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Marketing for Crafters: Talk About Your Work

Lesson 2 of 12

What is Your Craft Business’s North Star?

Tara Swiger

Marketing for Crafters: Talk About Your Work

Tara Swiger

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Lesson Info

2. What is Your Craft Business’s North Star?

Lesson Info

What is Your Craft Business’s North Star?

Your north star can be like for this a portion of your life it can be for this month it could be for this year just looking for something of value that you really want to get behind and and bring more of inter life so in the past the year that I quit my day job my north star was freedom I needed to have freedom of my time freedom of my life feeling like oh I was in some bad working environments before then and I felt very out of control and by working for myself well that was really hard it's stressful it was also I just kept remembering freedom so I would make decisions based on freedom that meant saying no to things that would constrict me limit my time make me have certain hours in fact I made the mistake of opening a bricks and mortar urine job and I had it for about three or four months it did really great I loved it I sold on ly handmade yarn that my friends and other yard makers had made but it restricted my freedom it meant that I had to be in a shop six days a week eight to te...

n hours and just sit there on although I could work online and people kept saying, oh well you can get online you can still do everything you can still make your and I had by spinning wheel it was not in line with really who I am and what my overarching life values are, so to go back to shame telling everyone, oh, I just started this business, but actually now I'm totally quitting it was incredibly embarrassing I thought everybody's going to judge me but keeping in mind that it wasn't in line with the business I want helps me help me let go of it and help to me just accept that's not the part of my life anymore, and another one that I used in past years was explore it's so easy to think after you've been doing anything for a while that you know what's working that reminding myself to open up and to be approach everything like an explorer and explorer doesn't know what's coming, they just show up and they do the work, which means maybe walking, hacking through the rainforest whatever they just keep showing up and accepting what's coming at them again and again so often in my business, my personal life I think I know how to do something I think I know what's going to happen but by remembering to explore this was a year or two ago when a lot of things in my business changed because I realized I don't know everything imagine that and exploring cut me open to seeing new ideas we have north stars people are sharing in the chat room they're starting to come in now this one from barry says my north star is enthusiasm that's a good one people are coming in right now people are still trying to they're getting the workbook they're starting to fill those out but they are coming in people are still sharing some of their stories and and where their businesses are but it seems like so far they really like the world the word gentle when we were talking a little bit about chains north star people like that uh so keep those coming in and we'll be sharing them as they are mentioning the chat yes and in the resource guide I also linked directly to gentle I think it's gentle clothing dot com which you can see the business that manifested from this idea of gentle and her north star my north star is sustainability because like I can't sustain what I'm doing right now and um so I have to find some way to find balance um and this may be way ahead, but like how do you figure out what's sustainable? Um because like when I'm focused on any one thing, it is sustainable but then there's all the other stuff that is not getting any attention right? And you like the last couple of weeks I haven't put up a block post that I've written, I've put up other ones and because I'm just too busy to write one, right? But I wrote an article this published today, so, you know, it's, like, how do you figure out what to focus on? I think actually, that question, though, is this sustainable? How do I know what sustainable can be? What guides you? I know that's not a directing, but by by approaching everything and like, is this in line? So we worked together on a block plan, and so by posting, though, by posting bark post other people have written, you were still sticking with your plan, and you found a sustainable way of doing it. Well, I did miss the one that I was supposed well, you're still keeping up with it, and I think that maybe your maybe north star is telling you that, like being sustainable means you don't do all of the things that you thought you're going to d'oh, that you loose not, and you accept what it is you're capable of doing and feel like in the conversations we've had about it. Sustainability is you've already made decisions based on that. So the key, though it sounds like with what you're saying, is tio not look, it is this sustainable, but is this sustainable in my life? Given everything else I have I'm putting it all in front of me so that I can see it all and then is it sustainable in this because I'm not just making this one decision I'm making a decision in context of everything else doesn't make sense so maybe that's it maybe your decision making process you need to first list all your other projects you have going on before you say yes but I think that question is a sustainable is huge for getting you closer to it at least yeah the north stars air coming in now in the chat room lots of good ones here vanessa laven says my north star is fun trying to lighten up and enjoy life daybreak die works as my north star is also freedom slash sustainability and legacy I certainly want to feel as if I'm leaving a positive model behind for my kids yeah let's hear your star I says I think I have to north stars for now joyful and freedom and finally amy's not dead yet says I did this back at the start of the year and I ended up with four that worked really well together our visibility, kindness and hope I'm an artist and my business has to pay my bills and so there are a lot of issues with invisibility starving towards her and other cultural narratives about arts trying to break through those with your business is what she's trying to do keep those coming in and we love to hear from you guys in the top and that's so good and yeah, I know and I think the visibility thing what she's speaking to is that it's easy for you to just accept the cultural narratives about whatever it is you do but especially the starving artist one is huge and impacts a lot of the way we think about it so bye recognizing that and then flipping it on its head you can a make decisions be not feel bogged down by things you didn't even know were like hiding around in your head and that's where a lot of should come from these things you didn't even know were really