This is what’s holding you back from succeeding.

whats-holding-you-back

The giveaway I ran for Set Up Shop had one kinda unexpected outcome.

You shared your stories with me. You told me why you NEEDED this course to grow your business. And out of what you shared, I realised that there were a core group of things that seemed to be holding you all back from taking that next step in your business.

Today I wanted to tackle some of those things, and then open up the discussion to you – I’d love to hear what you feel your biggest obstacle is (whether it’s on this list or not!).

Why do I want you to share? Because it’s only when we know what our challenges are that we can face them head-on.

Knowledge

Or – more accurately – lack of knowledge. So many of you said you desperately wanted to set up an online shop – or, you wanted to improve the one you have – but that you just didn’t know what you needed to do and know to make it happen, and do it right.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Of course, I’m part of the Google generation – my kneejerk response when I don’t know something is to ‘google it’ – and honestly, this is how I’ve learnt pretty much everything I’ve needed for my business over the last 6 years.

However, that only takes you so far, for two reasons.

  • One – goodness me, does it take a lot of stumbling around in the dark trying to find the right info!?! Research sucks up a LOT of time – time you could be spending working on your products or other aspects of your business.
  • Two – as we said above, you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe there’s some immensely useful technique or tool or program that would make your life and business so much easier to run… but you don’t know about it. This is where being part of a community, learning from a mentor, or taking courses comes in useful.

You cut through the crap and save an immense amount of time by learning from those who’ve gone before.

I always say that everything I teach (and honestly, that ANYONE teaches) in my posts, talks, ebooks and courses is stuff you could find for yourself.

It is! The info is out there – it’s not a secret known to only the elite few and passed down to the select.

With the magic of the internet, the barriers to acquiring knowledge have been obliterated… but the amount of information available has also exploded.

The benefit of buying a course, attending a talk, or reading an ebook is that you skip the research. Someone has done it for you. They’ve searched, tried, tested, and then shared the distilled – immensely useful – information with you.

This, then, segues perfectly into the next limitation that’s holding you back.

Time

We all have the same amount. 24 hours, every day.

However, we have also all chosen a certain lifestyle that affects how much time we can devote to our businesses – and this will vary immensely between us.

For example: I’m in my early 30s. I don’t have kids. I also have a husband who is at home with me full-time. He does the domestic chores and supports me in the business so I have the time to grow it and work on it. To achieve this freedom, we choose to live in 2 rooms in a converted barn on my parents’ property. We have one car. We don’t buy expensive things, but we do spend a great deal of money on things that mean a lot to us – like travel.

That is my lifestyle, and it’s something I’ve chosen deliberately. I’ve had a ‘regular’ job. I’ve lived out on my own, rented, shared houses, Nick’s had and paid off a mortgage. We know that’s not the lifestyle either of us ever want again. We don’t need more space. We love being close to my family. We love the freedom to travel our lifestyle affords us. We’ve never been happier.

Your life is going to look different to mine.  This is the point Megan was making with her ‘secret of success‘ post a while back. You are not anyone else – you are you, and your success will look different to mine and anyone else’s.

It’s taken me 5 years to reach the place I am with my business – over 3 of those it has been my full-time job. If you have a day job, kids, other commitments… your time is limited.

The time it will take you to achieve what you deem ‘success’ is the time it will take you. I know that sounds a bit zen, but it’s the truth. You can be clever about how you spend that time, but there is no magic bullet that will make it happen faster.

However, getting a bit of guidance will help. A lot. 

Money

Just like time, the money we have to devote to our businesses will vary wildly. Maybe you have a partner with an awesome job who rakes in the dough. Maybe you’re both working part-time and just scraping by. Maybe you’re on your own and studying, or raising your kids.

Wherever you’re at, you have a limited amount of cash to invest in your business. Only you can decide what the best use of that money is. Do you need to invest in tools? Materials? A website?

