18 May 2012

deeper insights

Well, didn't that post just resonate with a lot of you!  Thank you so much for the excellent comments and feedback!  This is so helpful!

Seems like virtually everything is in flux, but I'm seeing many things more clearly.  As of 5:30pm EST Friday May 18th, and in no particular order, this is where I am:

... I need to develop/organize my mail/client list - I have a slew of contacts and customer information and praise and endorsement kinds of things, but mostly the info is buried in Etsy comments and deleted emails and filing cabinets.  My question ... Do I take the time to plow through all of that or start over?

... my goal right now is to bring my Talismans to the forefront and do a big re-launch - which involves design and implementation, branding and all that entails, media coverage, website stuff - shopping carts and yet another site re-design.  Do I stick with my current SiteSpinner wysiwyg program and webhost and do my own PayPal buttons or switch back to WordPress or just add on the IndieMade shopping cart site I signed up for a while back or just stick with Etsy or a combination of all of the above?  I'm seeking a much broader market and see enormous potential for growth and cross-market appeal, Barney's to new age boutiques, so I need to build a solid platform and the choices are myriad.  But how do I get that media coverage?  How do I broaden my reach and hit that vast cross-market?  And if I'm going to spend money, where?  You know that annoying most bang for your buck question.  And have I even thought about a budget? ... uh, that would be a no.

... it's not so much that I haven't invested in my business.  My jewelry income supplements Dave's and definitely helps pay the bills, but I put most everything back into the business in the form of materials and tools.  My equipment needs are not great and I always buy the best I can afford - a larger soft brick kiln and my wonderful Foredom flex-shaft, two double barrel Lortone tumblers, Swanstrom pliers and flush-cutters, a wide-screen computer monitor, a faster computer with more storage and a better than average printer and scanner ... and I have lots of cute and rather expensive shoes!

... what I haven't invested in is ME (aside from cute shoes) ... no workshops, no continuing education, no massages or yoga classes ... oh, I did do a consultation with Teri Jo Summer back in PT in '05 (75 bucks) and a FireStarter session with Danielle in '09 ($350).  The thing about 90 minute consultations ... follow-through.  Taking that 90 minute jolt of juice, turning it into actions and making it last.  Maintaining momentum from those consultations has proved difficult at best and, if I'm honest with myself, close to not being worth the investment. 

What I want to do now is really look at how I work, what sort of environment feeds my soul and will inspire me to engage and stay with the program.  Thing is ... it's a total unknown!  I do know I don't like crowds and much prefer small groups of 6 or 8.  I'm definitely a visual learner.  I'm stubborn as all get out.  If you tell me "this is the only way" to do something, I will try my hardest to prove you wrong.  I've always been one to schmooze with the instructors, get to be buddies, sit in the front of the class and raise my hand all the time.  Dave says I have 'authority issues'.  Probably so.  I can be a horrible snob and have this idea that I'm usually right  ... and on that rare occasion when I make a mistake, I will acknowledge it, probably have to make an apology in there somewhere and then stew that I screwed up.  This will be me chuckling to myself ... ain't I just a piece of work?

As I'm writing this, I just got a comment on the previous post from Nina.  She very correctly says that I am not really alone.  I feel blessed beyond measure that I have a secure 33 year relationship with my beloved husband who earns the primary income for our home.  So does that mean I'm not really a solo-entrepreneur?  I don't know - that's a good question. We discuss most things, but the daily operations and my business decisions are ultimately mine to make. 

For a lot of people in stable relationships like mine, it would be sufficient to provide supplemental income and call it a success.  But I have grander aspirations.  In years past, I have been the primary income source and I want to regain that position.  I have a long list of dreams and goals that I want to accomplish with my business, financial and creative as well as philanthropic.

So where do I go from here?  B-School is not for me ... too too too ... everything.  Yesterday, I got on the waiting list for Tara Gentile's one-on-one coaching and today I submitted an entry for her new Insight Intensives program.  Tara is young, but I like her a lot.  She asks razor sharp questions, laughs a lot and is all about pushing boundaries and seeking out that illusive edge.

This has been great fun and I would love to continue this discussion!  This seems to be a vital and very timely topic and like Sparrow says, we can help each other and I bet we can figure a lot of this out, 'cause lord knows, I'm still a hardcore DIY girl! 

onward ...
l i g a - kvk


  1. Hi Kathy, Oh, I'm first! I'll try not to be too wordy :).
    I also need to lean how to manage a database, but we should be able to do this just by using the net - that's the way I've learned other computer skills. And I guess we just need to weed out the written endorsements and go through it - personally I'll put that one off!
    Investing in myself? I'm happy to do that if I see a measurable benefit. If I get a massage to make my body more comfortable so I can work easier...etc. I find the business stuff less tangible and harder to quantify, and I'm so darned stubborn that sometimes I just can't be told. Plus there's the fact that I have a picture of how I want my work to be, and how can I be sure that the person who I'm paying to help me has the same vision? However, I LOVE buying tools, materials etc and can be quite a snob about that too.
    I relied on my partner for the first 7 years of my practice. He went off to work and earned a decent income so I could grow my skills and I truly appreciated his input. But what I do isn't his...I value his opinion, but it's all up to me. These days, however, he is following his own creative bent and I find that I am the major earner in our partnership, so the tables have turned. This also means that I'm now under pressure to make a living out of something that used to be supplemental income, and I need to take the business side of things more seriously.
    I've had a little look at Tara Gentile's website and like what I see - her approach seems much more gentle and holistic. I've downloaded The Syllabus to mull over, and I like the questions she poses. I'll be fascinated to see how you feel about your work with her.
    I find the website/blog design stuff awkward because I don't know what I'm doing technically, but I'm going for a new design and am actively looking for something that is sharper than what I was given and can incorporate with my original design so I don't have to pay to have the whole thing rehashed. Overall I'm happy with most of my website, but would just like to inject some new energy into it.
    If there's any way that I can add my knowledge to the discussion to help someone else out, I'm happy to.
    Cheers and thanks for opening the discussion!

    1. One of the hardest parts for me is believing that anyone could possibly interpret my vision in any satisfying way. And since I actually like doing the graphics and website stuff, I'll keep doing if for as long as I have the time and inclination. Dave is a great business advisor. But I've got the same challenge there - stubborn, pigheaded me accepting advice ... I'm doing much better, but still very much a WIP.

      I do think this is a great platform for sharing our resources and what we learn along the way. Definitely strength in numbers!

  2. hey, Check out SCORE -- its an arm of the SBA (Small Business Association). They have a bank of retired people who were successful in their fields and they give you advice for free. Mentoring. You might hit a jackpot person in your area or you might not... but its worth a try.

    good weekend to you. Power onward!

    1. Asheville actually has a pretty extensive SBA. All sorts of variations through all sorts of organizations. For some reason, I am not drawn to seek assistance from any of them. I'm searching for out-of-the-box solutions and much of what I've picked up from the contacts I've made and workshops I've attended feel more like business as usual. Not ruling it out, but letting inspiration come to me and following those intuitive leads.

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