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[21] Why Pay for an eCourse When you can Google the Information for Free?

Have you ever asked yourself this question?

“Why should I pay for this e-courses when I can just Google this information for free?”

Let me start by saying: I am the queen of ‘Googling it’, and a huge amount of what I know about business, I have learned by figuring it out myself through trial and error.

It is absolutely a great, cheap, and legitimate way to learn. But it’s also a very slow way to learn!

Not only that – how can you know that you’ve found genuinely good advice? And how can you know you haven’t missed some vital piece of information that could save you time and money?

I think many people are under the misconception that when they purchase a course, they are just paying for the content. You aren’t. There are actually 4 things you’re paying for, and content is just one of them.

Listen in to this episode to find out just what those 4 things are. It will help you decide whether an e-course is worth your precious financial resources, or whether you’d be better off going it alone.

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Googling it is great for solving one focused problem.
  • It’s not the smartest way to learn.
  • “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
  • You’re not just buying the content of that course or the information that you’ll receive.
  • You are paying for content, experience, saved time, expertise of the teacher.
  • The content is always going to be available somewhere on the internet for free – not just all in one place, and perhaps not in a way that’s easy to absorb.
  • It’s hard to know what you’re looking for.
  • You can end up missing really crucial information which could make your life easier.
  • When you consider doing an e-course, look at the experience you’ll be getting. Does it allow you to interact with your classmates? How will the content be delivered? Do you get actual feedback from your teacher – can you ask questions?
  • “Choose a course that gives you the experience you want, as well as the content you need.”
  • Imagine: instead of spending years stumbling around in dark caves, trying to find your way to the treasure hidden deep within the mountain, someone came along and gave you a light and a map.
  • The question to ask yourself when you’re considering exchanging a little bit of your life for an e-course is – “Will the time I SAVE down the road outweigh the money I SPEND right now?”
  • Your teacher must have the knowledge and experience to teach you what you need to know in a way that you will find enjoyable, challenging, and truly useful.
  • You need to make sure that you really trust your teacher.
  • Does what they teach come from a place of hard-won experience?
  • “One small test for you to apply: if they tell you that achieving success will suddenly be guaranteed, fast, and/or easy if you just do their course – they’re lying.”
  • Success is in the application.
  • No-one can give you a magic formula for success.
  • Success looks different to everyone, and can be reached in so many different ways.
  • Time is life and when you exchange money for something, you’re exchanging it for time saved – a little bit of life. Make sure it’s worth it.

 

Download/Listen to this Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

Success Stories – Boo and Boo Factory

 

Christina is a powerhouse of imagination and creation. Her Etsy store literally stopped my in my tracks with my mouth open as I gawked at her beautiful (and bright!) jewellery and purses. I like bold, statement stuff and so I was pretty excited when she graciously agreed to be interviewed. I am so excited to share Christina’s rise to self-made business woman as she transitioned from architectural graduate to style icon.

 

Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?

 I began Boo and Boo Factory as a way to make some extra money to pay for architecture school. 

Supplies, models and computers can get expensive so any extra income was welcome.  I continued to craft on the side all throughout architecture graduate school.

I began to notice that my shop was growing very quickly and due to my heavy school schedule, had to start declining work and projects for Boo in order to keep me focused on my studies.

After I had completed my thesis in 2012, I decided to pursue Boo and Boo Factory full time instead of going back to work in architecture

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your business?

The largest challenge for me is how to find balance between designing, making and many of the other tasks of running a business.

Since I am a one woman shop I tackle many elements daily that a larger business would outsource.

I source my own supplies, work with retail shops as well as manage wholesale, I do my own taxes, accounting and book keeping, inventory, design and upkeep my website, answer emails, network, market and all of this on top of designing and hand making each piece.

It can be really tricky trying to do it all and it never seems like there’s enough time in the day

What has been the biggest ‘fist-pump’/successful moment for you so far?

My biggest successful moment was when Etsy had their first pop up shop in Soho during the holidays and they asked me to be a featured maker there.

They flew me out to New York and set up a work area for me to meet customers and sell my goods.

It really was one of the most amazing experiences.

Do you ever have doubts as to your future creative direction? Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?

I don’t have any doubts as to my future creative direction. 

Every day I learn something new in regards to business and I’m constantly trying to learn new techniques to help me push my product lines and experiment with new designs.

As I had mentioned previously, time is always an issue. 

I always feel like I don’t have enough time for one thing or another, I just try to do my best.

Are there times when your creativity and inspiration seem to disappear? How do you handle that?

Every now and then I go through creative slumps.

I think that’s something that all creatives can relate to.  If I feel stuck, I go outside for a walk, go to a different part of the city I don’t usually go to or sit at Lake Michigan.