It’s never been easier to make money from your creativity than it is now. You can open a shop on Etsy and get 20 products up in there for 4 bucks. The only thing you need to spend is time.

I’ve chosen the time route, because I have it. I still spend time rather than money wherever I can – which is why I love social media marketing and blogging. Some of you might prefer to spend money on advertising instead (though please still have a social media presence, it’s unavoidable these days!).

You need to spend one or the other – TIME or MONEY – in order to grow your business.

Fear

Honestly, I believe this is THE biggest thing holding most of you back.

If you don’t believe in yourself, nothing else matters.

I don’t care how much knowledge, time, or money you have. If you don’t believe in yourself and your product you will not succeed.

You will never take that leap forward because you’re always scared you’re not ‘doing it right’.

You’re frightened to devote yourself to your dream because you don’t believe that you can make it a reality.

Quite simply – you don’t think you’re good enough. You don’t think you deserve it. You don’t think it’s possible.

I call bullshit on that.

No-one can live your life. No-one can do this for you. No-one can make you believe in yourself.

YOU have the power. YOU are the one with the dream. YOU are the one who WILL make it a reality.

This is YOUR life to live EXACTLY as you please, because you’re not going to get another chance at it.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Get out of your own way and go for it.

And if you want me to hold your hand while you do it – I’m here, baby. But really, you don’t need me. You just need YOU.

So, now it’s time to ask yourself – what is it that’s truly holding you back?

 


If you want to turn your dream of having a successful online handmade business a reality, you can join us for Set Up Shop – a 30-day e-course where I take you step-by-step through everything you need to know to get a fabulous shop up and running smoothly. You’ll also join over 400 alumni in our private facebook group and gain invaluable support, friendship and understanding from those already turning their dream of having a handmade business into a reality!

Click here to find out more…

Set up Shop is now open for registration (with an extra ebook, too, if you register in the next 12 hours).

1-Set Up Shop

I’m so excited to announce that registration is now open for Set Up Shop!

I sent out a sneaky email to the C&T list last night, and we’ve already got an amazing group of women signed up and ready to go on April 1st (thank you, everyone who’s already registered!).

Everything you need to know is on the course page here.

Now, if you’re worried about cost, I want to reassure you, I have not made this a ridiculously expensive course to take… in fact, the Silver Membership will cost you less than $3 per day over the 30 days.

I feel very strongly that this course should be affordable for everyone – I did NOT want lack of money to hold you back from participating!

For those who want that next level of support, the Gold and Platinum levels are also available… but due to my limited time, they are limited to only 20 and 4 places respectively. (About half of the 20 Gold places are already sold, so make sure to register asap if you want that extra level of support.)

Head on over here to lock in your place now.

From all the stories that the C&T community have shared over the last few weeks, I know you are ready and willing to get serious about your business – you just need that little bit of help and guidance to take your business to the next level. That’s what I’m here to provide.

I’ll give you structure and guidanceyou’ll bring your unique passion and drive – and together we’ll craft a beautiful shop that will highlight your fabulous creations in their best light.

I can’t wait to see you in the course and help you transform your shop into something you can be immensely proud of as you take your next step on the path to crafty business success!

Jess xx

P.S. Click here to check out the prices and membership level deets.

P.P.S. if you register in the next 12 hours, you’ll get a nifty bonus – a FREE copy of my ‘How to Run a Rockin’ Mailing List’ ebook. Ace! (Offer ends 7pm Monday 25th, AEST.)

C&T Q&A ~ Should I use social media under my name, my brand name – or both?

social media conundrum - me or my brand - create and thrive

Today’s question is from Emma, who asks:

I am looking into creating pinterest and blog accounts (following your free ebook advice) but I have two separate businesses under different branding, one offers products the other services. Do you think it is best to create separate accounts for both or create one under my personal name to encompass both?

This is an issue that confronts so many creative business owners – because we often have more than one business or project on the go at the one time!

