Reignite the Flame

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{source: skycrusher}

Being an entrepreneur is all about pushing forward and nurturing your business.

Sometimes things get hectic because we are doing and keeping track of so many things. It can get so crazy sometimes we forget the basics, or we forget to take a look at what we are doing, how we can improve it and how we can make it exciting again!

Like any good relationship, it’s important to invest in it and keep it exciting and fresh!

Here are some simple things you can do to keep it fresh.

Splurge on it.

Running a business means taking chances in creativity and in finance.

And being creative with finances… you want to work within your budget, sure, but don’t be afraid to splurge sometimes! Investing in some new packaging or higher quality materials can add sophistication and value to your brand. If it’s going to enhance your product’s look and feel, it’s worth it! If it is going to make your life substantially easier, it’s worth it. Have you been wanting to travel to a show or conference? Why not?!

Invest in your business, treat your business to nice things!

Take it Out and Introduce it to Some New Friends.

Everyone needs friends, including businesses!

It’s important to have allies and “friends in the biz” who get it, people you can discuss this unique and crazy world of entrepreneurship with. Join or organize a local meet up group of fellow business owners.

I’ve been attending monthly meetings with fellow creative entrepreneurs and it is always informative, motivating and reassuring. Take your business relations off line and cultivate community locally! Get out there, it’s good for you.

Give it a Little Pampering.

You know how you feel really great after a manicure, or a haircut?

A few little spruces can go a long way for your business too! Updating your avatar, banner, graphics and other imagery on your website and social media outlets can be an easy way to spruce it up!

Brightening or retaking photos that aren’t working or swapping photos are some other easy ways to give your business a tiny face lift. How about copy? Edit your profiles and product descriptions to liven them up! Simple, little touch ups can really go a long way.

What little thing can you do to nurture your business today?

Introducing: Create & Thrive InspirationBombs!

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You might notice there’s a new page up top there… say hello to Create & Thrive InspirationBombs! (This site/resource is no longer available)

I know it’s probably lame and cheesy to admit… but I love a good inspirational quote as much as the next person.

However, I wasn’t sure where to find a lovely, bright, visually-appealing compendium of quotes relevant to creative business people like you and I.

So, I decided to create one!

A few times a week, I’ll be adding new InspirationBombs (This site/resource is no longer available) to the site. They’ll also be over on Pinterest (This site/resource is no longer available), and no doubt I’ll share them on the FB page, too.

I am VERY keen to include quotes from female entrepreneurs, as well as our modern favourites in the creative industries (I’m looking at you, Seth Godin, Tara Gentile, and Jonathan Mead!).

If you have a particular favourite quote that fits, please head on over and leave it in the comments here (This site/resource is no longer available) so I can turn it into an InspirationBomb.

Oh, and of course, please feel free to share these wherever you so desire.

Hope you enjoy them!

{UPDATED} Like to be my mentee? One of my Set Up Shop students will get to work with me for 3 months – for free + get a financial grant!

Jess Van Den - Mentor Mentee

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UPDATE – Friday 29/3/13

I am very, very happy and excited to announce that I’ve been contacted by the lovely Renata Cooper from Forming Circles.

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Renata and I have chatted a few times before, but her email to me was an unexpected and wonderful surprise…

She’s generously decided to offer my mentee a financial grant to help them grow their business!

Now, I can’t currently release the exact amount, but I will tell you that this grant will be a SIGNIFICANT boost to grow the business of the person who becomes my mentee.

Even better – Renata is happy to extend the funding globally – so it doesn’t matter where you are in the world – if you’re one of my Set Up Shop students, and I decide that you’re the one I’m going to work with, you’ll get the grant, no matter where you are. I think this is a fabulous example of the new global economy we are all building together!

If you’d like to be considered for this mentee position + grant, please make sure you don’t miss out registering for Set Up Shop – registration closes tomorrow evening.

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For a while now, I’ve been thinking about how I can offer more to you – my creative community.

The creation of this site – and my new course – have all been percolating for a long time. I’ve been writing and speaking about how to grow a creative business for a few years now, and saw a yearning amongst you – a yearning for the right information, from the right people.

From those who had already trodden the path through the gnarly forest and made it a bit easier for you to follow it.

My writing team and I are here to point out that spider web in your way that you might not have seen. To break down those branches blocking the path. To tell you about the mis-steps we’ve made. To show you the short-cut you might have walked by.

It was only by relinquishing one of my babies (*bespoke* zine) at the end of last year that I created the time and the mental space to make this new online space a reality.

I’ve been LOVING the ride so far!

The comments and feedback I’ve gotten from you has far surpassed my expectations.

But I want to give more – in a deeper way.

Right now, I don’t offer ‘consulting’ or ‘one-on-one’ coaching. That’s just not something I want to do at this point in my life and my business.

However, I DO want to give something deeper to this community. And I think the best way to do that is one person at a time.

So, I decided to do something a little different.

Starting in May, I’ll be taking on one mentee – that’s you – every three months. For free.

This person will be passionate about their creative business. They’ll be dedicated to bringing their dream to life. They’ll take what I can teach them and RUN with it. They’ll have fresh ideas. They’ll have BIG dreams. And they’ll act despite the fear that they feel.

I will be choosing my first mentee from my Set Up Shop students.

Over 50 of you have already proven your commitment to your business by signing up for the course.

Thank you.

Thank you for taking that step. Thank you for putting your faith in me – trusting that I can help you take those next steps. I don’t take that trust lightly.

At the end of April, I’ll choose one of you to work with on a deeper level.

I’ll be at the other end of your email to answer any questions for 3 months. I’ll critique your photos, your blog, your online presence  I’ll tell you exactly how I do things. We’ll get together once a month via Skype or Google Hangout and just talk. I’ll be your sounding board, your cheerleader – your mentor.

