Looking for some business know-how geared towards creatives like you and me?
Here’s a round-up of my most helpful creative business 101 posts, sharing lots of actionable steps to life your entrepreneurial spirit and get your work out there.
I’ve learned so much from those before me, so I’m always happy to help others who are just starting their journey!
I’ve been slowly working my way through The Right-Brain Business Plan (Amazon link) and as always, I found myself stuck in the middle of the book. In thinking about my life map – illustrating the significant personal and professional milestones that make you the most qualified person to head up your business – I suddenly dropped into doubt and more doubt. My experience is broad, but many may see it as a jumbled mess. As with last week’s thoughts regarding an about me page, I find myself struggling to define myself. It’s difficult to toot your own horn and I can’t help but feel too pompous or not qualified enough. Oh, it’s a fine balance.
Maybe I really need to take a few more left-brain chill pills, as Jennifer Lee says often and writes in the book as well. I get hung up on the details and intricacies that exist (probably only in my mind). All the what ifs, shoulds, doubts, worries… details that really don’t need to be addressed right now. I let them block me. After the holiday rest, my goal this week is to push through the whole book and have my action plan done. Analysis paralysis needs to stop!
Then it’s just a matter of keeping it all up. Easier said than done, I know! With all the information and great advice accessible these days, it seems that nothing is out of reach for anyone. (Despite my worries, I’m totally an optimist at heart!) I think the ultimate problem is getting off your butt in a constructive way. Not just being busy, but truly productive and inline with your plans. I feel like that is probably the killer of most great ideas out there, because they simply aren’t acted upon. Don’t you think so?
Last week, I talked about my newsletter blues and since then I’ve quickly realized that it’s more of a cleanse. It’s a good thing to clear out the air and really connect to those who resonate with you, instead of speaking to people who have their backs turned. In a way, I’m looking forward to unsubscribes from uninterested people.
I think of it as the socially responsible thing to do as well. I know from statistics that many people aren’t even opening my emails. I really would like to decrease digital pollution. It’s a waste of energy, space and money for everyone. So do yourself and others a favor today, go and unsubscribe from stuff you aren’t interested in anymore. Every once in a while, unsubscribe in your spam folders too… instead of letting that pile up… cleanse! On the other hand, if you really want to get my weekly emails of thoughts along with a new illustrated girl – sign up here.
In other creative business news, I’ve been mulling over my about me page and trying to rewrite it. It’s not even linked up on this blog anymore, because I don’t feel like it reflects who I am. Everyone talks about how that page is the most visited by new readers… but I can’t seem to present myself properly. It’s always difficult for me to write up an all encompassing blurb, when at times, I still feel pretty confused about things. I realize that life is ever changing, so there is no such thing as a “done” about me page. But I need to get something done…
Today, I also received a bunch of new books in the mail – yay! Although I have a kindle, I still want the physical printed book at times. I’m excited to dive in although I have so many different books in progress right now. It’s good chaos I suppose, just like inside my head! I have an “active bookshelf” where I keep books that are in progress or frequently flipped through. If you are interested, here are the latest books I bought (Amazon links below)
For all businesses, the email newsletter list is supposedly the holy grail. It’s a direct connection to your fans, so that you can communicate with them like friends. The idea is that your list should be your biggest fans, otherwise they wouldn’t sign-up in the first place. I realized the importance of building a list and started a while ago, even though I didn’t know what I was going to send out. I still haven’t figured it all out… but I’m grateful for all the sign-ups. It means people care!
Or do they?! This week I’ve had some newsletter blues, aka unsubscribes. I started sending weekly Wednesday emails introducing a new Girl With A Message along with my thoughts. It’s supposed to be short and direct, but a constant connection to my audience. Since my newsletter sign-up offers a printable girl, I thought it would naturally be the most pertinent news to the list right now.
When the unsubscribes started rolling in, I started questioning the purpose of everything (in life). It’s inevitable to sink into despair at some point – “Oh, what’s the use! I don’t even know what I’m doing. There’s no point…” I think it’s difficult to NOT take an unsubscribe as a personal rejection and nobody likes rejection.
After calming my nerves, I tried to look at the situation objectively. Unsubscribes are normal! The statistics show that all businesses have unsubscribes and the bigger your list grows, the more there will be. It’s actually a good thing because it means uninterested people are leaving. In fact, I was elated to learn that April from Blacksburg Belle actually encourages people to unsubscribe from her list when they sign-up, if they aren’t going to be a good match. The key is creating a true list of fans. Think of it as a natural cleansing of your email list.
It’s not personal. If you think of your own email subscriptions, it’s easy to come up with completely impersonal reasons of unsubscribing. Every once in a while, I go through a massive sign-up phase and massive unsubscribe phase. It’s just a cycle of exploring new things and then deciding that I have too much going on or that it wasn’t what I wanted. It doesn’t mean I hate the person behind the business!
Think of your fans! We all seem to dwell on what we’ve lost, but’s it’s way more important to concentrate on what you have instead. You still have loads of people on your list, so think about serving them. Those people want to connect with you, how cool is that?
I definitely felt better after thinking a bit about this week’s experience. Thanks to all those on my list and it’s okay if you need to unsubscribe – I won’t take it personally. On the other hand, you can totally sign-up for my newsletter if you’d like to get a free printable girl and weekly updates of what’s new!
Do you have thoughts about how to handle an email list? What do you send out to your fans?
Now for a real update of my creative business landscape. Things have not been fast paced and I’ve certainly been in a slump. Or perhaps, you could call it, research and find yourself phase.
- Girls With A Message (always taking suggestions) are being created and featured in my weekly newsletter. The latest is trust yourself. Bizarre how slowly it’s all moving. I have a set of 12 girls near completion, but that finalization step… I just can’t seem to plow through it.
- Got stuck a bit in the middle, in reflecting about my personal experiences. Still working through The Right-Brain Business Plan (Amazon affiliate link)
- Only add 3 new girls in the digistamp shop and another pack of papers into CatScrap shop
- Rebound / reworked 2 old journals
- Added to designapattern.com after discovering that there are many online courses for pattern design
- Started some paintings, drawings, a few other books and research topics…
- Been reading a lot and thinking a lot
Despite it all, no matter how slowly it is moving along. At least it is moving along. Onward.