I find that ruts hit me when I’m swamped with work and tired. So taking a break and seeing something new usually does the trick to spark creativity.

You have to learn to take time for yourself and your well-being because if you don’t your business can suffer. 

 

How do you balance your work with the rest of your life ~ what does a typical day in your life look like?

Every day is a little bit different and depends on how many open orders I have. If I have a rush of orders I spend the whole day making and then try to package and ship at night.

If I don’t have too many orders, I use that time to make new products, photograph and list them in my shop.  Usual business tasks are also spread out depending on my work load.

Working for your self is way more work than working for someone else.

I work 7 days a week sometime from 8 to 14 hours a day. 

I love it and don’t mind putting in those hours.

I am so grateful that I am able to do something I truly love for a living. It is really one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced.

What has been the best marketing move you’ve ever made for your own business?

Instagram has been the best marketing tool for my shop!

I started it only a year ago and love it! I meet other creatives and network with people all around the world on a daily basis.  I also receive most of my wholesale orders as well as fun custom orders through Instagram.

The other thing I like about Instagram is the instant feedback you receive on products.

Whenever I’m working on a new design I’ll put up progress shots all the way up to the finished design and receive feedback on all stages of the work.

It’s so helpful and is a really fun way to try something new that you maybe wouldn’t have done before.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to give fellow makers about running a successful creative business?

I think that a lot of creatives try to learn everything there is about business before they open their shops.

The truth is you won’t be able to learn everything and it doesn’t have to be perfect when you open.

You’ll learn as you go through experience and you never stop learning.

Of course it is very important to research before you begin but it’s also very important to take the leap and get your products out there for the world to see.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself in 5 years in a dedicated studio space outside of my home with employees!

It would be so amazing to hire help for the business side so I can spend more time designing and making pieces.

Shop/Website

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

[20] Handmade Business Holiday Prep Checklist (with Downloadable PDF)

I know it’s only the end of August, BUT – for those of us in handmade business, the time to start thinking about the holidays and Christmas sales is now. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to get prepared for the (hopeful) Christmas rush, and by getting ready early, we can ensure we’re organised, stocked up, and don’t miss any potential opportunities.

No matter how many years you’ve been in business, it is worth setting aside a bit of time around the beginning of September to plan your holiday strategy. How? Well, that’s exactly what I’ve got for you today. I’ve created a checklist of the most important tasks and steps to take in order to have your best Christmas sales season yet.

Sound good? Right on, let’s do this!

 

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

I reckon the downloadable checklist is enough for you to be getting on with this week – so download the image and/or the pdf printable version below! I go into a lot more detail about each step in the podcast (including sharing a few stories where I got these things VERY wrong and learnt my lesson the hard way).

Please feel free to share the image of the checklist below wherever you’d like – Pin it; share it on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram; email it to a friend; print it out and stick it on the noticeboard at your local craft shop or cafe – whatever! – and help other makers get prepared for their own holiday sales.

 

Handmade Business Holiday Prep Checklist PDF

 

Download/Listen to this Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

6 Top Tips for Market Stall Setup Success

 

 

So, you’ve decided to do your first market, or perhaps you’ve done a few and are struggling a little with your setup.

Here are some things I’ve learnt over the past 6 years to make the lead up to a market and your setup time easy and fun.

  1. Plan Ahead

Setting up your table a couple of days before your market will not only make your setup time quicker and easier, it will also allow you to play around with how best to exhibit your products, give you time to work on your display, and allow you to setup with confidence and joy on the big day.

Set up just as you would for the market.  If it’s a night market and you need lighting, set up at night and use your lights to ensure they highlight your work in a way that will draw customers to your stall.

If you’ll be in a marquee set up in one or if you don’t have one, measure out the space so you can get a feel for your table layout.

  1. Promote yourself

Most markets rely to some degree on the fan bases of their stall-holders to drive customers to the event so make sure you promote your market dates to your customers and followers and in your e-newsletter if you have one.

  1. Packed and Ready

Packing your items and display pieces to take to market takes practice but having them packed neatly and concisely will make it easier to travel from your car to your stall site and to unpack quickly. 

Plastic boxes of various sizes are the most common way to pack your pieces if they are small.  Use bubblewrap for fragile items, you can use it again to wrap them when they sell.

If you sell clothes, you can set up a hanging rail in the back of your car so you can transport them to market without them getting crushed.

Buy or borrow a flatbed trolley and straps to keep boxes secure (you can get them both cheaply from lots of places and they truly are worth it).

  1. Display

You don’t need expensive display items to show your work off.

Creating height and balance to your stall can be achieved through using wooden crates or boxes or wrapping and painting cardboard boxes.

Look around your house and see what you can use to create a memorable display. 

