I think most of us are beyond the world of Rolodex, but there is something nice about having all the physical contact info at your finger tips. When I go to craft fairs, craft shops, meet random people, I pick up their post cards, fliers, and business cards. While I always say, “Oh yeah, I’ll get back to you about x,y,z when I get back home,” without a designated home for all that paper, it usually gets shuffled into a drawer, or even worse, the recycling bin because I’ve forgotten what it was all about in the first place.
I started processing business contact paper (because sometimes it’s just a scrap of paper with a name and email, not even a business card) in a new way.
First, I wanted a way to make them all a standard size. I tried putting everything into a little box, but the big pieces of paper crowded out the little Moo cards.
Index cards were the right solution for me–index cards and a stapler actually.
Every time someone hands me a piece of paper with their info, I immediate write what to follow up with directly on it. So for instance someone says, ”Hi, I’m so and so, I think you should sell your zine in my shop/feature me on your blog/have a booth at our craft fair.” I take their card and write, “Email about wholesale/interview/craft booth by xx date.”
Then when I empty out my wallet, I take that little scrap, staple it to an index card and put it in my “file” which is an old recipe box.
When I follow up with them, I’ll write it on the index card that I did indeed do what I was supposed to.
It’s pretty simple, but it’s really helped me keep track of things, especially after the whirlwind of a big festival. For instance, after the Maker Faire last year, I was such a mess that I still haven’t contacted all the people I said I would. It’s only since I started using this little filing system that I’ve started keeping up on my post-craft-trip contacts.
How to do you keep track of all the business cards/contact info that flows through your office?
In the last Crafty Business post, I talked to Kristy Hall about making progress and how feeling like you’ve done “enough” can be elusive. I mentioned my progress report sheet and linked to the pdf. Today I’m going to tell you a bit more about it and why I’ve found it to be immensely useful.
For the last 4 years of Craft Leftovers, I have had ambiguous feelings of success and failure. In general it was, “Hey, I paid my bills and have a little left over” or “Hey my ad revenue is up. I must have more readers coming by the blog.”
After the mural, I was pretty sad about how much I had shoved Craft Leftovers to the side. I knew it would take months to get back up again. I didn’t want to feel like I was failing each and every month. I wasn’t at the same level of sales and readership. I decided that I needed an easy way to track my stats, deadlines, and goals. It’s the stats that really matter to me.
Here’s what I came up with.
Download the pdf file here and make it your own.
I’ve decided that instead of doing it weekly, I would go with monthly. It’s so easy to lose site of major deadlines, re-occuring deadlines, and goals in the craziness of day to day life.
So at the beginning of each month, I dig through my calendar and mark out all the major deadlines. Then I make sure to note all the repeating deadlines and goals. I plug in last month’s stats, then my goals for this month. I fill out the actual stats from last month in the previous month’s sheet and make notes about the month. This past month, made a lot of progress and met most of my goals, but I didn’t send out the monthly e-newsletter and I finished Craft Leftovers Monthly later than I wanted. I also only added 3 new things to the shop versus 4.
The focus is always on progress vs. leaps and bounds. Like I said, I knew it was going to take more than a month to get back to where I was last November. So, I try to add $50 in sales each month, 15 facebook fans and twitter followers, 20 RSS subscribers, and 200 unique visitors and 400 visits. If I crush the goals, all the better.
I actually look forward to the first of the month and am excited to crunch the numbers and see how I’ve done. This past month I met every goal for my stats, added new products to the shop (a new item every week, I got three out of 4 weeks), and met most of my recurring goals–which is up from, umm, none.
As a blogger, there is a lot more than just sales and ad revenue to track. Here are the main things I look at each month to measure success.
What are the important stats for your crafty business? How do you define success?
This week I commented on using progress reports on Twitter and Kirsty Hall made a few remarks that sparked my curiosity. She had a lot of great things to say on the topic of feeling a sense of accomplishment as a self employed creative person and I thought I would share our conversion with you for today’s Crafty Business Post. She gives a lot of great references and resources for running a creative online business and I think you will enjoy it.Make sure to check out her website which is completely packed with great articles on being a dynamo online.
