How do you say thank you to your customers?

On the Finding Firelight blog this week Mail art with pretty napkins, iinks and stamps

On the Finding Firelight blog this week
Mail art with pretty napkins, inks and stamps

We got our first Christmas card at That Day Job this week.

And baby, it was ugly.

It was one of those ugly 80’s cards.  The artwork was blandy bland bland with a side of yuck.  With that boring saying inside with the company’s name added by the printer – woo woo, way to splash out.  And the admin girl wrote out a boring message because the owner couldn’t be ass-ed.

That doesn’t feel like a company respects working with you.  That they value your business.  It’s a lame token acknowledgement that you were a part of their business for the year.  And it would probably be better if they did nothing.

If you sell on Etsy, you get the chance to blow your customers out of the water with that sort of stuff.  I’ve had some gorgeous packaging on parcels when I’ve bought on Etsy.  Bakers twine and beautiful business cards and little thank you’s all carefully packaged.  I’ve also received things where it was just kinda chucked in the envelope.

Hmmm, that says a lot.

I make an altered shipping tag using my stamps and include a few blank tags for the receiver to play with.  And they are tucked inside a decorated envelope (because I’m obsessed with mail art at the moment) with a couple of branded stickers and Moo business cards. Then I wrap up the stamps and the envelope in tissue paper and add a print of the philosophy behind Finding Firelight on the outside with one of my stickers.

It sounds super cute but I’m wondering if I could do more.  Or maybe just like my stamps, I’m feeling the need for a makeover.  Not re-doing the logo.   But changing up what I make and include in the pack.  Could I make it look nicer?  Does it need a little somethin somethin?

Can I make it look a little more Pinterest – you know those pins where the packaging is almost too gorgeous that you wouldn’t want to open the parcel?  That’s the sort of packaging I want to send.

I think 2014 is going to be the year of the step up for me.

Stepping up my stamp range to something that feels more true.  Making packaging that looks a little more like I know what I’m doing.

How do you say thank you to your customers?

Could you be doing more?

Or doing it better?

Coral.  xo

 

 

 

 

 

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    Ever feel like the Universe is laughing at you?

    Dream Big altered canvas Process at www.findingfirelight.com this week.

    Dream Big altered canvas
    Process at www.findingfirelight.com this week.

    Ever feel like the Universe is laughing at you?  Because I’ve got the feeling it’s looking down at me like the Cheshire cat, grinning from ear to ear.  Chuckling quietly.  Cheeky B******.

    I’ve been home sick from That Day Job for 2 weeks.  Two whole weeks.

    It’s kinda sad when you would rather be this sick than go to your day job.  But some days are just like that, aren’t they?

    In a way, it has felt like another chance to experience my dream life.  Getting up when I’m ready, not because the alarm says so.  Afternoon nanna naps – is 3 hours still considered a nap?  I’ve had time to send emails to art friends.  I’ve devoured my art magazines slowly, instead of a mad frenzied rush as another thing to tick off my to-do list.  I’ve watched more YouTube videos than I should admit to.  And I’ve started brainstorming new stamp plate designs.  Big long lists filling the page in an A3 sketchbook.

    I’ve also been reading stories in those magazines I normally rush through and on my favourite blogs.  Stories that make my heart ache.

    Stories that make me so green with envy I could take over Tinkerbell’s job.  She’s kinda green isn’t she?

    Stories of people quitting their day job with no plans other than the dream of being a working artist.  Of beautiful breakthroughs and chance meeting with mentors that transform their lives into working artists.  Of being so successful husbands quit their day jobs too, so they can take over the tech stuff and online stores.  The girls just get to do art all day and film videos and do workshops and send projects off to magazines.  Basically, they just get to play and do the fun stuff.

    This is where you start to wonder if the Universe is laughing at you.

    You want this dream life so bad.  And it keeps showing you these stories.  These moments other people are having.  Moments you want to be having.  It wouldn’t be showing me this unless it is meant to be for me too, right?

    I know behind all the dream life stories and social media photos is a bucket load of hard work.  And lots of heart aching failures.  Taking wrong paths and feeling lost.  Working day jobs that felt like the wrong fit so badly it hurt while they found their place in the world as an artist.

    But when you are having woeful moments (thanks to a combo of jealousy and being sick), you don’t see the path that got them there.  You just see them as they are now.  And even that’s not real.  I’m sure they have moments when people don’t sign up for their classes.  When their website goes down just when they need it not to.   When their submission to a magazine gets rejected.

