General

Finding Indie Craft Shows

It’s CRAFTY WEEK here at Indie Biz Chicks and I’m going to start off by answering a question I hear a lot … “How do I find shows?”

There are a lot of ways to find shows. Here are some examples:

  • Check out online resources, such as IndieCraftShows.com and IndieCraftFairGuide.com
  • Get involved in your local scene! The best way to find out about upcoming local craft shows is to be a part of your local craft community.
  • Use social networking! Start friending other crafters on Facebook. I get “invited” to crafty events around the country; obviously I can’t always go to them, but it’s a great way to find out about upcoming events and other local scenes.
  • And of course, you can’t forget about my “boyfriend” Twitter!  (Man, I love him!) Do a Twitter search on your city + “craft” and see what comes up, or simply ask if anyone knows about any upcoming events.
  • Post in the forums at Etsy; I am willing to bet that there will be someone in your area with deets on an upcoming show!
  • Take note of the big, annual events and mark ’em on your calendar. For example, Renegade Craft has fairs in several large cities around the same time each year, Detroit Urban Craft Fair always happens in late November / early December, etc, etc.  Make a note of them, and you’ll know when to apply each year.

I hope these suggestions helped… Now, tomorrow… I’m going to give you some tips on starting your OWN show!

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Managing Your Biz

Power In Groups!

If you find yourself lacking in motivation, one of the best ways to get inspired is to bounce ideas off someone else. Once you start talking to someone, ideas may come to you that you didn’t even know you had inside you!

Now, if you work from home by yourself, it can be a little hard to do this … in person. But you can easily “talk” with people online!

You can ask for feedback on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. However, I would be a bit cautious when talking about an idea for a site or product – as someone could steal your idea. The stuff that you put out on Twitter is there for the whole world to see. But asking for feedback on a site or product you have already created is fine.

When I first started Indie Biz Chicks, I joined an online forum called Mom Masterminds. This was one of the best decisions I ever made! There were so many learning resources and I got some great feedback and ideas from the members. (and no, I’m not a mom and you don’t have to be one to join.)

Luckily, I have made some great friends close by who also have businesses. I have come up with many an idea over coffee or drinks with Beth Nixon and Lish Dorset (both of Handmade Detroit.)

If you are not connecting with other business-minded people, you are missing out on some fun – and a lot of motivation!

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Managing Your Biz

Money As A Motivator

I think that money is one of life’s best motivators!

Think about it, if you had millions of dollars at your disposal, would you really wanna get off your ass and go to work? Probably not. It would be a lot funner to travel, shop, and basically be a rich jet-setter.

Of course, the majority of us do not have that kind of lifestyle… If we want something we have to WORK to get it!

Now, I know that some people view money as a “bad thing” – they think that money is something people shouldn’t talk about, or that it isn’t “right” to make money from their art, etc, etc.

Well, guess what? I am NOT one of those people.

I think we should be talking about money. How to make it, how to spend it wisely, etc.  We are all adults here and we gotta pay our bills somehow. And if someone finds a way to pay their bills by doing what they love, more power to them!

There are a number of ways to use money as a motivator. Add up your expenses and set a goal to earn half of it / all of it with income from your business. Now, be realistic when you set that goal. If you started your business yesterday, you aren’t going to make all of that money tonight.

If you find yourself in a slump and feel unmotivated, picture yourself earning your income through your business. Now, picture yourself earning your income by working in fast food. Which picture is more appealing? Do you feel like working your business now? Thought so!

Do you use money as a motivator in your business? Why or why not? And if so, how do you use it?

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General

Take a Shot!

I often hear (and am guilty of it sometimes myself) small biz owners say “I’m not a big enough business to try that” or “I don’t have a chance of getting into that”, so they don’t bother to submit articles, send samples to magazines or websites, or try to get their product into that big store they dream of.

The problem with down-playing your business and feeling as though you aren’t worthy of more, is that you are simply hindering your own growth and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy! If you don’t dream big and reach for that dream, then your business will be stunted only by yourself.

