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

Throughout this series, you will hear me use the term “creative business” quite a bit. I wanted to talk about what that term encompasses to me. The last thing I want you to think is a pair of knitting needles or taking up sewing is required for a creative business. But I do think there is a difference between starting something with the simple goal of making money, and creating something that is fulfilling and supplies an income at the same time.

So for fun, I will share what defines a creative business to me, and then ask you to share your thoughts and how you define yours (or the one you hope to have) in the comments.

Defining A Creative Business

How I Define a Creative Business

A work that is born from a single idea that formed in your mind and stirs the imagination and plays to your strengths and talents. It is then fueled by a burning desire to achieve a certain feeling, and is motivated by love.

Pretty broad right? Notice I said nothing about hobbies or passions. I don’t believe ones work depends on these two things to be fulfilling.

  • So if we break that down by how the creative business is formed and plays out it would look like this:
  • We take an idea that strikes from an imaginative vision that instantly has us excited.
  • Then as if like magic, ideas start coming from every direction in our mind.
  • These ideas naturally pulls from our strengths and talents, because ideas from our Higher Self (imagination) always do.
  • Then if we’re persistent and conquer the resistance (our ego) that inevitably comes when one starts a work one should do – we put plans into action. 
  • This work then fulfills our feeling desires (helpful, innovative, artistic) giving us a sense of purpose. 
  • It is our Love for this purpose that carries us through all the ups and downs, and offers hope when things get tough.
  • Then ultimately, this business makes an income. Otherwise, it’s just a hobby. I can tell you from experience, it’s the most gratifying income you will ever make.

So there you have it, my definition of a creative business. Does yours look similar?

Have you ever had one of those ideas strike, and then by the next day, talk yourself out of it?

Are you currently working on one?

Please share I would love to hear!

Destri

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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

Hello friends! Destri from The Mother Huddle here, I am so excited to spend May as your guest editor here on WhipUp. I love the creative energy WhipUp has, and the community that supports it — so any chance I have to be a part of it, I jump on.

A little about me: I am a bit of a gypsy. It started when I was 20 and packed what I could in the back of a 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse and moved to Denver Colorado chasing a dream. I found my husband there, and together with our two kids we have moved 10 times in 12 years. We’ve landed in Dallas Texas for the next two years, and from here we’ll be headed to Montana next. I’m a little nervous about that move — I’ve heard it’s cold. Really cold.

My days are filled with packing lunches, braiding hair, sweeping floors, and folding laundry. I love a good book, coffee with my creamer, and dark chocolate. I’m sure we share a few things in common.

Destri Whip Up

{image credit: Hank, my six year old :)}

I also work from home, doing something I love. A lot of things actually, which brings me to the series we will be hosting. I say “we” because it will require your participation to ensure its success.

I wrote an essay here on WhipUp last year talking about how my business came about. After it’s publication I received dozens of emails from women wanting advice for creating a business from home using a blog as the primary platform. I was a little overwhelmed, and didn’t have a chance to answer them all that well. So when this opportunity came, I knew instantly what the series subject could be. Then the doubt set it. Do I really know enough about running a business? Nope. Do I have all the answers? Nope. Can I spell out the exact formula for success? Definitely not — I’m still making my own! But, I can share what I know.

When I was sixteen I went to cosmetology school and by the time I walked on to my high school graduation stage I had a license. One thing that industry taught me is everyone has a little something they can teach someone else. I used to love to ask instructors and fellow hair dressers what their favorite technique or trick was and have them show me. I asked everyone, wherever I worked for over 10 years — even the girls fresh out of school. I can attest, it was all those little tips accumulated that gave me an edge and enabled me to grow a large clientele time and time again. I could apply everyone’s best knowledge and education (not just my own) to each person that sat in my chair.

In that spirit, I thought the best way to go about this series, would be to share what I know on a specific topic in creative business, and then invite you to share what you know, and you can also meet fellow entrepreneurs just like you and me to learn what they know.  I can’t wait to learn from this community!

