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What’s Your Self-Worth Quotient?

self-worth

Periodically I offer a complementary webinar titled “5 Smart Ways to Make Money Now in Your Creative Arts Business.”

Before I delve into the five strategies, I spend some time talking about your mindset and knowing your value. From my experience working with creative entrepreneurs, I often find they struggle with determining a value for their work and then charging for it.

Here are some tips for dealing with your worth:

Know exactly what you are charging and why.

Are you challenged by what to charge for your services?

Many creatives are in this same place. You tend to undercharge because you don’t know what to charge. You look at what others are charging and figure it must be right.

Do you ever wonder how that person came up with her price? She probably did what you did: looked around at what others were charging and figured it was right.

Take the time to go back and determine how long it takes you to accomplish your work. Consider what your expenses are – overhead, taxes, materials, etc. Then determine what you need to make on an hourly basis to meet your expenses and make a profit.

Only then will you know if your price is right.

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8 creative biz lessons I learned from basketball

As I watched the Final Four Tournament on Saturday, I was thinking about what basketball and the professional creative arts have something in common. Is it any surprise my mind would go to art when I’m watching sports?

Passion

This is the obvious. These kids love basketball, and for them it is their art. What you pay attention to grows.

Just as the college athletes pay attention to basketball and their skills and love of the game increase, your skill level in your art increases with increased attention. Your knowledge and love of the art grows as you look at more art, go to more galleries, take more classes. And, your skill level at marketing, and your passion at marketing, also increases proportionately to the effort you put into it.

How much effort are you putting into growing your business?

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Are you asking better questions?

How often do you wear your CFO hat?

You know, the one where you look at the numbers. I realize that lots of creative types do not want to look at numbers.

After all, what could be creative about numbers? They are straightforward, no shades of gray here.

True, the numbers in and of themselves are not creative.

What is creative is what you get to do as a result of looking at them.

You can create new designs or new classes. You can bring on an apprentice to help you. You can look for new markets for your art. You can look at ways to expand and make a bigger impact.

The problem is that you have to know what the state of your business really is.

And the only way to do that is to look at your numbers.

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Does your price match your value?

Often I have conversations with clients around a recurring theme — pricing and value.

One recent conversation was with Catherine who was creating a new online teaching course, and she was struggling with what to charge people. I thought her price was really low, and I asked why.

She told me that she just knew not all her customers could afford to take the class and she really wanted everyone to have that opportunity.

I asked how she knew that they could not afford the class. She wasn’t able to answer that question. It was just her gut instinct.

When we dug further with the question, it was really that she would not have paid that amount.

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Are you still stuck in Groundhog Day status?

I’m hosting our eighth Creative Arts Business Summit this week. It’s inspiring to be around so many creative people. People with big dreams.

One problem is that while we all have big dreams, they can often get stalled. And, you seem to be repeating what you did yesterday without moving further ahead with your dreams.

You are stuck in a permanent Groundhog Day.

Do you see yourself there?

You’ve spent hours talking about your business ideas. You have the perfect name. You have idea pictures of your website on a Pinterest board. You have a strategy to launch your business. You even have potential customers.

And, then you stop. You start the next day in the same place. Dreaming of starting your own creative arts business. You know you could make a difference. You know the world needs what you have to offer, your art.

And, you look around and realize that you never took the leap. You never even really took the first step to making your dream a reality.

You stayed in your safe spot. Dreaming.

What often holds people back from making this leap is they lack clarity. They lack confidence. They lack support. All three are needed to take the leap.

At CABS I opened the doors for enrollment to our Members’ Studio. Most of those attending are already members and see the difference every day in how their business grows.

They gain clarity. They build confidence. And they have the best support network to move their business forward.

Take this chance to join us and leave Groundhog Day behind.

Time blocking leads to better productivity

Have you looked at the calendar and wondered how you can possibly do all you have scheduled? I used to feel that way until I made a simple discovery.

Time blocking!

Time blocking is a method of allocating or pre-assigning time for specific activities throughout your day. It helps me keep my day and life more balanced. I accomplish more because I have structure to my day, I can focus on a specific task with a high value, and I am able to manage interruptions. I am the one in charge of my day. Here’s how to do this.

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Overcoming obstacles to change

We are in a stage of change here at the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals. Our biggest change is that we are no longer hosting our annual Creative Arts Business Summit after next weekend.

It was hard for me to decide to stop doing a successful event. After seven years, I felt rewarded by all the growth I saw in the creatives who had come to CABS, as we call it.

People who were pattern designers opened brick and mortar stores. One person saw her dream of a B&B/Retreat Center come to fruition. Someone created a “million dollar” idea. Many others also realized that they were capable of doing bigger things, and as one attendee said, she was so “much more than a stay at home mom with a hobby.”

People felt their lives were changed both personally and professionally.

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Do You Suffer From Smorgasbord Syndrome?

Someone recently shared in our Members’ Studio that she was trying to tackle too many tasks in one day. She added that she tended to overestimate her available time. That meant she was moving uncompleted tasks from one day into the next day’s list. The end result was making new lists and wasting time and energy. She was not alone with this confession, confusion, and remorse.

I refer to this as the “Smorgasbord Syndrome.”

As a child, I can remember my parents saying that my eyes were bigger than my stomach when we had big family celebrations. I didn’t want to miss out on anything that might be good. And, of course, even though I probably left little room for dessert, I didn’t want to miss out on any of those, so I added more to my plate when dessert rolled around. You can guess that I probably had my share of stomach aches.

It’s easy to see how this approach translates into your life and business.

You think you have more time to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. You keep saying, “yes, pile more on my plate.” Whether you say that to someone who asks you to do something or just to yourself, the end result is the same. Your life and/or business plate is overflowing.

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Once it’s created, it’s copyrighted

Last week a post popped up in my Facebook feed that dealt with copyright.

A textile artist discovered that her original work had “inspired” someone to create a nearly identical piece of art. The copier thought that if she gave credit to the art’s originator at some point, it was okay. She did credit the original artist in a blog post. She also thought it was okay to enter her work into a contest. Well it’s not okay in either instance.

Late last year one of my pattern design clients shared that someone had created a nearly identical quilt to hers and was selling patterns. Again, the copier was inspired and didn’t see the harm in what she was doing.

In both these cases, the copiers infringed on copyright. They didn’t have the rights to make a copy. In neither case did the infringer even ask permission.

Unfortunately this topic comes up on a regular basis.



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Be. Do. Have.

My first yoga studio, Follow Your Heart Yoga in Germantown, Md., had a decorative tile hanging by the door. It said, “Just Be!” I first saw it nearly 15 years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. What does it mean to “just be?”

On one level it means to be present in the moment, without distraction, still. And, that is probably what we are supposed to consider when we see the tile and begin our practice in the studio.

But who is it that you want to be?

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