Months ago, I saw a request from the giant shopping website, RedPlum.com on HARO. RedPlum was looking for submissions for their many different holiday shopping gift lists. As someone that has used their gift lists in the past to shop for my friends and family, I immediately wanted to send them a picture and write-up on my Record Notebooks. Immediately after that, I thought to myself that there was absolutely no chance that I would actually get in their lists…in the past I’ve seen items from Banana Republic, Target and other big corporations on RedPlum. Still, I thought I should send them an email anyway. Maybe someone in the office would think my notebooks were neat and buy one, so I took a shot.

Weeks later, I got an email from RedPlum. They were interested in seeing a couple product samples to show test panels. Again, I thought “I’m just one person, a woman making these in her kitchen. I don’t have a shot at this. But maybe the test panels will like it, and I can make a few sales!”, so I sent them two of my favorite notebooks.

I was completely shocked and wonderfully surprised to then receive an email from their editor that they loved my samples and wanted to include my notebooks in RedPlum’s 30 under $30 Editor’s Choice Gift Guide! Not only was my small business included in the list, but the website would be hosting parties all over the United States for top bloggers to see the products included in that list! I was getting free exposure to hundreds of bloggers, and then through RedPlum’s website for practically nothing. I said to my husband “If only they knew I’m not a huge company, I’m just a girl working out of her home!”.

The Gift Guide came out this week. My notebooks were number six on the list, right above Demeter Fragrances. I LOVE Demeter Fragrances! I buy Demeter Fragrances! What a compliment to be right above them on this list!

All through this process, I thought it was crazy that I would be picked. That I wasn’t worthy of it, because it’s just me. No employees, no warehouse, just me. Then it occured to me… why not? What does any of that have to do with it? I make a great product, and one that a lot of people love. It doesn’t matter how small time I am, not to my customers and not to bloggers and not to RedPlum. What is important is that I make something people like. And the more people are exposed to it, the more sales I have, and the possibility of this tiny business that I have can grow.

So take that chance, even if you don’t think you have a chance in hell! Who knows what can happen, just dream big and keep telling yourself that it is possible, and work towards it! Everything that you can do and try is worth the time, and you are worthy of it!

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General

Episode 26

This week’s podcast hits the air as we are celebrating our 1 year anniversary… and it features our first male guest. Yep, that’s right…. a boy!

Justin Pierre from Motion City Soundtrack stops by to talk business (actually we talked about everything from sushi to the fact that Minnesota is located smack dab in the middle of 4 biomes – but I edited the non-biz stuff out).

Most of the biz talk is general and can apply to anyone, but you will definitely get some first hand knowledge of the business side of music and film.

(and for those that say you have trouble with business stuff because you’re so creative, well, all I gotta’ say is if a film-making musician can deal with biz stuff, you can too!)

To learn more about MCS, visit their site or their myspace.

You can listen and download the podcast below – or you can subscribe in iTunes here.

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General

Are you going to be in Michigan on May 28??

I am going to be very busy for the next 45 hours or so, trying to cross off all the “to-do’s” on my list and pack my bags because I am heading home on Friday. Three flights later, I will be arriving in my home state of Michigan on Saturday, landing just before noon.

(You gotta remember – I’m starting out in Alaska. It’s gonna take a while to get there….)

Anyhow, I will be at The Indie Biz Chicks Conference on May 28. So if you wanna meet me in person, this is the place to go. Registration begins at 9:30am and the Morning Breakout Sessions last from 10:15-11:30am

Lessons Include: “Professional Surfing”: Learn how to increase your business by embracing internet marketing and adding it into your current marketing mix (I’ll be one of the presenters on that topic) and “Covering Your Assets” As you know, starting a business carries certain liabilities, and before you fall flat on your face, make sure you know the ins and outs of insurance, banking, ownership styles and more.

There will be a lunch from 11:45 – 1:00pm, and I will also be delivering the Keynote Presentation during this time. It will be on one of my favorite topics, “Power Publicity!”

The Afternoon Breakout Sessions will run from 1:15-2:30pm and the topics include “Getting Your Craft On”: Yes, there really is such a thing as a profitable craft business. If you’ve got the skills, learn how to use them to pay the bills & “Absolutely Fabulous” Let’s face it – first impressions count. Without a good one, you probably won’t have a chance to make a second one at all. Learn how to turn your next event into a success.

Want more info? Email me info{at}IndieBizChicks.com

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