Thursday, September 23, 2010

~A little More of the Goodness to go Around~ TCC

More Thoughts and Advice to Share from The Creative Connection Event-

People are Important
- Find others to network with, people you feel a connection to, they'll be there to walk alongside of you. Identify people you admire in your field. Get to know who they are and then get to know them better through twitter, their blogs, facebook. People are making themselves available through these social networking sites.
- Get criticism from people you admire and trust but don't let rejection hurt you. People are busy. Leigh Standley of Curly Girl designs mentioned how when she started in the greeting card business she asked a lot of people the same questions and it was a while before she'd find the right person who was willing to answer them. But when that opportunity came (someone cool showed interest) she went for it and asked again and got some really fabulous answers.
- Learn from others. Make the investment attending something like TCC is. If you're a blogger go to the big blogging conferences. I guess blogher has a good one. Connect with people. Relationships grow quickly at these events, they really are a huge boost to finding and connecting with the right people.

Women Entrepreneur's Panel
About your Business
My French General Jewelry Kit
- It is a business. Keep that in mind and make decisions with this in mind. But just because some amazing offer comes along don't feel you have to accept it. Think about it first. For instance, if I'm offered a big wholesale contract but don't really want to produce that much should I accept just because it seems like, or is represented, as such a huge opportunity? No.
- You are responsible for making sure that the choices you make are in keeping with your ethics, your brand, your business ideal. Don't say yes to everything because if you do it will cripple your business (paraphrased from something Heather Bailey said)
- Never sign the first contract. Companies will never give you their best deal in the first contract and will probably respect you more if you suggest changes.
-Make sure when licensing that you vet the company thoroughly. Ask others, find out where the product is made, make sure you have design approval, and make sure that the contract states explicitly what you are giving them the license to produce. For instance, "stationary products" can cover a wide range of items.
- Use a lawyer when reviewing contracts but get one who already knows your industry. You shouldn't have to pay for their time as they "learn the ropes" of your industry.
- Plan for incremental success. Don't throw all your hopes on getting Martha Stewart to walk in your door or that something you make will go viral. Build up.
-Quickie tip from Beth of Etsy: people shop during the week at lunch. Not weekends. Also, the best day to blog is Thursdays. Who knew? :)

Social media
- Don't overextend yourself in Social Media. Make creating your product your first priority. So if you can't do them all, pick the one's you feel you'll be able to give the most value to. Facebook, twitter, flickr, etc. are all very different beasts.
-Find your people and follow them back when they follow you (Twitter)
-Schedule your "on" time.
-Create a community that will work with you. Get them excited about a new launch and they'll share it with others. That's a lot of influencers going to work for you. Thank them by giving them information, sharing with them, and doing a give away once in a while. :)
- Use social media to conduct market research. Once you have your peeps ask them how often they'd like to hear from you. How often should I send out my newsletter, what products would you like to see? How would you promote_______? Ask questions.
- Be an expert on one thing. Others with questions about whatever you do will find you and through them others will find you. It's just another way of being relevant.
-Let them know your story. Create a bigger image/narrative around your items.
-Operate with a generosity of spirit. Share resources, react to what's around you, what you see others doing that's just plain cool.
-Be unique to yourself but pay attention to consistency. Find an individual voice and then pay attention to what you say in it. Be authentic but know that you do have the power to censor yourself. You don't have to throw every little thought out there. There's a necessary line between sharing you and sharing all of you. Find it.
-Social Media is the way to bring it all back to one place. Know your passion and make that the hub. If your book is it, bring it all back to that. If it's etsy, then make sure that you've links from all your other online presences to etsy. *Personally, I have a problem with this one. I love etsy and I love my book, and I love the sharing and encouraging others that this blog allows me to do. So I tend to vacillate between making each my focus according to what's at the top of my priority list today. *
So there y'all go. I'm hoping you can understand what I wrote above. I know that it's a lot of bits of things. So much of this event was impressions, coupled with tons and tons of content. Much of which wasn't directed entirely towards me and my business so I tried to pull out of it what I could apply to me. So you're getting my notes and my thoughts all kind of jumbled up with those of the panelists and speakers.

I think I'll do one more post about this event. I thought I'd share with you the things I made and a bit about the instructors and some of the super cool people I met. I think you'll enjoy meeting these people as much as I did. :) If something I wrote above did really strike a cord with you though I'd LOVE to hear it. I did choose to share more today than I had intended just because so many of you seemed to really appreciate the first post I did on this event. So thank you for sharing your enthusiasm with me. It gets me excited too!


Robin Norgren, M.A, R-YT, Spiritual Director said...

really enjoyed reading this post Jen!

Mousy Brown said...

Wow what a load of really good advice - Thanks again Jen! :D

Molly Hulett said...

Your enthusiasm is contagious -- it sparks my own in terms of new ways to navigate this creative path. Thank you for sharing all of this wonderful information. Your notes about finding community and trusting your authenticity especially speak to me right now. Eager to read more!

Ruth Rae said...

Love you blog! its so bright and beautiful just like you! thanks for posting all you learned at the creative connection Its as if I got to go to all the group talks that I wish I could have gone to! I adore my wire "create" that you gave me, its in my studio.