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Let's explore what it takes to craft a sustainable, profitable, FUN business, while staying enthusiastic and motivated.

Whether you just opened your first Etsy shop, or you've been selling your art, design or writing full-time for years - you struggle with doubt, loneliness, motivation and getting it all done.
In this podcast we'll explore what you REALLY want from your small business so that you can follow your enthusiasm, make your art and make money.

Each episode is a mini-lesson in exploring what you want out of your OWN business, so that you can craft a life and business that fills your life with enthusiasm. Find more lessons at http://taraswiger.com

Explore Your Enthusiasm, with Tara Swiger | Craft | Art | Business Tara Swiger

    • Ondernemerschap

Let's explore what it takes to craft a sustainable, profitable, FUN business, while staying enthusiastic and motivated.

Whether you just opened your first Etsy shop, or you've been selling your art, design or writing full-time for years - you struggle with doubt, loneliness, motivation and getting it all done.
In this podcast we'll explore what you REALLY want from your small business so that you can follow your enthusiasm, make your art and make money.

Each episode is a mini-lesson in exploring what you want out of your OWN business, so that you can craft a life and business that fills your life with enthusiasm. Find more lessons at http://taraswiger.com

    293: What's next? Continuous sales after launch

    293: What's next? Continuous sales after launch

    How do you keep sales going? When you don’t have anything new? When you’re not launching? What can you do to stay consistent?
    Today we are diving in to making more consistent sales!
    Recently Starship Captain Brenda asked: “I just launched a pattern last week and had a good amount of sales, but now what?”
    I’m going to share with you what I told her.
    This is the second episode in a series about reaching your 2020 goal of increased sales. You can listen to the first, which was about launching and find the Massive Launch Resource Kit at taraswiger.com/launch
    Ok, let’s get into it: what do you do to keep sales going? The answer is simple: Send another email.
    Yes, if you send 3-5 emails during your launch and now it’s over, get right back into it! Send an email! Post on Instagram! Use the momentum to establish a consistency you might not have had before.
    I know you're worried your people won’t want to hear from you too much - YOU ARE WRONG.
    They want to hear from you even when you’re not launching. If they stuck with you through the launch, they are VERY interested. In fact, they are closer to buying now than they ever were before.
    (If not, they would have unsubscribed or stop opening… in which case they won’t see your messages anyhow!)
    Always always remember: you are talking to people who WANT to hear from you. 
    So what should you send? Well, if you’ve just held a launch that made more sales than usual, then your products are landing in the hands of your customers - which is what you should feature!
    If you’re a knitwear designer or yarn maker, you can see your customer projects on Ravelry. If not (or if no one is sharing them yet), you can ASK them to share, better yet, INCENTIVIZE them to.
    Yep, offer them something for sharing. Maybe it’s free shipping code for the next 5 people who post a photo with your hashtag or you host a giveaway and everyone who posts a photo and tags it gets entered to win. Now, it’s not ethical to give anything in exchange for a REVIEW. I’m not saying to incentivize reviews, rather incentivize word-of-mouth - people sharing their product on their own social media, while tagging you and using your hashtag.
    Then comment on every single one of those posts and ask the share-er if they give you permission to share it on your account!
    Then you’ll have customer images and stories to post!
    Be sure you also collecting customer feedback when it’s sent directly to you - via DM or email. Have a template that you send in response to nice emails. Mine says something like “Thank you so much, this made my day! Would you mind if I shared this on my social media or website? I will tag you or link to you when I quote you!” (Now, the testimonials for MY business might be private (eg, if someone shares their sales numbers, they may not want to do that publicly), so I also offer to post it anonymously, but most of you sell something people are happy to talk about publicly.
    Almost every time I’ve shared this strategy with a Starship Captain, the maker or designer has been SO nervous to start asking their customers if they can quote them. They are certain their customers will not agree or be upset, but you know what? In every single case their customers have been THRILLED and really flattered. People LOVE to talk about what they love!
    This has held true for product makers and service providers - tech editors, yarn shops, jewelry designers, glass artists, knitwear designers, home decor brands, life coaches, knitwear designers - your customers WANT to see you succeed and share their great experience with you!
    So that is going to provide a new category of content. Every time you share a customer photo or quote, be sure you link to how to get the thing.
    Another strategy that it’s easy to forget is to focus attention on your older, great products. If you followed the d

    • 16 min.
    292: Your Launch Plan: 5 steps to growth

    292: Your Launch Plan: 5 steps to growth

    In this episode of Explore Your Enthusiasm, I'm walking you through my Launch Plan Worksheet, so that you can great a clear and thorough plan for your next launch.
    Find your copy of the worksheet right here.
    Then track the results and tell me about it! DM me on Instagram!
     
    Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast292

    • 32 min.
    291: How I'm planning 2020

    291: How I'm planning 2020

    As a culture we talk a lot about planning the year for about 2 seconds on December 31st and January 1st, but the fact is, when you’re building a business or following a dream, you are planning and implementing a plan all the time! Today I’m going to share how I planned my New Year, warts and all.
    Welcome to the New Year! Over the years I have written (and recorded) a lot about New Year and seasonal planning, so this year I decided to share exactly what I’m doing, with a bit of my feelings and experience as I do it, so you know you’re not alone.
    You can get access to ALL of my episodes about planning your New Year AND a new worksheet, at TaraSwiger.com/2020Goals. Download it now!
    It started in early December... Inside the Starship, we read the book Everything is Figureoutable, by Marie Forleo, as a part of our Q4 Book Club. This book is packed with encouragement and tough love for moving forward on your big dream, no matter how unreachable it feels.
    I really committed to not just reading it, but also working through the exercises. It helped me get clear on what’s held me back from setting a bigger goal (like, really big) and work through that. The book is so uplifting and encouraging, I think this helped me shed a bit of self-doubt that has held me back in the last 2 years.
    Self-doubt Actually, let’s chat about self-doubt holding me back. I talked about this a bit in episode 252, if you’d like to hear more about how I worked through it then. The thing is - I had a major depressive episode in 2018 and it rattled me.
    Even after I came out of it, I had this lingering fear that I wasn’t going to be able to follow through on anything, that I shouldn’t commit to anything because I wouldn’t be able to complete it. Soon after that, we became licensed to foster parent, and since I had never been a parent before, and I had no idea what to expect, I also became convinced that I would no longer be able to follow through on things, because kids.
    The thing that’s so insidious about this self-doubt is that it presented as LOGIC. Like, it’s totally reasonable to expect that I’ll be able to do less as a parent, than before… but what level of “less”? I didn’t know, so I assumed the worst. I assumed that the kids would be some kind of hurricane that completely exhausted my ability to adult, let along to show up to students, captains and partners.
    Now, I can see how a lot of that was just catastrophizing - I didn’t know what to expect, either about recurring depression or parenting, so I just assumed the worst. I needed to tap back into Confident Tara in order to dream big and create a plan and follow through, because you must believe it’s possible before you’ll actually do the work.
    I’m sharing this because in the middle of it, it felt very real, very logical, and TRUE. 
    If you are feeling tons of self-doubt or battered by life, give yourself some grace. It is ok. You don’t have to dream BIG right now. You don’t have to be on top of everything. Get inspired a confident again, by listening to my podcast and/or by reading Marie Forleo’s book (she also has a great YouTube show!)
    Where I plan Ok, before I go any further, I wanna talk about WHERE I actually do this planning - both where I write it and where I sit physically to do it. The thing is, you need to find what works for you, but I know we all love to hear about these kind of details.
    I always plan my year (and do quarterly maps and monthly planning) in one notebook. That way I can keep a whole year in one place and go back to it, without having to search around.
    This year I’m using a Happy Notes so that I can add pages and different kinds of paper to it. In the past I've used a big Moleskine.
    I typically do the review at a coffee shop, next to a fireplace, with a fancy latte in a mug. Last year I had a brand-new toddler at this

