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Make

Create + Profit Summit // Getting your Small Biz Show on the Road for 2018

I always find it a little challenging to get my head in gear after the Christmas holidays.

My new planner sits here on my desk staring me down with it’s glaringly white pages, begging me to fill it with dates and deadlines…and ideas.

And I can usually do that pretty well, but lately I find that I’m so full of ideas that it almost stumps me. Like if I can’t do them ALL, I can’t do any of them.

How to start.

How to start.

If you’re a creative person, a maker, or an entrepreneur especially, you feel it too. I know you do.

Maybe, like me, you spent the better part of 2017 working your tail off to make a living doing something that you love, with wild dreams of having a successful business, but found yourself spinning your wheels with goals unmet by ball drop on December 31st.

I know this entrepreneur’s life can be a real struggle. You might even be spending these first few weeks of the new year feeling like maybe you can’t do this anymore, or like you need to make some big changes but you just aren’t sure what they are.

I’m with you.

Trust.

What helps me during these dark January days (a lot) is building up my community of people who can not only relate, but who have tools to share. I try to take advantage of this slower time of year to get my ducks in a row and dig a little deeper by listening to new podcasts (here’s a current fave), doing some online courses and generally finding the inspiration to pull me out of my funk.

And it works.

Recently my good friend Amy Eaton (the photographer behind the images on my website btw!) started working with a colleague on a project that has me really excited.

It’s a virtual summit that’s taking place January 22nd to 26th called Create + Profit and I think it is EXACTLY what you need (esp if you’re a handmade seller) to get you inspired, moving, focused, productive and PROFITABLE for 2018.

If you’ve been struggling to work out your business kinks on your own, Create + Profit is going to help you figure out why. Because I am confident that regardless of what you create, there is a HUGE customer base out there just waiting to discover what it is you have to offer the world.

See, the thing is, “making it” in the handmade game is not one of those “if you build it, they will come” kind of situations.

It takes a huge amount of knowledge, brand positioning, self promotion, pricing strategy, research, hustle etc etc etc.

Wrapping your head around everything you need to do to launch or elevate an existing brand or product can be completely overwhelming. Which is basically why this whole thing has me so pumped.

Do I sound like an infomercial?

I sound like an infomercial and I don’t even care.

I’m almost done gushing.

Create + Profit summit is completely FREE (with an option to upgrade – see graphic below) and consists of 10 expert presentations covering everything you need to take your business a whole new level.

We’re talking craft shows (I happen to be the speaker on this one..but I didn’t get paid or anything so you know I’m coming from an honest place), wholesale, pricing what you’re worth (and what will sell), sales psychology, Etsy & Amazon search algorithms, photography, writing product description, accounting, using popular social media sites to growing your customer base, and more.

It kicks off January 22nd so grab your FREE ticket and I’ll hope to (virtually) see you there!

Create & Profit Free vs All-Access

NOTE: C+P has two options for attendees.

  • Free. This option includes 24 video replay acces and bonus resources (including some great downloads like my “How to Rock a Craft Show” basics!)
  • All-access pass.  After signing up for the free ticket, participants will have the opportunity to upgrade to the all-access pass. This option includes lifetime access to the video replays, an invitation to our exclusive Create + Profit pop-up Facebook group, daily Live Q&As, and bonus trainings and resources. The pricing for the all-access pass is as follows:
    • $79 until January 15th (Early Bird pricing)
    • $99 from January 16th – 23rd
    • $199 from January 23rd onward

 

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Make, Shop

Our Spooktacular Window // Meet the Bash Sisters

A few weeks ago I was spilling my guts over on my Instagram stories about how I never have time to keep my shop windows up to date.

With Hallowe’en around the corner, our (and I’m embarassed to say this) CANADA DAY windows were looking a lot dated, and I was not-so-subtly whining about how nice it would be if someone would give me “suggestions” re: what I should do with them.

I received LOADS of ideas (thank you to all of you who took the time to send me pins!) and ONE amazing offer to DO THEM FOR ME from the sweet little sister duo The Bash Sisters.

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Naturally I wept with relief.
Ok. I didn’t.

But I was SUUUUPER happy to have someone take the reigns and help keep us looking fabulous here at Cheerfully Made.

Let me back up for a minute.

I met Meaghan + Michelle (The Bash Sisters) for the first time the morning of our all-but-rained-out Canada Day Etsy Event here in Almonte. They were vendors participating in the show with their party supplies and I had also commissioned them to help decorate the entrance of the event so, naturally, they were the first to arrive on the (soaking wet) scene.

