It's that Time of the Year

It’s that time of the year again when I’m super determined to blog more and reinvigorate my commitment to growing my business. My biggest challenges with blogging are finding topics + a comfort level with putting myself out there to the people of the internet. 

Actually, finding topics isn’t that hard. Finding interesting, compelling topics that I think actually matter and that people will actually care about, while not overusing the word actually, that’s the hard part. I over think this. I over think all kinds of things. I fancy myself a thinker when I’m actually over worrying, which is a weird concept for a person who doesn’t self identify as a worrier. The best way to find compelling topics is to practice. Practice writing about anything. Practice documenting and processing work, life, and relationships. Make some mistakes along the way. Not every post is going to be winner. They aren’t supposed to be. That’s not the point. The point is to practice writing, connecting, and posting so that when the topic comes along that does resonate, it gets out there.

Now, when it comes to a comfort level with putting myself out there to the people of the internet, that’s where the real work needs to happen. IRL I’m a bit of ambivert. I can enjoy myself in a group for 2 to 3 hours at a shot, especially if it’s my party I’m hosting. I’m not always a great party go-er because I’m often craving an intimate conversation with a small group of people instead of working a room. I’m also not super wild about large crowds or conference settings. It’s too exhausting to show up for and it doesn’t often feel like a successful use of my time. That wasn’t always true for me, it is what’s true for me now, and that could always change again in the future.

So if I’m an ambivert in real life, then that means I’m a lurker on the internet. I hate commenting on posts unless I have something super supportive to offer or I’m strongly compelled to speak up. I delete more drafts of posts than I actually post, and that’s true across all online platforms. I came of age at a time when digital footprints could be weaponized, used against you, and crush a career. That’s still true but seemingly less so these days. While I always knew that there was opportunity to be had in the digital world, I was more sensitive to the crises of how using platforms could be a form of self sabotaging livelihoods. Rather than risk it, I kept my thoughts to myself for the most part and kept scrolling. Frankly, I’d like to speak up more and lurk or scroll less.

I’m not looking to radically transform my life with big, bold, splashy posts. I’d like to just slowly crack out of the shell of my seed and start sprouting. Here’s to green shoots. 

 Image via  Unsplash

Image via Unsplash

Give your customers the gift of a great buying experience

 Photo via  Unsplash

Photo via Unsplash

You’ve poured time, talent & energy into creating something - a work of art, an artisanal craft, a book, a song - and you’re ready to send it out in the world. You want to set it free and let it live out its days in a new home, with a new admirer to enjoy it and cherish it. One final act of love that you can offer that work & the person who’s exchanging cash for it, is the gift of a great buying experience.

It’s a lot to ask an artist to work on her money fears, cash worthiness, or personal value. It’s too much to ask some people to do in this lifetime. It is something that you can work on to emotionally heal yourself, so that the process of the sale feels less painful & more joyful. It could take years of therapy & it will probably involve unearthing and resolving completely unrelated emotional knots and tangles. If you’re called and compelled to do that, please do it. Do it for you, do it for the people who love you, do it for the people who love your work and want a great buying experience when they purchase your work.

Whether or not the therapy, resolution & forgiveness are hurdles too high to scale in the moment, start now buy giving your customers the gift of a great buying experience. How do you do this?

  1. Really take stock in what it’s like to purchase from you. Then take stock of what it’s like to purchase from places where you’re happy to spend. Next, consider what it’s like to purchase from places where you’re less than happy to spend. Try to recreate the happier experiences more often for your customers.
  2. Consider your customer. They found your work / your art / your product. This special thing that they were looking for that is so special & unique to find, and they found it! Yes! (You know that feeling that I’m talking about when you strike gold and find JUST THE THING you’re looking for - yes, that is how your customer feels when they have finally found your work.) The thrill of the find & the joy of the purchase. It’s why we shop. It’s why we go to the craft fair, it’s why we covet the art or the craft, or savor the experience. It’s been found & it validates me & I love it!
  3. Let your customer love the buying experience as much as they love your work that they have just found. Honor their thrill that the search is over. Honor their joy that they can bring this piece home to enjoy or give the gift that they have been eager to give. Respect that they have the cash to make the purchase and that they have chosen your work to purchase.
 Photo via  Unsplash

Photo via Unsplash

This means temporarily abandoning your own guilt, shame & judgement for charging someone for your work instead of just giving it away. It’s means stepping outside of yourself & your mixed up emotions in the moment to just make it about your customer & their pleasant buying experience.

Let the last part of your exchange with them be one where they don’t adopt your guilt, regret or shame. They likely want to to feel good for having bought your work that they love, let them. Let them feel that bliss. And rather than get in the way of that joy with your own twisted heart, adopt their joy & reflect it back to them.

That is what makes customers excited to sign up for your email list. That is what makes them excited to open your emails, send in a request for a commission or find you at the next show to buy one of your latest pieces - joy. The joy of your craft, your work & the pleasure of the sale.