Sharing What We Know In Creative Business

Destri's Workspace

Weekly Discussions

Here is how it’s going to work: I came up with four hot topics when it comes to starting and running a creative business that seem to always be the theme of emails I receive. I will present one each week with my advice on the matter to get the conversation going, and then in the comments I would love for you to share yours. Here are the four topics we will cover over the month of May on Mondays:

  1. Finding Your Passion for a Creative Business – it is said that 80% of people don’t know what their passion is, so it’s no surprise that a common question is “how do I start a business about something I love, when I don’t even know what that is?”. I have a tip that can help with that!
  2. How to Start and Stand Out in a Crowded Marketit 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. I have a theory on why that’s not true, and why now is as good a time as any to stand out and make money doing something you love.
  3. How to Take Your Creative Business to the Next Level - most of the emails I receive are from women who already have a blog or shop, and are struggling to take it to the next level — making an income from it. I have a few ideas, and have learned a few things along the way that I can’t wait to share.
  4. How to Make Your Life and Creative Business Work Togetheragain, another frequent question I get that is always associated with the word “balance”.  Of all the topics, this is where I feel like I am strongest. I could write a book on the topic, actually I started one — then took my own advice and set it aside for the time being.

Get to thinking about the advice you could offer and please come every Monday to share and talk shop.

Sharing Resources

Each Wednesday over the month of May we will have a “Sharing Time” (I know, so elementary school, but it’s all I could come up with!), to highlight our favorite books, resources, tools, and inspiration used for running our creative businesses. I love these types of posts and always find them very helpful.

Start making your list, I have a feeling the comments on these posts will be where all the value is!

Advice From Those who are Doing What it is You Want To Do

Some of the best advice I ever received when it comes to making your creative business dreams a reality was to stop listening to those who say it can’t be done, and start seeking the advice of those who are successfully doing it.

I rounded up five women who are successfully running their creative businesses and asked them to share the best advice they have been given, or have to share. We will hear from a Chocolate Maker, Clothing Line Designer, Blog and Content Creator, Clothing Pattern Designer, and Photographer and Familyness Expert.

They will pop in every Friday during May, you won’t want to miss them!

I can’t wait to get things going, and starting tomorrow I will define what a creative business means to me. The term is very broad, but really comes down to one thing. That we love our work. We all deserve that luxury, and together we can help each other get there.

Thanks for having me, and I do hope you join in!

Destri

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Online courses and classes

by kath_red on December 17, 2012

in Resources

I recently wrote an article for a quilting magazine about online quilting classes and courses – and tested out a few — and asked some of my twitter followers for their favourites as well.

I was able to view quite a few of the Craftsy classes for free, thanks Craftsy! And really I love this site. It has an excellent (small but edited) range of free and paid classes. I like that you can take the classes at your own pace and there is an active online community forum. Craftsy does have a select amount of free classes, most notably the ‘block of the month’ and the mini classes, which give you a taste of what to expect of the longer paid classes. The website allows you to preview the classes and then simply add the class to your shopping cart, once paid you can access the class whenever and for as long as you like.

I really liked that the classes were broken up into segments of about 10 to 30 minutes each, each one with a chunk of information or a separate project. I watched a few of the classes — mostly the quilting classes, Elizabeth Hartman and Weeks Ringle are two of my favourite quilt designers / authors and so I was pretty excited to watch their classes. Both really thorough and they are both excellent presenters. But both very different classes.

Elizabeth Hartman shows how to make several particular quilts, she has patterns and cutting instructions and talks about fabric and colour too — there is a lot of talking and information — but in a very structured way, she is quite thorough in showing her practical steps in making the quilts.

Whereas Weeks Ringle’s class is about designing quilts — that pre-sewing stage. Weeks chats more, I think her classes seem more improvised, she discusses her philosophy of quilt design and community and philanthropy and shows us lots of the quilts she has made, many of which do not appear on her website and which I have never seen before. As a big fan of Weeks I was really excited to stick with her on this design journey.

I also watched Malka Dubrawsky’s class on wax resist patterning. Really practical and useful class, Malka talks really fast, but it’s easy to keep up, the craftsy platform means you can pause and take notes really easily as you go. I found Malka incredibly fun to watch though, and because I love her aesthetic and her fabrics I was really interested and excited to watch her work and hear her talk really passionately about her subject. This class is all about dyeing fabric and has a lot of technical information — but is ‘home user friendly’!

I also watched a couple of other classes by quilters who I was less familier with and I also sampled some non-quilting classes – the artisan bread making and cheese making classes were very interesting too!

