Fear to Success

Last week, I published an article on Dealing with Too Much Stress.  In the article, I looked at my own life and made the following statement, in regards to stress:

After observing myself over the years, I find that most of my stress starts with fear: Fear that I won’t get everything done in a timely manner; fear that I am going to ‘lose it’ if I don’t get my house and warehouse back in order; fear that the new project I am working on won’t sell ….

I suggested making lists of all that needed to be done and to work your list as needed.

But, I know that I’ve gone through periods where I was stressed to the Fear to Successpoint of fear and did not know where or how to proceed — or even make up a list of my priorities!  I am sure I am not the only one who goes through ‘breakdowns’ like this.

Breakdown or Breakthrough

My last ‘breakdown’ led to one of my greatest ‘breakthrough’ in several months. I spent some time in meditation and visioning and realized that working with people one on one or in small groups is what I love best!  How could I forget that?

Often when we are in the middle of a confusing time, we totally lose sight of who we are or what we want to impact the world.  I frequently feel this way during tax season.  Even though I worked as a bookkeeper for several years when I was younger, now it is my most dreaded job!!  So during tax time, I am so focused on getting our returns done, that I lose sight of what I really want to do with my business.  And, alas, stress over taxes turns into depression which turns into lack of productive action.

So my breakthrough came when I finished the taxes, but couldn’t seem to get motivated to work on my business.  Have you ever felt that way?  After a long talk with my husband, I realized that my inaction towards doing the things I loved was snowballing and causing depression.  Dumb, I know, but that was where I was at!

Now, after spending time in looking at my priorities and goals, I know I need to move forward on the projects I started last year (and didn’t finish due to holiday sales).

Taking action — no matter what the action is — towards your long-term goals is the best way I know to work out of fear and into success!

Now stay turned over the next weeks for an announcement about a new opportunity for you to grow your business!!

 

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Defeating the Procrastination Cycle

It is so easy to fall into the procrastination cycle and put off tomorrow what we need to do today.  And when we continue this cycle, it can lead to inaction, depression and lack of motivation.

I’ve done it, as I am sure you have too.  But how do we break the cycle?

Setting goals are one way that is very effective. I’ve written articles on S.M.A.R.T. goals previously, but a good friend and business coach, Wendy Kause, wrote the following article that I would like to share here:

How Do You Crush Procrastination?Defeating the Procrastination Cycle

If you were to set daily Activity Goals the outcome would look and feel much different….

Activity Goal Setting

  • Create your Why – Before setting goals – uncover the true Reason for it first
  • Prepare for the Goal – In extreme detail list all the steps and tools needed for the goal
  • Take Action – Purchase all tools, schedule each step and physically prepare all items needed
  • Do it – Now begin the process – utilizing all the prepared lists/schedules/tools
  • Review and re-align Daily – Journal and review every day, your wins, losses and make adjustments as needed and celebrate wins – EVERY DAY…

Break It Down!

You can apply this process to Sales Goals, Personal Goals, Business Goals or even Project Goals.  If you break whatever it is you wish to accomplish down into smaller parts, those parts are much easier to accomplish and feel as if you made traction, each and every day.

I read somewhere thinking about writing a book is nearly impossible. But thinking about writing a chapter is doable.  If you created a goal to write a chapter a week, you’ll have four chapters done by the end of your first month.  However, to sit and start writing a 20 or 30 chapter book is daunting and seems impossible.

If you take one step at a time and break your goal down into daily activities, you not only have the opportunity to celebrate your successes each and every day, but you will have created a system, should you stumble, to help you to pick yourself back up and get back at it again tomorrow.  In addition, you have the chance to make any necessary adjustments along the way!…

Check out my friend Wendie, her website and services yourself by reading the complete article: How Do You Crush Procrastination?

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Working Through Wholesale Obstacles

Selling wholesale creates a whole new set of rule and obstacles.  Your sales materials are different, your shipping methods may change, billing your buyers are not the same …. a whole new set of skills and resources are require to work through wholesale obstacles.

But it is not impossible!  And once you are set up, you can use the same Working Through Wholesale Obstaclessystems over and over again.  But you need to be prepared before you approach your first retail buyer.

Dear Handmade Life outlines some of these obstacles in their recent article and few that I want to share here:

14 wholesale obstacles for handmade lines — and how to move through them:

 You don’t have a line sheet.  If you don’t have a line sheet, and if you’re reaching out to independent store owners outside of trade shows, you have two options….. Option 1: create a simple line sheet from scratch, using a program like Powerpoint or InDesign to do your layout…. Option 2: use your existing website, Etsy Wholesale page, or wholesale shopping site as the online representation of your products.

You’re not sure how to connect with stores. If you don’t have any stockists (retail store buyers) yet, my main suggestion would be to start with reaching out to a local store or two. The feedback and confidence you’ll get from local connections is often very valuable. If you already have a couple of stores you’re working with, then I recommend creating a list of shops you love around the country. Start with reaching out to a handful via email or package and gauge which store types seem most interested, so you can build on that. Followup is key! Store owners are busy, so don’t forget to circle back with them….

 You have wholesale accounts but they don’t place multiple orders.
Not every store is going to place multiple orders with you, but …  Be in frequent touch; send samples of new products for free; offer to provide any missing packaging or marketing materials; make it easy to reorder and provide display materials to make that a no-brainer; … In other words: take care of them and they will take care of you.

You aren’t sure how much to make your wholesale “discount” (or retail markup). …If you have a quality, handmade product with a compelling story or production method, then your retail price should usually be 2x your wholesale price. … If your product isn’t handmade, with a compelling story and production method, then stores may want a 2.2x or 2.5x (or more) markups. Are the exceptions to both of these rules? Absolutely. Every store and every maker has different costs and realities so ultimately, you have to do what’s right for you (within acknowledgment of what’s reasonable) — even if that doesn’t work for every store.