 Photo via  Unsplash

Photo via Unsplash

5 Songs That Get Me Excited to Work

Call them anthems, theme songs, playlists, power ballads. Refer to them in the way that gives you the most powerful meaning, the phrase that gives you the most power vibration or reverberation. And how can a song get you excited to do work? For some people, it just does. Some songs light me up to knock out my task list or create content the same way some playlists get people into a high intensity workout zone. These five songs light me up to get some serious productivity grooves on:

 

1. Something from Nothing by the Foo Fighters

It reminds me of me and my friends, how we came together in college and have progressed through life since then, doing and creating all kinds of cool things along the way. 

 

2. Animal by Miike Snow

Head bopping music that lifts my spirit and lyrics that keep my ego in check at the same time

 

3. Counting Stars by OneRepublic

This melody gets me every. time. Right from the start. And then the lyrics. And then the harmony. The hook. All of it. “No more counting dollars…"

 

4. The Passenger by Iggy Pop

This song serendipitously bounds into my life during beautifully connected moments. When I was walking through my neighborhood between work and running errands, it was blaring from open car windows. When I was on plane taxying down the runway, gaining speed into lift off, it blasted through my headphones. It always manages to get me excited for some adventure when it’s time to book flights and travel arrangements for work and pleasure trips. 

 

Also, it’s worth a nod to Siouxsie and The Banshees for their version.

 

5. The theme to the A-Team

After a Friday night of revelry, I came home with my love, he turned the TV on and I sacked out for the night while he watched the 2010 A-Team movie. That night I dreamt I was a member of the A-Team along side Face and Hannibal. I woke up humming the hook of the theme to myself, and I continue to hum it every time I accomplish something. Successfully built a piece of Ikea furniture? Don don-diditdon don don. Chop, cook and serve dinner for two to four people? Don don-diditdon don don. Tear down a client booth after a crazy busy trade show? Yup, Don don-diditdon don don. The riff that hits between 00:08 and 00:18 will be audible. While it’s not my go-to tune to kick things off, it wraps things up nicely every time.

 Image via  Unsplash

Image via Unsplash

What’s in a #Hashtag?

I often find myself creating, seeking or stumbling upon new hashtags for my clients to use on social media. We use hashtags in our work for a few reasons: 1, they make your posts and images more searchable, therefore more findable by people who have an interest in following you; 2, they create a sense of branding identification that legitimizes your work in the digital arena; 3, and most importantly, they tell a story, spark our curiosity and connect us to likeminded humans more easily than ever before.

 

Let’s break down that #3.

 

They tell a story. 

When I'm on instagram, cruising my feed, going down that winding path of content, I’ll often click on a #hashtag of interest to see what else is out there. Who’s using it? Why? How? How many other people are using and engaging with it? If it’s of a particular interest, I’ll look for it on Iconosquare to find out how popular it is and how much traffic it drives.

 

They spark our curiosity.

I’m a focused and dedicated lifelong learner. I learn something new everyday, and not necessarily because I’m making an effort to learn a new skill or concept, I just read a lot and learn new ideas and perspectives as a result. Some days the new thing I learned, I learnt from a #hashtag. Welcome to 2016! #LearningSomethingNewEveryDay

 

They connect us to likeminded humans more easily.

When you have your thing that you do, your hobby, your zen mind space activity, it’s not always something that other people in your real life network share with you. Add some hashtag magic to your posts, and eventually you’ll find your tribe online who shares in your happy place space.  

 


To blog or not to blog?

I’ve been wrestling with the question of whether or not to blog for my business for the past two years. I’ve been wrestling with the question of “what do I want to blog about?” since 2007.

My intuition’s Magic 8 Ball has two answers on the idea of whether or not I should blog:

  1. If this matter is going to continue to resurface frequently, then you might as well take action and do something about it.
  2. When in doubt, toss it out.

My intuition does not have a ton of patience for hemming and hawing. It only has the capacity for three responses, the two listed above and, “Reply Hazy Try Again Later.” (Which is usually code for: “You’ve got enough on your plate right now. Save it for later when you might have the bandwidth to pull it off successfully.”)

I’ve spent the last two years in the “When in doubt, toss it out,” camp of thinking, yet the topic continues to come up. Therefore, I might as well take action and do something about it.

This blog is going to go 1 of 2 ways:

  1. Something will come of it. My work on it will progress and it will develop into the platform my business needs to better serve my clients.
  2. It will die on the vine like countless blogs before it across all of the interwebs.

I’ve actually got a year’s worth of ideas and at least a quarter’s worth of content that I could load into blog posts right now, so here we go 2016. Welcome to Flourishly blog! Where at the very least, I intend to spend 2016 doing better to close my “taste gap” so I can connect better with the people I am best matched to serve: 

 Image via  7Plums Etsy Shop