Kirsty Hall is an artist & purveyor of mad obsessive projects, Drawings & Delights. She is passionate about the internet and has created Internet Hand-Holding, a consulting service for creative people who are overwhelmed by the internet or need a fresh pair of eyes on their site. She is pleased to have finally found a use for her lifelong habit of helpful but slightly tactless remarks.
Hi Kirsty! Thanks for letting me pick your brain about how you chart progress for your business after our Twitter exchange the other day. It’s so hard to feel “finished” or “job well done” when there is so much that could be done, or could be done better.
The first half of the year started out pretty rough for me. I was overwhelmed and was scrambling. After saying “no” to pretty much every request that came in for the last 9 months, I’m starting to settle in to a less hectic lifestyle. I actually took a full weekend off work for the first time in almost a year this past weekend–go me!
I’ve just taken a proper holiday for a week. It had been far too long since I did that. Because I enjoy what I do, I find it especially hard to put it down.
I’ve also been following a deliberate policy of not ‘pushing’ this year. In practice this means that I’m working on my own stuff instead of chasing other people’s opportunities. I wrote about it here:Facing Art Fears.
Making the mental shift to allow opportunities to come to me has been tough – it can feel as though I’ve ‘given up’ or that I’m ‘being lazy’ – but I do feel more balanced and powerful because of it.
Now that I have free time, I feel like I’m not working hard enough. Before it was easy. I just worked as much as I physically could. When I was so tired I couldn’t focus anymore, I would go to bed, then wash and repeat the next day. Not a good way to live.
Definitely not, it’s so easy to burn out that way. Even though I’m chronically ill with ME/CFS, I struggle with pacing. I would burn my candle at both ends and in the middle if I could get away with it.
One way I’m dealing with it is by trying to get better at recognizing simple things about myself like ‘if it’s late at night and I get grumpy, I’m probably tired even if I don’t feel sleepy’. Havi Brooks from The Fluent Self has helped immensely with this, I’m following her suggestion of writing ‘A Book Of You’. She explains it better than me but it’s basically a self-written operating manual.
How do you have a sense of when is enough work is really enough?
Ah, this is something that I also struggle with. I think most creative people do. When you have so many ideas tugging at your attention, it’s very difficult to feel that you do enough. I had a moment of clarity recently when I realized that I was NEVER going to be finished. I will almost certainly die with art ideas in my head and an unfinished to-do list. A few years ago, that would have caused me great anxiety but I must be getting a little bit wiser as I age because my brain went, “OK, I’m never going to be done and that’s OK. Hey, I should probably allow myself to enjoy and value the bits that I do manage to complete.”
In my art, I try to do projects that have defined borders. So for example, the sequin apron that I’m currently working on will be finished when I’ve covered the body of the apron (but not the ties or the neck) with sequins. Simple!
Administrative work can be harder. I don’t think my website will ever be finished: there will always be things to tweak, new plugins to try and things to move around. But I’ve learnt that I need to say, ‘that will do for now’.
Like anything else, it takes practice, you have to stretch your ‘good enough’ muscles. Over time I’ve learnt to recognize what I can and can’t live with. Basically if something is bugging me, I’ll change it even if it means re-doing hours of work because I know it will always annoy me otherwise but if I can get to the ‘meh, that’ll do’ stage, then I leave it alone. There’s usually a moment where my perfectionism starts to annoy the crap out of me and that’s when I know I’m done!
And how do you know that you’re putting your efforts in the right place?
Honestly, I don’t. I almost certainly need to be more proactive in my business. I do make a lot of lists and I’ve been trying to improve my ability to prioritize. I have the Toodledo app on my computer and iPhone and that helps because I can look at my lists and analyze what’s important right now.
One mantra I live by is ‘Is it useful? Is it fun?’ If it’s neither useful or fun (ideally both), then I try to say no.
I’ve got a whole section in my Toodledo called ‘Things I don’t care about’ where I put the things I don’t want to forget but don’t want to do. Some of it is stuff that probably ought to happen at some point but it was interesting to realize how much of it was self-inflicted. There was a ton of stuff that I should never have accepted responsibility for in the first place. As I’ve got better at prioritizing, I’ve started to realize that I need to let some things go or I won’t have the time and energy for the stuff that I genuinely need to do.