Op shops are also a great source of display items and if you’re handy or got someone handy in your life, making bits and pieces for your display is not only satisfying but makes sure it’s the perfect size and fit for your products.  Remember that you’re creating a mini shopfront so make it inviting with business cards in a prominent place.

  1. Stock

Always make it bit more than you think you’ll need and be prepared with pen and paper to take any custom orders that might come along on the day if your business works that way.

Sometimes customers don’t like to ask the price so make sure everything on display in your stall is priced in a discreet yet clear manner.

Ensure that your items are priced clearly and that your table is not overcrowded. 

Price points are an absolute must so be prepared with entry (impulse), mid (affordable and the bulk of your sales) and high-end (draws people in) priced products to attract a range of customers and encourage repeat custom.

  1. Essentials for Market Day

It’s easy to stay up late the night before a market whizzing up last minute bits and pieces but it’s to your advantage to give yourself a cut-off point where you stop making, get your car packed and rest up for the big day or night ahead.

  • Wear your product if it’s appropriate and make sure to choose comfortable clothes and shoes suitable to the weather and your style
  • Have some healthy and wholesome snacks with you as well as lots of water
  • Pack a mini first-aid kit with some band-aids, pain relief, hair bands, safety pins, sunscreen etc in case of emergencies
  • Make sure you’ve got bags/packaging for your customers to take your products home in
  • Be sure to take business cards along so your customers can find you again!
  • Have a newsletter signup sheet so people who are interested with your work can keep up to date with what you’re making

And last but definitely not least, be inviting, courteous and gracious and most of all have heaps of fun!

[19] The Right Time to Start is Now

When is the right time to start your business?

Is it when you’ve got it all figured out? A rock-solid plan? A good chunk of money to invest? The perfect product? The perfect time?

No. None of the above.

When I think about timing, I think about archery. Did you know I practice archery? (I favour shooting longbow and barebow, for fellow archers who might be reading.)

When you draw your bow and line up your shot, there is always the chance that you’ll let go too soon… but equally, you can hold on for too long before letting the arrow fly.

Ideally, with each draw you’ll find the sweet spot where you aim and let go of the string – trusting that first moment where your body and mind whisper ‘yes’ – and that your arrow will fly true. If you hold on too long, you start to struggle and second-guess yourself – and this is often when the shot goes wrong.

There’s a moment in your gut when you feel like the timing is right – and it’s so similar to the feeling you’ll get when the right time to start your business appears.

It might feel too soon. You might not feel truly ready. But deep down, in your gut, you’ll know it’s time to just let go of the string and launch your business out into the world.

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • So many people are waiting for everything to be perfect before they start.
  • You need to move your idea from the dream space and make it into a tangible reality in the world.
  • There is truth to the adage ‘You can do anything but not everything.’
  • Don’t get tripped up by the idea that you need to be at a certain level of expertise to start.
  • You just need an idea – then put it out into the world in whatever form it’s in right now and let it grow.
  • “You don’t plant an acorn and expect it to be an oak tree tomorrow.”
  • You can keep your seed in a jar in the back of the cupboard and it will still stay viable but it will not grow.
  • A tree never stops growing and neither does a business.
  • “It’s impossible for your business to be perfect – ever.”
  • If you’re being held back because you think you don’t have enough knowledge or haven’t done enough planning – you have.
  • You’ll never know everything but you can always learn.
  • You can always experiment, apologise if something is wrong and you can always go in a new direction.
  • All you need to start your business is a product – something you can put up for sale.
  • Everything else is part of the process of evolving and growing your business but testing your product in the market is the first step.
  • You always have time to change, grow and adapt your product after you have feedback from your customers.
  • Feedback may send you in a new direction and it might be in a direction that you wouldn’t have come up with on your own.
  • Your business will be shaped by the environment and the feedback you receive.
  • Sales are a form of feedback on your business.
  • Putting your name out there to your family and friends can often be the scariest part of the process.
  • “Since I was a teenager I had the dream of making money from an internet business but I had no idea how to do that!”
  • You have the joy you feel while you’re making your products – and then sales are an added bonus whilst you’re starting your business.
  • “If you put your work out into the world and nobody buys, is that the worst thing that could happen in life?”
  • It’s a reasonable fear that people might not buy from you and that’s OK to feel that fear. Do it anyway.
  • There are things you can work on to tweak and improve on after you’ve got that feedback but until you put it ‘out there’, you’ll never know.
  • You have nothing to lose from trying.
  • You can always start again with something new.
  • There’s always something new that you’re thinking about, no matter what stage your business is at – put it out there and see what happens.

Download/Listen to this Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

What dream are you going to make into a reality?

Answer the challenge I pose in this episode below!