Resources

During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

These days, it can seem like anything that can be done, has been done and that the web is saturated with creative businesses. This can make many feel like there is nothing left for them, that it’s too late and they missed the boat. Please, please don’t buy into that!

It’s true, there are many online creative businesses out there.  Hundreds of thousands of them, and guess what, hundreds and thousands of them are successful in one way or another.  That is the very reason you should be excited.  That means that success is possible for you.

In my post on How I Define A Creative Business I talked about how a creative business starts from a single idea, then the excitement follows with more ideas. The problem is, generally right after that we find all sorts of reasons why it won’t work.  One of the top reasons I hear from people when they decide not to pursue their creative business is “someone else is already doing it” or “there is too much competition”.

But see in that excuse, you find your answer.  YOU aren’t doing it.  Your competitor can’t be YOU.  I know you have probably heard this a dozen times before, and it can seem so generic-but it is the golden ticket.

So let’s just clear the water before we move on.  It’s not too late.  The internet is not going anywhere, and the amount of people that will be on the internet in five years is likely to increase more than 30%.  Every year there is a new blog platform that comes onto the seen that is the similar to TMH that just knocks it out of the park. They didn’t stop and look at what I and hundreds of others were doing and find a reason not to do their thing.

I don’t look at their success as discouraging-on the contrary, I find it encouraging.  That means there is so much more I can do and so many more areas to explore for success in my business.  The day no new competition comes and finds ways to be successful in my market would be a very discouraging day for me.

I started to write this post some time ago and hit a wall, and then last week came across Pat Flynn’s post Are You Taking Advantage Of Your Unfair Advantage? and found what I was wanting to express in one paragraph:

Competition is a good thing – you’ve heard me say this before. Coming in later in the game is an advantage because you can see what existing businesses are doing right and what they’re doing wrong. You can be a consumer before you become a company, and can better understand the experience that customers currently have, and what options are available to them in today’s market. You have the ability to come in and reshape that customer experience in whatever way you’d like.

Perfect.  I encourage you to go read the post and then I would like to take it a step further for helping you stand out with your creative business with a few actionable steps you can take.

How To Stand Out In A Crowded Market:

  1. Be the most authentic version of you you can be. Write the way you would talk to a friend.  Stand on your soapbox.  Be vulnerable.  Share your failures. Share your victories.  That one thing you’re scared for people to know about?  Share it. This will allow you to create a following that can connect with you.  Not everyone will – but those who do, will love you and want to support you.
  2. Find your way to be different. Instead of trying to do exactly what your competition is doing only ten times better, find a way to do it different.  In doing this you will tap into an untouched market and eliminate your competition because you are offering something they are not.  Then, you can actually collaborate with your competition and share your market.  A great book to help you with this is The Blue Ocean Strategy.
  3. Pinpoint your ideal reader/customer. – this is so important, and a step we are now working on with TMH.  Who is it you are trying to reach?  Get specific- age, gender, location, occupation, lifestyle. What does she like to do?  What are her worries, troubles, and concerns?  Write a very detailed description of this ideal person and get to know her – then write for her, create for her, and address her problems in everything you do for your business.  This is how a loyal readership and customer base is created.  It’s extremely hard to make everyone happy and be successful – on the other hand if you find a targeted niche and remain loyal to it, it’s hard to fail.
  4. Play big from the start.  The simplest way I can define this is: Imagine where you hope this creative business to be in five years – think about it’s success, how you have grown, and how it makes you feel.  Now live and work from that perspective.  People trust and admire confidence, but remember that most people have a degree of humility after having found such success – you must assume that too.

I know that the four steps above may seem obvious – but the truth is a majority of online businesses aren’t doing them.  Go and study the most successful competition in your market, and chances are they’ve nailed every single one.

Now a few practical steps to standing out:

  • Invest in a domain name and host.  I get asked this all the time, and it goes back to this question – is this your hobby, or creative business? Remember, play big from the start.
  • Keep a clean and organized website.  You don’t have to invest a ton of money for a great looking site – find a premium platform and start with simple.
  • Great images are essential.  If you have ten websites all with the same content and selling the same product – the one with the best images will win hands down.
  • Brand your business – this goes for your creative business copy, collateral, and online image – keep everything cohesive and identifiable across your brand.

Okay, now it’s your turn.  What ways have you found to make your creative business stand out?  In what ways do some of your favorite businesses stand out?

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During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

Today we have one of my favorite ladies on the net joining us. She is the founding editor of the popular blog Modern Parents Messy Kids. Stephanie is crazy smart and works harder than any blogger I know. What I love most about Stephanie is that she is continually taking her work and blog to the next level. She thinks outside of the box and is always finding new ways to bring value to her readers.