How do you set goals for you business that are more than just superficial or maintenance?
I’ve just started a paper journal that’s specifically for my business. I call it my Evil Plans book. I mindmap & write in it. There will probably be some pictures soon too. I’m a very visual person & I generally do better if my thinking is done with colored felt tips.
And how can you look back and celebrate what you have accomplished?
I make a yearly list and at the end of each year I look back and see what I’ve accomplished before I try to set goals for the next year. Sometimes I share it on my blog, sometimes I keep it private but I always do it.
I’ve been trying to keep a running to do list of everything I think “I need to do this some day” or “I should post about this”. Then each morning I write up a task list for everything that I “have” to do and then I add a few of those “someday” to do items to the list too. At least this way I feel like I’ve “finished” my work for the day if that all gets marked off.
I put a lot of those ‘someday’ and ‘maybe’ things in Toodledo, just so they’re recorded somewhere but I don’t date them, that way they don’t clutter up my priority list.
I was reading a Charlie Gilkey post this morning that talks about how you shouldn’t put more than 3-5 things on your daily to-do list and it was a slap in the face for me because it’s true that I rarely accomplish more than 5 things and if I do, it’s usually because the extra things are very small indeed. So why does my daily to-do list always have at least a dozen things on it? My to-do lists are a triumph of hope over experience.
You mentioned on twitter that you have a “I did this” document on your computer. Could you talk a bit more about that?
Sure. I keep a monthly One Thing list on my computer. It’s called my One Thing list because I try to do one thing on my business every single day (including weekends because hello, artists are addicts!). In practice I usually manage more than one thing but because of my illness, one seemed like a reasonable target. Believe me, if my illness is flaring, I often can’t manage even that one thing.
What do you keep track of?
I track what I’ve done for my art and business that day. So for example, it might say something like:
Edited and emailed guest post
Did an email interview for Kristin of Craftleftovers
Answered blog comments
Downloaded new note software for iPhone
Sewed sequins and listened to a podcast
If it’s art or admin related, it goes in there. I also note when I’m ill, so that I can cut myself some slack when I look back and there are days when nothing much got done.
Do you start a new document for each month?
Yes, and I keep all the old ones. It’s going to make writing my yearly accomplishment list a lot easier, I can tell you!
The other great advantage is that it helps me to identify things that need following up. Anything that stops things falling through the cracks is great because I have a truly appalling memory. One of the symptoms of ME/CFS is mind fog and my memory wasn’t brilliant to start with. Goldfish look at me pityingly!
If it’s not written down, I will forget it so as you can imagine, I rely heavily on lists, calendars and small bits of paper. I’m currently investigating ways to make my systems work together a bit more seamlessly.
Last month I started a chart (download the pdf here) that helps me have a clear view of my goals for the month, my major and reoccurring deadlines, and at the end of the month, I have a little section just for stats.
Things like RSS feed subscribers, facebook fans, twitter followers, sales, expenses, unique visitors to the blog. I have last month’s numbers, this month’s goals, then the actual outcome. I’ve smashed all my goals for this month already–so exciting to see that. I would have had no idea unless I was charting it out. Definitely makes me feel like I’m on the right track.
That’s a great idea, I don’t track my stats to that extent but I probably should. I do keep an eye on things in Google Analytics as long as it’s not drastically falling, I don’t worry too much about it. I do play a cool game on Google Analytics where I’m trying to fill in the map of the world. I’ve had visitors from 155 countries in the last three years of blogging. I’m desperate to get Greenland, so if anyone knows anyone there, please send them to my blog, you’d make me ridiculously happy.
I also write monthly goal lists on my computer with different sections for personal, art, business and family stuff and any important appointments. But setting time specific goals is one of the areas where I’m definitely hampered by my illness. It’s very difficult for me to sustain upward trends because I’ll often get a good head of steam going and then my illness will flare up and I’ll be useless for a couple of weeks or even months. I describe it as like driving a car with the handbrake stuck on.