How do we separate them? Do we separate them? How do we manage innumerable social media channels/blogs/emails?

It’s certainly something I’ve struggled with. This blog, for example, came after years of combining my crafty biz posts with my jewellery and other crafty posts over on Epheriell Designs. I finally took the leap to creating a separate site and brand for this info when I decided I could do more with a distinctive brand.

Of course, I made this decision fully aware that it meant I wouldn’t be able to devote as much time to the Epheriell Designs blog as I had been previously – and that was okay. It meant I changed the direction of that blog, and made it more about my jewellery business and less about handmade in general. When you multiply your channels you multiply your work – and something’s gotta give somewhere.

The only social media channel I have that is dedicated to my distinct brands is Facebook – where I have an Epheriell page and a Create & Thrive page. All my other social media – twitter, instagram, Pinterest, G+ etc, is under my own name, rather than a brand.

Why?

Because I think different social media call for different approaches. For example – on twitter and instagram, I am me – I share stuff from my life, my work, and my travels. I think people are on those channels because they want to connect with people (or news, in the case of twitter). So, I feel it’s more effective to just be myself, and be active – rather than trying to juggle multiple logins/handles and keep them all active and growing. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have the TIME to do that!

Facebook, however, is a little different. If people want to connect with me personally, they’d be my friend. If they want to connect with my brand, they’ll like my page. This is why I’ve separated off the brands on FB. It’s easier to build up a fan base (or, more technically, a ‘liker’ base, but I hate how that sounds) and to be more on-message.

Pinterest is a tricky one – I think it comes down to how you use it. If you – like me – aren’t terribly strategic, you might just want to be on there under your name, and have boards that relate to your separate brands, like I do. I do it this way because I’m also on Pinterest purely for my own enjoyment – so I pin a lot of stuff that is just for me, personally – like paleo recipes, workouts, home designs, fashion, art etc. Sure, some of this ties into my businesses, and some of it ties into my overall ‘lifestyle’ brand – but some of it doesn’t and I don’t care. It’s for me.

Also – I think the handmade niche, in particular, is quite forgiving of this approach – because a big part of a handmade business is the personal touch. People are buying handmade for a reason – often because of that personal connection to the maker.

I do, of course, have my various websites in my blurb across all of these social media – in fact, I pretty much have the same blub (and the same photo) across twitter, IG, Pinterest and G+. That way, I keep personal brand consistency, remain a real human being, but still make it easy for people to check out what I do for a living.

Emma, to come back to your specific question – I think, in your case, I would say do what I’ve done. Have one Pinterest and have different boards illustrating your different businesses. I say this largely because I think your two businesses are complimentary – in that they support each other and might have a cross-pollination of customers. If you had two widely different businesses, my advice might be different… but, in the end, it comes down to personal preferences, and this question:

How many social media channels can I manage, and manage effectively, while delivering awesome content and impact?

Because it’s better to have just one channel chockers full of fabulous content than multiple channels that are mostly neglected due to overwhelm.

I’d love to know what you think – how do you manage this issue?

How to Know When You’re Ready to Get Help

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As makers, we’re all pros at DIY when it comes to our product but that mindset of “I can do it all myself” needs to be altered when it comes to our business.

You know how it’s better to be a master of one trade than a jack of all of them?  It’s true when it comes to running your business as well.  You only have so much time in the day and if you have to divide it between making, answering emails, writing blog posts, packaging, shipping, tweeting, and a hundred other things, you hardly make any headway in your business.

You spend so much time dealing with the issues of right now that you can’t make any moves for the future.

And guess what, it’s only by looking ahead that you can expand your business and its profits.

I know it’s hard for you to even THINK about letting someone else take over some of your tasks.  Little voices pop into your head telling you things like:

  • “They won’t connect with my customers like I do.”

  • “They can’t package as well as me.”

  • “They’ll learn all of my secrets.”

  • “I can’t afford an assistant.”

I hope those all sound a bit silly to you too but let’s tackle them some more.