Together, we’re gonna make big things happen for you. Promise.

If you’d like the chance to be that person, make sure to register for Set Up Shopregistrations close on Saturday evening AEST, so don’t hesitate.

I can’t wait to be your way-clearer through the forest.

xx

 

C&T Q&A – How do you know it’s time to take the leap from hobbyist to business owner?

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{Comic Book Jess says ‘Hmmm…’ – photo by smilebooth Australia, edited by moi} 

This week’s question is from Grace, who writes:

How do you take that first step from being a hobbyist to a business owner? i.e …How do you know when the time is right? and What knowledge do you feel is essential before starting your biz (there’s gotta be more than just being ‘crafty’ to succeed).

I love this question – I think it’s one that a lot of people struggle with.

When is the right time? What do I need to know? When do I make the leap from hobby to business?

The short answer?

When you make the decision.

The long answer?

I don’t care how long you’ve been doing your craft as a hobby. It might be 10 years, or you might have started yesterday. I don’t care how much you know about ‘business’. You could have an MBA, or, you could be like me when I started and know pretty much nothing.

Your craft hobby turns into a business when you start treating it like a business.

When you decide to take it – and yourself – seriously.

When you start keeping track of your numbers – your income and expenditure.

When you start thinking like a businesswoman.

When you believe in yourself and your product.

When you start looking at your products from the perspective of your customer, rather than just yourself.

When you attack the Google machine with any question that comes up, and you’ll be dammed if you stop before you find a solution.

When you start to get strategic.

When you analyse your prices to see if you’re making a profit.

When you say ‘I have a business’ to yourself, your family, and that dude you meet in the line at the coffee shop (you gave him your beautiful, professionally printed (or handmade if you’re in letterpress) business card, yeah?).

That is when you have taken the leap.

It’s a leap of faith, to be sure. You don’t know if you’ll ‘succeed’ (whatever that means to you). You don’t know if you’ll ever be able to make enough to quit your job. You don’t know that you’ll still want to be doing this in a year/5 years/10 years time.

You know what? None of us do when we start out. I certainly didn’t. I still don’t know if this is what I’ll be doing in 5 years time. Do I let that hold me back from putting my heart and soul into what I do?

Nope.

None of that matters.

It’s enough that you want to do it NOW. That you want to throw yourself into this crazy dream and make it happen.

No-one is going to make it happen for you.

You have the power. You have the control. You have the choice.

It’s a business when you say it’s a business.

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Need help making the transition from hobby to business? Want to set yourself up for success from the get-go? Come join us and I’ll teach you how to Set Up Shop and get it right, right from the start.

Why Ease and Self-Care are Vital Business Tools

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{Felt box from the manusmade shop}

This is a guest post by Tania Wojciechowski.

I’m traveling for my day job this week. My meetings ended early, so I returned to my hotel room to do some work. In my head, I had a rambling to-do list that had been talking to me all day. I hadn’t written any of it down, but knew each item intimately from all the internal chatter: write a post, set up skype interview, email S and D, edit the interview I did on Sunday, respond to the person who wants to put my goods in their shop, start preparing questions for a different interview, follow up with H. And so on.

Returning to my hotel room, I set up my laptop to get to work. I didn’t have time to transition from my meetings to my “other” work – building my new part-time business, organizing the retreat that I’m hosting, following up on the other handmaking business I run. I grabbed a nutrition bar and sat down.

My hands hung over the keyboard without doing anything.

If I was honest with myself, I didn’t have the energy to write that post. I didn’t have the words to connect with the people I wanted to. I had felt like crap for a couple of days. If I was honest with myself, all I wanted was a warm bath.

So, I got honest with myself, and I had a bath. My shoulders came down, and my breath deepened. Much better. I got out, wrapped myself in a robe, and promptly fell asleep for an hour. I can’t remember the last time I allowed myself to take a nap.

I awoke refreshed, and happy that I had listened to my real needs. Not the to-do list, not the stress of not getting things done. But the real need for rest, for pause, for ease.

Ease as self-care

I picked Ease as my word for 2013 for a reason. Because as much as every time I say that word aloud it comes out in one long breath (Eeeeeaaaaaasseeee), I also come to Ease kicking and screaming. Ease is lazy. Foreign. Non-productive.

But what if Ease was, well, easy? What if I incorporated Ease into my life?

What would that look like?

  • I’d hear my body when it’s telling me it’s tired.
  • I’d work when I felt most productive, and not work when I my energy levels were lower.
  • I’d tap into what truly makes me ME and let that guide me.

Well, it would really start to look like honest-to-goodness self care.

Tapping into your Ease, your self care, your truest self, can be as simple as listening, identifying your most unique qualities, and letting them to guide your life.For example:

  • For example, do you love playing with strangers, like Dyana Valentine?

  • Write a TED Talk and work a big crowd.

  • Are you an art-maker who also loves experimental music?

  • Find a band to work with and create the most amazing sound and light show ever produced at your local community centre.

Ease. Alignment. Happiness. Hard work filled with passion and flow. It’s finally starting to sound really quite productive to me.

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Tania

I’m Tania Wojciechowski, and I’m a creativity coach-in-training, a maker of handmade goods, and a wellness aficionado. Oh yes, I also have a day job. All these activities are a reflection of the thing that I’m most passionate about, which is finding ways to become my best and most joyfully authentic self. I use humour, creativity, and an inordinate amount of daily dance-breaks to really explore this in myself. Even my day job – which, to be honest, is not quite my dream job – is an opportunity for me to test out being my best self in a bureaucratic setting. As a creativity coach, I’ll be guiding women, who may have forgotten the deep connection to their creativity and wellness, back to a place that makes them feel whole again.

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