How do you track your progress over time? Do you have a business plan that you stick to or something vaguely resembling one?
Haha, that would be a no! I wrote about my business plan here and although I’ve improved somewhat since then, I still suck at this side of things. It’s possible that my Evil Plans book might develop into something approaching a business plan.
Really, I just try to make the best art and blog posts that I can and be genuinely helpful to my online community. I am very active in social media and I’ve increasingly been writing guest posts, so I’m getting the word out that way. It’s wildly naïve but hey, I’m an eternal optimist. Just call me Pollyanna!
In truth, I’m still working my way out of the Starving Artist mindset. I’ve been busy deprogramming myself from some of the beliefs about commerce and money that I picked up in the contemporary art world, especially art college. Even opening an online shop for my art was a big stretch for me because I spent years thinking that I didn’t make ‘saleable art’ and while it’s true that much of my art is deeply, gloriously uneconomic, things like my drawings are conceivably marketable.
What’s your favorite blogs for creative online business topics/resources/articles? I’ve been digging CopyBlogger, Crafting a MBA, and your website lately. :)
Thanks, it’s great to hear that you like my website, I’ve been trying to pick up the pace on it lately.
I’m a big fan of Catherine Caine from Be Awesome Online, I think she’s a great place to start, especially if you’re new to the internet – her 5 Minute Missions are quick and practical ways that you can make a difference to your business. The Makery and Crafting a MBA write consistently good crafty business articles and I recently discovered ArtistsWhoThrive and Tara Gentile from Big Thinking For Small Businesses. Oh, and if you like audio, John T. Unger is doing amazing work over at Art Heroes Radio – his podcast on pricing shouldn’t be missed by anyone who has a creative business.
Thanks again Kirsty for chatting with me and sharing your experience with feeling a sense of accomplishment when it comes to your business and life!
Last August I asked the question “Am I a professional writer and as such should I be taking myself more seriously?” Even though I answered “yes” to both, it’s taking quite a lot of time to sink in. It’s a pretty good post and dare I say it, a good read. Yikes.
This past month I’ve been contemplating the question of “am I professional writer or a blogger or is there a difference?” It’s an interesting question for me because more and more I’m writing for my living: through Craft Leftovers, Craft Leftovers Monthly, the Ames Progressive, on other websites, and various magazines. Most my day is spent writing, more than any other given activity. Does that mean I’m a full time writer? I think… Yes. It does indeed mean that.
I’m always unsure how to respond when people ask “so where do you work?” I think the easiest way to describe what I do is to say I’m a “freelance writer and illustrator”. Since realizing this and stating, “Hey, I am a writer” I’ve decided I should take my written work more seriously. I’ve started to read a lot of books on writing this past month. Granted I haven’t had time to absorb it all, but every week I think I’ve been implementing more of what I’m learning and improving bit by bit. From story structure to grammar, there are signs of improvement — I hope.
For those of you who are serious about your blog, whether you are using it as a marketing tool, networking tool, or hope to make the blog the base of your business I want to encourage your to work on your writing. I’m a formally trained painter, not writing, and being thrust into creative non fiction has been a little intimidating. I think a lot of us are in a similar place. We may be great at what we do, but not so great at communicating through written word. Or maybe have a natural knack for writing, but our grammar and spelling sets us back (cough, yeah, I know I have bad spelling and grammar issues).
I also picked up a copy of Writer’s Digest. They put out a special issue called “Novel Writing” and that has been wonderfully helpful. It gives a great overview of all the aspects of writing a longer work, from the process of writing itself to character development and dialog. It’s not in their back issues yet and I think is still out, so go swing around to your local book store and thumb through a copy.
If you are just getting started blogging, check out Diane Gillamand’s new ebook blog series: Making a Great Blog and Creating a Blog Audience. Both of which have helped me take my work more seriously.
I highly recommend you add CopyBlogger to your rss feed and read it regularly. They are putting out a lot of really high quality posts about improving your blog – both through writing and through marketing.