    But as we dream of living their life, we don’t care about that stuff.  We just blow it all out of proportion to make ourselves feel like rubbish.  Why do we do that?

    The trick is to use it as inspiration.

    And motivation.

    Not something that fills you with crushing resentment.

    And it’s a chance to ask the Universe to show you what to do next…

    To take one step closer to living the life of an artist.

    Coral xo

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      What happens after you do a workshop

      She was out of her comfort zoneI’ve been a very busy bunny – doing 3 workshops in just 6 weeks!

      First there was Donna Downey with a journal class.

      Then Chrissy Foreman Cranitch helping me paint big on canvas.

      And the delicious experience of a big journal with Jane Davenport over two whole days.

      I learned lots (of course).  And had amazing fun (of course).  But other stuff happens too.  Things you don’t expect.  And you don’t know it’s going to happen.  You don’t know it’s gonna be a part of it when you sign up.

      I’ve grown and changed so much because of these workshops and now…..

      It doesn’t feel like my stamps fit anymore.

      Oh crap.

      That wasn’t meant to happen.

      Or was it?

      I had stepped away from the art world for a while.  Because things got clique-y with the art people I knew.  I was tired of fighting with my art, trying desperately to find ‘my style’, the way my SHeroes had.  It just all got too hard and wasn’t fun.  At all.

      But even then, the dream never went away.

      The whispers were always there.

      Then I had my mid life major re-assessment.  If you’ve been visiting here for a while, you’ll know I call it that instead of a mid life crisis because I wasn’t in crisis, I was just re-assessing.  It sounds so much better, doesn’t it?

      And so, after getting a glimpse of how I could turn at 13 year dream into reality, I was on a mission.  And my first step was a blogging course.  Then I started working with designers.  Because of that path, combined with being away from the art world for so long, the stamps were influenced more by graphic design – divine logos and gorgeous websites – so my stamps came out kinda like that.

      It wasn’t until part way through the design process that I got up the courage to start getting inky and painty in the art room again.  Plus I figured I kinda oughta since I was making arty products.  And when I went in there, I was a little directionless.  Just throwing stuff around.  Lost but trying.  Any courses I did were business courses.  Most of the blogs I read were about blogging, not art.  It’s no wonder the stamps came out how they did.

      When the stamps arrived from the manufacturer, it was a huge milestone for me.  (You can watch the short video here – there’s even tears).   After (by this stage) 14 years of dreaming about having my own range of stamps, they were finally in my hands.  They looked so perfect – even more beautiful than I had pictured  for all those years.  Truly a milestone moment in my life.  And a major signpost on this big wild crazy adventure.  I don’t want to take anything away from that.

      But, after jumping into the art room much more this year and stepping away from the business learning side of things, my art has become much more the focus.  And after doing those 3 workshops in the last 6 weeks, things have changed so much.  Yes, in just 6 weeks.

      I feel like my art style has taken a huge leap forward.  And it means my stamps don’t really fit anymore.  If they ever truly did.  The thought behind them was always that they would be used in art journals.  But somehow, they just came out as pretty images.

      Because I let the designers talk me into things instead of staying true to what I pictured in my head.  It was their interpretation from a digital design perspective, not from an art journaler perspective who constantly has ink and paint and glue on their hands – because at the time, I wasn’t inky or painty.  Because what I thought was pretty in their portfolio was what I ended up with.  I let myself be swept up and swayed by them.  By the graphic design world.

      So now what?

      Some of the arty girls I’m channeling started off in one direction.  They have grown as business women and artists.  They have developed their range and changed direction as they did it.  Sometimes they changed direction more than once.  In the scope of things – my starting place is pretty damn awesome.  But that’s just it.  It’s a starting place.  So I have an Etsy shop full of stamps that I don’t connect with any more.  They cost a small fortune to get developed.  And there were lots of cranky dances in the lounge room and ugly, snotty tears to get to this point.

      Was it all for nothing?

      And am I brave enough to start over?

      I’m kind of at a cross roads.  I need to keep selling the stamps I have as well as figuring out what I want next.  I’ve got lots of post its and scraps of paper with ideas on it.  So why aren’t I jumping in?  Why am I holding back?