    • 31 min.
    290: Skip the Resolutions, Make a Plan

    290: Skip the Resolutions, Make a Plan

    Are you setting New Year’s Resolutions?
    Have you in year’s past?
    How’s that worked for you?
    What if we stop with the resolutions and instead we actually transform our lives in 2020?
    You find ALL of my resources for creating a great year at taraswiger.com/2020goals
    So the problem with resolutions, I’m sure you already know, is that they don’t work.
    Think about it- have you ever met someone who said “I made a resolution and reached it!” No, because the way we set resolutions, the words we use aren’t reachable.
    In a 2018 survey, one-third (31%) of Americans who made New Year’s Resolutions last year say they didn't stick to any of their resolutions. A plurality (38%) say they stuck to "some" of their resolutions.
    Even the language used in the survey was “stuck to” resolutions. How do you know if you stuck to something or not?
    Let’s look at the most-popular resolution : “exercise more,” with 59%, “eat healthier” (54%), “save money” (51%),  “lose weight” (48%), “reduce stress”.
    These are impossible to succeed at because they’re vague and confusing. Without a starting place (how much are you exercising now?) and a measurable goal (what is “more”), you can't make it happen because you don’t know what to do.
    But the reason we set them each year? We WANT to make a change. The resolution starts to define that change.
    At their best, a resolution provides an aim. A way to orient yourself. A destination.
    So it’s not the resolutions that don’t work, it’s the way we do it. We may think about it on January 1 and write it down and then… nothing.
    Instead, if you really want something to change or transform, you need a few more steps to the process:
    Define what you want. Commit yourself to it Create a do-able plan Follow through. Define what you want Make it measurable.
    Even choosing a word or how you want to feel is better than your typical resolution -  they are specific.
    I want to read more vs I want to feel curious about the world. I could feel that way by going to museums, reading, watching documentaries, meeting new people.
    As you define what you want this year, check that it’s measurable. Be specific about how you want to feel. What else could make you feel that way?
    Ex. Exercising more.
    Maybe you want to feel strong.
    What makes you feel strong?
    For me, it’s lifting weights, it’s being emotionally steady mom, getting through hard times.
    One of my fave mugs says “strong as a foster mother”...that’s a way to feel strong.
    Commit yourself to it Here’s the thing: you can’t do anything unless you decide you are going to.
    That may sound obvious, but be honest - how many times have you set a goal, but then not really believed it was possible and kinda backpedaled away from it?
    I know, you don’t want to fail.
    But you won’t succeed until you go all in.
    I know, maybe you haven’t done it before but you can do it this year.
    You are farther along.
    You know more.
    You have tried and failed and survived more.
    Go all in.
    Create a do-able plan So just the phrase “grow my business” is meaningless, but if you got specific in Step 1, maybe you decided you want to hit a specific sales goal... and you committed yourself to it, the next step is to get super-specific. What do you need to do? By when?
    I’ve got a whole workbook for this, it’s called Map Your Business. In it I walk you through getting clear on your big vision, setting a specific goal and then building a plan for it AND following up on how it’s going.
    You know what you need to do, so break it down into specific projects and tasks and then add them to your calendar. (Go back and listen to episode 287 and episode 288 if you need more on that!)
    Follow Through Ahhh, I know! This is the hardest part.
    This involves having a time to work, having clear boundaries around it, then

    • 12 min.
    289: How to decide on your next goal

    289: How to decide on your next goal

    Are you stuck between two really great ideas? Wondering if you have to choose or if you should just do them both at the same time? How could you choose between them?
    Today I’m going to help you answer one of the BIGGEST questions I get about creating do-able plans for your next goals: Do I have to pick just one and how the heck do I do that?!
    In my book Map Your Business and in my Starship Program, you begin by getting clear on your big vision. Then you set a goal and break it down into steps and actionable to-dos. For the last two weeks we’ve talked about how to stay on top of those To Dos, so they actually get done.
    But this week we’re going to back up and answer the question: How do you even pick the next goal? Especially when you have several projects that all look like good options?
    This question came up in the monthly coaching call inside the Starship Program (learn more at taraswiger.com/starshipbiz) and it’s one I know we all deal with. So let’s break it down - do you need to pick just ONE goal? And if so, how can you decide?
    You can find a worksheet to help you apply what you learn in today’s episode here.
    Do you need to pick just ONE goal? I get this question ALL the time, because my Map Making process involves making a really detailed plan for ONE goal at a time. So the short answer is yes, in order to make a detailed plan and get it accomplished, you need just one goal.
    Can you work on more than one goal at a time?
    Well, it depends.
    What’s your time frame? Over the course of a year, you’re going to be reaching a lot of different goals.
    Over the course of a week, you will get distracted if you focus on too many at once.
    This is why I set the timeline in the Map Making process for three months. That’s a good amount of time to set a goal, work on it, adjust your path, and learn quite a bit about what the project requires. It’s a short enough time frame that you won’t forget what you’re working towards and you won’t get bogged down in doing the same thing, and still a long enough time frame that you can see some real progress.
    It also depends on the kind of goal you have. There are income or sales goals.
    There are habit goals.
    There are KPI goals.
    There are award goals.
    For example, most makers I talk to want to get more consistent with their social media. That is something you can do while you’re working on a sales goal. I’d encourage you to make the goal more measurable, like “I want to post on Instagram 5x/week”. You’re going to do that alongside a lot of other stuff.
    And still, I recommend you let that be your ONLY goal for at least the first month as you get used to it.
    Why focus? Why focus on just one at a time:
    You’ll be focused (this is one of the main benefits of setting ANY goal) You’ll know what to do next and how to prioritize You’ll see faster progress You’ll learn faster and can change it up The sense of accomplishment will keep you going. If you want to learn more about setting the right-sized goal, check out episodes 191 on stretch goals and episode 91 on why you’re afraid of big goals.
    So you want to narrow it down, but you’ve got two really great ideas.
    Perhaps you’re debating, as one of my Starship Captains did: Should I focus on increasing my online sales or my wholesale sales?
    Or: Should I focus on my email list or Instagram? Should I self-publish a book, or sell more patterns to magazines?
    First, some good news.
    Any goal is good. 
    Anything you commit yourself to, make progress on, and learn from, is going to improve your business and your life. You’re going to be in a better place in 3 months than if you didn’t pick anything.
    So take some of the pressure off, ok?
    Now, when it comes to choosing a goal, I like to ask Captains two questions:
    Questions to ask to choose the next right project: What is closer to money