On to the fun stuff! Time to work on my embroidery project for Friday :)
It’s been an exciting week of imposing more order on what has been a pretty disorderly existence. For instance I realized that other than Craft Leftovers Monthly, I have not added a new thing to the shop in over 2 months. Yikes! No wonder sales are down, that among many other reasons–fewer posts, less creative content, a crazed, harried life reflected in my writing.
In the Handmade Goodies category: Jimmy, the Office Manager! – $17.50+s&h
In the Paper Kit category: Plaited Paper Basket w/ kit (originally in the April CLM) – $2.50 + s&h
In the Fabric Kits category: Love Bug Kits – $5.95 + s&h
This is huge for me right now. I’m transitioning, it’s hard. There is no clear road, but at the end I think it will be a huge difference on how sustainable the website/zine are. Plus, I love the idea of Craft Leftovers Monthly being in craft/book shops around the globe.
If you have a shop and would like to sell my zine or even the zine/kit bundles in your shop, email me at kristin [at] craftleftovers [dot] com. Send me proof of your resale license (sales tax id certificate works) and I’ll send you a fancy little wholesale packet. You can read through a few issues and get a feel for what Craft Leftovers Monthly is all about and see if it’s a fit for your shop.
… or how I finally got the social media bug.
I’m sharing what I find, answering and asking questions, posting updates, and chatting like nuts. It’s been too long since the crafting community and I have connected and I’m making up for it.
Follow me on Twitter
I finally joined the other savvy bloggers and installed the disqus comment plug in. It allows us all to easily track, reply, and better have a convo about the posts here on Craft Leftovers. I really like it and I hope you do too! You can read more about the neatness of this feature here.
Yep, I did it. I’m not sure why I hadn’t before. You can now click on that little tab up on the right hand side and send me a message. Ask me a question or make a comment, just don’t tell me I suck. I’m my own worst critic, so believe me when I tell you that I’ve got that one covered. But constructive criticism is always welcome: post ideas, zine ideas, contributor inquires, and way to make things better. All that is really great to hear from you about.
That’s all for today’s news and notes. No more of this until next Wednesday. :)
Back in February I posted about how I was saying “maybe” to everything as a way to retrain that unfortunate “yes” reflex. I had some really good points, especially about how when I over commit I’m not doing anyone a favor. If I’m so over booked, I can’t follow through.
After saying “maybe” and a lot of straight up “no thank yous,” I’ve finally started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Though I dearly love the mural project I just finished, it is definitely something I would do differently the next time around (cough, looking like next year). Mainly, I would say “maybe next year” instead of “I’ll get right on that.”
It takes time to get out of a deep hole of overcommitment. It’s not like I’m just going to blow off the things that I’ve committed to. Nope, I buckled down and did what I had to do to get them done. And it was done pretty well. Unfortunately it was at the expense of myself.
Well, I’m happy to say that is over and done with. I learned my lesson back in February when I saw what I had done to myself by saying “yes” so much back in October of 2009. It just took another 3 months to get out of that yes hole I had dug.
Starting Monday I did all the things that keep me feeling healthy.
Since the last time I listed my “major commitments,” quite a few have dropped off the list. I’ve put many decisions off until 2011 knowing that 2010 is already too full.
I feel ready. Ready to step up and take control of my life. Ready to grow up and be more mature about my decision making. To only do the things I’m really driven to do.
And I’m sure I’ll get over booked from time to time. But it will never again be at the expense of the things that help keep me healthy.
I have learned my lesson. And I’m holding myself too it. This isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s taken quite a few rounds before I finally got to this point of lesson learning. Or even seeing that there was a lesson to be learned. Well, now I have. The point is taken. I want to live a less stressful existence. And a lot of that comes from saying no. And taking my own advice.
I’m officially back to what I love the most, giving new life to cast offs. I’ll announce the new posting schedule soon and get that “about” page nice and updated.
I’m having a hard time finishing The Handmade Marketplace, but not for the usual reasons of lack of interest or complicated language. Nope. I’m having a hard time finishing this book because about every other paragraph I’m compelled to run off and jot something down. Committing to my idea list inspired ideas that keep raising to the surface. I love this book, it’s so inspiring. So what is it all about?