      Maybe I feel like the first set, with so much frustration and tears and work and time and… were a waste which doesn’t sit too well.  Maybe I’ve got a thing around the money side of it because I feel guilty I haven’t made back the money I spent on the first set (let alone that magical word profit).   Do I feel like this was kinda sorta a failure and I don’t want to fail again?  Cause none of us want to stick our hand up and wave it around saying
      saying ‘guess what, I failed’.

      But my big wild crazy dream is not gonna happen if I don’t have another go.  If I don’t find the courage to try again.

      And a do over isn’t so bad, is it?

      Coral.  xo

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        What does it feel like to be so close you can touch it?

        Cover of the journal I made at the Jane Davenport weekend workshop.  You can read about it at FindingFirelight.com this week

        Cover of the journal I made at the Jane Davenport weekend workshop. You can read about it at FindingFirelight.com this week

        You’ve heard of living ‘as if” right?  As if your dream life is already your real life.

        Well a couple of weeks ago, I accidentally got to do this when I did a weekend workshop with the fabulous Jane Davenport.

        I walked up the driveway to Jane’s house and there it was.  Her house was so similar to the dream house I’ve pictured it was scary.  Deliciously scary.  Big timber deck overlooking  green paddocks for miles.

        Her studio and store were like seeing your ‘Dream Studio’ Pinterest board come to life.

        And listening to her talk about her business – oh my gosh.  It was like a one on one business workshop.  She was so generous.  To hear how it REALLY works was such a gift.  Just like the Donna Downey workshop though – it felt like I was the only one who realized just how big a deal it was for her to share this side of her life.  And I soaked up every word.

        She openly shared the business side of her life in amongst the actual journal class which was supposed to be the real reason we were there.  She let us in on how she runs her online workshops – seeing her filming set up was one of my favourite secrets she revealed to us in her studio.   Tales of traveling to teach (Paris anyone?).  Chatting about some of my favourite artists as her close friends – imagine casually name dropping your friends like Flora Bowley in coversation?  And she spoke of having well known publishers approaching her about books and videos and online series, of business contracts and international art shows…. can you imagine?  Oh yes, she’s the real deal.

        Sandy Forster wrote a book that has a great chapter about living as if.  She would drive into the driveway of a mansion every day to know what it would feel like until one day it was true.  (Not sure what the owner of the mansion thought….) And Danielle LaPorte just did a post on what your ‘ideal normal’ is.

        To spend two days doing art in a place that is ‘so close to the life you’ve pictured it’s scary’ is intense.

        Part of it is beautiful.

        To feel it in real life.  To live it for two whole days.  Doing art on the deck, surrounded my acreage views, gorgeous weather, an amazing teacher.  Ah, this is the life.

        But part of it messes with your head a bit.

        Because you can’t just choose that life overnight.

        You can’t just cross your arms and nod your head like ‘I Dream Of Jeanie’ and poof, there it is.

        Because you know it takes a lot of work to get to that point.  And while you love living it just for a day or two, you are reminded just how far away you are from it being your every day.  And I little bit of ‘I’m not good enough’ creeps in even though you know better.  Even though you know that’s not what it’s about.

        But seeing your dream life up close – really close – is intense and magical and divine and lots of other words that I can’t articulate……  It’s like the universe is giving you a preview of your future.  Just enough to give you the courage to keep going.  And it has the most beautiful energy  to it that stays with you for weeks afterwards.

        Got the chance to live your dream life in some way?

        Coral xo

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          When someone left and they didn’t make a sound

          Chrissy canvas1

          My canvas from the Chrissy Foreman Cranitch class.
          Click the photo for more

          Someone at my day job quit last week.  No, it wasn’t me…..  A couple of Etsy sales a month isn’t quite doing it for me just yet.  But thanks for thinking it was me… hehehe.

          He had been there for about 5 years.  What really hit me is there was no fanfare.  No drinks after work.  No nice speeches.  Not even a thank you.  No, not even a thank you.  I think I was the only one who said anything.  And at the end of his last day, he just kind of slipped out the backdoor.

          That made me sad.  That 5 years of coming in every day.  Of doing your best.  Of going above and beyond your “official” job description.  Of handling a hundred little things so they didn’t blow up into big things…. It all meant nothing.  And I know that when I walk away, the same thing will happen to me.  I always kind of knew it wouldn’t be a big deal when I left.  But this was a little insight into my future.  And it wasn’t very nice.

          I want to run towards my business even more now.

          Because I want to do something that matters.

          And clearly, showing up 8 to 5 for someone else doesn’t.

