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Are you leaving money on the table?

 

We’re into the last six months of the year. Just where did the first six months go?!

Our ICAP Members’ Studio peeps regularly look at their numbers. How about you?

Have you look at your numbers for the first six months? What did you discover? Were you on track or were your results not quite what you were expecting?

I talked with one of my private clients recently about this, and she said she needed a cash infusion. I think finding that cash infusion comes down to two items: ideas you didn’t take action on and things you didn’t follow-up on.

Ideas that you didn’t act on

First are those items you didn’t take action on. One of my good friends has something she calls “the $5,000 notebook.” I bet you have a similar notebook full of cash and you don’t even know it.

Do you often make notes of the great ideas you had? You know, the new pattern you wanted to create, the class you think you should develop, the cards to print based on your paintings, the new line of jewelry you want to work on.

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Train Tracks and Getting Things Done

 

One day recently I was stopped at a railroad bridge and started thinking about what we learned as kids about crossing the train tracks. Stop, look, and listen. Do you remember that?

The next morning I looked at the mountain of work on my desk – as well as those bright, shiny objects across the room – and wondered where I should start. I picked up the task on the top and started to work.

Shortly I became distracted and found myself on the way to the kitchen for another cup of tea.

Back to my desk. What was I working on?

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Pay it forward!

payitforward

The last time I was at our home on the Chesapeake Bay, our neighbor’s grandkids were visiting. They were having a great time skipping stones across the water. Do you remember doing that as a kid or with your kids or grandkids?

The effect, of course, is that you can see ripples in the water. And the more ripples, the better.

Have you ever thought about the ripples you make with your business? I want to share four stories about ripples.

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Kick-up Your Summer Revenue

summer-cash

This is the unofficial first week of the summer. For many people, this is the time to kick back and take it easy. You know the lazy, crazy days of summer! And, sure people do take vacations, but not all of them are gone every day all summer. So, you shouldn’t be either.

If you are trying to grow your business, taking it easy really isn’t an option. And, if you take advantage of the time many people do take it easy, your business will be ahead of the game.

Here are some ideas to kick-up your revenues this summer.

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Surviving business storms

Last week was such a storm-filled one that I found myself searching for rainbows each time the rain stopped. And, I found a real beauty. I started thinking about the fact that rainbows are dependent on the storm and started comparing that to our business life.

My first thought was that we all have storms in our business, whether that is feeling overwhelmed by our work or not being able to get done what’s on our list because a “crisis” or storm brews. You have times that you are not in control. You also have financial storms, weeks or more with dismal sales.

The thing is all the storms pass, and you hopefully have rainbows: turning those to-dos into ta-das or developing better sales the next week. Is it possible to get to the rainbows without the heavy storms? Maybe yes, maybe no. Here are just a few ideas to consider.

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Too Much On Your Plate? Delegate

 

 

Recently I was talking with my client Claire, a needlework designer, about the need to start delegating some of her work. She was overwhelmed with the amount of work on her plate and she felt that she needed to do it all herself.

Claire is like many other small business entrepreneurs  who have a hard time delegating. It is hard to leverage your time to work on your business if you are always working in your business. Claire, like so many small business owners, had a fear of assigning work to others. (Control issues, anyone?) When you looked at this on a deeper level, you can discovered a few common reasons.

First, Claire was afraid that if she had someone else do a task, they would not do it as well as she could. Of course, this is really a story in her head, and it is not necessarily true. Just because you can do something does not mean that you should. Often someone can do the task even better than we can if we just let them. It is about letting each of us work in our brilliance.

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Create Powerful Intentions for Events

 

 

Many readers of this post are preparing for International Quilt Market, the annual trade show of the quilting and soft craft industries. You may be preparing for a retail show, an outdoor fair,  a conference, or other trade show. You may be preparing to host, present at, or attend an event.

I have talked with several of my clients preparing for the shows about their challenges, and the topic came up on on a recent monthly ICAP Members’ Studio group coaching call. It seems a lot of people are in a frenzy about what needs to get done.

I believe it comes down to being clear about your intentions for the show. I went to my first quilt industry trade show in 1994. I’ve learned quite a lot over the years about how to get the most from the show. Much of it is being intentional about what I want to have happen while I’m there.

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7 Steps for Success After a Workshop

 

This week a fabulous group of creative professionals from across North America joined me for our annual Creative Arts Business Summit. They spent three days working on, rather than in, their businesses. They learned new social media strategies, ideas for improving SEO, how to build and nourish customer relationships, plus lots more. By the end of the three days, they all left with a tremendous support network and a revenue plan for the year as well as a 90-day plan to move forward.

When was the last time you attended a workshop, returned excited only to get stuck with what to do first? I know it has happened to me. So much on my list and a sense of overwhelm happens. How do you figure out where to start? Here are some thoughts that will work whether it is a business workshop or an art workshop.

Make a list of the top 5 ideas you got

If you kept a list of the ideas you got at the workshop, it’s probably lengthy. We have an “Aha” page plus insight pages for each of our workshop days at CABS included in a workbook. I know everyone ended up with a lot more than five ideas.

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Move the Needle in Your Creative Arts Business

For many of us, moving the needle may have different connotations, especially since so many who read this blog sew. Today I want to talk about moving the needle forward in your business. All of us get stuck. Sometimes it’s just a simple tweak that can get the machine moving again. Sometimes it is something bigger that you need to do to move your business to the next level. Here are nine ways that will help get you moving and bring in cash to your business:

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Set and keep your boundaries

 

A couple of weeks back, I had a conversation with Katie, a long-time client. We talked about boundaries, something that we have talked about over the years. She had, again, agreed to take on the program chair position at her local art guild. The guild was in a real bind since the current chair was having surgery with a long rehab period, and they really needed her, she said. That was on top of Katie’s picking up the slack for one of the moms with snacks at the kids’ soccer games. And, she also lamented a call the day before from a long-time friend who needed someone to talk with. The problem was that the friend was always in a crisis mode and she picked Katie as the go-to person on many occasions.

During our conversation, Katie admitted she was exhausted and felt like her needs, both personal and professional, were taking second place. That was true. She may have had good boundaries, but she was not guarding them. She was giving away her time and energy. What we discussed was a test for Katie to make some changes in her life.

I will admit right up front I could be a better boundary setter. Well maybe not a setter, but rather a keeper. I can set those boundaries; I just do not always stick to them. How about you?

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