Saturday, June 25, 2011

Prepare to work!

Another Saturday, and with it, another post at Saturday Sequins. Before I start on this week's topic, however, I have to apologize. Last week I'd promised lots of eye candy in the form of pictures of my work, but we're having some, shall we say, technical difficulties? I'm hoping to have them sorted out soon, but until then, things around here will be a wee bit wordy. And... linky.

Now that that's out of the way, here's the second post in my Do What You Love series.

So you've decided on your dream job. You've given yourself permission to go for it. Both of these are important first steps, but they're only a small part of the process. Just a cherry and whipped cream on the banana split that is achieving your dreams (can you tell I'm hungry?).

The truth is, without solid action, dreams stay dreams. To succeed in any business, you need a good -- or great -- product, a way to market said product, a detailed plan. All of these things have one thing in common, namely, they take effort.

Among the many people I admire in the world are three young businesswomen: Rebecca Mojica, owner of Blue Buddha Boutique, Vanessa Walilko of Kali Butterfly, and Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows. Two work in jewelry, and one bakes amazing healthy food.

Besides being fantastically talented and superly nice people, they have another thing in common. You know what I'm going to say, don't you? They work. Their. Tails. Off. They work insane hours! Not just creating wonderful things, but promoting themselves through contests, conventions and blogs. Vanessa and Rebecca also devote time to helping others learn to make chainmaille.

So here's what I suggest. Take another deep breath, just like you did when you gave yourself permission to try. And accept the fact that following your dream will be fulfilling, but also challenging! And maybe a little hard sometimes (but not impossible).

Then you can move on to the next step in the process, and that's preliminary planning. Sit down with a pen and paper or open up a Word document and start making a list. Just off the top of your head, what are some of the things you'll need in order to make this dream into a reality?

I'll do it with you. Some of the things I'll need are tools and supplies. Inventory, or in other words, pieces of work that meet my standards and that I'd be proud to sell. I have business cards, and I have a website. I even have a blog. But one thing I'm missing is a better way to take photographs. Either I'll figure it out or think about hiring a professional later on.

I also need immaterial things. Information. Knowledge of tax laws and how to make up inventory sheets and price my work. And these are only the things I could think of on the spot! Once you do actual research, your list will grow.

Now, as you make this list, you may feel overwhelmed. It's OK! So do I. And a little scared, too. You may even find yourself wondering, is it really worth it? Do I really want to put in all that work? If you answer yes, that's excellent. If you're not sure, that's just fine. Stay with me, and we'll see if we can work it out.

What are the things you'd hate to do? Maybe you're scared of anything to do with business. Maybe you don't like the idea of marketing yourself because you hate social networking sites or you feel like a can of diet soda. I say, don't let these things hold you back. There are ways of dealing with them.

The first is finding a way to make them fun. Don't like Facebook? Not a Twitter fanatic? Set up a simple website. One where you're not selling yourself, so much as sharing your work, your ideas, and your passion. Get business cards and hand them out to people who are interested. Enter contests. Donate work to charity auctions. Open an Etsy store. Use your imagination! And try to think of it more as reaching out to people and making meaningful connections than pushing your Brand on people.

The second is to think of things as challenges, as games, rather than stumbling blocks. Afraid of business? Challenge yourself to become an expert on it. Check out books from the library, read online articles and visit forums, and talk to professionals. Takes notes.

As you go on, you'll probably hire a professional or two. Just because you have a lot of work to do doesn't mean you have to do all of it alone. If this is a game, think of other people as your teammates. ;) Doesn't that sound so much less intimidating?

Still not sure? Well, how would you feel about a smaller commitment? Earning a portion of your income, or even just enough to keep you in jewelry supplies and de-clutter your work room, is a noble goal. I have a feeling it's where most of us start off.

Whew! I covered a lot today. It can be overwhelming, and intimidating, but there's no need to panic. You don't have to do it all at once, and certainly not right this very moment. Which brings me to next week's topic: doing what you can right now.

Thanks for reading! Have a sequintastic day!

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