          You kind of think it counts for something.  When you show up for someone every day.  When you help make their business a success.  But seeing this person just kind of wander off made me realize that it doesn’t.  A lady I used to work for once told me –

          “No matter how good you are, no-one is irreplaceable”.

          And she’s right.

          When I leave, someone else will just fill my place.  And not long after, I’ll just be someone that worked there once.

          For the longest time, I threw myself into work and the rest of my life got what was left.  Because you have a responsibility to do your best at work, right?  Because there is an obligation with work.  But in the last year or so – helped along by some stupid stuff my boss has said to me – I’ve realized I had it all back to front.  Work gets a bit.  But I save the best for outside of work.  For adoring my husband.  For hanging out with my dog.  For doing art.  For going out into the world after hiding away for so long.  And for working towards a business that will be so much more than working for someone else ever could be.

          Because that’s what matters.

          I’m having a mid life major re-assessment and racing towards the big 4-0 and I’ve only just figured this out.   Kinda wishing I figured this out a lot, lot earlier…

          I hope you read this and you see it too. That you know where you are most valued.  That you see where your time and love and passion and spirit should be.  And who you share that with.

          That you see what really matters.

          Coral.  xo

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            The business secrets I learned from Donna Downey

            Donna 2Oh my gosh, she’s using my paintbrush.

            It made the room fall silent, before a little giggle went around the room.  One of the students in Donna Downey’s class was very excited Donna was using her paint brush to do a demonstration.  I got to learn from one of my art SHeroes last week.  Donna Downey.  As in, THE Donna Downey.  You know how big a deal this is.  And no, the paintbrush girl wasn’t me.  Honest.

            I went for a journalling workshop and of course it was fabulous.  Can you imagine – seeing her journals in real life.  To be able to run your hands over them and squinting to look up close at all the detail was very cool.  But, being the square bear that I am, I noticed the business side too.  I may have been working on my journal, covered in paint and gesso, but I had one ear pricked up, listening for the inside line on the business side of Donna’s life.

            I know the business-y side of things washed over most people.

            On the inside I was screaming “Don’t these people know what a big deal it is for Donna to be telling us this stuff?” This just does not happen.  This is normally a closely guarded secret.  And here was Donna happily letting us behind the curtain.  Why is no-one else listening?

            I know most people fantasize about living the life of an artist.  But the cold reality is, most don’t think they can make it happen.  And they don’t really want it.  It’s just on their fantasy life list along with the well practiced Oscar speech and singing into their hair brush pretending to be Beyonce in concert – or is that just me? Hmmm, this just got awkward….

            Because it’s just a fantasy, they don’t snap to attention when someone like Donna is sharing her secrets. They don’t listen. To hear what her turning point was.  To hear her business experiences.  To hear what worked for her.  Isn’t that always what you wonder about your idols?  Isn’t that what you’d ask them given half a chance?

            These are the super juicy bits I heard…

            You know those journals she uses in her Inspiration Wednesday every week?  She makes them.  By hand.  Yes, by hand.  Even though she had a workshop on how to make them, people still wanted to buy them from her.  So she kept making them and selling them.  She can sell them until the cows come home.

            She credits those journals with building her business.  They were her point of difference.   Her turning point.  They are what she became know for.  Those little journals became so much more than just a journal.  They became her signature.

            She started filming her work because people kept asking how she had done something on her pages.  Now, she has over 300 videos in her archive.  You get how huge that is, right?  Imagine having 300 videos on the second biggest search engine – YouTube.  Filming made her commit to doing an art journal page every week. And she shows every page no matter how they turn out – the good the bad and the ugly.

            She doesn’t have lots of people coming by the studio every day, just walking in off the street.  That really surprised me.  Her studio is huge.  Her business is built around the workshops she holds there, her online store and her online classes.  Even though she has a bricks and mortar business, she is busiest online.

            I also overheard….

            That wholesalers send out a notice when an artist is coming to visit, letting them know they can book them for a workshop.  And they often do… without having any idea who they are.  I did a class earlier in the year where this happened.  The business running the workshop was completely sidelined.  They had no idea how busy they would be, how full the classes would be and they just got swamped.

            It would also explain some of the people in Donna’s class who were talking over the top of her like they were at a scrapbook crop day.  Honestly, I was this close to throwing something at them followed by “shut up”.  This close.

            Learn where you are. In the tiny moments.

            Listen closely.

            You never know when someone will reveal their secrets and let you in behind the curtain.