 

“They won’t connect with my customers like I do.”

If you’re worried about letting someone else answer your general work emails, think of this: What do your customers truly value from your business?  I would put big odds on it being the thought and effort you put into your product and NOT your name at the bottom of your emails.  Having someone take care of general emails frees up a ton of time and your customers will see you as a truly thriving business.  For example, when you contact Kari Chapin, the awesome writer of Handmade Marketplace, you don’t expect her to answer.  She’s too busy collecting stories and advice for her next book!

 

“They can’t package as well as me.”

Unless you compete in those holiday wrapping contests, it’s not too hard to train someone to package (and mail) your products.  I’m also betting you’d rather be making new creations than standing in line at the post office, especially during the holidays.

 

“They’ll learn all of my secrets.”

This is only EVER a problem if you’re a big company like Nike and someone discovers your new sweat-wicking fabric formula.  As a small business owner, it’s not just WHAT you make but what you put into it that draws in customers.  They buy because of your passion, your personality, your voice.  That is something that can’t be copied.  And if your product doesn’t have any of those, chances are YOU are the making-secret-stealer or a trend follower.

 

“I can’t afford an assistant.”

I want you to think about this in a different way.  If you always look at hiring an assistant in terms of, “It’s going to cost me $100 a month to have someone help me,” you will never hire anyone.  If, instead, you think, “Having someone help me would allow me to ____________,” you’ll begin to see how much money you will MAKE thanks to an assistant.  If you didn’t have to spend an hour a day checking emails, packaging orders, and driving to the post office, what could you do with that hour?  Would you create a new line?  Would you finally have time to write a newsletter for all those people on your mailing list still waiting to hear from you?  Would you have time to pitch wholesale shops?

I’ve worked for several people as a virtual assistant and the one thing they all have in common is that their businesses exploded as soon as I started handling their basic tasks.

 

How do you know when you’re ready to move from doing it all yourself to asking for help?

If you are never getting ahead in your tasks, despite working from sun up to sun down, you’re ready.  If you haven’t been able to expand your business or add new revenue streams in the past six months, you’re ready.  And if you want to spend less time doing ‘busyness’ work and more time creating, then you’re absolutely ready to reach out for the help that will help you grow and mett your goals in 2013.

{image by Toma Estudio}

And the Set Up Shop Winners Are…

I was totally blown away with the response to the Set Up Shop giveaway – truly.

SO many of you shared your stories – stories of hope, dreams, and determination. I knew there was a place for this course in the world, but I didn’t realise just how many of you feel that you just need that guidance and direction to take your shop and business to the next level. I’m so excited about sharing that with you throughout April!!

It was really hard to pick a winner – I read and responded to each and every one of you, and goodness, you really opened up and shared your lives and wishes with us all. That takes courage. Thank you.

So, without further ado…

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The Silver winner was the random draw, and the winner of the Silver Membership is:

Cat of Tiny Lion Jewellery

After reading over all your comments numerous times, a few stood out to me – but one really captured me. And so I chose…

The winner of the Gold Membership is:

Sally Steele!

Sally, I trust you to take what I teach you and run with it – run with the wind!!

To everyone else who entered – thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you’ll join us in the course – I’d love to see each and every one of you achieve your goals and dreams!

Registration opens Monday the 25th, at 7am AEST – prices will be released then (but just so you know, the Silver Membership will be well under $100 – my aim is to make this course affordable for everyone).

I’ll be sending out an email prior to that with a link to the registration page… so if you want to be the first to register (especially if you want one of the limited Gold or Platinum places) make sure you’re on the email list. Also – those who register within the first 24 hours will receive a bonus – a FREE copy of my ebook – How to Run a Rockin’ Mailing List. Just my way of saying thanks for hopping on board!

If you have any questions about the course, please leave them on the comments, or just shoot me a quick email 🙂

Congratulations to the winners, I’ll be in touch very soon!

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