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About Stephanie and Modern Parents Messy Kids 

Stephanie Morgan is mom to two young children, a style and parenting blogger, and the founder of the popular lifestyle site Modern Parents Messy Kids (MPMK for short). MPMK provides daily inspiration to thousands of parents on how to engage with their kids, get organized, and create a stylish home. It was voted Best Craft Blog in Parents Magazine and one of babble.com‘s Top 50 Craft Mom Blogs. It has also been featured by Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, HGTV, Apartment Therapy, Parents Magazine, Family Fun Magazine, and the Huffington Post.

The Best Advice I’ve Been Given

I think the biggest thing that I struggle with is work/life balance (not an original problem, I know). Along those lines, I’d have to say some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten pertaining to my work is to remember that I don’t have to accomplish it all right away.

I initially got into this field because I was looking for an outlet — and boy did I find one! I’ve been so very blessed by the growth of my career over the past few years but at times I have to stop and remind myself to slow down. That one of the biggest perks of this job is having flexibility and being able to be home with my kids. And that I can’t take every opportunity that comes my way. Doing so diminishes that perk as I become more and more preoccupied and stressed — my mind always on work, even when I’m not in front of a computer.

One of my closest blogging friends made a new work mantra for 2013 that I love: Work smarter, not harder. So that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. Instead of having a presence on every social network that comes along, I’m focusing on the channels where I connect most with my readers. Similarly, I’ve cut back on the number of sites I contribute for — once again focusing on quality over quantity.

As always, I’m a work in progress, but I’m slowly learning how to focus on the projects I enjoy the most and to let the rest go (for now).

A big thanks to Stephanie for stopping in today and sharing her wisdom. It goes perfectly with a part of the series I have coming up!

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During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

As part of this series, I thought it would be fun if we shared some of our favorite resources with each other. Online resources we use, books we’ve read, tools we use, and people we love to frequent for the inspiration they provide. Remember sharing time in elementary school? It was my favorite. And I couldn’t think of a better name, so we’ll roll with it :).

Here’s how it’s going to work — once a week I will get the conversation going by sharing my favorites, and then in the comments I hope you’ll share with me and the others following the series your favorites. Remember the theme of our series — everyone has something they can share that may be incredibly helpful to someone else. That includes you.

Today we’ll share our favorite online resources. This includes courses, ebooks, how-to blogs, blogs on creative business-basically any online resource that has helped you start and grow your business. Here are mine:

My Favorite Online Resources

  • Heartmade — I love Mayi and her advice… to pieces. She also has a Life Is Messy Boot Camp that looks perfect for those in the trenches of creative business making, baby raising, dinner making, messy life in general that is in need of some creative direction.
  • Oh My Handmade — Great advice for any creative business. If I have a question, or am looking for an answer I know a quick search will on Oh My Handmade will either have an answer or point me in the right direction.
  • Marie Forleo’s B-School — I took the course last year and loved it. Her style is not for everyone, but that is the key thing I took away from training — you can’t be everything for everyone, and if you are you’ll never succeed.
  • Smart Passive Income — While not completely relevant to my work which is anything but passive, I love Pat’s podcasts and articles and find I always walk away with some value I can implement in my business.
  • Pro Blogger — It’s a classic and the writes are constantly on the cutting edge of the industry. If you are just starting out, Darren’s ebooks are perfect for getting you started and headed in the right direction.
  • Google — I know generic, but if you are going to be successful in this industry you MUST get a “I can figure it out” mentality, and google is the very best resource to do it.  Anything you want to learn, have a question on, or are trying to figure out has been written about. If not, figure it out, write about it and consider that your golden opportunity :).
  • Lynda’s Classes — Learn to make beautiful videos, use photoshop, make vector artwork… just about anything through this online video training platform. A lot of times when I ask someone where they learned a certain skill this is where they send me.
  • Philosophers Notes — I was just recently introduced to this site and I love it. Think cliff notes for inspirational and self-help books. You get all the best little nuggets of a book, a big dose of inspiration, in 6 pages.

One word of advice on using and reading online resources. It can be very easy to spend an entire day, week, month, year… reading and using these resources all in the name of knowledge and building your skills. It is my favorite form of resistance and I often use it as an excuse to put things off.

If you’re just reading and researching, you’re not doing the work. It is only the wisdom you learn put into action that will help you grow your business. Plain and simple. Set a time each day or week to allow for a little research and reading on your business, but make sure the time you actually work at least doubles that.

Okay, now it’s your turn. What online resources do you find to be helpful for building your creative business? I hope you share!

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During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

How To Find Your Passion

Do you feel like you haven’t quite found “your thing”?  That burning passion that can be turned into a creative business? It seems to be a sticking point in today’s world. A lot of us don’t know what we’re passionate about, and it’s pretty tough to find fulfilment in our work without knowing.

