via Google chat. We talk about your business, prioritize for the next month or just brainstorm product ideas (like Zombie Jesus. Yes)
  • Weekly chats, in a private (online) room and on Twitter

The best part?

You pay each month and can leave at any time.
Or, if you'd prefer, you can pay for 3 months at once.

(Once you've been in it for 3 months, you have the option of buying a 6 month membership, at the request of some very eager Kitcheners!)

What classes?

This is the part I am most! excited! about!

The CraftyBiz Kitchen allows me to know who, exactly,will be in the classes, so I can shape the content and discussion to benefit you, the individual business crafter.
I've started to work on the outline of the first quarter and am delighted that as I was mapping everything out,  it turns out that each step could happen in a real kitchen, as you're planning a party. So that's the metaphor we're going with (but we're also going to spend some time coming up with a metaphor YOU like, for YOUR biz (if you're into that sorta thing)).

For starters, everyone who joins will get Right Price + Right People in mid-December, so we're all on the same page when we start in January.

Build your own Kitchen: Building the “home base” for your business, the fist step in creating a thoroughly-you business. We'll look at all the different spokes of your business + learn how to make them cohesively you. This step makes it easier for your Right People to recognize you when they find you.

Stocking the Shelves: Does your online presence (website, etsy shop, etc) answer all of your Right People's questions? Is it easy to navigate? Easy to understand? Before we invite people over, we need to make sure we've got what they need.


Planning a Party: We all want more sales, but before you invite the people, let's plan for what kind of party you're throwing. In other words, what your Unique Selling Point? What's the thing that makes your thing awesome?

Putting together the invitation list: In this class, we'll dig into who YOUR Right People are. Who do you hope shows up? What do they want from you?

Who has it helped?

Here are some CBKers who agreed to share their story.

Kristine says, “I launched my crafty business in 2010, and the help that Tara gave in form of classes, one-on-one, and chats was invaluable to getting off the ground.  I'd highly recommend that if 2011 will be the year of something new for YOU, consider investing in yourself and join the CraftyBiz Kitchen!”
Joyce started her business after our first IdeaStorming and has since started teaching, succeeded at her first craft show and totally rocked it.
(Also, she sends me emails after classes that say hilarious things like this:

“I got so much from the most recent class!!! SO incredibly informative and helpful! I dub thee Tara Awesomepants! “

There are lots more stories and sillyness, but everything you share in the CBK stays in the CBK. Privacy and mystery and ridiculous passwords. Yes.

But here's the thing: none of this is the CraftyBiz Kitchen.
It's all them. Their hard work. Their application of what we've talked about. Their curiosity and experiments and willingness to try.
I'm just delighted I get to hang out with them while they work on it!

Is this for me?

It depends.
If you're wondering if this is for where you are in your business, the answer is “Probably yes.” I'm working on baking layers (like a cake!) into each of the topics we cover. The general concepts are great for someone just starting their business, but the specifics of how YOU  implement them will help even the most advanced crafty business.
For newbies, you'll be building your business as we learn.
For established businesses, you'll be tweaking and improving as we learn.
For everyone in between, it'll be a combination of new-to-you-stuff and oh-I-should-really-look-again-at-that stuff.
Everyone will have the support of me (via one-on-one time) and other crafters (via chat) to ask questions, dig deeper and explore all the gooey layers.

(Side Note: The layers thing is something I am terribly excited about. I plan on playing with the concept (and maybe even actual cake layers) a lot during my sabbatical. You've been warned.)

If you're wondering if this kind of thing is right for you, the answer is “maybe“.

Before you decide, it might help to ask yourself these questions (this is what I ask myself before I buy anything):

  • How do I intend to use this, actually implement it, to improve my business?
  • Do I have time to listen to the classes and join in chats (about 4 hours a month)?
  • Do I enjoy the other things by this person (blog, other classes, etc)? Would I like hanging out with her on a regular basis?

But is this for ME?

Still not sure? Send me an email: vulcan@taraswiger.com

And you know what?

If this isn't for you? Or it isn't for you right now? That's totally cool. I still adore you and your businessy dream and can't wait to hang out with you in the comments.

Launching a Life

Since quitting my day job on July 1st, I've received a lot of questions about how it feels, what it's like.

Most of the questions relate to the quitting and the dayjob: What's it like to not go to work? Is it hard to stay motivated without a boss? Do you miss having coworkers?

But  these questions are hard to answer. My life is so different now, I find it impossible to compare dayjob to yarn-job.

This whole big scary experiment doesn't feel like a quitting as much as a launching.

A launching into a new way of thinking about work.
A launching into a new way of connecting, of being a part of my community.
A launching into more responsibility, more discipline than ever.
A launching into a  very unknown future.
A launching into doing what I love, without excuses, without somedays, without anything (but myself) to stop me.

Like a big space rocket launch, it's exhilarating and terrifying and filled a thousand movable parts that look like they might fall apart at any time.

I realized this week that although I told everyone I quit my dayjob and I immediately devoted myself full-time to Blonde Chicken Boutique, I didn't take the to celebrate. Or to ask you to celebrate with me.

This is a big momentous thing that needs proper yarny revelry.  I've pondered the best way to make it a real celebration and I've come up with a  Grand Launching Week-long Extravaganza!


Launching Party Fun-ness

Everyday next week, I'll share my story, from French Major to Yarn Wrangler, here on the blog. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss any of it.

I'll also be answering your questions, everyday at 3 pm on Twitter (starting today!). We can talk about any little thing (quitting the job, wrangling yarn, studying French Lit, ANYthing!).  Just put #askthechicken in your tweet to ask me.

Launch Party Yarny Discounts

For the next week, any NEW customer of the Boutique will get $10 off orders of  $30 or more and returning customers will be get $5 off orders of $25 or more.

Really want to party? Buy more than $100 worth of yarn or fiber and I'll send you a skein of yarn (or bump of fiber – your choice!) and a pattern for FREE in August. Think of it as investing in your future!

Not a yarn-y person? This sale ALSO extends to the Gift Certificates!

Thanks for celebrating with me.

I wouldn't be launching into this new life if weren't for you. Whether you buy yarn or not, whether you comment or not, whether we've met or not, everyone who shows up here has helped bring me closer to this goal, has helped encourage me and teach me and inspire me.


(PS. Special sparkly rainbow of thanks to Leonie for the gorgeous graphic!)