Archive for the ‘optimistic’ Category

Agape – and Values for Going Forward

Loving kindness and compassion – agape – isn’t as easy as it first appears. Each day I find myself reviewing situations where I could have responded in a better manner. I am becoming hopeful that enough individuals around the country and the world will want to bring about peaceful change. The following was in my inbox email a week ago from the Obama Foundation, and I share the bulk of it here with you as we attempt to move toward a peaceful, equitable society and world.

“A little over a year ago today, President Obama walked out of the White House for the last time as President and stepped out onto the street as a citizen.

Since then, working alongside tens of thousands of people like you, we’ve been building something new — an organization that bears the Obamas’ name, but belongs to all of us. An experiment in what it means to be an active citizen in the 21st century….

As we head into this new year together, our work will continue to be guided by your input, and by our values — the pillars that hold this organization up. Our values are what we stand for — what we all have in common….

So I wanted to share those values with you directly. They’re what drive my work each day — and I hope they serve as a source of inspiration for you, too:

Teamwork. We’re building a global community that will work together and support one another. We’re invested in the success of others, we treat each other with respect and kindness, and we will work diligently to lift each other up.

Humility. We share a passion for impacting the lives of those around us. Sometimes that means speaking up and other times that means stepping aside to create space for other voices….

Integrity…How we do our work and how we collaborate with others is just as important as what we’re seeking to accomplish.

Inclusivity. We value each other’s contributions and hold the conviction that only from diverse backgrounds and divergent points of view can we find the best solutions.

Stewardship. We roll up our sleeves, work hard, and focus on what we’re giving back to our communities — rather than what we are gaining ourselves….

Fearlessness. We have a fearless mindset. We’re not afraid of taking risks, sharing a new idea, meeting new people, or admitting when we just don’t know the answer. Something great might come out of it.

Imagination. We strive to be novel thinkers. Unconventional ideas and new perspectives are why we’re here. We’re willing to make big bets on ideas that haven’t been tried before as we aim to solve the hardest problems of our times. Be yourself, and be bold.”

David Simas, for The Obama Fountation

Organizing for Marketing

This image is from my time with adult coloring books last year – trying out colors, experimenting. I love symmetry, but then I also like something a little unusual….which is where I am right now as I approach a new project. I really need to develop¬† more sources for passive income. I’m taking a free class right now from Convertkit on Product Creation – great ideas, and after two weeks of reading the information (a daily lesson), I decided to start at the beginning and develop a series of products that are useful to others. Hence, Organizing for Marketing.

The title is going through some revisions – still not catchy enough for me. But I already have all this content – in an iBook that isn’t selling¬† – and yes, I really haven’t done much to market it in the three years it’s been available (or is it four? Funny how time stretches out when you’re not teaching….).

So this is my first brainstorming at trying to make sense of what I want in this ebook product. I am very good at marketing and creating and organizing, so it makes sense to focus right there. When I reviewed the book last night, there is enough information to make it into three or four smaller ebooks and develop a continuous stream of ideas and techniques for people.

The first key is targeting my market. I work in fiber and textiles – pretty much a niche market when looking at the art world, although we are slowly making progress into mainstream. Thus I want to focus this on those of us who do art that is generally out of the mainstream. What can we do to get our work looked at, sold, appreciated?

Here’s my accountability checklist for this coming week, ending Tuesday, May 16, with my initial thoughts:

  • Determine revised structure of the ebook. I need to break up the information in the original book into smaller segments for action, and increase the information included in each of the segments.
  • Determine my ideal customer for this book. Who is my audience…artists without a lot of money to spend on marketing, artists with unique products, artists who have issues getting organized and accomplishing tasks.
  • Write two additional blogs this week – what questions do you want answered in a marketing book for those of us working in a niche market, and how would this be different from all the other marketing books out there? I need to make sure I start getting feedback from folks to help direct my work.
  • Evaluate ebook publishing sources and ease of use. CreateSpace seems mostly for print; research it more fully. Kindle seems easy and quick to do. IBooks seems too limiting, although I do have experience with that platform.
  • Plan for a “bonus” for people who buy this ebook. Already thinking about many of the blog posts I’ve already done in my Top Ten series. I think these could be manipulated into a bonus, once links are checked, and focus determined. Happened to just think about expanding ideas for Top Ten for other Bonus offerings.
  • Keep playing with title ideas. Suggestions certainly welcome! Organize, marketing, niche products…….
  • Determine launch date for the ebook – probably beginning of August.

Feel free to give me ideas and help keep me accountable to this project! You can be in the book with your website and product for helping out.

ORIGINAL BOOK

Ready, set, go – give me feedback!

Monday Marketing – First of the Year!

“Partly Sunny, Chance of Storms”

I have a list………….