affecting you you've absorbed them and then and then they are and so you feel bad about it because you haven't done this thing you think you should do when really you don't need to do it it's not line so the next part of the north star is to let it guide you and by that I mean like karen story of choosing to make decisions based on it or jill story of sustainability it's one thing to do this process to go through these workbooks and to come up with a word that really speaks to you and then forget about it s o as we go forward I'm going to be reminding you again and again is this in line with your north start is this in line with what you want because it's really tempting when we get to talking about creating a customer path to want to do everything turn to connect with our people in all the ways that we can? But if your north star is freedom or sustainability that's not sustainable you can't do everything and so but with your focus on your north star you're focusing on the positive aspect of it it's not that you can't do everything and there's not enough time in the day and there's just never enough it's instead I'm making a decision I'm choosing to focus on this and not on this you're saying no in order to say yes to what you really want to say yes to the super easy especially as we get into all the things you could dio to just want to do at all and to feel bad that you can't I think really valuing your time like valuing the time that you put into making a piece but apart from that like with me and you know my family valuing the time that I have um with my family and knowing that when I do have an order coming in that it's taking away from spending time with my family so I so really just valuing like, you know, spending your time how you want to spend your time and not saying yes to things that are just not going to help you? Absolutely. And that was one of the one my pastor jones told me that her north star was value because she didn't need to make money and the sense of that her family situation was okay without it without that income from her business. And so she had undervalued her time, her production, her actual products, she the surprising wasn't right and she wasn't valuing her time and so her north star was going to be value because she wanted to bring more and more of that big with that one you can add balance because you want so much to grow a part of you because your business is a part of you and it's what you love to dio you also try so hard to balance that, you know, at home being with your kids and, you know, taking the time to do what they need and giving them their attention but also balancing the stress of orders that need to go out or making new pieces. I think balanced kind of works with value in this same way, absolutely, because you're letting it help you make decisions, you know, and balance is one of those tricky things, though, where people are always kind of seeking it, but they don't have it defined what that means so it's one of those words that I always ask people to like you deeper and to find more what balance meets for you? Maybe it means more time with your kids maybe means last time with your kids and more time on your business. One of the things that actually comes up with a lot of moms that are home with their kids once their business gets going is that they realize that being with your kids and working on your business are mutually exclusive. So even though you might be a stay at home mom, in fact, you have to go away from your children in order to get work done on your business. Yeah, and I'm sure you guys have experienced that and there's a lot of guilt around that and a lot of if everybody thinks I'm a stay at home mom, I'm really not with my kids right now by about thinking easier to build, like a studio in the backyard. Yeah, go where? Yeah, they're rather than dealing with all the crazy that could have been, and I've written about this before because it's such a pervasive issue and women's lives, and since many of the makers were talking to our women, I'm just going to go on and talk about a little bit and that's that and a lot of the the full time blog's and makers that you see even if they have small children at home many of them hire help either they take their kid to day care or they have a baby sitter come and take care of them and they're not doing both things at the same time. Of course you're always a mother you're always thinking about your children, but your business time is separate and working on it is a separate time and with the people that I've talked to trying to do both literally at the same moment with your kids running around you and you're trying to write a bog post is not possible, but you see examples of people who we think of us stay at home moms when in fact they're working how moms they have work hours separate of children in the same way they would if they went to an office and then they have hours that they're with their children. And so I think there's a misconception about how a lot of women are managing it and it can be very hard to talk about it openly um center stay home it's so much easier to open a business and to do it ready to make everything work right? They have this idea in their head that the kids go play and you have that time to make a peace and it's so easy for you, right exactly and it depends on the age of your kids, of course, you know, obviously the younger children like are not going to that, but it is there's a lot of expectations, and I've had conversations with clients whose whose in laws or their parents don't understand and get very upset that they're taking their heads to day care when they're working, but it's, like if if that person was a you know, had an office to go to, it wouldn't seem that different. You would just go to the office and that's, why you want to decide what your business is for you and where it fits in your life? Because if it's really important for you to build, this is important to you, it's a legacy you're leaving your children, then you want to value it and give it the time and the energy it deserves. But if you're just stage of your life, where what you're doing with your kids is more important, you're not as interested in building the business, knowing that will actually change what you do in your business and that's a good thing to like. I want people to build whatever size businesses they want to build and at different stages of your life, you're going to have a different kind of business. Whether you have kids or not, you're just gonna want different things from it. So getting clear about where you are can help you make a lot of decisions about what you're willing to do and not willing to d'oh so glad we're talking about it and shame that they're such big issues that people get ashamed to talk about way have any north star questions online or in the chat room before you move on? I have ah, great comment here that I want to share from pinks in the chat room and they say I struggle with the the balance immensely, being a single mom, I struggle to balance