    • 14 min.
    288: How I use planners in my business - Asana edition

    288: How I use planners in my business - Asana edition

    How do you keep track of all the moving parts in a recurring or upcoming projects? What if you’re waiting on other people to do their part before you can do your part? I do this with project management apps, so today we’re going to make it a bit less overwhelming and how to pick the software that will help you.
    This week I’m answering the question that occurs after you make a map - how the heck do I keep track of all the moving parts?
    You see, in my book Map Your Business and in my Starship Program, you begin by getting clear on your big vision. Then you set a goal and break it down into steps and actionable to-dos. But after you have that big list of what you need to do and the order you need to do them in, then what? How do you make sure you don’t forget the stuff that comes LATER?
    And that’s where a lot of us get stuck. So for the month of December on the podcast, we’re having a series on planning - the actual figuring out what to do each day and week.
    Last week we started by talking about how to keep track of the current week and how I use paper planners for that. Today we’ll talk about task management software to keep track of ongoing or recurring projects. Next week, we’ll talk about how to pick your next big project. And we’ll kick off the new year with an episode on January 1, about planning your best year yet.
    I started using digital planning tools when... I started tracking to-dos digitally in my business, (especially recurring projects like marketing and this podcast), when I hired my first virtual assistant (VA). The easiest way for me to communicate what I did for each project, and to make sure we didn’t miss a single step, was to put it all in a checklist. What I learned right away is that having it down on a checklist made every single task so much faster to do, not just for my VA, but for me too!
    There’s a whole book about this - The Checklist Manifesto. Basically, knowing exactly what to do next saves you time, it saves you energy thinking of what’s next, and it saves you mistakes.
    We started out using Evernote, but soon we moved to Asana. Evernote was great at having a checklist, but it didn’t make any reminders or prompt us to do the next step.
    If you’ve got ANYONE else in your business, even if they’re just super part-time (my VA started at 2 hours a week!), you definitely need some way to communicate tasks, deadlines and checklists. It’s going to give you peace of mind when you can SEE that they’ve done each part of the task, (and you will save time by not having to talk about every single thing, every single time).
    Now, if you don’t have anyone else in your team, you can still use project management software to keep YOU on top of things.
    Do YOU need digital planning tools? Here’s how to decide:
    First, know your projects.
    I have Starship Captains start by listing ALL of their projects - onetime things they’re working on, recurring projects, the steps to their social media posts, anything they do or plan to do in a month.
    Then you can split it down into “repeating” and “one-time”.
    How many things do you have to hand back and forth to someone else?
    Second, ask yourself - how do you keep track of the repeating tasks now?
    Maybe you have a paper system that works great (I put my first marketing plan on a post it and just kept the post it on my computer screen).
    Or maybe you’re forgetting half of every repeating task, or it’s taking you twice as long to remember - in which case, a checklist would be SUPER helpful. You could do the checklist manually or digitally - whichever you’re more likely to see.
    Third, how do you keep track of next steps for one-time projects? Is that working for you? Would you prefer to be reminded of deadlines or next steps?
    Captains use project management software to keep track of production, including wholesale or

    • 24 min.

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