They were all smiles and encouragement as they watched on from what was essentially the front row seats of my personal break down.

And they kept on smiling as they helped me trouble shoot what was potentially a show stopping situation into something resembling lemonade. (Who’s got two thumbs and loves This is Us ? This girl. #thosewhogetitgetit)

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They put together this beautiful archway and hand painted sign…and moved it, in the rain about a million times while I flipped flopped about what our rained out Plan B was going to be.

Naturally they became my new best friends and personal heros for making it look like I meant for it to rain 500 centimetres so that we’d have to relocate 63 vendors in less than 2 hours and have this gorgeous archway to escape the rain under.

So that’s the back story.

After graciously offering to help with my windows, The Bash Sisters promptly sent me two mood boards with ideas for the displays.


 

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My instinct was to go with Option Two because it would be hella easy to transform into a winter scene right after Hallowe’en, but I could tell the girls would have more fun with the Modern Hallowe’en option, so in the spirit of making life more complicated fun that’s what we picked.

We agreed on a materials budget of $125 (of which they only spent $103!) and picked a date to get started.

In all my years working with creative people, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that when you hire capable people, you get the best out of them if you just let them do their thing.

So I met the girls on our agreed upon date, gave them the keys to the shop (and my heart) snapped a few progress shots, effed the eff off.

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Creating under the constraints of my nightmare shop office space.

The result? Hallowe’en magic.

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Clementine trying to convince a friend it’s HER shop.

I think what made me the MOST happy was how responsibly they spent my money.

That’s so important to me as a self employed person.

With things as simple as wrapping paper and googley eyes, they made an adorable and  huge impact.

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With food colouring, water and a white marker, they made potions and elixirs.

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With an umbrella and a pair of dollar store stockings, they made a witch appear to descend from the ceiling.

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Our witchy window.

The Bash Sisters also expertly incorporated some items for sale in the shop into the displays. We lovingly carry Low Poly Craft DIY kits here at Cheerfully Made, and owners Britta and Adrian generously stocked us up with some Hallowe’en inspired kits like jack-o-lanterns and ravens as well as a few special props like this scary guy.

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Low Poly Craft tarantula!

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More Low Poly Craft lovelies.

Bottom line, there is nothing like a “current” window display to make me feel like I’ve got my shit together as a shop owner.

Seriously.

The Bash Sisters were so fun to work with, easy going and super capable. I basically did nothing. Which is ideeeeeal.

I truly can’t say enough good stuff about them.

If you find yourself in need of some help doing your own windows (even if you’re not close to Ottawa, I’m sure they’d be happy to consult!) or are looking for decor ideas for your next party, you should hire them.

I’m in talks now with the girls to make this a seasonal thing.

But for now, it’s going to be very hard to say goodbye to these beauties in a few short weeks.

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Sarah Evans (ShoeBox Pics) was quick enough to snap this picture of a passing customer who MATCHED the windows perfectly. Can you say “serendipity”!?

Happy Hallowe’en!

xo Em

NOTE: Every beautiful photo (and none of the not beautiful ones) were taken by the wonderful Sarah Evans of ShoeBox Pics. You should hire her too.

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Life, Make, Show

Write a New Story // Etsy Resolution 2017

We are well into January and I’m still thinking about resolutions.

It’s something I kind of do all year really, always striving to do more, do better.

It’s a curse, and I know I’m not suffering alone with it either.

I feel you out there. Making plans, maybe even purchasing a few tools to get them going, and then letting life get in the way of actually setting aside the time it’s going to take to launch.

Generally speaking I’m actually quite good at accomplishing the things I set out to do, but there are still a many many areas of that need some work.

Because I think I am seen to be a bit of a “do-er” however, I get asked often how I get so much done. I get asked questions like “How did you know that would be a good idea?”, or “What made you so confident it would work?”, or “How did you know where to start?”.

I’m going to tell you something right now that would shock a lot of bank managers.

I didn’t. I don’t know. I just started.

Here’s my secret.

I have been blessed with the blind confidence that if I put my mind to something, I can make it happen. I dunno. Maybe I’ve watched Field of Dreams so many times, there’s a whispery little cornfield in my ear repeating “If you build it, they will come”  so often it’s become my mantra.

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I get an idea, I tell myself I can do it, and I. Just. Do. It.

Sometimes I try it on for size by actually telling people about what I AM doing, even before I AM doing it. Then I kinda HAVE to do it, and so I DO.

Is that nuts?

That’s a bit nuts, but by golly Miss Molly that shit works.

And that’s what I mean about “your story”.