            Coral.  xo

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              What is it with all this ’empowering women’ rubbish?

              Donna 5

              Mail art I made for Donna Downey.
              More photos at www.findingfirelight.com

               How many times have you heard someone say part of their business is to “Empower Women”?

              (There’s a great video by Marie Forleo about using those words – HERE)

              Why do so many people use this?  And why do they think we all need to be empowered?

              I don’t need to be empowered.  I’m brave.  I’m strong.

              I grew up with the Spice Girls, damn it!  I can tell you what I want, what I really really want.

              We aren’t little girls lost.  We aren’t sitting on our butt, waiting for Prince Charming to come rescue us.  Us girls are very powerful.   Think about it…. We’re the go to girl in the office (though usually the least appreciated.  Oh, and the lowest paid).  We run our household with clockwork precision (well, most of the time).  We’re usually stirring dinner with one hand, paying a bill with the other and patting the dog with one foot.  We work full time.  We do most of the housework.  We are looking after husbands and parents.  Some of you have kids as well.   It’s a wonder we get time to sleep!

              Some of you are still going at midnight, because it’s the only time the house is quiet and you can have a moment to yourself.  The only time someone isn’t asking for something .  I get up at 4am with only the white-cat-that-loves-to-blog for company.  Even then, I’m usually stopping to give her a chin rub.  Blogging with one hand, chin rubbing with the other.  We just can’t help ourselves, can we?

              We don’t need to be empowered.  We just need to put ourselves first sometimes.

              Because that’s why we miss out.

              Not because we don’t know what we want.  We know full well what we want.  And it’s not because we aren’t brave enough.  Because we don’t feel powerful enough.  We’ve got our superhero cape on almost every day.  It’s because we don’t put ourselves first.  By the time we’ve saved the bosses ass for the 5th time today, paid the bills, cooked a gourmet dinner Jamie Oliver would be proud of and done the laundry… it’s bed time.  Or I-just-want-to-sit-down-for-5-minutes time.

              We make to do lists a mile long.  We’re world champions at it.  And we put the boring stuff like vacuuming first.  Seriously?  The vacuuming gets to go first?!  We make sure everyone else in our life is looked after.  Even if they can look after themselves.  And what we really want to do gets put at the bottom.  But it’s not a crime to move some of the things your heart is screaming out for further up the list.

              Next time someone tells you they want to empower women, tell them you don’t need to be empowered, you just some time for yourself.

              And if they really want to help out – they are welcome to come round to your house and pick up the vacuum cleaner anytime they like.

              Coral.  xo

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                How I stopped hiding and what happened when I opened up

                A close up of the mail art I sent to Roben-Marie Smith.  More pictures on my FindingFirelight.com blog this week.

                A close up of the mail art I sent to Roben-Marie Smith.
                More pictures are on my FindingFirelight.com blog this week.

                I’ve started a few posts here over the last two years with the words I’ve been hiding from you.  The hardest thing about this whole creative business adventure is not the tech stuff.

                It’s stepping into the adventure.  Stepping out.

                I know it.  And I know you know it too.

                I used to be on some stamping forums.  But I backed away.  Because the world I loved, where people shared and supported each other, disappeared.  The advanced artists reaching out to help beginners disappeared.  And the people who were taking over on the Forum were like those stuck up girls in high school .  Oh yeah, you know the ones.  And they made sure everyone knew they had an inner circle.  And that you weren’t a part of it.  They were condescending.  They were showing off.  And I didn’t think their artwork was all that great to be honest, so I didn’t understand where all the ego was coming from. They were all show, no go.  Ick.

                The stamp club I would go to had girls who were in too many swaps.  So they would do something that took 5 minutes with the comment “That’ll do”.  Images not stamped properly.  Colour outside the lines (and not in a good way).  If you’ve ever met me, you know I’m sooooo not a “that’ll do” kinda girl.  There were girls who had to copy exactly out of a magazine.  If they didn’t have the exact stamp and stamp pad they would throw their hands in the air (but didn’t wave them like they just don’t care) saying they couldn’t make the card.  And with only one girl interested in mixed media and Somerset Studio, I decided to walk away from that too.  Because they weren’t my kinda girls.   I didn’t get them. And they didn’t get me either.

                And so I hid away.  I retreated from everything.  I unsubscribed from the forums.  I stopped going to stamp club.  I became a hermit.  Somehow, it became not just my art life, but my whole life.  You don’t feel let down or disappointed if you don’t put yourself out there.  You can’t be judged or have your feelings hurt that way.

