4.08.2014

Vacation Break

It has been a LONG COLD winter here in Chicagoland. Here we are at the beginning of April and it still has not been warm enough to go outside without a coat.



My husband and I decided to take a little mini vacation, and are headed to the warmer temps of Florida for a few days. 

I have been looking forward to this trip for weeks. I can't wait to wear my short sleeve shirts, sandals, and NO coat.


This means I will be taking a mini break from blogging. Watch out for new posts starting the week of  April 21.

Hopefully when I back it will be warm and things will be turning green.

Happy Spring!


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4.04.2014

Spring Update

Spring is here! Well at least that's what people are telling me. It's still cold here in Chicagoland and brown. I really can't wait for thing to start greening up and warming up!


This is the time of year people start thinking about Spring cleaning, and transitioning your home to reflect the warmer seasons. 

What about your studio/workspace? 
Do you do give your studio a Spring update? 

This is the perfect time of year to add some color to your studio, open a window (if you have one) for fresh air, rearrange, or bring in some elements to brighten things up.




Don't forget to Spring clean your online business. Click here for tips to get your shop, blog, and social media sites updated for the season.

What do you do to transition your studio/workspace for the Spring season?


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4.02.2014

Don't Fall Behind

Running a creative online business is a consistent learning experience. As an online business owner we know things change often. Such as how we reach our customers, setting up and running a website, as well as the tools available to keep things running smoothly.

There is always something new to learn. It's important to stay on top of the available information so you can effectively run your business.

Luckily there are several available learning options. You can learn via blogs, podcasts, videos, and online classes and workshops.

I am currently taking a class on Skillshare.com. It's a marketing workshop called The Modern Marketing Workshop taught by Seth Godin ($19). I am still going through the class (you do it at your own pace), I can't believe how much I have learned already. It has been worth every penny!

Taking the time to build up your skills and learn new things makes running your creative business easier. 

If you decide to take a class or workshop online here a re a few suggestions to get you started:

Make a list of what you want to learn - What is important to you and your business? 

Be clear about the outcome you desire - Do you want to be an expert? Are you just broadening your horizons? Do you want to learn better ways to run your business or expand your art knowledge?

Take into account how you like to learn - Do you prefer visuals or audio? Solo or in a community? At your own pace or scheduled?

Decide how much you want to invest - Are you looking for free or paid content?

Create a timeline - List what you want to learn, then prioritize what you want to learn now,  3 months from now, and a year from now.

Identify you best learning options - Research classes, workshops, and courses that are going to serve you best.

Work with an accountability partner - Find someone who will let you bounce ideas off of them, go over your homework, or work the class with you.

Apply what you learn - If your going to make the investment, you have to put what you learn into practice.

Don't let your business fall behind the curve. The online industry is going to keep growing and changing and keeping up with trends will only make your business more successful.

Put together a learning plan for yourself, and let what you learn now grow your business.

Have you taken any online classes?


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3.31.2014

Motivation Monday



Back Yourself

It sounds so simple.
But it requires great faith.
Against all the doubters, the detractors,
the risks of failure and the self doubt,
believe in yourself.
If you don't back yourself.
Don't expect others to.
If you have the confidence in yourself,
so will others.

It's Never Too Late... by Patrick Lindsay

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3.27.2014

21 Ideas to Build, Connect, and Grow Your Business Community


Happy 21st Birthday Brittany!

Where does the time go, I can't believe my daughter is a grown up already. I remember when she was a little girl and we did everything together. Today she is a beautiful, smart, and independent woman full of ideas and ready to take on the world.

My daughter thrives in her college community and uses their support to help her achieve the success she is striving for.

In honor of her birthday I have put together a list of 21 ideas to build, connect, and grow your online and offline community.

Having a strong community is a big part of the success of your business. Taking the time to build a community that will support and motivate you will make being an independent create business owner a little easier.


1. Start with one person. Reach out, send one outreach email, be a volunteer, take the first step and get started.

2. Share freely of yourself, time, and talents. Pitch in with ideas, contribute, remember what you have to add to the conversation is important.

3. Grow your connections, you don't have to go it alone. Work with a mentor, a group that will inspire you, people that you admire.

4. Get to know everyone in your online and offline community. Map out where you have access to resources, tools and services that will help you and your community and share with everyone.

5. Connect with your community via social media.

6. Listen you the members of your community. Letting people tell their story without judgement is an important part of a community environment.

7. Celebrate business and personal successes.

8. Seek out diverse people and perspectives. This will create a vibrant community culture.

9. Share a note with a community member with an encouraging  and motivating message to show your appreciation.

10. Collaborate with people in your community with similar interest and skills.

11. Engage with people who push you out of your comfort zone.

12. Ask for help when you need it. your community is there to help, use their skills.

13. Share information and expect nothing in return.

14. Introduce yourself to the leaders you admire, even if it's just to say HI. You never know what could happen.

15. Keep on learning. Take online classes on sites like Skill Share or Big Hit Webinars.

16. Teach a class, share a tutorial, create info graphics, you have a lot to share with your community.

17. Be a leader.

18. Connect people you think could benefit from knowing each other.

19. Cheer on members. Encouragement goes a long way in the success of your community.

20. Kindness is appreciated. Thank the people who help you along the way.

21. Do something daily for your community, build your connections.

If you don't have a community to motivate and help support your creative business, start building one today. If you have a community, try incorporating some of these ideas to making your community stronger and more successful.

Do you have an online and offline community that supports you and your business?


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3.25.2014

Knowing Your Target Market Will Make You More Money

Finding your target market is one of hardest parts of having a creative business. It is also one of the most important parts of having a successful creative business.

When I started the Additions collection I wanted to create designs for young women who wanted something different. I spent years creating sterling silver art pieces that were expensive and that few people could afford. So creating an affordable collection for young women seems like the perfect target market. I learned quickly that young women were not the people buying my jewelry.

In the past year or so I have finally pinpointed my target market, and now I know where to focus my marketing efforts, and I am working on finding places to share my marketing message.

It is easy to say that your items can be sold to everyone of every age and socio economic status, but trust me that is not the case. Knowing your target market will not only help you sell more product it will make your marketing efforts easier.

I discovered mine by watching and talking to the people who were buying my jewelry at shows. I was able to pinpoint the average age of my customer (it was no where near what I thought), what they do for a living,  income, why they liked my designs, and where they lived.

I gained so much info interacting with my customers, learning what styles they like and using that info to help me to create new collections. I have finally stopped wasting time and money on reaching markets that are not interested in what I have to offer.

Take the time to do a little research to discover your target market. You will be surprised how knowing this information will make you creative business boom.

Not sure where to get started, would you use a little help finding your target market? Check out this FREE e-book How to Find Your Target Market Today by Sadie Maruska from Yarn Obsession. It's a quick read and full of helpful ideas to discover your target market.

There are a variety of websites and blogs with helpful information as well. A quick Google search or check of Pinterest boards should yield lots of get places to visit.

Do you know your target market?
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3.24.2014

Motivation Monday



Believe in Yourself

If you don't, don't expect others to.
Live up to your expectations,
not down to your doubts.
When you know you're capable,
give yourself a chance to succeed by losing the fear of failure.
Your horizons are often self-determined.
Make sure they are as broad as your dreams.

Now Is the Time by Patrick Lindsay

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