Sunday, September 14, 2014

{Small Biz} Hiring, My Brand is a Reflection, North Stars and Priorities. Part II

Back in July, I attended a Marketing for Crafters Workshop with Tara Swiger in the CreativeLive studios. We went over a heck of a lot of info that really got me thinking about how to apply it to my own small business. This is Part II of what I've learned these past couple months as I reflect.

See Part I here covering, I don't want to be a corporation, valuing my time and pricing.
See my trip to the CreativeLive Studios in San Francisco here.

I have a different view point of hiring. I have hired a few times temporarily and I thought that the only task I can hire for is to help me create pieces to catch up on current orders. After having a difficult time giving up so much control (or at least feeling like it), I realized that there are so many other tasks that can be delegated to make life just a bit easier without giving up a large portion of design aspect such as packaging, shipping, organizing, etc.

It's a bit nerve-wrecking for me if somebody else is creating something that I have to stand behind. I felt like I was giving up so much control and I've realized that as far as design and creating pieces goes, I need to keep myself in this process wholly. I will always have my own techniques and certain ways of doing things from years of experience and it seems a bit difficult to teach these (I also learned I'm not a great teacher of my work either). I'm so used to doing something a certain way-that most of the time, I don't notice that I do those things until somebody else is doing it differently.
Hiring can be a huge weight off someone's shoulders and it is if you pour the time into teaching someone who is really passionate about the work as you are. If you are looking to grow your business, hiring is also a large factor in doing so but for me, as far as production goes anyway, I've come to terms that I want to be behind each piece that goes out, I need to be. If you read Part I, you would see that I don't want to be a corporation anyway so I don't need too many hands creating LSP pieces (contrary to what others may think). I just may have to increase turn around time and that's OK.

My brand is a reflection of myself. Trying to be or copy anybody else's brand and what they do to market, etc. is not only being untrue to your customers but also to yourself. Find what works for you and do just that. This does not mean however, if your business fails or something doesn't work that you are a failure. It's easy to tie ourselves to our work in this way and beat ourselves up over missteps. What this does mean is that you created your brand to serve you-not copy somebody else's work and style. People can tell when you aren't being genuine.
What aesthetic do you like? What type of customers do you want to attract? What words do you use to describe your pieces? When it comes to marketing, what message is most important to you to convey? These are some questions that are important to answer to build your brand.

Just because you want the numbers or sales like someone else doesn't mean you have to act as a chameleon and blend in with their brand and style. Even if you did exactly what another brand did to market and sell, both businesses would still be completely different when it comes to numbers, sales, etc. So, you and I need to be true to our own work and creativity.

What is my North Star? It took me a while to understand this question when Tara Swiger first asked this of us. It totally made more sense when she asked, what qualities guide your business?
For me, when I think of my business as a whole, the qualities that come to mind are Romance, Beauty and Femininity.

Romance because I work with a lot of brides as my primary market as well as moms-to-be and those renewing their vows after several years of marriage. There is a tremendous amount of love in each of these relationships and I want my photos, pieces, descriptions and style to depict the love that is between each of them. I want someone to see something that I've made and immediately picture themselves wearing it on the day they say "I Do" to the man of their dreams or wearing it in the photos anticipating their sweet little child.

Beauty because I want to make someone feel beautiful as soon as they adorn a creation that I've made. Nothing makes me happier as a creative designer to hear a customer describe how wonderful one of my pieces made them feel as they wore it (and didn't want to take it off).

Femininity because as a woman, each crown, veil, headpieces etc. is designed with the feminine heart in mind. I love creating with soft, dainty and lady-like components. The Lord made us women for a reason. Why not embrace the details that come with it?

What qualities guide your business?

At the end of the day, what is truly important? It doesn't matter to me how much money I made, how much work I completed or how many followers I have if my family isn't happy and God isn't at the center of our home first and foremost. Of course there are goals that we set for ourselves and plans that we'd love to complete in our small business journey but if I completely put this little business before my family and my relationship with the Lord, all of this work is in vain.

None of this will last forever anyway so pour your time into what really matters and set your priorities. It's easy to forget what's really important when you're all caught up in work and "making your dreams come true". Keep a reminder of your priorities at your desk, on the wall, on a post-it on your laptop, or another easy to see spot.

If you over work yourself, you will get burnt out and stressed out. Believe me, this has happened to me plenty of times which is why we need to learn to value our time in these seasons (see this topic here and here). I am currently on a shop vacation with a large part of my reasoning having to do with getting burnt out with working too much. Sometimes we need a break and that's OK...actually it's essential! We need these breaks to refresh our minds and re-organize the matters that are most important to us.
What's most important to you?

See Part I of this Small Biz Reflection and what I learned at CreativeLive here.

The other topics I've covered are:

  • I don't want to be a corporation or large-scale company
  • I need to value my time
  • Pricing

1 comment:

  1. ADORE that photo of the flowers and sewing machine. :)


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