Don’t we all? I start one every year – but this year seems to be somehow different. I have a small composition book (like we used to use in elementary school, back in the day, and I got myself organized very differently. I have a page for yearly goals, then a page for monthly goals. I have separate pages for each of the weeks of the month. Right now the notebook is set up though March.

I can at a glance see what I’ve accomplished, and I have a way of listing items ahead in the month they’re due, and I can backtrack to begin working on them. This helps me see the bigger picture much better…..and I love crossing things off my lists.

I think the thing that is also different is that I am feeling so much better than probably the last five years. The weight is slowly rearranging itself, clothes are fitting, the knee doesn’t hurt, I’m getting stuff accomplished (more than I thought), and I feel calm, centered, and productive. A great way to start the New Year!

We are concentrating on our Etsy shop,(small listing on the right side of the blog…) in preparation for moving to the market on Artizan Made.

Lots of new pictures, revising items, getting ready to do a “retirement sale” of older items that have been around the country one or two times. We’ve lived in places where we could have better photography set-ups, but we are making do. Lots of great suggestions and tips from Rachel Biel of The Fiber and Textile List – she is amazing when it comes to set-up, marketing, and all-round general encouragement.

I am looking for a royalty-free piece of music for our second marbling video, finishing up pieces that have languished for years, taking apart a major piece from 2003 and modernizing it with my new skills, keeping up with blogging (I WILL hit 1000 blog posts this year…….) and constantly looking for new venues and ideas.

Here’s to 2017! What are you doing to start your year out right?

Call Me a Cock-Eyed Optimist……

¬† I’ve always been known as an optimist, and since I only see out of one eye now, it seems that “cock-eyed” is appropriate. I have been mulling over a bunch of words for the year: liberate, enthusiastic, positive, optimistic, focus, abundance, willing. I do want to be more positive, as I have been sinking down somewhat this past year and worrying more. But it seems, as I review everything, that “optimistic” covers a lot more ground than “positive.” I feel that “optimistic” encompasses the whole year in a more vibrant, inclusive way than “positive.”

I’ve marked all my new moon dates in my calendar so I will be sure to write my abundance checks. And there is a bit of mathematics in “optimistic.” For the last three years, the business has been growing each year, a little more. This past year saw about a 75% increase in sales and opportunities, and already the possibilities for this coming year are increasing….exponentially. With the exponential growth model, things start out increasing very slowly, and then grow very rapidly. If I were to actually model business income for the last three years, I would see exponential growth at the very beginning. So I am optimistic that the growth will continue and will pick up pace. I’m putting in the time and doing what I need to, so optimistic really does describe how I want to approach the year.

I am committing to two year-long activities (which is a 100% increase in what I committed to last year – the Free Motion Quilting Challenge). The first is part of Art Quilts Around the World, with a total of six two-month challenges of art quilts for the year. The first one is about completed, and I did struggle with it, but I learned a lot. I’ll do a blog post when it’s reveal time. The second is participating in Dale Anne Potter’s 52 Sparks. This is journaling a response to a specific question and creating a piece of art along with it – each week.

This is definitely breaking out of my comfort zone. I am getting used to writing a lot (hey, I am at nearly 800 blog posts), but I usually don’t try and create artwork to go along with it. As part of “optimistic,” I was thinking about what I could do for art. The idea of “is the glass half-empty or half-full” came to mind, and I’m always the one who sees the glass as half-full. So I thought about doing some sketching of a glass. A very long time ago I used to work in charcoal, and it occurred to me that using charcoal again would be quite the risk, especially as I am not always confident with my sketching.

I noticed a number of things in the sketching. First was extreme tentativeness. I haven’t held charcoal in a very long time. I really studied the wine glass I set out. I wondered about how to capture the light in the glass and the cuts in the crystal. Finally I just started and got a good beginning oval. I left blank some spots where the light seemed to make the glass transparent. I got the basic shape of the top, but my proportions are seriously off on the bottom half of the glass. I really got hung up on how it didn’t look like the glass, that the stem wasn’t as long as it should be.

Then I started using my finger for blending, adding details, and the next thing I know, I have captured some of the essence of the glass. It is definitely fragile, a bit tipsy, and delicate. I found I wasn’t looking at what I thought was wrong with the glass, but what I found interesting and true in the drawing. That is a major breakthrough for me. And I really liked the charcoal. I will continue with that for a medium for a while. Here’s my finished piece:

The use of different media should be something I try this year. Crayons, markers, ink pens, water colors…I have them all, and I don’t use them. I think I need to push myself with something new – maybe a different medium each month.

That said, I think I want to add another year-long piece to my goals, that of creating a 12 x 12 piece each month as part of the online gallery I am in: Galleribba.

I have been busy working on goals and lists and loose ends, but I must say, four days into the year, that I am certainly optimistic about a really good 361 days left.

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