Exercise: Identify Where You Are and Where You Need to Be
- [Megan] So what we want to do is we want to figure out which stage you're currently in. It should be pretty obvious to you, but just in case it's not... Think about the things that you're saying in your head. So are you saying to yourself, "I'm a creative and I can't be pinned down," and like, "Don't fence me in" or "I have so many ideas and I just want to make them all." You're probably in an experimentation phase. With the focus, you're like, "I have a product or maybe I have a tightly defined group of products, and I want to sell more." It's cool. You're in focus. You're ready to go. Evolution is, "I've had success with one product or I have a tightly defined group of products and I'm ready to move on." So I want to have you guys share it, and I think we've got a couple of comments from our online audience. What stage are you currently in, Rochelle? - [Rochelle] I'm kind of moving past evolution into focus because I'm already over my other thing. - Right. You had a thing. - I did ...
have a thing. And I just didn't want to do it anymore. - Okay. Matt. - [Matt] It definitely is like kind of focus, but also evolution. I have one size of print that just sells like crazy in retail stores and that's the focus. But then the evolution is like the style of those prints is changing. A year ago, I was doing all really colorful animals and P and W stuff. And now it's black and white only, no color. And so people still are like, "Where are the happy, colorful animals?" And I'm like, "No, it's just ravens and moons." - I personally like the black and white stuff, but, you know. - Me too. - Jordan. - [Jordan] I feel like I've been jumping around. I'm reading all those. I was like, "Oh, man, I'm so inconsistent," I think. And I realized, probably, part of that is not feeling super confident in my product, of being like I'm going to focus on this. Ooh, but this thing over here is shiny. - And what's funny is when I look at your brand, I think that Jordan's pretty strong in focus mode. So it's also interesting that maybe your mindset is not reflecting... You might be doing a better job of curating what you're putting out to your customers than your mental state actually reflects. - (inaudible) - [Woman 1] I think I just went through a whole bunch of experimentation. Now I'm starting to focus. - That sounds about right for you. - [Woman 2] I think focus as well. - You're pretty focused? - [Woman 3] Yeah, I'm like...I'm focused, but I'm in this mental state of evolution. So I have a list of all these new products that I'm developing in my head. And then I've got more defined the next product group that I want to introduce in my next launch. But I need to stay in the focus area to build more money in order to actually get the production done before I can release the evolution. Does that make sense? - Yes, so you're dealing with a couple of issues to get from one to the other. - Right. - So we're going to let the back row off the hook for a minute and turn to a couple of comments from our online audience. Oh, that's okay. That's my fault. I jumped the gun on you guys. I didn't give them the warning that we were skipping the back row. Olli says, "I feel like I'm straddling both paths strategically." And I think that's what we were talking about with Rochelle, right? That makes it a little more challenging. You sort of have to pick one because either you're ready to focus and make some money, and then you're going to follow that or you have to say, "Okay, you know what? I'm early on in the experimentation mode and that means I might not make money for a while." And so you kind of have to pick one because actually, not picking one is a little bit of a bad strategy. I feel like it's the opposite of strategic. So I'm going to force you, Olli, to commit to something. This whole segment, what we're doing in this little bit is actually about making some commitments. So we're going to fix that. All right. Next comment. "I'm on the new path, but I am lacking customers," Daisy Chain. Yes, that happens a lot. You make the thing, and then that arrow between make the thing and sell the thing is actually the whole abyss that hopefully we just solved with our audience growth strategies. So now you can be on that new path and actually move forward with those strategies we talked about. Awesome. "Okay. Before I head off to my day job for the day, I'll be buying the class to learn to focus." Awesome. "I'm so glad to see the traditional path is still a good option. I've been trying to take the new path over this past year and it is simply is not the path for me. Thank you, Megan." Zoe, you are so welcome. And I wanted to talk about that because, so for me, coming out of school, I only knew the traditional path and then I discovered Etsy later. But for a lot of people, it's the reverse. They only know that new path where it's like, "I have to have success right away." Instead of saying, "You know what? I want to spend some time learning and developing." And that's totally valid, too. So how do you know if it's time to move to a different stage? There are a couple of reasons. One, your financial needs have changed. When I left school, I went from, "I don't have to make money" to "Crap, I better make money really quick." Right? Or the day job is coming to an end. Sometimes that's an intentional choice. Sometimes it's not. Or, "I really have to justify the fact that my kids are going back to school and I need to make enough money, that I'm going to stay, that I can do this." You might also move to a different stage because you're feeling burnt out or bored. I had that year I was going to be a painter because I was really burnt out on jewelry. Turned out I needed to just make some changes with what I was doing in my jewelry, but I didn't know that. So I was burned out, I was bored, I jumped back to experimentation. Or really, just your business has grown stagnant. So you haven't released anything new, and all your customers are like, "Where's the new? Where's the new?" And you're looking around, and you're like, "Ugh, this looks like I designed it in 1996. Maybe I should fix that." So moving along the path, whichever path you're on, requires moving from one stage to another. So I can't move down this path if I stay in experimentation mode. I have to focus. I need to go from focus to experimentation if I want to deepen my body of work and build a business that I can commit to over the long term. So you guys can think of this as a fill in the blank, right? "I'm currently in this stage, but in order to support my financial goals, I need to be somewhere else." And it might be that you're okay. The stage you're in is the stage you're in. That's okay, too. But you want to check in on this and see where you need to be. Or maybe it's, "Right now I don't have a financial pressure. So I've been in focus, but you know what? My day job's okay. So I'm going to hang out in experimentation for a little bit." So does anyone in this group feel like, "I'm in one stage, I got to go somewhere else." Jordan. - I feel like...yeah, just what I've created isn't really sustainable. And we've talked about pricing or you've taught me. - We're going to talk about it more. Don't worry. - And I feel like that'll be a big transition. It's expanding my product line like the smaller size that I have, I haven't released that at all, yet. I've only ever done the one size, which is larger. So transitioning...not a huge transition, but adding sizes, changing prices, transitioning my audience, really, I think. - Yeah, as you up the price point... - So going from focus to evolution. - ...the audience has to change. but the evolution isn't like spectacular. - Right. And that's the thing about evolution, sometimes it's not...it doesn't have to be a major break, it's those subtle shifts that move your business forward. Helena, did you...Were you thinking you were going to move somewhere too? - [Helena] Yeah, I definitely need to go to a focus stage because I am experimenting with a lot of different things. Aand even though I'm trying to keep it to a same kind of niche of planners and planner-related items, I'm also constantly keeping myself from going to way too many products even though they're related. - Right, or even though they're fun. - Exactly. - Yeah.
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