everything and I wear all the hats that I need to wear so I definitely have balance as one of my north stars that's awesome. Yes, we have to refine that and we have to dig deeper because balance is such a wide um I think north star there's so many things that, like factoring to it and it's hard to define it. Yeah, because maybe balance for some people is acceptance. Actually, just accepting this is the balance of my life right now. I read that one down way. Um so if I was talking to that chatter one on one I say dig deeper what does balance mean for you? So I challenge you chatter dig deeper and find out what balance really looks like what it means what you're valuing mohr or what you want to focus on right now in your life because also balance could be a term like perfectionism and what else? Something like that that's just a myth right there's no such thing as ballot right and why do we think that we need to balance absolutely and it's my experience that actually what what people are going for is overall balance over the course of several years so you might have some times in your life that are incredibly work focused on some things that are incredibly family focused you might have some weeks you know what your family needs different things from you I just had to take my cat to the vet so instead of focusing on work things I focused on, you know, watching him to make sure he was eating, giving him all of his medication. That was a time when my balance veered towards that and to your balance is going to shift and we can help us to look at the big picture though I have all the pieces that I want in the amount that I want them and if not, how can I change that one of the questions that often ask people and I think we're going toe deal with it in session three toward the intercession three is to make a a pie chart of your time and how you spend it and how you want to be spending it has that goes back to balance because it's all you have the twenty four hours, so how are they split up and how do you want them to be split up? But I tend to think more in weeks and months because each day has ups and downs and it's kind of crazy, but when you look at your whole month or year, did I spend the time on the kind of projects I wanted to spend it on? Whether the project is a kid who are the project is a work thing or the project is marketing versus making print products that's an important balance you have to have to to have more north stars you wanna share before you go on. We have lots people charming in about balance and kind of finding that in their space is now, aubrey says balance is huge for me. I decided to be kinder to myself some days air, just kid days, some days I get to work all day on, we have lots people talking about their spaces if they're staying at home now, some people are talking about transitioning spaces in their house spend more time at home to achieve that balance with their kids are secret tree house says we have a large closet space over our three season ports that we're just cleaning out this weekend so I have a new cozy studio space where they can stay at home achieve that balance and spend more time with the kids I love it and I think what you're going to see there is that um this is something that's always in flux like like you said it's one of the things it seems like we're striving to get to a point like perfection but in fact it's always gonna be changing from day today it's going to change even after you figure out the whole work situations like that workspace you're still going to always be something's gonna come up but it's going to get sick your you know something will happen maybe you are work will blow up and it will no longer fit in that space so to go back to acceptance you want tio just recognize that you're not gonna get to a point and be like oh everything's balanced perfect no change is awesome because for starters like kids grow up and in each age is there something totally new and you know pets get sick and uh you know your electricity goes out crazy things happen all of the time and being able to roll with it and accept this is what's happening now this is what balance looks like for me today or this week and even though it sounds like we're not talking about marketing, all of this is going to go back to the decisions that you make in your business and I want you to build the business you want tohave that will really suit you that will feel like you're as balanced as you can be but that is an ongoing process there's never going to be a day when you turn back and you're like, well I got the business I want I'm all done because the minute you get there we'll talk about this a little more soon you will already have some other vision you already have some other goal you already want to have something else you're working towards so just recognizing that that it's always in flux we'll keep you mentally stable enough to keep working on your business because khun b very kind of stressful okay? So with your north star guiding you I want you guys to think about before we go further in the class tio set an intention and with that I mean keep in mind what you want to get out of this class because we have the three vole days of talking about all kinds of possibilities that it would be easy for you to get overwhelmed and to feel like let all the should seat seep into what you think you should be doing instead of paying attention to what you really want to get out of it. So this is a question on page eight of your workbook, um, you can set an intention for this class, and so now that you know what marketing does and what you want out of your business, then the question is, what are you going to do with this class? And I asked you that at the beginning of the segment, I'm asking you it again because maybe something you've discovered about mark what marketing is or isn't has shifted the view of what you're hoping to learn here. So I'm going to keep your north star in mind as always with what you want to learn, and I ask you, what do you want to make sure to learn? Because we're going to come back to this each day and ask you at the end of the day if you've learned what you had hoped to learn that day? Because if not, we will go over e I will take your questions, and we will make sure and get them answered, but you have to first identify him here so that we make sure and cover it. And then what do you wanna be able to do after you leave this class? When you leave at the end of session three, you will have all the tools you need to make a marketing plan. Create a doable map to get to where you want to go in your business, and you will know everything you need to know about your person, where they're at, how to talk to them, how to build a customer path, how to choose between tools. You know all this. The question is, once you know, all that what we actually do with it, I'll ask you this again at the end, before you leave to make sure you guys were going home and getting right to work monday morning. But you want to think about it now to make sure that it lines up.