I could list a dozen books and numerous blogs that are devoted to the topic, but that will just get you thinking about it more. What you really need to find your passion is inspired action. So today I am going to share how I came about mine, and it just might surprise you.

One Easy Way To Finding Your Passion

I hear from so many women that they don’t know what their passion is. I’ve been there. I remember days waking up with nothing to really be excited about. I didn’t go through my day feeling inspired and giddy over an idea I couldn’t wait to work on. I love that I have that now. It makes me a better mom and wife, and I love that my family will know that side of me.

The funny thing is, my creative business didn’t start with a passion. It all started with a need to feel connected, to feel helpful and to feel like I was good at something outside the four walls of my home. I was a bit lost in my new role as a stay-at-home mom, and craved a way to fulfill these needs. I have come to learn most everything we do, we do it to make us feel a certain way. Living and working from our passions is the very essence of this.

Start with how you want to feel 

Ask yourself how your ideal creative business would make you feel. Get a pen and piece of paper and start by writing down feelings you thrive on.  Here are a few to get you started: helpful, inspirational, fulfilled, connected, proactive, important, joyous, peaceful, affluent, innovative, rebellious, liberated, independent.

From the list, find three that really make you feel good when you assume the feeling.

If you’re having a hard time, think about the years past and what activities and work you have most enjoyed — how did they make you feel? For me, I see times I’ve inspired friends, times I’ve made someone’s life easier, and times I’ve felt like I was really good at something to the point of mastery, as the best feelings.

From that I can find how I want my creative business to make me feel: Inspirational, helpful, and affluent on a topic or skill.

Now go with something you are interested in 

I disagree with the notion that you must be passionate about a topic in order for you to be successful. Identify how you want to feel, then connect that with something you are interested in, then get to work, and you instantly have a form of passion.

Don’t get discouraged if you start on one thing, and that thing leads you to another passion. Often times you’ll lose steam on one interest, simply because it was meant to lead you to your ultimate passion. You’ll likely end up finding too many and then have a hard time choosing :). That’s a whole other topic!

Remember the key here is action. And when you are taking action in this way, it’s inspired action. Inspired action will lead you to your passion. Every time.

In case you are curious, The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte was the book that first asked me “how do you want to feel?”. If you are wanting to dive deeper on the subject, she has a new program that is based on the idea that looks fabulous too.

I hope you give this a try and let me know how it works for you. Even stopping to ask yourself how you want a current passion to make you feel can be game changing, and put a little more life into it.

I would love to hear your personal story of struggling to find you passion, or how you came about finding it — please share in the comments! 

graphic is from the fabulous Ink Nest (another successful creative business)

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During most of 2013, Whipup.net will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

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I am so pleased to introduce you to Chie from Vivat Veritas. I stumbled upon her beautiful shop by a chance google search one day. After reading her about page and where her creative business started I knew I had to include her in the series. She is a great example of how a simple interest can blossom into a thriving business.

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About Chie and Vivat Veritas

Currently I live in Tokyo, I started my clothing line, “Vivat Veritas” on my dining table with a borrowed sewing machine in 2008. After graduating from college and being newly married in Philadelphia, I was looking for a new hobby. Around that time, I serendipitously had a need for new pillow cases and it led to sewing clothes. I became self-taught using youtube clips, books from the library and a bunch of magazines. I hand make pieces for women who have a hard time finding unique pieces in the world of fast fashion. I like to describe my style as a mixture of feminine, classy with a bit of a retro feel.

“Vivat Veritas” means “Let the Truth Prevail” in Latin. The VV motto was taken from a tattoo my husband has on his arm.

Best Advice I’ve Received 

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The best advice I have received to date came from a Korean pharmacist. He is a family friend and have had lots of time to get to know one another. One night recently we were talking about our respective businesses. He proceeded to talk about the value of experience. I know it’s talked about a lot but it seems recently the “just do it” mentality has taken front place. As we were talking, my friend laid out what he thought were the essentials to success in entrepreneurial ventures.

He told me, first you have to know the business. By that he meant, you need to know all the different and diverse facets of the business. Making a successful business is dependent on you being able to do all facets not just the things you like.

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Secondly, he said that success requires the owner to know what daily operations look like. For the fashion world it is easy to get caught up in runway shows, but in reality that is an event that happens sporadically throughout the year. The other 360 days a year is work. You’ll never get to a show if you can’t make the daily grind work well.

Thirdly you need time in your industry, to know what you don’t know. It’s great to have a plan but until you’ve been in the thick of it first hand you have no reference point for what things should be happening, what things should have happened and what things should happen. Experience is king!

A big thank you to Chie for stopping by today and sharing her wisdom with us. You can find her beautiful clothing at Vivat Veritas and more inspiration on her blog.

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