You don’t know whether the store owner should pay for shipping or you should.  The easier you can make it for a store owner to place an order (in terms of low minimums, free shipping, easy process, etc.), the better, for getting new orders. But you never want to offer more than you’re able to swing financially. … Regardless of what you choose, the most important thing is that you make your policy clear before the wholesale order is placed.

You are not sure what your wholesale minimum should be. … The key thing to keep in mind is … don’t create a high minimum just because you think you’re supposed to. …The lower you can place the entry point, the lower their risk is. Which means that a lower wholesale minimum is usually good when you are starting with wholesale, as long as you don’t make your minimum so low that you’ll resent the sale (or not profit from it.)

Excellent list of ways to remove wholesale obstacles.  I highly recommend you read the full article.

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Steps to Increase Your Income

Since my ‘semi-retirement’ nearly 10 years ago, I write and share industry articles on my weekly blog.  Although, I post my own insights gathered during all my years in the field — as a sales rep, gourmet food producer, and retail store manager — I also find other experts in the industry whose articles and views are very interesting and beneficial to my readers.

Alyson Stanfield is a coach and blogger I’ve read and followed for many years, Steps to Increase Your Incomeand especially like her article on “A Realist’s Strategy for Increasing Your Income”.

Here are some of my favorite points from her article:

One of the best things you can do to improve your chances of success in any area is to create a plan. If you’d like to make more money, that means you need an income-boosting plan….

Where Did The Money Come From?

Gather your sales figures for the past 3 years.

What are your streams of income? These are the sources of your income and vary from artist to artist. Your income streams won’t be identical to your studio mate’s….

Analyze Your Numbers

Your next step is to spend time looking at the numbers in front of you. They might not make sense at first, but I guarantee that a story will emerge as they become familiar.

What are the trends you see across the weeks and months?…

Set Your Income Goal for the Year

The final step in your strategy to increase your income is to set your goal for the next 12 months. This is where those CEO projections I mentioned earlier come into play.

Did you learn from your numbers that you’re naturally increasing your income 10% every year? If so, shoot for 20% this year because it’s a stretch, but not out of the realm of possibility….

Read the Full Article

Alyson’s plan may seem rather simplistic and boring, but you may surprise yourself when you actually take a look at your numbers and analyze your figures.

Coming up with realistic goals at this point is the most critical part of the process.  And just don’t develop a willy-nilly figure — Be realistic yet pushing your comfort zone!

Most important, when you create your goal …. WRITE THEM DOWN!

Research confirms there is power in writing down your goals as written goals are 73% more likely to happen.

Take this one step further by printing them off and posting them where you see them often.

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Are You Secretly Sabotaging Your Business?

Are You Secretly Sabotaging Your Business?

What?  Secretly sabotaging my business?  How can I do that??

Personally, I have worked with dozens (if not hundreds) of producers over the years who really want to develop a wholesale business, but they end up sabotaging themselves instead of creating a thriving business.  Many do not have the stamina to see it through, many do not plan for the cash flow needed to make the transition from hobby to business, and many don’t realize that business and financial expertise is needed!

Jess from Create & Thrive understands this issue as well and addresses it in her newsletter:  Do you really believe you can have a successful handmade business?Are You Secretly Sabotaging Your Business?

5 ways people sabotaging themselves

1. Giving up too soon

…If you’re starting a handmade business expecting to be making a 6 figure profit in the first year – or even 2-3 years – please don’t bother.

Even those people who seem to be an ‘overnight success’ usually have many years of experience behind them – whether that’s years of doing their craft professionally (like an illustrator) or as a hobby.

…it is very likely going to take YEARS before you’re making really decent money from your handmade business.

…If you’re not in it for the long haul, don’t start.

2. Focusing on the negative

The perfect place to see this in action is on the Etsy forums.

There is some great advice in there, but it’s more often than not buried amongst the masses who are moaning about some change Etsy has made that’s apparently caused their sales to suddenly cease…

If you catch yourself doing this – stop.

No-one is responsible for the success or failure of your business but YOU.

Stop blaming, stop complaining, stop obsessing over your competitors, stop focusing on the negatives, and start focusing on the positives.

… Don’t focus on the sales you don’t get – focus on making the customer experience for the sales you DO get

3. Split focus

… starting too many new things at once, and not being able to give any of them the attention they truly deserve because (you’ve) spread (yourself) too thin.

It’s an oh-so-common pitfall amongst creative types, because we have so many ideas, and we get bored easily.

… Sales follow your focus.

Give yourself a timeframe to focus on one only (say, 12-18 months) before you’re allowed to start a new venture….

4. Too much ‘research’ not enough action

How long have you been ‘just learning’ about how to do what you want to do?

Are you that person who has all the theoretical knowledge… but are yet to do anything about it?

…There comes a point where you just have to take the leap.

Stop planning and start doing.

5. Waiting for perfection

This is closely linked to number 4. Too often, people hang back from taking action because of fear.

They’re afraid of not being perfect. Of not having a perfect product, or perfect packaging, or perfect photography.

Nothing is ever perfect….

If you find yourself stumbling in any of these areas, it may be time to get some outside help!

Since I have worked with so many professional crafters and producers, been a producer, sales rep and store owner/manager, I can help you maneuver through all this and get your business on the right track.

I have many options for 1-on-1 consulting and coaching to meet your needs.

Find out more here:  1-on-1 Wholesale Business Consulting/Coaching

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