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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Give yourself the luxury of creative time to craft a more successful business!

I find that one of the big negatives of running a craft business is that the business tends to suck the creativity right out of me.   Most successful  entrepreneurs have a high degree of left brain (process oriented) focus.   I am very much a right brain (creative) person.  Accordingly, it seems to take me three times as long to do some simple business tasks that  my husband does without thinking.   My brain does not easily think in terms of "process."  Unfortunately, businesses without processes are businesses that fail.    So...after almost failing.... I decided to change.  I had to learn to focus on the processes of running a business.  Yuck.  Change is never easy.  

Sometimes it just sucks to be a grown up.

It takes me longer to get those tasks done and I often feel beat to hell by the end of the day.  I work hard to meet the the demands of business and family (two totally different lives it seems).    Over time there was definitely a change.  The business turned around.....but I was really grumpy.  Actually, I was feeling totally  pissed off.... and resentful.   The life that I created was HARSHING MY MELLOW!  I actually purchased this funny print (aptly entitled "Miss Unbelievably Angry 1956 by Etsy artist Bee. )  It lives on the wall  behind my computer to remind me to quit pursing my lips all the time.  Very unattractive.

Busy mothers everywhere know where this is heading.  I was so intent on responding to the various crises throughout the day that I kept pushing my own needs further down on the list of priorities.  My crafting was always the first thing to get scuttled to make time for something more important.  I had lost my Studio to the Shipping Department. My supplies were stuffed in various corners of various rooms throughout my house.  I could never find what I needed when I did steal a minute for myself.    GRRRRRR

What to do? What to do?

It turns out that all of those Self Help Gurus we see on TV are RIGHT!  Say it with me.....You must make time for yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone!   Schedule some time for yourself.  Last week we talked about setting aside a block of time each week for marketing.  Now look at your calendar and determine to free up some time for YOU!

I know, I know....I can hear you already!   You don't have the time!   I respectfully disagree.  You make time for things that are important enough.    I had to do some PRIORITY TRIAGE.  I evaluated what was high level important to me and what was low level important to me.  I found the time.  Friday is Studio Day.  All day.  Every week.  No excuses.  OK, well sometimes there is an emergency but then Thursday is Studio Day.  I never ever miss a day.  Consider doing something similar for yourself--you deserve it.

I had to become more organized.  Compulsive organization goes against my grain but it is sure working for me!   I have started to use Sunday afternoons to cook for the upcoming week.  This saves me about an hour each week day.  I no longer waste 4 hours a month in the nail salon (saved the money and my nails were always a mess from spending time Wet Felting....what was the point?).  I get up crazy early on Saturdays and spend 4 to 6 hours on "business process yucky stuff" when the family is sound asleep and I have no distractions.  I am determined to master the tasks that I avoided and am feeling  more freedom as a result.  I keep to a very rigorous work schedule but I now have the time sew and felt and crochet and bead.  Happy sigh.  Life is good.

By taking the time....enough wallow in my own guilty art pleasures I restore myself.

I am actually more productive at work because I am able to focus on the task at hand.  Like the dieter who "is good" all week confident that her Saturday "cheat day" is just around the bend, I can focus on book work with the knowledge that Friday is almost here.  The quiet time in the studio has become critically important time for reflection.  My mind wanders and I have a few hours (because minutes are not enough) to really think things through.  I resolve business issues that have plagued me and personal issues that have troubled  me.  I remember birthdays that would've been forgotten.  My daughter gets home cooked meals.  My dogs get walked.  My husband gets...well you KNOW what he gets.

In my world a joyful life requires a connected family, a profitable business, and time in the studio.  It took me a while to figure out how to have all three----all at the same time---at least most of the time.  I don't ever want to  be Miss Incredibly Angry 1956 again!   She is a total bitch...just ask my family.   I still veer off the path occasionally but I have gotten better about getting back on the road, quickly and with minimal fallout.  
How 'bout you?  What is your joy?   Is the road you are  traveling going to get you to your happy place?

In other news...

occasionally you just need to challenge yourself!

Sometimes we all suffer from a creative block.  We are uninspired and in a funk.  I find that a challenge is usually what I need to get my arty mojo back.  My friend Monica is to blame for my current addiction...Roosters.  She issued a chicken challenge several months ago and I can't seem to get away from the theme.  You will recall that a few weeks ago I posted a darling little crochet bird from an Attic 24 Tutorial.   I think that Lucy's crochet birds are totally charming...sweet, sweet, sweet!    I love sweet.  I cannot do sweet. I try, but my version always gets a little twisted and slightly menacing.   Here is what I came up with this week:

I used only materials "on hand" and the problem solving inherent in building the little guy was entertaining.  His legs are bamboo skewers that have been felted and beaded.  He is standing in a vintage flower frog I had tucked away in a drawer.  I am currently working on Rooster pillow #2.  What started as a simple challenge to get my creativity cookin' again has morphed into an Entire Rooster Movement.  In any event, the chicken challenge continues to be a lot of fun for me.  So much so that I thought it might be interesting to throw some challenges YOUR way.  Check out our March Craft Challenge!

sparkle, sparkle, sparkle.  Swarovski cupchain in Tanzanite, Crystal, and Padparadascha:

Swarovski cupchain is a treat.   Stores do not typically carry this item.  Many of you have never worked with it before because it is a "special order only" product that is primarily used by large manufacturers.   
how 'bout a sparkly challenge to jump start your creativity?

I am looking for challenge participants from various backgrounds (beaders, quilters, stampers, scrapbookers, etc).  

Show us what you can do with some spectacular sparkle! 
Sew it, glue it, solder it, alter it....just show us what you got!

We are looking for 12 crafty souls who are willing to think outside the box and meet an April 1 "picture of finished product" delivery deadline.   You will also be asked to take pictures of your work in progress along the way and offer a brief explanation as to technique.  Each participant will receive a selection of  the product pictured above as well as a thank you gift from Aussie Threads and Fibers.  Please send me an email with contact information if you would like to participate in the March Challenge.


  1. Pat, thanks for the chuckle! I know I can count on your blog for some great info and for some chuckles--usually when I need it!
    Bead (or Felt) Happy!

  2. Life is too short not to giggle at the insanity! I am glad that you are going to participate in the March Craft Challenge. I cannot wait to see what everyone comes up with!

  3. Pat

    You just described me to a T...I am in the 'process' of starting up this yarn store and I hate the process. I just want it to be done so I can get back to creating. I've delayed opening twice now cause it takes me 5 times as long to get those 'simple' business things done. I need a break and I'm taking it. Thanks for validating my feelings.

    Ms. Cranky Pants 2010

  4. Dear Ms. Cranky Pants:
    You are good enough, you are smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!

    Seriously, most of us are trying hard to juggle families and businesses. Most of us don't have secretaries to cover for us, or nannies to pick up the slack. We do the best we can and most of the time, it works!

  5. I love that saying from Henry Gibson! I use it from time to time and it makes me smile.

    Thanks for your posts, tutorials and inspiration. If I ever get my process working faster, I will be ordering some things from you. I'd love to get in on the challenge, but I just might explode, so I'll just watch and cheer along!


    Not really that cranky!