Those little things you tell yourself, or others that, good or bad, eventually become reality. Some call it “self fulfilling prophecy”, and I’m here to tell you it’s the real deal. The only problem is, more often than not we are telling ourselves the wrong things to be successful. We start writing the wrong stories.

Stories like “I’m not a morning person”, or “I’m so disorganized”, or (and this is one of the worst) “I can’t do that”.

The key to being a successful person, and reaching your goals is to flip the switch on this crap talk. I can’t make you a morning person (I’m not one either, but I sure can fake it), but I can help you become a “I am really productive between the hours of 1pm and 6pm” person.

“I’m so disorganized”? Flip that sucker on it’s bum and bing bang boom, we’ve got “I use tools like scheduled reminders and label makers for keeping my life in order.”

And “I can’t”? Well there are just SO many ways of dealing with that one.

My personal favourite is to just remove it from my vocabulary, but I know that’s not easy. I believe that everything can be tackled when broken into bite sized bits.

“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time” (Creighton Abrams).

For me, that means research and lists.

When I first began thinking about opening the shop, I got super excited, followed almost instantly by totally overwhelmed. But I knew I wanted to do it so I had to chop that baby up into tiny little nuggets. Location, Funding, Staff, Product.

And then I broke those nuggets into smaller nugettes like store front on Mill Street, Line of Credit/Family Loans, Tamara/Friends, Local Makers I know, and 3 months later I opened the doors to Hello Yellow (now Cheerfully Made Goods + Markets).

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Opening day at Hello Yellow, July 2013

So what do you want to do differently this year?

Write it. Say it. And start making a conscious effort to banish any negative talk from your mind.

You are so powerful.

You’ve just gotta start using that power for good and good will come.

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Me, happier than a pig in sh*t on opening night.

A lot of you seem to have “grow my business” on your list, and some have already begun asking me about upcoming craft shows, specifically Etsy Made in Canada. We WILL be hosting the show again this September (get on our mailing list and stay in the know!) and if this is something you have been dreaming about applying to, I’m going to give you a great tool to DO IT.

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Shopper among the crowds at Etsy Made in Canada / Ottawa

It should be noted that you do NOT have to have an Etsy shop to participate in every one of our shows, but for the Etsy: Made in Canada, you do. If you’re not especially savvy with technology, opening up an Etsy shop can feel overwhelming. Not to worry, you’ve got lots of time.

In an effort to help all of us, Etsy has come up with a series of steps and tutorials to help you launch and/or perfect your Etsy shop. It’s called Etsy Resolution and this is the 2nd year in a row they’ve run it.

All you have to do is visit www.etsy.com/ca/resolution, enter your email address, and beginning January 27th your inbox will start receiving little bite sized steps, tips and tricks to both launching, and killing it on Etsy.

No, I am not being paid to endorse the program.

Yes, I have done it myself and, as a result, can attest that it’s exactly what you need to get off your wee crafty tush and start selling.

So there you go.

This year’s story is going to be different because you’re going to take action one step at a time. Whether it’s growing your business, or spending more time with your family, or making new connections, or ALL of those things. You can DO it.

I’m here if you need me.

xo Em

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Life, Make

Before + After // My DIY Office Makeover

Photo Credit: Sarah Evans, Shoebox Pics

My latest home makeover project was a true labour of love.

First things first. The BEFORE pic.

Courtesy of our real estate agent. (Keep in mind the major wide angle on this baby. Look at the size of that doorway. It’s just a standard sized walk through and this pic makes it look like we need to get ourselves a set of french doors.)

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OMG so boring. So so boring.

Another built in. For the love.

Here’s what I’ve done with it over the past 12 months living here.

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Just ever so slightly embarrassing. Between the laundry basket full of ill-fitting clothes I need to donate, to the stack of invoices on my desk, to the baby thermometer…the chaos is real folks.

It’s all too real.

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Life, Make

Recipe // Shamrock Shakes with a twist

We love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day around here. Always have.

My dad’s name is Patrick.

His mother’s maiden name was McCarthy.

He believes this is his holiday, and so since I was a kid we celebrated St. Patty’s like it’s his birthday.

All that really meant was green milk with supper, and Shamrock Shake’s at McD’s, but with my kids I’ve kept the tradition of eating green going.

Personally, I’ve really been eating a lot cleaner lately (no really), so McDonalds was kinda out of the question. Fortunately one thing I love even more than a well-themed holiday, is tricking my family. Especially into eating something healthy.

I took to the kitchen and shook up the Shamrock Shake recipe into something entirely (almost) good for you.

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