                But you can’t find your right place or right people either.

                And somehow, in amongst all that, I stopped making art.  I still read Somerset Studio.  I still read the blogs of my art SHeroes.  But I didn’t get my hands inky or painty.  I didn’t for a long, long time.  I just couldn’t.

                But in the back of my mind, the dream was always there.

                That big wild crazy dream was always, always there.

                When I started my blog, I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing.  I just went about it all by myself.  My first posts were done the way the ‘experts’ said I should write them.  I could tell it wasn’t the right fit.  I didn’t know what I wanted it to be or where I wanted to go with it.  And there was the holding back.  Always the holding back.  Not sharing too much.  Not showing too much.   Being vanilla.  And not the “good extra creamy with real vanilla bean” vanilla.  It was the “cheap no name brand ice more than cream artificial chemical tasting” vanilla.

                But this year, I stepped back into the art world.  The online world.  And the hardest one, the real world.

                I’ve let my personality show on my blog.  My ocker wording.  My funny little sayings.  My love of TV on DVD,  my feisty temper and my sometimes over enthusiastic opinions, and a love for my car.  I’ve made friends (in person!) at Etsy street team events that have turned into supportive and encouraging cheer squads.  I’ve jumped into online and real life art workshops.

                Along the way I’ve met people I now consider friends.  Friends I can reveal my true self to. I’ve grown into my art – I’m making stuff I’m really proud of (check out my Finding Firelight blog).   It’s been such a long time since I felt that way.  Since I could say that.  I’m discovering my own style in my artwork – something I’ve chased for years.  I mean it literally when I say years.  I’ve had offers of free coaching, art being sent to me and interview requests all come from out of the blue.  Out of nowhere.

                All because I was willing to step out into the sunshine and show the world who I was.  Because I decided to just be myself and see where it led me.  To see what happened if…..  And because I stopped trying so hard.  I think not trying so hard was a big part of it.  Which is really hard for someone who has had to fight for everything.  But maybe I don’t need to fight.

                If you’ve been hiding too…

                If you aren’t letting the real you shine…

                I hope you’ll find courage in this post.

                That when you let the world in, good things happen.

                Love and hugs and support and of course, firelight – Coral  xo

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                  What does business coaching have to do with a light sabre?

                  I got some amil from Roben-Marie Smith.  As in, THE Roben-Marie Smith

                  I got some mail from Roben-Marie Smith. As in, THE Roben-Marie Smith
                  You can read about it at www.findingfirelight.com this week

                  My gorgeous – online – half way round the world – friend, Erin from Remade By Hand and I are on the same page.  We’re at the same point in our websites and starting our businesses.  She’s a great person to sound off to because she just gets it.  So when she had the chance to gift some coaching, she thought of me.  Isn’t she sweet?  And so, out of the blue, I was gifted a half hour session with a coach – Madeleine Shaw from TheRealBrilliance.com.

                  I said yes.  Because it was gifted to me by Erin.  And because you never know where a breakthrough is going to come from.  On this adventure, I’ve found one idea or one sentence just sticks with you.  And it comes back again and again, just when you need it.  As I said yes, I was hoping something from our session would do the same.

                  I sent Madeleine answers to a questionnaire before our Skype session so she would know where I needed direction.  Basically – I was feeling stuck.  Like everything was a push and a fight to make even a tiny step forward.  And that trying a thousand different things and  fitting it all in around a full time day job felt like a horrible struggle, not the magnificent adventure I know it can be.

                  Here’s what Madeleine gave me.  In just half an hour.

                  • Some tough cookie questions that had me thinking and seeing things from a whole new angle.  “What If’s” worded in a good way.  Yes, “What If’s” can be good.
                  • Some visualizations as a ‘different’ way of looking at things.  Which may, or may not, have involved a magic wand being wielded like a light sabre.  Oh year, I channeled my inner Luke Skywalker.

                  I’m not normally a visualization kinda person – I’m a daydreamer for sure.  But sometimes visualization can be a bit hippy dippy and vague.  Not this kinda visualization.  This one was had me thinking and seeing things in a whole new way.  It wasn’t hippy dippy.  It was a power boost.  A clarity inducer.  An “I’ve got my superhero cape on” kind of visualization.

                  What happened after?