One of the best thing for me about watching these classes is getting an insight into the designer / maker behind my favourite books and blogs and designs — they discuss their philosophy of life and making as they work, which I really appreciated and was just a really great added extra about these classes. The artisan bread class was a great example of this – I loved listening to Peter Reinharts ‘slow rise’ breadmaking philosphy and methods.

Erica Spinks, from creativedabbling.blogspot.com answered my twitter request and told me her experiences of taking online quilting classes — thanks Erica for your thoughts!

I don’t do project-based classes, but look for classes in specific techniques or design. I found that local classes in the subjects I wanted either didn’t exist or were on at times that didn’t work for me. So, I started to look online for classes.

I took my first online class in 2009 with Quilt University and have done several more with them since. They were based around class notes each week, with access to the tutor through an offline chat set-up. You can load photos at any stage to a class album for comment by other students and the tutor.

I’ve also done Jude Hill’s ‘Cloth to Cloth’ course, which included notes, a dedicated blog and YouTube videos. Currently, I’m working through a Craftsy.com class with Weeks Ringle on Designing Modern Quilts. It has some notes, fantastic videos and a forum for discussion.

The main way my quilting experience has been enhanced by these classes is convenience and accessibility. By this I mean I can learn about subjects I choose, when I want. I prefer online classes to face-to-face ones because I can do them at my own pace. If that means a lesson a week or six lessons in a single night — well, that’s my choice! I also have great notes to refer to later and videos I can rewatch when I need to refresh certain points. If I choose to join in discussions, I can but, if I prefer to work alone, that’s okay too. I’m an independent learner so this style of teaching suits me perfectly.

There’s none of the hassle of travelling to workshops and carrying masses of stuff (and often forgetting something critical, like the sewing machine cord) either. I continue to use skills I have acquired from online classes in my own quilt designs. It would have to be something quite special for me to do another face-to-face workshop.

Below is a quote from Craftsy’s Co-founder and COO, Josh Scott.

I asked Josh what the future holds for Craftsy:

“Craftsy has experienced tremendous growth over the course of the last year.  As we approach 2013, our goal is to increase the number of courses offered and grow our audience.  We are producing 15 new 4-6 hour classes each month and will continue to ramp production in order to produce over 250 new classes in 2013.  Many of these new classes will fall within existing Craftsy class categories (e.g. quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, etc.), but we’re also looking into opportunities to branch out and create courses in new categories.  In addition, we will continue to expand accessibility options for our users.  On the heels of the launch of our iPad app in October, we’ll introduce a Craftsy iPhone app in December.  The new app will allow students to access course content on the go, making Craftsy even more convenient.  We look forward to increasing our offerings to meet students’ needs in the months to come.”

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Quilting resources

by kath_red on August 31, 2012

in Quilting, Resources

Over the years we have linked to and created a whole bunch of wonderful resources for quilting. I have put together this resource page to make it easier for you to navigate this site to find all of these great projects. You’ll want to peruse the quilting category too of course. And browse all the posts related to my quilt book too.

 Quilt Process and Discussion

Quilting Link Love

Quilt Patterns + Tutorials

Technique + Block Tutorials

Essential Tutorials

{Quilt pictured above is from my Mid-season quilt tutorial}

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Last month Ann Shayne, one half of Mason Dixon Knitting wrote a guest post for whipup.net about the process of self publishing – not the nitty gritty technical stuff, but the emotional creative stuff. I loved that post but I wanted some of that nitty gritty know-how too, so I asked Ann a few questions and here are her answers.

Ann Shayne’s life-affirming, fully realized page-turner of a novel, Bowling Avenue, is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. Ann and Kay have been blogging at Mason Dixon Knitting since 2003. Her book is available in various ways via annshayne.com

Image courtesy Bryce McCloud.

SELF-PUBLISHING Q & A

Ann: What follows is excruciating reading for those who don’t care about it and fascinating for those who do.

Kath: How did you go with converting your novel to kindle? did you just follow the instructions on Amazon or did you get outside help? How easy/difficult was this process?