Class Description

You are the expert on your products and your story. Learn how to turn that story into a marketing message that communicates the value of your handcrafted products in a compelling and memorable way.

In Marketing for Crafters: Talk About Your Work, Tara Swiger will guide you through the process of creating a marketing message that feels authentic to you and resonates with buyers. Tara will help you identify the right audience for your brand and coach you on crafting products that meet your customers’ needs. You’ll also learn about sharing your marketing message in a relatable and trustworthy way.

Buyers of handmade goods love to hear the story behind their purchases; learn how to find them and confidently tell yours.  



I enjoyed this course and Tara made it easy to figure out our target market without stressing. For the first time I feel like I got it down. I couldn't quite figure out how to describe my buyers, but Tara helps you narrow it down with her word lists and questions. I also feel good knowing it can change as my business does. There is another similar course by Lisa Jacobs and it was frustrating and I just couldn't get it- she wouldn't even be helpful off line- But Tara sends out loads of inspirational ideas and tips. Plus she tries to help you personally with kindness and patience- unlike Lisa! To some this course may seem slow moving- but if you need step by step confirmation of how to get there- this is your course. I don't get some things easily- and expressing what I make and why was my biggest hurdle so I needed details on how to get there. Tara is easy to listen to, and understand and so is the workbook- you don't need to print a million pages either! She's confident but not cocky. Like I said- this is the first of a dozen courses I have followed trying to pin down my target audience and expressing to others- what is so special about what I make, and she made it effortless to get there. I enjoy Tara's emails, blogs and course- I don't feel like I have more questions to ask when she communicates- for me, she makes things pretty clear.

Amy Lamp

This course really helped me clarify the thoughts swirling around in my head about what I make, the language I use to describe it, and how different scenarios call for different language. Now that I know about focusing on my Right People, I don't have to worry about trying to make my work or marketing for everyone. Tara did such a great job of creating a workbook that walks through the thought process step by step -- it was enlightening to see that the "spotting my sparkle" words are the same qualities that describe my work! That made me feel like I'm headed in a direction that's a good fit for me and how to stay true to my vision rather than jumping all over the place. Tara is smart, thoughtful, focused, and calming. Learning from her makes the daunting task of marketing a small business doable, and even something to look forward to.

Nessa Jay

This is hands down the best marketing course aimed at crafters and creatives I have ever taken. Tara is knowledgeable, passionate and gets down into the nitty-gritty details so many other courses gloss over. Seriously: no ridiculous promises and absolutely NO 'one-size-fits-all' teachings. Tara breaks the subject down into SPECIFIC and thought provoking steps/questions that will make you take a good look at what you do, why you do it and who it's for. The workbook and videos are easy to follow and very insightful. Come prepared to dig deep! I'm in the middle of a transition period in my business and before taking this course I felt confused on how exactly to verbalize my new take on my work. I walked away from the course with a clear understanding of my Right People, what I do to fulfill their needs and what language I should be using to speak to them. I highly recommend this course.