                  Somehow, in just half an hour, she had me grinning from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat.  I was glowing.  I even skipped out into the lounge room once the call was finished.  Oh yeah.  I skipped.  I skipped like a grade 5-er on their way to art class on a Friday afternoon on a warm summer afternoon.  That kind of skipping.

                  Yes, I got that one thing I was hoping for.  I know I’ll pull it out of my Mary Poppins bag of tricks when I need it.  Because on this adventure, you need a bag of tricks to go to.  When things don’t go to plan.  When you don’t know what to do next.  When things take a sharp left hand turn.  You have one, don’t you?

                  I’ve raved about business coaching before (here, here and here).  It’s been a while since I did it and I forgot how good it can be.  How deliciously beautiful and magical it can be.  How it brings a shower of ideas and new directions.  I may not have had much luck working with designers, but business coaching has been a blessing every single time. If you are feeling stuck or lost, I cannot say enough good things about it.  Seriously.

                  You never know.  You may just end up waving a magic wand like a light sabre.

                  You know, in a good way.

                  Coral.  xo

                  PS: Did you notice I’m on a fairytale theme this week?  Cheshire cats from Alice in Wonderland.  Mary Poppins carpet bags.  Not sure what that’s about.  Too many episodes of Grimm, perhaps?  Is it possible  to watch too many episodes of Grimm.  Pretty sure the answer is no.

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                    Are you a handmade community bouncer? Or are you just letting anyone in?

                    I've started another 'big canvas'.

                    I’ve started another ‘big canvas’.

                    One of the guys at That Day Job mentioned he wanted to buy a painting to fill up a blank wall at his house. Now before I go any further – please know I think this guy is pretty cool.  I’d be lost without his wisdom and his sense of humour.  He makes me laugh at work every day (especially on the days where I am hating it).   One of those people who makes That Day Job not suck your soul quite so much.

                    So, he emailed me a couple of photos of what he was looking at on eBay.  Neither of them were my cup of tea.  And they looked like the sort of thing you see in the $2 shops  or those cheap furniture places at the shopping centre.  But, hey, if that’s what he likes, good luck to him.  One of the things that had him so excited was that the painting was only $40.  For a large original.  In oil paint.

                    You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?

                    I reply back to him that it’s not really kind of art, but if he likes it then go for it.  And $40 is a good price. I get the little symbol on my screen telling me he has replied.  He asks me who I like and can he have the links.

                    This is the point where my fur is rubbed the wrong way and I come to a crossroads.

                    Do I just give him all the details or do I listen to my gut?  Because my gut is telling me he doesn’t get it.  And he has no clue how offensive his attitude is to something that is going to grace his walls.  That what he is buying isn’t art, it is a soul-less replica.

                    So I go all Gibbs on NCIS and go with my gut.

                    Because the girls I adore are not going to be his cup of tea based on what his taste is so far.  And I can’t bear to listen to him talk them down.  To deride their talent.  To dismiss their work.  To be horrified at their prices.

                    Because their small prints are half the size and twice the price of the original he is looking at.  And clearly what he is looking for is a bargain to fill a space.  Not true art that fills his heart everytime he walks past it.  Not something that he truly understands.  Not something that lights him up or that he connects with.   I even suggest at one point that maybe a mirror would be a better option to the art.

                    Because it feels like I will betray the girls I adore and the entire art & handmade community by letting this guy in the door to our world.  Because he is going to take one look at the price and run back out the door he came in.  Because he just.doesn’t.get. it.

                    How often have you read blog posts and ebooks about ‘respecting your work’ and ‘pricing ethically’?   They kind of wash over you in a vague mist.  You nod your head and store it in your memory for some day.  But this story made me see it.  Truly see what they are saying.

                    When you price fairly, you earn respect from the buyer.  You weed out the people who don’t care about your work.  You respect yourself.  Your talent.  Your time.  And you stand at the gates of the community, refusing to let those kind of people in the door.

                    We are the bouncers of the handmade community nightclub.

                    (You didn’t know there was a nightclub?  Hell yeah there is.  With 80’s & 90’s music blasting and sparkly disco balls included.  Just not the fashion.  For all that is good and holy, not the fashion).

                    And we get to say who enters.

                    By how we act in every moment.  By the choices we make. In the way we shop.  And, very importantly, in the way we sell.  And the way we share the community (or not) with those who aren’t a part of it.

                    Coral.  xo

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                      Posted in Business Design, What I know so far | Tagged | 2 Comments