Ann: I created two formats of ebook, because I wanted the book to be available on the Barnes and Noble website (for the Nook ereader) and also on Amazon (for the Kindle). B&N uses ePub format; Amazon uses MOBI. I converted the Microsoft Word file using a brilliant piece of freeware called Calibre. The hardest part was to cook up the Table of Contents, which is essential for allowing readers to navigate through the book easily. Calibre added the Table of Contents automatically, but I didn’t figure that out until I’d wandered down a black hole of advice from self-publisher websites. [resources: Self publish with Nook :: Self publish with Kindle :: Calibre software]

My advice: stay away from anybody who lists a 62-step process for converting ebooks.They’re either crazy or love a practical joke. I did not have to delve into HTML to format my book, though you can find websites that say you must. If you’re nervous about diving into this process, pay someone to do the formatting for you. If you’re stubborn and cheap and impatient like me, use Calibre and be prepared to give yourself a bit of time to fool around with it. And it’s essential to test your files on every sort of reading gizmo you can find–formatting breaks down sometimes, and you can only see that when you’re looking at it on various ereaders.

I would not recommend formatting an illustrated ebook yourself–there are many peculiarities of formatting that can be nasty. For a straight text novel like mine, it worked well. As for the cover, my designer used the cover templates provided by Lightning Source and CreateSpace; they worked perfectly.

Kath: The print version that is available — i’m assuming that it is print-on-demand and you aren’t shipping them out yourself! Did you use Amazon’s CreateSpace or something else — can you tell me how the process went — did you just follow the online instructions and away you went?

Ann: I used two print-on-demand services: Ingram’s Lightning Source and Amazon’s CreateSpace. It meant twice the file uploading and account setup, but it’s worth it because I wanted bricks and mortar bookstores to be able to order the book without having to do business with Amazon. They can do that by ordering the book from Ingram, which is one of the largest book wholesalers. Lightning Source is a very sophisticated business geared largely toward traditional publishers who want to use print-on-demand technology. It’s not really designed for one-off self-publishing authors. You have to set up an account, have a name for your publishing company, and there are more costs involved in setting up your book. But they are true professionals, and their finished books look beautiful. That said, Amazon is an amazing company for authors who want to get their feet wet with self-publishing.

My experience with CreateSpace went absolutely smoothly. I designed the interior myself, following CreateSpace’s straightforward guidelines, then saved it as a PDF. Within a day of uploading, BOWLING AVENUE was available in a print edition in many countries all over the world. It’s astonishing, really, the ease of it. If I were a traditional publisher, I would be very nervous right about now.

[Resources: Lightning Source :: CreateSpace :: Ingram Books]

Kath: ISBN number — you don’t need one for kindle — but do you need one for the printed version? how does one organise this? — I am assuming there is some easy access online purchase thingy somewhere or other?

Ann: I bought a batch of 10 ISBNs from Bowker.com, because they were cheaper that way, they don’t go stale if you don’t use them for a while, and it makes me think I ought to keep writing books in order to use up my beautiful ISBNs. I used two on this project, one for the ebook and one for the paperback edition. If I do an audio or (highly collectible!) hardcover edition, those will require their own ISBNs. ISBNs aren’t required for Kindle, but I wanted mine to have one so that it would be accessible through databases beyond Amazon.

I wanted to use my own ISBNs because it would leave me the most options in terms of which channels I wanted to use to distribute my book. One basic thing in self-publishing is that you can simultaneously distribute your book through a variety of channels, if you have the energy and attention span for it. Some services such as CreateSpace will provide you with an ISBN for free, but it limits where one can distribute the book–namely, through CreateSpace. I didn’t want to be limited to one print-on-demand company.

[Resources: ISBN via Bowker]

Kath: Did you hire a professional proof reader? or ask friends and family etc… to proof read and copy edit it for you?

I hired a very blunt and compulsive editor who has been a book editor and designer for decades, Mary Neal Meador. I am fortunate because she happens to be my sister-in-law, too. Working with people you love is one of the best parts of self-publishing. Bryce McCloud, the artist who created the cover, is a pure delight. The kind folks at Ingram Lightning Source are right here in Nashville, so that’s cool too.

Having published two books with one of the largest publishers in the world, this experience has been nothing like that. I broke even within a week. I know sales information in real time. I will be getting monthly royalty checks, rather than twice-a-year royalty statements. I never have to guess about how many copies to print, because each book is created after there’s an order for it–there is no such thing as a print run! And no returns. And my book will never go out of print.

If the DIY impulse runs in your veins, self-publishing is absolutely the way to go. It’s the ultimate craft project.

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