Just like the title says, this book is about, “how to sell your craft locally, globally, and online.” It’s all about why you (& me) should sell, how to get started, and once started what should we do next.
The first part of the book focuses on the “why we make” question and why it may (or may not) be a good idea to sell in the handmade marketplace. Kari asks a lot of great questions and there are tips and stories from her Creative Collaborative (a group of amazing makers who contributed their insights to the book).
Chapter two that really grabbed me. Branding has always been built up as a corporate word, but it completely applies to all of us too. The ones who do it well are the successful ones. She challenges us to think of branding (as well as marketing later) as just one more fun creative project. As I step from where I am now to where I want to be, tightening up the way I present myself will be important. This chapter inspired me, and sent me off to write down a million things as well as finally finish the new archive template.
In chapter 3 there is a lot of solid info about sole proprietorship vs. partnership vs. LLC, picking a name, and loads of other great advice for going from crafting as a hobby to making it a busines.
I got back to the book and dug into the chapter on marketing. Did you know, other than saying “yes” to opportunities, I’ve hardly ever done marketing for Craft Leftovers? I think things could be going along at a better clip if I put a little more effort into my PR, that and my images. More on that next week. She offers up a lot of great advice on how to approach marketing with the same creative problem solving I do a leftovers challenge.
I, of course, had to stop and brainstorm press packets and improvements to the blog, haha.
She covers a lot more than just press releases, things like podcasts, twitter, facebook, and a great Q&A with Holly Becker of decor8 about what makes an email inquiry stand out. Very informative for sure!
I’m shooting for a craft fair or two in the summer of 2011 and I am so happy to have this resource in my tool belt. I’m sure I will turn to it again and again to help figure out where the best places are to sell, how to choose what to sell, pricing, and my set up. It even covers craft fair etiquette – I didn’t know that existed, but it makes sense that is does and it is foreign to me for sure.
There is also a great section on online shops. Having had 2 for more than 3 years now you think I would know a lot. After reading this section I feel like a newbie. It definitely opened my eyes a bit. I’m excited about putting to action some of the things I learned.
And don’t despair, if having a physical shop is your dream, that’s covered in great detail! Ahh, someday. :)
A bonus to the book for me is that quite a few of my favorite people are part of the Creative Collective I mentioned above:
If you are in anyway thinking about selling your creative projects, this is the perfect book to get you acquainted with all aspects of being a part of the Handmade Marketplace.
I’m so glad my editor sent this along to me. After seeing this book, I’m pretty happy to be publishing my book with them. More and more I’m finding that most the books I love are put out by Storey Publishing.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned my tendency to say “yes” to everything. “Can you help me do ________?” and “no problem” is my default response.
This has lead to endless opportunities, good experiences, and an adventure of a lifetime. It’s also lead to being overburdened, tired, and “Miss Crabby Pants” as Jason puts it. I know I’ll never be balanced, but I would like to maintain my sanity and not pull all nighters each month.
As I get older, meet more people, and put myself out there as someone who is reliable and honest, I get contacted about helping out more and more. I’m not talking about only online blog-o-sphere topics here, but in person too. It’s easier for me to say “no” to an email, but, wow, face-to-face I’m the hugest sucker ever.
I say “yes” even when I know I have a bazillion things to do. Usually it ends up either sucking for the person who asked me (because I might have to get out of it at the last minute) or sucking for me (pulling all nighters because I over committed my time). I’m not doing them a favor if I can’t do what I say I will. And I’m not helping myself if it ends up stressing me out.
I’ve been making an active effort to say “maybe” as my default or “I’ll think about it.” To me that seems a lot easier than just a straight up “no.” Keeping my calendar on me at all times has helped too. It gives me a very realistic picture of how much time I really have to spare and what I already have going on.
A year ago I felt like I couldn’t turn down any opportunity or project or task. I was desperate to build my business, to make friends in my new town, to learn, to share, and to do it all. Maybe I’m getting comfortable. Maybe I’m getting older. Maybe I like a little bit of calm and time off. Anyway you look at it, I’m not feeling so desperate any more. And that feels good.
