Yesterday was my birthday, which is also the birthday of this little site. 2 years ago I started a non-yarn site in order to talk about businessy stuff with other craftybiz smarties (without annoying my delightful yarn customers). 1 year ago I opened the Starship.

I could go on (and on) about how happy I am on these anniversaries. About all the ways it changed my life ( my first published book!) But I think that's less interesting (to you) than telling the truth under all those amazing life-changing opportunities.

The truth is: I had no idea.

I still don't.
There's a famous-ish quote by William Goldman (author of the Pricess Bride!) about the movie business, “No one knows anything.”
The same is true about business and ideas.

Yes, there are business basics (like, the 4 Ps of marketing), but no one knows anything about what specifically will work for your specific business. If an idea is a good idea. If a product is one your people will embrace (or not).

For example, when people started asking to work one-on-one I offered an hour on the phone or chat. People did love it, but I didn't. I had so much to say, more than could fit in an hour.
I thought the appeal of the Starship would be the over $600 worth of classes. Instead, it's the weekly check-ins (which didn't even exist in my original plan).

I could go on (and on) about ideas I had that haven't worked. Either people didn't want them or I didn't like them or they just didn't work like I imagined. But you get the idea.

Things change.
I learn.
I experiment.
I'm wrong.
Again and again.
Nearly monthly I have some new epiphany about what would work better, about what I would love more, about what my people would love more.
And the same will be true for you.
You keep going.
You keep iterating and ideating and trying stuff.
You keep experimenting.

Like I said on my 1 year anniversary of self-employment, the secret to success is that you just keep going.

After 30 years of living, 6 years of business-owning, 3 years of self-employment, 2 years of working with other crafty businesses and 1 year of captaining a Starship I can tell you one thing for sure:
You don't know anything.
So just keep going.
And experimenting.

During my experiments I've learned what actually works with crafty businesses. What I actually want to write about, talk about and think about. I've found the place where those two things (what your business needs and what I'm good at doing) overlap, meet up and join. Things are always changing, but on my anniversary I thought it would be helpful to look at the ways I currently work:

  • This blog is always free and nearly weekly updated with ideas and experiments for your own crafty biz.
  • The free mini-course on Becoming an Explorer also comes with occaisional email updates on what's happening (live events, discounts, etc).
  • Market Yourself  is a systematic process to creating a sucessful marketing plan for your creative business. The secret ingrediant- you discover and experiment with what works for you. There are no simple answers, but there are lots of beloved worksheets.
  • The Map-Making Guide helps you find your own path towards your own goals. It makes getting where you want to go simple, stress-less and visual. People are kind of obsessed with it and we make new maps every 6 months or so on the Starship.
  • The Starship is magical. It's a private community filled with craftybiz smarties who are all exploring their own business and maps, together. We come together for gentle accountability on a weekly basis, and you can ask your 3 am questions anytime, and get stunningly smart answers from others (and me). I'm there, answering questions, brainstorming and having ideas for your business all week long. The Starship only opens once a month, so you have a chance to settle in and get orientated before the monthly class.
  • I limit myself to only one Exploration a month because they are…intense. And awesome. We get super clear on who's buying what you sell, we discover the language they use (then create a translation guide so you never forget to speak their language), and we usually come up with some product ideas you never even considered. It's like bringing in a VP of Marketing (me!) for 2 days to do a total strategy clarification. The results are staggering with the right people and I'm ruthless about only working with the people who will benefit.
  • I also serve as First Officer for several bigger businesses (they call me a Community Builder, Communications Concierge and all kinds of other titles that mean: day-to-day social media strategist or copywriter), which gives me insight onto what works for different kinds of businesses so I can experiment with applying it to tiny crafty businesses.

That's a lot, but I'm not even close to the end of my ideas. Over the next year I'm going to experiment with even more explorations and adventures for tiny crafty businesses (that's where my heart remains!), that take our love for hand-making and apply it to business (what would your marketing plan look like if you painted it? Or knit it?) and I can't wait to share it with you.

Thank you for being here this year.

Thank you for your comments and your questions, your tweets and your emails.

And please, please, just keep going.


4 Comments on The secret sauce to success

  1. Ally
    June 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm (12 years ago)

    Love it! and there are a few of us out there that knew you would one day be sharing your quirkiness with others because we know it all and we know you do too!

  2. Tara Swiger
    June 11, 2012 at 10:18 am (12 years ago)

    Thanks Al-pal!
    Love you!