Maybe it’s the beggars can’t be choosers things. I kind of feel like I’m not a beggar anymore. I’m meeting my bills each month, steadily paying down my debt, and I’m loving my work. Anything else is gravy at this point, so I make sure only say “yes” to things I really want to do.
What to do about the things I’ve already committed to?
Right now I’m in the midst of finishing up a rash of too many “yeses.” They were hard to say “no” to, and they were things I really did want to do, but going into this year, I’m saying “no” a lot more so this fall will be less crazy. Then I can focus on what I really want to be spending my time on, you guys! Craft Leftovers! I love this website and I have so many ideas for it. I can’t wait until I have some more free time to spend on the site. Maybe I’ll even do a few indie craft fairs come the holiday season.
Do you have a tendency to over commit? How do you say “no”? How do you make sure to keep enough time for yourself and your family?
Have a great day and happy crafting!
Usually I use Wednesdays to post about crafty business in general, but today I’m going to write about my crafty business specifically. I just hit a few amazing goals I set at the beginning of the year. I want to share with you a little bit of the back end success that’s not immediately apparent on the front end.
I just posted the new themes for the next two deadlines: reading and miniature crafting!
You may notice, I’m finally transitioned to proposals coming in 5 months out from the issue’s publishing date. This gives plenty of time for me to look through the submissions, schedule reasonable deadlines for contributors, and then have time to put it all together a month before it’s published!
This. Is. Huge.
In my own small way, I’m helping to provide more freelance oppertunities for indie craft writers. And it’s working. I tried it out for the first time in the Winter issue, and for the 3rd month in the row I have enough money to pay my own income and contributors! Hooray! I didn’t break the bank!
I pay between $25-45 for previously published work and $35-75 for new work. I also swap for content.
Even though it’s not apparent on the front end, the Summer issue is in the works and I’m expanding the page count again! And adding another contributor! Hooray!
It’s almost happened a few times, but fell through. But now it’s official. Yesterday I shipped my first wholesale order to this great indie craft shop in Wisconsin. Once she gives me the thumbs up, I’ll add the shop info to the Craft Leftovers Monthly about page and post more details about it.
Do you want Craft Leftovers Monthly to be sold at your local craft shop? In your craft shop? I’m looking for leads. Having Craft Leftovers Monthly distributed at indie book stores and craft shops is the next big goal on my list.
Send me leads on shops to contact or if you own a shop and want to carry Craft Leftovers Monthly, email me directly. Send wholesale leads and inquiries to kristin [at] craftleftovers [dot] com. It’s been so fun to see Craft Leftovers and the zine grow like they have.
Diane interviewed me a few weeks ago and just put it up on her site. Go check it out and hear me ramble about what I’m up to, including this next one (okay, I mention it just a touch because I can’t talk about it too much).
This has been in the works for a few months now and I officially started writing at the end of last month. I am so excited! I feel like this is a big stamp of “you are doing good work, keep it up.”
Storey Publishing approached me towards the end of last year about doing a book for them on mending. Of course I said, “Yes!” The book is a nice blend between authoring and compiling.
Just like Craft Leftovers Monthly, I pushed to have contributors paid for their work. And Storey agreed! It’s exciting getting a budget specifically for contributors.
We are also hiring a local photographer! I love making my successes other people’s too. :) And I feel good providing a job for a local artist.
That’s about all that I can say on that topic because other than “general mending book” and “authoring and compiling” I need to keep everything a surprise.
This one isn’t quite there yet, but wow do I need some help in the studio. So as I learn how to take these steps, I’ll share what I learn. Because let me tell you, right now it is getting a little overwhelming. Anyone want to help me make kits and test patterns and do data entry? Haha. If you live in Central Iowa, seriously, contact me.
I was thinking that each on of these topics would be great Crafty Business topics: creating opportunities for others with your work, going from direct selling to wholesale selling, writing a book, hiring help in the studio/getting an intern. What do you think? I’m game if you are.
Happy crafting and good luck to you and your business!
Winter is always the season of weaving for me. With my overly large floor room, it’s the only time of year that I’m okay being tucked into my basement studio for hours shuttling back and forth. I turn on the space heater, bring down a pot of tea and put it on my candle warmer. [...]